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Dark As Knight

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SQ :: SWAN QUEEN :: SQ

Emma's fascination with the Evil Queen has always been a sore spot for Snow White and King David; given their past with the dark haired Queen. Ever since Emma was old enough to walk and talk she's been a very curious little girl—almost too curious for her own good and that worried Snow White and Charming. It drove them up the wall of how daring she was, they made a point to even assign her a personal knight to keep her safe from their enemies and herself much to the young princess' chagrin. It didn't help matters that Emma was very different from other little girls as well; though it was a well kept secret amongst the royal family.

They made sure to keep Emma in her studies with her tutors...and keeping her at bay with the topic of the Evil Queen over the years has gotten harder as she grew older. Emma began to stray further and further away from her princess duties. She wanted to travel and meet new people within the enchanted forest and perhaps, if possible, travel other worlds. She didn't want to live in a kingdom...at least not a kingdom where she felt uncomfortable. She knew the maids whispered behind her back and disapproved of her tomboyish habits and called her dreams foolish, often stating that any young girl would kill to be in her place; the product of true love. Emma scoffed at true love sometimes, her mother went on about it to her every chance she was given...lecturing Emma how to be a lady, that being a traveler and playing with weapons was no way for a princess to live because it was too dangerous. It was all rather hypocritical coming from Snow White but Emma never said that the Queens face.

No one seemed to understand that Emma didn't care about being a princess or being the product of true love, none of it mattered to her. All she wanted was to see the world, and maybe find true love of her own...like her parents did, and it frustrated her to no end that her parents didn't want her exploring the world because it was too dangerous...because she could be killed or some excuse or the other. Instead they kept her within the kingdoms walls...inviting potential suitors, suitors of their pickings not her.

And Emma turned each and every one of them away, that is until it was three days before her 18th birthday—after dinner—when she discovered that the choice was no longer to be hers, that her parents were going to decide for her.

Emma left the dining hall shortly after Snow White and Prince Charming. Knowing that they would retreat to their shared study like always. She quietly followed soon after, so that she might have a word with them and bid them a good night. Much to Emma's surprise, she saw that the great oak door was left slightly ajar and the light from the fireplace shone through into the hallway. This was highly unusual, seeing as her parents always closed that door while in one of their private chambers. Just as she was just about to knock she heard her name being whispered between her two parents. This roused Emma's interest, so instead of interrupting their conversation, she lowered her loosely curled fist and stepped closer to the shadow cast by the door so she could not only eavesdrop better, but also avoid being caught by one of the palace guards who might be passing by during their nightly rounds.

The tone in Snow's voice seemed frantic. "David, if we don't do something quickly we may lose the kingdom to poverty...Marrying Emma and Prince Neal is the best decision we can make for our kingdom."

"What about Emma?" The man truly cared for his daughter, but was even more influenced by his wife's demands than his only child's needs and wants. It was almost as if he was afraid of Snow, and the rule by her iron fist. This was only seen behind closed doors though, as the Royals had an image to uphold, and Snow was very sweet and docile in the public's eye, and Charming was as... well, he was charming. Emma was becoming less and less blind to the lies that she had be taught as she grew older and more mature.

Snow White sighed deeply while staring hard into the flames of the great fireplace. The couple conversed before the fire in their twin sitting chairs with a small tray table between them that held their evening nightcaps and fresh fruit. Truly a picture of perfection. After deciding what to say, a clearly agitated Queen Snow let into her husband. "We have been too lenient with her Charming...Letting her ignore her princess duties for so long...Sometimes I truly believe she forgets who she is and where she comes from. Honestly! I believe if we let her loose, she would become a savage!" Emma winced when her mother spat out 'savage'...Did her mother really think so lowly of her? All she wanted to do was have some fun and make them proud for all that she was able to do—well if they'd allow her learn how to do those things in the first place. So many times Snow has had to remind Emma that she was a princess, and that she should forget her silly aspirations, and do what she was groomed for...to be a Queen.

"Do you think she will be happy though? Happy with this Prince Neal?"

"For the sake of the kingdom and it's people...She will have to be."

"And did...did you tell them about her...?" he trailed off. He never did quite come to terms with his only daughter being so different.

Snow turned her head away from him slightly, "No...I did not. And we are not going to. It'll ruin everything and destroy this kingdom faster than poverty ever could." Emma felt her heart breaking even more at her mothers words. It was as if she was physically slapping her with each word. Emma never knew her parents were embarrassed by her, she always thought they were so paranoid because of the Evil Queen, but now Emma was really getting the truth. They were simply ashamed—of her.

"But Snow! When they discover that Emma is...well...not normal, they'll-"

"Do nothing David! They shall do nothing at all!"

"What...What do you mean?" He was confused, as he was sure that no man would sleep with another man...Or...a woman that was part man.

"Prince Neal the Fourth tricked into marrying a beautiful princess that happens to be part man!" Snow smiled sadly."They will be too embarrassed that they were bested, by the time it comes time to consummate the marriage, they'll have to save face and keep the secret; otherwise, risk embarrassment from neighboring kingdoms and kingdoms across the land. No one wants to admit that they are fools. Prince Neal can take on consorts when he desires to be pleasured. His marriage to Emma shall be in name only. It's the only way we can win Charming. If there was any other way...we'd do it, but we have to think of our kingdom."

David sighed, he didn't like it...he wanted his daughter to experience True Love like he and Snow, but his Queen was right, their kingdom was in trouble and their daughter was the only one who could get them out of the mess they were in. "You're right Snow. Tomorrow she and Prince Neal shall have lunch together and we will proceed from there...And pray to any Gods that will listen, that they get on well."

"It doesn't matter...We have already accepted the invitation. If King Neal the Third has the right price...they shall wed on Emma's 18thname-day."

Emma stifled a gasp, she couldn't believe that her parents would actually do this to her. The main preachers of True Love, willing to marry their daughter off to some strange man. And for what? Money? Salvation? Greed? Reputation? Whatever it was...Emma wanted no part of it and she was determined to send him running back to his kingdom like all the others. Not wishing to bid her parents goodnight anymore, Emma quietly left and went to her bed chambers.

Sleep did not come easily to the princess tonight. Emma was through with the lies. If her own parents will not protect her, it's time that she do it herself. Trust was something she had so given freely growing up, but no longer. She would no longer be anybody's pawn. And thus, her walls began to go up. True Love? Family? What were they really? She thought as she stared up at the ceiling, though it was dark. Her heart had begun to harden and she knew this was a pivotal day in her life.

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The very next day, Snow made sure to stick by her daughters side since the crack of dawn to ensure the blonde princess made it to lunch on time and clean. She even picked out her dress for the day, not that Emma really cared for her mothers annoying presence or attempt at chatter not knowing her daughter was aware of their plans, even though Snow mentioned nothing of their guests at the lunch hour. Emma allowed her mother to hover, she didn't fuss or give attitude. She was simply there, and that both unnerved Snow White and gave her a bit of hope.

When it came around for lunch Emma was prepared to see another handsome face when she strolled into the dining hall behind the great Snow White but nothing could prepare her for the peasant wearing royal clothing. She almost stumbled over her footing at the man standing near the small lunch table that was made for two. Both their fathers stood waiting with smiles on their faces, aimed at Emma as if trying to mentally tell her she looked beautiful today...and perhaps Charming was relieved she was clean and didn't smell like she's been in the stables all day.

King Neal the third cleared his throat while his sons beady eyes raked over Emma's body with barely concealed hunger—she felt violated by his eyes alone. "Wow...I must saw Charming...your young daughter is even more beautiful in person."

Snow smiled, and nudged Emma gently who snapped out of her thoughts and dipped slightly. "Oh thank you your highness."

"Emma, this is Prince Neal the fourth..you will be having lunch with him for the next hour. Be nice dear alright?"

Emma smiled sweetly, almost too sweetly, at her mother, "Of course mother. I have a good feeling about this one."

Snow White hugged her daughter with a proud smile, "That's my girl. We will see you all in about an hour."

Charming and Snow White lead King Neal the third out of the dining hall and left the Prince and Princess alone. Prince Neal pulled out the chair and gestured for Emma to have a seat but Emma simply pulled out the chair closest to her and sat down with out a word baffling the older Prince but he said nothing and sat down as well. The silence between the two was awkward and was being stretched as Emma fixed her plate of fruit observing the man...the beast sitting across the table. He looked as if he hasn't shaven in years, the least he could do was even his hair and beard..and Emma could smell something coming from his person; it wasn't revolting yet neither was it pleasant, it was just something she'd rather not go to bed with...or touch.

Prince Neal cleared his throat, "So Emma-"

"Princess Emma." Emma smirked to herself, she didn't necessarily like the title herself but she always made an exception when her parents placed her in these particular situations.

Prince Neal frowned a little, "Is there really a need for formalities Emma? We are to be wed on your 18th name-day."

Emma popped a grape into her mouth, "If my parents like your fathers price."

Neal grinned, "Oh I see you haven't heard have you Emma?"

"Heard what?" she knew she wasn't going to like what came out of his mouth next, that grin held too much triumph.

"Our fathers settled on an agreement this morning, our wedding will be in two days time. So if I were you Princess...I wouldn't fight it so much. I shall be gentle your first time."

Emma scoffed trying to hide her anger at her parents and the shock to find her plan of ridding this ogre of a man was backfiring. "Please, I wouldn't touch you even if it was to set you afire."

Prince Neal stopped mid chew and narrowed his eyes, "You will mind your tongue with me girl. I am to be your future husband...respect me and I will make sure you want for nothing." he leaned forward and Emma leaned back, "anger me and I will make sure you never see the light of day and I shall not be gentle.. You understand?"

Emma bit her tongue so hard it almost bled but she nodded and smiled politely, "Yes, I understand. My apologies Prince Neal."

Smirking, feeling the control back in his favor, Prince Neal lead their conversation for the entire hour if one would call it that. Emma was hardly paying attention but smiling and humming at the appropriate times. It was the worst hour of Emma's life and even though she despised them she was relieved to see her mother and father enter the dining area. Quickly feigning illness for eating too much, she excused herself but not before smiling in Neal's direction before she left.

Once Emma was sure she was out of their sight, she picked up the front of her royal blue summer dress and ran down the hall to her bed chambers ignoring the disapproving looks from the maids passing and the knights. She made it to her bed chambers and all but physically kicked out her maidens.

She nearly tore the dress into shreds trying to get off and left it on the floor. She was so upset she was in tears, hot tears and she stood on her balcony staring out into the beautiful enchanted land. Her parents have finally proven they really didn't have any regards to how she felt, for what she wanted...it was all about them and their precious kingdom.

Emma leaned over and saw the village near the palace and saw the farmers and the vendors working, talking...laughing and fighting. She wanted to be down there, she wanted to make real friends...have a real and honest conversation. She wanted a real life, a life made of her own decisions...not from someone else for their own gain. Emma stared out into the forest once more and made up her mind. She was going to run away and never look back.

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Snow White entered her daughters bed chambers around dinner, with a tray of soup and bread. She saw her daughter lying in the middle of her bed fast asleep with the balcony doors open and the fire place crackling quietly on the other side of the room. Snow smiled and set the tray down gently on the bedside table and sat on the bed, brushing blonde locks from her daughters face.

Emma slowly opened her eyes, faking a yawn with a few tired blinks."Mother?" she despised calling this woman her mother after her betrayal, a real loving mother would never force her daughter into something she didn't want to do...not for her own greed. A real mother would love their child for all their faults and differences.

Snow smiled down at Emma, "Hello honey, how are you feeling?"

Emma shrugged, "I am feeling a bit sluggish, I didn't ruin anything did I?"

Snow laughed softly, shaking her head. "No Emma, you did wonderfully...Prince Neal said you two had an instant connection."

Emma smiled, hoping she looked convincing and not portraying the disgust she felt for the entire situation. "Yes."

"I know it's unexpected sweetie but you are doing a great thing for your kingdom. Saving your people from poverty and ensuring that your father and I stay in wealth and comfort."

That was almost enough to make Emma snap but she simply faked another yawn, "I'm tired mother. Can I rest now? I'm sure I'll better in the morning, okay?"

Snow White nodded, sliding off the bed and to her feet. "Of course, if you wake later...there is soup and bread here for you. Goodnight Emma."

"Goodnight mother."

Emma listened carefully to the audible click of the door shutting and she quickly got out of bed and ran into her wardrobe. She put on her robe and pulled a small travel bag over her shoulder and quietly exited her room. She knew a back stairwell she always used when she was a young girl to get away from her annoying personal guard for a while. It lead right to the stables which was next to the armor shed for the knights. Emma was scared out of her mind and more than once she thought about turning around and getting back in bed but the thought of sharing a bed with Prince Neal for the rest of her days nearly made her run for the hills screaming.

When Emma slipped outside, she was immediately shivering from the cold night air despite it being late summer time. She was hardly dressed for being out so late, but never mind that...she sucked in a deep breath and ran across the small clearing and into the stables before she was spotted by one of the night guards. She went to her favorite steed; Midnight. Midnight was more than happy to his caretaker and she came with an apple which he took gratefully despite eating already. Aside from his name, Midnight was a white stallion...as white as snow. Emma didn't saddle him up but she dropped her bag off into the stable.

"I'll be back, and then we can be gone from this damned kingdom forever." Emma kissed the horses face quickly before rushing off to the knight shed. Luckily for her it was never locked because the knight barracks were right next to it and that someone was supposed to be guarding the shed around the clock..but no one was so Emma was able to slip right in...as soon as she closed the door behind her, she was startled by the shouting from outside the door.

"The Princess is missing! Get those lard asses up, the royals are throwing a fit up there!"

"Was it the Evil Queen?" Another man asked quite literally inches from the shed door where Emma was pressed against, in fear.

"I wouldn't doubt it mate! Come on!"

She heard their heavy footsteps running the opposite direction towards the castle. Emma heard more shouting and running so she quickly pulled herself together, barely, and looked through her options of clothing...everything looked so heavy, she knew she couldn't carry all that weight on her body if she planned on making a quick getaway...she needed something lighter. She ventured further into the shed she spotted something appropriate despite the poor lighting. Emma studied the leather armor for a moment, then began to strip.

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The powerful white stallion came to a slow stop at the kingdoms heavily guarded entrance and exit. The guards regarded the dark figure riding the powerful beast, this man wore skin tight leather pants with riding boots so slim they thought it melded with the leather pants he wore. His armor was better than theirs and black as night, made of thick leather from only the best alligator in the land with silver rings lining the sides and latches down the middle and a hooded vest so fine they were sure it didn't come from their kingdom. This person was dressed finely and with knives and a sword at his side, though his face was hidden by the hood.

They didn't question him as he had no passenger and didn't seem like a threat so the let him through without a thought.

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Lord Iron Hans stepped into the knight shed with his torch, he strolled towards the back and set his torch in the slot on the wall behind him. He turned to suit up to help search for the princess but stopped in his tracks, his elf armor was gone...all were left was his underpants and breast plates.

SQ :: SWAN QUEEN :: SQ

It's been two whole weeks since Princess Emma of the White Kingdom disappeared without so much as a note or even a trace of blood. The clues of her night gown she wore in the knights shed and her missing steed were the only clues for the Princess' whereabouts, or an idea. Snow White and Charming had sent out numerous search parties the very next morning, desperately trying to find Emma. The young Princess was sure they wanted her back in time for the wedding and not for her actual safety. Through a few neighboring villages, still keeping her identity a secret, she heard that the white kingdom tried to send a secret search party into the Evil Queens palace and all the knights heads came back in boxes on their horses.

Emma wasn't sure how she was surviving but she was, she traveled far from the white castle as far as Midnight would take her. Emma didn't want to risk her mother finding her, or anyone else for that matter. She knew if anyone caught wind of her whereabouts and it got back to Snow...it wouldn't end well especially since she didn't know how to defend herself—yet.

Four summer nights later, Emma came upon a town just before the mountains and the passage way that left the enchanted forest. It was a small town,only consisted of a few homes, a saloon, and a blacksmiths shop. Emma slowly slid off her steed and guided the quiet animal through the streets of the seemingly abandoned town. If it weren't for the smoke coming from the blacksmiths shop...she would've kept on her way. She tied Midnight reins to the hitching post outside the shop and slowly climbed up the stairs...the door was wide open so she just entered. She heard the rhythmic clinking of a heavy hammer beating down on hot iron and it was getting louder and louder, the deeper she went into the shop. It was dark and a bit damp but she found her way around everything easily.

Emma stopped when saw a man standing near a fire pit, and although she couldn't see him that well she could tell he was well built and stood a foot and half taller than she was. The fire illuminated his long silver hair that was pulled into a ponytail behind his head and she could see he was sweaty and dirty, as if he hadn't bathed in days. Though Emma wasn't focused on that...she was looking at all the metal that hung on the walls, different weapons that were uniquely crafted and so fine one could cut their finger off by just testing how sharp the blade was.

"Who are you an' what are you doin' in my town?"

The mans voice was so deep and so rough it startled Emma so much she took a half step back. She slowly pulled down her hood but the man's shiny black eyes showed indifference, he was waiting for an answer and Emma noted the hammer in his hand warily. "I-I don't want any trouble sir...I seek refuge for a few nights." he said nothing, he just continued to stare at Emma. "I have gold, I can pay who ever is in charge?"

The man grunted, "This my town girl. I live here...everyone is dead."

Emma gulped, she knew she should've ran then, but she didn't want to. This is what she wanted, to know the cold truth of the world...not the world her parents were trying to force her into, the world of lies. "Did..did you kill them?"

"With ma bare hands."

Emma blinked. She wasn't expecting him to say yes...she half hoped he said something about a plague or living by the mountains had no means. But...this man had just admitted he killed an entire town full of people and she was still standing there whether out of fear or shock...possibly both.

He took a step closer to her, gripping the hammer tighter in his meaty hand. "Ya gold is useless to me girl, ya best leave 'fore I kill you too."

Emma took a full step back this time, but she wasn't screaming for the hills like she should have been...like her mother would have wanted her too. Emma wanted to prove to her mother, and father and her self that she could survive in this world. "I don't have anywhere to go...I can...I can make a trade with you?"

The man stared hard at her,and Emma felt as he were staring so deep into her soul he could pull it from her body with a single thought. "Ya a run away...ain't ya girl?" Emma nodded, surprised that he guessed her status head on. She just hoped he was isolated enough not to know who she was exactly though he just said gold had no use to him so she figured it didn't matter if he did or not. He took a step closer to her and Emma froze, he grinned showing his rotten black teeth. "Gimme ya sword girl..."

Emma flinched and quickly unsheathed her sword making him lean back slightly as she almost sliced half his face. She dropped the offending object quickly, holding up her hands. "Sorry! So sorry!"

He seemed more amused than upset as he set his hammer down and picked up the sword studying it, "You'll be dead soon enough girl. Get out."

"You're not going to k-kill me?"

"Nay, the forest will get ya."

Emma gulped, she had figured that part out a while ago...especially with winter around the corner. There was only so much gold she could carry and she had little to no surviving skills.

"What...what would you want if I...asked you to teach me?..to survive?"

The blacksmith looked away from the sword and eyed Emma with those dark eyes once more, making her shiver and not the good Kind. "This land ain't pure girl...ya ain't dead 'cause ya have somethin' it wants."

Emma blinked again. "Wh..what?"

"Yer pureness."

"W..what?"

He pulled a dagger from behind his back, "Yer blood,girl. This is dead mans land...ya can't take from it without a price girl. I gave myself to it long ago...I do it's bidding now. You wan' somethin' from me...you pay the land."

"What?"

"Ya got three days."

Emma stared at him in confusion slowly bordering on horror when she realized exactly what this man was implying. In trade for his training she had to willingly let something...the land... take away part of her soul, she wanted to ask what would happen to her if she didn't decide in three days, but thought better of it. She never wanted to live the life of royalty, at least not as a princess but did she really want to sacrifice something as precious as the good of her heart for something she wasn't sure she would need? To take such a risk? She shook her head at the blacksmith, green eyes shiny with unshed tears. "I can't."

The blacksmith laughed wholeheartedly, "Then be gone girl."

Emma quickly left the blacksmiths shop, taking a deep breath as soon as she was outside. She saw Midnight looking back at her with his big brown eyes. Emma looked away and up into the darkening sky, she wanted to flew this little town as quickly as she could but it was too dark and she didn't like to travel at night defenseless. So she left Midnight at the only post in the street—in front of the blacksmiths shop and walked into the salon. It was dark and dusty, and she used whatever light she had left to make a comfortable bed out of one of the tables and fell asleep quickly gripping the hilt of a small dagger under her hooded vest.

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It has been two days since Emma arrived to the town, she hasn't seen the blacksmith at all but she could hear him working across the street, it comforted her...to know where he was at all times while she sat in the salon, drinking rum. It left a bad taste in her mouth but it was all there was to drink...she had no more water and she didn't know where to find anymore. She thought back to her parents, wondering what they were up to now...if they were still searching for her. She hoped they were, she hoped they were wasting their precious resources looking for her. She laughed to herself, thinking if she set the white kingdom on fire if her parents would finally understand how unhappy she was in that palace and with them. She wondered if things would have turned out differently if they let her be the free spirit she obviously was. Deep down inside, she doubted it. Her parents were too paranoid, too obsessed with the Evil Queen. Too involved with that drawn out rivalry to see the damage they were doing to their palace, and to their own daughter by not putting her first.

The loud clinking brought Emma back from her less than benevolent thoughts. She finished off the glass of rum and went outside. She saw midnight there, tail twitching every now and then...and she also noticed how weak Midnight was starting to look. She could just feel how tired her steed was, the fleeting meals and hard running wasn't healthy for the horse she knew, but there was nothing she could do except care for him the best she could.

Emma slowly moved past the great animal and entered the blacksmiths shop once again, looking more confident than she felt. The 18 year old stopped when she found the blacksmith again, he was exactly where he was when she found him the first time.

"My purity for the knowledge correct?" he nodded, "Deal."

The blacksmith grinned and dropped the hammer on the floor with a heavy thud and pulled the small, slightly curved dagger from the iron block. He said nothing as he walked towards Emma and to the young blondes credit, she held her ground until the giant man was a few inches from her. He flipped the dagger around and offered her the hilt. "Cut yer right hand, girl, an' then bury ya hand into the dirt."

Emma gulped and stared at the hilt before taking the dagger out of the mans dirty hand and turned on her heel going outside where Midnight waited for her, the blacksmith close on her heels. Emma couldn't blink away the tears she was close to backing out but she reminded herself that this was her decision and she wanted to live by her decisions alone and no one else's.

She stepped down off the blacksmiths porch and stared down at her open, blemish free palm of her right hand. She pressed the dagger down and closed her fist around it. Emma closed her eyes and she saw her parents disapproving faces through one eye...and she saw freedom in the other.

"I'll show you a savage mother." Emma pulled the blade free from her first, crouching down quickly and burying her hand into it's soft, wet and cool soil. She felt silly after nothing happened but then she felt a hand deep within her soul. She could feel it ghosting beneath the surface of her skin, flowing in her blood stream and swallowing her whole; suddenly it was over and Emma was sprawled out on the ground trying to catch her breath that was stolen from her, she felt something in the pit of her stomach but she felt no different. The blacksmith came down and pulled Emma to her feet in one pull. She was unnerved to see him grinning at her, "Yer the first to survive girl..."

Emma blinked, "Y-you expected me to die?"

The grimy man shrugged, "Get rest girl, yer training starts at dawn. Don' try an' leave...yer stuck til it says ya can go."

He went back into his shop, leaving Emma and her steed alone outside.

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The Evil Queen sat on her throne leaning off to the side with her legs crossed at the knee, hands clasped together in her lap as she leaned on her elbow. She looked absolutely bored to death but on the inside the wicked woman was having the time of her life seeing Snow White, her biggest adversary, breaking down in front of her out of fear, anger and desperation.

"Well well well, who would've thought the Snow White would be on my doorstep begging for my help."

Snow wiped at her tears, glaring up at the Evil Queen who was looking down at her as if she were a mere roach beneath her boots and not like she was another Queen. "I am not begging, I am demanding you help me search for my daughter! It is the least you can do!"

Regina raised a delicate brow, almost laughing at the distraught Queen before her. "The least I can do as opposed to what?"

"If you don't help us, my husbands and part of our army will tear through your kingdom searching for her if you don't help or come clean."

Always the self-righteous bitch. Red lips pulled upwards as Regina stood from her throne, "You mean this army?"

She snapped her fingers and as soon as she did, the double doors behind Snow White burst open and her husband was pushed in so hard he lost his footing and stumbled to the ground along with the remaining members of their 'army' which was no more than six. Snow White saw all the blood covering her husbands face and armor and rushed to him to make sure he was okay, and that the blood wasn't his.

"I'm fine, I'm fine." he assured, allowing her to help him to his feet though he did favor his left leg. "Did she agree to help?"

Regina wanted to gag at the pathetic sight before her, of course they would play victims and blame her first. Blame the Evil Queen for their daughters disappearance. "No dear Charming I did not agree to help you find your daughter—and no she is not rotting in my dungeons."

Snow White tried her hardest not to glare at the woman but Regina was making it hard, "I just want my daughter back."

The Evil Queen just shrugged, "Maybe Rumpelstiltskin-"

"No!" Charming cried out, limping next to his wife. "No we will not ask that...that monster for his help, his help comes with a price."

Regina smirked deviously, "A price you are not willing to pay, not even for your daughter? Hm. Not surprising she would run away then."

Snow White bristled slightly at that comment and narrowed her eyes at the dark woman before her, "How do you know she ran away Regina?"

"Well dear it was no secret you were forcing her hand to that dreadful Prince Neal. I would run away too."

"They were fine together Regina you don't know anything about it."

"And you do?"

"Enough of this, Snow, lets go. She has no means to help us, she only wishes to play games. She has no love and she wants everyone else to suffer as well like the evil witch she is."

He pulled on his wife's arm and lead her out of the throne room behind their last remaining guards they brought with them leaving a seething Regina behind but she let them go with a small victory over them despite them not knowing; she knew exactly where their daughter was. She was in dead mans land a land without life, how she managed to get there...Regina was unsure but she knew that Snow White's pet wolf wouldn't be able to pick up Emma's trail there...dead mans land was a dead kind of magic. Some die going in without warning, and others go through and never make it out. Regina was truly curious for the outcome of the white kingdoms princess; if she would eventually turn up dead like all the others.

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Chapter Text

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It has been five years since the princess of the White Kingdom has disappeared, five years since she entered Dead Man's Land, the land of the dead magic. The White Kingdom hasn't stopped searching for their lost princess, but since the birth of their second child Prince Henry was born; the King and Queen of the White Kingdom have put their daughters name to rest. Assuming she will stay the lost princess. Forever.

This Fact; however, only stemmed to fuel Emma's frustrations into pure anger. Snow White and her precious Charming not only allowed their five year old son outside of the kingdom walls, they allowed him to do all the things Emma wanted to do but was never allowed. She didn't understand why they let him become his own person and not her, why they tried so hard to create her personality and not his. She used that frustration during her sparring sessions with Rulf—the blacksmith—and with his help over the past five years Emma transformed from a girl...and into a woman. A strong one, who was able to defend herself better than any man can defend himself.

He trained her with every blade he has fashioned in his shop and more than half of those blades left a mark on Emma's pale skin, and over the years they faded into white scars on the sides of her neck, her forearms, sides, legs...they were hardly noticeable to any not looking for them, almost invisible.

Rulf taught Emma the basic means of survival, how to kill animals without crying, how to cut flesh without dropping her weapon and apologizing. These were the very laws of the land and tantamount to her survival in the years to come. He took her outside the land and they robbed and murdered anyone they came across whether they be peasants traveling for a new beginning or knights from the the Dark Kingdom or the White Kingdom. Sadly for Emma, when her mighty steed could not survive his third winter, Dead Man's Land took the steeds body beneath it's soil and released his spirit.

In the course of five years, the former princess of the White Kingdom was trained to be an expert huntsman and deadly assassin in one. One would no longer recognize her as the meek girl she once was, but now in her stead, stood a ruthless and well-honed killing machine. One who took no mercy on the unfortunate opponents who crossed her path. Today Emma was preparing herself to spar with Rulf in the mud field just behind the saloon as were their usual schedule. She didn't have to wait long in the drizzle before the big man joined her but he was unarmed save for the item on his broad back, this was out of the ordinary and Emma was confused, "Are we not sparring today Rulf?"

Rulf smiled at her, it came out more as a grimace, but Emma knew he was smiling. "I have no more to teach you...Dead Man's Land ain't ya home anymore."

Emma swallowed thickly, refusing to appear weak and keeping her tears at bay. She wasn't sure how she felt about this news although she has been preparing herself for this for a year now. It was still hard to process it. "But...I don't have any other home to go to Rulf."

Rulf simply shrugged, "My deed is done...ya have to make ya own path now. Ya heart...tis black as night...ya don' need a home, ya won' fin' one...not here anyways. Hm!" he reached behind him and pulled the sword and tossed it towards Emma. She caught it's hilt and examined it carefully. It was a pure black steel sword; it's blade longer, thicker and far sharper than any blade she's seen before. Above it's grip sat a single talon made to jab into her victims and pull out whatever it grabs.

"Ya take that sword...and ya care for it. It shall care for ya as well."

Emma nodded to him, "Thank you Rulf. It's beautiful." Emma knew that this was truly a treasure and vowed to cherish it for the entirety of her life, this was no ordinary sword.

Rulf shook her head, "I ain't make it, it came from the ground. Now git!"

Emma nodded once more and slung the beautifully crafted blade onto her back and turned on her heel and simply walked away, Rulf wasn't one for goodbyes—so abiding his boundaries, Emma left Dead Man's Land on foot...taking everything it gave to her. She had no clue where to begin but she figured she would head towards the Dark Realm of the Enchanted Forest and see where to go from there. Her soul was being drawn towards something, no, someone…In all the passing years of discovering who she was, she found a part of herself that would send her parents to their graves. Her fascination for the Evil Queen had not gone away, but on the contrary; it had only continued to grow.

SQ :: SWAN QUEEN :: SQ

Traveling on foot through the winter wasn't something Emma thought was fun but until she found a suitable horse it seemed her only choice.

Emma had enough currency on her to buy herself a new steed,but she hardly needed them for anything else. If she needed food she could hunt it and cook it herself, if she needed extra padding and lining for her armor against the harsh winter...she could find something suitable to skin and sew it beneath the worn leather she still wore proudly since escaping her dreadful fate.

It's been a full two days of walking through the Enchanted Forest towards the Dark Kingdom and Emma hasn't really stopped to eat or sleep not that she was particularly hungry or tired.

It took Emma two more cold days and a winter night until she reached the village just outside the dark palace. The village was better kept than the White Kingdoms own home village. Emma did not lower her hood as she ventured deeper into the village to the market. She didn't want to call attention to herself just yet. She found a vendor selling assorted fruits, some Emma was familiar with and others Emma wouldn't touch with her sword. As she approached, an old hag came up from behind the table. Her hideous looks nearly caused Emma draw her sword. She almost told the old woman she shouldn't be jumping out at people looking like that, but she held her tongue. Emma picked up two plums with one hand and held out her other hand with two gold coins resting in the palm of her hand. It was far more than what they were worth but it was all Emma could offer.

The old woman regarded the hooded person in front of her with those beady brown eyes of hers, it unnerved Emma and she wanted to be away from the old vendor as soon as possible. "Are you going to take the gold or not old woman?"

The old woman grinned showing what was left of her teeth, "Wherever did you get those gold coins?"

Emma sighed deeply, reaching passed the fruit display she placed the two gold coins on the table and proceeded to walk away, until the vendor caught her wrist in a surprisingly strong grip.

"You wouldn't know who has been stealing the Queens gold would ye?"

Emma snatched her wrist free of the womans grip, causing the old vendor to crash into her own table knocking over a few fruit and drawing a few eyes. "I haven't any idea...and you will do well minding your own old witch."

The old hags eyes narrowed for a beat, "You enjoy that gold...thievery comes with a price nomad."

Emma scoffed and walked away from the old woman disregarding her useless warning, for it meant nothing to her. She ate her plums peacefully observing the way the village worked from beneath her hood.

"Stop."

Emma stopped though she was completely relaxed, even as two knights came from behind her on either side. She stared at them, still eating her fruit. "Yes?"

"You ain't from 'round here are ya nomad?" the rugged one asked with a small smirk

"Nope."

"The old woman back there...she said you have something that belongs to the Queen."

Emma rolled her eyes and bit back a laugh, "I don't."

The dark skinned knight smiled, finally speaking. "Then you won't mind if we saw your satchel then?"

Emma smirked and removed the leather satchel and strap from her body and handed it over. That was not where she kept the stolen coins, the last two that were there she gave to the old woman. The dark skinned knight opened it up and reached inside...slowly pulling out two gold coins with the Evil Queens crest on them.

Emma almost choked on her plum, that was impossible. Those coins shouldn't be there at all, immediately she knew that the old woman had something to do with it. "I can explain this."

"You will. To the Queen!" They both grabbed her by the arms and dragged Emma off. If she really wanted to, she could have effortlessly gutted them and left their bodies to bleed out in the snow and go back for the old woman for her troubles. But she chose not to, her curiosity for the Evil Queen was much too deep, and she saw this as a way it could be sated.

SQ :: SWAN QUEEN :: SQ

The two knights led a willing Emma through the palace halls to the throne room. They would've preferred this hooded person to be begging and attempting to bribe them to release her. It made for a much more interesting time, but this quiet woman would not give them the pleasure of the fight. She remained silent as they forged on through the palace halls. The knights guarding the throne nodded and pushed open the double doors and closing it behind them just as quickly and quietly.

The Evil Queen herself was sitting on her throne with her legs crossed beneath a dress that Emma figured she plucked a thousands birds of their feathers to make. When they finally released Emma once they were just a few feet away from the steps beneath the Evil Queens throne. Both knights pushed her forward roughly in no attempts to push her down subtly, yet she held her ground, she's been pushed around by a man three times their size for too long time to go down so easily.

"Lancelot, what is this?"

The dark skinned knight to Emma's right bowed slightly, "My Queen, we believe this nomad knows who has been taking the profits. That or she has been doing it herself. We found these," he held up the two gold coins that Emma was mentally swearing up and down, were not hers. "when we searched her satchel."

The Queen stood and came down a few steps to take the gold from his hand and examined it. Chuckling she waved the two knights away, "Leave us, this nomad has some explaining to do—and if you hear screaming, do not be alarmed...it won't be mine."

Lancelot chuckled and bowed once more along with the other rugged man, "Yes Your Highness."

Regina waited until they were alone in the throne room before addressing the nomad who stood quietly a few feet away from her, "Why aren't you begging for your life nomad?"

Emma pushed off her hood, and moving blonde locks from her face. She had faintly changed over the five years she'd been living in Dead Man's Land. She no longer had the chunky face and soft green eyes and a flawless face, gone was the girl and replaced with a woman with green eyes that has more wit and grit, a strong face that wore a small scar that split her right eyebrow. All the same, there was no doubt in her mind with whom she was dealing with. Queen Regina recognized her as the lost princess. "Well because I didn't do anything your majesty, those gold coins were planted there. I'm innocent."

Regina laughed,deciding to keep the lost princess' identity to herself—for now. She would use it to her advantage later. "Dear no one is innocent, and it would do you no good by lying to me. Especially in my own palace—that is just rude."

Emma saw the purple mist forming behind the Evil Queens brown eyes, she decided on a new approach. "You're going to kill me now...aren't you?"

"What makes you think that dear?"

"Because that's what you do."

"Normally yes—but you my dear...you have looted 16 of my profit carriages. Were you alone?"

Emma nodded curtly.

Regina looked Emma up and down, "Interesting. That was more than enough gold for one person. Though I can clearly see that it did not go to your wardrobe." Emma shifted her footing but she said nothing. Still Regina turned back up the stairs and sat down on her plush throne once more. "Do you have a name nomad?"

"Um.." Emma faltered as she didn't want to push her luck by giving the Evil Queen her real name seeing as she apparently didn't recognize her face. After a moments hesitation, Emma blurted out the first thing on her mind though it sounded more like a question than anything. "Swan?"

A single delicate eyebrow was raised, "Swan?"

"Swan." Emma sounded more confident, and stood a little taller. While mentally slapping herself for coming up with such an odd and ridiculous name.

Regina fought away the smirk that was threatening to break through, she was going to have fun with the White Kingdoms princess."Alright Swan...I have two choices for you. Death or your servitude and loyalty to me."

Emma blinked, scratching her cheek. She saw death in both of those choices. Though one was probably quicker than the other. She thought back to what her mentor, her friend, Rulf, told her before they parted ways. Emma was to never have a home again because she gave away part of her soul, the only good in her to Dead Man's Land. "What about your gold? It's no good to you if I'm dead."

The Evil Queen waved off the former princess' concern, "More where that came from, though I am curious. What were your plans with all of that gold? What was so important to risk your life 16 times Swan? Besides being greedy."

"I needed a friend...I, um, I wanted to purchase a stallion to make my travels easier and to keep me company. That and I love to ride."

Regina's features softened for a split second before her Evil Queen persona took over once more almost making Emma think she had just imagined it. "Very nice Swan. Stop stalling and make your decision. Now."

"I happen to like living, so.." Emma bowed, albeit mockingly. "I, Swan, offer my services and loyalty to your kingdom until the end of my days."

Suddenly all of Emma's airflow was cut off as an invisible hand grasp her neck and squeezed, she could even feel nails digging into the sides of her neck. "You are not vowing to this realm, but to me. You do what I tell you to do, and you will do it respectfully. Is that clear?"

Emma's fist were tightly clenched at her sides, nodding the best she could. Regina held on a few seconds later and when she saw the woman's green eyes rolling she finally released her. The Evil Queen took small satisfaction of making the strong woman kneel at her feet trying to catch her breath. "Can I...can I go now your majesty or—"

"No. you can not." The Evil Queen cut in tersely. "I don't trust you. You will stay in the dungeons until you prove your worth."

Emma finally got to her feet, massaging the side of her neck, over the crests from the invisible hands fingernails. "The- the dungeon?"

SQ :: SWAN QUEEN :: SQ

The Evil Queen kept Emma, weapons and hood, down in the dungeons for nearly a week, with just food and water being delivered and nothing else. Emma didn't take any of it. She let it collect in the corner for the rats. Rulf would usually starve her out just to see how long she would last. A week for Emma was like a couple of days, even though she was a pig at heart. She knew that the Queen of the dark palace was doing it just to show Emma that she could.

Emma was tossing a rock back and forth against one of the dungeon walls when unfamiliar click clacking footsteps were coming her way, she was curious but she kept her hood up.

"Enjoying your stay nomad?"

Emma smiled,despite her annoyance with the Queen, and stood dusting off her pants and pushing down her hood, shocked to see that the Queen was actually alone but then again she possessed dark magic. "Yes. Your Majesty."

"Really? I wasn't quite sure." Regina opened the cell door and stepped in, glancing at the food sitting in the corner far from Emma "The guards say you refuse to eat—why?"

"Why do you care?"

Regina thought about throttling the woman once more but she simply shrugged. "You're infuriating but I don't want you dead just yet. I have a quest for you."

"Do I have a choice?"

Regina ignored her and paced the small cell, "I have this...problem on the outside."

"Great, sunlight."

Regina shot the former princess a glare but ignored that comment as well. "I need you to kidnap someone for me—a little girl."

Emerald eyes widened, "What?" Emma learned many deadly deeds during her time in Dead Man's Land but she refused to use that against children, innocent children. "No."

"No?" The Evil Queen inquired coldly, turning on her heel quickly. With a flick of her wrist Emma was sent crashing back against the stone wall of her prison. "You don't get to say no!" With another lazy hand gesture, Emma was—for the second time in her life—being choked by the Queens invisible hand and held down on the floor as Regina stood over her, staring down at her menacingly with hard brown eyes. "I will have your loyalty," she crouched down and pushed open Emma's hooded vest as she pressed her right hand over the place where Emma's heart is supposed to be—she could feel the faint thumbing beneath her palm. "Even if that means if I have to rip your heart out. You understand?"

Regina wasn't sure why she didn't just rip this woman's heart out and kill her the first time they met in her throne room for stealing from her and for being outright disrespectful. And now here when the Emma was trying to refuse an order.

And yet Regina still hadn't pulled out her heart like she did so many others in all her years. She has yet to figure out what it was about the blonde that interested her but she will soon, when she is sure she could trust her...somewhat, when she has a real name perhaps. Regina stood and backed away before releasing her magical hold on the thief on the floor...Regina wasn't too sure how to address this woman. Thief? Assassin? Huntsman? Nomad, definitely. She watched as the mysterious woman, the one who bested her men 16 times, stand on her own two feet and pull up her hood. When it was becoming clear that she had nothing more to say the Evil Queen merely smirked, "Her name is Grace. She lives approximately two days from here in a trade village before the White Kingdom. You have two more days to get her back here."

Emma shrugged slightly, "What did the little girl ever do to you?"

Regina almost told her to mind her business and do as she was told, but she enlightened the woman anyway. "Her father owes me a favor and he has been neglecting to acknowledge our little deal."

"How will I travel?"

"I will have one of the guards escort you to the stables, you pick a horse and then you do your deed. Questions comment or concerns dear?" She finished with a sickeningly sweet smile and tone, Emma shook her head almost chuckling. "Good." Emma watched her go with a small smirk, she liked pushing the older womans buttons. She had a feeling deep down inside that she was going to like it here, but for the time being...she was going to earn her keep to make sure she gets to stay.

SQ :: SWAN QUEEN :: SQ

Emma hated being here already, visiting a trade village meant no horses or carriages...simply too much traffic for such large beasts and carts to be maneuvered safely. Emma had to do the rest on foot. She didn't exactly blend in with her all black leather armor and hooded vest, and her weapons of choice that she barely bothered to conceal made the people around her nervous and they gave her a bit of room to walk.

Emma was surprised to discover that the trade village was as big as it was, she expected something less than spectacular...this was spectacular. She needed a new approach to finding this little girl. She stopped an elderly man carrying a yoke, "Old man..." though when he saw how she was dressed she quickly took a step back and pressed her hands together in front of her as if she were about to pray, "I will do you no harm if you tell me where all the children are."

The old man with the yoke was really eying the dangerous hilt to the right of Emma's head from the sword that was warming her back. He didn't even realize that it was a woman in the shadow of the hood, "I...children? You won't harm them will you?"

"No. I simply wish to settle somewhere with lots of children for my small brother. He is a lonely child."

The elderly man relaxed once he realized that it was a woman and not a man, "Certainly, the school yard is just up yonder...ya keep straight an' all the children are there."

Emma bowed slightly and stepped aside to let him continue on to where ever he was going, nodding her appreciation. The old man smiled and went on his way while Emma thought of a new plan. There was no way she could get the girl without people noticing a distressed child being carried through the village to the entrance. Emma decided to go figure out what this girl looked like first and figure out the rest later. Since she only had two days.

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"She is perfect." the Evil Queen marveled as she sat in front of her vanity mirror watching Emma find the school house that had a yard full of children. She stood out in the open watching them play yet no one seemed to notice her...she stuck out like a sore thumb, yet she belonged at the same time.

"I suppose." replied the Magic Mirror sounding as if her were almost bored, but Regina didn't comment, she had better things to do than soothe his feelings; like watch the beautiful blonde woman that captured her interest the first time she pushed down her hood and settled those green eyes on her, and not because she was the daughter of her sworn enemy. "Can she be trusted my Queen? She has already stolen from you...who knows what else this woman is capable of."

"Who knows indeed—no need to worry, genie, I intend on discovering what she is capable of very, very soon."

SQ :: SWAN QUEEN :: SQ

Chapter Text

SQ :: SWAN QUEEN :: SQ

Emma packed the unconscious 8 year old over her shoulder like a sack of potatoes through the dark castle to the throne room. Although she was being escorted, she was too confident to pay attention to that little detail. It hadn't been easy to get those poppy seeds into the little girl's food as her father, who had some sort of strange obsession for hats, kept busy around their small but decently sized home. Emma had practically spent the night inside their home and neither noticed her presence.

After waiting patiently for the father to finally give into his exhaustion, Emma silently watched as he checked in on his little girl, Grace, before retiring to his own room. Under the cover of the starless night, Emma carried the child through the village as if she were her own in order to avoid suspicions. Upon returning to the steed, they rode non-stop back to the Dark Realm. The poppy seeds were sure to wear off soon, but that would no longer be Emma's problem...she hoped.

The guards pushed open the throne room doors and Emma strode in confidently without her escorts. She was once again shocked to find the Queen was alone, looking bored as ever. Regina seemed to perk up when she saw Emma, or rather the prize Emma was carrying over her shoulder.

"You still had a day, I am impressed. Were your travels pleasant nomad?"

Emma shifted the girl's weight, and pushed off her hood. "Travel was light, yes. What shall I do with her now?"

The Evil Queen stood and gestured for Emma to follow after her through a door that she hadn't noticed before. It was hidden behind a pillar and blended with the smooth interior of the dark castle. The door led into a dark hallway that had no windows and was only lit by torches, but Emma was hardly paying attention to the hallways décor at all...her emerald orbs were quite literally trained on the Evil Queens backside. The way her black dress cut low down her back stopping just above her behind in a very tempting manner—and what a lovely, round bottom the Evil Queen possessed.

The former princess was so caught up in her less than pure thoughts she failed to realize two things; the Queen had stopped walking and she was excited. It would've been more obvious if the hallway had more light. Emma walked right into Regina startling both women—however when Regina caught a whiff of the nomad, she pushed her away so hard Emma nearly dropped the girl over her shoulder in her surprise, thanks to her superior training and automatic reflexes, she caught her quickly.

"Be careful with her!" Regina hissed angrily.

"Well then don't push me!" Emma shot back with anger that equaled the Queens, more so annoyed than anything else. The Regal was again surprised by this woman, as nobody dared lash out or backtalk the Queen without fear for their lives.

"You have a strong unpleasant stench and that is unacceptable!"

"Well you did keep me in your dungeon for a week, what did you expect?" Emma replied, slightly offended, but solidly keeping her ground.

Regina waved her off and pulled out a single key and began to unlock a door they were standing in front of, a door Emma was only now noticing. She mentally scolded herself for getting so distracted. The Evil Queen opened the thick wooden door and gave Emma an expectant look.

The blonde had to refrain from rolling her eyes and took the unconscious girl inside and gently set her down on the rather uncomfortable looking cot but at least it had a blanket she thought to herself. Emma took another moment to make sure the girl would be warm when she awakened. When she stepped out of what seemed like a personal dungeon, Regina closed and locked the door once again and the door disappeared into the wall. Now Emma understood why she didn't notice it at first, it wasn't actually there.

"Are you taking me back to the dungeons Your Highness?" Emma tried to keep her tone neutral, already knowing the answer.

The Evil Queen regarded her new tenure with a careful eye and cool facade, "No, I believe you have earned your right to a room. I assume you would not appreciate sharing an area with the men...would you?"

Emma blushed faintly, surprised, and shook her head, "No my Queen." she tried not to think too much of how easily of calling Regina her Queen was and that she didn't mind it , she was curious about the woman most of her life but now her curiosity was clearly turning into something more. She wasn't so sure what to make of her unique situation.

"I figured not." Regina stepped into Emma's personal space and took the woman's upper arms gently as purple vapor engulfed both of them.

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Both women were now standing in the middle of a dark gray themed room, it was a huge room certainly bigger than the room Emma had at the White Castle. There was a large bed near the far wall with black silk sheets and comforter, it was right next to the high balcony with the double doors and black curtains that were tied back to allow the sunlight inside the room. The high ceiling had the Evil Queens crest carved into it with a rich blood red color. The entire room was fitting for the Queen and for Emma as well. There were no portraits or vases with flowers, only a giant mirror that sat on the wall between two doors on the opposite side of the room from the bed and patio. It was unnerving to have a mirror that enormous facing the bed. Two hands squeezing Emma's arms brought her from her musings.

Emma stepped away from the Evil Queen quickly coughing awkwardly when she finished taking in the room, "Um..."

"This is your new room dear. Your reward for bringing the child to me."

"My...reward?"

"Yes dear, your reward." the Evil Queen seemed rather vexed with Emma's lack of vocabulary skills. "I will have one of the guards fetch you for dinner later and please bathe and make good use of the wardrobe."

"Wait, where am I?"

"Right wing dear."

Emma frowned slightly, "Right wing? I thought the left wing is the royal wing? This room is too nice to be a commoner's room."

Regina lifted a sculpted brow, if she was surprised this nomad was aware of how a castle worked she hid it very well. Regina's suspicions of this woman being more than she appeared were slowly being confirmed. "I like to keep them guessing darling—now if you will excuse me, I do have a kingdom to run."

Purple smoke took Regina before Emma could think of anything witty to say.

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Emma stood in front of the body length mirror, feeling a bit unsure. The Evil Queen had left her two choices in her wardrobe. On one side, there were numerous dresses and gowns in various colors and designs. The dresses reminded her of the ones her mother had forced her to wear, too tight bodices and uncomfortable undergarments. However; on the other side was quite a surprise considering the clothing on the opposite side of the closet. There were riding, as well as casual pants along with dress shirts and leather vests with hoods on them. Emma wondered if the Queen had all of this made for her during her week-long stay in the dungeon, she shook it off. Why would the Evil Queen create a personal wardrobe for her? Of all people? The woman who stole from her. Instead of trying to solve this puzzle in her mind, she just shook it off for now. She had a feeling that she would drive herself crazy trying to figure out all the odd nuances of the Queen, as she had seen her already behave so differently toward her than should be expected. She was patient. All would be revealed…In due time.

Emma chose to wear a pair of leather pants with her own boots and a white dress shirt. The dress shirt was loose and a little bigger than she would have liked but it served it purpose. She felt exposed without her sword or her hooded vest, but maidens took her clothes while she was bathing much to her displeasure. Emma had to make do with one of the vests provided, but it wasn't the same...They couldn't conceal a simple hand knife. She would just have to rely on the hidden blades tucked into the sides of her boots.

The knock on the door before it opened pulled Emma away from the mirror and her thoughts. She greeted the knight with a glare. Neither said anything to the other, Emma simply followed him down the wide hallways to the dining hall. There was a table full of food but it seated only two. The Evil Queen was already there and waiting. Emma took a seat next to the right of the Queens, who sat at the head of the table.

Emma had no idea what to say or do, and the Queen was simply staring at her with those intense brown eyes. The blonde started filling her plate with meat and vegetables quietly, to distract herself.

While she did that, Regina took in her new clothes and smell. Without the vest hiding her body, Regina was able to get a good look at her. The woman was athletic, more athletic than most of pig men she called knights. Her blonde hair shone brightly once it was washed properly and her pale skin showed signs of years of survival but that's what made her more beautiful. Regina admired women who had the courage to fight...and survive. Being a survivor herself, Regina knew all too well how cruel the world can be to women, strong women in particular.

"You clean up well." The brunette finally broke the silence and began filling her own plate with fruit and vegetables. "I shouldn't be surprised you decided against a gown."

Emma smirked, "Gowns slow me down. My mother forced me into them many times." Emma immediately realized her slip and stuffed her mouth with meat, scolding herself.

Regina, however, jumped on the bit of information. "Were you not close with your parents?"

Emma shook her head, "No. My mother dictated everything and my father...well..he isn't much of a father.

Frowning, Regina held a brief moment of understanding her mind reverting back to the conflicting times with her own mother and Daniel, and Snow White. "Yes, I am all too familiar with troublesome mothers. Tell me about yours, Swan."

"I don't like to talk about my parents." Emma replied quickly, hoping Queen Regina would drop it already, she was afraid that she would figure out who she was and Emma wasn't sure what she would do if her reaction was less than excited...And she most definitely didn't want to be called Princess.

"I wasn't asking—you steal from me,and I offer you duty and safety. The most you can do is tell me a little about yourself. I barely know who you are...but you know all about me. It's hardly fair!" Regina exclaimed as if she were truly offended that Emma didn't want to share childhood horror stories over dinner, Emma saw the glimmer in the Queens brown eyes.

Emma ate another slice of meat washing it down with cool, fresh water. She decided to ignore the parent question, hoping the Queen would let it go for now. "Something about me? Well, I finally grew up to be a savage—as my mother so kindly put it one night." Emma nearly slapped herself in the face, she just said she didn't like to talk about her parents, particularly her mother, and here she was making snide comments in their name.

"Well, I wouldn't go that far dear. I've had the displeasure of meeting true barbarians and you are not one."

Emma smirked, "No, I'm more of a-"

"Bandit." Regina inserted coolly, frowning as certain memories invaded her mind. "Reminds me of a certain Queen which whom I despise."

"Snow White?" Emma scoffed, and waved off Queen Regina's comment, actually offended. "Are you comparing me to—to her?!" Emma stumbled over her tongue, she almost slipped up. "I am more than a petty bandit...I robbed you 16 times did I not?"

Regina glared at her new edition, hand tightening around her fork. "A fact I am still very sore about, so I would refrain from gloating."

Emma simply bowed her head and smiled, "My apologies Your Highness." though she didn't sound very sorry at all and continued eating. "So...why exactly haven't you killed me yet? I mean...I stole from you 16 times, and killed more than a dozen of your men? I do not understand."

Regina continued eating her fruit and vegetables quietly for a few more moments, thinking over her answer carefully. She wanted, for some unforeseen reason, to be honest with Emma and not because of whom she was and what she could help Regina accomplish as far as revenge went. "You have a considerable amount of darkness deep within you and I can sense it—I've sensed it since the moment you were first brought into my throne room."

"I suppose that happens when you have nothing to feel but hate and sadness."

"I understand that all too well dear—nothing good comes from it."

Emma just sat there staring at the Evil Queen. She wasn't sure what to make of the woman's suddenly soft tone. Since she's been here, the Evil Queen has been nothing but sarcastic and now she was seeing the slightly vulnerable side of the Queen, and Emma cherished it—even if it was just for a moment because she knew her next question would do nothing but put the woman's guard back up. "So why do you still do what you do then?"

Regina's brown eyes drifted towards green and they stared at each other for awhile, as if trying to read the others thoughts. It was a loaded question, one that Regina didn't intend on answering lest she give away too much. "Because it is all I have left." Then Regina pushed herself away from the table and stood, gesturing towards the rest of the food. "When you're done here a guard will escort you back to your chambers."

Emma's frown lifted into a smirk as she looked up at Regina. "Why can't I walk? I'm not going to run away or kill you in your sleep if that's what you're afraid of."

"Nothing is to be feared—only understood. Goodnight nomad."

Emma watched as Queen Regina disappeared in a cloud of smoke. Emma sat there staring at the seat that the dark and beautiful woman had previously occupied for a few moments, she felt as if there was some hidden meaning behind Regina's goodnight parting. She was simply too tired to think it over, so she finished her dinner and got up from the table. The guard that was standing near the door nodded at her and turned on his heel, opening the door for her and then led her back to her bedchambers.

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Meanwhile across the Enchanted Forest in the White Kingdom, Snow White and Charming were in their throne room with their three best and most trusted combatants. Seeing that the Dark woman favored mirrors as her way of invading privacy, all forms of mirrors were banned from the White Kingdom's throne room, and various other places throughout the castle where they didn't want prying eyes. Snow had learned this trick of the Evil Queens as a child, when she was coming to find Regina and found her peering through a looking glass, but not seeing her own reflection.

"Snow are you sure you want to do this?"

Snow White looked at Red, staring into the tall brunettes eyes. "Yes, I am more than sure. We are hanging by threads Red. The White Kingdom cannot withstand another winter. If the next one is as bad as this one...this kingdom shall be no more. We don't have a princess to marry to the richest Kings son anymore," she added bitterly and they all knew how sore Snow was about Emma's unexplained disappearance, even after 5 years.

It affected the entire kingdom and Snow White wasn't the same woman since. Charming reverted into a very quiet man, he loved his wife dearly until the end of his days but it was obvious to all that her ruling was stronger than his. People looked to her more than him because most people followed Snow's parents before her mother's untimely and questionable death and her father's murder.

Mulan nodded, glancing at Red. "Regina is a tyrant, and she doesn't deserve to be Queen. Those people live in fear. It is time we saved them."

"Yes" Snow agreed, smiling. "Those unfortunate people deserve kindness and compassion. Not cruelty and death. It's time someone took the Evil Queen off her high stool."

Charming cleared his throat. Something was very unsettled at the pit of his stomach. He addressed the quiet man that was wearing the black armor signifying that he was a part of the Evil Queen's personal guard. Though the Huntsman swore fealty to Regina, he was also very close to the White Queen. "Huntsman, can you tell us more of this thief?"

The Huntsman shook his head, shaggy hair falling in across his eyes. "No...She took her down to the dungeons, and she remains there. That is all I know."

"Is there any way you can talk to her? Perhaps she will be useful to help us, being tossed in the dungeons ensures great loyalty." Red scoffed sarcastically, crossing her arms and shifting her weight from one leg to the other.

"I can try— I better get back before Lancelot deems me gone too long."

Mulan narrowed her dark eyes at him, pushing back her royal white cape. "Are you sure the Evil Queen does not know of your activities? Why does Lancelot still worry about you?"

The Huntsman growled under his breath, "I am fine, I have been for the past two summers and winters."

Snow White looked between Mulan and the Huntsman, then nodded towards the hairy man. He bowed to her and Charming slightly and quietly made his leave. Snow saw her husband trying to catch her eye, but she ignored him and addressed the two only female contingent of her army. "You two go and get some rest. It is going to be a long day tomorrow."

Mulan and Red bowed to Snow before leaving the two crowns in the throne room with nothing but the moonlight shining down on them. As soon as the doors shut, Charming turned to his Queen. "Snow...I don't think we're ready to take on the Evil Queen!"

"What? David-"

"Her army is too big and too strong, and we don't even know if the Huntsman can be trusted anymore!"

"He saved my life from her! He can be trusted."

David shook his head, seeing the flare in his True Loves eyes every time he accused the Huntsman of something used to bother him, but he trusted Snow and brushed it off. "Snow, there just has to be another way to save the Kingdom."

"There is no other way Charming!" Snow yelled at him, her voice echoing off the stone walls. "Our last hope is gone and she is never-" Snow shook her head slightly choking up mid-rant. Whether it was from anger or sadness David couldn't tell. He could never tell Snow White's emotions when Emma was mentioned. "Henry is too young to be of any help, you know that as much as I do. You know this is the only choice we have." The White Kingdoms Queen whispered, moving past her husband to leave the room.

"Even if it means destroying the last of our kingdom?" Charming asked, catching her wrist to stop her exit and turning her around to face him. "You'd risk everything?"

Snow lowered her gaze to the stone floor, breathing in deeply. "Regina doesn't know what it feels like to lose everything—not yet."

Snow caught his gaze briefly before pulling her wrist from his grasp. Charming stood there shocked, watching her leave him alone in the big cold empty room. He didn't know what Snow planned on doing was for the good of their Kingdom or a ploy for revenge and that worried him to his core.

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Regina sat at her vanity early the next morning watching Emma sleep. The blonde was a very beautiful woman, and a mystery of sorts. She wanted to know what the former Princess has been doing the past 5 years besides trying to rob her blind. How she managed to survive Dead Man's Land and why she was so...dark. It didn't add up to the Evil Queen— Emma is a product of True Love, she wasn't supposed to have an ounce of darkness in her, and Regina wanted to know what happened between then and now.

"Beautiful, isn't she dearie?"

Regina sighed quietly, of course Rumpelstiltskin would drop in unannounced and uninvited when Regina was spying on someone—someone sleeping. Regina waved her hand nonchalantly towards her mirror as she turned around to face The Dark One. He was sitting on the edge of one her guest chairs—a chair she was going to burn as soon as he left. "Rumple, to what do I owe the unfortunate pleasure of this visit so early in the morning?" Regina's sweet smile was forced and fake.

Rumpelstiltskin giggled slightly, "No need for hostility dearie—I come with good news!"

Regina raised her eyebrows, she knew in Rumpelstiltskin's tilted mind... Good news was only good for him and no one else, but she also knew in order for him to get what he wants—he needs people to unwittingly assist in his schemes; hence...why he was currently invading her personal space in her bed chambers. "Whatever it is you think I'd be interested in— I'm not."

Rumpelstiltskin tittered again holding up one long finger, a sly smile stretching across his scaled face. "Ah...but you will be my dear—that is...if you want to keep your precious kingdom."

Regina despised him. The hate for Rumpelstiltskin rivaled with her loathing of Snow White. One couldn't keep a secret and the other lived for secrets, she just couldn't win...not until they were both dead and no longer making her life miserable. Regina sighed, going to sit at her desk acting as if she wasn't even remotely interested in what he had to say—they both knew it was a lie.

"What are you blabbing about now imp? My kingdom is in no danger."

"The prophecies say otherwise dearie—and they never lie!"

"No." Regina agreed, eyeing him warily. "But you do...What do you want Rumpelstiltskin?...If you aren't going to tell me, go on your way. I have a kingdom to run."

"Not for long" The Dark One added cryptically, "Somewhere in the future...there is a knight, a White Knight…that shall bring your death."

Regina frowned, glaring at him wishing he would just tell her, but she knew that's not how he worked. "If you're referring to Snow White and Charming's precious Princess, imp. That won't be happening any time soon."

The Dark One smiled at the Evil Queen wryly, slowly standing and creeping closer to her desk. "Perhaps not...but she doesn't possess True Love's magic anymore. She is but a girl that can play with a sword."

"Who is it then?"

"That is a surprise my dear."

Regina brought her hands together on top of her desk, fingers laced tightly to prevent herself from throwing a fireball at Rumpelstiltskin's head. She would rather not destroy her bedroom so early in the morning. "Why are you telling me this? One would think you'd be happy to see me dead."

"While that may be true—you still have your uses." he pointed to the mirror that Regina was previously using to spy on Emma, "And so does she."

Regina was even more confused, did he not just say that Emma was useless? She was getting a headache just by trying to keep up with what he was not telling her. "Of course—she's the thief that's been taking all of my gold. She's simply paying me back."

Rumpelstiltskin simply chuckled, rolling his big, wild eyes slightly. "But you and I both know she's more than a thief...and more than the White Kingdoms Princess, and I know she's more than your errand girl."

The Evil Queen had, had enough of his backwards attempt at a conversation. Slamming her hands down on her wooden desk and nearly pushing her chair over as she stood, Regina leaned over until they were practically nose to nose. "What. Do. You. Want."

Rumpelstiltskin's grin grew impossibly wider, and he looked like he was on the verge of breaking into a happy dance. "Your happy ending..." he whispered conspiratorially, still pointing at Regina's vanity mirror. "…is there dearie." And in an instant...he was gone in a cloud of gold smoke. He left Regina in a very irritated and muddled attitude.

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Outside of the Evil Queen's bed chambers, the Huntsman stood eavesdropping on the entire conversation that went on between Rumpelstiltskin and Regina. He had used his high rank to let the night guards off duty two hours prior, in hopes that the Evil Queen would visit the dungeons today to see the thief, but Graham got much more than that.

Not only was the White Kingdom's lost Princess still alive, but she's been with Regina all this time! The Huntsman knew he would have to tell Snow White and Charming soon, but it would be another few hours until he could get away long enough to the pigeon pen and send a notice to the White Kingdom, for he dared not the risk of travel by horseback.

The man closed the door as gently and quietly as he possibly could, standing by the pillar outside of Regina's door once more, waiting impatiently. However, he failed to notice a certain genie, trapped in a mirror, monitoring his actions a little ways down the hall and the gleam from his shining sword. And had the Huntsman stayed to spy on Regina a bit longer, he would've known that the Mirror, Mirror on the wall was telling it all.

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The Evil Queen waited patiently in her bedchambers until the Huntsman was relieved of his post that she wasn't supposed to know he has taken. She wasn't as oblivious to his frequent night trips to the White Kingdom, every other week, as he thought she was. Regina was quite aware of the few spies that resided in her kingdom, most were high in rank—so that she could keep a very close eye on them, to manage them easier. She was mindful of how much he knew, and that he sent an air message to the White Kingdom as soon as he was relieved from duties.

Now safely behind the thick doors of her study, Regina sat behind her desk carefully thinking.

"Ahem, your Majesty?"

Regina side and looked at her mirror, eyebrow raised slightly annoyed that he broke her train of thought. "What?"

"If you do not mind me asking—why not just crush the Huntsman's heart and be done with him?"

Regina's gaze cut to the chest sitting on her desk that contained the Huntsman's steady beating heart, but she knew that would be too easy. Simple and quiet yes, but Regina wanted his blood. "Then I would be giving him mercy—spies don't deserve mercy Genie. Guard!"

One of the knights came running in, looking alert for any sign of danger. "Yes your Highness?"

"Fetch me Lady Swan—now."

"L-lady Swan my Queen?"

Regina almost rolled her eyes, "The thief!"

The knight bowed slightly and ran out, closing the door behind him. The genie in the mirror looked back at Regina confused, "Why are you summoning her? She's nothing but a thief! You cannot be sure she isn't a spy either!"

The Evil Queen simply smirked, still staring at the door. "We'll see."

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Emma was startled as the doors flew open and a knight came into her bedchambers, thankfully Emma still wore decent attire from the night before. She turned away from the mirror and stared the knight down. "Can you not knock?"

He glared at the blonde, but held his tongue of any snide remark. "The Queen requests your company. Now!"

Emma was mildly surprised that the dark woman didn't get Emma herself, but she didn't comment on it, instead she followed the slightly taller knight out in the hallway and to wherever it the Dark Queen was. They went down two flights of stairs and past several more closed doors and through a few barely lit hallways. Eventually the guard stopped just outside a door that had two guards standing outside. He bowed slightly to Emma and took his post across the hallway, directly in front of the door.

Emma walked up to the large door and knocked three times, entering when a muffled voice called for her to enter. The blonde felt as if she had stepped into another world, compared to the dark hallways and staircases she just went through...this room was well lit and very open, it was tastefully decorated. There was a large mirror that took up a portion wall on one side of the room, a large desk that sat right next to the open balcony doors, and a black chaise lounge in front of the fire place—a chair the Evil Queen herself was perched on, looking as regal as ever in a red velvet dress that hugged her delightful curves even as she was sitting down. To complete the elegant look of her ensemble, she had some of her dark hair gracefully pulled to the top of her head, while the rest fell straight over her shoulder.

Emma swallowed thickly, and closed the door quickly. Her eyes were darting everywhere to look for a place to sit, but the only chair available was the one behind the Queens work desk...and the space at the end of her lounge chair at her feet. Emma opted for neither and tried to keep her eyes from wandering over the older woman's body as she stood a few feet from the Dark Queen—Instead she stared at the woman's forehead, thinking about old and sick people.

"What can I do for you today?" Emma's lack of formal greeting didn't go unnoticed by Regina, but she decided to over look it—she had far more pressing matters than the blondes lack of etiquette.

"I need you to kill someone for me."

Emma blinked, rocking back on her heels slightly. They went from kidnapping to wanting to kill someone within a day, not that she cared, but a warning would've been nice. Regina noticed the blonde's slight hesitance and stood from her chaise not missing the way Emma's eyes dropped from her forehead and literally undressing her with those captivating green eyes. "Can you not do it, dear?"

Emma looked off to the side, "Of course I can...Whose life am I ruining today?"

Regina walked up to Emma, stopping when both women were just shoulder to shoulder and so that Emma was looking directly at her. "The White Kingdom's spy." That caught Emma's interest and Regina's smirk was present again. "Yes...My so called Huntsman has been 'spying' on me for years. Now I grow bored of the cat and mouse game. Kill him and bring me his head."

Emma made a face when she learned she would have to touch a severed head, she would just stick it on her sword and carry it back like that. "And what's in it for me?"

"Besides keeping your own head?" Regina threw back sarcastically, but she was dead serious. "A place at my court. You'll become my official Assassin." Regina moved away from the young blonde, strolling over to her mirror and turning around seductively, slow enough so that Emma had time to drag her eyes away from her bottom.

Emma could feel herself getting excited, and her leather pants were getting uncomfortably tight. She cleared her throat and brought her hands together in front of her crotch area—an action Regina did not miss, and found most interesting. "Why would I want to be your pet?"

The Evil Queen strolled closer to Emma, looking much like the cunning Queen that so many fell prey too...and never lived to tell the tale. "My pets don't have to resort to stealing dear. You do what I want you to do...and you will never...want…for anything." Regina whispered, stopping just as she invaded Emma's personal space. She could feel the pale woman's body heat through her dress.

"Why can't you just get someone else to do it? I'm just a thief...Who knows where my loyalties fall."

Regina's smirk fell leisurely, "I know you're much more than a thief Swan...much more...I've seen the bodies that you left behind when you took my currency. You're kills were forbidding. I need someone like you...I can trust that you won't let this," The Evil Queen brought her hand up and placed it over Emma's heart, digging her nails into the shirt...hard enough that Emma could feel them in her skin as well, "stop you from carving out a heart...or bringing me a head. Will it?"

If Emma still had any light left in her, she probably would've dry heaved, but she didn't have an ounce of light in her, and she would never regret that decision. She wasn't weak, and she could handle this. "No, it won't."

Regina grinned then, taking her hand away and moving back to her chaise, settling in the plush black chair once again, one hand resting on her hip. "So tell me Lady Swan...What will it take? Hm?" Emma's eyes once again fell to Regina's lovely body that was wrapped in that red velvet dress and she briefly wondered if the Dark Queen was naked underneath it. It was a thought Emma didn't really need, to encourage the hard-on she was so desperately trying to cover up, her cheeks were blazing now…and Regina saw this. "What do you want?"

"What do I want?"

"Yes, there has to be something you want?"

Emma cleared her throat, if possible...her face was burning even more and it was starting to spread down her neck and across her collar bone, "Um, I would like to learn...how to mate with another...um..."

"A woman? Or a man...dear?" Regina was highly amused, but she tried to keep it from surfacing. The young blonde was about to explode from embarrassment, and she didn't need that. She hadn't figured she would go for it outright, so boldly and so soon, but Regina wasn't going to complain...She liked when her subjects were honest.

Emma stared down at her boots, hands balled into tight fists in front of her crotch. "A woman."

Regina chuckled, eying Emma up and down, slowly taking in the woman's athletic build and long, golden hair that flowed down her back. She truly was beautiful, and Regina would deny it to the grave that she congratulated the two morons in the neighboring kingdom for making such a beautiful creature. She wanted to press the issue and tease the young Princess, but she didn't, not right now. Right now...there was a problem to be handled, and with the gracefulness only a Queen like Regina could possess, she was all business once again and managed to keep the smirk on her face.

"Simple enough. Done."

"Wait..." Emma held up her hands, unwittingly exposing what she was hiding in the first place. "You have to make sure she is discreet…and attractive...I don't want some hag..."

Regina's eyebrow's quirked, "Trust me dear...I will make sure she is everything...and then some." Regina would make sure of that.

Emma, seemingly forgetting about how revealing her leather pants were, sighed with relief. "So...where can I find this Huntsman?"

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Emma was back in her old armor that had been cleaned and smelled a lot better than it had before-hand, something for which she was grateful but she even happier to have somewhere to place all of her weapons and her sword. She was starting to feel unprotected without it all on her person.

It's been two days since she has last seen the Evil Queen, two days since she has last slept in that feather soft bed—and in those two days time...Emma has learned much about the Huntsman that she deemed necessary, he was a creature of habit and paranoid. Within an hour on the first day Emma found herself donning a peasants robe, just so she could blend every 5 minutes that he has looked over his shoulder.

The third day; however, the Huntsman finally took his leave from the Dark Kingdom before the crack of dawn. He was going on foot to where it was he was going—Emma simply assumed her was going to the White Kingdom for his weekly reports. Emma followed him out of the Dark Kingdom making sure to keep far enough behind him that he was unable to see her...but the tactic worked both ways. Emma simply tracked him by his footsteps, he may be a Huntsman—but she was Darkness, and the forest was her element. When safe under the cover of the forest, Emma ditched the peasant robe and walked into the shadows, using the darkness to see without being seen.

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Emma dusted her tired, bruised, and battered body off. Rulf had knocked her down for the umpteenth time that day and it was raining so hard she could hardly hear what the burly man was telling her, least of all see him. It'd been a half a year since Emma has allowed the darkness into her mind, body and soul...since she's allowed her anger and distastes for her parents and their precious kingdom to override her system.

The two feelings she felt the most—were the very ones that kept her up late at night, the same two feelings that caused her to have purple bags under her eyes the next day and the next. Aside from the pain of her beatings delivered by a man twice the size of her father, and being hungry...Emma's lack of control for her emotions were going to kill her faster than Rulf ever could.

"I can't do it!" Emma screamed at the blurry shape before her, spitting out the rain as it poured into her mouth when she yelled. "I can't see!"

"Then you will be killin' yer self girl! You hunt! You kill! You eat!"

"I can't see dammit!"

"Ya don't need ta see...the Earth is ya eyes and ears now...use it!"

"I can't do—ah!"

Emma never saw the blow coming, but she felt it. Rulf knocked the young blonde back onto her bottom and into a rather deep puddle behind her. Emma covered her bloody nose with both hands as she watched Rulf approach her slowly.

"Yer a worthless piece of shit! I don't know why Dead Man's Land wanted ya girl! But yer not worth a damn!" Rulf growled down at her, his black eyes filled with anger. "Ya can't even kill a grass nibbler! Yer ain't worthy of the gift given to ya." Rulf sneered down at Emma, "Believe in what ya become girl. It's yer destiny now."

"Now get yer ass up."

Emma swallowed her anger and with low grunt she got back on her tired feet and stepping onto firmer ground. She wanted nothing more than to curl up with her itchy blanket that she had stitched together from several different dead animals, and plot of ways to burn down the White Kingdom.

"Fight me girl..."

"I can't...see you!"

"But I see you, girl!"

Before Emma could even think to pick up her numb arms to defend herself, the blacksmith was on her. Emma blocked the best she could, but the hits were coming too fast and too hard for her to catch on time. Then, just for a split second, Emma saw Rulf's face clear as day—as if it weren't raining fog. She brought the hilt of her dagger to his chin, followed by two quick elbows. Rulf back tracked and her vision was blurry again. Neither figured moved, only the rain and their heavy breathing could be heard.

"I-I saw you...I saw you!"

Rulf grunted, "Again!"

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The Huntsman finally stopped near a small pond, and he set his gear down and washed his face. Emma knew—just by all of the white flowers surrounding the small pond, and how relaxed the Huntsman became—that they were now in the White Kingdom's territory. The Huntsman no longer looked over his shoulder to see if anyone was following him, but of course he wouldn't. Emma was using the shadows to follow him...Sometimes she would be only a few feet away from him, sometimes she would walk the shadow next to him until it ended and she had to teleport to another.

Emma was aware of her many opportunities to kill the wild man, but she was also aware that she could find out what he has already told the White King and Queen and tell Regina—if she didn't already know. So Emma leaned back against a tree with her arms crossed making sure to keep inside the limits of the small contour. Suddenly she heard leaves rustling to her right, just before a woman in a red cloak came through followed by another woman wearing...she was wearing an armor. An armor with the White Kingdom insignia on her shoulders, and the grand white cape that was clasped around her shoulders.

Emma felt her anger flare, but she managed to stay against the tree.

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Mulan placed her arm on her companions arm after noticing that Red was looking around their small area with a suspicious eye, "What is it?"

Red shook her head, taking another deep breath—her eyes honing in on the tree with the small shadow. "Does anything seem wrong with that tree?"

Mulan smiled softly, "I'm the White Knight Red, not a wolf. I don't know...It looks pretty harmless to me." Mulan let Red's arm go as she stepped closer to her, out of earshot from the Huntsman, "Are you okay?"

Red was able to tear her eyes from the tree, nodding. "Yes, I'm fine."

Mulan eyed Red for a moment before turning away and making her way back to the Huntsman who was waiting for them patiently by the pond with Red a few steps behind her, still feeling a bit uneasy.

Mulan greeted The Huntsman with a slight incline of her head, "Why do you look so anxious Huntsman? You look as bad as your note."

"Should Snow be more worried than she is now?" Red inquired absentmindedly, her senses still on high alert. "Were you followed?"

The Huntsman looked at Red less than impressed, "You know I am better than that...Of course I was not followed, the Evil Queen's men are brutes—subtly is not their style!"

Mulan smirked, "Alright so what was so important that you couldn't wait until the end of the week? Did you find the thief?"

The Huntsman shook his head, "No...but..." he took a deep breath, straightening his back, "But I found the White Kingdom's Princess." Emma pushed herself off the tree in alarm, nearly exposing herself.

"What?" Red hissed, eyes flashing dangerously as she stepped closer to him. "Is she...is she dead?"

He shook his head, eyes darting between the wolf and White Knight. "She is not dead, and the Evil Queen has been keeping her as her errand girl..." and then the Huntsman went on to tell Mulan and Red, and unknowingly Emma as well, everything he had overheard that fateful morning Rumpelstiltskin visited the Dark Queen in her personal chambers.

"We have to get back and tell Snow! She has to know her daughter is alive and imprisoned. The Evil Queen truly has no heart!"

"I have to go back, I cannot stay long. I told Lancelot I was going for a run with the wolves. I will send another air note on my next visit."

Mulan and Red nodded, "We'll make sure that Snow knows what Regina has done. The princess is alive, and she needs help."

"Long live the Evil Queen." Mulan comment sarcastically.

"Long live she shall." Chuckling was heard behind them.

The three White Kingdom loyals turned around and saw the hooded figure in all black. They saw no Dark Kingdom crests on the mysterious person's person, but they were still cautious. "I thought you weren't followed!" Mulan accused the Huntsman without taking her hand off the handle of her sword or taking her eyes off the approaching person.

The Huntsman sputtered, "I wasn't!" upon closer inspection he recognized this person, "You're the thief that's been stealing from the Dark Queen...How are you here?"

Emma mentally went over her chances of killing all three of them to keep her status from Snow White—she had a decent chance of being successful despite one of them being a wolf, which put her at a slight disadvantage. Emma finally shrugged, "The Evil Queen wants me to collect something for her—I ran away instead." The second part was a complete lie, but they didn't have to know that. "I came here in hopes of refugee...found you three."

Mulan glanced at the werewolf standing next to her, "What do you think?"

Red narrowed her hard gaze at Emma, trying to see the woman's face but the hood was pulled too low, only her mouth was visible. "The Huntsman said you were in the evil bitch's dungeon for a week...you have her smell all over you, but you don't smell like a prisoner..." she growled, pushing down her cloaks hood as Mulan slowly drew her sword and the Huntsman got his bow and arrow ready. "Explain, or die right here thief."

Emma cursed the maidens for washing her clothes yet again, she had honestly forgotten about it and therefore she hadn't anticipated Snow's best friend sniffing out her fabrication. Emma resisted the urge to reach back and draw her own blade. It was a delicate situation for her—it was becoming clear that her five year vacation of being supposedly dead, was coming to an end. She almost continued with her little white lie, yet what was the point? She was going to kill them anyway.

With a quickness that even Red Riding Hood couldn't even follow, Emma pulled two throwing knives and threw them at her with everything she had. The werewolf barely had a split second to duck one blade but she wasn't fast enough for the second which was now buried hilt-deep into her shoulder, the force of the throw knocking her off balance, and luckily for her it wasn't made of silver. Emma finally unsheathed her sword from her back, simultaneously splitting one of the Huntsman's arrows down the middle, before it could tear through her chest and blocking Mulan's charged assault. Being so close now, Mulan was able to see Emma's face partially, but Emma's hood was still casting a shadow over her eyes, keeping her identity a mystery…not that she cared anymore.

As the Huntsman was loading another arrow and trying to get a good shot without hurting the White Knight, Red had recovered and shifted into her wolf. In an instant, a blur of black hit both Emma and Mulan, knocking both women onto the hard ground. Red was on Emma swiftly, trying to disarm her by biting her arm off. Emma pushed Ruby off with both her feet, sending the wolf rolling into a nearby tree head first. The Huntsman was about to take his shot just as Emma stood, but he stopped—his blood running cold.

Mulan blinked away surprise after a few moments, and lowered her sword quickly. "P-princess?!" A soft whine could be heard from the side lines, but Emma ignored that—she was cursing herself for being so careless, Rulf wouldn't be so happy with her. "Princess you're really alive! You're here!"

"But how?" The Huntsman sputtered, "I-I thought the Evil Queen—" he stopped, still shaking his head unable to wrap his head around the sight in front of him. "but you're the thief?...I don't understand?"

Red barked in agreement but she had yet to change back, she was more than happy to see that her best friend's daughter was alive, and that there was hope for the White Kingdom—but her instincts were telling her that this was not the same little golden-haired girl she remembered, this was most definitely no longer even the same person. Emma's appearance was hard and she looked like a grown woman who has been through a war with life and death.

Emma wiped her bloody nose with the back of her hand, "This is not how I had intended for this go."

Mulan frowned, confused. "How was this supposed to go Princess? You're safe now...You do not have to do the Evil Queens bidding any longer. My name is Mulan...I'm—Well I'm the White Kingdoms White Knight...the King and Queen's Champion."

Emma's eyes widened, then narrowed at Mulan. "But you're a woman...My—Snow" Emma corrected herself quickly, "doesn't believe that women should be in the field. You're lying." even as the words left her mouth, Emma knew that Mulan wasn't lying. She just couldn't believe how much of hypocrite her mother was, even now! That could have easily been Emma in that armor, defending her kingdom if her mother had just let her from under her thumb, but no. Snow White couldn't give her daughter the satisfaction, instead she gave the title and responsibility to a complete stranger.

Mulan's frown deepened, "As are you...It is not unheard of for women to be in combat, Princess."

"Stop calling me that" Emma growled, hand tightening around her handle. Red noticed and slowly got back on all fours, crouching low to the ground, golden eyes trained on Emma mentally begging her not to move. "I am not the Princess anymore, nor do I wish to be ever again."

"The Evil Queen took her heart", The Huntsman butted in coming to Mulan's side. "The Princess would never say that. She's being controlled, and she doesn't know what she's saying or doing."

Emma took advantage of the White Knights brief distraction when she looked at the Huntsman uncertainly, Mulan barely had time to raise her own blade to defend herself from Emma's blitz attack. As she continued to step away from the blonde, countering all her attacks, Mulan managed to look at Red who was sitting by the tree still; conflicted. "Go! Go tell the Queen!"

Red nodded her big head, and turned disappearing swiftly into the forest. Emma growled in frustration, she forced more of her weight into her last blow to Mulan which was blocked putting them in a power stand-off. Out of the corner of her eye, Emma saw the Huntsman by the edge of the small area taking aim, but at her legs and not her head. "Time to end this game," Emma thought. She kicked the top of Mulan's bent knee as she simultaneously wrapped her blade around Mulan's, forcefully sending it straight towards the Huntsman.

The White Knights blade sliced through the Huntsman's chest like a hot knife cutting through butter, and time seemed to slow down when he dropped his bow and arrow as he crumpled down to the ground, taking his last breath. Mulan's cries were cut off as Emma hit the back of her head with the hilt of her sword, effectively knocking the dark-haired warrior unconscious, then sheathed it once more. She had half a mind to go after the wolf, but it was too big of a risk, for all she knew the wolf could be coming back with help. Emma quickly went over to the Huntsman and withdrew the shining blade from his chest without care. She made quick work of detaching his head with one clean cut, and grimacing as she stuck it on the end of the White Knights sword. With one last look at the headless body and unconscious White Knight, Emma took her leave.

SQ :: SWAN QUEEN :: SQ

Beside the fact she was carrying a bloody sword with a head on the end, Emma was in a good mood—she wasn't being escorted to the Dark Queen's throne room, she was able to walk alone without babysitters. The guards opened the double doors for her, grimacing at the head, recognizing the Huntsman immediately. They were curious as to what he did to warrant the Queen wanting his head—and using their former prisoner to get it—and not do it themselves.

Emma was surprised to see the throne room was full of villagers, but they were parted like the red sea as if expecting Emma's arrival. Some couldn't even stomach looking at what she was carrying in her left hand, and others simply just couldn't look away either out of fascination or horror—Emma didn't care, she had a one track mind for the woman sitting in the crystal black throne, wearing an equally black dress with a large collar that covered nearly the entire back of her head and dipped very low in the decolletage. When Emma reached the bottom of the stairs, Regina stood from her throne leisurely. "I trust that everything went accordingly?"

Emma nodded curtly, she wasn't sure if she wanted to be cross with the Evil Queen or not. "I got more than just his head."

Regina sighed quietly, figuring that the Huntsman would try to turn Emma against her. She was relieved Emma decided to come back—Rumpelstiltskin's words kept haunting her since Emma left to kill the Huntsman. Of course being in front of all her subjects, Regina was anything but relieved or happy, too happy...to see Emma. She was the twisted Evil Queen, she held out her hand for the sword. Without breaking eye contact Emma handed it over, thankful to let the sticky handle of the sword go. Regina wrapped her hand around it tightly, not caring about the cold blood oozing between her fingers.

"I am certain you all know whom this was...and for those of you that don't, this is the Huntsman's head. The Huntsman thought he could spy on me and give the White Kingdom and their undesirable royals an advantage of this realm. I have been rather indulgent until the past couple of days." Regina studied the object in her hand for a moment before holding it high for all of the court to see. "I am no longer taking and crushing your hearts, for it is simply becoming too merciful. You commit treason against your home and crown, your ending will not be a pleasant one. I promise you this."

A small cloud of purple smoke engulfed the sword and head in Regina's hand and it was gone, leaving behind only the pristine hand of the monarch, as if it never had the desecrated blood on it in the first place. She went back to standing in front Emma who had yet to take her eyes from her. "Court will recommence tomorrow. Everyone out...Now."

Once the room was clear everyone and the double doors were firmly closed, Emma pushed her hood back. "You knew."

Regina went back to her throne and sat down, crossing her legs at the knee with her elbows resting on the arm rests, fingers laced under her chin. "Of course I knew."

"How long? Why didn't you tell me you knew my true identity?"

"I knew when I first saw your face...You've changed, yes. Nevertheless, I'd be a fool not to recognize the White Kingdom's lost princess...and I can guarantee that I will not be the only one. Snow White will eventually find out your heart still beats."

Emma cleared her throat, looking off to the side. "She does...ah...I was playing with my kill today...ran into the White Knight", Emma spat the title out as if it were poison, "and the wolf...they saw my face and the wolf got away. I didn't kill the White Knight...didn't have the time, but I believe Snow knows more than she should now..." She dug her toe into the tile, scuffing it. "It was a mistake, I won't let happen again."

The Evil Queen smirked, almost letting a chuckle slip through. A bashful Emma was a cute sight, not that Regina would admit that out loud. "Playing with your kills or leaving survivors?"

Emma looked up at Regina, glaring. "Both."

Regina sighed, pursuing her red lips. "See that it doesn't Lady Swan. However..." The Dark Queen stood gracefully, "I do have a few meetings to attend before dinner. You will be accompanying me for dinner correct?" Emma nodded, and Regina did as well. "Good, we will talk about our little...arrangement further over dinner. Until then..." Purple smoked twisted around the Dark Queen starting from her feet and then she was gone, leaving Emma alone in the throne room.

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As usual a guard knocked on Emma's door before entering to tell her that dinner would be served soon. Earlier she had bathed and dressed in a pair of black riding trousers, boots and a tucked black blouse, for she wasn't in the mood for colors. She wasn't escorted down to the dining hall this time, and thankfully Emma knew how to get there on her own—barely. Not surprisingly, the Dark Queen was already there, sitting at the head of the table waiting for her. She had changed dresses yet again, but her dress was still black, but this one was suede and it resembled the red velvet dress Regina wore the other day and the bodice pinched Regina's waist more than the other did. Her hair was yet again pulled up to the back of her head, while the rest cascaded down her back.

Emma wanted to do nothing more than run her fingers through the brunettes hair just to feel how soft it was, but she didn't. She sat down before she did something to embarrass herself and or get thrown back in the dungeon for a week. As soon as Emma sat down the servants brought the food out to their end of the table and poured their drinks. Once they were gone Emma was feeling awkward again, so she just filled her plate and mouth with anything that looked like it would taste good just to avoid talking.

"Your parents have spread the word that you're alive and my prisoner. They'll be demanding you back soon..." Regina commented as if she were talking about the weather, as she delicately cut a slice of ham and ate it, looking at Emma to gauge her reaction.

Emma swallowed her food, albeit painfully. "They're not my parents anymore. And I swore my loyalty to you. They don't have the right...not anymore."

"Your fealty must be witnessed and official dear...Neither goal has been accomplished. The sooner we get done, the easier it will be to ward your parents off. They're idiots with crowns, but even they know the law."

"Tomorrow? During court?" Emma just wanted to get it over with because she was never the one for being center of attention, and she knew the longer she waited to come back from the dead officially...the bigger the crowd. A small part of her wished she had just begged Rulf to stay on Dead Man's Land, or went somewhere else that wasn't so damned close to her old home...but the bigger part was calm and remembered what Rulf always irritatingly told her when he was beating her down. "Yer destiny follows you...you don't follow it girl." Every decision and mistake Emma made was a price she had to pay, good and bad.

"If that is what you want."

"Snow is wrong about you...You're not a bad Queen, you're not crazy or ugly or a murderer. You're beautiful, you put your kingdom first and you have a creative way for punishment for those that deserve it, but you're no murderer."

Regina frowned, setting her goblet down. "Don't speak on something before your time dear...I've been alive for a very long time, and I've done many, many cruel things to the innocent." Regina couldn't comprehend why she was telling the blonde about her past, it wasn't any of her business, yet it came spilling out as if they have known each other longer than a few days. Regina quickly changed topics, "Now about this agreement...you brought me the Huntsman's head. For which I am deeply grateful."

Emma looked at Regina, confused. "I failed, Snow knows-"

The Evil Queen brushed off Emma's concerns with a careless wave of the hand, "That is irrelevant now...I just wanted the Huntsman dead. I was tiring of his company anyhow. His death was your induction, and you are magnificent my dear little Swan."

"So...Who did you get?"

"Excuse me?" Emma's sudden change in conversation addled the Dark Queen for a beat. "Ah, I see where your head is now." Regina grinned at her own pun while Emma blushed, filling her mouth with bread and greens. "Your request was unusual, as most would request protection or..." Regina cut her eyes slightly, shaking her head. "Something of no real value but you dear...Your request is something special. You're a virgin are you not?"

Emma's face flushed more and she forced herself not to duck behind her long blonde hair. "Yes."

"Something so precious will not be cherished by some wench. You need someone who will teach you the art of making love with a woman and not just fucking her in the hay behind the stables."

Emma's eyes widened hearing Regina swear, it wasn't something a Queen should do, but when Regina did it, Emma's brain shut down and all the blood rushed to her little head which was now straining to see the woman who woke her up. "Uh...s-so…what? I don't understand…"

The Evil Queen almost laughed, Emma looked ready to pounce on her over the table, and she hasn't even made her move—yet. Regina looked into her happy endings bright green eyes...She wasn't sure how Emma was going to affect her future but she was going to have all the fun she could with the younger woman while she could. "I wouldn't feel comfortable leaving you in the hands of a wench...So I'm going to uphold my end of the bargain myself."

Emma nearly choked on the piece of meat she was in process of swallowing, she patted her chest a few times and washed it down with the rest of her wine. "W-what?" she sputtered, trying to get her bearings and trying to make sense of what Regina just said. "You..wan-uh..want to..with me? With me? What?"

Regina stood from her chair setting her napkin next to her plate, deeming dinner was over. "Lady Swan, if you're quite finished butchering words...Please follow me."

"Wait..." Emma remained seated and not feeling the courage to rise just yet, "Why?"

Regina frowned down at Emma, narrowing her piercing brown eyes. "Are you questioning your future Queen?"

Emma swallowed and licked her suddenly dry lips, shaking her head. "N...no your Majesty." forgetting that she was sporting something more than a pair of wet panties.

Still masking a disapproving frown, Regina's eyes zeroed in at Emma's crotch and her lips twitched. She was really congratulating the two idiots for making such a fine creature indeed, "You'll learn soon enough. Come along."

When Regina turned her back, Emma quickly picked up a roll from her dinner plate and followed after the Dark Queen, wondering what she was in for tonight.

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Emma obediently followed the Dark Queen to her bed chambers, her mind was jumbled between questioning what was going on and just going with it...As soon as she entered the Queen's bedchambers and saw that it was completely dark except for the large fireplace across from the bed, Emma went for the latter. Regina closed the door as soon as Emma had fully entered, she saw that the woman was utterly tongue-tied, and enthralled. Regina brushed past the stiff blonde, and went to sit on the edge of her bed with her legs crossed and arms propping her up. Emma was just standing there with half a mind to just call the entire thing off and just save herself the embarrassment.

"What's wrong dear? Never been this intimate with a woman before?"

Emma almost rolled her eyes, knowing she was being teased. "No, I um..." Emma looked at the fireplace and away from the beautiful woman across the room. Her father's words clouding the opportunity in front of her. "I'm not exactly normal...and this is a mistake. You can keep the head...but I don't need..." Emma gestured between herself and Regina, "This…Can I bargain for something else?"

Regina regarded the tense woman standing by the door, finding herself conflicted with her emotions yet again. Regina was reigning in the Evil Queen for this woman, something she hasn't done in years...she hasn't felt the urge to be so solicitous towards another being since—since Daniel. Regina stood and went to Emma slowly, as if she were approaching a wild animal that's been caged for so long...And that may have just been the case when Emma was involved. Regina took the blonde's trembling hand and lead her to the bed, Regina was pleased when Emma didn't put up a hassle. Regina pushed Emma down in her previous spot then put her hands on her hips.

"Dear, no one is solely ordinary...not in this land. What are you so afraid of Lady Swan?"

"Emma."

"Pardon?"

"Emma, just call me Emma. Behind closed doors at least…Please?"

Regina nodded, thrumming her fingers on her waist impatiently. "Alright then Emma, what are you so afraid of? We are both mature women are we not?"

Emma shrugged, deflating slightly. "I'm a little different than most women your majesty...part of the reason why I left the White Kingdom."

Regina recognized the sorrow in Emma's eyes, from one estranged daughter to another Regina knew how to comfort Emma with words, but that would be for another time...Emma was desperate for physical contact, for someone to physically care for her and Regina was more than willing to give it.

"Undress me."

Emma looked up at Regina trying to ease the butterflies in her stomach. With unsteady hands, Emma reached for Regina's small waist as she stood, merely a few inches between their bodies. Emma pulled the string that held Regina's cincher. It slipped off the brunette's waist and around her feet revealing another set of laces in the front begging to be undone. The dress was gone before it could hit the ground, but Emma's attention was on the naked woman standing in front of her, "Wow..." Emma's cock jerked in her pants and if it weren't from the painful restraint from the riding pants she wore, Emma was sure she would've come on the spot.

Regina smirked, taking a moment to allow Emma to drink in her rawness. She heard the blonde swallow painfully hard before meeting her gaze. "Strip."

Regina pushed Emma aside and sat down on the edge of the bed yet again now at eye level with Emma's crotch. Emma hesitated a few beats, but that was a beat too long for the Evil Queen. Regina had the draw string on Emma's pants undone and her hand inside the younger woman's pants in seconds. Emma gasped and her hips jerked towards Regina when she felt the older woman's cool hand wrap around her heated and hardened member. No one has ever touched Emma down there so intimately…Not even herself.

Regina licked her red lips and pulled the heavy cock free from its confines, and she was more than satisfied with what she saw and held in her hand. She looked up at the blonde who was looking down at her with wild eyes, yet she looked so lost. "You have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of Emma, absolutely nothing."

Regina tugged at Emma's cock a few times, eliciting a loud groan from the woman above her before she reluctantly let it go and crawled further onto her. She heard rustling of clothing behind removed behind her, when she settled back on her pillows Emma was void of any clothing and her shyness seemed to have disappeared with them. Regina noticed the shadows being cast from the fireplace were all literally drawn towards Emma, making the room seem darker than it should have been, and Regina stored that observation for a more appropriate time. Emma crawled upon the bed, emerald eyes taking in Regina's body yet again.

"Stop." Emma did immediately, looking at Regina confused and wondering if she did something wrong already. "I want you to use your mouth first."

"My mouth? Why? Is that sanitary?"

Had Regina not known what she knows, the Evil Queen in her would've taken over and pushed Emma off the bed and out of the room, offended at such an accusation—no matter how inadvertent. "Are you insinuating I'm dirty, Lady Swan?"

Emma eyes widened, and she shook her head vehemently. "No! No, I just—I just...is this what women really like?"

Regina simpered, "I don't know what other women like, but this is something I really like...and that is all that should matter to you."

"But..."

"Emma." Regina cut off whatever nonsense that was sure to be spilling out of the blondes mouth, "I am not teaching you how to have sex with every maiden that will throw themselves at your feet...I am teaching you how to have sex with me. From this night on...I am the only woman you will bed. Ever. Are we clear?" Aside from her commanding sentences, Regina sounded perfectly relaxed, speaking to Emma as if they have been through this game many times before.

Emma nodded without hesitation, for as far as she was concerned, Regina was the only the only woman she had eyes for anyway, "We are clear my Queen."

"You may call me Regina whilst we are in alone. Now…" Regina laid back and spread her legs to accommodate Emma's body. "What are you waiting for dear?"

Emma quickly lowered herself down in front of Regina, who promptly threw one tanned, shapely leg over Emma's left shoulder. Emma of course has never seen a vagina before much less put her mouth on one—at least not until now. Regina kept herself neatly groomed and it didn't look as bad as Emma was expecting, it was better than she had imagined. Emma watched as a few tear-shaped droplets flowed out of Regina. Without another thought, Emma moved her mouth closer, sticking her tongue out and licking the Queens soft rosy lips. Surprised that she tasted like tangy apples, Emma licked her again...Testing if the first time was a fluke, it wasn't and soon Emma had Regina's glistening nether lips in her mouth savoring Regina's succulent juices they trickled down her throat like honey.

Regina's hands had abandoned the sheets and were behind Emma's head, tangled in blonde locks as she began to grind against the younger woman's face. "Yes dear, just like that..." Regina hummed and sighed softly. Looking down at Emma finding vibrant green eyes staring back at her Regina shivered, "Do you see that little bump?" Emma nodded and Regina pulled the woman's hair, moving her to where she wanted her mouth. "Gently suck it...now." it was more than a little bump but Emma happily ravaged it with her tongue, like it was her last. She felt Regina's leg that was thrown over her shoulder quiver when she captured the swollen nub between her lips. Regina's nails dug into Emma's scalp, "Aahh yes...yesss..." The Dark Queen's back arched as she came long and hard and Emma was almost afraid the night guards would come running in with their swords ready. Emma drank in Regina's screams of pleasure and her tangy, apple nectar until Regina released Emma from her death grip, and pushed the blonde away.

Emma sat up on her knees looking down at the brunette that was staring back at her. Emma was so hard it was starting to hurt, she wanted to get rid of it but she also didn't want this night to end...Ever. The Evil Queen sat up slowly, legs still spread around Emma's body. She reached down between their heated and slightly sweaty bodies, and took Emma's throbbing member with both hands—one wrapped around the other and squeezed mildly, and Emma almost lost it. "That was a good start my dear little Swan...but there is much more you need to learn. I'm going to relish teaching you how to make love to a woman."

"To you My Queen, to you..." Emma rasped, trying to keep her exceptionally disciplined body from moving least she exploded all over Regina's breasts and her pretty brown nipples that were as hard as she was, and end the night before she was ready to.

Regina's brown eyes twinkled in the fire light as she ran both of her thumbs over Emma's mushroom head, catching the pre-cum that was oozing out. "And don't you dare forget it." The Dark Queen continued to pump her hands over Emma's well lubricated cock until she had the blonde moaning and panting for release with her eyes closed tightly, and her head thrown back. Just when Emma was about to release years worth of come, Regina stopped, as if she knew exactly how close Emma was to crossing the point of no return. With her trademark smirk, Regina once again laid back on the pillows, pulling Emma down on top of her, moaning when she felt the head of the blondes cock caress her clit.

No words were passed between the two women as they gazed into the other's eyes. Regina leaned up and kissed Emma on the lips, which immediately parted and welcomed the Dark Queen's tongue with her own. Regina could taste herself on Emma's mouth and she has never tasted so good on anyone before. Emma's hands found their way to Regina's ample chest, massaging her soft breasts while toying with the woman's nipples. They kissed for a long time, simply unable to break away from each other and neither noticing that the shadows had completely taken over the room, enveloping them in a blanket of darkness and closing in on them as they further lost themselves in each other.

Regina reached between their bodies and guided Emma to her entrance."Slowly, my little Swan." Regina was so calm and so in control, Emma was momentarily stunned in awe. The blonde had to fight her body from just pounding into Regina like a wild animal. Emma slowly pushed her steel rod inside of Regina, feeling her warm, wet velvet walls welcome her...swallowing her whole, until she was buried so deep Emma was trembling from the urge that came back with a vengeance to just take Regina hard and fast.

For Regina, she was trying to hold off on setting Emma loose on her body—the former princess was the biggest she's had since...well she simply was. "You feel so good Emma...so perfect…" Regina whispered, pulling Emma down blindly for another kiss. Confident, Emma began to slowly fuck the brunette beneath her—pulling all the way out and then leisurely pushing all the way back in until their bodies connected again. Emma, painfully, continued to fuck Regina deep and slow for the next few minutes until she just couldn't take it anymore, grunting between clenched teeth she broke their slow kiss and took her hands away from Regina's breasts, planting them on either side of the woman's head.

Emma began to fuck the Evil Queen harder and faster, and thankfully the cries and pleas were of pleasure and for more. The Dark Assassin was more than willing to give it, and as she went harder and faster in search for her own release, Regina's screams and her nails digging into a pale bare back drawing blood were well worth the exertion, and Emma was sure the entire Dark Kingdom could hear their Queen being plundered high into the heavens.

"Oh...oh Re-gina!" Emma groaned, still trying to hold on. But she couldn't, and luckily Regina was right there with her. In their final moment of simultaneous bliss, both women unknowingly encased the entire Enchanted Forest in a moment of darkness, as their broken and blackened souls danced together.

SQ :: SWAN QUEEN :: SQ

Somewhere in the mountains,in a smaller castle, sitting in his windowsill; Rumpelstiltskin grinned widely, eyes wild with excitement when the darkness disappeared just as quickly as it appeared.

"I am coming my son. I will find you Bae...I will find you..."

SQ :: SWAN QUEEN :: SQ

Chapter Text

SQ :: SWAN QUEEN :: SQ

"Snow...Please! Try to be rational here! We no longer have the strength; not only in man-power, but in sheer numbers as well, as we did in the days of old." David had been trying to placate his wife for the past four days since hearing the news Red delivered, once she herself had recovered from the shock of the events she had witnessed, followed by the burial of the Huntsman. "I love you so very much, and I am not ashamed to get down on my knees and beg of you to reconsider my dear Snow." It was as if the words fell upon deaf ears. Nobody, not even Red, could figure out the innermost workings and thoughts of her "so-called" best friend Snow White, anymore.

SQ :: SWAN QUEEN :: SQ

David was the first of the two crowns to break through the revelation. At least he had the decency to say please when he demanded Red to take him to his daughter. They took three men with him, leaving his stunned and silently sobbing wife sitting on her throne in utter solitude.

As they reached the small pond's clearing, King Charming jumped off of his horse before the animal came to a complete halt, his foible causing him to nearly break his neck, but that was the least of his worries, what did concern him was the scene before his very eyes. There were two lifeless bodies—and neither belonged to his precious daughter. Panicking; Charming turned to the three knights that accompanied them, "Spread out! Find her...Find my daughter!" He choked out.

"Yes my Lord." The men bowed simultaneously and left, leaving their King alone with the wolf and the two bodies near the pond. Red padded next to Mulan, nudging the dark-haired warriors hand with her nose, whining softly. Charming came over and kneeled beside Mulan. Taking a breath, he gently turned the White Knight over...just as she was beginning to coming to.

"Mulan?" Charming asked softly, but it was strained. "Are you okay? Can you remember anything? Tell me anything?"

Red barked at him warningly, but he ignored his friend and helped Mulan to sit up, as she was gingerly rubbing the back of her head and blinking away the bleariness, all in attempt to make sense of the events that had just taken place. "The princess is alive..." she mumbled, "And she's evil... It is almost as if she is no longer the person we once knew. This goes very deep...deep down to the core. Whatever has happened to her, the change is in every part of her person, and will not be easy to fix...If Emma still even exists in that woman's body."

Charming gasped, almost dropping Mulan's upper body back onto the ground. "That's my daughter you're talking about, watch your tongue!"

"You have appointed me to be your White knight, your Champion! Not to placate you with honey-laden lies, just to appease you and Snow! I speak to you the truth! We may be in danger... Have I yet led you astray?" Charming moved not a muscle. "I thought not. Ahhh..." Then Mulan fell back down, forgetting that she had not much strength. Apparently it was her adrenaline that allowed her to speak to the King in such a fashion.

Red whined again, looking down at the ground. She could have shifted back a long time ago, but she wasn't ready to talk to anyone about anything just yet—she wouldn't have the slightest idea where to start. She saw Emma yes, but the princess was nowhere to be found and she just couldn't say that to her friends...her extended family. It would either break them and their kingdom even more...or— Red didn't even want to think about their alternative reactions because it wouldn't end well for her. Thank gods that Mulan saw the same thing. She had thought she was crazy at first, until Mulan spoke... Hopefully she was lucid enough to remember what she had said to Charming, and would repeat it to Snow.

When Mulan was fully able to regain her bearings, even with the painful throbbing on the back of her head, everything came rushing back to her up until the moment that Emma had knocked her out. Mulan pushed away from Charming and Red and practically crawled over to the Huntsman's body. She no longer saw her sword sticking out of his chest, and the pool of blood surrounding his body and now soaking through her pants was a clear sign that he was no longer with them. Not only did that Bitch kill her friend, almost more importantly, she stole her sword! That was an heirloom, and she was going to get that back, or that Piece of Evil was going to suffer many times until she was begging for her mercy...

Charming and Red stood back, watching Mulan reach for the man's cape that was covering his face, and she pulled it back. Three sets of eyes widened and Charming swallowed hard and Mulan looked away in guilt...the Huntsman was missing his head and the White Knight was missing her sword.

When the three knights sullenly trudged back home with no signs of the princess...Charming left the area without a word, and with his steed following behind him. He could not—would not believe that his daughter would do such a thing. He knew the Evil Queen had something to do with it and he would make sure she would pay for it.

SQ :: SWAN QUEEN :: SQ

Snow turned on her husband who was sitting still in his chair in their shared study, he was sitting so calmly that it just made her mood all the more unstable.

"How can you sit there while our daughter remains miserable in that cold kingdom?"

Charming sighed, "Our army is nowhere as big as Regina's Snow, you and I both know this! We have to be smart about this Love, not just for Emma but for Henry too."

Snow stopped when her husband mentioned their son, their darling little son. He was the light of her life and everything she wanted in a child; he was simply perfect, but he was too young to help save the kingdom. Yet Emma wasn't—she was still young and Snow knew they'd have many new suitors lining up to marry the lost princess that survived the Evil Queen. Snow smiled, and Charming relaxed, he should've brought Henry up days ago if he knew his wife would calm down so quickly.

"You're right, we have to be smart about this." The White Queen sat down in the chair opposite of her husbands, "We will just have to sit down with Regina and bargain with her. How is Mulan?"

Charming shrugged lightly, "The healers say she will be back on her feet in two days time, Henry is helping her get better and making sure she stays in the bed." Charming was secretly dreading the conversation that was inevitable between his Queen and Mulan about her observations regarding Emma...

Snow smiled, Henry had really taken a liking to Mulan he looked up to her like she was his big sister. Another piece of life meant for Emma. Mulan taught him how to master his sword and protect himself, how to ride a horse, and how to track animals. Mulan was good for Henry, he needed someone to look up to. Snow just hoped he and Emma could have that same bond when she came back home.

"Good, when she is well enough we will travel to the Dark Kingdom and speak with Regina. I'll send a request after lunch."

Charmings eyebrows raised, "Do you think she will accept? It's been five years Snow, she hasn't gloated in all this time...Do you really think it will be so easy?"

Snow sighed, looking at her husband sadly, and tiredly. "I don't know Charming, but I don't care...I just my daughter back. I miss her."

Charming reached over and took his wife's hand in his own and squeezed softly, "Soon my love. Emma will be home soon."

"And we will be complete and happy." Snow turned to look out the window. Thanking the heavens her daughter was alive—maybe...just maybe there would be hope for the White Kingdom yet.

SQ :: SWAN QUEEN :: SQ

Emma sat quietly in her new armor in the small carriage across from the Evil Queen, nibbling on a biscuit she pilfered from the kitchen pantry before they took their leave. She had no idea where they were going, but she didn't really care, and the ride was quiet and relaxing.

"Honestly dear, you come from royalty...at least eat like it, if not anything else." The Evil Queen chided, looking down at the crumbs on Emma's crotch, the white crumbs were a stark contrast against the skin tight black leather pants that the blonde was wearing. Emma blushed and brushed them off of her lap and down to the carriages floor, earning a glare from Regina.

"Sorry...I'll clean it up later."

Regina merely rolled her eyes and waved off Emma's empty promise, "Hurry and finish your bread dear, we are almost there."

Emma looked out the small window not seeing anything but the Enchanted Forest and blue skies, "Where are we?" She ate the last of her bread and then wished she had brought something to drink to quench her ever increasingly, parched throat.

"There is a village not far from here... the man I need is somewhere around here...find him, and bring him back to the castle. Alive."

Emma nodded, "What will I find him doing?"

Regina smiled, "Chopping down the wood for his family to ward off the chilly nights and to prepare their tea and meals. The driest wood will be just east of this trail."

Emma smirked. He would be armed and most likely put up a fight...a fight she would enjoy, despite how brief it would be. "Why do you need this man? He's just a woodsman?"

"It's not him I really want, it is his children. Hansel and Gretel."

Emma snorted in amusement, "What is with you and kids? First, the little girl from the trade village, and now, a little boy and girl?"

Regina glared at Emma, "They're thieves...good ones. I just need a small favor."

"So kidnapping their father...? Leverage if they refuse?"

Regina smirked, shifting her gaze to the small window on the door. "I'm so pleased that you're parents' idiocy skipped your generation." Emma laughed aloud, but said nothing else because she too was glad.

The carriage eventually came to a slow stop and Regina nodded for Emma to get out. Throwing up her hood Emma exited the carriage but not before kissing Regina's hand. The blonde closed the carriage door and waited for the group to continue on before heading east, raindrops from the night before falling from the leaves and onto her bare arms.

SQ :: SWAN QUEEN :: SQ

The morning after their passion-filled night, the Dark Queen awakened before the blonde who was snoring softly next to her, breathing down her neck. Waking up next to someone was new to Regina and privately admitted—terrifying. She felt content, more than she had in years, since her mother murdered Daniel right before her eyes. She and Daniel never slept together, much less sleep together...This was Regina's first time waking up in another's arms...and liking it. The last man that had dared to have his arms around her when she awakened, disgusted Regina and she eventually killed the leach and took over his kingdom.

Regina laid there for a few more minutes, silently enjoying the blondes bare skin touching her own. The woman's body was softer than any other body Regina had allowed into her bed. Emma's body was harder in comparison to Regina's notably softer one, but she was still a woman and she was soft in her own special ways.

Regina eventually removed herself from Emma's arms and got out of bed. The Evil Queen was dressed and prepared for the day as breakfast was brought in and Emma was finally coming to the land of the living. She was sitting up in the bed, rubbing her eyes, giving Regina an eye full of her full breasts and hard dusty pink nipples, while the silk sheet pooled around the blonde's waist.

"Morning 'ina" Emma tried to say before yawning but failed.

The Dark Queen simply rolled her eyes and began fixing the blonde a plate without even thinking about it, "I hope you're well rested Lady Swan, today will be a busy day."

"Why?" Emma asked trying to stifle another yawn, taking the offered plate gratefully and digging in, surprised that Regina had bothered to fix her a plate much less let her eat it in her bed.

Regina raised a brow, going back to the cart and fixing herself a light breakfast because she had to leave soon. "Did you forget already?"

Emma swallowed the eggs and thought for a moment then smiled, "Oh court. Today. Yes I remember, I thought it was something else. Sorry Your Majesty."

Regina eyed the blonde a moment from her place behind the cart, watching the beautiful young woman eat as if it were her last meal, and yet managed to maintain her manners. The butterflies that fluttered at the pit of her stomach startled the older woman, and she set her plate down abruptly.

"Court is at noon Lady Swan, do not be late or you will suffer the consequences." The Evil Queen was back and no longer smiling, her eyes were no longer warm. Emma watched the regal woman exit the bed chambers confused, wondering if it was something she did.

SQ :: SWAN QUEEN :: SQ

Emma was just coming over a small, treeless hill when she heard the unmistakable sound of an axe hitting wood, and grunts from the man wielding the axe. Emma didn't bother to teleport through the shadows, for she wasn't going to kill the man so there was no need to blitz him. She simply and quietly came over the hill and sat down on one of the tree stumps and waited. Emma didn't have to wait long as he took a break a couple of minutes later. As the middle-aged man wiped the sweat from his forehead he finally noticed he had company—and not the good kind either.

"What do you want Dark Knight? I have done nothing wrong." The dirty man gripped his axe tighter.

Aside from her new armor, everyone knew who Lady Swan was—the entire kingdom either witnessed her fealty or heard about it from the ones who did. It wasn't a spectacle but no one has ever been inducted as a knight and assassin before, at least not in their time. The very titles contradict the other, yet the Dark Queen accepted the woman as both and kept the woman near at all times as her knight, and in the short days that Emma was nowhere near the Evil Queen...Folks knew that Emma was the Queen's Assassin then.

Emma eyed the axe from beneath her hood with disinterest and picked up a twig, peeling off its bark. "Keep a cool head and I'll let you keep it. Alright?"

He hesitated, but he set his axe down on the cart, "What do you want?"

Emma tossed the twig aside as she stood, "The Evil Queen requests the pleasure of your company."

This catches his attention and Emma could almost smell the fear rolling off of him in waves, "She...The Evil Queen wah-wants to, to see me? Why? I ain't do nothing!"

Emma simply laughed, "Your thieving children; however..." Emma trailed off, letting that bit of information sink in. Sure, she twisted Regina's words but it had its desired effect...she watched confusion flash across his face before realization took over and he looked ready to get down on his knees and beg Emma to...for whatever scared fathers would beg for to protect their children.

He took a half-step forward, tears brimming his eyes. "Please...please, they meant no harm! I tell 'em to stop...but..."

Emma held up her pale hand and he stopped immediately, flinching. "If you come quietly, you and I won't have problem. You're family is in no immediate danger."

The man's thoughts were just so jumbled and panicked he didn't take the time to really hear what Emma was saying, he just wanted his family safe. "My boy and girl...they're out collecting wood...I can't just leave them."

"Would you rather I go find them too then? I'm sure she'd love to have you all there."

He shook his head vehemently, "No! No..." He knew Gretel had the compass and would be able to find the way home, he just prayed that good will be on their side. "No...I'll come...just please...Don't hurt them."

Emma chuckled sinfully, stepping to the side and gesturing for him to go first. The woodcutter eyed Emma's armed body warily as he walked past her and putting great distance between the two. Emma caught his arm quickly, startling him but she held tight to the frightened man. "I don't have a horse, but I do have a much faster way of traveling."

She hauled him towards a great oak tree that was casting a dark shadow, Emma jerked the Woodsman to it and she went in right after him; laughing over his screaming.

SQ :: SWAN QUEEN :: SQ

Like the day before, Emma walked into the throne room in the middle of court, and as it were before, the villagers parted like the Red Sea, as the hooded figure made its way down the aisle towards the steps that led to the Dark Queen's throne. The two knights that were on crowd control tensed when Emma drew her sword from her back, but Regina waved them away, cold eyes focused on Emma. She was still trying to fight those unknown feelings that the blonde brought out of her—feelings even Daniel was unable to conjure inside of her—and she was quite successful...until Emma walked into the throne room so strong and dangerous, frightening everyone who just looked at her. Regina was tempted to choke the woman again, just to feel some sort of normalcy around the former princess.

Emma slowly pushed the hood from her face, revealing straight blonde hair that crimped at the ends and a beautiful female face—which will soon quell the rumors of the Dark Queen's new chess piece being heinously, dog ugly—but that wasn't what caught the people's attention, it was what she said that caused a stir in the crowd...and surprised the Evil Queen herself, not that she showed it.

"I am renouncing myself as the White Kingdom's Princess, and terminating all ties with the White Kingdom."

Emma offered her sword up the Dark Queen as she kneeled down on one knee. Waiting patiently, the silence was making her nervous. Regina stood from her throne and walked down the steps to Emma and placed both of her hands over the blondes...Firmly curling her hands over the hilt and the blade.

Emma's shoulders sagged with relief, and confidently continued. "I hereby swear fealty and do homage to the Dark Crown and Kingdom of the Enchanted Forest: to ever be a Good Knight and Callous Assassin, Reverent and Liberal." Emma paused, taking a small breath. "Obedient to my Dark Queen, foremost in battle, courteous at all times, and Champion...of the Dark Kingdom." This was a shot at the White Kingdom's Champion. If they had one...then so would the Dark Kingdom. "Thus I swear, Lady Emma Swan."

Ever so gently, Regina took the sword from Emma's hands and was rather surprised by its weight. And she places the sharp end on the junction where Emma's neck and shoulder connected, but the blonde didn't even flinch. "The Dark Kingdom accepts your homage and fealty and pledge from this day until the last of its reign that you are our Dark Knight, Assassin...and Champion."

Then Emma is engulfed in thick purple smoke, and when it cleared she was no longer wearing her old clothing, but something newer, tighter, and a little more than awesome. She was still wearing all black, but her pants were made of real leather this time, and they were airtight. She also had black riding boots that required no lacing or ties, they were simply fit for Emma. She was also wearing a black short sleeved shirt that showed off her toned arms that Regina was so fond of since seeing them, and an equally sleeveless hooded vest that offered shoulder protection and had the Dark Kingdom's crest on it. All of Emma's weapons and hidden weapons had a place, a more convenient place.

"Accept this enchanted armor which shall symbolize your prowess at arms." Regina then added a thinly chained reflective pendant around Emma's neck. "And...accept this pendant as a symbol of your place and your loyalty to the Crown of the Dark Realm of the Enchanted Forest. Never forget the burden of this pendant." Regina then lifted the sword, leaving behind an angry line on the woman's pale skin. "You may now rise as the kingdoms Dark champion."

SQ :: SWAN QUEEN :: SQ

Emma pushed the woodcutter into the dungeon with a smirk, and stepped out of the shadows as she closed the door casually. The door shutting soundly brought the man from his frightful shock and he ran to the door, the two knights that were there went for their swords but Emma didn't even flinch, she allowed the woodcutter to take her vest and jerk her into the door with a solid thud.

"You lied to me! You lied to me!" he yelled, the two knights stepped forward but Emma held up a finger. "Where are my children?!"

Emma, who was still smirking, pried his hands off of her and took a step back. She said nothing to him, and left the dungeon area. Emma went straight to the kitchen to fix herself a snack, it was still quite early in the day and it was nowhere near dinnertime. As Emma was fixing herself a bowl of fruit she heard the kitchen door open and close, followed by heavy footsteps.

"I would've thought the Queen would've picked me to kill that dog lover."

Emma turned and greeted the dark skinned knight with a smile, popping in another grape. "Jealous?"

Lancelot chuckled, stopping just a few feet from Emma. "Relieved. Followed that dog lover around for two years...almost gutted him without orders a couple of times."

"Why'd she keep him around for so long if she knew he was not loyal to this realm?"

Lancelot leaned against the counter, crossing his massive arms. "It's the Evil Queen, no one really knows anything for sure. We just do what we're told."

Emma nodded, not sure what to say to that or why he was bothering her, so she continued to eat her fruit in hopes to survive the awkward silence that fell between them.

"The Evil Queen's army is massive...in size and arms. Few women...many men, many young trainees."

Emma raised a brow, still opting not to say a word; waiting for him to make his point. Lancelot nodded, regarding the blonde in front of him. He's never really gotten a good look at the former princess until now. And she wasn't what he was expecting, but now he knows why the Queen was so vocal a few nights ago...Not only was her beauty unparalleled to that of any other, except maybe the Queen, this woman was no princess, this was a woman who survived by fighting and still had years left in her. "You're the Dark Kingdom's Champion... we've never had one before. Makes you the new Skipper."

"I take you're the Captain?"

The bald, dark-skinned man nodded, "Yes, I take orders from the Queen and they take orders from me."

A slow grin grew on Emma's face, "But now that you all have a Champion..."

Lancelot smirked, "We take orders from you."

Emma casually gestured between them. "And so? This is what...?"

"The guys want to meet you...I just wanted to meet you first."

Emma nodded, setting the empty fruit bowl in wash bin. "Should I be worried?"

"Nay, you brought back the head of the Huntsman...you're in good for now."

Suddenly a maiden entered, inclining her head at the two high-ranked Knights, looked at Emma, blushing slightly. "The Queen requests your company in her study."

Emma looked at Lancelot who just smirked, "Another time?"

"Sure, maybe you and I can spar too?"

Emma nodded, "First to draw blood wins?"

"Two out of three cuts?"

Emma took his hand firmly, "Looking forward to it." Maybe she would have another ally in this place.

SQ :: SWAN QUEEN :: SQ

Emma knocked before entering Regina's study. The Evil Queen was sitting behind her giant oak desk, waiting patiently for Emma to sit down. "Happy hunting?"

Emma nodded, smiling somewhat. "Yes, the woodcutter is down in the dungeons...but what for?"

"The blind witch has something of mine and I need it back."

"What is it?"

"A poisoned apple. One bite from that apple and you fall into a deep sleep, full of regret." Regina leered cruelly.

Emma shuddered, "Who is it for?"

"Snow White. Your insipid mother. With her out of the way, that...wreck of a kingdom will finally crumble...and I will finally have control of this entire realm."

"Wouldn't her followers rebel against your reign?"

The Evil Queen simply smirked, "That's why I have you and the rest of my army. To take care of those bad seeds. However I won't be accepting Snow White's request for a meeting until I am sure those children come back with my artifact."

"Why didn't you just ask me to do it?"

"The blind witch put a spell around her home to keep adults out." The Dark Queen paused for a few beats, regarding Emma carefully. "How does it work?"

"How does what work?"

Regina sighed, rolling her eyes faintly. "Your dark magic, how does it work?" Idiot.

"Oh" Emma blushed, shifting in her chair. "The shadow magic..."

"Shadow magic!" Regina repeated in wonderment, leaning forward in her chair. "So very few possess it and still look...human. How do you manage dear?"

"Because it was given to me as if I were born with it, as opposed to manifesting it from a book. I gave up the gift of my parents' lineage for something much more useful. I became a Shadow Person...I was taught how to use my gifts in battle and for survival."

The Evil Queen couldn't help but smile, looking a bit crazed; eyes gleaming dangerously with excitement and that excited Emma as well. "Just what can you do, Lady Swan?"

"Everything a shadow can do...even become one myself."

"Can you move within the shadows as well?"

Emma nodded, "Yes, but to be able to do...you have to see through the darkness; otherwise...you'd end up in another realm or falling off a cliff."

Regina sat back in her chair, still in awe. She wasn't sure how many times she could congratulate those two morons anymore. They created their own devil who just happened to be Regina's Champion—in more ways than one.

"How adept are you with the shadow magic?"

Emma shrugged, shaking her head subtly. "I was only trained in survival and basic means...I don't know how to fully use it...yet."

Regina thought for a moment, remembering when she first started with magic—how lost she was, and how vulnerable she was. Well Emma was neither, lost nor vulnerable...But she still had plenty of learning to do if she truly wanted to excel. "Lucky for you, I was taught by the best...and I can teach you, if you're willing to work very hard so that you may succeed."

Emma blinked, smiling in shock that Regina was even offering. She just seemed like the type of woman who doesn't offer anything freely. "I would...like that very much, But you have dark magic...there is a fine line between our abilities."

Regina slowly pushed herself out of her seat and walked around her desk. She sat on it in front of Emma, and crossed her legs hands, gripping the desk on either side of her and from where she and Emma were sitting she knew she was giving the blonde a grand view. "I am aware of that fine line dear. Though if you'd rather stick with what you already have, that's fine by me." With a mask of indifference, the Dark Queen slid off her desk and was about to dismiss Emma until dinner, but before she could leave, her Dark Knight had her by the waist and back on top of the desk before she could even bat an eye.

Emma leaned forward and stopped just as her lips were inches from Regina's soft, apple red ones. "I didn't say no Regina...I'm just curious as to why you were offering to teach me. You don't strike me as the type of woman to just offer anything."

Regina smirked, placing her hands over Emma's though she had made no effort to remove them. She could feel the power lurking beneath Emma's smooth pale skin and it called to hers, like a moth to a flame. The Dark Queen licked her lips, her tongue brushing across Emma's as well. "Just say yes Lady Swan."

Emma shuddered, pressing more of her weight onto Regina, "If I say yes...can we do something else?"

Regina chuckled wickedly, reaching down and rubbing Emma through those suffocating leather pants and giving her a good squeeze or two eliciting moans from the blonde that was nearly on top of her on her own desk. "Only if you earn it dear." With her magic, Regina pushed Emma off of her and back into her chair. The Dark Queen stood and straightened dress and adjusted her hair. "Take us to the forest, anywhere you want."

Emma stood, adjusting her own pants before taking Regina's hand with a smirk. She took them to a corner in the room, where the book shelf was casting a formidable shadow. Emma stepped in first, pulling Regina in after her. Almost immediately she felt her bones grinding together due to the death grip from Regina's hand.

"Lady Swan!" she hissed, trying to keep her composure, but it was incredibly hard when you suddenly go from seeing perfectly to utterly, and impossibly blind; add to the fact it was unnaturally silent.

"Ssh...I have you Regina, I won't let you go."

"Where are we? What sorcery is this? Why am I am blind?"

Emma laughed softly, and it echoed and echoed. "This is the Shadow Realm. This is where I go when I use shadows to teleport. I can show you how to use it one day...I'm sure that it requires quite a great deal less amount of energy than...poofing. What exactly do you refer to it as? Poofing, that is? I just made that up off of the top of my head. I guess it would be teleportation technically, but when I witness it from you, 'poofing' just comes to mind..." Emma sensed that Regina was uncomfortable, so she was trying to take her mind off of her worries, even if for just a moment. Sometimes her genetic rambling could actually be considered, "charming"...

Regina was quiet for a moment, slowly easing her death grip on Emma's hand. "Yes...that will be very benefitting. Thank you. Now if you're done frolicking in the dark." Emma sensed that Regina seemed to be just a bit less apprehensive, whether she heard what Emma had said remained irrelevant.

"Do you trust me?"

"Do I currently have a choice?" The Evil Queen shot back coldly, she didn't like being in someone else's care—they never failed to mistreat her. Trust wasn't something Regina offered very freely, though it was something Emma offered very freely either.

Regina felt soft wind on her arms and face, and going through her hair but she didn't feel like she was moving. She couldn't hear anything, she couldn't see anything and she felt nothing but the hand in her own. It was disconcerting and yet...while she was barely holding off a panic attack, Emma was right at home. With her readjusted eyesight, Emma could see all the open portals from different shadows of all shapes and sizes, she could hear the lovely sounds of the forest, to others having sex, to people getting pillaged and plundered from. They were the light in the darkness for her.

All too soon, she was out and standing somewhere outside, a few kilometers from the Dark Kingdoms walls, and Regina took a very deep breath to gather herself. "Next time, we travel my way."

Emma held off a chuckle, holding up her hands. "Whatever you wish, Your Majesty"

SQ :: SWAN QUEEN :: SQ

Snow White was sitting in her personal library, alone and tired...but it was the only place she could get away from her husband to think clearly. She had no idea what she was going to use to bargain with Regina—the White Kingdom was on its last white brick. Dethroning the Evil Queen was their most difficult, but their only option for surviving the next winter and years more until Henry was ready to be wed off to another kingdom.

Emma...The Evil Queen has been keeping Emma for all these years, keeping her precious baby girl for all these years. Snow knew Emma hadn't run away, she just knew it...Emma had everything she could have ever wanted—she had no reason to run away. Now there was even more hope for their kingdom, Emma was still alive and she was still young...there was hope, and maybe just maybe...the White Kingdom wouldn't have to suffer losses of life to survive. Yet it came down to the same problem...they had nothing, absolutely nothing.

"Turn that frown upside down dearie," a high, and unfortunately, giddily familiar voice came from somewhere behind Snow's chair. "The Princess lives! The Princess lives!" Rumpelstiltskin paraded around the library, pretending to be using an instrument and plopped down in the chair on the other side of the rug across from Snow's and crossed his legs at the knee. He was acting like the pied-piper, the loon!

Snow's frown deepened and she sighed. "What do you want Rumpelstiltskin?"

He smirked, shaking his head. "Ah, it is not what I want...but it is what you want. You are not happy."

Snow looked away trying to keep her tears at bay, to keep the sign of weakness from the Dark One's sharp eye. He fed on weakness. "It's nothing Rumpelstiltskin, I don't want, nor do I need your help."

Snow's sharp tone and glare did nothing but amuse him even more, because he was absolutely grinning now, "I see differently dearie." he tapped his right temple. "And just between you and me..." he leaned forward, stage whispering, "What I have to say is better than what you're thinking."

"How dare you speak to me like that! You may be the Dark One, but I am still a Queen and you will treat me as such!" Snow exclaimed, trying to at least have some semblance of control over her situation.

Rumpelstiltskin simply sighed and pulled out a small clear tube container with something glowing inside of it, it looked like a few strand of hairs that were uniquely tied around another and floating. Rumpelstiltskin saw Snow's curiosity peak and his grin stretched beyond possibility.

"What is...that?" she asked warily, sitting up a bit straighter.

Rumpelstiltskin waved the small vial this way and that way. "This, my dear, is the answer to all of your petty little problems." he giggled as if it was the most exciting moment of his life, "Here I hold...The rarest sort of magic in the Enchanted Forest...True Love's Magic."

Snow White's eyes widened comically, "How did you get that?"

Rumpelstiltskin uncrossed his legs, leaning forward in his seat and holding the tube in his fist. Moving in on Snow's vulnerability like an ogre would a screaming dame. "The who's and the why's don't matter dearie...it's the how that matters. How are you going to use it, that is..."

Snow shook her head, "I don't understand. Why are you telling me this? How does it help me...I have no interest in using magic."

Rumpelstiltskin completely ignored what Snow White just said, and resumed his previous position. "You can use this gift from above" he held up his free hand at eye level, fingers opened as if he were praising something, "to give to your daughter and bring her back to you...or you can give your beloved White Knight an advantage."

"What's in it for you?"

Rumpelstiltskin could barely contain his eagerness, "Only for you to make the right decision."

Snow scoffed, "Of course I will...I will give it to my daughter!"

Rumpelstiltskin laughed, popping out of his chair. "Before I seal this little deal of ours" He began walking around the library, running his fingers over the spines of books, "let me tell you a short story about a little girl that ran away from home...from Mommy and Daddy."

SQ :: SWAN QUEEN :: SQ

Chapter Text

SQ :: SWAN QUEEN :: SQ

"Magic mirror on the wall...show me Snow White." The Dark Queen and her Dark Knight were in her library, though Emma was by the breakfast cart; out of sight and out of mind.

Almost immediately Snow White appeared on Regina's medium sized mirror and Snow White was completely oblivious that she was being summoned via mirror and that Regina was watching her sit at her desk in her own study, most likely writing some ridiculous law that will cripple her kingdom more than it will help it.

Regina sighed and rolled her eyes, "Even sitting at a desk you manage still to make monarchy look like a fools game."

Snow White jumped and knocked over her ink jar, spilling the black liquid all over her desk and papers. "Oh my goodness!" She placed her hand over her heart, patting gently. "Regina you scared me!" Then, as if realizing what she had just said, and to whom...and how. Snow Whites soft smile turned into a hard frown and she quickly got up from her desk and stalked over to the mirror Regina was in. "Regina." she sneered, "What do you want?"

The Evil Queen looked at Snow with nothing less than disdain. "Did you not send a pigeon requesting a meeting?"

Snow White nodded, "I did."

"Then that is what I want dear...Please, keep up. I accept this meeting you wish to undergo." Regina brushed away imaginary lint from the front of her black corset top with a floral design that was also a jacket and cape. "No matter how trivial it may be." she murmured, but it was still loud enough for Snow to hear.

Snow White sighed with relief, shoulders sagging ever so slightly...but she knew Regina. They went way back to when she was a child...She knew what Regina was capable of—even before she pursued life with dark magic. Regina was a woman scorned...and she was all about vengeance. It was her only goal in life as far as Snow White was concerned.

"Good...that is good. Then we shall meet-"

Regina knew what Snow was about to say and promptly cut her off before the White Queen could fool herself into thinking she had any kind of control of the situation. "You will join Lady Swan and me for lunch here in my palace." From her peripherals, Regina saw Emma pause from her feast and look over her shoulder with a raised eyebrow.

Snow was shaking her head, brows pulled together and looking unsure. "Lady Swan? No, no. I think we should meet somewhere neutral and safe."

Regina chuckled, "Do not be so naive Snow White, you're no safer out there from me than you will be here. At least in my palace you shall be provided a seat and a hot meal. My Dark Knight and I will be very hospitable." Smirking with sheer delight, and taunting the White Queen further she continued, "...We won't kill you on sight."

If it were possible, Snow became 3 shades paler and took a step back from the mirror. "I only want my daughter Regina! I just want Emma back, I don't want a fight."

Regina; however, was done with that particular topic and wished to end the conversation immediately. She did not want to waste her breath on Snow White any longer than necessary. "You will be here by the lunch hour. Do not bring your idiot farm boy of a husband."

Snow White looked appalled, eyes wide and gaping like a bottom feeder. "I will not-"

"My time, my kingdom, my rules." Regina smiled disparagingly, leaning forward as if she were about to go through the mirror and bite the White Queen.

"F-fine. You will have your Dark Knight...Let me bring my White Knight."

Emma scoffed from the tray, though her lovely backside was still turned to Regina. The Dark Queen pretended to think about it for a moment too long, just to see Snow squirm and sweat. "Fine...and do not be late...or else." Before Snow could utter out another protest or question, Regina turned away from the mirror and she was gone.

Snow White stood there for a few seconds longer, now looking at her distraught reflection. Tears in her round green eyes. She immediately ran out of her study in search for her husband and White Knight with the news from the Dark Kingdom.

SQ :: SWAN QUEEN :: SQ

Regina sighed and came up behind Emma, slightly to her left. She was so close that Emma could smell the surviving trace of Regina's apple tree—hence the basket full of healthy blood red apples sitting on the high table by the door. The blonde smirked, eyeing the Dark Queen casually as she set both her hands on the edge of the cart and leaned a bit of her weight on it, ignoring the wood softly groaning in protest. Her calm demeanor did nothing to distract Regina from those troubled viridescent eyes that she was becoming utterly addicted to.

Regina hummed low in throat, "Are you troubled dear?" She gently touched the back of Emma's hand that was closest to her with perfectly painted black nails; tracing one long, elegant index finger along one of Emma's veins, making the blonde shiver.

Emma sighed and pulled away from Regina and the cart all together, rubbing her face with both her hands. "I don't know if I'm ready to see her."

"Afraid you'll kill her?"

Emma heard the mirth in Regina's tone and turned on her heel, settling her verdant gaze on the brunette. The Dark Queen was unfazed; however, by the fire she spied in Emma's eyes. "That's exactly what I want to do. Her and the damned White Knight of hers." Emma chuckled darkly as a particular sinister thought crossed her mind. "They wouldn't be so white if I detach their heads...now would they ?"

Regina laughed eloquently, Emma's thoughts were identical to her own when she first learned of the White Kingdoms White Knight, it was comical really—Snow barely had an army and they take on a Champion, not from their ranks...but a complete stranger. "Is that what is bothering you?" Regina invaded Emma's personal space once again, lifting her blouse ever so slightly...placing her cool hands on the blonde's tight stomach, both her thumbs seductively dipped into her belly button, with her sensual mouth practically purring into her ear, "The thirst for blood dear?"

Emma shook her head, licking her lips. "No...Wanting to kill my mother and her undeserving White Knight is not a problem, but what I want to say to them before I do it. Do I want to taunt them...Maybe tell them a small story of how I stole gold from the Evil Queen...or perhaps break Mothers bleeding heart by telling her I killed animals for sport rather than for survival. Small animals... Helpless animals."

Regina's eyes suddenly widened when one of Emma's hands descended upon her rear end, she hadn't even seen the younger woman's arm move. "Or I can tell her what I've been doing with the Evil Queen...and for her." Emma leaned forward for a kiss as she ran her hands up and down Regina's sides.

Smirking slightly, Regina avoided the kiss and pulled away from her Dark Knight, making the blonde miss a step and stumble forward. She flipped her hair with a huff. "Please excuse me Lady Swan, I do have busy schedule to attend to before lunch. Do make sure you're on time dear."

Still staggered, Emma watched Regina's hips sway seductively beneath the coat as she walked to the door. Just as Regina reached for the door handle, Emma with such a speed that even magic couldn't provide, roughly grabbed the Dark Queen's shoulders and turned her around. Emma kissed Regina roughly, albeit sloppily, as she reached down and seized her ass. Emma lifted the Queen up as if she was no heavier than a feather, and Regina wrapped her tanned leather clad legs around her assassins waist and her arms around her neck...welcoming the brutal kiss.

Regina grunted as her back was slammed against the hard bookshelf, and with Emma pressed so tightly against her; the Evil Queen could feel just how much Emma needed to let off some steam...to ease her nerves. The notions of teasing long forgotten, the brunette reached down to unlace the blondes riding pants, groaning a little too loudly when Emma's fingers began to dig between her cheeks through the pants as she groped her. Regina managed to release Emma free of her confines and pushed the top of her pants down low enough so that there would be nothing stopping Emma from giving her the full package. Safe with the knowledge that Regina wouldn't be falling to the floor anytime soon, Emma released her and leaned back slightly...pulling out one of her many silver throwing knives and made to cut Regina's pants open.

Had it been anyone else maneuvering a sharpened blade near her most sensitive area, Regina would have incinerated them alive. Tossing the knife aside, Emma showed nothing but raw strength as she ripped the rest of Regina's pants open—exposing the Evil Queen in all her glory. Regina's keen brown eyes zeroed in on the black spider webs that began encrusting the length of Emma's shoulders and uppers arms, slowly making their way down. It was then that she knew the young woman was letting her shadow magic completely take over. It was calling to hers so strongly that she could no longer resist, and allowed her own dark magic to come forth and join them together.

"You're a brute...aren't you?" Regina growled between gritted teeth, fighting back the painful moan that threatened to escape as Emma unexpectedly pushed herself into the Dark Queen and took the sensitive flesh of her neck between pearly white teeth. "This is exactly what that bitch predicted isn't it? Her precious little girl becoming a savage...an undesirable with her name." She tightened her legs around Emma's butt, encouraging the younger woman to go crazy. And go crazy she did, and Regina couldn't contain the grunts and cries of pain that Emma was wracking on her body. It was nothing like what King Leopold had done to her, over and over, before she had him murdered in cold blood and false pretenses. This was different.

Much different.

This pain was welcomed...It was even invited. Regina knew moments of weakness all too well...and when she looked into Emma's green eyes; she knew despite her body language that Emma needed this. She needed to let go, she needed an outlet to clear her mind of the anger, confusion, and doubt. The Evil Queen was sure this would not be their first time they use each other like this; but moments of weakness for beings such as themselves—are very, very atypical. Yet, the connection between Regina and her champion went far beyond casual swapping of sweat and spit...far beyond.

As Regina tore open Emma's white blouse, and took rosy hard nipples between her nimble fingers she could feel Emma's shadow magic pouring into at an alarmingly rapid rate, but she was enjoying the power too much to try and slow it down. Suddenly Emma's knees buckled, and she was now hitting the Dark Queen's g-spot with every stroke and the brunette threw her head back against the books, mouth agape; silently screaming and twisting Emma's nipples so hard she might've been able to rip them off.

The pain being returned only encouraged Emma to fuck Regina harder, slamming into her like an animal unleashed. Then she reached down for Regina's left leg and brought it up over her shoulder to attain deeper access. Regina's vocals finally kicked in as she came long and hard. The blonde was sadistically enjoying the look of pain on Regina's face, and that pushed her over the edge as well, causing her to release string after string of her seed deep inside the older woman.

When both women finally pulled themselves together, and Emma gently pulled out...she had to nerve to blush and look ashamed as she tucked herself back into her pants. "I-"

Regina held up a hand and swallowed, shaking her head. "Lady Swan, don't."

Emma blinked, opening her mouth once more. "But Regina I-"

"But nothing Lady Swan! It was a moment, and it has passed. Accept that it happened and never speak of it again."

"I hurt you Regina! I lost-"

Regina cut Emma off mid-protest, by slapping her right cheek, and taking the blondes jaw to shut her up and forced her to look into her eyes. "You did no such thing. I enjoyed it." When Emma looked dubious, Regina sighed and dropped her forehead on Emma's. "Emma. People who practice dark magic, and shadow magic have moments of weakness. It's very rare but it's also very crippling. Sex or violence—or both, keeps us from going insane...from succumbing to our fears. It happens to the best of us dear, I promise."

Emma still looked unsure but she nodded, she trusted what Regina said, because her extremely intense and confusing feelings about her mother...came out of nowhere, and she surprised even herself when she told Regina she was unsure and not ready. As far as Emma was concerned, she's been waiting five years to break her mother's heart and kill her from the inside out. "Do you have these moments too?"

Regina laughed and pushed the blonde away, "Of course, but trust me dear, I will hurt you much worse. See you at lunch Lady Swan...and please do wear your armor."

Regina was gone in a cloud of purple smoke.

SQ :: SWAN QUEEN :: SQ

Rumpelstiltskin couldn't help but jump with joy, clapping his hands once and giggling like a mad man. His eyes were wide with glee as he peered into it his crystal ball. "Things just keep getting curiouser and curiouser..."

He skipped to his spindle and sat down on the stool and began to weave beautiful threads of gold, humming progeny tunes gleefully.

SQ :: SWAN QUEEN :: SQ

Mulan sighed with frustration as she adjusted her belt. The belt that held the new sword Snow had provided for her to replace the old one that was now lost to her. The very sword that Mulan used to become the White Kingdom's Champion. The weapon that had been passed through her family for generations. Mulan's father gave her the beautiful treasure at a young age as a farewell gift...and for Emma to just take it. To abscond with something that didn't belong to her...to take a family heirloom, Mulan will get back what is hers...and she will avenge her fallen comrade the Huntsman.

Mulan pulled herself up on her horse with a grunt of anger, but she kept herself in check seeing as Henry was standing right there with his father by the stable entrance. It was obvious that he was as equally upset as she was, though his reason for sullenness was regarding other matters entirely.

"Snow, you and Mulan do not have to go alone! Take a few men with you and leave them outside! You can't trust the Evil Queen and you know this!"

Snow sighed, mounting her own steed. "I know, Charming."

"So why are you doing this?" He cried, trying to understand why his wife, his Queen must be so stubborn.

"For our daughter!"

Henry smiled up at the distraught man, "Father, don't you want to see Emma too?"

The White King looked up and met Mulan's intense, dark gaze... then back to the child who was oblivious to the true situation at hand, "I do son, I want to see your sister so much. But it is not safe...the Evil Queen, she..." he trailed off, not sure how to continue and just sighed.

"I can go too! Maybe if Emma's sees me and how cute I am, she'll come home!"

Snow and Charming vehemently shook their heads, both shouting out 'No!', "Henry, please promise me that you'll stay here, please!"

When Henry didn't answer his mother, Charming crossed his arms staring down at his son. "Henry."

Finally the young Prince nodded, pouting and looking towards the ground. Mulan subtly acknowledged Snow, "Your Highness, we should take our leave now if we wish to be on time."

Mulan then proceeded to move away from the stables towards the riding trail that led to the forest, to give the royal family time to bid their farewells. Thankfully she wasn't waiting long, Snow joined her shortly. Both women simply nodded to each other and Mulan took the lead, but neither could take off into a full run until they were clear of the low branches.

"Mulan?"

Mulan looked over her shoulder briefly. "Yes my Queen?"

"I know that you're not happy with my decision regarding Emma, but she is my daughter. I can't..." Snow took a shuddering deep breath, "I can't make the final decision until I know for sure."

Eventually they reached the end of the trail and came out into safe riding trails, but Mulan stopped her horse and turned him around to look at Snow, who had confused her greatly. "My Queen, what final decision do you speak of?"

Snow White reached inside her riding coat and pulled out the vial that Rumpelstiltskin had given her. She stared at it for a while before holding it out for Mulan to take. The White Knight took it cautiously, looking between the item and Snow White curiously. "I plan to use that to bring my daughter home...but if I fail, please drink it Mulan. I consider you my extended family, and it would be a great honor to be able to share this with you. And I trust you will make good use of it until the end of your days."

"What is it?"

"True Love's magic." Mulan watched Snow White take off on her horse, then looked back at the vial in her hand. She was tempted to drink right then and there, so that she would be ready when she and Emma came into battle again, but instead she placed it in her breast pocket and followed after her Queen.

SQ :: SWAN QUEEN :: SQ

Emma blocked Lancelot's low blow and kicked him in the sternum, effectively pushing the larger man away from her. She was clearly out-sized by her opponent, but this did not slow the warrior down. Lancelot wiped the stinging blood from his eyes and took a few deep breaths, because Emma's last kick was spot on and he felt as if heart stilled with his lungs for a moment or two.

So far Emma and Lancelot were twice with two cuts on various places, one being on Lancelot's forehead. Most of the guards who were off duty were surrounding the sparring court, cheering and shouting out bets, but who they were cheering and betting on was still unclear to the two competitors.

"Had enough?" Emma asked with a smirk, snapping her inky blade away from her body and cleaning it of the blood that coated its surface.

"Not yet." Lancelot charged at Emma with his blade raised over his left shoulder and his right shoulder pointed out as if her were going to tackle her to the ground. Emma sheathed her sword and decided it was time to stop fighting fair and show off a bit. As soon as Lancelot was close enough, Emma disappeared into a shady billow. Lancelot brought his blade down through it, the tip hitting the stone ground with a loud 'clink'. Emma appeared behind him, mid-flying a round-house kick between his shoulder blades, making him stumble forward but the Captain of the dark army was quick on his feet and turned to catch Emma, yet she was gone and he was left breathing in nothing but black smoke. Emma kept it up until she had her friend down on his back. Once the smoke cleared, everyone who was there to witness their champion in action saw her straddling the captain's stomach with a dagger to his throat. Emma quickly nicked him, it was small and he barely felt it, but they both knew that Emma just won their sparring game.

Emma got off the big man and held out her hand, which he immediately took. "Next time, you can't use your magic asshole."

Emma laughed, relieved he wasn't too pissed. She knew men and their pride were worse than a scorned woman. "Deal, maybe next time we can partner together. Two against two?"

"Deal."

Another knight came up to them, she was the lieutenant. Her name was Pocahontas and she was probably the only other high-ranked female in the entire Dark Kingdom's army. She didn't carry a sword like all of the other soldiers. Instead, she wielded a compact bow and carried a case of arrows on her back that was strapped across her front. Her armor was just the same, but in lieu of pants and chain sleeves. She wore an armored skirt and her upper-body remained sleeveless, like Emma, with the exception of leather straps that wrapped around the length of her forearms, proudly showing off her tribal tattoos.

The dark-haired woman looked at Lancelot with a smile, "What hurts worse? Your pride or your head?"

The Commander frowned good-naturedly and walked away towards the healer's station. Pocahontas smiled at Emma patting the blondes bare arm, not caring if it was bloody. "You impressed the guys. No one has seen Lancelot on his back for awhile."

"I just wanted to show them first-hand, that me being in this position is no fluke."

Pocahontas nodded, eyeing Emma subtly. "You did well. Some believed it was because the Queen goes to bed a happy woman every night. They will think twice now."

Emma laughed, but it sounded strangled and she was blushing deeply, which amused the Lt. greatly. "Thanks...I ah, I have to go meet the Queen soon for lunch anyway. See you later Pocahontas."

The native knight watched Emma walked away with a twinkle in her eye before going to check on her husband.

SQ :: SWAN QUEEN :: SQ

Emma had cleaned herself up and quickly went down to meet Regina down by the dining hall, barely making it on time. Regina was already there, holding a basket of cherry red apples and it made Emma even hungrier. Regina took in the fresh cut on Emma's bare arm and raised a brow, "I suppose it looked worse on the court."

The way Regina said that made Emma suspicious, "You were there?"

Regina nodded as she handed Emma the basket of apples, and turned her back to her. The guards bowed slightly, and then opened the grand dining hall doors. Emma took a deep breath and followed after her Queen, making sure to stay a step behind her. The dining table was made up beautifully with a variety of fruits and meat in various positions on the table, with two cool pitchers placed at either end. There was a large open space in the center of the table and that is where Emma placed the basket. It was perfect...too perfect.

Regina conjured up something with a wave of her hand and handed it to Emma. The Dark Champion took it curiously, "A sword? What am I to do with another sword?"

Regina smirked, raising a brow. "Do you not recognize it, my dear?"

Emma turned the blade this way and that, before she became fully aware of what she was holding; it was Mulan's sword. Chuckling, Emma placed it at her side for all to see, and pulled out the chair for Regina then sat down herself, throwing up her hood.

No sooner than had they been seated, the double doors opened and Snow White and her white champion walked into the room and were being guided to the table.

SQ :: SWAN QUEEN :: SQ

The silence between the four women was not awkward, but it was tense and unsettling. Mulan was glaring so hard at Emma she kept forgetting where she was and that she couldn't just jump the blonde. The sun's rays streaming from the high windows were reflecting off of the bare sword and glaring at Mulan, making it hard for the White Knight to ignore.

While Snow was staring at her daughter as she ate, she was desperately trying to get her mouth to work with her mind, but it was just impossible. The little girl she raised and molded was no little girl now. She was a grown woman and even more beautiful than she previously remembered...blemishes and all, she reluctantly admitted.

Both Dark Kingdom officials were enjoying their companies discomfort and were eating as if they were with old time friends. Finally, Snow set her cracker and cheese down and cleared her throat. Three pairs of eyes turned to her, but Snow's attention was on Emma. She had so much to say to her daughter, so much...but she could only manage a very dejected, "Why?"

"Because I hate you and that despicable kingdom."

Snow White's eyes widened and she glared at Regina, ready to accuse her for corrupting her daughter, but she remembered that tale that Rumpelstiltskin had weaved before her eyes and reigned in her accusations for now. "I—I don't understand...I'm your mother, how can you hate me? I gave you everything! You wanted for nothing!"

"I wanted for everything!" Emma shot back, speaking in deceptively calm manner, but her eyes told another tale. "I wanted for everything you had to give to me, but you gave me none of that."

Regina chuckled, "Hence why Lady Swan is here...with me. I give her everything she wants...and then some." Regina added suggestively, popping a grape between her full red lips.

Snow and Mulan didn't miss Regina's salacious overtone, or the way Emma was looking at her. And then it dawned on Snow just how far Regina and Emma have gone, and she was disgusted. "You truly have no limits do you Regina?" Snow scoffed, shaking her head. "I'm almost ashamed to admit that I'm happy you cannot bear any children."

"Unfortunately; because I would be a better mother than you could ever hope to be."

The hairs on Snow White's neck bristled, and she glared at Regina. "All I can say is, is that the apple didn't fall from the tree Regina. You're just as manipulative and evil as she is."

"Don't criticize her Mother." Emma spat, picking up the table knife and began twirling it between her fingers subconsciously. "You always see the wrong in others, but never yourself. I didn't run away for her, I ran away for me. You had no idea what I wanted...and you still don't. I have one question...Why her? Why couldn't you let me be the White Knight?"

"You were born a princess and you were meant to die a princess!"

Emma shook her head, "All I wanted was to be my own person."

"Selling your soul to the devil was a great start then."

Both Emma and Regina were surprised that Snow White knew that much, Mulan smirked. "I didn't sell it, I traded it."

Snow let a single tear fall and Regina rolled her eyes, mumbling under her breath. "I prayed it wasn't true...that you were so far gone with the darkness. I came here in hopes to bring you home for a second chance and your father will-"

"You're a poor excuse for a Queen and you're not a fit mother dear." Regina interrupted, tired of her rivals rambling. "And I wouldn't be surprised if your marriage is suffering."

Snow frowned, cheeks reddening. "How dare you speak to me like that! I am a Queen and you will treat me as such!"

Emma picked up an apple and bit into it loudly, leaning back in her chair still playing with the knife. "You have always been great at wasting time."

"Indeed." Regina pushed her chair back, and took an apple from the top of the pile and bit into it gingerly then held it out for the other, lesser Queen. "A truce dear. As long as Lady Swan remains here in my kingdom, yours will not be destroyed by my hand...and...I will pay the reward on her poster...as a gift."

Mulan's eye darted between the apple in Regina's hand and her Queen. Snow swallowed, hand twitching. She didn't want to take hand-outs...especially from the one who was out to destroy her, but she knew the money could get them through the cold winter much easier. Swallowing her pride, Snow White slowly reached for the apple and Emma smirked; her nose crinkling with disgust...her mother was so desperate. Out of the corner of her eye she saw Mulan preparing to take the apple from Snow's hand, just as she sank her teeth down into it. Dropping her own apple, Emma flung the knife and it sliced through Mulan's hand like a hot knife and butter, causing the other champion to cry out in pain.

Snow White quickly swallowed the small piece she bit off and looked at her warriors hand and then to Emma in horror. She tried to speak, but everything was getting darker and she fell out of the chair into a state of unconsciousness. Mulan stared, wide-eyed in shock...then it slowly turned into anger and she forgot about the knife embedded in her hand and launched over the table and tackled Emma to the floor. The heavy wooden chair took quite a hit and broke underneath their combined weight. The Evil Queen took a step back and watched from a safe distance. She saw the double doors open and the guards were about to come rushing in but she held up her hand...she wanted to see how Emma would fare against Mulan.

Emma blocked three of six punches from her face...mainly the shots with the knife Mulan had in her hand. Emma twisted to the left and threw her elbow into the side of the warriors jaw and forced her off of her. As Mulan rolled off Emma, she grabbed her sword off the blondes hip swiftly. Emma was sitting on her knees, eyes honed in on Mulan's defensive stance and the way she had her sword drawn back, just waiting to strike.

Emma saw that Regina was watching and she refused to lose in front of her Queen.

SQ :: SWAN QUEEN :: SQ

Emma and Mulan faced off in the middle of the dining hall. The area was large enough for them to tear each other apart and still be at a safe distance from the bystanders. Emma drew her own blade, putting all her weight on her right leg that was behind her.

Mulan rushed at Emma. When she was a mere few feet from Emma, Mulan shifted to the left and brought her sword up to slash Emma across the front. Emma quickly stepped away, and Mulan's blade barely missed her. Emma could see the scratches as it passed her face.

Quickly, before Mulan came down with her blade, Emma punched Mulan in her solar plexus. Mulan double over in surprise and discomfort. Emma swiftly brought her knee up and busted Mulan's nose and pushed the dark-haired woman away.

Angered, Mulan charged at Emma again but she wasn't so easily bested this time and immediately Emma was on the defense. Both champions were moving around the dining hall blindly. The dark champion attempting to gain the upper hand and the white champion was desperately trying to match the power of the other and remain in control. They had reached the wall that was furthest away from the doors and the Evil Queen and the small crowd. Emma's raw power was tiring Mulan out much more quickly than any other opponent she has battled.

The Dark Assassins feet were far apart and she was off balance. Despite it being a small window, Mulan took it with ease. Emma caught the fast traveling sword with her bare hand just inches from slicing off her head. The blood ran down her pale bare arm like running water. Emma didn't care about that and barely felt the pain. Trapping Mulan's gaze like a snake would it's pray, Emma showed a great amount of tolerance and strength as she lowered Mulan's arm by the woman's blade.

Frowning and snapping out of the daze as she noticed Emma's arm winding back for a killing blow, Mulan got dirty. She grabbed Emma's collar and brought the woman closer and brought her knee up fiercely into her exposed groin.

The crowd, and even the Evil Queen winced. Smirking, Mulan snatched her sword back from Emma's grip, and round-house kicked Emma in the jaw, knocking the blonde backwards and she folded over a table still holding her crotch, landing on the floor in a heap. Regina made a mental note to create the appropriate armor to protect that very important part of her champion's body.

Mulan wiped her bloody nose and sheathed her sword in its proper home and turned to look at the Dark Queen who was staring back at her with cold umber eyes and she was surrounded by more than a dozen dark knights with their swords drawn, ready to attack Mulan.

"Some 'Champion'" Mulan taunted.

"No matter, it was only a distraction dear. I have what I want." Regina laughed, and stepped to the left. She revealed Snow White...in a glass coffin, looking more peaceful than she has since Emma ran away.

Mulan gasped in horror and took a half step forward, hand back on the hilt of her sword. "You killed her!"

Regina laughed again, "Killed her? Oh don't be stupid girl...Killing this thing would be too easy. Too merciful. She is just sleeping...Living the most ghoulish nightmares imaginable...thanks to me of course."

"You bitch! You will never get away with this...Your days are numbered!"

Regina shrugged slightly, eyes flickering. "That may be dear, but your time has run out."

Mulan was violently swept off her feet as Emma picked her up by her neck and tossed her into a table. Mulan went through a chair and hit the table hard, feeling, rather than hearing a few of her left ribs breaking. Emma was on Mulan faster than a wraith. She pushed Mulan back against the table, enjoying the popping of her back as her upper body went too far back. Emma targeted Mulan's torso repeatedly. She broke every bone she could find in the dark-haired woman's torso. Emma raised both her fists before swinging them in a windmill motion and catching Mulan under the chin.

The barely conscious woman flew across two tables before colliding into another and sliding uncontrollably to the floor. Emma laughed and went to pick up her own sword and stalked to where Mulan was.

"Lady Swan."

Emma stopped a few feet from Mulan's still body and turned to Regina, "Yes my Queen?"

"Kill her with your bare hands dear."

Without hesitation, Emma sheathed her sword and stepped over Mulan. She grabbed the White Knight's shoulder and flipped her onto her back. Mulan spit in Emma's eye, but the blonde barely reacted. "Disgusting."

Mulan grinned, her teeth covered in blood...some were even loose. She could hardly see Emma because one of her eyes was swollen shut. She felt as if her upper body had been trampled by hundreds of wild horses. What Mulan hadn't realized was that when Emma was beating the life out of her, she broke the vial in Mulan's breast pocket and the potion was seeping into one of Mulan's open wounds—where a small part of her rib was sticking out.

Emma took Mulan's battered face between her bloodied and bruising hands, and she quickly snapped her neck. Emma threw the woman's head back and stood straight, taking a few steps back.

She stared down at Mulan's body for a moment or two before walking away, although she was moving slowly. Mulan's crotch shot wasn't weak. Halfway to Regina, as the guards were moving past her to collect Mulan's corpse, one of the men shouted and Emma turned around to see that Mulan's foot twitched and she was surrounded by a cloud of white smoke.

"Impossible." Emma growled, but as she began to draw her own sword...Mulan was gone, just in time. The knights looked at Emma in confusion and for guidance and Emma turned to look at Regina, who was less than impressed. "I broke her neck! She is supposed to be dead! She is dead my Queen."

Regina frowned, shifting her glare from the blood pool on her dining hall floor; to Emma. Emma tilted her head to side, as if daring to be called a liar. Pursuing her lips, the Evil Queen turned on her heel and placed her hand on the single red rose that lay on top of the glass coffin that contained Snow White. "You have used your last trick my dear. Everything you have ever loved and cared for will be destroyed by my hand with the help of your precious little girl. Enjoy those nightmares...because it is nothing compared to what will happen in reality."

SQ :: SWAN QUEEN :: SQ

Still trying to walk off the tingling pain she felt between her legs, Emma came up next to the Evil Queen, after she dismissed the guards and tasked two of them to clean up the dining hall with the maidens. She didn't even look at her mother, she only had eyes for the brunette with the crazed-look in her eye and a wry smile. "What now?"

Not answering, Regina threw up her hands and then suddenly they were standing in the middle of an old, run-down stable. There was barely any hay and no horses around. Everything was pretty much iced over and it was...well it was dead. Emma watched Regina use her magic to place Snow White's coffin in a stable and magically place a large pile of hay over it until it was no longer visible. The Evil Queen made the area invisible and walked out of the stables with Emma right behind her. The blonde saw nothing but beautiful mounds of white that went on for many miles, she saw a gray, stone house not too far from the stables, and there was a hill just east of the stables with a large dying oak tree and two lonely graves sitting under it.

Shifting a bit, Emma looked at Regina curiously. "Where are we?"

Regina, who was also looking around—reminiscing, met Emma's gaze exhaling deeply. "Where it all began."

SQ :: SWAN QUEEN :: SQ

Chapter Text

SQ :: SWAN QUEEN :: SQ

Emma was snoring softly, lying in the bed next to Regina. Regina had been watching Emma sleep for the past several minutes without shame. She was taking the time to enjoy the blonde's beauty without interruption. Since their first night together Regina has enjoyed waking up before her champion and simply watching her sleep, and then slowly come re-enter the land of the living. She had such smooth skin and her athletic body was just... Regina sighed. Even asleep, Emma managed somehow to get her wet. She had an arm across her stomach and the other tucked under the pillow next to the one she was currently on.

Sitting up a little more, the aroused woman gently pushed the sheets away to expose more of Emma's torso. Regina ran her fingers along the blonde's impressive abs. As she caressed them, flashbacks of the previous night came back to her—watching the amazing abs tighten and jump beneath pale skin, as Emma worked her body like a finely tuned instrument.

Emma shifted, but she was still oblivious to the world around her. Regina's hand made its way past Emma's belly button and grasped the blonde's member, it was semi-hard but nowhere near as hard as the previous night. Regina smirked, feeling her own pussy throb as more images from the night before continued playing over and over in her mind. As she began to coax Emma's cock awake, she leaned down and took a rosy nipple between her lips, feeling it immediately pucker under her manipulating tongue. Emma took a deep breath but she didn't wake up, and Regina didn't stop.

The Dark Queen continued her ministrations for a few more minutes, then she released Emma's nipples and moved the covers down and away from the blonde's body completely. Gingerly, Regina moved to straddle Emma; knees on either side of the younger woman's narrow hips. Regina was in no mood for teasing, she awoke aroused and Emma was going to satisfy her—whether she was awake or not. Sitting up on her knees, Regina reached between her own legs with her free hand and slid in a finger or two surprised by how wet and hot she was...She'd never been this ready so quickly before.

Before getting too carried away, Regina withdrew her fingers and gingerly coated her juices around the throbbing cock trapped in her other hand. Carefully, she re-positioned herself, and lowered herself onto Emma's lap... enjoying every single glorious centimeter entering her needy, lust-filled core. Green eyes snapped open, and pale hands were on her waist a split second after halting her movements. Emma ignored Regina's frustrated growl and death glare, "Regina?" her voice was raspy and full of sleep, and it did nothing to help Regina's burning desire. "What the hell are you doing?"

"Shut up and enjoy the ride Emma." Regina pushed Emma's hands away, and took the last few inches on the blonde's appendage, both women moaning at the same time. Regina was still for a moment or two, simply enjoying how deep Emma was and allowing her body to stretch around her beautiful lover. The blonde opened her eyes again when she felt Regina's hips start to move against hers. She was curious as to why Regina woke up so frisky, but she wasn't going to question it—right now she was going to enjoy her ladies not-so-subtle advances. She reached up and groped the brunette's full breasts with her calloused hands, feeling the woman's hard nipples poking into the palm of her hand. Regina could feel her orgasm approaching quickly as Emma's shaft hit her g-spot perfectly as she moved up and down on her lover. Emma could feel more juice running out of Regina and her body tightening around her; she knew the brunette was close.

Reluctantly releasing the woman's breast, Emma sat up with one hand placed behind her under the pillows, and the other at the Queen's lower back; over a small sheet of sweat. Emma began meeting Regina's thrusts as she started to move up and down, faster and harder. Regina was getting louder and louder as her orgasm neared. She was trying not to alarm the guards outside her door, but Emma felt so damn good inside of her, and when she took control and started thrusting into her, Emma made it hard for her to keep her blissful cries of ecstasy in. Regina threw her head back, eyes closed and she tended to her own nipples, pinching and pulling them roughly. Emma could see that the Queen was struggling, so she moved her hand to her hip and pulled her forward, forcing the woman to grind down on her...her clit pressed against Emma's hard lower abs.

Regina shot forward to hug the blonde tight and she kissed Emma fiercely as her body shook violently, and she screamed her release into the blonde's mouth. Emma held the Dark Queen tightly, their chests heaving up and down simultaneously, each woman struggling to catch her breath. Suddenly, Regina found herself on her back with Emma hovering over her, and still inside of her. Emma had the Evil Queen's hands pinned above her head with one hand, and the other was holding her up. Regina tried to remove herself from Emma's grip, but the Dark Knight wasn't having it, and she began to push herself in and out of the beautiful woman squirming beneath her. She was so close, and Regina trying in vain to get free was making this all the more sweet.

As Emma's own orgasm approached she let Regina's hands go and laid her body down on the brunette's without breaking rhythm. Regina ran her hands all over the blonde's back, as she wrapped one leg around Emma's thigh. She was still prickling with excitement and she wanted more, and Emma was all too happy to give it to her. The Evil Queen dug her nails into Emma's tight derriere and that was it, Emma dropped her face into the pillow next to Regina's head and screamed into it as she exploded inside of her lover, while Regina climaxed for the second time that morning; twitching slightly as the orgasm washed over her body.

They remained like that for several more minutes before Emma slipped out of Regina and rolled over, throwing an arm over her eyes. She was red in the face and slightly sweaty from the exertion. When she finally caught her breath, she chuckled. "Wow."

Regina smirked, licking her lips closing her eyes as well. By the way the sun was shining into her bed chambers, she knew she should be up by now, but the sated queen just wanted to enjoy this moment a while longer with Emma. "Wow indeed dear."

SQ :: SWAN QUEEN :: SQ

The White Kingdom was in panic, their Queen had been missing for a week now, and their champion's life was hanging in the balance by merely a thread. Charming refused to believe the rumors that were spreading like wildfire about Snow being dead—that the dark champion, his very own flesh and blood, took her own mother's head...but the more days that passed and no word from the Evil Queen or his wife...his resolve was beginning to weaken. Whether he wanted to admit it or not...this kingdom wasn't run by a King and Queen in equals. Snow White ruled her kingdom alone, and Charming was just there—like a trophy on her arm, not the other way around.

He had a 5 year old son who continuously asked him questions; questions he had no sort of answer to. He had their number one warrior on her death bed, and the healers couldn't tell him how she was even alive—and they didn't know if she was going to make it because they couldn't read her body. And the White Kingdom's people were panicking and they were getting out of control. More drunks were appearing and no one was showing up for work. The Evil Queen had finally won...Mayhem was ensuing and the White Kingdom was falling and there were no ifs, ands, or buts about it.

Henry and Red stuck by Mulan's side, and even moved into her room. Charming didn't have a clue as to how to comfort them; because in reality, he couldn't even comfort himself. Everything around him was falling apart and the only thing Charming did was sit on his throne in the throne room, day and night...trying to ignore the world crumbling around him.

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Later that day, well into nightfall...

Emma stood between Pocahontas and Lancelot on the hill that looked over the White Kingdom's west wing—it's weakest side.

Pocahontas crossed her arms, "I don't see anything but crops and a market."

"Exactly." Emma nodded, hands on her hips. "We set the west wing on fire and go in through the front door...and kill all of those who won't join the Evil Queen."

Lancelot looked at Emma, smirking. "After all this time, I doubt anyone is going to be shifting alliances anytime soon."

Emma chuckled, glancing at the ground in amusement as she rocked on her heels. "I am still going to ask for the hell of it. The Dark Queen wants no survivors."

"Hmm," Lancelot nodded, "The three of us can take care of it tonight. What do you say?"

Emma blinked, her night-seeing, viridescent eyes scanning the White Kingdom's west wing. Lancelot was correct, the three of them could indeed take the White Kingdom by force...with just a simple crop fire that would send the remaining Snow White followers in a state of panic.

Emma; however, knew the three of them would not be able to cover all of the exits to make sure no one escaped. Emma also knew that she could use her shadow magic and simply conjure up some shadow soldiers to assist...but she was also aware that the Dark Kingdom's army hadn't had any real fun for quite some time, so she decided to just humor them...There was only one person she was interested in anyhow. Emma took a subconscious step forward, the muscles in her back tensing...fingers twitching.

"Emma?" Pocahontas called, looking at their commanding officer worriedly. The blonde seemed to be in some sort of stare-off with one of the towers. "Do you see something?"

Lancelot frowned at his wife's ludicrous question. "It's pitch black Lieutenant, what is there possibly to see?" from Lancelot's point of view, only the torches from the White Kingdom could be seen...and even that was a stretch from their position.

Emma blinked and did an about-face, startling both of them. "I'm fine, you two should head back and let the Queen know that we found a way in."

Lancelot nodded, turning to jog back down the hill where the two brown horses were waiting patiently, despite being knee deep in the snow. Pocahontas stayed behind, still not convinced Emma was as "fine" as she had claimed herself to be. "Are you sure you're alright?"

Emma smiled at the native woman, crossing her arms and kicking at the snow gently. "I can use the fresh air, and if the Queen needs me...She can find me in the Shadow Realm."

Pocahontas wasn't exactly sure what that meant, but she promised to deliver the message anyway. Reluctantly, the wary lieutenant left Emma alone on top of the hill and rode back to the Dark Kingdom with her husband.

SQ :: SWAN QUEEN :: SQ

Emma took one last look at the highest tower before entering the shadow world, breathing in deeply. It was always a rush for her, walking along an invisible platform that was set between the portals that were being cast from the shadows all over the Enchanted Forest. This was a bigger part of Dead Man's Land...She no longer felt like a guest, but she felt as if she were at home; simply strolling around aimlessly. Though if Emma were to be perfectly honest with herself...She was looking for someone in particular. At the moment, Emma was inside the White Castle...looking through the many windows its shadows provided for her prying eyes...and yet, she found nothing of interest. No one of interest.

Emma stopped, tilting her head. She immediately sensed that she was no longer alone. Turning—she found the Dark Queen standing there in her night gown and robe...Though one wouldn't think she was a Queen, wearing something so thin and short. Regina was carrying a torch, seeing as she didn't have night vision like Emma, and she didn't look too happy at the moment. Emma almost regretted showing the woman how to enter the shadow world without getting lost forever—she didn't want her to know that Mulan's survival really ruffled her feathers, and she was caught in the White Castle attempting to finish the job—underhandedly no less.

The brunette pursed her lips, sighing. "Do you have any idea what time it is?"

Emma sighed, leaning back against an invisible wall. She ran both hands over her face in exasperation. "I can't sleep with a troubled mind."

"I see..." Regina mused, feeling Emma's body heat as she stepped into the blonde's personal space. Regina had no idea what possessed her to leave the comfort of her warm bed to find Emma in the cold depths of the shadow realm. "Are you sure you're not just looking for Mulan to finish the job, dear?"

Emma sighed again, "I...I just have to be sure. I just..." Emma shook her head, "I don't know. I feel like I failed you when she didn't die...and I don't like failure."

Regina studied her champion closely, while examining her own emotions. Regina hadn't felt so benevolent toward anyone since Daniel. Emma was warming her heart faster than Daniel had when they first met, and it had taken several riding sessions before Regina and Daniel were on first name basis...and as painful as it was to admit, Regina knew that she and Emma connected on a much deeper level.

"I'm sorry"

Emma's unexpected and unjust apology broke Regina from her thoughts and left her confused. "Pardon?"

"I said I'm sorry."

"What for dear? You've done nothing wrong beside force me to leave the comfort of my bed to come looking for you." Regina's bark, however, was louder than her bite.

"I'm sorry about that too...but I was apologizing for what Snow said earlier. About you not being able to have children..."

Regina tensed and her gaze shifted to a window that led straight into the dark Enchanted Forest. "It was my own doing, Lady Swan. Nothing more, nothing less."

Emma's brows furrowed as she pushed off the invisible wall and took Regina's free hand in her own, leaving no space between their bodies. "Why would you do such a thing?"

Regina sighed, she wondered how much she should tell Emma. If she should tell her at all...It was none of her concern, and yet here she was...contemplating what she should and shouldn't say, and why? Because deep down inside, in such a short period of time, she valued what Emma had to say and what Emma thought...specifically what she thought of her. It was hard for a woman with her reputation to trust another, especially since she usually has to take their heart out to ensure their loyalty, and allow them to bed her...and stay when they were finished.

Though their stories are very different in some aspects, their resulted emotions are parallel. It wasn't just about the magic...but Emma warmed Regina's blackened heart, not just her bed. Somehow, someway the young blonde warrior was getting past the Evil Queen's defenses without trying.

"You don't have to tell me if it makes you uncomfortable. I'm just trying to understand you Regina." The brunette's silence stretched too long for Emma's liking.

Brown eyes met green, Regina lowered her torch a bit. "Dear, don't waste your time. There is absolutely nothing to understand about me. I'm the Evil Queen, that should be self-explanatory."

Emma shrugged lazily, holding Regina's hand tighter. "There's a woman behind the title as well. I remember you telling me once that nothing is to be feared, only understood."

"Why does it matter to you?" Regina's heart fluttered at the prospect that Emma could be feeling their connection as much as she has, but she wasn't ready to let her guard down. Not yet...she wasn't even sure if she even knew how anymore. Everything she's ever loved and cared for was taken away from her—leaving her all alone with nothing but anger and despair. Who is to say Emma won't be taken from her as well? Whether by her own free will...or by another force all together. It was a heartache Regina wasn't sure she wanted to go through again.

Emma could see the turmoil in Regina's intense brown orbs, and it pulled at her heart a little. Emma wanted to answer Regina but she wasn't sure if she should—or even how to. She wasn't sure if she'd be pushing the woman too far too soon—pushing herself too far too soon. She wasn't even ready to say what she was thinking aloud and Emma knew for a fact Regina wouldn't be ready to hear it. "I just care enough to try." Emma said it anyway, "People like us—with dark powers...we don't have anyone. So why not just look out for each other?" By the frown on Regina's face, she was sure she wasn't making much sense—or the Dark Queen wasn't on the same page as Emma.

Regina's heart began to beat double for a few moments upon discovering that Emma was feeling their connection and welcomed it. Seeing as the woman literally gave up her birthright and every ounce of light in her body for the darkness...Regina was certain that love wasn't in Emma's vocabulary, and yet here the blonde was; reaching out to Regina, admitting that she at least cared for Regina. Then... The brunette looked down and her brown eyes caught her Coat of Arms insignia on Emma's uniform and was forcibly reminded that it was Emma's job to care for her, to protect her...to do what she told her—including warming her bed. It wasn't real, it was an illusion. Love is weakness, her mother's voice caressed her mind...and it burned.

The Dark Queen frowned and took a step back, clearing her throat. Emma saw the Evil Queen waking up and straightened her spine, she saw the change as if she were watching storm clouds forming before a torrential downpour began. She wondered if it was something she had said, or maybe if it was something she had done. She wasn't sure, but she no longer had anything to say...She wasn't fond of being choked and didn't wish to relive those moments.

"Lady Swan, please carry on with whatever it was that you were doing here. Just remember court is tomorrow and we do have lunch with my pundit and the Captain and Lieutenant. Try and get some rest. Goodnight." The Dark Queen turned on her heel and began to walk back the way she came.

Emma was confused now and followed after Regina, no longer wishing to seek out Mulan. "You don't want my company anymore? Isn't that why you came down here? Because you want me to-"

Regina stopped, looking over her shoulder. "Exactly dear. You're a want, not a need. Goodnight." the Evil Queen waved her free hand and she was gone in an instant, leaving behind a stunned and vexed Emma in the shadow realm.

SQ :: SWAN QUEEN :: SQ

Emma sniffed indignantly, though not one tear was allowed to escape from her beautiful green eyes. She reluctantly went to another part of the Enchanted Forest and stepped out of one of the portals, taking a deep breath. Sometimes she wished she could travel the different worlds just by using the shadow realm; unfortunately it was limited to what world one was in.

Emma reached down and scooped up a handful of snow and tossed it at a nearby tree, enjoying the way the frozen ice crystals exploded against the cold bark. She repeated this redundant process several times until she grew bored of it, and was no longer irritated enough to have her fingers fall off because she wasn't wearing the proper hand gear to play in the snow...especially so late at night.

Deciding to take Regina's 'advice' she turned to walk back into the shadow realm, opting to walk than travel by cloud. Emma stopped dead in her tracks, white orbs were several inches away from her own. Emma took a step back and assessed the situation...There was a floating shadow with white eyes staring at her. It made not a sound and simply floated and stared at her.

Emma stared right back, prepared for anything. It wouldn't be the first time she has come across a rogue shadow, and it certainly wouldn't be the first hostile one either. Then the shadow simply bowed, and turned gesturing for Emma to follow. Despite her raised neck hairs, Emma cautiously followed the contour. She wasn't sure how long she was walking through the shadow realm, but she was beginning to notice that the longer they walked, the fewer the gateways. Finally, her mysterious companion stopped and drifted to the side, gesturing for Emma to walk through the single gateway before disappearing. Emma observed the stone room from the safety of the shadow realm, weighing her options. She could turn away and just forget this ever happened, or she could simply investigate why a contour would request her to follow it—because it never happened to her before. Whether or not it was the prudent choice, Emma sighed and stepped through the gateway.

SQ :: SWAN QUEEN :: SQ

The room was small and windowless. It was cold and a little damp, and the only lighting in the room was a torch set up by the door, but that flame was barely staying alive. Emma looked around the dimly lit room and spotted something huddled in the corner...then she realized it wasn't a something, but a someone—who was now getting to their feet.

"W-who are you?" the teenage boy asked. Emma saw that he was slightly taller than she was with long, but well-maintained brown hair, green eyes and rather odd, large ears for such a stature as his. Emma saw that he was dressed for winter but his clothes were doing him no good in this chamber—this chamber she was slowly coming to realize as a holding cell. "Who are you?" the boy repeated, bringing Emma out of her musings.

"My name is Emma." she was keeping her voice low, she wasn't sure if there was a guard outside the door and she would rather not cause any trouble, at least not before discovering why she had been led to this place.

"Did my shadow bring you here?" He came a little closer to Emma, hugging himself tightly. The blonde could see that the boy was a little malnourished and was freezing.

Emma blinked taken back, "Your shadow? Uh, yeah...He did. Lucky for you I had nothing better to do, so I humored him, and here we are." Despite his weak state and situation, he smirked and Emma returned it. "Got yourself into quite the pickle didn't you Kid?"

The lanky boy laughed lightly, "I haven't been a kid for a long time Emma."

Green eyes narrowed in suspicion, her hackles raised, Emma took a half step back. "Who are you?"

"Oh did I forget to introduce myself? I'm Peter...Peter Pan."

Emma raised a brow, "Interesting name." Then she gestured to the small room around them. "Interesting situation. Is there an interesting story as well?"

Peter grinned, "Would you happen to be familiar with a man by the name of Rumpelstiltskin?"

"By name only." Emma leaned back, not quite touching the door, and crossed her arms. Partially because she'd rather not get mold on her clothing, and also that she might hear if someone was drawing near to the cell. "Is he the one who locked you in here?"

Peter Pan nodded, "I've been here for a week now...You're a hard woman to track Emma, do you know that?"

"How did you end up here in Rumpelstiltskin's cells?"

"He captured me in one of the villages below the mountains. Seems the Dark One isn't capable of weaving immortality into his treacherous deals..."

Emma shrugged, shaking her head; not following. "What does that have to do with you?"

"I created Neverland. It is a fantastical place where Lost Boys and Girls can run away to and they will never grow up. My blood, it's magically immortal. He is using it to create the perfect potions for his twisted games."

Neverland rang a bell in Emma's mind, from the stories her mother told her before bedtime—briefly, but she told Emma about it. According to Snow White...Neverland was built on the premise of evil—not that Emma ever believed that. Emma knew of Neverland, but not the people that occupied it.

"And the shadow? Brought me here to what...rescue you? I guess it's pretty obvious you practice shadow magic, but you're limited. Which is why you haven't walked through that" Emma gestured towards the gateway between her and Pan, "yet."

Peter, still shivering, grinned. "I'd rather have me as an ally than an enemy."

Emma pushed off the wall no longer smiling, "Threaten me again Boy, and Rumpelstiltskin will be the least of your worries. I make what that imp calls hurt and pain, seem to be nothing but child's play."

Peter Pan, however, didn't back down. It was as if Emma was amusing him, "You've got fire. I like fire."

Emma frowned but she heard footsteps quickly approaching, and she reached out and grabbed the freezing boy's upper arm. "You owe me Peter Pan."

"If there is one thing I know about making deals with the devil...They always come to collect."

Emma took that cryptic answer as a yes, and pushed Pan into the gateway and quickly followed after; narrowly missing something thrown at her backside. Both Peter Pan and Emma heard Rumpelstiltskin swearing his revenge. Neither were worried about him, but Emma was worried about the Evil Queen's reaction when she learns that she went about meddling and stirred Rumpelstiltskin's ire.

SQ :: SWAN QUEEN :: SQ

Once Emma deemed them far enough away, she guided Peter Pan back into the Enchanted Forest and far away from Rumpelstiltskin's small castle. The sun was high in the air, high enough for Emma to know that she was late for court...extremely late—though she hadn't realized how long she was gone. Putting that off for a while, she looked at Pan who was still shivering but at least the sun was warming him up somewhat and he didn't look as pasty as before...sort of.

"Where do you plan on going from here Pan?"

Peter looked around, taking in his surroundings and looking thoughtful. "I can hear the cries of orphans from here..." Emma raised a brow, but Pan didn't elaborate. He looked back at Emma with those green eyes, and smirked. "Was it worth it for you?"

"What?"

Peter Pan held up his right hand and Emma saw that he had a similar diagonal faded cut just like she had on her right hand. "Was it worth it? Did you get what you asked for?"

Realization dawned on Emma and she was a bit shocked, Rulf mentioned that it had been years since anyone was worthy of asking The Land for anything and apparently...Pan was one of the survivors. Emma smiled faintly, "It was more than worth it. I had something good...but I got something better. What about you?"

Peter Pan lowered his hand back to his side slowly, "I gave up everything...yet it was nothing. It was worth giving up...and easy."

Emma understood that all too well, "I see. How long do you think you'll stay in the Enchanted Forest?"

Pan shrugged, raising a thick eyebrow. "Until nightfall." Emma nodded, and Pan regarded her for a moment then pulled out something from his worn brown satchel sitting on the right of his hip. It was a small armband, the twin on the one he was wearing now. Emma took, confused.

"Um, thanks?"

"If you ever visit Neverland...this will help you navigate...or if you need me. It works both ways."

"Why are you giving this to me? You hardly know me...I can kill you right here and now...and no one will care. I...won't care."

"Dead Man's Land didn't choose me to be it's successor."

Emma slipped the band on her pale wrist, shaking her head and not really processing what Pan had just told her. She could practically feel the Evil Queen's anger and she was nowhere near the Dark Kingdom. "Just stay out of trouble Pan...and thanks." Emma flicked her wrist and was engulfed in thick black smoke, and then she was gone.

Peter Pan smirked, staring at the spot where Emma was previously standing. He knew she'd have questions later, and she would come seek him out when she was ready. Until then...he had vulnerable children to snatch, and an angry dark lord to avoid until he was recharged.

SQ :: SWAN QUEEN :: SQ

Emma would never admit it, but she was nervous as she entered her bed chambers. She half-expected Regina to be waiting in there for her, ready to choke her and throw her back in the dungeons for missing court. Thankfully it wasn't lunch time yet, she still had a little bit of time, so Emma went into her bathroom and decided to wash up. Her mind being completely void of anything that had occurred in the past few hours.

Emma decided not to make her presence known until it was lunch time, undoubtedly an idiotic move, but she wanted to enjoy her peace and freedom before facing the wrath of the Evil Queen that she was sure about to come down on her. Fresh, and back in her armor, Emma walked down to the dining hall while the guards at the door gave her a sympathetic look—like all the others she has passed on her way down.

"What?" Emma finally snapped.

One of the knights shook his head, trying not to smirk as he and his companion opened the double doors for her. Emma growled under her breath and walked in. She saw Regina sitting next to another brunette with Lancelot and Pocahontas seated across from them. It didn't escape Emma's notice that there was not a fifth chair put out. As Emma approached the table, she ignored the sympathy looks from the two high-ranked knights. The Dark Queen barely spared her Dark Knight a glance as she unfolded her napkin. "Lady Swan, how nice of you to grace us with your presence."

Emma stood close to the table, where her chair should have been and crossed her arms. "I figured I'd actually be needed here." It was a low, and petty, comment but Emma just couldn't help herself. "Where is my chair?"

Regina sniffed snobbishly, and gestured for everyone sitting at the table to eat. Tensely, the three seated dug in...just to have something to do other than look between the two women awkwardly. "You can stand there and listen."

Emma scoffed, "I'm hungry, I'm not going to just stand here."

Regina sighed harshly, settling her piercing glare on the blonde. Emma felt as if Regina's glare would melt her on the spot, if possible. Those brown eyes held so much fire that Emma feigned having something in her eye just to look away, it sent chills down her spine. "Are you disobeying an order from your Queen? Again?"

Emma pursued her lips, and shook her head tightly. "No my Queen, I apologize."

Regina waved off her Dark Knight's apology, "Be quiet, we have business to conduct." Emma's eye twitched but she dared not comment. It was embarrassing, but she knew she deserved it for missing court...She also knew she would be getting it much worse if Regina ever found out that she crossed Rumpelstiltskin...and didn't say anything. Emma rolled her eyes slightly, Regina told her to 'be quiet' so she was doing just that. Emma was so caught up in her thoughts she didn't notice that Regina was watching her from the corner of her eyes, as she tried to make it seem as if Emma was unimportant when actually, it was quite the opposite.

The Evil Queen had tossed and turned for the remainder of the night after she left Emma in the shadow realm. She had uncharacteristically wanted to go find the woman again, to...to make up for what she said and to somehow explain some things, but she just couldn't. When Emma didn't show up for court, Regina was worried and she was upset at the same time, and she just didn't understand why. Why this blonde woman—The woman that was produced by the two people that have been the bane of her existence—brought out so many of her emotions, emotions she has buried a very long time ago. Emotions that she didn't even know she was capable of feeling—not even with Daniel had she felt so impassioned.

"My Queen?" the Evil Queen's adviser, Belle, touched her arm gently.

"What?" Regina sounded harsher than she had intended, but she didn't like being startled out of her thoughts.

Belle smiled apologetically, removing her hand. "Sorry, but I was just asking if it would be alright if we could actually get Lady Swan's input."

"She is going to lead us through the raid." Pocahontas quickly threw in, seeing the Dark Queens glare being directed at Belle. The young brunette actually had a point, it would be beneficial to have the Champion participating rather than standing there mute.

However, both suggestions went ignored by the Evil Queen. "I will speak for The Champion." Her tone left no room for argument. She quietly fixed her plate with a light lunch before speaking again, "Were you all able to find a compromised or weak point of entry into the White Castle?"

Lancelot glanced at Emma, who was staring down at her boots. "Yes Your Highness, the west wing. There are crops back there that we can set on fire and cause a panic; to draw everyone out."

"We figured that with everyone going to the west wing to put out the fires...We would be able to enter through the front quite easily."

"The sooner you finish what you started, the less chance of a rebellion building in the near future." Belle added as an afterthought. "Avoids conflict with kingdoms that the White Kingdom has been associated with. If they send protection and we kill them, it could be war. The sooner the better."

Pocahontas nodded, "No one knows anything yet, we sent out a few archers to kill anyone and anything that leaves the White Kingdom."

Regina took in this information, idly placing a hand over her stomach as she felt something stirring beneath her belly button. The gesture went unnoticed by most of the occupants at the table, but Emma noticed it from the corner of her eye. Emma was hungry, but she would last for a while before she resorted to just going out and getting her own food. She felt like a child being reprimanded as she just stood there and listened. She was barely listening to the strategizing being thrown around...the weight of her blatant disrespect was starting to weigh down on her. Emma looked up when chairs scraped against hardwood floor, the quiet woman saw that Lancelot and Pocahontas were long gone, and Belle was the last to leave. Once she was gone, and Regina cleared the table with a simple wave of her hand. She looked up at Emma. "Sit."

Emma pulled out Belle's chair and sat down, facing Regina. "I'm sorry."

"When you swore yourself to me, you swore obedience and homage. You didn't just miss court Emma, you blatantly disrespected me. As a result of your ignorance, you will not be participating in the raid. You will stay here and you will guard your kingdom and your Queen."

Emma bit her tongue, and tried not to argue. It was obvious that Regina knew this would upset Emma; because she knew that Emma wanted to be the one bring down the White Kingdom and taking that away from her...This was just cruel—and that is why Regina did it. Emma would have argued and thrown a tantrum had she not acknowledged to herself earlier that whatever the Evil Queen dished out—it was well deserved. It still bothered her. "Fine. Is that all?"

Regina pursed her lips, carefully picking her next words. "I believe something has happened in the past couple of weeks—something impossible."

Emma raised a brow, confused and still angry. "Like?"

"Our magic has been...mingling since our first night together dear. I believe I am starting to understand it's side effects."

Emma shook her head, her emotions building. "Life threatening?"

"Life altering." Regina countered curtly, still not believing the words that were about to come out of her mouth next, she turned to face Emma, fully cutting off whatever the blonde was going to say with two words. "I'm pregnant." The Evil Queen watched as all of Emma's anger, confusion, and tension literally melted out of her body...As she slipped to the floor like running water, hitting the cold wood with a solid thud.

SQ :: SWAN QUEEN :: SQ

Chapter Text

SQ :: SWAN QUEEN :: SQ

Green eyes snapped opened and Emma sat up with sharp gasp. She was back in her own bed—a bed she hadn't occupied in some time. The curtains by the balcony were drawn, allowing the cool breeze to enter the room. Emma wiped her brow and pushed the covers from her body and slipped out of bed. Once her bare feet hit the cold floor she realized that someone had changed her out of her armor and she was wearing casual riding clothing. She mentally thanked whoever dressed her that they were loose and comfortable. Even though she had a completely new wardrobe, she still had issues with the clothing she was dictated to wear all her life. She hated to be confined and restricted, feeling most at home in her custom-made armors. Emma slowly realized that she was not alone in the room, and quickly broke free from her inner-musings. Regina was sitting in a chair in the far corner next to the fire place, looking more stoic and regal than Emma has ever seen her before.

Emma worked her jaws to say something, but nothing was coming out. Running her hand through her messy blonde hair, she walked over to where Regina was sitting. Emma just stood there for awhile, staring down at her toes...not sure what to say.

Regina sighed deeply, fingers fidgeting, she couldn't even make eye contact with Emma. She didn't want the young woman to see evidence that she had been crying for the duration of her impromptu nap. "The healer said you hit your head fairly hard, but that you'd be fine. I...I am having dinner brought to us anyway."

Emma didn't miss the 'us' part, at least Regina wasn't mad at her...well not to the point that she'd want to just ignore Emma completely. Slowly, a bit unsure of herself, Emma sat down on the cold, tiled floor at Regina's high-heeled feet. The blonde wrapped her arms around her knees and rocked a little bit, like a ball. "How are you?"

"I'm still in shock dear. This...should not be possible."

Emma blinked, nodding slightly. "You never told me why Regina."

The Dark Queen scoffed, "It doesn't matter now."

"It matters to me! I meant what I said last night Regina..." Emma looked up at the brunette and despite the setting sun, Emma's enhanced vision enabled her to see tear tracks, making it obvious that Regina had cried at some point while she has been sitting in that chair waiting for Emma to wake up. Whether those were happy tears or not, Emma wasn't sure, but she wanted to know. "I do care about you."

"No one cares about me dear. Not anymore. Those who cared, are no longer here."

Emma bit her bottom lip, still rocking back and forth. "Regina..." Emma trailed off, not knowing where to start...Sure she was as complicated as the next person, but Regina... Regina was a kind of complicated that required a lot of patience. She was even confused by her own feelings, almost hurt...or angry, that Regina made it sound like a personal attack on her being. She basically spat in her face by saying that she didn't care. But righteous indignation would get her nowhere with this beautiful, complicated, puzzle of a woman in front of her. Emma needed to tread very lightly. "Why won't you just let me care?"

"Everyone that has ever 'cared' about me is gone Swan, they're dead...and they are never coming back. My heart has been broken enough, and I have been betrayed more times than I'd like to admit."

Emma rolled her eyes and leaned back, palms flat against the floor. She was getting comfortable because she had a feeling that she and the Dark Queen were going to be talking for quite awhile. Emma stretched her legs around the two front legs of the chair Regina was sitting in. "I'm not going to betray you...and I won't break your heart." Emma added when she saw the flicker of doubt flash across the Regina's face. "Are you not happy about being pregnant? From what I understand...it's...it's not an everyday occurrence."

"Why wouldn't I be happy?" Regina shot back, sounding offended.

"I don't know." Emma offered a bit sarcastically with a small shrug, "Maybe because I'm the one who got you pregnant."

Regina didn't understand what Emma meant, until the blonde looked down at her crotch and pulled one of her golden locks from her face. "Emma, how can you even think that?"

"You're not giving me a good reason to think otherwise. Are you embarrassed that it was me that got you pregnant?"

Regina stared down at Emma, but the blonde wasn't going to give her the satisfaction of meeting her gaze, she would not give in and let this go. Regina was about to say something just as she was interrupted by a soft knock at the door. When the servant entered the chamber the young girl blushed upon seeing the Dark Knight and the Dark Queen. This was the first time the young maiden had seen the kingdom's Champion out of her armor and leather pants. Regina cleared her throat, breaking the young girl from her stare. Her blush deepened as she bowed, "My apologies Your Majesty. This is where I was told to bring the dinner for two."

Emma got to her feet and walked over to the shorter blonde with a smirk on her face, "What's for dinner...?"

"M-Meredith." the young girl managed to stutter out, captivated by Emma's mesmerizing, emerald eyes. "And stew is for dinner, beef stew."

Emma stopped next to the cart and lifted the lid, turning her head as the steam came out of the small pot. "Smells good, do you work in the kitchen?"

Suddenly, all of the color in the girl's face drained and she looked as pale as a dead person. It didn't take a genius to know that Regina was standing behind Emma. Regina stepped in between Meredith and Emma, glaring so hard at the maiden that she started trembling. "Thank you Meredith. You're dismissed. For the rest of the evening." Regina's tone may have been dripping with sweetness but her eyes were burning with anger and her smile promised malice.

Meredith bowed and ran out of the room like her bottom was on fire, slamming the door shut after her. Regina turned on Emma, glaring. "What the hell was that?"

"Jealous?"

Regina took Emma's face between her hands with her nails jabbed into the skin beneath her jaws and brought Emma's face close to hers until they were nose-to-nose. "You're mine!" Regina pressed her lips to Emma's, taking the blonde's mouth possessively until they needed oxygen. "Mine."

Emma breathed, smiling slightly. "So, you were jealous then?"

The Evil Queen narrowed her eyes, "Jealousy is beneath me."

"Then don't get possessive. I'm not one of your mindless drones Regina. I still have my heart and everything I'm saying is real, and everything I'm starting to feel is real too. Why can't you just see that?"

Regina closed her eyes and shook her head, rubbing noses with Emma. "It's a long story...and it is not a happy one."

Emma placed a chaste kiss on plump red lips, "It never is."

SQ :: SWAN QUEEN :: SQ

Regina lit the fireplace as Emma fixed two bowls of beef stew for them and sat down in the middle of her bed, ignoring Regina's disapproving glare. Regina then magicked away her royal dress and changed into silk nightgown that left very little to the imagination. Emma carefully held both warm bowls in her hands as Regina settled back into the plush pillows. Quietly Emma handed over a bowl, and relaxed herself. The two women ate their stew in silence; both thinking. Regina was pondering about what was about to transpire between them, wondering if it would be a good or bad thing. While Emma was trying not to freak out about the fact that a little human was growing inside of Regina and would be here very soon—and it was her little human. Emma smiled subconsciously causing Regina to raise an eyebrow. Emma noticed and smiled even more. "What?"

"What are you thinking Emma?"

Emma set her bowl aside and scooted a little closer to Regina, tentatively reaching past the woman's hand that held the soup bowl, and touched her stomach, only to jerk her hand back when she felt a sudden flutter of magic at the tip of her fingers from beneath Regina's skin. Worried green eyes met guarded brown ones. "Is that supposed to happen?"

Regina sighed, and magicked their bowls back to the dinner cart. "I don't know. I've never been pregnant before."

Emma smiled sheepishly, "Right."

Regina sighed, biting her bottom lip. It was now or never... "Dear? How much do you know of the animosity between your mother and me?"

Emma shook her head, moving to get comfortable on the pillows next to Regina, lying on her left side, to the right of Regina. "Uh, I don't?"

Without really thinking about it, the Dark Queen shifted closer to the blonde until they were touching. Emma placed her pale hand over Regina's stomach cautiously waiting for the glare to back off, but it never came. Emma was surprised, but she didn't comment on it...She just enjoyed the moment; not wishing to ruin it. Both women were quiet for awhile, just enjoying their shared warmth. Emma was mindlessly tracing patterns over Regina's silk covered stomach, playing with the magic that seemed to be swirling around inside the brunette's abdomen.

"When I was a young girl, my father...gave me Rocinante for my tenth name day. And I started my riding sessions the very same day. That's how I met my first love; Daniel." Emma didn't stop her ministrations, but she was startled when Regina spoke; and of course Emma recognized that name as Regina's most prized steed. "He was our stable boy." Regina shifted again, taking Emma's hand in her own and playing with the blonde's nimble fingers in her own. "The only time Daniel and I were able to be together—and alone, was for my riding sessions. We would take long rides across the green pastures during the spring and spend time at the lake."

Emma noted how soft Regina was talking, almost as if she were in a trance. She wasn't jealous at all, she was enthralled by this new side that the Evil Queen seemed to possess and she hoped that one day...one day the brunette would use that same wispy tone of voice when she spoke about her.

"My mother didn't allow much time for such activities, but in that short time, as the days passed...I found myself falling in love with Daniel. And for the first time in my life...I was happy. I wanted to live the rest of my life with him, loving him and to have a family with him. I didn't care about his status, he loved me and I loved him. That was all that mattered."

"What happened?" Emma murmured.

"Our mothers." Regina growled, tensing.

SQ :: SWAN QUEEN :: SQ

It was a beautiful spring afternoon, the weather was warm and though the skies promised a bit of rain—it was perfect for a riding session. A young brunette wearing a powdered blue riding coat with tan riding pants raced across the meadow; through the tall pine trees with a smile so bright it might have rivaled the sun, had it been visible. Regina Mills slowed Rocinante down as she approached an oak tree at the top of a small hill. Upon their approach, a man with dark brown hair came from behind the oak tree. Laughing softly; Regina expertly hopped off of Rocinante and into the man's arms, kissing him soundly on the lips. The two hugged and kissed under the large tree until Daniel pulled away, smiling down at Regina.

"I thought we could take a ride to Firefly Hill, and then by sundown we can have a picnic-"

"I can't." Regina's smile faltered, "I, ah, I have to be back in an hour. Tea time. A lady never misses her tea time." she added sarcastically with a slight roll of her eyes, looking down...no longer smiling.

Daniel huffed, shaking his head slightly and pulling away from Regina. "This is absurd!" He put some distance between him and Regina, before turning to face her once more. "Stealing kisses between lunch and tea? When are you going to tell your parents about us?"

Regina smiled sadly, walking to the man she loved and taking both his hands in her own. "It's not my parents...It's her." She didn't even have to say the woman's name, they both knew Regina was speaking about her mother— Cora Mills. Regina didn't want to say the woman's name too loud, lest she show up and ruin the rest of her day.

Daniel scoffed, "I don't understand? So, I work in the stables? She started off as the daughter of a miller." he shook his head, disbelief written all over his face. "Wouldn't she of all people understand?"

"She does!" Regina tried to reassure him, looking at him with hopeful brown eyes. "But she thinks one's trajectory needs to keep moving up and..." Regina was struggling to find the right words without offending him.

"And I'm down." Daniel finished for her, catching on to what Regina was struggling to tell him. He pulled away from her once again to go lean against the tree, letting his head drop back against it.

"She believes that Daniel. I know better." Regina didn't understand why Daniel couldn't understand how difficult her mother could be—how difficult she was...is! It just wasn't as easy as he thought it would be.

Daniel reached over and took the young brunette in his arms. "Regina. Tell her! She'll get over it, what can she do?"

"Have you not seen her magic? I—The real question is what can't she do?"

Daniel smiled softly, kissing her once more. "Who cares about magic?" he cupped her jaw, caressing her cheek with his thumb. "True Love's magic...is the most powerful magic of all. It can overcome anything."

Their magical moment; however, was shattered by a loud whinny from a horse that went zooming past their spot under the tree with a young girl screaming for her life, begging for someone to help her. Regina reacted faster than Daniel and she ran to Rocinante. Regina and Rocinante chased after the terrified child on the wild horse for half a mile until Regina was close enough to grab the girls arm. With an impressive show of strength Regina pulled the dark-haired girl over her lap and Rocinante began to slow down to a stop just as Regina unfortunately lost her grip on the small child with the light pink fur coat, and she fell to the ground, ungracefully.

SQ :: SWAN QUEEN :: SQ

Emma blinked, sitting up slightly. "Wow. I was not expecting that."

Regina sighed, "Yes well...it gets better dear." Judging by Regina's dry tone, Emma knew it was only about to get worse. "Saving your mother ruined my entire life. After rescuing her...her father, your grandfather, King Leopold showed up asking for my hand in marriage. Do you have any idea how terrified and confused I was? And my mother...she accepted because I was taking too long to answer in my state of shock, and my father just stood by and let her. He didn't even try Emma. So much for Daddy looking out for his little girl. And all Mother wanted was power—it was always about power with her, and nothing else."

"What happened after that?" Emma asked softly, flattening her hand over Regina's stomach. The warmth that spread over her hand through Regina's night gown was comforting, and she just couldn't leave it alone.

Regina sighed, "After the King left, Mother went to go prepare the wedding...I left to the stables to tell Daniel the news. He didn't take it so well. He was upset with me, but we planned to run away together and never return...and as luck would have it...your mother overheard what was supposed to be a clandestine conversation and ran off to tell of our plans." Regina sat up slightly, and Emma followed; supporting herself on her elbow. "I managed to catch her before she found anyone and talked her out of it...and I told her about Daniel and me. I thought she would understand and I made her promise not to tell anyone...especially my mother. Another mistake."

Regina shook her head and took a deep breath. Emma saw Regina's hand trembling ever so slightly. The Dark Knight sat up fully, scooting back on the pillows sitting up next to Regina now. Emma didn't say anything, she simply watched the emotions play across the Dark Queen's face. Tentatively, Emma took the darker woman's hand and Regina squeezed it with silent gratitude.

"Snow broke her promise and she told my mother about Daniel...and that same night Daniel and I planned to run away, Cora—my mother caught us, and she took his heart from his chest and crushed it to dust right in front of me." Regina whispered, eyes closing to prevent the tears from falling once more and squeezed Emma's hand yet again; tighter this time. "I didn't understand at the time...how she knew. It wasn't until the day of the wedding... Snow White confessed to me what she had done." Regina turned to Emma with those forlorn and infuriated brown eyes. "And I wanted to...I've never wanted to harm someone so much in my life."

"Is that where it began? The Evil Queen?"

Regina chuckled, shaking her head. "Yes, and my reign began when I had Leopold murdered by the man that is now trapped in the mirror." Regina's smile was cold and humorless.

Emma hummed appreciatively, "What happened to Cora?"

"I pushed her into a Magic Mirror provided by Rumpelstiltskin and it shattered. I haven't seen her since, but I know where she is."

"Is this what you meant? The beginning? Where we took Snow?" Regina nodded solemnly. "Why didn't you just kill her? Cora,I mean. To be free of her permanently?"

"The same reason you haven't killed yours yet, dear."

Emma rubbed the back of Regina's knuckles with her thumb. "Regina, I really am sorry that your mother killed your True Love and it was my mother's fault. I really wish that-"

"I don't."

Emma swallowed the rest of her apology, almost choking on the words. "Wha..huh? But...wait, what?"

"I never said Daniel was my True Love dear. He was the first person I've ever loved that loved me right back, and at the time, I would have settled for that. He believed we were True Love's but I knew better...and it was wrong for me to deceive him, but I was so desperate to be loved and to be free."

"Do you regret not killing my mother when you had the chance?"

Regina sighed, looking deep in thought. "Yes and no."

When it was clear that Regina was not about to elaborate, Emma asked another question. "Why couldn't you have children before Regina? Why would you do that?"

Regina sighed, she had guessed that Emma would ask eventually. She stared down at the hands in her lap, "King Leopold married me because he thought I could keep his darling daughter company...he came off as sweet in public, but behind closed doors...He was just like any other man, he wanted things from me...things I wasn't ready to give-wasn't willing to give." Regina caught herself crying and begging the older and unflattering man to stop, to be gentle—but there was so much pain. Regina blacked out before he was even finished. And a few nights later after spending ample time in the kingdom's library...she made a spell to prevent her from giving that man another child. "I did what I had to do to survive." Regina whispered.

Emma swallowed and tried to reign in her anger because the man was dead, but knowing that Regina went through that for years and no one did anything...it was just frustrating and Emma wanted to hit something. She wished more than anything now that she was going on that raid, to release some of her steam. "I'll be right back."

Emma withdrew her hand and slipped out of the bed. The Dark Queen looked at her Dark Knight, worry in her eyes. "Where are you going?"

Emma leaned forward and placed a chaste kiss on the brunette's lips, "I'm going to use the bathroom, and then get ready for bed...seeing as I won't be helping to tear down the White Kingdom tonight."

Regina watched her champion disappear behind the double doors that led to her bathing chamber, she heard the bitterness the blonde tried to cover up, but failed miserably. The Evil Queen was not to be deterred from her set punishment. She could; however, make her time more enjoyable than telling sad stories. Regina had to admit, telling Emma about the beginning was nerve-wracking for her, and having Emma take it all in stride was even better. She wanted Emma to know who she was behind the cold eyes and cruel and cunning smile.

Regina had never wanted to let someone inside her walls so badly until Emma came into her life not so long ago. Regina wasn't sure how True Love was supposed to feel but-

"Miss me?" Emma emerged from the antechamber wearing her black robe, barefoot and seemingly relaxed, but Regina could tell that her warrior was none too happy still, and her knuckles were slightly red as if she'd been hitting the stone walls. The Dark Queen realized that the raid was far from Emma's mind.

Regina smiled anyway, deciding that they both had enough gloom for one evening. "Of course dear, I was losing my mind without you."

Emma grumbled under her breath as she strode back over to her side of the bed. The darker woman's eyes widened slightly when Emma dropped the robe to the floor; she was naked as the day she was born and without shame. She was growing to be more confident with what she was blessed with. Emma pulled back the covers and crawled in, getting completely comfortable.

Regina closed her mouth and cleared her throat, not sure what to make of Emma's sudden mood change. "Right, I suppose it is getting late."

"Mm-hm."

"And we do have to be awake in a few hours to ride to the ruins of the White Kingdom."

Emma licked her lips, observing Regina's fidgeting from hooded eyelids. "I suppose so."

Regina sighed, "Goodnight Lady Swan." She raised her hand but Emma's shot out like a snake, and cool pale fingers wrapped around her wrist startling the Dark Queen. "What do you think you're doing?"

Emma let her wrist go and shrugged nonchalantly. "You don't have to go Regina. I know this isn't where a Queen should sleep but...just for tonight. Sleep with me."

Such a simple and innocent suggestion, though Regina couldn't help but feel as if there was something else. But she was just too tired to figure it out, she moved in order that she could pull back the covers on her side of the bed as well.

"You know it's only fair if you're naked too."

"Are you trying to seduce me, Swan?"

Emma wiggled her eyes brows, stifling a yawn. "Is it working?"

"You're not very subtle dear." Regina removed her night gown anyway, and uncharacteristically tossed it somewhere behind her and settled under the duvet near the middle, her back to Emma. When Regina blew out the torches with her magic and blocked out the moonlight, the room was dark save for the warm glowing light that was emmitted from the small fireplace across the room, and it was very quiet except for their light breathing and the crackling wood. When Regina was sure Emma was fast asleep she released a shuddering breath and stared ahead into the darkness. She had never told anyone why she is the way she is. Very few people knew the start of the Evil Queen's path of destruction...and it's been so very long since Regina had gone down memory lane.

A toned arm, wrapping around her middle and pulling her closer to a solid, but soft front of the body behind her, startled her from her thoughts yet again, Emma's warm breath washing over her ear causing her to shiver involuntarily. "It's just me here Regina."

"I'm fine Emma."

"No. you're not. You're shaking and as tense as a bowstring." Emma pulled Regina closer and held her tight, kissing her just behind her ear. This tenderness was new territory for both women, but it just felt so natural for them, for each other. Regina understood Emma's unspoken message but she just couldn't—it was too much. The Evil Queen crying years and years worth of pain and loneliness in the arms of the only person in the world who might give a damn about her? It was just too much, and it being too much—broke her resolve, and as soon as that first tear hit the pillow...more followed after and she turned around in Emma's arms and buried her face in the crook of the younger woman's neck, and in her blonde hair.

Emma said nothing but she held Regina as close as she possibly could, rubbing her back soothingly.

SQ :: SWAN QUEEN :: SQ

Charming frowned when one of his knights, one of the few they had left remaining at the castle while the rest were out looking for his wife, burst through the double doors leading into his cold and lonely throne room. Charming sat up straighter looking haggard, "I thought I made it clear I didn't want to be-"

"The Evil Queen's army is on its way here!" The panting knight cut his King off smoothly, trying to control his breathing, but his heavy and flashy suit of armor wasn't meant for the sprinting he had just performed to get to his King with the message.

Charming was out of his seat, alarmed and afraid. "What?! How do you know this?"

The knight held up a pigeon that had an arrow through its tiny body, something Charming failed to notice at first, and there was an unfolded note resting on it. "It came from the outside but was shot down by an unknown enemy, Sir. We sent two scouts to investigate, but they never returned. I believe it is safe to assume we are already under attack!"

Charming swallowed thickly, he should have seen this coming...he should have, he swore under his breath. Snow would have seen it coming and she would have been ready. The knight was speaking again, not giving the White King time to think. "Sir, we need all fighting men surrounding the kingdom. We need everyone who is capable, if we wish to hope to survive. Do I have your permission?"

Charming hesitated but nodded, "Yes, yes Captain, now go!"

"What of the champion and your boy? We can-"

"Don't worry about them, I can take care of them."

"Very well sir. Best of luck to you my King."

"You too." Charming called to the retreating knight's backside. Charming ran both of his hands over his head and screamed for all he was worth. He lost his daughter. He lost his wife. And now he was about to lose his kingdom—and it was all because of the Evil Queen. It was always because of her...and she had finally won. Charming resisted the urge to fall to his knees and wait for his death...but he had Henry, his son. He had to protect Henry and he had to protect Mulan and Red. They trusted in him and Snow, and now that the White Queen is—gone, he was their last hope.

Gathering what little strength he had left, King Charming ran out of the throne room and through the grand halls of his kingdom. He had no idea why they insisted on so many floors and such long hallways. By the time he reached the room where his champion was being healed and attempting recovery with his son and Red by her side, he was out of breath...and it hurt.

"Dad!" Henry jumped off the bed and ran into his father's arms happily, unaware that his father was not happy. But Red noticed, she slid off the chair that was next to Mulan's bed and walked over to where David was, who now had Henry secure in his arms.

"What's wrong? What's going on?"

Charming shook his head, cradling Henry's to his shoulder. "The Evil Queen. She's not finished. She is coming." His intense gaze flickered to where Mulan was resting, "We have to leave."

The wolf's eyes widened, "What about Mulan? We can't leave her!"

"Can she be moved?"

Red nodded frantically, "Yes."

Charming passed his son into Red's strong arms and went to Mulan. He carefully pulled back the covers and made quick work of wrapping the bedsheets around her body. Gingerly, Charming scooped his arms beneath her neck and the back of her legs, and pulled the unconscious warrior from the bed. Without another word, he followed the wolf that was carrying Henry out of the castle through the back entrance on the west wing. As Red kicked open the door, she stopped dead in her tracks and Charming almost knocked her over.

"Red what the he...oh my god."

The White Kingdom's crops were ablaze with smoke so black it looked as if the sky had fallen. Henry had finally taken in to account that something was wrong and he was holding onto Red tighter than he was before and crying because he was afraid and he wanted his mother. There were more than a handful of villagers and knights working together to put the fire out, but the more water and snow they dumped on the burning crops...the angrier the fire became. It was as if it were fueled by magic. Most definitely the work of the Evil Queen!

"They're here! They're here! The Evil Queen's army is at the front gate!"

Charming shook his head, taking in the disaster before them. Then he suddenly remembered something, something from a long time ago when their kingdom was built—He thought it was ridiculous at the time, but Snow had insisted, and when his wife wanted something she got it. "Come on! I have an idea!"

Red turned and followed Charming back into the palace, only catching a glimpse of the Evil Queen's dark knights as they rounded the corner, taking lives on their way in. Charming led them to the kitchen and to a stove that was hardly used. "Move the stove."

Red shifted Henry in arms, not understanding. "What? David, we don't have time for this!"

"Just trust me, move the stove. Please!"

Red sighed and set Henry down, who ran to his father, hugging his leg. "Daddy I'm scared."

David looked down at him, "Everything's going to be okay son, I promise. We will be fine. I promise you this, Henry."

The unbearable sound of metal on the tiled floor made the two royal males wince and look at Red pushing the stove with a grimace. Once the stove was out of the way, no one moved.

"Daddy what is it?"

"Our way out, son."

SQ :: SWAN QUEEN :: SQ

Early the following morning...

Emma was the first of the two to awaken, which was surprising because Regina was more of an early bird than she was. Somehow, during the night they had changed their positions, they were no longer facing each other and hugging but they were...spooning. They've never spooned before and it was new. Emma chuckled quietly, they were doing a lot of new things as of late it would seem. Though she had to admit holding Regina like this from behind felt nice, and it was comforting. Her bottom arm was tucked under Regina's pillow while her other arm was across the brunette's stomach, hand resting just beneath her bosom, but the best part of it all...Emma's lower body had firm contact with Regina's perfect round ass. She had an erection and she was sure if Regina was awake, the older woman wouldn't be just lying there...or at least teasing her about it.

Emma sighed in content, this was just perfect. She closed her eyes, then opened them once again, suddenly remembering why she woke up in the first place. Reluctantly, the Dark Knight rolled away from her slumbering Queen and left the bed. When her bare feet hit the floor she felt the chill go through her bones. Shivering, Emma picked up her robe and threw it on as if that would do anything. Just as she was about to enter the bathing chamber, there was a knock on her door before two knights came bustling in; startling Regina awake, she sat up quickly clutching the sheet to her chest with one hand, and the other holding a fire ball.

"What the hell do you two think you are doing?!" she snarled, angry for being woken up so abruptly.

One of the knights looked between the amused Dark Champion and their irritated Dark Queen. "Uh—ah, my Queen. We apologize." they both bowed quickly as they regained their bearings. "We came to alert the champion that you were missing. We went to wake you as requested and-" Regina extinguished her fire ball and then held up one finger, the knight immediately shut his mouth.

"As you can clearly see I am perfectly fine and safe in the company of my Champion. Make sure Rocinante is ready and prepare the Champions steed as well. We shall be down within an hour."

"Yes, Your Majesty." they both bowed and left. Once the doors were closed, Regina dropped her sheet and fell back against the pillows mumbling something. Emma laughed and went to take care of her business. When she came out she found Regina still in bed, this was so unlike the Evil Queen everyone knew and loved to hate. She was a woman who had her happiness ripped away from her at an early age and never had any chances to let the real Regina out. Emma stood at the edge of the bed, arms crossed loosely across her chest.

"Shouldn't we be getting ready to leave?"

"Magic dear" Regina's eyes were roaming all over Emma's scantily clad body. "I can think of better things to do until we are expected to be down at the stables."

"What about breakfast? I'm really hungry right now. I skipped lunch yesterday you know."

Settling back against the pillows, Regina smirked, her voice dropping an octave. "If you're hungry dear, I have something better than cherry tarts." Emma dropped her robe to floor once more before crawling on the bed toward Regina, who spread her legs willingly. The brunette placed her left foot on Emma's shoulder when she got close enough. Emma glanced at the foot before sitting up on her knees as she took Regina's soft foot between her hands and kissed it gently.

The blonde saw the surprise on the older woman's face, but she ignored it because she had no idea why she kissed her foot either, but Regina's feet—for being in high heels day and night—were so soft and so beautiful that Emma just couldn't resist. Dropping her foot gently, Emma did the same to the other foot, but Regina didn't resist; she just looked on curiously...she didn't think having someone caress her calves while kissing her feet would be something that would arouse her. Lady Swan seemed to be teaching Regina things about her own body while simultaneously learning how to please it.

Using her free foot, Regina pushed it against Emma's hardening shaft; pressing it up and against the blonde's stomach, flexing her toes against the soft skin of the muscle. Emma groaned and shivered as her hips rocked against the older woman's foot before she came back to her senses and caught it, moving it away.

"We don't have time." Emma breathed, answering Regina's unspoken question. Setting her feet aside, Emma positioned herself before the woman's wet core; and she was ripe. Emma drank her in, breathing deeply—familiarizing herself. Leaning forward Emma kissed her, allowing Regina's juices to flow over her lips. Regina's clit was already peaking from under it's hood and Emma took the hard bundle in to her mouth. Regina moaned, tensing beneath Emma as she tried to keep her hips from bucking. Emma wrapped one arm around a tanned thigh as she pushed one, then two fingers into her pussy feeling how ready the brunette was. Her muscles pulled on Emma's long fingers as she sucked Regina's clit harder, as if her life depended on it. Hands were now in blonde locks, pulling and pushing. Emma could hardly breathe when Regina locked her thighs around her head, but she didn't dare stop. And Emma took Regina with her mouth over and over until they had to leave.

SQ :: SWAN QUEEN :: SQ

Their horses were ready and waiting near the stables when they arrived. Regina waved away her stable workers and was preparing to mount Rocinante when she caught Emma staring at her, "What is it Lady Swan?" She was no longer the soft woman that Emma fell asleep with and woke up to, but she was now the Evil Queen, Queen of the Darkness—the woman people ran from when they caught wind of her arrival.

Emma shrugged, taking a step forward so she wouldn't be overheard. "Should you be riding a horse with..." she glanced down at Regina's stomach.

Regina pursed her lips, tilting her head slightly. "I may not know much just yet, but I know I am not risking anything right now by riding a harmless animal. Was there anything else?"

Emma shook her head and went back to her own steed, he was black as night, like her armor and his name was Apache. She pulled a carrot from her pocket and gave it to him before mounting the rather large beast. She rolled her hips subtly on the saddle to adjust her new armor attachment that protected her crotch area. She had hardly noticed the upgrade...until she was sitting on her mount.

Regina and Rocinante came up next to them, the two women's legs touching. "Are you ready dear?"

Emma took a breath, drinking in the crisp morning air and looking around the area blanketed in snow. "You know...I've always wanted to meet the woman whose name made my mother flinch every time it was mentioned, always wanted to meet the woman who hated the White Kingdom as much as I did. The woman who took hearts for the fun her own entertainment. Though, I still have my heart, so I guess that last part is a rumor."

Regina raised a brow, eyes narrowed at the blonde who refused to look at her. "I collect heads now dear, but if you're truly curious. I can take your heart and show you just how that 'rumor' started."

Emma smirked, and pulled up her hood. "Why take something that's already yours?"

All of sudden Belle ran up on her own, slightly, brown steed. "Sorry I'm late Your Majesty, there was a small issue that arose in the court. It has been resolved of course."

Regina barely nodded in acknowledgment. Belle noticed she was glaring holes at the 'oblivious' champion and wondered what the hell she had just interrupted. But Regina wasn't glaring at all, at least not in a malicious way—She was in shock.

"We had better get going if we're going to make good use of the light." Emma finally broke the silence.

Belle nodded as she took the lead. Regina snapped out of it, promising herself that she and the blonde warrior were going to be having another talk very soon. Emma finally let her grin break free as she pulled up the rear. She knew her confession was going to be on the Evil Queen's mind the entire trip. She hadn't meant to say it, but she didn't regret it either.

SQ :: SWAN QUEEN :: SQ

"What do you mean they escaped?!" The Evil Queen growled, she was beyond upset. "How could you morons let those idiots escape!?" Regina was so close Lancelot that he could see the purple in her intense and angry eyes, and he was actually worried for his life.

The big man swallowed, restraining himself from shrugging, because he honestly did not know how the Charmings and Mulan got away. "I-I don't know Your Majesty, but we caught the wolf. The one they call Red. We believe she knows, but she isn't talking."

"Yet." Emma commented casually, twirling a single silver dagger between her fingers. She was itching for some fun.

The Dark Queen pushed past the Captain of her army and took in the scene before her. The White Kingdom was still burning and everything was nothing short of chaotic. The blue sky was not visible, as the black cloud loomed over the palace's land, fitting the mood perfectly. It was a beautiful sight for a beautiful day. The brunette turned, furious eyes on her champion. "Find out what that wolf knows. Now."

Emma bowed slightly, "Yes My Queen."

Pocahontas signaled for Emma to follow her, and Belle tagged along. She didn't feel safe with anyone but the Champion and the Queen at the moment, but the look in Regina's eyes had Belle opting for the blonde's company.

As they disappeared behind the fallen walls, the Evil Queen addressed the Captain once more. "Are there any more failures that you would like to report, Captain?"

"No, Your Highness."

Regina eyed him with narrowed eyes, "If we do not find them by tomorrow morning, you will no longer be the Captain of my army. Your wife will, and you will be her Lieutenant. Do you understand?"

Lancelot bowed his head in frustration, "Yes, I understand."

Regina smirked, to some it may not seem as much of a punishment, but sometimes hitting it where it hurts was better than seeing blood. Sometimes.

SQ :: SWAN QUEEN :: SQ

Chapter Text

SQ :: SWAN QUEEN :: SQ

All three royal women rode their steeds across the border that separated the Dark Kingdom from the White Kingdom. As they continued to get closer to their destination the more defined the black cloud in the sky became. If they didn't know better they all probably would have thought that they were approaching a severe thunderstorm. To Emma and Regina it was quite a beautiful sight, but Belle on the other hand, could do without the putrid smell of death that was becoming more abundant the closer they got to their destination—she even took to covering her mouth and nose with her riding scarf. Emma smirked, she thought the air smelled nice. Upon approach, the horses slowed down to a walk, and Regina took the lead with Belle on her left and Emma on her right.

The Captain and Lieutenant of the dark army were standing outside of the ruined White Kingdom's gate with a few other knights. It seemed as if they were arguing, but once the Evil Queen and the Dark Knight came into view, they stopped and bowed to their Queen. "Your Majesty."

Emma was off of her horse, Apache, and offered a hand to assist the Dark Queen. They both knew that it was unnecessary for her to do so, but Regina humored Emma's apparent protective side. It was endearing, if not anything else.

"Captain." Regina greeted coolly, looking around; assessing the damage. "Everything looks wonderful. Do you have the heads I requested?" she settled her morbidly excited gaze on his nervous gaze, and she felt the irritation rise from the pit of her stomach. "What?"

Lancelot dropped his gaze, "We could not find the King or the boy. Or...their Champion. They've escaped Your Highness." the other knights and Lieutenant Pocahontas winced when they saw rage fall over the Dark Queen's face.

"What do you mean they've escaped?!" The Evil Queen growled, she was beyond upset. "How could you morons let those idiots escape!?" Regina was so close to Lancelot that he could see the purple flecks swirling in the irises of her intense and angry, chocolate brown eyes, and he was actually worried for his life.

The big man swallowed, restraining himself from shrugging, because he honestly did not know how the Charmings and Mulan got away. "I-I don't know Your Majesty, but we caught the wolf. The one they call Red. We believe she knows...but she refuses to speak."

"For now." Emma commented casually, twirling a single silver dagger between her fingers. She was itching for some fun.

The Dark Queen pushed past the Captain of her army and took in the scene before her. The White Kingdom was still burning and everything was nothing short of chaotic. The blue sky was not visible as the black cloud loomed over the palace's land, fitting the mood perfectly. It was a beautiful sight for a beautiful day. The brunette turned, furious eyes on her champion. "Find out what that wolf knows. Now."

Emma bowed slightly, "Yes my Queen."

Pocahontas signaled for Emma to follow her, and Belle tagged along. She didn't feel safe with anyone but the Champion and the Queen at the moment, but the look in Regina's eyes had Belle opting for the blonde's company.

As they disappeared behind the fallen walls, the Evil Queen addressed the Captain once more. "Are there any more failures you would like to report Captain?"

"No, Your Highness."

Regina eyed him with narrowed eyes, "If we do not find them by tomorrow morning, you will no longer be the Captain of my army. Your wife will, and you will be her Lieutenant. Do you understand?"

Lancelot bowed his head in frustration, "Yes, I understand."

Regina smirked...to some it may not seem as much of a punishment, but sometimes hitting it where it hurts was better than seeing blood.

SQ :: SWAN QUEEN :: SQ

Emma and Belle followed the unusually quiet Pocahontas through the ruined White Kingdom's ground. There were still fires roaring in the village, and there were dead bodies laid out in the streets, drowning in their own pool of blood. There were piles of headless bodies being burned at every corner, and that explained the pungent odor in the air upon arrival. The snow crunching beneath their boots as they walked through the massacre was no longer white. Stray heads and bodies caused so much blood to be spilled that it was as if the snow simply soaked it up, and red was now it's natural color...at least here it was.

Emma thought to herself as she surveyed the carnage that was once a palatial kingdom, now reduced to nothing but wreckage, "these grounds are no longer 'Snow White', as it were..."Pun intended. She actually laughed at her own incredibly sick joke, at her mother's expense...Too bad it was poor timing and she couldn't share her innermost thoughts with Regina at the moment. The more she pondered things, the more she began to realize how truly connected she and Regina were becoming. Never before had she allowed anyone to know her deepest thoughts and feelings, especially since they tended to be extremely dark at times. Regina was the only one who could understand her and see her true self, without judgment or disgust. Was it wrong that she loved the stench of the death that permeated the air? It was gagging poor Belle. The headless bodies and blood? They didn't even cause her to flinch or bat an eyelash. This wasn't normal. She wasn't normal. But Regina accepted her. Regina also accepted her own darkness. Hell, Regina reveled in her darkness! Why was it so difficult for her? Maybe it was time that she rise up and accept herself as well.

Pocahontas unknowingly interrupted Emma's musings as she stopped inside of a blacksmith's shop and gestured for Emma to walk up the stairs first. "She's in there. We chained her down to the floor and the ceiling pretty good. She's not talking though."

"She will soon." Emma promised with a sly grin that disturbed Belle...but Pocahontas returned it. "Are there any survivors?"

Pocahontas cocked her head to the side, thinking for a moment. "Yes a few, some of the knights thought it would be fun to take them to the Ogre's County tonight."

"Anyone from the Kingdom?"

"Ah, only two maidens that managed to escape the fire, as well as one knight."

"Bring them to me." Pocahontas nodded and went to retrieve the three sole survivors.

The blonde turned to Belle, pushing down her hood. "It might get a little nasty in there, would you prefer to wait out here?"

Belle nodded, relieved that she didn't need to be inside of the room when Emma started questioning the wolf. "Yes, I will be fine out here with the lieutenant. I trust that you can handle that on your own."

Emma smirked, and walked up the stairs, making sure her heavy footsteps were known. She pushed the door and left it open as she walked into the rather impressive blacksmith's shop. It didn't hold a candle to Rulf's, but it had everything she would need to get the wolf to talk. Red was propped up against the wall opposite of the door. Her hands were bound together with a silver chain that looked to be slowly burning into her flesh and raised high above her head by a hook that was bolted into the ceiling. She also had the same kind of chain looped around her waist and it was also connected to a hook that was bolted to the floor. The slightly older brunette's clothes were tattered and dirty; Emma could see the bloodied skin where the woman had been struck and there were many scars littering her body. Red's face was covered in dried blood, as well as pieces of her long, brown locks matted to her bruised face.

Emma pushed down her hood, humming softly. This was going to be fun, she just knew it. Red growled at her but it was weak and tired. "I hope you're happy Princess."

This time, Emma didn't take the bait. She simply stared at Red, though that didn't last long, because Pocahontas came through the door herding the two sobbing maidens and a beaten knight, shoving them harshly at Emma's feet. Their arms were bound behind their backs and their state of dress was just as tattered as Red's. Emma saw recognition on the brunette's face when she laid eyes on the knight sitting directly behind Emma's leather clad legs.

"What next?"

The blonde gestured to the knight, "Stand him up...and leave us, Belle shouldn't be left alone."

Pocahontas lifted the lanky fellow to his feet, he was nearly dead weight due to his exhaustion, but he was wide awake and he was afraid. Emma turned back to Red once Pocahontas left them alone, speaking over the maiden's quiet sobbing. "Look where your precious King and Queen got you. Captured. And where are they? On the run. Left you behind too, it seems."

"I chose to stay behind and help!" Red spat a disgusting wad of mucous and blood at Emma's feet, but the Dark Assassin really did not mind, the boots were already dirty. Actually, she decided that she wanted to get a rise out of the wolf woman and also to teach her some manners.

"Desist now you insolent mongrel! When, or shall I say...if, you ever are in the Queen's presence, you shall refrain from such abhorrent behavior! It is really quite simple. You shall give Her Majesty your utmost respect and, in turn, she may allow you to live...if I even decide to let you get that far. Yet, I digress, let us get back on topic. Oh yes, my father..."

Emma's taunt continued, "You stayed here out of nobility? How very courageous...and stupid. It is obvious that you have let the idiocy of the Charmings rub off on you after being in their presence for so long. I was under the impression that your kind, were intelligent animals... But I suppose that staying makes you a better person than Dear Ole' Daddy." Emma sniffed casually as she began pacing the space between Red and the prisoners. "Speaking of...where is he?"

"You'll have to kill me first."

"Why do you protect the ones who keep you down?" seeing the wolf's confused expression Emma rolled her eyes, sighing.

"They have done what is best for this kingdom which is more than anyone could say for you!" Red pulled against the chains, but stopped when they dug deeper into her flesh.

Emma scoffed, and pulled out her curved dagger with a black edge that's been sharpened by diamonds. The sight of the dagger had its desired effect, and it only made her heart leap with joy. She could feel her shadow magic licking at the surface beneath her skin, eating up the fear she could smell in the air. "Snow White has done what is best for Snow White. It's amazing how blind you all are...the raised taxes, the scarce food, hardly an army...the list goes on and on, and yet when you see the White royals, what do you see? Fur coats, big smiles and fat bellies. Guess what? You see that all the time at the Dark Kingdom. Royals and villagers. The Dark Queen's Realm is much more prosperous. Wouldn't you rather live in a place in which you are cared for?"

"You're a traitor. It's your fault this kingdom has fallen apart!" the knight shouted at Emma's back, and he was not going to live to regret it. Emma turned on him and the skinny knight nearly tripped over himself as he tried to take a step back, forgetting that his ankles were shackled. Emma suddenly appeared behind him and she cut his throat before anyone could even blink. One of the girls passed out and the other was sobbing, saying a silent prayer. Emma brought her hand around the front of her throat and grasped it as if she were choking him, but she was merely prolonging his death.

The knight's warm blood seeped between Emma's pale fingers, and he was caught between the light and the darkness. "You don't have to do this Emma! I don't know where they went!"

"I don't have to do this, but if you keep lying to me I'll keep doing it until you tell me how they got away." she released the man, and let him drop to the floor with a solid thud. Emma put the blade on a table and stalked over to Red and shoved her blood-soaked hand under the wolf's nose, watching with joy when her pupils dilated as her senses were assaulted with the warm, sweet smell of fresh blood. "Smells good doesn't it? Makes you hungry, doesn't it Red?"

Red moaned, "Please...stop."

Emma chuckled darkly, as she couldn't help but get a little turned on when she sensed the darkness pouring out of the brunette as her wolf began waking up. The blonde grabbed the woman's face, keeping her hand under her nose and pressing her body against hers. "Your mouth says no, but your body says yes. Give me more..." Emma whispered, staring deep into those darkening pupils. "You want more?"

"Yes..." the brunette hissed, and Emma felt a tongue against her palm, and she grinned like the cat that ate the canary.

"I understand your needs...and if you tell me where I can find your coward King, you will never have to hide Who You Truly Are beneath that red cloak ever again. You can have it all if you wanted." Emma moved her hand and allowed Red to take two of her fingers into her mouth, sucking off the fresh blood...and Emma's excitement grew, as well as other things... "You can be who you are...be free...no one will judge you for your past. Not there. No one will hold it over your head." she pulled her fingers free, and took a much needed step back, discreetly adjusting herself. "Tell me how they escaped."

Red, who was breathing deeply, got her hormones in check and shook her head to clear it. She stared at Emma, who was staring right back indifferently; her entire being was difficult to read. Red thought about what she said, about being free and not judged for her past. Sure, Snow was her friend, but she could never be without her red cloak, because her...'friend' would freak out every time she was without it, as she didn't trust in her strength to not need it. And Snow would always bring up the moment when Red nearly killed an entire village, because she simply didn't know and couldn't control herself. That was cruel and hurtful, but Red never let her know just how much it affected her every time she would unnecessarily bring it up. She was aware of what she had done, and lived with the shame. Hell, she probably punished herself more than anyone over it, but Snow could never truly let it go. Could she find forgiveness in her "enemy's" camp? After all, Red was cut from the same dark cloth as Emma and Regina. Why wouldn't they get along?

Red swallowed and sagged in defeat. "The kitchen."

Emma leaned forward, eyebrows drawn forward. "Yes?"

"Charming...He...He asked me to move the stove and I did. There was a hole in the floor that led down to the dwarves mine. He had the Prince and Champion with him."

Emma nodded and went back to the table and picked up her curved blade. She went to kneel between the maidens and shook the unconscious one awake. Before she could even start screaming, Emma drew a horizontal line across her pale throat, but she wasn't expecting a large squirt of blood hitting her in the face. Tucking away her blade, Emma took some of the blood that was spilling out and wiped it all over the other woman's face and stood to take her leave.

"When I release you, I want you to kill this one...and feed on these two."

Red's eyes widened in horror, "What?"

"You're very weak, you need to regain your strength. I'm offering you a home in the Dark Kingdom. Take it."

"Can...can you do that?"

Emma really didn't know, but she figured she could handle the punishment later. "Of course, now are you in or do you wish to die?"

Both Red and Emma were mentally questioning Emma's less-than-orthodox interrogation method. But it had obviously produced the desired results. The sexual tension though, as a result of Emma's little game was so thick you could cut it with a knife. She needed Regina... Was this attachment they had growing between them always going to be like this? It certainly made for one hell of a sex life, but unfortunately it wasn't always convenient timing. She needed a release. And she needed it now.

Emma needed to get the hell out of the wolf's presence, immediately. Otherwise; she might take her right then and there. She knew that she would deeply regret that move. The feelings she had for Regina were growing stronger by the day, so after finishing up their conversation, she left Red and got as far away as she could. Her heightened sense of smell made things even more difficult. When she could no longer smell the wolf and her damned pheromones, she found a bedchamber towards the back of the shop that was empty and she knew she had to take care of business herself if she was going to be able to function at all for the rest of the day. She knew that she had no time for such carnal pleasures, but her response to her encounter with the wolf was something she realized that she had no control over. The wolf's pheromones, commingled with her shadow magic, and that last minute decision to add the blood play...not only made Red tell all, but also caused Emma to experience an extremely painful erection. There was a lot she needed to learn about the effects of mixing her magic with others... First, the magical pregnancy, which was much welcomed as far as Emma was concerned... but now this? She had never had such a hard erection in her life! She immediately divested herself of her trousers and wrapped one hand around her throbbing penis, and with her other hand, she pinched her left nipple; all the while, closing her eyes, she imagined it to be her Beautiful Queen's hands on her body, skillfully stroking her member and sensually attending to her breasts. Alternating sides to give equal attention to her also erect nipples that matched her penis in stiffness...

She soon found a rhythm that perfectly mimicked the moves that only her Lover had ever used on her to completely arouse her to the point of no return. In her mind's eye, it was so real that she even believed that she heard Regina speaking to her. Coaxing her closer to her climax, and encouraging her to let all of her tension out and to allow her to hold her for just those few stolen moments. Regina always knew just how to help her when she was stressed or in need.

It didn't take much longer after her imaginary version of Regina stroked her and pinched her in an almost frantic rhythm, for Emma to come completely undone. Her orgasm was mind-blowing, like only Regina could do to her. Never before had she brought herself to such a state by her own hands... She then quickly redressed and got back to business before she could be missed. The experience had her truly questioning her very sanity. It seemed so real! Was Regina actually there? Was this another magic effect? Emma headed back and told herself that she was obviously in great need of a refreshing, full night's sleep as she tried to clear her mind to go back and meet the others.

SQ :: SWAN QUEEN :: SQ

Outside the blacksmith's shop where Belle and Pocahontas were, Belle was sitting on the bench, and Pocahontas was politely standing off to her right; both women were anxiously waiting for something, but they got nothing but muffled voices...and there was a thud a few moments ago.

"Should you go in and check on her?" Belle asked worriedly, glancing up at the lieutenant.

Pocahontas lips twitched at the corners, "She's fine."

Suddenly, they heard a woman screaming at the top of her lungs and there was a lot of noise coming from the shop causing Belle to jump off the bench and stand next to Pocahontas, who had her bow and arrow trained at the door. There was loud growling and a bark or two that came from behind the solid wood door before it all just stopped. Belle spared the dark-haired woman a nervous glance. "Shouldn't you go in and check it out?"

The lieutenant shook her head, drawing back her arrow a little more as they heard slow and heavy footsteps approaching the door. After a few beats, the door opened slowly causing it to creak eerily and Emma stepped out, covered in blood, not looking too happy about it. She shook some of the blood off her arms and it hit the floor with a soft yet audible landing and Belle gagged a lowered her weapon with a sigh of relief, "What happened in there?"

Emma came down the steps stiffly, "She narrowed down my search."

Belle's eyebrows shot up, "So she talked?"

The blonde looked at the adviser and nodded, "That and she wishes to join the Dark Queen's Court. I granted her permission to do so."

"The Evil Queen won't be happy someone was invited to her court without her prior consent." Pocahontas stated the obvious, and Emma sighed. "Whose blood is on you?"

"Oh, the prisoner's...Red was hungrier than I thought, and made a mess...and knocked me over into that mess."

Belle frowned, trying not to think about the image. "Oh—well where is she?"

"Right here."

The three Dark Kingdom associates turned towards the hoarse voice and saw Red standing in the doorway, looking exhausted and just as disastrous as Emma, if not more so. Pocahontas looked a little dubious and leaned in closer to her superior, "How can you trust her?"

"I understand her...and she can hear you just fine Lieutenant." Emma chuckled.

Pocahontas shook her head, holding her bow and arrow a little tighter. "I'll kill her if she keeps looking at me like that...She hear that too?"

While Emma and Pocahontas continued their light but serious banter, neither of them noticed that the young advisor, Belle, was walking up the steps toward the tired and probably terrified wolf. She walked slowly, so that she wouldn't startle her. "Hello..."

Red opened cracked one eye open, before they both just popped open at the sight of Belle in front of her. "Hi."

"Um, are you alright?"

Red glanced at Emma, who still had her back to them, and then back to Belle. "She didn't hurt me. She helped me..."

Belle studied the brunette curiously, unsure what to say. The brunette leaning on the door looked like she just went through a night of hell, and all Belle wanted to do was hug the poor woman...and comfort her in front of a fireplace, while she rested in her arms. Belle was sure that beneath all of the blood and bruises...there was beautiful young woman.

"Ahem."

Belle startled and found Pocahontas and Emma standing at the bottom of the three steps; one was amused, and the other was not. "We need to get moving, I don't want to be here all day. And you shouldn't stand so close to the beast."

Red involuntarily whimpered behind Belle, and the advisor heard it, and immediately went on the defensive. "Well then you are free to leave Lieutenant. Should a problem present itself, I trust that our Champion will make sure that no harm comes to me."

Emma raised a brow but didn't say anything, she looked at Pocahontas for a response...mentally egging this on. Hmm. She wondered... I wonder if Lancelot knows his woman swings both ways...and that she's perhaps...jealous of the advisor's attention being drawn elsewhere. Hmm. Emma noted to keep an eye on that. Could be interesting, most definitely gossip-worthy. Knights gossip more than the helping hands...she was sure she could find out more if she wanted.

But now was not the time for such trivial matters. Emma walked with Red behind Belle and Pocahontas, because the arrow-wielding warrior refused to be within arm's reach of the wolf. Belle and Pocahontas were a few feet ahead of them, and out of hearing distance so Emma decided to tease the wolf a bit.

"She's cute isn't she?"

Red dropped her head a bit, but Emma couldn't tell if she was blushing or not. "I...she's nice."

Emma nodded, "I believe she thinks you're nice as well."

"Why are you being so nice to me right now?"

"Long walk, just making conversation."

"Don't."

"I fed you. At least humor me."

Red growled and stepped into Emma's personal space baring her teeth. "I'm not a pet dog for you to toy around with!" The pair walking in front of them didn't even notice the commotion and had kept walking, leaving Emma and the wolf in the middle of the slaughtered village.

Emma saw the anger in Red's eyes, but she also saw the hurt and confusion—and she understood it, because she has been there. "I know you're hurt and angry...and right now you're alone. I'm offering friendship, don't reject it."

"Afraid I'll hurt your feelings?" Red snarled, feeling confident, because she had at least two or three inches on the blonde.

"I don't have feelings." Except for maybe a certain brunette and the little human she's carrying that we created together. "Well, none that can be hurt by the likes of you." Emma amended. "If you'd rather deal with it yourself, be my guest I don't care."

Red's hand reached out and caught Emma's arm as the blonde made to move around her. "What you said back there...what you did...what was that?"

Emma shrugged Red's hand off of her arm, "I was helping you to open your eyes to who you really are beyond that red cloak. You're living with a beast inside of you. She will forever be a part of you. Red, you suppress her because you don't believe in yourself. You're not truly living until you embrace what you're meant to be. I can only speak these words because I truly have just embraced my own inner-beast as well. More recently than you would believe. As in today, recent."

Red's head cocked to the side; genuinely confused and intrigued. "And why is that?"

Emma scratched the side of her nose with her thumb sighing quietly. "I ran away so I could be myself and make my own decisions. I decided who and what I wanted to be, I didn't go around asking questions. I have decided that it is time to stop running."

Emma moved around the wolf and continued walking to the front gate, leaving Red standing in the middle of the road pondering what the blonde had just told her.

SQ :: SWAN QUEEN :: SQ

"You had no right giving invitations to my Court for your own gain, Lady Swan." The Evil Queen hissed as she stared at her champion furiously. She watched as the blonde lowered her head, having the gall to look guilty and all the Evil Queen wanted to do was throttle the woman much like she had when Emma first come to her...but with finesse.

"I apologize, Your Majesty."

"She's your responsibility."

Emma's eyes widened, "W-what?"

The Evil Queen took a small step into Emma's personal space, "You heard me. You wanted the dog, you take care of her. Anything she does wrong, you will face the consequences."

"What?! How does that even work?"

"Easy." Regina smirked, "It's like having a puppy, dear. You teach her right from wrong, and if you can't...every wrong move that puppy makes, you will take her punishment—whatever that may be. Hopefully, for your sake, she's housebroken..." Even for Regina, that was low.

"I've never even had a puppy!" Emma exclaimed, face growing red in frustration.

"There is always a first time for everything, dear. Now, my beautiful Assassin, bring me their heads and be home before lunch tomorrow—if you can."

Emma's eyes narrowed while she watched Regina's backside as the brunette returned to the group standing by the gates. 'if you can'...if I can? Emma thought with a tone, she took it as a personal challenge and stalked toward her horse as she yanked her hood back over her head. She mounted her steed gracefully. If she were being honest, she was tempted to take Red with her, just to make sure the wolf didn't do anything stupid until she learned that Queen Regina was nothing like Queen Snow White. Regina is creative and fair—sometimes, Snow White is...well simply put, a bleeding heart.

Emma shook her head and turned Apache around, she would move faster without the extra weight. She pulled some of her shadow magic from within herself just as Rulf had taught her, and placed both hands on either side Apache's neck and pushed some of her magic into his body. He whinnied and tried to escape, but it was in vain. Emma quickly pulled her hands away and stroked his mane until he calmed down and the magic settled inside of him. Not even sparing the group a second glance, Emma loosened the reigns and used her legs to spur him into a run.

The others watched as Emma and the horse ran under a tree that was casting a great shadow, and they vanished in thin air; like ghosts. Emma had temporarily given Apache the ability to see in the dark just as easily as she could. The duo ran through the Shadow Realm easily, and with Apache able to navigate himself without having a heart attack being surrounded by darkness; Emma had her eyes everywhere, until she found the portal that was near a well-hidden mine shaft, that wasn't too far from the White Kingdom. She and Apache left the Shadow Realm and she tightened his reigns to get him to stop.

Emma looked down at the ground and saw that someone or several someone's had come through here...there were too many tracks overlapping for her to tell what size they were, or how many, but at least they all went in one direction. Apache followed them without direction and briefly Emma wondered just how smart this animal truly was, and how much power she had actually given him. As they trotted through the snow, Emma kept her eyes open for any mini-human ambushes. She and Apache rode for quite some time until they came up on a fallen tree...and coincidentally, that's where the footprints ended. Emma dismounted Apache and drew her sword, pushing her hood down. She leaned over the fallen tree to check for more tracks but there were none, it was as if they had just disappeared—like magic.

Apache whinnied suddenly, and Emma turned around. She found looking at her were the very dwarves that Snow White was so damned fond of. They were all carrying their mining axes in a defensive manner. As if that would really stop her from doing what she wanted—killing Charming and Mulan...then dancing on their ashes.

"Ain't nothin' here for you Sister" Emma immediately recognized him as the one they called Grumpy, she had always hated him. Talk about a terrible name to match a terrible person. She has wondered many times he became grumpy because of the name, or if he was just created that way...

"Ten strong men with incredibly sharp axes against Me... it hardly seems fair—for You." Emma chuckled, taunting the dwarves with her most princess-like voice. She even pulled a "Snow White" and fluttered her eyelashes and giggled like an innocent little girl. Little did they know this was no laughing matter, and she was no sickeningly sweet Snow White. "Tell me where they went and I'll make you deaths quick, and maybe even painless..."

Apache snorted and held his head high, and Emma was really starting to wonder if she just gave him night vision, because it seemed as if he were agreeing with her. The more that she ventured forward in this quest, the more her magical abilities seemed to manifest. But the thing was, none of it was concrete. It was all just questions in her head. So many questions continued swirling through her head. Emma! Get a hold of yourself!

Next, Bossy stepped up next to his brother, grip tightening around the wooden part of his axe. "You've taken everything from that man. Let him be prin-" he didn't get a chance to finish that sentence because a well used hunting knife that Emma used to gut her wildlife dinner was lodged into Bossy's throat and he was choking on the blade. He fell to his knees just as the blood started to travel down the length of the blade, and his fellow dwarves watched in disgust and horror as one of their own frantically clawed at his chest while trying to breathe around the rugged blade before turning over and dying in the snow, a slow pool of blood forming around his head, seeping into the snow, like paint.

Emma sighed as if she was heartbroken over the sight, "I prefer Dark Knight, or Assassin...Princess is just too...superficial. Now, don't make me ask you again. Where are they?"

Grumpy's frown, if possible, deepened as he shook his head. "Over our dead bodies sister."

And then there were five...

Emma kneeled over Grumpy after she lodged his own axe into his thigh. There were bodies strewn all over the trail, and five were not yet dead, but Emma didn't care about that. They wouldn't be a problem anytime soon. She was feeling generous with just leaving them with scars and limps...a story to tell. It was also entertaining to see Apache literally stomp one of the dwarves into the ground when he managed to come up behind her and stab her right thigh—Emma was quickly growing to love that beast. Though judging by the amount of blood that was running down her leg and pooling into her boot, it seems that the small man had hit his mark.

"Do I have to ask you again dwarf?" Emma grunted as she shifted her weight off her bad leg, wishing she knew a healing spell.

Grumpy winced as he touched the tender area around the axe that was currently residing in his thigh. "If I tell you, will you still kill me?"

Emma glanced at his heavily bleeding leg, "I wouldn't have to."

Grumpy eyed the blonde warily, casting his gaze down to the ground in shame, "Charming took Mulan and his kid to a cabin in the mountains... East. There's a village there that is called East Arrowbluff, and it's very small."

Emma nodded and forced herself back to her feet, she walked away from the small man—more like she limped. She used her extremely strong arms (the very ones that Regina has spent many hours worshipping and telling her how much she was enamored by these particular appendages)to pull herself back onto her saddle, and had a difficult time bending her leg enough to place her foot in the stirrup. Without being told to, Apache headed east. Grumpy sat in the snow watching the Dark Knight ride off until he couldn't see her anymore and looked at the spot she in which she was recently kneeling next to him, the drops of blood that stained the snow, her blood. "The Dark Knight bleeds."

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The sun had set hours ago taking the warmth with it. Emma kept her hood up to keep her ears warm and the wind from drying out her eyes. She flipped Apache's eye covers to at least keep the cold wind from his eyes as well. They'd been in the mountains all day and they found the village only by sheer luck. It was even smaller than she had expected, no more than ten cabins and they were all quite close together. A perfect dwelling for tiny men...As the snow and wind blew around them wildly, Apache held his ground while Emma sat on his back staring down at the village...looking for any sign of Charming. She pressed down against the laceration on her thigh...she had torn part of her shirt and wrapped it to staunch the flow of blood, but even Emma knew she would have to get out of the horrible night weather soon...and get somewhere warm. She could run Apache through the Shadow Realm but it wouldn't be without extreme risk, as he had been though a lot and was most likely too exhausted to press on much further...and she was nervous about magicking them...she would be fine, but she wasn't sure about her steed—he may end up in pieces.

Emma shivered, she was definitely going to have to talk to Regina about conjuring her an insulated winter armor if she was going to be tracking people at night. Emma patted the side of Apache's neck and dismounted. She knew he could see just as well as she did, but she felt more comfortable being on her own two feet as she guided him off of the ridge that looked over the nameless village. Once they were on the ground, Emma led him to the village. She wasn't surprised to find all the windows and doors closed and locked shut...some were even frozen shut. She wasn't sure where to start, until she noticed a lone man throwing chopped wood onto a small pile on the side of a cozy-looking house, very wearily.

Emma would recognize the weak White King anywhere, she pulled Apache along as quickly as she could until she was right behind Charming. He sensed her and turned around swinging his axe wildly, Emma barely ducked in time and the edge of the sharp blade nicked her forehead; causing her to lose her balance. Thankfully, Apache nudged his nose into her back and pushed her into Charming, sending the pair into a tangle of limbs in the snow. No words were uttered as David and Emma tried to right themselves, the wind blew harder and howled louder; masking their grunts and growls at each other. Charming pushed Emma off of him and into the wood pile. He reached for his axe, but seemingly out of nowhere, a black hoof beat him to it, and dragged it away.

The distraction was just long enough for Emma to get back on her feet, and whack Charming behind the head with a block of wood. She tossed the blood-soaked wood into the pile behind her, trying to soothe her burning lungs and leg. Charming was laying face down in the snow, whether he was dead or unconscious it mattered not—Emma slowly drew her blade, he was losing his head either way.

Several chilly moments later...

Emma stepped into the warm cabin and the smell of vegetable stew assaulted her nostrils and her stomach complained about the lack of attention it had received today. She; however, ignored it completely when she spotted Mulan in the bed near the fireplace...bundled up in the most loving way. She had a bit of color, but she still didn't look very well yet. Emma looked around but she didn't spot the little prince—although, she could sense him hiding in the shadows behind a dresser. She would grab him later... she first and foremost had a job to finish. Emma closed the cabin door with a grim smile and twinkle in her darkening gaze. Mulan had been allowed to live too long. This was the end of her story. And Emma would be returning home with not one, but two heads to add to the collection she had began for her Queen. First, the Huntsman, second, her Father, and third, her damned nemesis, Mulan. It's almost too bad she had to be disposed of...In any other situation, they could have worked together as a great team, Mulan was a fierce warrior. Just not fierce enough...

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The very next morning at sunrise...

The Evil Queen would have never admitted it out loud, but she had a hard time sleeping without her blonde lover right next to her side. She got little sleep that night, and what sleep she was blessed with, had her tossing and turning. The Dark Queen had tried to see her through the mirror, but the genie trapped inside couldn't even find her...it was disconcerting for the Evil Queen—and she was not used to such feelings.

She could barely focus on her breakfast meeting with her council about her plans for the now ruined White Kingdom, and she was positive they had thought that decade after decade of being Queen had finally caught up to her, but they dared not say anything negative about the Evil Queen...to her face.

"Your Majesty, are you alright?" the new Captain of her army asked, she was guarding the Evil Queen for Emma until the blonde got back. The dark-haired woman had replaced her husband as gracefully as the situation permitted and he seemed to be taking it in stride, but Regina was no fool, she saw the look in his eyes when she took his rank and gave it to his wife this morning after breakfast.

Regina shifted in her throne, tearing her eyes away from the double doors. "Yes, Captain I am fine. Is there any word of arrival from my—our Champion?"

Pocahontas' eyebrows raised, but she was smart enough not to question it, or tease the brunette when she was clearly agitated. It was new for anyone to see the Evil Queen so worried about someone...it wasn't as if the brunette hadn't sent the blonde out before, but she's never been this...anxious before. "Not in this realm Your Majesty, no."

Regina sighed, "How is the wolf?"

Pocahontas frowned, "Belle seems to be quite smitten with that beast."

Regina looked up at her Captain with a small smirk, "You sound jealous Captain...but of whom I wonder?"

Thankfully, the red-faced Captain didn't have to fumble over an answer, because a messenger came barreling into the throne room, breathing very hard. Pocahontas began to descend the steps, speaking with authority. "State your business messenger."

"Ta-the Dark Assassin..." was all he managed before The Evil Queen was on her feet and in front of the young boy before Pocahontas could comprehend what the boy had said. The young messenger swallowed nervously. "M..m-majesty."

"Where is my Dark Knight?"

"The medical wing Your Majesty, she arrived minutes ago... barely conscious."

Purple smoke engulfed Regina and she was gone without warning. Pocahontas swore under her breath, she flipped the boy a gold coin from her money pouch and went running to the medical wing praying that her blonde friend was alright.

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Chapter Text

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Emma took a deep breath and walked toward the door while precariously grasping Mulan's decapitated head by its bloody roots. Just as she reached the door, and was about to yank it open—a small and very timid voice behind her caused her to halt all movement.

"Are you going to kill me too Emma?" Of all the situations she could have imagined herself in; this was most definitely not one that she had expected… A kid. Seriously?

Emma let go of the door handle and slowly turned around. The little boy with the messy brown hair looked tired and dirty, and could most likely use a good night's rest. Emma released another deep breath, but she didn't say anything to the little boy. It wasn't that she didn't know what to say...it was just the fact that she didn't know what to say… Hello, most people don't transport decapitated fucking heads in their arms whilst travelling about. Oh, and never mention that said small child is questioning as to whether you plan on doing the same to them? Was she going to kill him too? It was a good question on a good day she supposed, but seriously? She was carrying a head...it was dumb question at the moment.

Cold, green eyes stared down at the little boy as if daring him to ask another stupid question… and it was a dare that the sniveling brat unwittingly took on. "Do you know who I am?"

Emma shifted her footing, and readjusted her grip on Mulan's head. Was this boy imbicilic? Was he completely ignoring the fact that he literally just watched his estranged older sister cut off Mulan's head—the woman who was there for him when he was a mere young lad and stood in Emma's place. He didn't seem discouraged by Emma's eerie silence and hard stare, he didn't even seem afraid and Emma had this urge to just scare the shadow out of him, but she just chose to stare at her younger sibling in the stead…Either this child is fearless, or he is missing more than a few cards in his deck.

Finally, after what seemed like ages, he took a small step forward, smiling nervously. "My name is Prince Charming...but everyone who knows and loves me just calls me Henry."

Emma scoffed, "I don't know nor do I love you...and I don't like you enough to call you Prince Charming either."

Henry visibly blanched, but he nodded, "Dad...dad said that the Evil Queen took your heart, and that you really don't mean that stuff. So I forgive you."

Emma didn't have time for this and so she reached behind herself and opened the door. She then reached forward and grabbed Henry by the back of his collar and dragged the now pleading boy towards Apache, who was waiting almost impatiently for her arrival. Oh now he wants to beg, Emma thought with a smirk. She put Mulan's head in the brown leather bag attached to the saddle next to Charming's and buckled the satchel shut. She, with a grunt of pain, crouched down to lift Henry under his arms and place him up on the saddle. Apache however; was not happy about that and he grunted, turning his head away, but he otherwise held his ground. Emma saddled up behind the young Prince, and held him tight to her front side with one arm, and took Apache's reigns with her free hand and she guided them home through the Shadow Realm.

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It has been a week since Emma tore down the last remaining piece of the White Kingdom and added two more heads to Regina's new found mania. A week since the Prince of the fallen White Kingdom has spent in his dungeon down below without windows and a solid wood door that was guarded by two knights at all times. It has been a rather busy week for the Dark Queen, settling all affairs that were once affiliated with the White Kingdom. They were either with the Dark Kingdom or against it—most were with it, after with what they heard of the White Kingdom's destruction. Their alliances; obviously, were mostly out of fear.

Though, while Regina and Belle were busy taking care of that, Pocahontas was on wolf duty until Emma got over being sick. She was healed just fine earlier in the weak, but the most skilled healers—and not even Regina—could even cure the influenza nor a mild concussion with magic. Pocahontas wasn't too happy, and neither was Emma; being forced into bed rest and to add insult to injury, as it were, Regina was hovering over Emma and she even went as far as to put a spell on all the doors so that only she could open them, as well as the delegated maiden that was to bring Emma her hourly meal.

The blonde was at her wits end. Headaches, sneezing, and sniffling. They shared a bed, but there was no sex and not even foreplay, and she was bored. She hated books, and she couldn't draw. There was nothing for her to do while being trapped in a room in bed all day and night. She couldn't really use her magic because it was out of sorts as her energy levels, she tried to magic herself elsewhere and...well, that didn't turn out too well, and using the shadow realm was a no go because Regina could feel when Emma used her magic and caught her. There was no escaping her fate, that is until Emma noticed that the balcony doors were not spell bound.

Emma knew there would be hell to pay if she were caught, but she had to get out of that room. She traded her silk sleeping pants and long sleeve top for a pair of beige riding pants and a black long sleeve, and threw on her old boots and a black winter coat with fur lining in the sleeves and hood. Climbing out of the high balcony was like climbing down a tree—sort of.

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Pocahontas stood on the steps to the training grounds with a frown on her face and arms crossed tightly. She had her long black hair pulled into a high and tight pony-tail that did nothing but accentuate her beautiful face that held nothing but disdain as she remained focused on the wolf. Belle insisted that Pocahontas should teach Red the ways of the Dark Kingdom... Pocahontas tossed the wolf right in the middle of the training with the rookie soldiers, against the toughest men that were doing the training today. She watched in mild amusement as Red was constantly being knocked on her ass. Pocahontas chuckled every now and then. Suddenly, a hooded figure appeared right beside her, and if it weren't from the fact that no one but Emma was crazy enough to invade her personal space, that wasn't her husband, she would've had this person on their ass already.

"I thought you were on bed-rest."

Emma hummed low in throat, clearing it softly. "I'm taking a break."

Pocahontas scoffed and glanced at the blonde standing next to her, "You're contagious! You cannot take a break from that! And Queen Regina will break your neck when she finds out you are going against her orders!"

"If! If...she finds out. And she won't...right?"

The new Captain of the Dark Queen's army just shrugged, going back to her glaring towards the wolf. "Not from me."

Green eyes followed the path of the glare and she laughed hoarsely, "Where's Lancelot?"

"Working. The Lt. does more work than the Captain."

"And more privileges I take?" Emma commented casually...a little too casually. The wind blew behind them slightly and Emma tensed when she saw that Red stopped mid-stride and sniff the air slightly. "Shit." Emma swore as Red began making her way towards them.

Pocahontas groaned under her breath, "I didn't say you could stop."

Red eyed the dark haired woman with a smirk, "You're not my handler." Even though it was a shot at herself, she knew Pocahontas would bristle at the jab more. The wolf smiled at the blonde who was now questioning herself for even coming here in the first place. "Hi Emma. You sounded like a man, so I didn't recognize you until the wind blew."

Emma cleared her throat as Pocahontas chortled next to her, "Thanks Red."

"Aren't you supposed to be on bed rest?"

"She's taking a 'break'"

"How did you escape your prison? Belle told me Regina put a spell on the doors in the room." Red asked with a smile. Even though Emma had seemingly ruined her life when she killed her friends, she unintentionally made it so much better than it was before. She was in a place where she could be a wolf...where she could actually be a wolf. Though it'd been only a week, Red felt as if she was already at home—despite Pocahontas' bad attitude whenever she was around the older woman. Belle introduced Red to numerous books about her nature, how to gain more control, books that would educate her on how to allow her wolf to become a part of her everyday life, without succumbing to the darkness completely...and if the wolf was being honest with herself—she was completely smitten with Belle already, and she owed it all to Emma, for being the sick and twisted bitch that she was, because she helped her find her new beginning.

"I climbed out of the balcony." Emma shrugged as if were no big deal and both women stared at her in shock before looking behind her towards the castle.

"What?!" Red growled.

"That's...a lot of wall to climb down!?" the Captain cried out, "Why didn't you just use your magic, you idiot?"

"Because!" Emma hissed, urging them to keep their voices down. "Every time I use magic, Regina knows. She knows. And she is driving me crazy! I can't leave the bed. I can't even go and privately use the bathroom without her fussing at me about being in bed."

Pocahontas cracked a smile and shook her head, "Obviously she cares Emma; otherwise she would've kicked your sorry ass back to your room."

"Yeah" Red agreed, ignoring Pocahontas' slight glare, "And you had a concussion. She's just nagging because she cares."

"And with all that's been happening in the past week—it's making her moodier than usual." Pocahontas added with a grim smile, she's been on the receiving end of the Dark Queen's verbal wrath on behalf of the blonde. And she was only aware of this because Regina only did it when she just came back from checking on Emma.

"That…and she's pregnant." Emma grumbled, crossing her arms trying to ignore the throbbing that she was slowly becoming more aware of...and the realization of what she just said. "Shit."

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Rumpelstiltskin was beside himself with glee, despite the Evil Queen's Dark Knight nearly railroading his plans. Everything has managed to work in his favor even if it wasn't how he saw it in his prophecies, that alone made him question just how powerful the Evil Queen's Champion was...and if she knew how raw her shadow magic was—so raw it could make a liar of his all seeing eye. Yet when she killed Charming and imprisoned her last living family member—that was awake; Rumpelstiltskin saw a way out of the corner the Evil Queen and her Dark Champion has put him in.

As he worked his spindle for more golden thread, he watched the young Prince Charming sitting in the cold dungeon beneath the Dark Kingdom. He watched and watched the brown-haired boy for a week straight—cowering in the corner of his cell away that was furthest from the door. He was frightened and he was cold, and he was hungry...and yet, he still had hope. He still had hope that there was some good in the world—that there was still some good in his sister, that she could overcome the darkness that has overpowered her.

Rumpelstiltskin chuckled to himself, the heart of the Truest Believer was a rare gem indeed.

Suddenly, Rumple had an idea. It was insane, but who ever said that he was in his right mind anyways? He decided that it was time for the Little Prince to meet a friend. He needed to groom him for his future plans, and being stuck in solitary confinement probably wasn't the best idea for a child such as the little Charming. He needed to keep his hope alive, and what better way than to have a companion to share his hopes and dreams… Even if it was only a farce. And who would be a better companion than the Mad Hatter's youngling? She'd be a perfect ear for the young prince to share all his secrets and dreams… Little Grace knew of her father's secrets and antics, and Young Henry knew much more than he should have regarding the White Kingdom's politics. A match made in heaven!

The only one who paid the girl any mind was the witch who fed her in secret. Nobody would notice if she was missing from her cell from time to time. Rumple was pleased with himself and was already planning for the first meeting between the two young ones…

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After forcing them both to secrecy about the Evil Queen being pregnant with her child (and, begrudgingly, how) Emma and Pocahontas finally got Red to go back to her combative sessions, leaving the Captain of the Dark Army and the Dark Knight alone once again on the steps.

"When are you going to get over this sickness of yours?" Pocahontas wanted to grill Emma more about the pregnancy but she had a hunch her blonde friend wouldn't appreciate it—right now.

"When you get over Belle pining after the wolf," Emma casually shot back, her low hood shadowing her small smirk, but the Captain didn't have to see it—she heard it in Emma's words.

"I have no idea what you're talking about Champion, I just don't like, nor do I trust this wolf. I'm perfectly fine with Belle having—other partners."

Other partners? Emma caught the dark-haired woman's slightly annoyed tone as well. She turned her upper body slightly to study the woman who had became a friend in the past month she's been here, "Right...because you have Lancelot...and you to love each other, and there is no way that you did anything behind his back...right?"

Pocahontas glanced at Emma for a moment, "The Dark Queen will be finishing up another peace treaty, you had better get back in bed before she and Belle come down here to check on the mutt and find your sick ass down here."

Emma gaped at her friend like a bottom-feeder, "You're not even going to deny what I just said?"

Pocahontas shrugged nonchalantly, "Why? I enjoy a nice hard body and a lean piece of meat between my legs every once and a while, but I enjoy being that hard body even more. Lancelot knows, and he's fine with it. Our marriage is to keep our tribes from killing each other...and by luck, we happened to like each other enough to become friends…and we fuck on occasion."

The Dark Knight finally closed her mouth, and nodded. "I, um...huh. Well then. I guess I better get back...enough fresh air for me."

Pocahontas smirked, "How are you going to get back in genius?"

Emma returned the smirk, and mock-bowed. "Magic of course." and an inky, dark cloud took her from head to toe, and then she was gone.

Emma landed on the bed with a soft thud and grunt, then quickly put the clothes away and got back into her sleepwear. She had just emerged from the bathroom when the Evil Queen magicked herself into the room, looking around frantically until unreadable brown eyes landed on the barefoot blonde.

"Were you using magic again? And why are you barefoot?"

Emma coughed into her hand, not because her throat was itchy, but because she didn't want to chuckle at Regina's smothering. She looked very much the Evil Queen at the moment, donning her purple and black dress with the high collar and tight bodice…setting her ample chest on display quite beautifully.

"I'm sorry, I was bored...I honestly don't feel as bad anymore." she moved around Regina, ignoring the older woman's scrutinizing glare. Emma climbed into bed, purposely letting her unbuttoned top fall open as she leaned on her elbow back against the pillows. The Evil Queen's gaze fell from her face and down Emma's chiseled torso, spotting a hard dusty pink nipple. "I'm your champion Regina, I didn't survive five years out in the wildness just to be put down with a simple case of the influenza."

The Evil Queen noticed that Emma had gotten a little color back to her face—even considering how pale she normally was, and that the woman wasn't sluggish anymore. She nodded hesitantly, "Fine, put your armor on."

Emma sprang off the bed and allowed her magic to dress her, stitch by stitch, "So what all have I missed?"

The Evil Queen sighed, "For being the common idiots Snow and Charming were—they have just as many idiot friends to back them up. I've gotten the Dark Kingdom out of three wars so far, and I am waiting for the last kingdom to confirm their alliance with us."

Emma shifted in her boots slightly, to get her toes more comfortable and slipped on her gloves as she adjusted her black sleeves—it was something Emma had added herself, because Regina refused to due to the fact that she loved Emma's arms far too much to cover— "Which kingdom might this be?"

"Arendelle." Emma looked up curiously, and the Dark Queen raised her finely shaped eyebrow. "Something you care to share dear?"

"Arendelle is where the Ice Queen lives."

"Ice Queen, hmm? No wonder Belle didn't know anything about Arendelle, the infamous Ice Queen does love her privacy. Arendelle would make a wonderful ally."

Emma finished getting herself dressed and she had to admit it felt good being back in her armor, the weight of her various throwing weapons and combat weapons combined made Emma feel as if she were back in her element. Despite the need to sniffle every five minutes, Emma was ready for anything. "What makes you so confident she will accept your alliance pitch?"

"If she doesn't, I'll simply melt her."

Emma chuckled to herself as she followed her Queen out of their bedchambers.

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Emma was quiet as she sat in a chair near the fireplace in the Evil Queen's study as she and Belle discussed Arendelle. While they conversed amongst themselves, Emma stared at the fire with her arms crossed tightly against her chest. Even though her armor was now modified for winter, and she was now practically sitting in the damn fireplace, she still felt a chill, but she wasn't going to complain...it felt nice to be free and weighed down with familiarity. It reminded her of when she broke her wrist as she tried to climb a tree and fell after slipping on a mossy surface that she didn't see—that was her second year with Rulf. Thank the powers that be that her sight is now much more improved. Those days were quite painful, and she'd rather not remember them. Emma had fallen into a small puddle of cold water...the ice was thin and she broke through it and she was sick for the remainder of that winter. Training while sneezing and bleary-eyed was hell for Emma, but it built character—and when she sneezed in Rulf's face she took advantage of his shock. She managed to get a little more of his respect...even if had been an accident.

The blonde smiled fondly at the memory, she wondered what that old bastard was doing at this very moment. She figured he would be wielding more of those beautifully crafted weapons of death that only the best of best could handle and lay eyes on...and Emma eventually learned, the best of the best wasn't a very high number. Rulf was the best...and he passed that on to Emma.

Emma was slowly brought back to reality when Regina came into her line of view, the blonde warrior quickly stood but Regina held up her hand stopping whatever nonsense Emma was about to give her. "I understand your genetics won't allow you much of an attention span dear, but next time pretend to at least be remotely interested in the politics of this kingdom."

Emma almost rolled her eyes, "I am interested My Queen." Emma then leaned forward, lowering her voice—aware that Belle was still in the room. "You are carrying the Dark Kingdom's heir are you not?"

Immediately, the brunette's hand went to her still flat stomach…but in a few months that wouldn't be the case and she smiled involuntarily, but it disappeared just as quickly as it appeared. "Do you recall your first assignment Lady Swan?"

Emma nodded, she hadn't thought of that little girl since they locked her away in one of those secret magic chambers behind the throne room. Honestly, she had forgotten that the child even existed. "Yes, what about her?"

"Bring her to me, it is finally time for her father to find her and pay his debt to me."

Emma nodded and left the room.

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The little girl was honestly getting on Emma's last nerve and she was not helping the blonde's headache at all. The Dark Knight was relieved when they reached the Evil Queen's study, but she had discovered that Regina and Belle weren't the only ones in the room anymore.

"Daddy!" Grace cried and tried to run to him, but Emma had a good grip on her collar and held her back, closing the door with her foot.

Jefferson's face contorted with pain seeing his daughter, how dirty she looked—and smelled—she looked as if she had been running through the fields...or forced into labor. He shifted his glare to Regina, he looked as if he were about to attack her but Grace's whimpering pulled his attention once more, and when he turned to her again his knees buckled beneath him. Emma had a sharp knife to Grace's throat and she shrugged .

"Nothing personal...just policy."

Jefferson held up a shaking finger at Emma as if that would scare her and he looked at Regina like a rabid animal on the edge. "How dare you. How dare you! That is my daughter! Don't you have any morals? Are you that evil? All of you!"

Belle rolled her eyes from her seat near the window, and The Evil Queen merely waved off Jefferson's rant as if were nothing, only making him more mad. "Oh please Jefferson, save the dramatics."

"Or what?" he sneered darkly, mockingly. "You'll take my heart?"

The Dark Queen laughed wholeheartedly, her head tilting back slightly exposing the front of her neck. Emma noticed and felt her groin twitch slightly. "Oh Jefferson haven't you heard? Hearts are for amateurs! I collect heads, and I have my own personal head hunter right over there."

"What do you want from me Regina?"

"Hand over your magic hat, and I can guarantee your daughter's safety."

Jefferson swallowed hard, and wiped his nose roughly with the arm of his sleeve. "No...No, I want you to promise me that Grace will come to no harm. I want you and that psycho pet bitch of yours to promise me that Grace will not be harmed."

The Dark Queen smirked, she caught Emma's eye for a moment. She could easily see the excitement and amusement in those green eyes, just like Emma could spot Regina's. It was becoming easier for the two to read each other and it was comforting. The Evil Queen focused her attention back to the mad man that was standing in the middle of her study, nearly at his wits end. "I promise that neither I, nor my Dark Knight will harm your precious daughter."

Jefferson looked at Emma who made a show of releasing Grace and taking a step back. Grace ran into her father's tired, but waiting arms. Jefferson knew they still weren't safe and he stood straighter with his daughter behind him, using his body as a shield between the Dark Queen and her Champion. "Fine, Regina, let's get this over with."

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Jefferson, Emma, and the Dark Queen stood around the magical hat that Jefferson held gingerly while Belle took a very reluctant Grace into the small library connected to Regina's study. Even though she was quite literally in the room right next door, it did little to ease Jefferson's anxiousness.

The crazy-haired man cleared his throat and stood a little straighter. "The portal will only be open for a few minutes...The underworld's magic is too strong for the hat to hold the portal open for very long. It will take you directly to whatever it is you're looking for. If you don't make it out in time, you'll be trapped there until you find a way out...and that's nearly impossible."

The Evil Queen simply smiled, though it looked friendly and harmless—both Jefferson and Emma knew it was anything but. "Excellent. Then I suggest you better make it quick. I know what I want, so you shouldn't get lost."

Jefferson frowned, "I'm not going in there, are you mad!?"

Emma sighed, placing a hand on his shoulder. He tried to shake it off, but the blonde had a firm grip on him. "Do it for Grace if not yourself. Trust me, her fate will be much worse than yours if we don't get that vase."

Jefferson glared at them both before he gently dropped the hat to the floor between them, and they all took a collective big step back as it began to shake and magic began swirling out of it. It stopped as soon as it started, and there was an open portal that led right into a shrine room and directly in front of them was the silver vase that the Dark Queen and Dark Knight desperately wanted. Jefferson stepped through the portal cautiously, unaware that Emma had indeed followed him in at Regina's signal.

Jefferson never got a chance to touch the vase because Emma hit him across the back of his head with the butt of her sword. The Mad Hatter's body crumpled to the floor ungracefully with a solid thump, though he wasn't completely knocked out he wasn't going to be a problem either. The blonde warrior stepped over his body and grabbed the vase by both its handles.

"Hurry up!" Regina called, though her voice was very faint—like a whisper in the back of her mind, it was time to go.

Emma jumped around Jefferson, pulling her leg free of his feeble attempt to keep her in hell with him. She stepped through the portal just as it was about to close and both she and Regina could hear his screams of agony and promise of vengeance. Regina kicked the hat over, chuckling. "Consider your debt paid Jefferson."

SQ :: SWAN QUEEN :: SQ

Regina kept her promise to Jefferson and threw his daughter back into the dungeon that she came out of. She promised that the girl would be safe and no harm would come to her by the Dark Queen's hand or order—and what better way to keep that promise than to just lock her up again and simply forget all about her. The Evil Queen was positive that the lower witch that works as cook will continue to sneak food in to the poor girl, thinking that Regina didn't know.

Later that evening...

After dinner, the Evil Queen called for a quick meeting in her counsel room with Red, Belle, Pocahontas, Lancelot and Emma along with a few other high council members that were loyal to the Dark Queen without a shadow of doubt. Regina made eye contact with everyone in the room, including Sidney, who was hovering in a mirror nearby.

"I must express my apologies for holding a meeting so late, but this cannot wait any longer." She glanced at Emma quickly, the blonde champion nodded encouragingly and offering a small smile. "As you all know, not too long ago... The Dark Kingdom has found it's Dark Champion in Lady Swan, renounced Princess of Snow White and King Charming of the White Kingdom." There were several nods of acknowledgment around the oval table, but no one dared speak and interrupt their Evil Queen—especially with her well-known new fascination, or hobby as some would call it.

"Well, I have secretly taken on Lady Swan as my consort and as a result, I am with-child."

Emma blushed, but she kept her eyes on Regina as everyone, except Pocahontas and Red, expressed shock and disbelief as they looked between the blonde and brunette. Finally one brave sole stood from his chair, trembling slightly as the Dark Queen settled her gaze upon him. The balding skinny man gulped visibly and audibly. "Your Majesty, if I may?" Regina gestured for him to go on, "H-how is that you are with-child? The Dark Knight is a woman, no?"

Emma rose from her chair, and took her place by Regina's side. "Yes I am a woman, but our child was created out of magic." technically it wasn't a lie...but it was partially the truth, they had decided earlier that day after ridding of Jefferson that the need to know explanation would be best for everyone. "Our dark magic has combined and as a result, Regina is pregnant with my child. Do you understand now?"

The skinny man paled and nodded quickly, "Yes, yes I understand now Champion." he bowed deeply to them both before taking his seat.

"Good, now that we have that sorted. I would also like to take the time address another situation while I have you all in the same room. The Dark Kingdom will be expanding it's walls. As you all know, we have taken down the walls of the White Kingdom, burned it to the ground and killed everyone who dared to stand in our way!" the Dark Queen paused, smiling sinfully. "It is undecided on what I shall do with the remainder of the land that was left behind...and I would like it if you all took a vote. We could either build a massive arena for battle games and a nice training area for our knights, or maybe a trade village, maybe a prison. A prison of torture perhaps?" she added innocently, shrugging nonchalantly.

Emma and Regina watched as the others took those choices into consideration, while Emma was hoping for the events arena, Regina was hoping for the prison of torture, fully aware that the arena would benefit her pockets more so than the prison. She clapped her hands together, startling half the occupants at the oval table. "Well, that will be all for the night. You may go."

Emma and Regina waited until everyone was out of the room before poofing themselves to their now shared bedchambers. Regina was already changed into her nightgown and laying back against the pillows and under the covers while Emma was at the foot of the bed looking dumbfounded.

Emma frowned, shaking her head. "You have to teach me how to change while transporting."

"First you have to master healing yourself.", Red lips pulled into a knowing smirk as she greedily watched Emma starting to strip off her armor piece by piece; revealing tight and toned pale skin. And those nearly invisible scars just made the blonde even more attractive than she already was.

"So how is our child?" Emma sat down on the edge of the large bed with her back to Regina, and pulled off her boots; dropping them haphazardly to the floor and then pulled off her pants.

Regina smiled when Emma said 'our child', her hand flew to her stomach rubbing it in small gently circles over her silk nightgown. "She's fine dear, she has just barely begun to even develop yet."

"He." Emma corrected with a smile as she turned and crawled towards Regina, very much naked and lay down on her side next to the brunette under the covers. She slid down so that her face was pressed against Regina's still flat stomach and finally relaxed like she has been wanting to all day. "He hasn't developed much yet. That's what she meant little guy."

"Emma." long fingers worked their way through blonde locks, and Regina let her head fall back on the dozens of plush pillows, eyes closed. "I don't think she can hear you just yet."

A deft pale and cool hand found it's way under the Dark Queen's nightgown and began to rub the older woman's stomach, causing her to jump slightly. They both felt the flutter of magic beneath the smooth skin, almost as if it were excited and ready to play as it followed the tips of the blonde's fingers.

"I think he can hear me just fine, isn't that right baby?" Emma whispered softly, closing her eyes. She never thought that five years worth of hard-ass training to be a ruthless hunter to both man and animal would still allow her to throw it all out of the window momentarily just so she could make funny sounds and whisper into another woman's stomach to a fetus that had yet to be developed. To a fetus that probably didn't even know she existed—yet. She never thought she would retain such...humanity, because sometimes...she barely felt human, but she felt so alive when she was Regina and she felt so warm, but now that they were going to have a baby—Emma was ten times more alive and warm. She felt...balanced.

SQ :: SWAN QUEEN :: SQ

Red and Belle were sitting in Belle's private library on the sofa with only a book between them. The wolf had her arm thrown over the spine of the sofa with her feet kicked up on the small table in front of them. Belle was nearly snuggled into the wolf's side with her legs crossed at knee causing her dress to ride up exposing more of her toned legs, and given their positions and close proximity; every time Belle rocked her top leg, it hit the bottom of the younger brunette's calf muscles.

"You didn't seem surprised that Regina is pregnant." Belle commented, her baby-blue eyes studying the beautiful brunette sitting next to her.

Red scratched the back of her neck nervously, "Ah well, Emma told us earlier...but don't tell anyone I told you that!"

Belle frowned, head tilting to the side in confusion. "Emma was on bed rest earlier, how could she have possibly informed you that Regina was pregnant?"

"Well..." Red sighed and began spilling the events of her day up until their current position.

Belle blinked before laughing slightly, "She climbed out from the balcony? Why didn't she just use her magic?"

Red grinned, she found that she liked the way Belle laughed and she cherished every moment she could whenever the older blue eyed brunette did laugh—and even more so when she was laughing with Red. "Emma believes that the Dark Queen can smell her magic whenever she uses it. But promise me you'll never breathe a word of this to anyone, especially to Emma and Regina."

Belle smiled, "Are you asking me to keep a secret from Her Majesty, who also happens to be a good friend of mine?"

Red couldn't fight the massive grin that was threatening to break her face, "I only want to keep Emma alive to long enough to see her child."

Belle giggled and shifted away from Red; the wolf barely containing her whimper as the older woman moved away from her. "Trust me, I doubt Regina would be able to kill Emma even if she wanted to."

"Do you think they made a child out of True Love instead of just their magic? I mean..." Red quickly set her feet down, trying to amend her dubious tone. "It's a well known fact that the Evil Queen is barren and now all of a sudden...she's pregnant? I'm not the only one who will be asking these questions."

"No, of course...but you'd be the only one dumb enough to actually ask them." Belle shot back with a small smirk, before turning serious and taking a deep breath. "Regina and Emma...they—they have something special. I know from experience that darkness is at every corner, and that it will be around forever...and for these two, who are about as diabolical and damaged as they come. For them to have found each other...to develop...whatever it is that they have—well, I'm just happy for them both. It restores my hope for love, even for dark and lonely souls."

Red stared at Belle intently as the other brunette talked, it was obvious that Belle had hope that even people who were murderers could still love. People who were either born with darkness or just willingly embraced it—could still love. It made the werewolf smile, and she wanted nothing more than just reach out and kiss those soft looking plump lips of the blue-eyed beauty sitting next to her.

"Belle. You give me hope that—Maybe, one day my own dark and lonely soul will also experience True Love and I won't be so lonely...but I know it won't be for a very long time. I need to accept who...and what I am before. I need to love myself before I love another." Reds hands fidgeted in her lap as she thought about her once boyfriend that tied himself to a tree thinking he was the wolf...his screams and her growls briefly filled Reds ears and she shook her head. He was the only person to have ever loved her back...and she ate him.

Belle reached out and covered the wolf's slim hands with one of her own, scooting closer once more. "When you're wolf is ready for a mate...you both will know. And you'll know exactly where to look." Belle pulled a rigid wolf into her arms quickly, ignoring the fact that it went unreciprocated. "Don't stay up too late Red, tomorrow will be a very big day for the Dark Kingdom." Belle whispered in the woman's ear, before pulling away but not before kissing her cheek. "Goodnight Wolf."

Belle was long gone by the time Red finally came back to her senses and closed her mouth, had Belle really said all to her? It has been so long since Red has been in the courting game and she could really use some advice though she was really low on options...she could ask Pocahontas but she had a feeling that the bow and arrow wielding warrior would purposely sabotage any and all of Red's attempts to get herself together and court Belle.

She could ask Regina but...that relationship would take some time before she could ask for any sort of advice or favors from that woman. Her only other option was Emma, the only person who seemed to truly understand her. Red decided to talk to blonde first chance in the morning before things became chaotic.

SQ :: SWAN QUEEN :: SQ

Emma walked out of the bathroom quietly, and paused momentarily in the doorway. The healthy flames from the fireplace illuminated the room enough to cast a few contours around the room; not that Emma really needed the light to see the beautiful brunette laying in bed in her short nightie. Emma stood there completely naked; ignoring the shivers going through her body from the cold tile floor beneath her bare feet. It amazed her how many emotions Regina managed to awaken inside of the blonde just by looking at her—or just laying there oblivious that she was being observed while she drifted off to sleep.

Biting her bottom lip, Emma grasps Regina's chin and tilts the sleepy woman's head up. Leisurely, Emma ran her tongue along the Dark Queen's lips before placing a chaste kiss on the woman's bottom lip.

Still asleep, Regina moaned, and Emma simply smiled. She found it cute. Everything this woman does and says just excites her; and she loved it. Pushing the duvet aside, Emma snapped her fingers—out of curiosity—and to her surprise; Regina's nightie was gone and the brunette was just as bare as Emma. Emma straddled her Queen, and leaned forward being careful not to crush her. Emma flicked her tongue over Regina's nipples and sucked on them until they were rock hard. Regina squirmed beneath Emma but she was still in dream land. Grinning, Emma moved down between the sleeping woman's legs with her hands on her thighs to keep her legs open.

Closing her eyes, Emma allowed Regina's aroma to fill her senses and she groaned. With one hand, Emma parted the Dark Queen's nether lips and saw that she was already aroused. A wet, pink tongue teased it's way over the woman's clit and Regina moaned again; one of her hands cupping the back of the blonde's head as her eyes fluttered open. Emma took that moment to push her tongue further inside of Regina with her tongue.

"Oh god" Regina choked, as she struggled to distinguish reality from the erotic dream she was having.

Emma pulled away slightly, chuckling huskily. "This ain't god baby..."

"Mm, stop talking Emma." Regina's hips lifted off the mattress and Emma knew what her lover wanted. She flattened her tongue and used broad strokes on the brunette's clit and Regina's hand clenched, pulling at Emma's hair almost painfully—and Emma loved it. The blonde pushed two fingers inside of Regina as she sucked her clit into her mouth, pressing harder. Regina growled, throwing her unrestrained leg over the younger woman's shoulder. Emma set a pace that had Regina crying out and trying to fuck Emma's mouth and fingers until she came.

Emma pulled her fingers out of Regina and pushed the older woman's leg off her shoulder as she sat up, licking her lips. The dim light in the room reflected off the light sheen of sweat on Regina's body and Emma felt proud that she could make the Evil Queen sweat with only a bit of cunnilingus.

As Emma stayed on her knees between the older woman's legs, her eyes still focused on her body, she failed to notice the scrutinizing look Regina was giving her.

"Will you still touch me when I'm fat and ugly?"

Startled, green eyes met serious brown eyes, and Emma held back a chuckle. "What? Regina, you'll never be fat and ugly, not to me. Where did that come from?"

Regina rolled her eyes, hands fidgeting on her stomach. "Have you ever seen a pregnant woman? They're fat, they waddle and they..." she took a deep shuddering breath, and Emma could tell this has been on the woman's mind for far too long for it to be some random thought, but she wondered why it had to come up now of all times. "I've never been pregnant before and I don't like being unprepared. I don't know what to do Emma, and neither do you. I don't want this...to be a thing for you to experiment with. I want this to be real—I've been wanting this my entire life. I'm really going to have a baby, and it's yours! You're so young, and you have an entire lifetime ahead of you."

"And?" Emma prompted gently as she rubbed the top of Regina's thighs (and trying to ignore her erection), knowing there was more.

"And...well, I'm utterly frightened! I'm not used to being afraid of anything. I am the one who usually is the cause of the fear, not the recipient." Regina sighed.

Emma could not believe what she was hearing. Regina was opening up to her and sharing her deepest-seated fears with her. Looking down at Regina with unreadable green eyes, Emma wasn't seeing the confident and self-assured Dark Queen that everyone loved to fear and hate. She wasn't seeing the woman who enjoyed seeing heads roll across her feet or squeezing hearts until they turn to dust. What she saw was a young woman who never had a choice to the blessings of life. She saw a young woman who had her wants and needs taken from her and whose decisions were made for her. Emma knew she couldn't go back in time and fix every wrong that was ever done to the woman she loved, but she would do everything in her power to ensure that the rest of her days made up for what was stolen from her in the past.

Emma didn't voice any of her thoughts, but Regina could see it in her viridian eyes. The pure love was evident in the blonde's magnificent eyes—and she wanted to feel it. Regina reached up and pulled Emma down for a kiss. Their kiss started gently, but Regina didn't want gentle; she bit down on Emma's bottom lip and Emma bit her back causing Regina to moan softly. "I need to feel you inside of me...now."

Regina reached down and possessively grasped Emma's erection, she felt it pulsing in her hand and she wanted to feel it pulsing inside of her. Emma set her forearms on either side of Regina's hand, and let her very aroused lover guide her inside. With her other hand, Regina hooked her hand behind Emma's neck and kissed her hard while tasting herself. Both of Emma's hands managed to find their way into dark curls as she sank further and further into Regina.

Emma wanted Regina too badly to take it slow and sweet. Luckily for the blonde, Regina was in no mood for tender lovemaking either…She quickly pulled herself out of Regina before the woman could even adjust to her size and hungrily slammed back into her, the squelching sound was sheer music to her ears. Regina hooked both legs around Emma's hips and swallowed the blonde's growls as she set a brutal pace. She tightened her muscles each time Emma filled her and she could feel her lover growing immensely larger inside of her as she went faster and broke their heated kiss.

"Oh god Regina..." Emma rasped, struggling to keep her pace and not come right there. The sight of Regina's breasts bouncing as she fucked her was almost too much. "Please tell me you're close."

Regina knew Emma was closer to the edge than she was, so she rolled them over; surprising the blonde. Emma was now flat on her back and had an unobstructed view of Regina's beautiful naked body and could watch as Regina ride herself straight to heaven, watching those toned thighs work. Emma dug her nails into the Dark Queen's hips, helping her ride her faster and harder as she met her half way. Regina's mewling drowned out Emma's growling as they both came closer to coming and growing frenetic.

"Oh god Regina please." Emma pleaded between clenched teeth

"If you come before me, there will be hell to pay my little Swan." Regina purred dragging her nails down the valley between Emma's breasts, leaving four angry lines in her wake.

"You bitch." Emma growled in frustration, and tried to roll Regina onto her back, but she found two firm hands on her shoulders, holding her down on the bed.

"No. I'm fucking you now. Enjoy it. You'll come soon, I promise."

Regina resumed fucking Emma, and she rode her blonde knight harder than she's ever done before and she knew she was driving Emma to the point of insanity. She didn't want to torture her, but she needed to feel control—and withholding Emma's orgasm and giving her a little pain was the only way at the moment. She felt Emma's member swelling inside of her, and she slowed down.

Frustrated; Emma finally rolled them over, and drove herself deeper into her love, her Queen. She reached down and pulled one of her legs higher to get deeper, and she hissed in pain; feeling Regina's long nails tearing at the skin over her ribs and sides. Emma returned the favor and bit down hard onto the older woman's neck, sucking firmly. She felt her tighten painfully around her pulsing dick, almost stopping her movements, but Emma groaned and continued to fuck Regina like she was possessed and they came undone together, crying out the other's name for the entire kingdom to hear.

When the two women finally came down from their sexual high and regained some of their composure, Emma kissed Regina softly and started to pull away, but tanned arms and legs stopped her. "Don't...stay please." Regina whispered, voice breaking slightly.

Emma nodded and wrapped the brunette in her strong arms and buried her face into the crook of Regina's neck and hair, "Never and forever Regina."

Soft hands splayed across the blonde's strong back moved up to her shoulders, "Promise me."

Heavy eyes opened and Emma kissed the shell of the brunette's ear before whispering, "I love you."

Regina didn't say anything but the soft sob and tightened grip told Emma everything she needed to know, and she hugged the brunette tighter as she fell asleep in her arms...listening to her accept that someone finally loved her back.

SQ :: SWAN QUEEN :: SQ

Chapter Text

SQ :: SWAN QUEEN :: SQ

It has been some time, approximately one month, since Emma and Regina set Jefferson up for failure and trapped him in the underworld quite possibly forever and taking possession of his magic hat and storing it away in Regina's collection vault. His demise wasn't in vain...Regina was now in possession of an item the Ice Queen has desperately been searching for, for a very long time. The Dark Kingdom now had the Ice Queen's attention but as far as the Ice Queen leaving Arendelle to come to the Enchanted Forest was still touch and go and Regina had to settle for the woman to contact her via mirror...it went from the waiting game to playing chicken.

It has also been a month since she and the Dark Queen made their relationship official for public knowledge, and that opened a new topic of discussion when it become the topic of discussion not only for the Dark Kingdom but every other kingdom they were affiliated with; add to the fact that Emma, whether she was renounced or not, was the White Kingdom's princess and that did seem to put some of the other kingdoms at ease that they had some White Kingdom blood in the Dark Queen's land, even if she was as demented as Regina.

Politics. Emma scoffed, shaking her head as she pushed herself away from the window that gave her a wonderful view of the town that surrounded the Dark Kingdom. She never liked politics. They never really made sense to her, and she wasn't willing to give it a try any time soon. Emma had a few hours to herself because Regina and Belle were having lunch and Emma didn't want to stick around for the political talk she was sure the two women would engage in—either that or talk about the baby...Not that Emma minded talking about her and Regina's child. Besides she wasn't even hungry. Not really.

She made her way down to the dungeon room where Prince Charming was being kept, she hadn't physically seen him for about a month—honestly she had forgotten all about him, but today for some reason he was on her mind...so she decided to pay him a visit, even if she had no idea why.

She briefly acknowledge the two guards outside the boys less than stellar new home before waving them away to go do something else. Emma opened the heavy wooden door with ease and stepped inside the dark room. She left the door open to allow some light into the room, of course she didn't need it but she figured it would make his whimpering stop if he could see her too—somewhat.

Emma leaned against the wall making sure to at least make sure her face was visible and crossed her arms across her chest, staring down at her..her younger brother. He was dirty, and that worn wool blanket that he wore around his little body and the straws of hay in his hair made him look like a peasant and not the Prince he is...or rather- the Prince he once was. Emma smirked at that thought.

Henry had no idea why his blonde sister was smirking, and honestly he knew he should be concerned why this woman—who killed the last of his family in front of him— was smiling at him, but he couldn't because whether either of them liked it or not—they were the last of the Charming bloodline, well to Henry's knowledge.

"You look pale...and hungry." Emma commented after a while, she was scaring herself now. She had no inkling as to what possessed her to come down here, she didn't care about this kid before...and she still doesn't. She had better things to do like go spar with her best friend; Pocahontas. Yet, here she was. Sounding like the caring big sister she wasn't.

Henry nodded, his friend Grace usually brought him so of her bread when she was able to visit him in the middle of the night when the guards were either sleeping or just not paying any attention. "Are you here to hurt me like you hurt daddy and Mulan?"

Emma cocked her head to the side, she's been asking herself that question since she made the decision to come down to his cell. Why was she down here? "I was just checking on you, making sure you're still alive?" It sounded more like a confused question than a confident and reassuring answer.

"Oh."

Emma said nothing and for a while, neither did Henry. He was welcoming the cool air coming into his cell...he didn't have a window so he really had no idea what the exact time was but he could tell between day and night by the temperature. It was cold at night, and unbearably hot during the day for it still being winter time. He was also appreciating the light, his young eyes were still adjusting but it was a welcomed ache.

"Tell me about dad?"

The blonde knight went rigid, "What?"

"Um, can you tell me about our dad?"

"Your father" Emma sneered emphasizing 'your', "He was..."-an idiot, and he was weak. He didn't know left from right, and he wasn't a true King. He was an idiot. He ran around like a chicken with his head cut off most of the time. He had no real sense of direction when it came to politics. He was an idiot. He was born and raised on a fucking sheep farm and got the draw of luck when he was down on his luck. He was an idiot then too. Emma slowly started to nod her head, lips pressed tightly as if she had a good answer. "Your father, is a fallen King. I suppose to some he was a great man...and to the others, like me, he wasn't so great and he wasn't worthy of the crown. The end."

Henry may be young, but he wasn't dumb. "But...that doesn't answer my question Emma..."

Emma pushed herself off the wall, letting her arms drop to her sides. "Sorry boy, there was nothing about that man worth storing away for storytelling. Perhaps you should ask someone who isn't biased."

Henry looked panicked as Emma moved, and he realized that his time with the cool breeze and light were coming to an end. "W-wait!"

Emma sighed, "What now?"

"Can...um," the young boy got to his feet and dusted his pants off out of habit, "Can I have a room?" at a quirked eyebrow, he stumbled forward. "Please? It's so cold down here at night it hurts and—and the hay is so itchy."

Emma smirked, "Yes, I suppose you aren't used to these conditions are you boy?"

Henry just shook his head, his unkept shaggy brown hair falling into his eyes. "I won't ask you for anything else I swear it!"

Emma stared down at him so long and hard that the small boy fidgeted under her piercing gaze trying not to show he was scared but he was failing miserably. Emma broke her stare and stepped out into the hall to address one of the guards on duty. "Take this boy to an available servant room and get him settled in. He's going to start helping with the cleaning duty."

"What?!" Henry squeaked but was quickly silenced when Emma looked at him pointedly, and he took a step back when she reentered the room.

The blonde stopped directly in front of him, and bent down with her hands on her knees and eye level with him."Cleaning duty little Prince. You want a warm bed and good food, you work for it. You will work for everything you want in life from now on, you understand?"

"But my dad...he is a King...and I am a Prince. We don't work!" he argued and nearly stomped his foot.

Emma laughed, she genuinely laughed. "Your King, your daddy is dead. And so is your mother. And your home is here in the Dark Kingdom now. If you wish to live past the age of ten, you will earn it. Got it?"

It was cruel, she knew, but she was giving him a chance at life without actually going soft. She was doing it her way, or she just wasn't going to do it at all. Henry nodded after a moment, looking resigned as if he realized he had no choice—actually, that is exactly what he concluded. He may be young, but he was no idiot. "Okay...I understand."

Emma stood and stepped out into the hall to address the waiting guard once more, "I want a guard with him at all times...and I will be checking in from time to time, and I expect reports of his progress. Understand?"

The knight nodded curtly, "Yes Lady Swan!"

Emma sighed, wondering what the hell was wrong with her. "And...the girl. The girl imprisoned behind the throne room, put her in a servant room as well with kitchen duty. The room is warded by magic, so wait until lunch time...there is a witch that delivers lunch around that time. Understand?"

"Yes Lady Swan!"

"I expect the same thing, one guard with her at all times, and weekly reports."

"Yes Lady Swan!" He saluted stiffly, eyes forward.

She saluted him, and left the knight to complete his task for the day.

SQ :: SWAN QUEEN :: SQ

Emma found the Captain of the Dark Kingdom near the venders, judging by the heavy looking bag slung over the womans shoulder, Emma figured it was just a slow day all around. As she approached her friend from behind she saw that Pocahontas was talking to a older man who looked like he was ready to run for his life, and Emma was now in hearing distance and now standing to the left of her friend.

"It is no concern of mine whether your family has..." Pocahontas halted her slow drawl and looked at him with a raised brow, "What was it again?"

Frightful eyes darted to Emma then back to Pocahontas, "Um...oh, food."

"Ah!"Pocahontas chortled sharply, startling both the blonde and old man...but the former of the two hid it better, "You really should've thought of that before you became peasants! We're through here!" she waved him away and he dropped his head and scampered away not wishing for any trouble from either high ranked warrior. Pocahontas turned to Emma with a bright smile, "What are you doing out here?"

Emma half shrugged, "Can't enjoy my friend terrorizing the villagers?"

"I suppose...must be a slow day for you too?"

"You have no idea." Emma groaned, falling into step with the darker skinned warrior as they made their way back into the Dark Kingdom's gates. But as they approached the front gates, Pocahontas suddenly pulled Emma out of the way just as a group of four white horses zoomed past them with a carriage behind them. "What the fuck?"

"Holy shit..." Pocahontas whispered, "Emma, look at the flag."

Green eyes zeroed in on the flag that was flickering violently with the high speed and her eyes widened when she got a good look at it. Without a warning, she grabbed her fellow warriors upper arm and magicked them inside the throne room. They were both rather shocked to see it empty sans Regina Red, Lancelot and Belle.

Regina looked at her two top warriors with a look of relief, "I was just about to send Sidney to fetch you two. We have an unannounced visitor to deal with it seems."

Emma nodded and made her way to her lover, pulling her into her arms. "Yeah we know, she almost ran us down at the gates."

Regina kissed Emma chastely before she pulled away, "The Ice Queen's arrival is unexpected but not completely unprepared for. Everyone get ready, this woman is unpredictable...and it is best to be ready. Now."

Regina took her rightful seat on her throne, looking as regal as ever and every bit of the Evil Queen with her smirk in place as if nothing was amiss. Emma had her hood up and stood behind Regina's throne to the right while Pocahontas took the left side. Red was next to Emma, while Belle was next to Pocahontas—much to the wolfs displeasure...and Lancelot made up the rear. His pride was still hurt from being demoted and replaced by his wife, and he was still trying to get the hand of being the Lt. It was a lot more grunt work than he realized...especially when he got a taste of being the Captain.

They didn't have to wait long, the doors to Regina's throne room were thrown open and all the occupants felt a breeze of cold air that was harsher than the winter breezes mother nature had to offer. The Ice Queen was a truly beautiful woman, and the frostiness that seemed to cover her skin like a second skin made her even more intriguing. Only a keen eye could see the thin sheet of ice that covered the womans exposed skin and Emma admired her wits—it'd take double the hits to assassinate this woman. One hit to break the ice and another to break skin—but by then, the Ice Queen would've been aware she was trying to be killed—if she wasn't before the first strike.

The Ice Queen came without any protective guards, it was rather arrogant of her do so and everyone standing behind Regina took offense to that. It was a message. A message that the Ice Queen thought that the Evil Queen and her guard were not worthy of a good fight. She found them easy. Emma may have admired this womans natural defense mechanism—but she was curious to see how far the womans head could roll before she could defend herself.

"Finally," The older blonde spoke after a moment of assessing Regina's personal guard, "I have the pleasure of meeting the Evil Queen in the flesh...with an added bonus of her dream team."

Regina kept her smirk in place, though it was forced but she couldn't stop her eyebrow from raising. "My dream team dear?"

"Two witches..a wolf, a spirit warrior and...a man who I assume is nothing but a mere sacrifice."

Pocahontas' hand twitched but that was the only indicator that the Ice Queens words bothered her. Regina chuckled, and chose not to stand but instead shifting her weight. If the Ice Queen had the audacity to insult her guard, then she would not respect this womans status of a Queen. Regina looked down at the Ice Queen like she was another other peasant that came to her crown for one thing or another—it didn't go unnoticed either.

"I apologize for dropping in on such short notice," she didn't sound sorry at all, "But I understand you have something that belongs to me."

Regina smirked and settled back into her throne smugly. "Oh...you mean the urn? That hideous thing? I'd be glad to get rid of that useless thing." Regina made a show of being disgusted, "Unfortunately, it belongs to the Dark Kingdom, not Arendelle."

The Ice Queen's smirk fell and she set a cold glare upon Regina, "Then I will just take it from you."

Regina laughed halfheartedly while Pocahontas and Emma shared a look over the Evil Queen's throne. "Take it from me? You honestly believe that you can take anything from me? I'm the Evil Queen dear, if anything—it is I that takes from you."

The Ice Queen sighed deeply, as if she were bored. "Fine, then I will offer you something you want in exchange for my urn."

"Arendelle's alliance for this unsightly urn, of course." The Ice Queen looked as if she were about to challenge the Evil Queen, but Regina was suddenly on her feet with the urn between her elegant hands and she had the Ice Queens attention. "We've been discussing it for a while, and now it's time for it to be official."

The older Queen tore her eyes from the urn and met Regina's self-satisfied gaze with a cold one of her own. "And what if I don't wish to form an alliance with the Dark Kingdom. Arendelle has been closed for reasons. We have no trade business to offer you, Queen Regina. I simply want the urn and to return back to Arendelle in peace. I have brought pounds of gold but our alliance is not up for discussion."

Regina turned and handed the urn to Emma who handled it carelessly and almost dropped it. The older blonde's eyes widened then narrowed, "Be careful with her!" she hissed, "Do you fools have any idea who is in that urn?!"

Emma smirked, turning the object this way and that casually. "Should we? I don't feel anything...how about you Pocahontas?"

The blonde warrior tossed the urn to the spirit warrior who caught it easily, but it did nothing to ease the Ice Queen's nerves, instead it made her even more agitated than she already was. "Stop it you fools before you break her and I lose my Elsa forever!" It didn't escape anyone's that the temperature was dropping and the corners of the room were getting a little icy.

Regina took a step down, her grin tight and wicked. "Swear your alliance to the Dark Kingdom and you will have your dear Elsa back in Arendelle. We don't want your trade profits or your army, the Dark Kingdom has enough money and power to survive lifetimes."

"So why do you want Arendelle's alliance if you're so powerful...trust me Queen Regina, you do not want to end up on the bad side of someone like me."

Emma scoffed, but it was Belle who responded to the Ice Queens threat. "Someone like you? Please. You may have a mean cold shoulder, but it's the Dark Queen who should be feared. You should be groveling at her crown in gratitude for not destroying that pathetic rock you call a kingdom."

"Think of it like this Ice Queen, wouldn't you rather have Elsa have a familiar place to call home...or would you rather I destroy your...Kingdom, and keep Elsa in this urn forever in the fiery pits of hell."

The Ice Queen sneered but the temperature of the throne room went back to normal and the icicles in the corner of the room melted away. "You will rue the day you forced my hand, I promise you this. All of you."

"We're the most powerful kingdom in this world, get in line. Now swear your allegiance and go back home Ice Queen."

SQ :: SWAN QUEEN :: SQ

( Six months Later...)

The Dark Kingdom was thriving with power. The Evil Queen had the money, she had the power, and she had more land than any other kingdom in the Enchanted Forest, and any neighboring realms kingdom as well. No one dared challenge the Evil Queen as she also had the biggest army that any one has ever seen.

The Evil Queen's pregnancy is still the most talked subject among the lands of the Enchanted Forest, as some people believed that someone as vile as her would never be able to have children, then they learned that Emma, another powerful dark sorcerer, was her consort and it suddenly all made sense. Dark True Love's magic. It seemed a higher power had a morbid sense of humor to pair those two women together, both so underhanded and moral-less. Those who were light and against the Dark Kingdom were suffering at the brink of poverty, while the others who shamelessly pledged allegiance to the Evil Queen were well off and reaping the benefits of the ever powerful Dark Queen and her kingdom. Especially since the Dark Kingdom's battle arena was completed; neighboring kingdoms sent there most eligible knights to the arena to duke it out with other nights, and if they came back victorious...and not on the last thread of life, they were appointed the role as their realms champion until another challenged them.

The Dark Kingdom had more revenue than it could handle. And with the Evil Queen being Six months pregnant, her tyranny was more than anyone could handle either, including Emma. The Dark Queen was hormonal and twice her normal self.

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"Emma, would it kill you to breath slower and quieter?!" Regina hissed as she set her book down to glare at the blonde, the same blonde that she hardly ever let out of her sight nowadays. They were currently sitting on their balcony beneath the brunettes beloved apple tree; enjoying the cool summer night breeze and the setting sun, and a light dinner. Well it was light for Emma, as Regina had staked claim on pretty much everything as soon as the servants left.

Emma just smiled and nodded, she had learned to just keep her mouth shut and take it all in stride. It didn't do her (or the kingdom) any good if one argued with a pregnant Evil Queen, especially for the one responsible. Emma keeping Regina happy benefited everyone, and if she didn't...heads rolled.

"Of course, I'm sorry for bothering you." Emma had also learned the art of placating her True Love two weeks after Regina's hormonal fits of rage. While the blonde look cool and collected on the outside, her mind was desperately trying to stay awake. Regina woke her at different hours of the night because she either had to pee and needed assistance getting out of bed because her belly was huge. Not that Emma ever told her that, even when Regina insisted that Emma be honest. Emma actually liked the extra weight her woman put on, but she'd never say that out loud, but Regina was beautiful even more so now that she was pregnant and practically glowing despite her tyrant like ways.

Regina rolled her eyes, and waved off Emma's comment as she stood. "I have to pee. Clean up this mess and come to bed soon, dear." That was another thing about Regina being pregnant, she no longer had a filter and her tongue was sharper than it was before. Emma found herself laughing most of the time, internally of course.

Emma waited until Regina was back inside to let out a sigh of relief. With her magic, she cleaned the table and sent it to the kitchen, and magicked herself down there as well. She wasn't shocked to see Red and Belle in there together, sharing a drink. When they saw Emma they both became alarmed, and looked ready to bolt. Emma laughed and held up her hands, "She's in our room, calm down. Sorry if I interrupted something, I'm just gonna grab some-"

"No, no!" Belle interrupted with a soft blush as she set her goblet in the sink and soothed out the invisible wrinkles on her dress. "It's fine, we were just um talking."

Red couldn't even meet her blonde friends eyes, and Emma's smirk grew even more. "Talking...uh huh sure. Look, I don't wanna ruin whatever you two love birds have planned for tonight. I just came down for a break."

Red was the one who was smirking now, over the past few months not only has her relationship with Belle blossomed into something that wasn't so platonic as the older brunette guided the wolf embraced who she was born to be; she and the blonde were becoming fast friends. Pocahontas was another story, but at least she wasn't plotting ways to kill the wolf any more—thanks to Emma. "Is the Evil Queen wearing you out Dark Knight?"

Emma sighed deeply, shrugging. "Not so much physically, just mentally. I find myself using my magic more and more everyday just to stay awake. It's always one or other, but her main complaint is that I'm breathing. I've tried to find a spell that would conceal my breathing but...no such luck." Emma winced, she felt a mental pull behind her head, and she knew it was Regina telling her to come back but she ignored it for the moment.

Belle snorted unladylike, "Emma. Regina is just caught up in her hormones, the Regina we all know and love...or love to hate for some, is still there—deep down inside."

"Yeah" Red wrapped a long, toned arm around the blondes shoulders and pulled her into a side hug. "Besides, you only three months left. You're survived six, don't start breaking now. I have a bet on you not breaking, so don't make me lose. We're friends."

Emma was going to comment on the fact that there was a bet going on about her survival with their pregnant Dark Queen, but the pulling behind her head was becoming harder to ignore. "I have to go, I don't think it'd be wise to have her looking for me."

Belle smiled and hugged their blonde friend, "Just show some empathy Emma, you'll be okay. I promise."

Emma nodded and bid her friends goodnight before magicking herself back to her bed chambers. Regina was in her night gown, sitting on top of the covers looking irritable. "What took you so long? Where did you go? I told you to clean the table, not go dawdling around the kingdom."

Emma sat on the edge of the bed to start undressing, starting with her boots. "I went down to the kitchen."

"Why?"

"Because you told me to clean up." Emma winced, that came out with more bite than she had intended but the damage had been done. She wanted for something to come flying at her but it never did, and she, cautiously, turned around. The blondes heart felt a stab of pain when she saw shiny obsidian eyes staring back at her. "Regina? Why are you crying?"

"I'm not idiot." She wasn't crying, not yet at least.

"What's the matter then?" Emma asked softly, clothes long forgotten as she edged closer to her upset lover.

The tears began to spill over in an instant and Regina shook her head, "I'm sorry I'm a bother to you Emma, I just need you so much and I hate that, but I do! I'm fat, I'm always hungry and my back hurts, my feet hurt and sometimes my nipples ache in the middle of the day at the worst times! And you're bitching about putting away dishes! You have no idea what I'm going through! I'm sorry that I treat you so bad but..." And the more the brunette ranted, the more she cried so Emma wasn't able to catch all of what she was saying but she knew she was being fussed at while simultaneously getting an apology.

Emma pulled Regina into a hug and just told Regina everything it was going to be okay until the woman stopped crying and pulled herself together. Emma felt bad because she didn't know what Regina was going through, and she just made her lover feel worse than she probably already did. Time for some butt kissing. The Dark Knight couldn't wait to get her Regina back, at least she could get some sleep. "Maybe I can hunt some raw meat for you tomorrow, and have it slow cooked for you tomorrow. The kind of meat that is rare in the Enchanted Forest. Sound good?"

Regina's face instantly lit up with a radiant smile that Emma loved so much, "You would do that for me?"

"Only for you." Emma confirmed, kissing her Dark True Love reassuringly.

SQ :: SWAN QUEEN :: SQ

Henry had waited until the entire kingdom had succumbed to the sandman before quietly slipping out his bed. He slipped his feet into the ratty slippers he had bought from the village when Emma had allowed the guard to take him and Grace out to spend their hard earned shillings on things they needed, and his heavy cotton made robe.

The young boy who was once a Prince, became a master of stealth and he made sure not to linger in the shadows for too long because it was as if his sister had a special link to him and knew when he was doing things he shouldn't have been doing—like attempting to run away to find his mother. Henry had learned the hard way that things weren't so black and white. He hadn't heard from Rumpelstiltskin in some time, but he knew that the man would come when the Dark Kingdoms heir would be born—though he never explained to Henry why it was so important that they wait until then to find Snow White.

Henry's night guard had more brawn than brain, and was slumped in the chair by the door; sound asleep. Henry quickly, but quietly, ran along the wall to the bay where the female servants slept. He crawled on the floor beneath the mirrors to avoid being detected by the man that lived behind the glass.

Grace was already sitting on the hard stone steps waiting for him, and Henry was relieved that he didn't have to go down the stairs since there was a dark area that always terrified him because he never felt as if he was alone when he passed through it.

Henry sat next to his best, and older, friend. He moved his shaggy brown hair from his face and smiled at her. "Hi Grace."

Grace smiled back, then grimaced. "Next time we go into the village, buy some soap."

Henry frowned, "I took a bath, is that why you wanted us to meet? To tell me I stink?"

Grace shook her head, looking as serious as an 8 year old can get. "No, I met someone that can help us find your mom."

Henry's eyes lit up before doubt took over, and his green eyes narrowed. "Rumpelstiltskin says we shouldn't trust anyone to help us. He's the only one that can help."

Grace rolled her eyes, "But he's evil like your sister and the Dark Queen."

"Oh yeah? If he's so evil then why's he helping us?"

"Because evil people are liars that's why! I'm older and smarter than you Henry, I know these things."

"Yeah, but I'm cuter than you." when Grace settled for just glaring at him, the young boy sighed and shrugged. "Sorry. So who did you find?"

"The Blue Fairy."

Henry instantly perked up, he knew who the Blue Fairy was—she was one his mothers good friends. "The Blue Fairy? How? My dad said she died when the Evil Queen destroyed our home?"

Grace shook her head, "Not true, she came to me in a dream and she told me not to trust Rumpelstiltskin. He's not helping us at all."

Henry didn't want to believe it because he truly believed that the strange looking man really wanted to help him find his mom; but Snow White also told her son that the Blue Fairy was the most honest person in the Enchanted Forest.

"Well...what else she say?" Henry asked, still uncertain about who he should chose to help find his mom.

Grace looked over shoulder to make sure they were still alone, "The Blue Fairy said that they need something of your mothers to help find her, something like necklace or-"

"Oh!" he quickly lowered his voice, "When I was younger my mom gave me her scarf when I lost mine two winters ago. I still have it but it's dirty."

Grace smiled softly, "It doesn't matter Henry, it'll help us find your mom." she noticed that Henry's smile wasn't as big as it should've been, and she asked him what was wrong.

"It's just that...Emma keeps saying that both mom and dad are dead and-"

"Emma is a liar Henry. She's not a good person, she killed my dad in front of me. Does that sound like a good person to you?"

"No." Henry whispered sadly eyes on the floor, "But she can be good when she wants! She got us out of the dungeons!"

"Yeah and look at us now! We're stinky orphans that are trapped her. I'd rather be in the dungeons. Stop defending her Henry! She wouldn't do it for you, she's not a real big sister."

The younger boy wiped his eyes with the rough fabric of his robe, and stood. "What do I tell Rumpelstiltskin?"

"You won't have to tell him anything if we take the Blue Fairy's offer."

Henry nodded, "O-okay. Meet here tomorrow night?"

Grace smiled and stood as well and hugged the shaggy brown haired boy. "Yes, and bring the scarf."

Henry nodded and made his way back to his bay, while Grace thanked her lucky stars that he agreed. They were finally going to be free, she turned and skipped down the stairs unaware that amused green eyes at witnessed the entire interaction between her and the White Kingdom's former Prince.

"The game is about to get interesting."

SQ :: SWAN QUEEN :: SQ

SQ :: SWAN QUEEN :: SQ

Chapter Text

SQ :: SWAN QUEEN :: SQ

Emma woke up to whimpering, and felt the bed bouncing every few minutes. Emma blinked a few times thinking that she and Regina had overslept, but after a moment she realized it was still dark, and figured that Regina was just having a hard time getting comfortable.

Emma wasn't going to agitate her lover anymore than she probably already was so she closed her eyes and tried to allow sleep to take her back to the land of peace, but Regina's whimpering as she tossed and turned, weren't doing anything but waking her up more than she wanted to be. Emma rolled over and sat up on her elbows.

"Regina? What's wrong, Beautiful?"

She got a nearly feral growl in return as frustrated and tired brown eyes met her own, "You breathing."

"Uh, what did I do this time?"

"You did this to me! I'm so grotesquely obese that I can't even roll over, look at me! And my nipples are aching right now, and it's hot, and you're breathing so god-damned loud it's hard to hear myself think!"

Emma wisely chose not to respond to anything, she knew her pregnant wife was just tired and frustrated. The blonde pushed aside the thin sheets and got out of the bed—she went toward the balcony doors stark naked and pushed the doors open. The breeze immediately swept into the room, cooling off herself and most importantly Regina; who was now slumping against the horde of pillows with a content look on her face but she still looked tense. Emma waved her hand towards the fire place and the dying fire came back roaring to life and brightening their bedchambers somewhat.

Regina watched her blonde knight curiously as she went into their shared bathroom, "What are you doing Emma? Come back to bed!"

She didn't get an answer, it was as if Emma was suddenly mute. She emerged from their bathroom suite a few minutes later with goblet filled with cold water. Regina took the tumbler warily, wondering if she might have pushed Emma a bit too far, but the blonde looked far from upset; she seemed amused as she watched Regina drink the water intently. If Regina didn't know any better, she would've suspected that Emma poisoned her drink. When she was finished she handed the cup back and Emma set it aside on the nightstand by one of Regina's books.

Emma quietly pulled back the sheets, revealing Regina's naked and very pregnant body. To Emma Regina was just as beautiful as she was before she was pregnant, maybe even a little more now. Regina's glow is what kept Emma calm whenever her lover went on a tantrum or became this monster towards her, because she knew that the brunette didn't even know what she was doing most of the time, and apologized after—then blamed Emma for causing her episode.

Emma climbed onto the bed, sitting at Regina's feet and pulled them into her lap. Curiously, Regina watching her lover's strong, pale hands gently knead her sore feet; and she admitted that it felt nice. Calloused hands made their way along her bare leg, still being gentle as possible—but despite the loving tenderness Regina felt the blonde's tension.

"Emma, what are you doing?"

Still the blonde remained silent and it was both worrying and annoying Regina, though she knew that Emma would never hurt her. Emma's impromptu massage had the Dark Queen completely relaxed against the pillows as she reached her sore breasts, particularly her nipples, that she constantly complained about. Propping herself up to the right of Regina, Emma took the first hard nipple into her mouth without warning. The Evil Queen's eyes shot open before they closed again, Emma's wet mouth felt like heaven around her seriously inflamed breasts. It seemed as if the blonde was trying to swallow her entire breast into her mouth as her other hand fondled the other. It's been weeks since Regina allowed Emma to touch her sexually and she was regretting it now because she sounded like a virgin in heat, and the blonde hadn't even touched her womanhood yet. Regina reached down past her smooth round belly and ran her fingers through her slick folds and her other hand grasped the back of the blondes head; pulling her closer to her chest.

Emma pulled her mouth away with a 'pop' and reached up to kiss her lover. The Dark Queen accepted her Dark Knights kiss, it was soft and caring for a moment before Emma pressed her body against Regina's and their kiss began to escalate. Regina moaned into her loves mouth, feeling Emma's naked body against her own and her hard eight inch penis pressing against her thigh had her mind and body craving her touch more than ever, but with her belly Regina wasn't leading the dance, Emma was.

Emma broke their kiss, teeth pulling at Regina's full bottom lip. The Evil Queen brought her fingers from between her legs and rubbed them over Emma's pink lips until the blonde grabbed her wrists and licked her fingers clean, both moaning in need. Emma rolled away from Regina and stood once again, tall and proud and extremely excited. Emma reached forward and grabbed Regina by her ankles and pulled her to the edge of the bed roughly, but carefully. She placed the brunette's legs over her shoulders as she knelt between her open legs. Emma buried her face in Regina's dripping and aching pussy, licking and sucking vigorously. Emma wrapped her arms firmly around tanned thighs as she ran her tongue up and down Regina's then inside of her as far is it would go, savoring the heady scent of her arousal and taste. Regina's hands were holding blonde locks tightly as her hips began moving against Emma's face. Within moments, Regina's creamy come was down Emma's throat, but the blonde didn't stop; she continued to make Regina come until the monarch couldn't take anymore and pushed her head away.

Emma stood slowly with Regina's feet now pressed against her shoulders, her face glistening. She watched Regina's chest rise and fall as she tried to catch her breath. Emma set her right foot on the bed tucked into Regina's side and dropped the woman's leg onto her thigh just as she slid all eight inches of pure hard muscle into her lover. Regina instinctively grabbed Emma's leg and dug her claws into the blonde's calf muscle.

"I missed being inside of you like this." Emma eased her hips back, then forward before she slipped out. She did this several times, enjoying Regina's incoherent moans. Emma set an agonizingly slow pace, going deep and strong each thrust. Emma knew Regina didn't want it slow, she could see it in her beautiful brown eyes and her body seemed to be pulsing with need, but she was so hot, so wet...and so tight; Emma wanted the feeling to last all night. She even ignored the fact that Regina broke skin on her leg as she silently begged her to fuck her like she meant it.

"If you don't fuck me, I'll find someone else who will!" Regina growled in frustration, trying to raise her hips to meet Emma's, to force her to go faster.

Emma's lips twitched, green eyes looking down at the brunette with her head tilted to the side. "Oh I'm sure there are plenty in line to have their fill of the Evil Queen, but they won't please you the way I can. They don't have the power of darkness inside them that I have. They can't give you what. I. Can." Emma accentuated each word with a hard thrust, and she kept going and going. Emma felt Regina's body convulse continuously and Emma was struggling to keep her primal stride going as she was starting to hurt from the strain.

Regina, who was completely satisfied, regarded the blonde whose body was sheltered with sweat that glistened under the light provided by the fire. "I want you to come inside of me."

It took half a minute for Emma's euphoria to overwhelm her and she exploded into the depths of Regina's sex. She pushed until she could go no more, thick strands of hot come shot out of her. It felt as if she were emptying everything she had left into the woman she loved.

Neither said anything for a while, both simply trying to catch their breaths. Finally Emma lowered her leg back to the floor and she took a step back. "Turn over."

Regina's eyes shot open, she was sure Emma was finished after that. "What?"

"Get on your hands and knees. I'm not done with you yet."

Regina glanced down Emma's toned body and saw that her member was still rigid and covered in their combined come. As quickly as she could, she scooted back towards the horde of pillows and got on her knees and rested her upper body on the pillows comfortably. Her backside was completely exposed—she felt hands on her ass pulling her down, and Regina groaned loudly as soon as her nether lips felt Emma's firm tongue part her slick folds. Regina rolled her hips down and Emma gave her what she wanted. Hands splayed across the Dark Queens lower back, Emma raised her head a bit and sucked her clit into her mouth.

"There...just like that!" Regina rasped, rolling her hips harder until she came. Emma wouldn't let up even as Regina tried to get away. Emma had her way with the brunette until she was tired, and that was well into the wee hours of the next morning.

SQ :: SWAN QUEEN :: SQ

Unsurprisingly, Emma was awake before Regina and she was tired. It was still early in the morning but the sun was rising. Emma pushed aside the covers and climbed out of bed and went to use the bathroom. When she came back out she saw that Regina was awake and sitting back against her pillows, rubbing her bare stomach.

"Sorry, did I wake you?"

Regina shook her head, smiling softly. "No dear, my mind is just a little busy at the moment."

"Want to talk about it?" Emma shrugged on a robe and sat on the edge of the bed, rubbing the top of Regina's thigh through the sheets. "I may be able to help."

Regina was quiet for a moment, thinking of a way to approach the topic without offending the blonde. Though Regina knew that it would be best if she didn't play around it, it would only serve to irritate Emma. "How did Snow and Charming know that you were a girl?"

Regina winced when she physically and mentally felt Emma withdraw from her. Her green eyes dropped down to Regina's extended belly and she sighed, looking away. "I'm not too sure. Though I remember when I was young and asked...Snow mentioned the Blue Fairy helped."

The Evil Queen rolled her eyes, "Of course, the Blue Fairy" Regina spat the fairies name as if it were poison, "I should have known, but how did they know you were not a little boy but a little girl?"

Emma knew Regina was asking because there was a chance that their child could be a little girl and inherit her unique gene, but she hated talking about it—because she wasn't even sure herself, her mother never really answered it for her when she asked. It saddened Emma that she had no real answer to give herself or Regina. "That's a question only two people can answer...the Blue Fairy and Snow White."

Regina sighed, shoulders slumping. "Of course."

"The Blue Fairy used magic why can't we?"

"The Blue Fairy used light magic. There isn't any light magic on these lands anymore—at least not pure light magic. Light magic provides blessings...Dark magic provides curses."

Emma shrugged, not understanding why Regina was so against using dark magic to figure out the aura of their child. "I understand the differences between light and dark magic, but I am not understanding what you're afraid of?"

"Our baby may have been created out of Dark True Love, but there's a chance that she...won't possess darkness like we do...what if our child is innocent and we use dark magic, and taint her perfect little heart?"

"We can't guarantee that. We can't guarantee any of that. But I think you're overreacting because you're scared."

Regina scoffed and waved off Emma's comment immediately, "I am not scared! Lady Swan. I am concerned. I know what your parents put you through and I do not want to go down the same path."

Emma's eyes narrowed but she understood the brunette perfectly, "Well, we won't. Snow and Charming knew I was a girl—yes, and they treated me as such. But they also decided to ignore the fact that part of my body was man. They refused to acknowledge my needs and wants. Hence their current situations. Dead and comatose. Regina..." Emma reached out and took one of Regina's hands, intertwining their fingers over her stomach, feeling the flutter of magic beneath her skin. "We aren't going to do that."

"But Emma what if we make a mistake!" she hissed worriedly, "What if we are completely wrong and our child grows up to hate us because of it—or is too scared to tell us we were wrong and-"

Emma's eyes widened as she shook her head. She quickly leaned forward and silenced Regina with a chaste kiss. "Regina! If he turns out to be a she, then our child will tell us. You and I are having a child together Regina, I don't think scared is part of their gene pool." Emma tried to smile but Regina simply wasn't having it, so Emma sighed and tried a different approach. "Regina, take it from someone who knows what to look for...if our child happens to be the opposite gender than what we assumed, at least one of us can spot it and help. But until that happens...we just have to be the best parents we can possibly be."

"I don't want to be the best we can be!" Regina hissed mockingly, eyes narrowed as her hormonal rage began to rear it's ugly head. "I want to be the perfect mother, and not knowing my baby's gender is a bad start! Why are you not concerned about this Emma?!"

The blonde sputtered. "Regina! I'm the epitome of gender confusion and neglect from parents who chose to ignore who and what I truly was, they chose to ignore what I wanted and what I needed. I needed love from them, and I needed understanding, and support. But you know what I got? Dresses and scolding for not being the perfect young lady. " Emma spat mockingly as she got to her feet. "And right now, you're about to do the same thing to our child that Snow and Charming did to me. You just don't know it yet, but I know it." Emma snapped her fingers and she was no longer wearing her robe but her Dark Knight Armour.

Regina knew she had hit a nerve and the blonde was getting ready to bolt, "Emma-"

"But I mean, yes...they got my gender right, though. But that's in thanks to the Blue Fairy. I am a woman, but I'm tomboy at heart. Though for a time... I was groomed into who they wanted me to be. I was the perfect princess for the White Kingdom. I had all the dresses and the beautiful blonde hair and green eyes. I learned tea time when I wanted to play with a sword. I learned how to match slippers and dresses when I wanted to be shining my own armor. I learned how to stay clean 8 hours a day when I wanted to be rolling in the mud and falling out of trees. I didn't grow into myself until I went missing for five years. Is that what you want for our kid? To make them miserable? Because it sure as hell seems like Deja Vu to me."

"Emma I didn't-"

"It may not be light magic Regina—but we do have a blessing...and if you taint that with your own ignorance, then you're no better than Snow White." Emma disappeared in a cloud of black smoke, leaving a regretful Regina alone in their bedchambers.

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Emma walked into Apache's stable, smiling when the intelligent animal seemed to suddenly spring to life when he laid eyes on her. Emma pushed down her hood and shooed away the stable boys, and them seemed very eager to get away as quickly as possible. Emma patted the side of his neck, "You and I are going to go see an old friend of mine. It's quite the journey, you up for it?"

Apache huffed, seeming offended that she even asked. Laughing, Emma saddled him up and led him out of the stables. The sun was now higher in the sky, casting a beautiful orange glow across the pastures. Emma mounted her loyal steed but before she left, she glanced back at the Dark Kingdom, sighing. She wasn't angry with Regina in particular—she was mostly angry at the memory of her parents, of the controlling torture she had to endure. She knew that Regina would never force their child into situations that would them uncomfortable or ignore their special needs—if it came down to it—but Emma's repressed memories and emotions were starting to surface and she needed to get away for a while.

Turning away from the kingdom, she dug her heels into Apaches side and they quietly escaped the confines of the Dark Kingdom.

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Pocahontas walked into the Throne Room with her head held high despite her wildly beating heart. Regina sat on her throne looking as regal as ever and glowing brighter than she has in several weeks. She looked beautiful and terrifying all at once. Pocahontas stopped at the foot of the steps that led to Regina's throne and bowed.

"Good morning, Your Highness." Pocahontas stood straight and at attention, least she get yelled at for slouching.

"Good morning Captain. Have you seen my champion this beautiful morning?"

Pocahontas shook her head, "No Majesty I have not. But I've been hearing through the grapevine that the Dark Champion had visited the stables at sunrise and rode off with her steed."

"Right." Regina's lips tightened and she looked off to the side with a peculiar look that most never wanted to be on the receiving end of.

"Is there something wrong Majesty?"

"Not at all dear. In the absence of my Dark Knight, you will hand your duties to Lt. Lancelot and you will temporarily stand by my side until Lady Swan returns."

Pocahontas blinked and swallowed her nerves, her? Alone with the Evil Queen until Emma returned? Until who knows when? "Of course Your Highness, it'll be my honor. I shall be back momentarily." Pocahontas bowed and turned to leave.

"Where do you think you're going? Send a messenger Captain, are you daft? You are not to leave my side until the Dark Knight comes back."

"Of course Your Highness, my mistake." my mistake was saying yes. Pocahontas called for a messenger then gave him a few schillings and sent him away. She positioned herself to the left of Regina's throne and tried not to think about the rest of her day. "If I may Your High-"

"You may stand there quietly Captain."

Pocahontas simply nodded and cursed Emma in her head, she cursed her straight to hell. She just hoped court wouldn't drag on but with her luck, it would.

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It was lunch time by the time Emma decided to give Apache a break—though they were already at their destination. She hadn't been to this place in what felt like years. Despite the summer sun, this place had an air of eeriness and she could feel the temperature drop as she and Apache slowly walked towards the fog that seemed to be alive and waiting for them. Emma slid off her companion and led him through by his reigns. The ground was as soft and alive as she last remembered it, the soil was so black it looked like hot tar but it smelled so rich, and so natural. The mountains were still as big and intimidating as she remembered them to be and the town never changed. It was still run down and empty.

Emma saw the familiar blacksmiths shop that had smoke coming from its chimney. She made her way across the muddy ground and tied Apaches reigns to the hitching post. She could hear the familiar rhythmic clanking of Rulf's heavy hammer beating down on hot iron. Suddenly it stopped and Emma knew that he felt her presence, and unlike the first time they met— Rulf came to her. He still looked the same, his eyes were still blacker than night and his hair was still silver and in a tight ponytail behind his head and he still carried around his hammer. Neither of them said anything, Rulf's dark shiny eyes were taking Emma in. Taking in her new armor, the hardness in her eyes—the wisdom...the turmoil.

"Yer lookin' good." he finally spoke, "And ya been busy..." he made his way down the rickety old steps but they weren't so old that they couldn't support his massive weight. "But yer troubled ain't ya?"

Emma nodded, "Yes. I just decided to come home. Uh, how have you been old man?"

Rulf simply stared at her for a few more moments—it was a look that used to unnerve Emma but she was used to it. He wasn't a very social being. "How long ya plannin' on stayin' round here?"

Emma shrugged, not at all bothered her deflected her question. "I don't know..." Emma rubbed the side of her neck. "Until my mind settles again I suppose."

"Hm. Yer gettin' weak."

"What?"

Rulf tilted his head to the side as he dropped his hammer onto the last step. Apache bristled when Rulf roughly took Emma's face in his calloused hands but Emma held her ground. "Yer been usin' magic to heal ya'self...only the weak use magic fer healin...only the weak get hit!" he spat and pushed her back. Emma lost her balance and fell flat on her ass, but she made no move to get back to her feet. She felt like that scared little girl again, but she recognized her anger for what it was now—and her shame. Rulf was right... Emma had become weak...she had become civilized. All the scars she had proved nothing if she couldn't handle new ones, if she couldn't cope with a few more here and there.

Emma looked back up at her mentor, the man she had come to see as a father figure—but not quite so fatherly. "I would've lost my leg."

Rulf's beady black eyes narrowed and she could see the rage in them. "Ya deserved it if ya let em get so close to ya! Have you learned nothin'?!" he roared down at her, his massive frame looming over her fallen one and Emma lowered her gaze to the ground, she could feel it's raw power beneath her. She could feel the roots beneath the soil licking at her bare flesh.

"I'm sorry, I lost part of myself...and I'm sorry."

Rulf reached down and pulled Emma to her feet with ease, and steadied her. "Ya lost part of yer self long ago lass...ya became strong, but now yer weak...but not as weak as ya were. But yer troubled too ain't ya? That's why ya here?"

"Just a tad...I just have a lot of things a lot of things on my mind these days Rulf."

"Yer scared."

"What?"

Rulf stared down at Emma a while longer, he took her face in his rough over used hands and began turning her face this way and that way. "Yer scared of parenthood...yer scared of bein' like yer parents. Yer scared of failin' ya offspring."

"H-how...but, what?" she wasn't all that bothered by his need to physically touch her and push her around, it was his way of showing that he cared—deep down inside, it was just another way of him communicating with her.

"I can see it in yer eyes...ya fear. It's a sickness...its plagued yer mind since ya found yer Dark True Love. Since ya Evil Queen became with-child."

Emma looked down, "How do I get over this sickness?"

"Ya don't." With that he turned, picked up his hammer and went back into his blacksmith shop, leaving Emma and Apache outside—confused. All that huff and his only answer was to shrug. They didn't get it. Emma sighed, shaking her head. She had to figure out how to get over her own fear of failing before going back to Regina. She turned and walked across the path to the saloon.

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Emma walked into the saloon slowly and looking around, it all looked the same as she had last left it—smelled just as bad too. She approached the bar and pulled down a stool and sat down. She wiped the counter with her hand and her nose was tickled with the amount of dust that began floating around. She laid her head down on her arms and tried to relax her mind before she got a headache.

"I would've never pegged you one for the slums...but looks can be deceiving."

Emma looked up and saw Peter Pan sitting on the counter in front of the liquor shelf looking smug and too puerile to be innocent. Emma sat up a little straighter. "What do you want Pan?"

Peter pretended to be offended by Emma's short tone, "Trouble in paradise? Well I hate to be the bearer of bad news Emma, but it's about to get worse."

Emma's eyebrows dropped in confusion, "What do you mean Pan?"

Peter leaned back against the wall, "That is going to cost you love...say the heart of the truest believer."

"I saved your life."

Peter shrugged, waving his hand loosely. "Yes, and now I'm here to return the favor."

"Yet you're here trying to negotiate the heart of some poor soul."

Peter leaned forward with a devilish smirk, green meeting green. "Oh believe me Emma, when I tell you what I know...you'll be all for giving me his beating red heart."

"Tell me something Pan, why do you want his heart so badly?"

Peter leaned forward conspiratorially, "With the purest heart in the Enchanted Forest, anything is possible."

"Anything like?"

"No more light magic. Ever." Emma blinked in surprise, then she smiled.

"You have my undivided attention Pan."

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The longer Emma stayed away and ignored her calling, the more irritated Regina became. She couldn't sit still and after the first two healers disappeared into the unknown when they tried to tell her to sit down, no one dared mention the Evil Queen to sit down and relax, not even Belle. Pocahontas was doing her very best to make sure her majesty kept hydrated and calm as she could be in her situation—and one question still remained, where the hell was their champion?

"Captain?" Regina suddenly stood, well as suddenly as she could in her state.

Pocahontas pushed aside her musings and gave her full attention to the Dark Queen. "Yes Your Majesty?"

"I'm going out for a while. You're relieved of your duties for the rest of the day."

Pocahontas' eyes widened comically, "Uh, ah...I don't think that is a wise idea Your Highness. I-"

"It's quite alright Captain, Emma's magic is calling to mine. I will be fine, inform Belle of my absence."

Before Pocahontas could get another word in, Regina was gone. Pocahontas bowed mockingly to the fading purple smoke and turned to leave the Evil Queens study to go find Belle.

Meanwhile...

Regina found herself standing in the middle of a very filthy and clearly abandoned saloon. It made her skin crawl. She saw Emma sitting at the bar, facing her leaning back on her elbows casually with her legs swinging back and forth feet barely touching the grimy wooden floor, her tight leather jeans hugging her toned legs perfectly. Despite Regina's clear irritation towards the blonde, she smiled at the sight of seeing her again. Regina walked up to Emma, and Emma met her halfway. Emma was going to say hello but she suddenly found herself looking at the entrance of the saloon and a stinging sensation left on the side of her face.

Emma chuckled and pulled Regina into a hug that was immediately returned. They both pulled back and stared into the others eyes. Neither women were going to apologize verbally but their emotions were in their eyes and they understood each other with needing words.

Emma sighed and stepped out of Regina's embrace to pull a chair from the table and set it down on the floor properly. She dusted it off with her hand, smiling sheepishly. Regina sat down and Emma pulled down another chair and sat down with across from Regina.

"Emma," Regina started, "You were right—about earlier."

The blonde made a show of being shocked and nearly falling out of the chair, "Wow. Who are you and what have you done with the real Regina?"

"Very funny dear."

"I think we'll be okay though...being parents. We've both had bad experiences growing up with overbearing parents, so I guess we know what to do...and what not to, right?"

"Yes...you're right—once again. I was just-"

"I know, you were just scared. I am too, but we have each other. So there's nothing to be afraid of. Besides...we highhandedly banished light magic from the Enchanted Forest, we are already awesome parents."

Regina sighed, and brushed some lint from the body of her dress. "Yes, if only we can destroy it then we would be the not only the strongest rulers of this world, and most feared...but our child will have everything they could possibly imagine."

Emma shifted in her chair, clearing her throat. "What if I told you I had a way?"

A delicate eyebrow arched, "A way to do what?"

"A way to destroy light magic. Forever."

Regina sneered, "How?"

"Before I tell you, I want you to meet someone." Emma stood and held out her hand, which the Evil Queen immediately took and was pulled to her feet with ease. "Two people, actually."

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The Blue Fairy was standing in the middle of the map that was laid out on the table, a map of the entire Enchanted Forest. There were marks that were crossed out, places where they have looked and failed and marks that were circled, places where they had yet to look. The search for Snow White has been non-stop since the destruction of the White Kingdom. The rag tag group that represented good refused to believe that Snow White was dead. The Evil Queen paraded the Charming's head on a spear in front of her castle gates, she paraded Mulan's head right next to his before putting them away in her sick vault they all knew she cherished. If Snow White was dead...her head would've been on top of the Evil Queen's palace being picked at by the buzzards.

But the simple fact of the matter was... the Evil Queen and Snow White had too much animosity for Snow's death to be so...simple.

Robin Hood drank his ale and scratched his head, "I'm starting to lose hope Blue, perhaps Snow White truly is dead...we should just tuck tail and run before-"

"No!" Jiminy Cricket tapped his small umbrella on the edge of the worn wooden table, "We mustn't lose hope. We have to believe that Snow White is alive because in our hearts we know it to be true. We just have to look a harder."

"Yes." Blue fairy chimed in, transparent blue wings fluttering. "Have a little faith in little Henry, I know he will help us find Snow White."

Will Scarlet looked around the table, at everyone else that was brave enough to go against the Dark Queen's rule. "The Dark Queen and her puppets have taken everything from us. I think it's only fair that we return the favor."

Geppetto glanced at his son, Pinocchio who was standing next to his father. Geppetto nodded, "I believe that Prince Henry can lead us to Snow White, who in turn will help us defeat the Evil Queen. Evil never wins. Never."

"But with all the kingdoms in alliance with the Dark Kingdom, I don't see how good can beat evil anyway! Snow White won't even stand a chance with a strong army!" Robin all but shouted in frustration. "Your hope and faith won't win a war with the Evil Queen! We need an army, and bloody big one! Or else a lot of good men will die in vain."

A high pitch giggle erupted from the door way, "Perhaps I can be of assistance Dearie."

In a split second Rumpelstiltskin found himself staring down the wrong end of a few very sharpened arrows and swords from Robin Hood and his Merry Men. They stood around the table protectively but he merely smiled, he wasn't worried about them hurting him. No one could hurt the Dark One.

"What are you doing here Roach?" Robin frowned, looking down his arrow—arm shaking as he wanted to release it into the Dark One's chest, but he knew he wouldn't make it...and would evoke the Dark One's wraith upon them.

"I couldn't help but overhear you need an army to take down the Evil Queen. Just so happens, oh Robin Hood...I have an army!" he clapped his hands together in front of his chest, "An army that is much larger than the Evil Queens!"

The Blue Fairy flew around the merry men and hovered in the air between them and Rumpelstiltskin, "Why are you here Dark One? We don't make deals with evil!"

Rumpelstiltskin smirked, "Even if you had a sure way to take down the Evil Queen and restore the balance between good and evil?"

"Why do you care so much Dark One?" Robin asked suspiciously, "As far as we know, you're on her side."

"Oh I was Dearie..." Rumpelstiltskin's smirk turned into a small frown as his big eyes began to build with rage, "Until she stole from me. She took something that belonged to me, and no one steals from me without consequences."

"I don't believe him." Will Scarlet commented, and there were murmurs from the Merry Men that agreed.

"Say we do believe you want revenge on the evil bitch, what's in it for you?" Robin Hood asked, ignoring the Blue Fairy's glare.

"I get what is rightfully mine and move along Dearie. This is once in a lifetime offer, the Dark One doing something nice! Unheard of!" he jumped a little in excitement, laughing lightly. "You'd be a fool not to accept it...are you a fool Robin Hood?"

"No I am not. We accept."

"What?!" the Blue Fairy and several others in the over crowded cabin yelled, "Are you out of your mind Robin? Do you realize what you have just done?"

"Yes, I just ensured that we win against the Dark Queen." he lowered his bow and arrow and approached the Dark One who was doing a very poor job of hiding his smugness. "How do we call upon this army when we need it?"

Rumpelstiltskin twirled his fingers in the air and suddenly there was a handcrafted wooden whistle sitting in the palm of his scaly hand. "You simply blow this whistle, and you will have an army at your disposal. Blow it not in vain, it only works once."

"Where will you be when it happens?"

"I will be watching Dearie. I'm always watching." and he was gone, leaving the resistance in the cabin in shocked silence, minds still reeling about what just happened.

Robin curled his fist around the wooden whistle and sighed, keeping his back to the group. "It was for the best."

No one said anything. They didn't know what to say. They had an advantaged though for better or worst...no one was sure.

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Chapter Text

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Rumpelstiltskin sat at his beloved spindle, threading his sacred golden thread, and humming happily to himself. He had put his own agenda back on track and now all he had to do was sit back and watch, knowing his pupil was smart enough to make the right decision when the time came. He felt a sudden chill crawling up his spine, and the Dark One paused briefly. His smile dropped slightly as he continued to weave his golden thread.

It wasn't long until the double doors of his dining room flew open, and the Ice Queen walked in as if she owned the place… The frosty woman made quite a spectacular entrance, almost bold enough to dare and compare to one of the entrances of the Evil Queen. Almost, but not quite... "Hello old friend."

"I don't remember inviting you into my home." Rumpelstiltskin never took his big eyes off his spindle, acting as if he was unaffected by her sudden intrusion.

The Ice Queen ran a long finger along his dining table, grimacing at the amount of dust she found lingering there. "I don't remember asking."

"What do you want?"

The Ice Queen strolled in front of his spindle, waving her hand over and freezing it, as well as his hands. Rumpelstiltskin, abhorring the feeling of not being in complete control, tried to jerk his hands out of the ice, but it was no use. The bitch's powers were amazingly strong. He kicked himself mentally for not catching her presence and giving her the opportunity to make him look like a weak fool. He wouldn't allow for this to happen again. Never a dull moment, I guess I must always be on the alert, he thought to himself. "I want to know why you gave Ares' whistle to those that are against people like us. You have no idea what a war like that could do to the Enchanted Forest you repulsive imp!"

Rumpelstiltskin glared and growled low in his throat, "Oh I know what it could do, but it'll never get that far. I've seen it."

The Ice Queen leaned forward on the frozen spindle, frowning. "Even seers can be wrong. Isn't that the same mistake that you made all those years ago, paving the very path to becoming the Dark One in the first place, Rumple?" The icy tone in her voice grated on the man's nerves, but he refused to let it show. He needed her to believe that he wasn't rattled, and was on his A-game.

Rumpelstiltskin ignored her jab and smiled, "I thought you didn't like the Evil Queen, dearie? You have your dear ol' Elsa back, this is none of your concern."

"I don't like that bitch, but I do not like my peace being disturbed. Even if that means killing you, I will do it. For my Elsa."

Rumpelstiltskin laughed, "You can't kill me, but you can die trying."

Ingrid's eyes narrowed, "What are you doing Rumpelstiltskin? If Robin blows that whistle and they go to war...nobody, as well as nothing will survive."

"Yes, I know...and so will Regina."

"So why do it? Have you finally lost the last sane part of your mind?"

Rumpelstiltskin leaned back on his stool as far as he could, lost deep in thought, and pleased with himself at the same time. Coming back out of his thoughts, he gave the woman another one of his ever cryptic riddles. "I was never sane to begin with dearie...me giving Robin the whistle is not the craziest thing I have done, not yet."

Ingrid's eyebrows dropped with suspicion, "Should Arendelle be worried?"

"Everyone should be worried. The Evil Queen is soon to be a mommy...what do mommies do when their young are threatened?" he sneered at the older blonde.

The Ice Queen stared hard at him, trying to figure out what his game was, but he was just too smug... She knew that whatever it was, it was not going to a blessing for anyone but him. She knew all too well what parents did when their babies were being threatened. They did anything and everything possible, without a care for anyone else.

Slowly, Ingrid freed Rumpelstiltskin, and was about to quietly make her leave. She must go and prepare Arendelle for the worst. She felt that her business was finished with the imp, and was satisfied with the outcome of her "little visit". She wasn't completely thrilled with the knowledge that she had gained, but it was necessary. Time to move on…

Rumpelstiltskin stood and watched the Ice Queen make her exit towards the same double doors that she had entered through and he made a split-second decision to throw her a bone. "I can guarantee...that whatever happens..." he trailed off, waiting for the Ice Queen to look back at him, as he smiled the biggest, most devious smile she's ever seen on his creepy, crocodile-like face. "It will be out of this world."

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Emma stood off to the side as she watched Regina talk to Rulf and Peter Pan. Emma wasn't worried about Regina meeting Rulf or Pan, she actually had a feeling that they'd get along quite well together—twisted minds and all.

Emma's arms were crossed over her chest with her hood pulled low, but not so low that it would impair her vampire-like, night vision. She could tell that Regina was enjoying talking to the two newest allies of the Dark Kingdom, but she wasn't following the conversation like she should have been—instead, Emma was thinking about how beautiful Regina looked while pregnant. She was gorgeous before, but now...now Regina was too amazing for mere words and the blonde could see that the Evil Queen was absolutely glowing. Everyone who had eyes could see it...and Emma felt a sense of pride that she was the reason that Regina glowed the way she did.

Regina still wore those teasing dresses with unique designs and material that no one else seemed to find—but they were tailored around her stomach now, and Emma just couldn't help but admire the woman she loved. It never ceased to amaze her that this woman was now her life. Her lover, her best friend (something she never expected to have), and her partner in crime… What a difference from her past life under the White Kingdom's oppression.

Just then Regina looked her way—meeting her eyes, despite the hood being pulled low. Regina smiled and Emma couldn't help but smile back. Peter Pan just smirked, and Rulf grumbled under his breath. "Your bond is extremely strong. A connection like yers' is a rare thing, indeed. The land...It has a gift for you. For you both."

Regina looked at him curiously, "A...gift? What sort of gift?" She remembered Emma telling her that Dead Man's Land was more than just real estate—it had its own mind, and Rulf was its vessel.

Rulf tilted his chin in Emma's direction and Regina followed his gaze. Emma was no longer standing in the distance watching them, she was now kneeling in the middle of the street, fingers stroking through the black soil of the ground. If Regina didn't know any better, she would think Emma was playing in dirt. She looked back at the man who had helped Emma transition into the incredible person she now is.

"I've never gotten any gifts."

Rulf looked at Pan with those beady black eyes of his, "I guess It don't really like you too much, boy."

Regina carefully made her way to where Emma was...since she was wearing impossibly high heels that she refused to give up, walking through the sticky mud was actually quite arduous, a feat she would just blame on her pregnancy and the great difference in her center of gravity, causing her balance to be affected. Her belly was huge, but nobody dared make mention of that fact to the Queen... When she reached the blonde, Emma was just getting back to her feet. Her hand was wrapped around something, but she quickly pocketed whatever it was that she had dug from the ground.

"Is there something wrong darling?"

Emma shook her head, pushing the hood back some. "Not at all, everything is fine. I think we should be on our way back to the kingdom to prepare a unit for an ambush."

Regina decided not to push her lover about what she had in her pocket. Not when they had company. She trusted that whatever secret Emma was keeping would be revealed at the proper time. It was so out of character for the Dark Queen to let things slide, but with Emma, things were different. She was her other half. She completed her. The Queen started thinking about having her wicked way with Emma when they were in the comfort of their home, alone. "I'll wait with Apache, my dear."

Emma nodded and walked past Regina to go tell Rulf and Peter Pan that she was leaving. Rulf simply grunted and sauntered silently back into his shop, because he wasn't one for goodbyes. Peter looked at Emma, a small smirk still sitting on his face.

"What? You want to come with us tonight?"

"No, but I will be watching from a location closeby. When the time is right...Believe me…I will be there, ready to take what you promised me."

Emma shrugged, turning and walking off the porch. "See you tonight...or not."

Peter snickered, "Remember, do not damage his heart." he called after her before disappearing.

SQ :: SWAN QUEEN :: SQ

Queen Regina and her Dark Knight stood at the head of the table looking every bit like the power couple they were perceived to be. Emma had explained to their small circle of friends what Peter Pan had told her. She informed them that even though their demolition of the White Kingdom was successful— Snow White still had tricks up her sleeve, even as she lay seemingly helpless, far away from all civilization, in a glass coffin.

"That little shit!" Pocahontas growled, breaking the silence. "A child? A fucking child can bring down this entire kingdom?!"

"His actions can." Regina corrected tersely as she rubbed her stomach. She was thankful that she had decided to have this meeting in the war room surrounded by solid walls with a multi-layered, steel door. Outbursts like the one her Captain had just demonstrated weren't meant for wondering ears. "If they find Snow White before we can stop them...well let's not let it get to that, shall we?"

Belle and Red nodded, and Pocahontas sneered in the werewolf's direction. "Hmmm."

"What?" Red snarled, tensing.

"This is your time to prove your loyalty to the Dark Kingdom, Wolf."

"After all this time, you still do not trust me?"

Pocahontas scoffed, raising a fine brow. "Not yet I don't. Not until you prove yourself in battle tonight."

Lancelot stood, slamming his massive hands on the wooden table. "We do not have time for battle, why can't we just kill those no-good kids now and hunt down the rebels?"

"Because, you imbecile, we have no idea who those fucking rebels are." Emma snapped, uncrossing her arms, just to give them something to do. Her energy was building up and she needed some release. "We kill those kids now, and we might not ever know who and what has been growing under our noses until it bites us in the ass! I recommend we use two units. One ground unit and one archery unit. The archers will take to the trees and cover us on the ground and-"

Lancelot shook his head, "I disagree with that strategy. They could be expecting us, if they're smart enough to get past the walls of the Dark Kingdom, who is to say we underestimate them? I know my army, we don't need two units...we just need one. A ground unit, no need to involve the archers. They'll be useless," Pocahontas gave him a glare that was nothing in comparison to the glares she had given Red. "Our men are big, and brutal. We can have this issue squashed within an hour. Rebels against fully armored men, girded to the teeth is nothing."

Belle's eyes widened slightly before she rolled them, Emma simply glared at the man. He was her friend, but she wouldn't hesitate to remind him how and why he was no longer the Captain. They were wasting precious time arguing in the war room when they could be preparing for mobilization on a small issue that had potential to become their downfall. "Lancelot I understand your concerns but I am the Dark Knight, this is my army. I-"

"I am not disputing that I was-"

"Lieutenant!" Emma snapped once again, but it was much sharper than the last one. "This is my army. If I want to use a ground unit as well as an archer unit, I fucking will! This issue that can be squashed within an hour that is nothing, as you so tactfully put it, can backfire into becoming the Dark Kingdom's downfall. Unless you want to be a stable boy next, sit the fuck down. Right. Now. And you're off this mission, Lieutenant."

Everyone's eyes widened comically, they had never heard the blonde sound so...savage before, especially directed at one of them. The fire in her green eyes was nothing like they'd ever seen before. It was almost as if her eyes were glowing bright with anger...and something else. Lancelot was slowly sitting down until his wife ungracefully yanked him down into his seat by his collar.

Emma stared down at the table, taking a few deep breaths to slow her erratically, racing heart. She gently moved her hand away when Regina tried to take it. "Captain, pick an archer unit of your choosing and be waiting in the trees outside the stables by nightfall. That is the only way anyone can get in undetected and the only way they can get out."

Pocahontas bowed her head, "Yes ma'am. I'll bring two scouts in case they use magic to throw off the wolf's nose." Red wanted to be offended, but even she had to admit that was a good idea.

Emma nodded, silently agreeing, "Red and I will lead the ground unit. No heavily armored men, they'll be too slow. I will hand pick the most nimble and capable soldiers that I feel are best for this mission. I have a feeling this mission won't be as easy as the others." The Dark Knight looked at her Captain and best friend, "Stay on your toes."

"Always."

Emma turned to Red, also making brief eye contact with Belle. "Meet me on the training grounds after dinner."

"Okay."

The Evil Queen tore her eyes from her lover and most dedicated soldier. She addressed her other tense soldiers and adviser with a forced smile. "If there is nothing else, we will see you all at dinner." She quickly took the blonde's arm and they instantly vanished in a cloud of black and purple smoke.

Almost immediately, Lancelot found himself under the intense glare from his wife. "I wasn't trying to undermine her I swear it, I was just-"

She stood and opened the steel door. "You're not getting any for a week."

"A week?!" he cried after her, ignoring the snort from Red.

"Two!" she threw over her shoulder.

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Emma sighed loudly as she sat on Regina's bedroom chaise lounge chair, her face was in her hands and she felt a sense of anger. Anger towards Henry for taking advantage of her kindness, only to turn around and stab her in the back, though she shouldn't be surprised...he was his mother's son after all. She was thankful she had gotten rid of anything and everything that those people had given to her. It wasn't much, but the point that counts. She was mostly angry at herself, how could she have been so stupid to not kill him when she had the chance? Now she can't, because they needed him to find those other bastards that still held onto the hope that they could dethrone the Dark Queen. She wanted them all dead. Emma mostly wanted them all to suffer though, for even threatening her family.

Emma suddenly jumped to her feet and threw one of her daggers at Regina's largest mirror that was perched above her vanity. "Goddamn it!" she shouted, and sat back down with a deep sigh before laying down, eyes closed.

Regina slowly walked over, her heels clicking on the stone floor softly. She wasn't afraid, because she knew Emma would never inflict any harm on her or their child. She carefully lifted the blonde's head and sat down, and placed Emma's head in her lap and began running her fingers through her hair. "Talk to me dear. Breaking my mirrors doesn't solve anything except upsetting the poor genie trapped inside."

"I'm scared."

Regina didn't even flinch, "Of what? Dying?"

"Failing...I mean it's not just us anymore, I'm not just doing everything I do for you or for me, but to make sure our child has a future inside these walls, always feeling safe, not out there on the run, because Snow White and her followers are on our asses for being who we are. We need to win… to finish this."

Emma sat up, digging something out of her pocket. "I wasn't sure when would be the right time to give this to you...but now seems to be the time."

"Does it feel right to you dear?"

Emma paused, hand closed tightly over whatever it was that she held. She looked into obsidian eyes and kissed the brunette passionately, but pulled away before they got carried away. "Yes, it feels right to me." Emma opened her hand. Lying side-by-side were two flawless black rings. One was a wedding band with nothing on it except the coat of arms insignia engraved with light purple coloring. It was so small, yet so significant and Regina wondered for a moment how she had not discovered this fine jeweler in all these years, until she remembered where it came from. The ring sitting next to it, with its proud pomegranate gem, was a little more elegant to fit her character, and it too had the coat of arms insignia. They were two beautiful and rare rings that didn't necessarily shine in the light, but they were not dull either.

Emma cleared her throat nervously, and Regina quickly placed her left hand over the blonde's mouth before she had a chance to say anything. "Don't say anything...just make love to me, please."

Viridian met obsidian and they stared at each other for what felt like an eternity, until Emma broke their eye contact and made love to her woman, right there on the chaise lounge chair.

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Later that night...

Henry, as promised, met Grace by the stairs with his mother's old red riding scarf, wrapped securely around his neck. The halls were eerily quiet, but there was nothing that seemed out of the ordinary. His night guard was sleeping on the job by the boy's door and Henry had no problems getting to Grace. He joined her on the on the third step with a small smile.

Grace smiled back, seeing the scarf around his neck. "It's pretty."

Henry nervously played with the lose threads, "Do you really think my mom is alive? Especially after all the time that has passed?"

"The Blue Fairy thinks so, and I believe in the Blue Fairy, so yes. Are you ready to escape this hell forever, Henry?"

"How are we going to get out of here without getting caught? There are gates, and guards everywhere!"

Grace smiled and got to her feet, dusting off her brown dress. "We just have to go to the stables and go to the forest, the rest will be taken care of there."

"Did the Blue Fairy tell you all of this?" Henry asked as Grace pulled him to his feet. "Do you know where to go?"

Grace nodded, "Yes, now hush Henry before we get caught!"

Both children were unaware that two figures were patiently following them through the shadows, they proved to be quite skilled at sneaking about the castle when everyone was sleeping. They had used the kitchen's backdoor to get outside and made a quick run to the stables, but they dared not go in since it was crawling with night shift stable boys who were alert to anything to get a promotion. After they got past the stables Emma stopped tailing them and went to join her team on the ground, who were waiting for her. She made sure not to startle them as she made herself known, but Red had made sure they were aware of her presence.

"Alright. The archers are somewhere in the trees and in position...we are going to spread out and keep a safe distance. Do you understand? I don't want them spooked just yet. Keep in contact. Remember, night creature sounds only."

She got nods in return, Emma took a deep breath and gave the hand signal for them spread out and follow Red.

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"We don't have much time, were you followed?" Robin asked as soon as both children stepped into the small clearing that was a bit of a distance from the Dark Kingdom's stables.

Grace shook her head, "Nope. We're stealthy."

Will Scarlet rolled his eyes and took a swig from his flask, eyes wide for any unnatural movement. "Yeah right, let's get movin' huh. I don't like being in the Evil Bitch's territory."

Robin nodded and took point in front of the children, while Will picked up the rear.

As the small rebel group trudged on, two units from the Dark Kingdom swiftly following, they were not far behind. Keeping their distance; all the while, maintaining visual the entire time. It wasn't until the small group crossed the creek that Emma signaled her group for a halt, using the barn owl call. She could sense that something wasn't right any longer. It was almost as if they were walking right into a –swft!

Emma caught the poison tipped arrow with her left hand before it pierced her neck. She snapped the arrow in half and let it fall to the ground at her feet. The man behind her dropped to the ground, he had four arrows sitting in his chest, and Emma had a strong inkling that they were poisoned. "Damn...I hate when he's right."

"Attack!" someone yelled from the darkness, but Emma could see them just as clearly as if the sun was high in the sky. She reached down and picked up the dead soldier's axe and flung in the direction of the closest Merry Man, striking him in the face with so much force it went straight through, a clean kill.

"Kill and move forward!" she yelled out, "We cannot lose the boy!"

"Yes ma'am!"

"Red, go now! Pocahontas needs you more than I do right now, I'll catch up." she told her over the loud, terrifying screams of battle and the piercing clangs of multiple swords clashing against one another.

The wolf nodded and tossed another one of the Merry Men behind her that she had trapped between her massive jaws. A wild-haired man came out, screaming like a banshee, with an axe held high above his head. Emma punched him in the gut, stopping his charge and grabbed him into a choke hold, while swiftly forcing him to the ground.

"Where is the campsite, buzzard?"

"I ain't telling you shit traitor!" He wheezed, struggling to breathe.

Emma heard a howl and explosion in the distance and sighed. She said nothing else, but ripped his throat out. She stood and ran towards the distressed howling. Instinct kicked in, and she ran with everything she had. Soon, the Dark Knight heard the sound of a real battle occurring and she could smell, rather than see the fire. She didn't take the time to take in the scenery before her, she didn't take the time to observe just how big the rebel's camp really was or how disturbingly close it was and they never had discovered it. But what Emma did see was two groups leaving the camp site in two different directions, and one group was with Robin Hood, the Blue Fairy, and Henry…riding away on horses at full speed. The scarf was no longer around Henry's neck, but with her heightened vision, she quickly was able to see that it was floating directly in front of the horse. "Damned locator spell! Damn that fucking Blue Gnat!"

Before she had a chance to chase after them, she was tackled to the ground. She lost her grip on her sword and it fell somewhere above her. The man on top of her was a brute and he wasted no time jabbing her in the face and torso repeatedly. Emma was able to roll him over, but never had a chance to land a punch, because he kicked her off, and she was airborne several feet before she landed on the roof of a hut and went crashing right through the structure as if it were made of nothing but flimsy matchsticks.

She felt an aching pain on the side of her right thigh and saw that it had narrowly missed impaling her leg, though the graze didn't feel all that great either, and she was sure she would have splinters, but she's had much worse. As Emma got to her feet, a few nails fell to the floor and she finally felt the uncomfortable feeling across her upper back. It was fairly obvious that whoever had the nerve kick her through a hut was clearly in possession of some sort of magical assistance. She walked out through the front door and saw him standing there waiting, and from what she could see, every single home had been set aflame, and was burning to the ground. The next thing she noticed, was that there were more dead bodies than there were bodies willing to fight surrounding them. To Emma it was like being thrown into the pits of hell, and not knowing a damned thing about her opponent.

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Regina sat with Belle and Lancelot in her study, none of them were talking, but all of their eyes were fixed in the direction of the forest, where they saw a small flicker of light from the explosion that most likely woke the entire kingdom. Emma was right, the rebels had been growing right under their noses...and if it weren't for Peter Pan they'd still be none the wiser. Regina rubbed her belly soothingly, the flutter of magic dancing in her stomach did nothing to ease her worries...and if she didn't know better, she would've thought their child was worried as well.

"I don't like this. I should be down there." Lancelot shook his bald head in frustration. "They walked right into a trap! I told her if we had-"

"You would've walked into a trap as well!" Belle all but yelled at him, "And you'd be good as dead."

Regina was staring down at the ground, barely listening to her two friends and trusted royals argue over whose idea was better than the other, when she saw something running across the field towards her castle. It took her a split second to recognize it was Red, and without warning Regina was gone.

Red was naked by the time she got down there, naked and covered in blood, it was unknown as to whether it be her own or someone else's, but regardless, she looked filthy. However; the Evil Queen ignored all of this, "Red, where are the others? Is it over?"

Red shook her head, still panting. "N-no! The fight...they were expecting us. Emma sent me back...she only said to me, Plan B, what in the hell is Plan B, Regina?"

Regina sucked in a large amount of breath and her face hardened, "It means I have to go and visit an old friend. Go back, I'll send Lancelot and two ground units."

Red looked as if she were about to question Regina more about this 'Plan B', but the Evil Queen was gone yet again. "For a pregnant woman...she sure does move quickly." Red said to apparently nobody but herself, then shifted back and ran back towards the battle.

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The warrior had Emma locked in a reverse headlock and was repeatedly softening her torso with his massive fists. He then swung low and delivered a severe uppercut that connected with Emma's chin, sending her flying once again. She landed with a hard thud on her back, sending those nails deeper into her skin and knocking the air from her lungs. She was having no leeway in this fight, but she refused to be defeated. Emma rolled onto her right side, and saw her sword lying by the fire. She scrambled to her knees and leaped for it, just as she felt the tips of her fingers brush the leather wrapping of the hilt a large hand grabbed her by the collar. Emma pulled out a small silver blade and reached back to stab him. Judging by his cry, she hit her mark. It was the 2 second break that she desperately needed to regroup. She had just enough time and leaned forward to grab her sword. Emma brought her legs from beneath her into a sitting position. That unrelenting bastard was choking her with her own collar, but given her position beneath his crouching form that was hovering over hers, his neck was unprotected. Perfect! She saw her opportunity. Emma flipped her blade and drove it right through his skull and pulled it free by yanking it forward, and the end results landed right on her.

Emma planted her feet firmly on the ground and pushed back against his body before it could topple over and possibly break her in half. She was half-lying on top of him, and half on the dirty ground, trying to catch her breath and get the blood out of her eyes to stop the stinging. Emma would have loved nothing more than to just lay there for a very long while, but she knew the mission was not yet complete.

Like the true Champion that she was, Emma was immediately back on her feet and put her sword on her back as she collected her blades and any weapons he still had on his person, from the creatures body. She spit on his corpse then stopped in her tracks. Standing at the tree line in front of the trail that Robin Hood and the others escaped, were a dozen more of these men-like creatures. There was rustling in the bushes behind her and she turned her body slightly, keeping one eye on them and the other on the bushes. She was relieved to see Pocahontas and Red burst through, followed by Lancelot and two ground units, heavily armed on horses and ready for battle.

Lancelot ran over to her and threw her arm over his shoulder, "You look like shit Champion, I guess we were both wrong about this situation, huh?"

Emma nodded, patting his plated stomach. "Yes, and I apologize for not listening."

"Me too. I brought Apache, and your boy is most definitely ready for a fight."

Emma smiled, "Good. I'm ready to kill two worthless little humans and a fucking annoying fairy. Be wary of these creatures Lt, they may look like a man...but they possess not only magic, but the strength of a demon. Destroy them by removing their heads."

Just then, one of the creatures let out a massive battle cry and they charged. Emma quickly removed her arm as Lancelot drew his sword and yelled for them to attack.

Emma approached Red and Pocahontas who looked like they'd been through hell and back. Pocahontas glanced at the wolf, still plucking leaves and twigs from her hair. "The wolf is alright in my books now."

Emma simply smirked and a soldier stepped forward and handed Emma the reigns to her horse, she thanked him and climbed on, watching him run into the battle with his own weapon at the low ready. She saw that Pocahontas climbed onto her a horse as well, "You're riding with me?"

"We both are."

Emma nodded. "We must ride hard and fast, they have a head start."

Pocahontas nodded, "Then let's ride."

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Despite Emma's aching back or the stabbing pain from both sides of her rib cage she still rode Apache like she's never ridden him before. The young horse was pumping so much power, his hooves had disappeared and it was as if he and Emma were ghosts from a scary story that parents told their children to keep them from sneaking out at night.

Red barked several times and she picked up the pace with Pocahontas right behind her, Henry's scent was getting stronger. The trio found themselves split up as the trees became thicker and the vines became thicker as if they were just waiting for someone to hang themselves. Pocahontas was the first to break free of the dreadful forest and was mildly surprised to see that they were now running across plain fields with small hills. She saw a small light in the distance, and couldn't make out what it was. Emma; however, saw exactly what it was. They had successfully made it, and were already inside the barn. The realization was disturbing, but she refused to fail. Her Queen and child were depending on her to come home safely. Yet, she knew it wouldn't be long until that annoying Blue Gnat discovered how to uncover Snow White's coffin.

"How far?" Pocahontas yelled

"An hour, hour and a half." Emma growled.

"Can you use magic to get us there faster?"

Emma had some energy left, she reached out and grabbed the Captain's arm.

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The Blue Fairy had just broken the code to Regina's impressive concealing spell. In a matter of seconds, the mirage of hay glimmered away, revealing her dear friend trapped in a glass coffin. If it weren't for her breathing, they all would have believed that she was truly dead.

Will Scarlet frowned, "She ain't dead is she?"

Henry pushed his way between the Merry Men , and pressed his face against the glass to stare at his mother. "She's alive! She's alive! My mom is alive!"

"Too bad you're all about to be dead very soon."

They all turned and saw the Dark Knight and the Captain of the dark army standing there with their sword and bow drawn. Robin smirked as two of his own men covered the barn's entrance with their bows and arrows. "So, I see that you have survived our little surprise...but just barely."

Pocahontas smirked, "It was a nice surprise, but we're still alive so it wasn't that good."

"You might as well turn around, we've won already. We found Snow White and we have an army waiting for her command." he said with an air of cockiness, believing that they really had defeated the Dark Kingdom this time…

Emma's eyes narrowed, "Over my dead body."

Will grinned, "You'll be dead soon Champion, don't you worry. Maybe I'll show that Queen of yours what a real man can do, huh?"

Emma's eyes narrowed, "What?"

"She is a bit of a whore I heard...she might like it don't ya think? I mean, she is shagging you isn't she? And I've never had a pregnant woman between the sheets before. I'll enjoy it."

Emma's grip on her sword tightened, "You're going to regret ever saying that Will Scarlet!" she took a step forward, and Will met her head on. Pocahontas quickly rolled out of the way of the incoming arrows and took out the two amateurs standing at the entrance of the barn. As she rolled behind the hay, she found herself face to face with two of the Merry Men.

She stood up straight to her full height, "How many of you fuckers are there!?"The oldest one, who was still young in Pocahontas' eyes, grabbed his crotch and licked his dry lips. "There's a lot of us lady...you might as well give it up." then he laughed and nudged his buddy, "Hey get it...give it—unnh!"

Pocahontas had jammed the sharp end of her bow right into his groin and kicked him in his chest so hard, his heart stopped beating—as if the groin shot wouldn't have killed him anyway. The other boy swung and Pocahontas leaned back, but he still clipped her chin. She caught his outstretched arm and brought it down on her upcoming knee. He screamed in agony as his humerus snapped with a sickening sound and tore clean through his skin. Pocahontas spun him around with his now limp arm, she wrapped her forearm around his throat and drove her knee into the center of his spine until she was absolutely sure that he would never walk again.

Meanwhile; Emma was taking on Robin Hood and Will Scarlet with nothing but pure adrenaline, she was knocked to the ground as a foot caught her legs. Will slammed his own foot down onto her stomach, laughing with triumph. "Some Dark Knight. She's probably just the Evil Bitch's, personal whore."

Emma smirked and tapped the heel of her boot on the ground and a shiny blade popped out at the toe from the sole. She twisted under his foot, making him stumble and lose his balance, and drove the blade into Robin's right calf muscle and purposely broke it off. He cried out and tried to stomp her, but she quickly rolled out of the way again, and agilely got to her knees.

Emma managed to get a hold of her fallen sword with her left hand and thrust it backward towards Robin. The black blade penetrated his midsection and projected through his back, spraying blood on Will's face as he struggled to get to his feet to save his friend, his brother. Pulling her cutlass forcefully from Robin's body, Emma spun around to her feet and brought her deadly weapon down on Will's neck and partially severed his head from his body. Emma yanked her sword away and waited until he was back on his knees, looking up at her with hate-filled eyes. His lips were trembling but not with fear, he was trying to speak, but was unable to.

"Who's the bitch now?"

She chuckled and kicked his head off, and watched it roll behind the stacks of hay. She looked around to see if there were more bodies for her to beat up, but it seemed as if Pocahontas had taken care of them all. Suddenly, Red came running through the doors wearing...dead men's clothing.

"What? I didn't feel like walking around naked all night."

"Not like either of us wanted to see that either." Pocahontas chimed in as she tossed aside a severed head of her own, as if it were nothing. "So what's next?"

"Well, we kill those two." Red stated as if it were the most obvious thing in the world.

"Ah ah, his heart belongs to me. You promised Emma." Leave it to Peter Pan to appear out of thin air after the fight.

Peter Pan looked smug as ever, Emma rolled her eyes. "Nice of you to show up."

"I said that I will be watching from a location closeby, never said I'd fight.…So, where's the boy?"

"Over there." Red pointed behind him, where the Blue Fairy was struggling to lift the glass lid of Snow White's casket, while Henry was cowering behind it. He was so pale and so terrified he even peed himself. He had just witnessed the deaths of the only people who were good like his mother, he knew his life was also most likely coming to an end just as theirs did.

The Blue Fairy stopped what she was doing and stood on top of the casket in a protective stance in front Henry as Emma and Red approached. Emma picked up the fairy by her wings roughly, and she brought her to eye level. "What happens if you clip a fairies wings, Red?"

The wolf shrugged, with a sharp grin. "I don't know, let's find out."

"Red...what happened to you?" the Blue Fairy cried, tears rolling down her cheeks. "What has the Evil Queen done to you? This is not you Red, you have to fight it!"

Emma shook the fairy that was dangling between her fingers in amusement, "What? This is who she is you little bug. We just helped her become who she was meant to-argh!" Emma released the Blue Fairy and rubbed her eyes. The fairy had thrown a sizable amount of fairy dust into Emma's eyes. It was enough to blind a regular, non-magical human being. Emma stumbled over a body and knocked the case over, falling to the ground with it. Red snatched the Blue Fairy out of the air just as she screamed at Henry to wake his mother up. The wolf ripped both of the Blue Fairy's wings from her back like it was paper and dropped her on the ground.

Peter Pan used the shadows to get to Henry, but he missed grabbing the boy by inches as he dropped to his knees on the glass, and kissed his mother's forehead. The force of the light magic that emanated from the two knocked everyone off of their feet, and shook the entire Enchanted Forest.

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Red had pulled Emma from the glass and got her away from Snow White who was slowly coming to. Pocahontas helped the wolf with their red eyed Dark Knight, it was obvious Emma's eyes weren't 100 percent, but at least she could still see. They heard more shouts outside, and horses running around the barn. Apache came inside the barn, he had dried blood on his hooves and Emma was a bit curious about that. He stood next to them, tall and proud. Robin Hood, who was holding his stomach tightly, was now leaning against a pillar. He looked pale, but not deathly pale...not like Emma wanted him to be, though his lips were stained red with his blood, so she may have hit something serious.

"I told you, we've won. Evil will never win, you should know that by now..."

"Red?" Snow White whispered hoarsely as she stood on unsteady legs, her throat painfully dry. She pushed her son behind her, but kept him close. "What has she done to you?"

"Gave me a place to call home without being judged everywhere I go. Taught me how to be at peace with my soul...and how to live."

"Terrorizing innocent people is not living Red, how could you let yourself fall so low?" Snow argued with her long time friend, still unable to grasp that she was not the wolf she had left behind. "So much as changed since I've been gone...but where is my husband?"

Robin looked away, cold gaze on Emma. "Ask your daughter."

Emma's adrenaline was wearing off and she was becoming aware of the brutal paces that her body had been put through. Red felt her body getting heavier, but she was more than capable of supporting both of their weights, but by the sounds of things outside...there was another fight about to happen, and Emma was out of magic to get them out of there...let alone assist with the fight, the Wolf and the Captain knew they were outnumbered and this was beginning to look like the end for them.

The blonde sniffed arrogantly, and laughed. "Last time I saw the shepherd...he was chopping wood in the middle of the storm after running away the night of the raid with that brat of yours. I tracked him down and jumped him...He couldn't fight for shit, and I cut his head off...I made that piss ant behind you work for his life."

Snow White shook her head, tears threatening to spill. "You're no daughter of mine. You never were, and you never will be. I should've gotten rid of you when I had the chance. I never should have kept you."

Emma scoffed albeit painfully, Snow White's words seemingly bouncing off her skin. "You know...you're head is going to look real nice in my collection room, the one I share with Regina. Sitting on the wall between the Huntsman's...and your husband's, Mulan's was up there...but I dropped it in the fireplace."

Robin snarled, eyes fluttering as he struggled to stay conscious-determind to see this through. "Enough of this talk, you three die right now! Merry Men attack!"

More than two dozen men came running in with various weapons, shouting obscene things at the Dark Kingdoms soldiers. Red tightened her grip on Emma, bracing them for impact. Although Pocahontas had no more arrows, her compact bow would make a fine weapon. Just as the first male reached the trio and Apache reared back on his hind legs to stomp him...time seemed to slow down to a complete stop. Everything and everyone had ceased to move except for the Dark Kingdom's soldiers and Snow White.

There was a woman standing between them, dressed with brown hair pinned elegantly on the top of her head, she wore a long black, heavily threaded cape, with silver buckles in the front, with black gloves. Her lips were as red as apples and her eyes...her eyes were brown, filled with wisdom, time and amusement.

She turned and Snow White gasped, nearly taking a step back and knocking over her son who was frozen in time. "Cora?" Red and Pocahontas' eyes widened with surprise and horror.

"Snow! I see you've grown out your hair, it looks...nice."

Snow was about to speak but the older Mills waved her hand and Snow White became a victim of time freeze.

Suddenly the name clicked in Emma's foggy brain, "Cora? As in Regina's mother Cora? Holy hell, what the hell are you doing here?"

Cora turned and eyed the blonde carefully, as if she were appraising her. Emma pulled away from the wolf and stood on her own two feet, taking a tentative step forward, not because she was scared of the woman, but she wasn't sure how steady her legs were anymore. Cora simply smirked, "You're much better than that damned stable boy my daughter tried to run away with. You have more...bravado than he did, and you're just like her. Perfect match."

"You've been watching us?" Emma asked warily, not sure if she wanted the answer.

"From time to time yes, I just wanted to make sure my daughter wasn't settling for an imbecile."

Pocahontas snorted, "She has her days."

Emma rolled her eyes but ignored her friend, "Doesn't explain why you're here...right now. No offense! But you just don't seem the type to 'pop in' and save people."

Cora came closer to Emma, pleased when the blonde showed no fear. She was positive Regina told her how powerful she was, as if stopping time wasn't the perfect example. "I want to make amends with my daughter, and be in my grandchild's life."

"Saved by the in-law, way to go Swan."

"Yeah, yeah...just get us home please."

Cora crossed her arms and a large cloud of smoke surrounded the group, including Apache. The smoke was similar to Regina's but a tad lighter and smelled different. Emma just hoped Regina wouldn't blow her lid when she sees her mother...but the blonde knew that was just wishful thinking.

SQ :: SWAN QUEEN :: SQ

Deleted Scene (LOL)

"How are you dear?" Maleficent eyed her friend with a smile as she moved in front of her roaring fireplace, making her way to the chair that was a small table away from Regina's.

"I'm doing fine."

Maleficent poured herself some wine, her scepter held firmly in her other hand. "Are you? Your Dark Knight has failed you tonight. If it were me I'd be simply tortured, knowing that Snow White is awake and probably looking for your head on a silver platter." Maleficent sat down, unaware how Regina was looking at her. Belle shifted uncomfortably by the door.

Regina sighed, running her hand over her suede covered stomach. "One minor problem, nothing I cannot fix."

"I remember when Snow White ruined everything for you, and at the very same age you were...she married and found her happiness!" Maleficent giggled as if it were a funny thought that just passed through her mind, "Now her daughter is the same age as you both were in those days, and you've corrupted her. Strange coincidence it seems doesn't it?"

"Yes, also the same age you were when that Sleeping Beauty got the best of you, my dear Maleficent."

Maleficent lowered her goblet to the table, glaring back at Regina. "I soldiered on...though not many can say they've had the strength to do that, wouldn't you say Regina?"

"Enough games!" Regina snapped, her tone taking full authority. She was done with this conversation. "You know why I'm here...I need my curse back."

"It's not yours anymore." Maleficent smirked, "A deal's a deal. I traded you my sleeping curse."

"Which failed. Undone by a simple kiss." Regina sneered, unimpressed. Her brown eyes slid over to Maleficent's scepter, "Now please. Return what's mine."

"The dark curse? Really? You must know that not even its unholy power can protect you from your fate. Have you considered going into hiding?"

Regina's glare hardened, and she leaned forward. "I need that curse. I know you keep it hidden in the orb above your staff."

"Hidden for the good of all, old friend. Whoever created that monstrosity makes the two us look positively...moral." Regina raised a brow, making a sound close to a short chuckle. She leaned back in her chair, coming up with ways to take the curse from Maleficent if she wouldn't hand it over. "Who did give it to you?"

Regina stood, magic dancing at her finger tips. "Where I got it is none of your concern. Hand it back!"

"Must we do this?"

"Alas we must." Regina drew the fire from the fireplace and Belle knew right then and there Emma was going to kill her for letting Regina get involved in a magical fight with one of the most powerful witches in the Enchanted Forest.

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Chapter Text

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Regina stormed into the infirmary with Belle right on her heels. There were many wounded soldiers on the beds being tended to by the healers. Belle and Regina spotted Red and Pocahontas and practically ran over to the two women.

"Well?"

"Well, we won the battle but we might be losing the war." Pocahontas said solemnly. Feeling dejected and downcast, she kept her head down, avoiding eye contact as one of the healers gently and carefully applied a concoction of herbs that more closely resembled green goo than an actual remedy, over her open wounds.

Regina noticed her Captain's odd behavior, "Is there something else Captain?"

Red was staring at Pocahontas, but the native couldn't respond. She just shook her head, closed her eyes, and gingerly settled back onto the pillows. The wolf spoke for her, "There were a lot of casualties, more than we had originally anticipated." The only casualties they had predicted for weren't supposed to be their own—it was foolish confidence, and a consequence they had to deal with. Some might try to excuse it as collateral damage, a natural consequence of war… but Pocahontas couldn't seem to shake it off. There should be no excuses for carelessness in her mind, and she was beating herself up in her mind over and over again as the scenes replayed, and she saw exactly where things might have gone differently.

Regina immediately thought the worst—that Emma had been killed in battle, but no—she would've felt that. Regina had never known the native woman to get so...closed off and emotional over casualties. Belle gasped beside her, and Regina's eyes widened in shock and horror when she realized whose name was on the list of causalities. Belle gathered Pocahontas in her arms, and held the warrior close. Normally, Red would've been jealous but she knew better... Pocahontas was hurting. Pocahontas gently, but firmly pushed the brunette away, saying that she was fine, but her eyes said otherwise, yet no one wanted to push her. Regina wasn't sure if she would have such a strong front as Pocahontas if Emma was ever killed in battle—it was stressful enough when the blonde was hurt. It flashed briefly through Regina's mind that maybe Lancelot was not Pocahontas' True Love, but she quickly dispelled that notion and turned her attention back to the injured woman.

"Where is Emma?"

Pocahontas then looked at Regina, something in her eyes...something the Evil Queen was quite acquainted to, trepidation. "Emma is in the library, she's waiting for you."

Regina's eyes slid to Red, but the wall suddenly seemed overly interesting to her, and Belle crossed her arms. The Evil Queen was not a fool, she knew when people were hiding things from her. She was gone within a second.

Emma startled slightly when a very pregnant and annoyed Regina poofed right in front of her. The warm, rising morning sun had been lulling her to sleep, though it was a dreamless nap she was having. Her body still hurt, so she drank some herbal tea and allowed the healers to seal her wounds, but she refused to use magic to heal her body completely—Rulf's words echoing in her mind every time she thought about it. She was in a fresh armor and clean, and if she didn't try to fight anyone, nobody would be the wiser as to how truly exhausted the Dark Queen's Champion really was, though her face gave away the fact she has been fighting hard the night before. Regina's eyes skimmed over Emma's body looking for any other signs of her lover being hurt, and when she found nothing...she relaxed slightly.

"She's awake."

Regina pulled up a chair with her magic, and sat down comfortably—crossing her legs, allowing her skirt to fall to the side, exposing her tanned leg. Emma's eyes dropped and they lingered. Regina cleared her throat, but she was secretly pleased that she was still attractive to Emma. Granted they've been so busy securing the Dark Kingdom's safety, they hardly had time for any sort of physical contact aside from sleeping in the same bed… Literally just that…Sleeping, as scarce as those actual moments seemed these days. Breaking Emma from her reverie, she asked the question she had been dying to have the answer for since they returned. "So…Did you kill her?"

Emma shook her head, "No. We probably wouldn't have been able to anyway." Then the blonde proceeded to tell Regina what happened right after they had left the kingdom up until the moment they were in the barn and Snow White was awakened by that ever-meddling boy, not sparing one minute detail.

"How in the hell did you get out unharmed?" Regina's eyes were back to roaming over Emma's body, taking in the details she missed before. Emma was slouching more than she usually allowed herself, and she was using a small pillow as a thicker cushion between the sofa and her back. One leg was stretched out too casually while the other was tucked under it, resting on the ankle. Emma was far too relaxed for just coming out of battle. "You are hurt aren't you?"

"It's not serious, I'll be fine. I healed the broken bones...but I left everything else alone. I'm just sore and in mild pain." She admitted sheepishly, "Trust me Regina. I've had to soldier through much worse before I discovered how to heal myself with magic. I'm fine."

Regina desperately wanted to press the issue, but another problem decided to make herself known at that very moment. Something much more irritating than Emma's pride. "She's tough Regina, tougher than that stable boy you were so intent on throwing your life away for."

Regina's head snapped to the right so quickly that Emma even winced—she could've sworn she heard something pop, and now she was thinking that maybe this wasn't such a good idea. Regina's face was getting red as she stared at Cora with a mixture of shock, horror, and pure anger. Emma didn't think this sudden war of negative emotions was healthy for her wife or their child. At least when Regina was being mean to everyone else during her nasty mood swings—she was actually happy, as sick as that may seem... This was something completely different.

"What the hell are you doing here!?"

"I'm here to start new with you my child." Cora stated as if it were obvious, and Regina wasn't about to blow up.

Regina stared at her mother, seemingly in a state of shock, and Emma reached out and touched her shoulder, but found herself snatching it back when Regina smacked her hand. "Ow!"

"You knew she was here?!"

Emma opened her mouth then closed it, looking a lot like a gaping fish, choosing to just shrug and nodded uncertainly—not sure if she was going to get hit again.

"Regina, my child...if you will calm yourself-"

Regina chortled in disbelief, "Calm myself? Please mother! Being around you makes me anything but calm. You make my skin crawl, why are you here?"

"Regina...Cora saved our lives out there, we can at least listen to what she has to say." Emma cut in gently, no longer rubbing the back of her hand but it still stung.

"Oh she saved your life did she? Let's have a kingdom-wide ball in her name shall we?" Regina mocked with a feigned cheery smile and tone. "May I remind you that she ruined mine? She killed everything and anything that meant something to me. She's the reason I am the way that I am Emma!"

"I wouldn't be who I am today if it weren't for Snow White...ironically." Emma countered easily, "But Cora isn't like her...she's one of us, we-"

Regina turned her glare on her lover full force and leaned forward as far as she could, and Emma shut her mouth. "If Snow White saved your life, even after all she has done to you...would you want to hear what she had to say? Would you?" Regina was practically in hysterics, but refused to lose it right now. She had come too far to let that woman tear her life apart or steal away any more than she already had.

Emma met Regina's glare without hesitation, and Cora simply smirked. She liked the blonde, she wasn't afraid of her daughter like so many others were, as it seemed. "Cora may be a wicked mother, but at least she loved you. Snow didn't love me, she loved the idea of what I could do for her reputation."

Regina opened her mouth to argue but her retort was stopped short—she knew that Emma had a valid point. Even if was being used against her. Regina looked at Cora, who had smartly wiped the smirk off her face, and tried to look innocent.

Cora and innocent didn't mix, causing suspicion in Regina's eyes. Regina felt a sharp kick in her belly and she took a deep breath. Her cramps were getting a bit painful, but she said nothing and just settled back in her chair. Cora took that as a sign to speak, and so she did, she even took liberty of pulling up her own chair. "I understand I have no right to say this, but I missed you. I truly have. When you pushed me through the looking glass...I was extremely angry. I looked for ways to escape just so that I could kill you."

Regina looked at Emma, and the blonde nodded encouragingly. It began to dawn on her that... Cora and Emma had spoken prior to Cora revealing herself to her daughter, and apparently whatever Cora told Emma...it was enough for the blonde to trust the woman to be in the same room as Regina and her child. Regina trusted Emma, but this revelation did little to ease her nerves...she and Cora went way back. If Regina were to really think about it, their history began way before her own birth, back to when Cora failed at becoming the queen she had always wanted to be, so she plotted for her child to become royalty; therefore, making it possible for her to live vicariously through said child. Nothing Regina had done was ever good enough for Cora, and this is what was troubling her. Mother's disdain for love and family… as she engrained into Regina's brain for an entire lifetime…Love is weakness. Now she was on board and wanted to know her family? Regina looked back at her mother, "What changed your mind?"

Cora sucked in a breath, but instead of speaking. She stuck her hand inside of her chest—startling Regina, but Emma was perfectly calm...and curious as she has never seen one take out their own heart and hold it. Cora's black spotted beating red heart pulsed gently in the palm of her hand. "I was content for a while in Wonderland...but as time passed, I began feeling lonely. I found myself unhappy being the Queen of Hearts. I eventually found a spell that would work in that world that would allow me to peek into this one. Imagine my surprise when I saw the White Kingdom's princess looking so savage and at your disposal." Emma blushed and scratched her chin, mumbling something, but both Mills women ignored it. "I watched you for months...and I saw your happiness, your terrorizing reign...and I felt pride. I was proud of you, and I wanted to be in your corner. A few moons past I discovered a light-travel spell."

"What's a light-travel spell?" Emma asked curiously.

Cora finally stuck her heart back in chest, "A spell that allows one to travel at the speed of light, my dear. You travel so fast between two worlds that the barriers cannot stop you...but you spend minutes in another world before you arrive to your destination… though those minutes were hours in the eyes of Father Time."

Regina shook her head, "Why now? Why not when you found this so-called spell?" It was clear in Regina's tone that she was still doubtful of her mother's motives and rightfully so. Her mother was the Queen of deception—and it was not beneath her to go through elaborate loopholes to see them through.

"I...I was uncertain. I did not want to ruin your happiness, but I wanted to be a part of it as well."

"I suppose saving my lot was extremely convenient for you wasn't it?" Regina wanted to laugh, of course it was convenient—everything involving Cora was always convenient for her… and for her only.

Cora looked down as she nodded, "It was an opportunity to at least get you to consider giving me a second chance."

"Mother...I will always love you, but I'm not sure I can ever trust you again."

"Just give me a chance darling, I promise I will be on my best behavior. Perhaps I can even help you both out of this situation."

"I've been the Evil Queen for many years Mother. I do not need your assistance, nor do I want it…" the Dark Queen glanced at her Champion and then rolled her eyes, "…against my better judgement, you may stay...but if you slip, even the slightest slip, just one time Mother, I will not hesitate to throw you out."

"Of course." and Cora smiled bigger than she had since arriving back into the Enchanted Forest, and as far as Regina and Emma could tell—it was genuine, but Regina still didn't trust it...not yet. A rather awkward silence fell over the trio and Emma pushed herself out of her chair without wincing and straightened out her leather vest.

"I'm going to check on my warriors. If you need me Regina..." the blonde trailed off with a small smile, one that was returned. As Emma was moving past Cora's chair, the older woman reached out and grabbed Emma's left hand, stopping the blonde's exit.

Cora examined the black ring sitting on Emma's ring finger, humming with approval. She had noticed the ring on her daughter's finger the moment she had entered the room and was simply curious about Emma's. Both rings were emanating a level of magic that was powered from its wearer, and Cora decided to file that away for another time and ask about them later. She ran her thumb over Emma's bruised knuckles...healing them effortlessly. "It doesn't make you weak darling...it makes you invincible." Cora let go of Emma's hand.

The Dark Knight rubbed her no longer aching hand and looked at her wife briefly—not sure if Cora was talking about their love or using magic to heal; before finally taking her exit.

SQ :: SWAN QUEEN :: SQ

Emma walked into the infirmary just in time to see Pocahontas completely ignoring the healer's protests and scooting off the cushioned table. Emma didn't see anyone else that she normally spoke to, and despite her own aches and pains she went over to help her friend, whether the strong-willed warrior wanted it or not. As soon as Pocahontas was steady on her feet, Emma took them somewhere private, she wasn't sure what sort of mood her friend was in, and she certainly didn't want to risk the healers' lives due to a bad judgement call.

When Emma's magic disappeared, Pocahontas was a little surprised to see them sitting at a bar in an old and apparently abandoned saloon. The air was stale and a bit chilly, but it wasn't uncomfortable. The place could use some dusting, but judging by the hand prints...it was occupied not too long ago.

"Where are we?" Pocahontas watched as her friend conjured up a rather large bottle of rum and two clean goblets and poured a hefty amount into each.

"I call it Home." Emma shrugged at Pocahontas' question, looking around the place she slept in for five years.

"Explains your manners." Pocahontas scoffed, and down half of her goblet in one swig. "This place could surely use a deep cleaning."

"Hmm..." Emma ignored that jab, and studied her friend from the corner of her eye. She waited until Pocahontas refilled her goblet before setting her own down. "Wanna talk about it?"

"Not really."

"He was your husband...it's just us here Warrior, I won't tell if you don't."

"I said I don't want to talk about it Swan." Pocahontas growled, giving Emma a sharp side-eye.

Emma nodded, and let it go...best not to push a warrior who didn't want to grieve over their significant other, who was brutally killed in battle. A battle that grew right under their noses, and never should have happened. Pocahontas took a deep breath, staring down at the dusty counter. "I have to tell our tribes of Lancelot's death."

Emma picked up on Pocahontas' tone, and guessed it wasn't as easy as it sounded. "Sounds reasonable."

"It should be interesting...Remember when I told you that our marriage acted as a treaty between our tribes?" Emma nodded, and then she slowly realized what Pocahontas was implying. The native warrior smiled and nodded solemnly. "I'll most likely be shunned for not protecting him...and they'll want me dead for it."

"Why the hell would they want you dead? It's not your fault!"

Pocahontas rolled her eyes, downing another mouthful of rum before answering. "Even if he had died of heart failure—we still didn't die together. The treaty between our tribes is over."

"That's...stupid?" Emma winced, "Sorry."

"No, I agree. It is. We were too young to think of any consequences that might arise from it...but now?" Pocahontas groaned, "Now I feel as if I have the world on my shoulders."

Emma empathized with the forlorn woman, as she knew that feeling all too well. "Can't you pretend to be dead?"

Pocahontas shook her head, "Too popular and high-ranked here...I wouldn't last five minutes dead. I'd be better off if they were all dead and off my back." Emma and Pocahontas shared a pained chuckle and continued to drink in comfortable silence side-by-side...both of their minds in other places. Suddenly, Emma sat up a little straighter, with a rather mischievous glint in her eyes.

"You said that both tribes would want you dead because Lancelot is dead and you aren't, right?"

Pocahontas wasn't really following Emma, and knew that they weren't drunk enough to be repeating themselves, so she figured the blonde had an idea; probably a stupid one. "Yes."

"I say we go tell them."

"Now?"

"Right now. I think if you got rid of this problem...you'll be able to grieve your husband properly."

"In case you haven't noticed Emma...we aren't exactly up for another fight, but I agree...it would be a great way to get rid of this tension."

Emma pushed away her goblet and held up her hands, shadow magic looming around them like fine art. "Someone once told me that magic healing was a weakness, but they were wrong. It makes you invincible."

Pocahontas bit her bottom lip, staring at Emma's hands warily. She trusted her friend with her life, but was she really ready to start a fight with two tribes? Two warriors against two different tribes? Pocahontas shook her head and finished off the rest of her rum. She slid off the bar stool, holding the bar to hold herself steady on her good leg. "Fine. Let's make this interesting then."

Emma raised a brow, setting her hands down. "What did ya have in mind?"

"In honor of Lancelot's betting habits, the one with the most kills gets three pounds of gold."

Emma laughed, "Bullshit. You don't have three pounds of gold...do you?"

Pocahontas held out her hand, looking smug. Emma made a noncommittal sound and placed her hand in Pocahontas, sealing their bet, and healing them both simultaneously.

SQ :: SWAN QUEEN :: SQ

"Emma is good for you darling." Cora commented casually around her teacup as she and Regina sat around her small tea table beneath her apple tree, enjoying the beautiful and warm day despite last night's tragedy. "Better than that stable boy might I add...Again."

"Will you ever let that go?"

"That I was right all along; that you could do better? No. You do seem to have a predilection for blondes, darling...but I highly approve of this one."

Regina rubbed her stomach, smirking with a bit of defiance. "A little late for blessings, Mother Dear."

"Yes, I suppose I am." Cora set her tea down sounding a bit regretful. She studied her daughter with her intense brown eyes. "My dear, how did Snow White's daughter come to the dark side?"

"It's not my place to share... I'm shocked that you two haven't shared magical secrets. You seem to be quite comfortable with each other already."

Cora picked up on her daughters grumbling and found it amusing, "Why my darling Regina, is that jealousy I detect in your tone?"

Regina waved off her mother's comment, almost laughing. "Hardly! I will be forever grateful that you brought Emma home to me. Do not let that get to your head, and make no mistake Mother, that proves nothing to me."

"Yet...here we are having tea. Is it so hard for you admit that you've missed me darling?"

Regina didn't get a chance to respond as one of her knights came running out onto the patio holding a giant porcelain mirror, and out of breath. "Your Majesty." The genie in the mirror greeted gravely.

Regina sneered at the mirror and the knight, and Cora simply poured herself more tea. "I thought I told you never to disturb me out here."

The Genie chuckled, shaking his ghostly head. "Oh I haven't disturbed you yet, Your Highness. You may want to take a look at this."

Cora was curious enough to turn around and see what the Magic Mirror thought was so important, as to break one of the Evil Queen's sacred rules.

SQ :: SWAN QUEEN :: SQ

The Resistance, as they had liked to call themselves, and the remaining Merry Men, including an injured Robin Hood, had relocated further from the Evil Queen's dark lair and into the mountains, where it was easier for them to hide in plain sight. Snow White hugged her son close to her side as she peered down from one of the caves and into the canyon that lead in and out of the mountains. There were dozens and dozens of nearly identical warriors of great strength and speed waiting for their orders and their targets. They wielded swords and axes, and a select few even had spears. Snow knew they could charge the Evil Queen's front gates with these warriors and give her a good fight...but a good fight wasn't what they wanted. They needed a solid plan...and they needed to decimate the Evil Queen for good.

Snow looked at her long time friend Blue. The former Queen smiled sadly and reminisced of old times. Now she was seeing her oldest and dearest friend as tall as she was...such a travesty, as her body no longer was alit with that pretty neon blue glow, nor could she flutter those delicate and airy wings. She was robbed of her wings...robbed of her very purpose of life; being a fairy that helped others. "Mom?"

Snow looked down lovingly at her son with a soft smile while running her fingers through his messy brown hair, "Yes Henry?"

"You won't hurt Emma will you? She can be really nice sometimes! She can be a good big sister! I know she can, you can't kill her! Please?"

Robin scoffed somewhere behind them, but he stopped when Blue turned to glare at him. Snow sighed, "Honey...I know all this is scary and confusing right now, but Emma is not your sister and she most certainly cannot be good. Her soul is dark as night and in order for us all to be safe...she cannot live. None of them can." for a brief moment, Snow thought about her once best friend, Red. She never thought the wolf could fall towards evil—but with her past, Snow wasn't too surprised. It just saddened her.

Henry's big green eyes started to get shiny and although Snow's heart broke at the sight—she knew that Henry was only a child and he didn't understand that not everyone could have a second chance, especially the likes of the Evil Queen and her Dark Knight. "Father would've given Emma a second chance! He loved her, why can't you?"

"Just look where that got him." Robin muttered under his breath as he pushed off the wall, wincing slightly. He walked toward the edge of the cave to look down at their magical army with the others, unaware that Snow and Blue had heard his comment and were glaring holes through his head. He pulled out the carved wooden whistle and twirled it between his fingers, speaking a little louder, "With this army on our side...we can avenge every innocent soul that has fallen at the hands of the Evil Queen and her lackeys."

Snow squeezed her son gently, not wishing to talk about this sort of thing around him—he had been through too much already. "Henry, why don't you go and find Grace so that you might have lunch with the rest of the children."

Henry looked like he wanted to argue, but one look from his mother had him scampering out of the cave and down the path down the mountains. "Now that the boy is gone...I say we go immediately and kill them all, while we still have the element of surprise on our side!"

Blue held up a hand, stopping Snow's response. "We should have this discussion further in the walls... the Evil Queen has her eyes and ears everywhere."

Snow nodded in agreement, eyes darting around. "Right. Regina is notorious for being a CHEATER!" when the sky didn't fall, Snow and the others walked further into the cave to discuss their plans for taking down the Dark Kingdom.

SQ :: SWAN QUEEN :: SQ

"That bitch." Regina snarled as she pushed herself to her feet, startling both her mother and the knight, who almost dropped the mirror, "Magic Mirror, inform my lieges to get to the war room immediately. Oh!" she gasped, and held the side of her stomach with a grimace.

"Your Majesty! Are you alright?" The trapped genie asked worriedly, though there wasn't much else he could do, as he was merely a head behind the glass.

Cora was immediately at her daughter's side, trying to ease her into her seat but Regina waved her away. "I'm fine!" she snapped, and then she looked to the genie. "You have your orders...why are you still here?"

"Right away." the genie drawled and disappeared, the knight also hesitated for just a moment before bowing and making a hasty getaway.

Regina took Cora's arm after a brief moment of doubt and whisked them away into the war room.

SQ :: SWAN QUEEN :: SQ

Emma wiped the sweat from her eyes, catching her breath. "You cheated."

Pocahontas put her bow on her back and laughed, "How? I saw him in the tree and you did not! I won fairly...and I didn't even have magic tricks to assist."

Emma grumbled under her breath, kneeling down to clean her sword on a dead tribe member's skin and fur. "What was that bet? Three gold coins?"

The Captain settled Emma with a playful glare, "I don't think you want to explain to Regina why you came home with a black eye do you?" The warrior stopped chuckling when she noticed that Emma had a peculiar look on her face as she sheathed her sword and stood. Pocahontas was ready on defense eyes looking everywhere for a sign of danger. "What is it?"

Emma shook her head, walking to the Captain. "We should head back to the kingdom, Regina's calling...doesn't sound too good either."

Pocahontas' eyes narrowed, "I won't forget our wager Swan."

"I imagine not." Emma laughed and threw her arm around the native warrior's strong shoulders, taking one last look around the destroyed village with bodies strewn everywhere, before poofing them back the Dark Kingdom to Regina and found themselves in the war room. No one was really startled with their entrance, but their appearance...was a bit disturbing, well Emma's was. She had gutted a rather juicy native, and she wore a white riding shirt beneath her vest. "It's not mine." she assured Regina, walking around the table to hug and kiss her.

"What have you two been doing?" Red asked, still sporting battle wounds, "Last time I checked, you two could barely breathe."

Emma sat down in the chair next to Regina, winking at Red "We decided to go invincible." Cora found herself liking the blonde woman even more, and was further convinced that her daughter had indeed...found her True Love, her Dark True Love. "So is this about Snow White?"

Everyone looked to Regina and she took a deep, shuddering breath, as she eased her way through another cramping bout. Emma easily noticed this because she was sitting so close, but before she could ask Regina if she was alright, the brunette pulled out a vial with a small piece of paper rolled inside of it. She set it on the table in front of her, "Snow White and her followers have somehow found Ares' whistle and they now have his army."

Red leaned forward, "Were they oversized and looked identical?"

"Yes."

"We can't go against them again." Pocahontas stated as a matter of fact and crossed her arms. "They'll destroy half of our army before the battle begins."

"Even with my shadow magic, I struggled getting ahead of the beast. Sometimes I felt as if it were copying me."

"Ares' soldiers are drones. They cannot act of their own volition, and operate on order from the whistle." Belle explained, "I remember reading about them when I was younger. They were once Guardians of the Light Magic Realm, before being turned into mindless war machines to repress the dark magic users when they figured out how to open the portals to escape their prisons created from light magic. Ares' whistle disappeared during the battles and the drones disappeared too...and nobody has seen any sign of them or the whistle for hundreds and hundreds of years...at least, not until now."

Pocahontas shook her head, sighing loudly. "Like I said, we can't go against them again...and even if we do win, there won't be much left of the Dark Kingdom to salvage."

"And our child..." Emma huffed, looking around the room before her green eyes settled on Regina, "I don't want to be on the run, looking over our shoulders as we search for another beginning with our child. I want him...or her to be safe...to feel safe. We won't find that here, especially if we decided to go to battle against those things."

"Are you suggesting we leave, Lady Swan? Run like cowards with our tails tucked between our legs?" the Dark Queen sounded as if she were opposed to that idea, but in her mind she was agreeing with her wife all the way.

"No. That's not what I said."

"Regina, dear, what is in that vial?" Cora had been curiously eyeing the vial since Regina revealed it and set it on the table. She could feel the darkness radiating from within the tiny bottle and it felt good.

"It's a curse. A very dark curse. One that can grant our happiness once and for all. It will take us to another world...a world without magic—a world where we can finally win."

"Why would we want to go there? We'd be better off staying put here then, would we not? With magic, we'll have a better chance of living."

"You all have trusted me all these years with your lives, haven't you?" everyone agreed without hesitation. "So trust me when I say we will all be better off in this new world. If you do not agree...the door is right over there." She pointed, and when no one left, Regina and Emma were satisfied. "Good. We will talk more tonight over tonight's evening meal; provided that is, if I feel up to it." when in all reality, she was famished, in pain, and just wanted to eat, sleep, and forget the world for a few hours.

"What about Snow White and the drones? Shouldn't we send someone to watch them?"

"That is already taken care of Red. When they move we will know immediately."

The wolf seemed satisfied with that answer, but it still did not ease any of them. They had a lot to lose, and Snow White was threatening to take it away, but for Pocahontas—Snow had taken everything from her, and she wouldn't mind seeing the woman suffer for the rest of her life.

SQ :: SWAN QUEEN :: SQ

Regina and Emma were lounging on their oversized bed, both out of their clothing and wearing something more comfortable—trying to relax and keep their minds from the impending doom that lay in the mountains just east of the Dark Kingdom. Well, at least Emma was trying, Regina was silently struggling to work through the cramps that were coming closer together, they hurt but she knew it was nothing to worry herself or Emma about—she just needed to lie down for a while, and maybe take a nap. Belle could handle the counsel until she felt better, of that, and maybe only that right then…she was sure.

Emma shifted to her side and raised the shirt Regina wore, that was her own, until Regina's swollen stomach was exposed. Emma tenderly cupped the bottom of her bulging belly and kissed the side of it lovingly. "I will never let anything happen to you...either of you."

Regina reached down and ran her hand through blonde curls, smiling softly despite the aching in her lower back and abdomen, though it was starting to fade into a dull ache. "Would you do anything?"

"I would."

"Even give me your heart to start the Dark Curse?"

"Why would you need my heart?"

"If I am to start this curse, I need the heart of one I love the most."

Silence. Emma sighed and pushed herself up on her elbow and looked at her lover without blinking or hesitating in even the slightest bit. "If it meant you two are safe, I would. Do you need me to, My Queen?"

Regina's hand slid from Emma's hair and cupped the younger woman's jaw. "No...I wouldn't be able to live without you."

"You survived before me, you can do it again." Emma turned her head and kissed the bottom of Regina's palm softly.

"Exactly. I was surviving Emma...but now? Now I am living, and it's all because of you."

Emma hummed and lay back down, rubbing the underside of Regina's belly, it was an unconscious habit that she had developed when the two lovers were alone speaking. "How should we go about this curse if we don't have a heart? It's not like we love a lot of people. Perhaps we shouldn't be the ones to start the curse...maybe Pocahontas can be the one to do it, and sacrifice Lancelot's heart...since he has already passed from this world."

"No. It's my curse, and I'll cast it." Regina said firmly, leaving no room for argument, and Emma most certainly wasn't in the mood to start one. The silence between them was comfortable and Emma had soon drifted off to sleep. After what had only felt like minutes, Emma was startled awake when she heard Regina gasp sharply and felt her jerk beneath her hand. Emma quickly sat up eyes darting all over the older woman's body worriedly.

"What? What's wrong?"

"My back, it's just hurting. I had the maidens draw me a bath, go back to sleep dear I'm fine. You need your rest."

Emma shook her head and slid from the bed, taking notice of how late in the day it was. She was more tired than she had realized. The exhausted woman stretched before helping Regina up from the bed carefully. "It's okay, I'm awake now, but are you okay?"

"I'm fine. Stop worrying." Regina winced when she set her feet on the floor and stood upright, her hand instinctively going behind her to support her back. Emma wrapped her arm around Regina and walked her to their shared bath chamber. Normally, the coolness of stone beneath her feet felt nice to Regina, but now it just made her uncomfortable and irritated.

Emma waved away the two maidens, and the young girls scurried out of the room, not wishing to witness the wrath of the pregnant Evil Queen; one even had enough sense to close the door. Using her magic, Regina and Emma were now naked as the day they were born. Emma cautiously eased Regina into their large tub filled with warm, bubbly water, and immediately followed after. She just felt the strong need to be connected to the mother of her child at all times for some reason. Emma was truly learning what being selfless was now that she had her True Love (Dark or not) and a child on the way. Her life was forfeit as she once knew it.

This was good thing however; the giving of her very life and soul was elective… her choice, and not forced upon her by her ex-parents. She shuddered to think of what her life would have become, had she not escaped the clutches of Snow White and Prince "Charming". As tired and as unsure of the future as she was, she truly felt that with Regina by her side, she was invincible. That was a feeling that she needed to hold onto for the next bit of time, and draw on it frequently, if she was going to be strong and hold her family together.

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Belle sat in the Evil Queen's largest library, quite literally slaving over every book she could find pertaining to the Dark Curse; while Red tried her best to help, this was truly Belle's strong field. Learning everything there is to possibly know was Belle's favorite hobby, and that was a very, very good thing for all involved in the Dark Kingdom.

Belle wanted to know everything this dark curse was capable of, all of its strengths and weaknesses. Red finally sighed and set her book aside. "Belle, I think I can be of more help if I knew what we were looking for."

Belle momentarily ignored the wolf, finishing the last paragraph before shutting the book and turning around she excitedly exclaimed, "I've found it! There is not one, but two ways to activate the Dark Curse. The hardest and slowest way, begins with the heart of the one you love the most."

"The heart of the one you love the most? Like a sacrifice?"

"Yes!" Belle exclaimed, picking up the book and going to sit next to Red. "In order for the curse to work, the caster must use the heart of the one they love the most."

Red frowned, not liking the sound of that. "Then the curse will never work. Regina won't sacrifice Emma."

"I know."

"So what's the second way to start this curse?"

"Another heart, a heart so rare it is capable of many, many things."

"That sounds impossible to find." Red responded, feeling a bit defeated.

"This is where you need to have faith my sweet Red!" Belle was getting almost excited, "We are extremely lucky that Peter Pan did not get Henry's heart last night. It truly would have been wasted. The heart of the Truest Believer also retains the ability to not only set the curse in motion, it will also cause the magic to move much more rapidly than our Queen had originally anticipated. As we know, time is not a commodity we have a lot of."

Belle allowed Red a few moments to take it all in. finally the wolf's eyes lit up and a wide grin broke free. "Shit. How was Her Majesty unaware of this option?" she obviously wasn't expecting an answer to the latter part of that question, it was more like she was thinking it aloud…

Belle, ever the one to remain on the task at hand, didn't skip a beat as she replied, "Yes, but now that Snow White is awake...getting to that insufferable boy will be more difficult than ever."

"Not necessarily." Belle and Red startled slightly, both turning to find Cora standing there with a smug smile on her face, and looking every bit the older version of the Evil Queen. The resemblance was uncanny. She was wearing a different gown, but her hair was still pinned up regally. "With the correct execution, the little Prince's heart will be ours for the taking."

"You have a plan then?" Red asked Cora warily. While she didn't experience Cora's wrath firsthand, she'd heard of the cruel things the elder Mills had done in the past, and surely wouldn't put it past her to be up to something right now.

Cora's smug smile turned into a devious one, "Indeed I do puppy." Belle looked back at Red, neither of them knowing what to say, but again...what choice did they have, but to trust in Regina's mother? It wasn't like they had any better ideas...or options for that matter.

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Emma had sunk down low into their luxurious bathtub and was rubbing Regina's left foot soothingly, while the other rested comfortably on her shoulder. It was supposed to be relaxing to Regina, and ease the obvious discomfort she was trying to brush off—not put Emma to sleep. The water was almost too hot, but it felt so relaxing, and the herbs used smelled so nice and made their skin tingle nicely. It was at these moments that Emma was glad that she was not a peasant, and had all of the comforts of the world available to her. Not for a moment she thought would she regret those years that she went without. They allowed her to become who she was.

Regina pulled her legs from Emma's grasp and shifted around until her back was pressed against her knight's front. Emma stifled a yawn, grateful that her tired hands were getting a break and wrapped her arms around her lover. Regina set her hands over Emma's, humming approvingly.

"I would like to marry you officially before we leave this world for another."

"You want to marry me?" Regina knew how deep their love was, she felt it on occasion—she just had to ask anyway, because it was still a dream come true for anyone to love her as much as Emma did, to bear a child with her... Regina knew that dreams (hers in particular) were meant to be shattered.

Emma smiled as she lay her head back on the stone wall "Of course...you're my other half. When I traded my light soul for my dark soul...I was told that I'd never find home, or love. Yet I did find it, in you… and I'd like to hold onto you forever if I can help it."

Regina smiled despite trying to feign indifference, Emma didn't really say anything romantic...but that was what made Regina's heart do a somersault or two. Emma was being honest, she didn't need to try and woo Regina because the Dark Queen had enough of that before the blonde's arrival into her life. Emma was just Emma, and she loved Regina—and Regina loved her back.

"I believe I can arrange something."

"Something small and simple, I don't want the entire kingdom there...I just want it to be us, and our closest friends." Emma hesitated for a moment, "Also, your mother… if you'd allow it."

Regina took a deep breath, and continued in a voice that made Emma positively weak in the knees because it was so devious, "I want to push her through another mirror, but yes...my mother may be invited if you insist. That is under one simple condition, My Darling. I want her out of sight...put her in the back. In the very last row, near a plant." she smirked.

Emma laughed loudly, shaking Regina's body with her laughter. "I love you woman! I'll make sure it is taller than her, and casts a shadow."

Regina cracked a smile, trying not to laugh. It was a silly moment—moments they've been missing but feeling Emma moving against her also reminded Regina of what else their relationship had been lacking for the past few nights. Emma, though, somehow knew what was on the brunette's mind.

"We can't."

"Why in the hell not?"

"Because… your gorgeous body is not up for it."

"I think I'm a perfectly capable of making that decision for myself Lady Swan. If I want to have sex with my future Queen, then I damn well will."

Emma smirked, dragging her hands over Regina's smooth skin beneath cooling water and cupped Regina's breasts, running her thumbs over hard peaks. "Well, if you weren't in pain... I'd be all for taking you to bed until the next morning."

Regina shouldn't have been too surprised that Emma knew. "How did you know?"

Emma just shrugged, still gently kneading Regina's breasts. "You've been so busy hiding it from everyone else, you forgot to hide it from me—not that you could even if you tried, My Love. Not that I'd ever want you to."

"Emma I'm fine...I promise."

"I'd still rather wait until you're feeling better, I wouldn't feel right putting you in more pain for something that we have all the time in the world for."

"Fine, alright" Regina grouched. "It's time for dinner anyway, and I'm getting cold."

Emma continued to smile as she got out of the tub first, grabbed a few towels, and then helped Regina navigate her ever expanding body over the edge of the tub. "You know...just because I can't touch you, doesn't mean you can't touch me."

"Two way street, dear." Regina scoffed, exiting their bathroom to go into their shared closet.

Yes, they were in their own little piece of heaven right then…even amidst all the surrounding hell in their lives.

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Rumpelstiltskin sat alone at the head of his dust-covered dining room table, staring intently into his crystal ball, nearly salivating because he was so near his biggest goal. "Oh my dear Regina. You'll have to use Emma's heart eventually." He was sure of it, a woman like Regina...the woman he trained her to be, would do anything for her own happiness, including killing her Dark True Love. He knew Regina better than she knew herself. The imp giggled like a crazy man, thoroughly pleased with himself.

Waving his hand above the crystal ball he closed that viewpoint, leaned back in his chair with a wide grin, and relaxed while crossing his legs and intertwining his fingers behind his neck with closed eyes. Oh yes, he knew Regina would fall weak to the extraordinary power that the curse wielded and the promises it held, it was just too seductive to pass up. Alas, with every curse and or spell...there was a key, and Snow White's son was the Dark Curse's key when he came of age. Yes, when that time came— Rumpelstiltskin would be reunited with his son.

The Evil Queen's loss would be his gain, and he simply did not care about her losses or her happiness. He cared for no one but himself. Rumpelstiltskin would like to blame it on the darkness lurking inside of him...but he knew such selfish thoughts stemmed from much deeper roots. Rumpelstiltskin was tempted to check back in with the Evil Queen, but the overly-confident and cocky little man believed that since his seed was firmly planted, he needed to tend to much more important things, such as preparing for his new home.

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Everyone at the dinner table was staring at Belle and Cora with a sense of admiration—and a hint of distrust towards Cora.

Emma cleared her throat, "It's a relief knowing there is an alternate way to start this curse."

"It's not like Regina would've used your heart anyway" Red commented, then glanced at Regina a bit uncertainly. "Right?...Regina, right?...Regina?"

Now everyone turned to the Dark Queen and noticed the look of shock and awe on her face. Regina felt her chair being pulled back and saw Emma's beautiful face filling her vision—she saw everyone's lips moving as they jumped out of their chairs. Red even ran out of the dining hall calling for the doctors, but Regina heard none of it. It was all muffled by some unseen force that seemed to be covering her ears.

She wasn't sure it was happening until it ran down her leg, and pooled on the stone floor around her heels beneath the table...and Emma was kneeling in it, not seeming to give a damn. It was when Regina looked into her lover's eyes and saw panic in those green eyes did she smile and break free of the blissful fog that had trapped her.

"My water broke."

"What? Now!?"

She wanted to be snarky and ask Emma if she had stuttered, maybe smack her, but she was too incredibly happy and excited to do any of those things and simply responded "Yes, dear...now." Regina just laughed, it was finally happening. She felt hands on her shoulders, gently kneading the muscles to keep her calm and away from the panic she felt creeping around the edges of her mind, judging by the sweet and strong smell, it was Cora. Despite not trusting her mother as far as she could throw her—Regina was somewhat happy she could share this moment with the older Mills woman, to show her that she had actually done it...she made her dreams come true. To rub it in.

The doors to the dining hall flew open, yet it wasn't Red with the birthing mothers and doctors like they expected, but it was another knight carrying a mirror. He skidded to a stop in front of them, panting so hard that none of them heard what the genie was saying until Pocahontas snatched the mirror from the overweight knight, and shoved him away roughly; demading the Genie to repeat himself.

When the Genie repeated what he had said, everyone's blood ran cold. "Snow White's army is coming!"

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Chapter Text

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Previously...

"My water broke."

"What? Now!?"

"Yes, dear...now." Regina just laughed, it was finally happening. She felt hands on her shoulders, gently kneading the muscles to keep her calm and away from the panic she felt creeping around the edges of her mind, judging by the sweet and strong smell; it was Cora. Despite not trusting her mother for as far as she could throw her—Regina was somewhat happy she could share this moment with the older Mills woman, to show her that she did it...she made her dreams come true.

The doors to the dining hall flew open, but it wasn't Red with the birthing mothers and doctors like they expected, but it was another knight carrying a mirror. He skidded to a stop in front of them, panting so heavily that none of them could hear what the Genie was saying, until Pocahontas snatched the mirror from the overweight knight, and shoved him away with a tad more force than was necessary, but she could care less at that moment.

The Genie repeated what he had said, and everyone's blood ran cold. "Snow White's army is coming!"

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Emma, for the first time in nearly six years—felt fear. Pure, unadulterated fear. Not because Snow's army was big and powerful, and quite possibly unstoppable but fear for her family...fear for the time they had not yet experienced together.

Emma became hyper- aware of the puddle of clear liquid she was kneeling in when Red came running in with the birthing mothers and doctors. None of them noticed the shattered mirror at Pocahontas' feet, or the overall tension.

Emma stood and allowed the doctors and maidens to tend to the Dark Queen, but Regina halted their movements and caught Emma's eyes. "Do what you have to my Dark Knight and come back to me."

"I will..."

Regina held on tighter to Emma's wrists, nails nearly drawing blood from pale skin—brown eyes burning with intensity. "Promise me!"

Emma leaned down and kissed Regina despite the flurry of activity around them. "I promise..." she whispered before she forced herself to stand tall, and looked with steely eyes, right into Cora's.

An unspoken agreement happened during the almost-eerie silence between the two very intense women. Cora would replace Emma until the blonde was able to return to her daughter's side. Emma squeezed Regina's hand before releasing it,while walking to Pocahontas, her magic slowly replacing Emma's casual clothing with her fully-equipped armor. Emma pulled up her hood and stood directly in front of The Native Warrior.

"I'm going to slow down that army and get that little boy. Prepare our soldiers and get three men on every cannon. I want archers posted in every tower. Double Regina's protection. If anything happens to her...sister or not.." Emma took a step forward in Pocahontas' personal space, eyes darkening. She didn't need to finish that sentence, the message was immensely clear in her viridian eyes.

Pocahontas nodded curtly, taking the threat to heart. "I will...we are family Emma." then a little louder, with a salute. "Good luck Dark Knight." Emma nodded and disappeared.

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Emma entered the shadow world and was pleased to see that Apache was already there waiting for her. His body encased in armor with the Dark Kingdom's insignia etched on his saddle beautifully, even his tail had armor on it that could be used as a weapon. His eyes were encased in darkness just as hers were...whether it stemmed from her own anger and determination or his sheer will to protect his family, she did not know or care, at the moment.

Emma pulled herself onto his back easily and without her commanding him to, he turned around and took off running through the realms of the Shadow World and the Enchanted Forest. The moon and stars were not present, which allowed them to run invisibly through the darkness. Apache was jumping over fallen trees and dodging around them so closely, that Emma could see the outline of bark. He was running faster than he's ever run before. Both of their hearts were pumping wildly with massive amounts of adrenaline the closer they got to the mountains.

It wasn't too long until Apache came to a skidding halt at the edge of the Enchanted Forest, at a cliff that had a very, very steep drop. While Apache shifted and looked down curiously, Emma's pitch black eyes roamed over the canyons, looking for any sign of life. Apache's ears twitched and he turned his head, prompting Emma to turn as well. A few miles from their location, down in the canyons, was a faint light. Emma conjured up a telescope and took a closer look. It was Snow White's massive army running through the cannons with the Merry Men in front. Led by none-other than Snow White herself. Stately seated atop an enormous, snowy white steed. "Surprise, Surprise." Emma facetiously murmured quietly to nobody in particular.

Behind them were a few carriages and Emma saw that they were non-combatant women and children, and directly behind them were the massive drone soldiers running tirelessly...and there were many...more than they had originally feared. They were all carrying a torch that would prevent her from sneak attacking them. It was rather unfortunate, really. Emma set her telescope down and thought for a moment.

"Now why would Snow White bring villagers?" she mused out loud, then she decided to look ahead of Snow White's trail and laughed. There was a fork in the ridge, one path headed straight to the Enchanted Forest, and the other led elsewhere...to 'safety'. "Oh how predicable Snow." she got rid of the scope and grabbed Apache's reigns and they disappeared into the night.

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Back at the Dark Kingdom...

Regina had been brought back to her bed-chambers with her mother, the hand-picked birthing mothers, Red (who was in wolf form, sitting by the fireplace) and a doctor. There were five guards posted outside the door and more littered down the hallways that led to Regina's room. Some were seen, others were not. Belle was busy handling the politics of the castle as Pocahontas prepared it, and it's army, for war.

Cora sat on the bed with Regina, holding her daughters hand and soothing her through every contraction, as they were coming closer and closer. The Matriarch could feel her daughter's magic radiating from her body and she could tell that some of that magic was not hers at all...their child was going to have both their combined magic and possibly be even more powerful than both of them. Cora was intrigued by this information, and stored it in the recesses of her mind for further investigation at a later time.

Regina, on the other hand was trying to get a grip on her magic. It was trying to break free and she was trying very hard not to punch Cora in the face. She kept saying it was okay, but Regina felt anything but okay. She was going to kick Emma's ass for getting her pregnant and putting her through this kind of- "Aah!" She nearly yelled before gritting her teeth and closing her eyes tightly, trying to breathe like she learned from the birthing mothers. Why hadn't she listened more closely and taken to heart what these women were trying to tell her? At the time it had seemed like nonsense! Breathing is natural, how can you possibly forget to do what comes naturally every moment of your life? Well, she found out. It was very hard to remember the one, supposedly-simple task she had to do before she could push this child out.

Breathe…

Cora winced as Regina forced her finger joints to pop, but she dared not complain, she saw the murderous side-glances Regina gave her when she thought she wasn't looking. "Is it time yet?" she panted when the contraction passed, but she knew it wasn't the one that she could start the pushing with. Seeing the Queen's evident distress, a timid, young birthing mother gently pressed a cold, wet cloth to Regina's hot skin to cool her down, her tiny hand trembling.

The doctor swallowed and shook his head nervously, "Not yet Your Majesty."

Regina snatched her hand out of Cora's to create a fireball, "If I don't have this baby soon, I'll kill you all, one-by-one, understand?!"

Red silently lowered herself to the floor and crawled closer to the door just in case she had to get out quickly. She liked her fluffy fur singe-free. The staff shared nervous glances and nodded at the Evil Queen, who wasn't even paying them any more attention. She had let her head fall back on the pillows, and was mentally preparing herself for the next wave of pain.

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The two Merry Men who were waiting by the fire with their horses and weapons were none-the-wiser of the impending danger walking up behind them. They were busy talking and laughing, already celebrating a war they had not even won yet. Heavy footsteps of Snow Whites army approaching were echoing off the canyon walls and could even be faintly felt if one was absolutely still…

Two pale hands appeared from the shadows behind the skinnier of the two Merry Men, and firmly snapped his neck. The bigger one choked on his rum as he stood quickly, and tried to draw his blade, but Emma was already there with her fist resting above his heart—he had no idea what was happening, and stumbled away from her and those black eyes. He tripped over the bucket he was previously sitting on, and clawed at his chest, trying to remove the dagger until he had no more breath left in him to do so.

It was almost comical really...it was his own blade, and he couldn't get it out. Emma paused. She felt Regina's magic calling out to her, the pull was so strong...so desperate that it physically hurt. She knew Regina needed her, and here she was playing around. Emma smiled though...it wasn't just Regina's magic that was calling her home, it was also their child. Apache nudged Emma's back with his long muzzle and broke her from her thoughts.

Emma went around to his side and pulled out a fat and healthy red apple. She walked back into his line of sight and fed it to him. "For being such a good boy...it's extra juicy."

Judging by the slobber and juice dripping out his mouth, he was immensely enjoying the juicy apple that Emma had handpicked for him from Regina's beloved apple tree. The footsteps that were echoing off the walls were getting louder and the vibrations were getting stronger. Emma smiled and patted Apaches strong neck, "Show time Boy! You remember what I told you?"

Apache huffed and turned his head arrogantly as Emma mounted him once more. Sometimes his attitude reminded him of Regina...not that she'd ever tell the brunette that. Emma waited until she could hear Snow White's annoying voice yelling out to her troops that this was their night, that the Evil Queen would be no more. The cheers were sickening, yet amusing. Emma took a deep breath and gave Apache the command.

The powerful horse took off into a full run and Emma gave him complete control of navigation. She held out her arms and called upon every ounce of Shadow Energy that she could. She could feel it crawling through her veins and felt the strain immediately, but she ignored it and pushed forward. She was pulling and expanding the shadows; manipulating them. Her body acting as an anchor. She saw Snow White's army ahead of her, but they couldn't see her...they weren't even aware she was there.

Emma had created dozens of duplicates of herself in the Shadow Realm that she was dragging behind them. They were harmless if one was protected with light, but Emma was planning on showing Snow White and her followers what darkness really was.

When Emma was close enough, she released the Shadow Realm and her shadow duplicates on Snow White's army and closed line the ex-Queen off of her horse. Every last torch flame died and Emma drew her sword as she jumped off of Apache and landed on the carriage that contained her prize. She sat crouched on the roof of the carriage, looking around at the destruction she had created...she couldn't hold it long, but the sight...the sounds, they were so...rewarding. The drones were not moving at all, not helping as the Merry Men were slaughtered like pigs.

"Henry!" Snow screamed blindly, still sitting on the ground with a broken nose and possibly a few loose teeth. "Henry!"

"Mom!" Henry screamed back, out the window. But his voice wasn't as loud as his mothers, it wasn't loud enough for him to be heard over the sound of death.

"Emma don't you hurt my son you bitch! Don't you dare! If you touch him I'll kill you myself!"

"Henry!" Robin Hood yelled out as he swung his own blade wildly, trying to fend off the attacks in a blind state of rage...killing two of his own men. "Henry! Run!"

Emma just laughed, but the strain of this particular power play was starting to really take it's toll on her body, and it was starting to hurt. She quickly opened the door to the carriage and saw Grace and Henry huddled together on a bench with a dozen other children. Emma reached in and grabbed Henry's collar and yanked him out, pulling Grace out as well, but Emma quickly dropped the girl on the ground and whistled for Apache.

Henry was struggling against her but Emma's grip was tight. She mounted her steed and held Henry by his collar and they were gone...everything was gone. The torches were lit once again, and if it weren't for the bodies surrounding them in the canyon, it would've been as if nothing had ever happened. The few remaining survivors were not fit for battle anymore, in fact... Emma had taken out half of Snow's army. Blue crawled from beneath a carriage, looking around warily. "Is it over?"

Robin wiped his brow, breathing deeply. "For now...yeah."

Snow scrambled to her feet and ran to Grace who was crying on the ground, when she saw the little girl was alright, she frantically looked inside the carriage over and over until it facts caught up with her brain...Henry was gone.

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"Regina! Breath!" Cora chided, pushing her daughters sweat soaked dark hair out of her face. "You're almost there!"

Regina let loose a blood-curdling, scream as she threw her head back and Red winced as the Dark Queen destroyed another eardrum. The birthing mother who was positioned between Regina's open thighs wiped her own brow, trying to stay calm lest she end up like the expired birthing mother across the room.

"Push darling push!" Cora coached, still running her hands through Regina's hair to soothe her distraught daughter.

Regina pushed as hard as she could, but she felt as if she were going to die any minute. "I'm going to kill Emma! Where is she?! Aaaaaahhhhhh!"

"I see the head! The child is crowning!" the birthing mother reported with a smile, she was relieved that the baby was finally coming out...her life might be spared tonight.

Suddenly the double doors were pushed open and the cause of all her pain walked into the room—looking more than worn out. Regina didn't care, she threw the biggest fire ball at Emma that she could conjure up. (She didn't notice that it was quite small, seeing as how she had expended much of her energy trying to birth their child). It hit Emma, but the Dark Knight brushed off the sting and went to kneel by her wife's bedside.

"Where is the boy?" Regina asked, grinding her teeth as she pushed again.

"In the Shadow Realm with Apache. He is secure don't worry." Emma answered quickly, taking Regina's hand—surprised at how clammy it felt. "How are you feeling?"

Everyone looked at Emma in alarm and Regina snatched her hand from Emma's and grabbed her Champion's collar. With surprising strength,considering...Regina brought Emma's face close to hers. "I swear this is not the time for your moronic Charming genes to make an appearance!" Regina held onto to the blonde tighter as she pushed harder, and it felt as if she suddenly could not stop. It was truly time!

Emma kissed Regina's chin lovingly, and before Regina could murder her—the most beautiful sound filled the room.

Everyone looked at the woman at the foot of the bed with wide eyes, some extremely relieved. She held the baby up with a giant smile... "It's a boy!" then she looked at Emma, "Would you like to cut the cord?"

Regina hadn't realized she was crying until Cora had wiped away some of her tears as she too was crying. Regina released Emma so the blonde could stand and officially welcome their wailing son into the world. "He certainly has a set of lungs darling...much like you when you were born."

Regina smiled but her watery eyes were on her lover, watching her carefully as she was waiting for the last few moments that Regina's body was giving their son life through the umbilical cord. It finally came to a halt, signaling the time to sever the cord. This was a sacred moment, and nobody even dared to breathe. Emma did so with an amazingly sturdy hand, as she felt anything but steady. Then, continuing to help the birthing mother clean and wrap their son in his powder blue blanket he continued his crying, but as Emma held him close to her heart their son soon settled down. It was amazing—it was as if he knew who Emma was. Emma was coming to introduce Regina to their son when Regina gasped in pain and the birthing mothers eyes went wide. She immediately felt Regina's still-swollen and tender abdomen and gently pressed down, feeling a large lump inside of her still. "There's another one!"

Cora's jaw dropped and Regina sent a death glare at Emma, "I'm going to fucking kill you!"

Emma almost started jumping with joy, but she simply kissed her sons forehead. "She doesn't mean that...she loves me, and she loves you too. In a minute you're going to meet your twin brother or sister, my little man!"

The second birth of their second, unexpected twin wasn't nearly as painful as their firstborn, but it was still uncomfortable and exhausting. If they thought the first one had a set of lungs, this one had a windbag. She was screaming her head off and was red in the face. "It's a girl!" the birthing mother announced happily, praying that there wasn't another one waiting in there—she wasn't sure how much she could take.

Emma came over and placed their quiet, sleeping son in Regina's waiting arms and went to greet their daughter. Regina and Cora cooed over the little boy, and Red had even risked taking a peek. There was no denying that, that was Emma's son. His light blond curls were short, but we're definitely there, and he looked just like her—Regina knew he'd be their trouble maker.

When they were sure there were no more babies waiting to pop out, the two remaining birthing mothers cleaned up Regina and the bed chambers, and quickly disappeared behind the two guards who were caring their poor birthing sister, but not before wishing the Queen and the Dark Knight their congratulations.

The doctor remained behind to make sure both twins were in good health and that Regina was okay to be left alone. When he was certain everything was okay, he left as well. Red went into the bathroom to shift and put on her clothes. When she came back out, Pocahontas and Belle came into the room—both hearing the shocking news through the kingdom's grapevine that Regina had given birth to a set of beautiful and perfectly healthy set of fraternal twins.

Belle and the others couldn't deny that both babies looked like a spitting image of their parents. Cora got off of the bed and let Emma replace her spot next to Regina. At this moment, there was no impending threat of war from Snow White...there was no Dark Curse ready to take them from their home, there wasn't anything but the love the two women had for each other and for their two children.

"What are their names?" Belle asked politely, not wanting to break the beautiful sight they were all having the distinct privilege to witness, but she was too curious not to ask.

Emma and Regina looked at each other with smiles, they had discussed names for the past couple of months for both a boy and a girl. Argued over them even. But now that they had both...

Emma leaned over and chastely kissed Regina, their daughter cooed quietly in Emma's arms as she stared up at her mothers.

Emma took a deep breath and looked at her family, "The little guy is-"

As she was making the announcement, a Dark Kingdom knight was hurled into the room through the balcony doors right over the Evil Queen and the Dark Knight. He hit the wall with a resounding thud. It was obvious that he was dead when he slid down to the floor. Everyone turned, alarmed… to the broken doors he flew through, and they could hear the walls around the Dark Kingdom being abused, and men shouting from down below.

Red ran to the balcony with Pocahontas right behind her...what they saw struck a small cord of fear, deep in their souls. Pocahontas looked at the royals worriedly, "Snow White is here!"

Emma nodded and quickly got out of the bed, still holding her cooing daughter. "Go. Now. We'll go to the throne room and start the Curse, keep them back for as long as you can! They might already be in the castle if no one came to warn us."

Pocahontas nodded and ran over to Emma, she set her hand on the blondes bare arm. Pocahontas bowed her head, and left. Light purple smoke engulfed Emma's body slightly, and when it was gone both of her hands were free...her daughter was now wrapped in very soft black silk, quite snugly attached to her torso. Emma turned and saw that their son was snuggled into Regina's front side in a similar material—though Emma surmised that he was probably much more comfortable, because Regina had more comfort to offer than herself, with those voluptuous curves still left from her pregnancy.

"I'll go prepare the fire and collect the artifacts." Belle announced and left the room, with a dagger in hand and Red in wolf form right behind her.

Cora attempted to help Regina out of the bed, but the younger brunette just waved the Matriarch away and used magic to change her clothes. She was wearing a pair of leather riding pants, with high leather boots and a red coat that flowed down to floor, like a royal cape. Her hair was pinned up in the front, but the back fell loosely down her back and Emma noted the sword that sat on her hip.

Regina winced as she began walking to the door, but she couldn't afford to waste any energy to heal herself. It would have to wait until they took care of Snow White, once and for all. Nothing was said between the three women, as there was really nothing left to say.

SQ :: SWAN QUEEN :: SQ

Pocahontas was running down corridor after corridor with her bow and arrow; firing off a shot at anyone who wasn't wearing the Dark Kingdom's insignia. Part of the castle was lit in flames and she found herself jumping over her dead soldier... more than she could count, and it was making her angry. How did this happen?! How did Snow White of all people inflitrate their walls like this.

Snow's drones were everywhere, inside and out, and it was taking multiple men to injure and take them down. Pocahontas turned another corner to a hallway that would lead her to the staircase that would get her down to the heart of the fight...but she found herself nearly knocked unconscious as a muscled arm close lined her. Pocahontas dropped her weapons and she laid on the blood-stained floor, a bit dazed.

"Go! Find the Evil Queen, I'll handle this." Pocahontas saw two shapes step over her and continued down the hall she had just come from...She blinked away the bleariness and saw that Robin Hood was standing over her, looking down at her smugly. Pocahontas got to her feet and realized that he was holding her compact bow and the last of her arrows. He tossed them down the stairs behind him, "Let's see how you fight without weapons."

Pocahontas loosened her neck and grinned, "I don't need toys to break you in half, Forest Boy."

Robin frowned and popped his knuckles, "That's cute...but I really hope you didn't think you'd make it out of this alive, Warrior."

Pocahontas chuckled, and got into a fighting stance. Robin scoffed and charged at the

Captain, a meaty fist flying towards her face. She blocked it, and wrapped her arm around his—trapping it at her side. Pocahontas winced at his stench, she reared back to head butt him and pushed him away.

Robin stumbled but kept his footing, he checked his nose and realized that the tall dark haired woman had broken it. "You'll pay for that."

"You can't afford me. I only accept gold. As in gold coins, not gold leaves."

Robin growled and pulled out two small daggers from behind his back, and wiped the blood from his mouth. "We'll see how funny you are when I finish with you."

He charged at Pocahontas once more, and this time he had the upper-hand. Pocahontas was on the defense and backpedaling down the corridor, trying to avoid his wild swinging. As they were passing by a rather large window, everything seemed to happen in slow motion...Robin's arm was outstretched, dagger held in a stabbing grip as Pocahontas shifted her weight onto her left leg—leaning back to avoid having her throat sliced open by his dirty blade.

Another Dark Kingdom soldier flew through the window, mere inches above them. He was a foot soldier, and was armored down heavily. With a quick mind and a swift arm, Pocahontas agilely grabbed his sword off of his waist, just as he went sailing out of the opposite window and to his inevitable death. While simultaneously bringing the sharp edge of the blade down on Robin's right arm, cutting it off at the elbow.

Robin cried out in pure agony and dropped his other dagger as he grabbed at what was left of his precious arm...trying to stop the blood spurts, and staggering backwards.

Pocahontas tossed the sword aside and advanced on the one armed man that was quickly going into shock. Pocahontas delivered a nasty uppercut, that loosened a few of his teeth and knocked him back against the stone wall next to the broken window.

The back of his head bounced off the wall and left him dazed as he slid down to the floor. "No...please...have mercy... I give! I surrender!" he cried, his bloody stump moving up and down. Pocahontas guessed if he still had an arm, he'd be waving her away. She smirked, too bad she wasn't fluent in speaking stump.

The Native Warrior knelt over the Merry Men leader and pulled him upright. "Your arrogance has led to your death Robin Hood. A death I will gladly deliver with my bare hands." Kill him with her bare hands she did, until her knuckles were raw and her back was hurting. When she stood, Robin's body sat against the wall, his head dangling limply...his face was badly beaten and so bloodied it was hardly recognizable. "For fucking with my family...and for throwing my bow down the stairs." Pocahontas spat on his body and took off in a sprint back to find Regina and Emma. She had a feeling who Robin had ordered to go on earlier.

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Emma was standing by the window in the throne room with her daughter who, was now fast asleep in her arms. She was watching the fight from high above...wishing somehow that she could help. She was providing as many shadow drones as she could, without wearing herself down...but the drones Snow White managed to get her hands on were tough. Not unbeatable, but tough, none-the-less.

Behind her, Regina was carefully placing each artifact into the impressive fire that Belle had created in the middle of the room. While Red stood watch at the door, and Cora and Belle chanted around the fire. Emma wasn't sure what they were saying, but judging by the thick purple smoke that was now emanating from the fire...the curse was working. They were now talking in hushed tones, but Emma still wasn't paying them any mind. She was thinking, worrying more accurately, about the new world they were soon to invade. What sort of monsters did they have? Did they have kingdoms? Were there even people there?

"Emma. Come here dear."

Emma moved away from the window and went to stand by Regina. "Is it ready?"

Regina turned to Emma and took her hand, "Almost...there is something I wish to do first before...before we leave our home Emma, I want us to be officially Queen and Queen."

Emma pulled Regina into a loose hug, careful of their twins and kissed her lover sweetly. "Who will wed us in front of this beautiful fire?"

"I will." Belle offered a grand smile, feeling incredibly honored as she stood in front of the fire, and in front of them with a long purple ribbon in her hand. She did not waste one precious moment and thus, began immediately. "Your hands please?"

Both Emma and Regina turned to face Belle and held out their right hands. "Regina and Emma, you are choosing to participate in the marriage ritual and handfasting in front of these people, your family and friends?"

"Yes we are." Emma and Regina replied simultaneously, just as their daughter cooed loudly in her sleep.

Belle stepped forward and wrapped the soft purple ribbon around their hands, joining them together,but not yet tying it. "Is it also your wish tonight that your hands be fasted in the ways of the old?"

Emma nodded, and Regina replied firmly. "It is."

Belle tied the cords around the women's interlocked hands with finality, as she recommences..."Remember then as your hands are fasted, these are not the ties that bind..." Belle took a step back, and fought the smile that was threatening to break through. Cora stood by the door with the wolf, tears in her eyes.

Belle cleared her throat softly, the purple cloud thickening behind her. "The role already taken by the song your hearts share shall be now be strengthened by the vows you take. All things of the material world eventually return to the Earth, unlike the bond and the connection your spirits share, which is destined to ascend to the heavens."

Emma and Regina looked at each other, smiling. This wasn't anything like they had planned...but as long as they had each other, it was perfect. Belle continued to speak in her tender voice, "May you be forever as one in the passion and fire of you." Regina and Emma's hands are now fully bound. "You are now, as your hearts have always known you to be, True loves. Regina and Emma Mills...you may now kiss the bride!" Belle couldn't fight the grin any longer than Cora could fight back her tears. Emma and Regina embraced, no longer as Queen and consort, but as lovers united. Red barked happily, tail wagging with excitement.

"I love you..." Emma and Regina whispered at the same time, then laughed together. Loud cooing between them caused them to look down and see that their son was now wide awake, with a wide toothless smile. "I love you too." Emma leaned down and kissed his nose and forehead.

Their moment; however, was not a moment that could have lasted forever. Red, who was still watching them with a wide wolfish grin, was taken completely by surprise when the door behind her was forced open by magic; the blast was so powerful it knocked her and Cora across the room. Emma instinctively shielded her family, including Belle, from the shards of wood that came flying their way. When the debris cleared, Regina stepped around Emma, looking at Snow and Blue with a sneer. "You're too late! We've already started the curse. So take a good look around Snow—no matter what you do, and how you do it—you'll always be one step behind me. You and that useless fairy."

"It'll never be over Regina!" Snow spat back, "Evil will never win! It never does, and I'm here to prove it."

Red was back on her feet, growling at Blue and Snow menacingly, but Cora had hit her head too hard on the pillar she slid into. Belle scampered around the Royals and went to check on Cora. Emma decided that now was the time to finalize the curse. She whistled and Apache immediately emerged from a dark corner, dragging a reluctant and fighting Henry out with him by the collar. Snow saw her son and started for him, but Red was there. Low to the ground, ready to pounce on Snow.

Snow shook her head, frowning down at the wolf. "I made a mistake saving your life..." Red snapped at Snow, and the former Queen jumped back as did her fae companion.

Emma took Henry by the collar and took a deep breath, "Say good bye Snow. Had you left well enough alone...your son wouldn't have to die tonight."

"Emma...please...no." Snow pleaded, shaking her head. Her bravado faded quickly, it was disgustingly weak. "Emma please! You don't have to do this!"

"Think of it like this, Snow..." Emma reached into Henry's back and pulled out his heart from behind, and handed it to Regina, as if it were nothing. The brightness of his heart was almost blinding. "You're giving back the happy endings you've robbed...and little Henry here is helping you." Emma pushed him away and Henry ran to his mother, but Snow knew he wasn't truly safe...not with his heart in Regina's hand.

"You kill my baby and I'll kill yours!" Snow threatened, holding Henry tight to her chest. Behind her back, Blue had poured a fist full of fairy dust into her hand...the last of her magic.

Regina smiled cruelly, holding her son tighter to her chest when he shifted. "Tell me Snow...how does it feel to finally be alone in your sad pathetic life?" Regina held Henry's heart over the fire and Henry whimpered in her arms. Snow snapped and pushed Henry behind her. She ignored Blues calls for her to stop and charged at Regina, but it was too late. The Evil Queen dropped the bright red heart of the Truest Believer into the fire and the curse rumbled, the ritual was finally completed... and it literally knocked Snow off her feet.

The cloud thickened and captured the enraged woman before she could reach the royal family. Though Emma was ready to behead her mother and be rid of her once and for all, Snow screamed in rage, vowing revenge over and over until she was no longer heard. The wind around them was getting stronger and it was whistling so loud that it was next to impossible to hear anything around them. Belle got Cora to her feet, but the older Mills was too slow and the cloud engulfed both their bodies as well, taking them into the land of the unknown.

Emma spotted something by the throne and saw that it was Ares' whistle. She quickly went to it and picked it up- Snow must have lost it when she fell. There wasn't much need for it now, but Emma pocketed it along with the purple ribbon that she still held in her possession. Maybe it could prove useful in the future.

"Emma! Look out!" Regina yelled over the howling winds, as the storm began spreading throughout the Dark Kingdom with speed, and into the Enchanted Forest.

Emma turned around and saw the Blue Fairy briefly before the former fairy threw a handful of fairy dust into Emma's eyes. Regina threw a fire ball at Blue, but the curse's winds were entirely too strong for it to stay on it's intended course, no matter how powerful it's wielder. She hadn't need worry though, because Red ran up behind the former fairy and tore out her throat from behind, right before the curse took them as well. Emma rubbed at her eyes and stepped back, miscalculating the steps and she tumbled backwards. Emma couldn't see but, she felt herself turning and in panicking efforts not to squash her newborn child, she forced herself onto her feet, but completely off-balance.

Regina's eyes widened in horror as the curse now began to wrap around her feet and slowly crawl up her body, she saw that Emma was stumbling towards the open window and she was paralyzed with fear... "No..." she whispered, "No! Emma! Emma no!" she screamed in terror, and Regina...never ever screamed and she startled their son into a fit of fussiness. "Emma!"

Emma had no idea what was happening, one minute she was stumbling on solid ground and the next there was no more ground beneath her feet. Apache, who had been successfully avoiding the strange cloud that was filling the room, charged and caught Emma's hood at the very last second and was holding on with everything he could but his hooves were slipping on the tile.

Emma held her daughter closer to her chest, and she could hear Regina screaming louder than than whistling winds of the storm. Apache grunted and pulled Emma back, walking backwards into the curse, but the blonde couldn't turn around, not without hurting their child against the sharp rocks that were digging into her back. Apache was whining for her, but she couldn't get back up. With bleary eyes, Emma looked down and saw that the curse was already spreading across the Enchanted Forest beautifully. She pulled out her dagger and fought back the tears,

"This isn't goodbye Regina." She knew the Dark Queen couldn't hear her but Emma had to say it. She knew that Regina would be devastated, as would she...but in her blackened heart...Emma knew this was not goodbye. She cut the hood of her vest and wrapped her tall body around their daughter as they plunged into the curse.

Just before they entered the land of the unknown, the real purpose of the fairy dust began to take it's desired effect and Emma slowly lost awareness. The curse had taken every being as it swept through the Enchanted Forest...it had destroyed virtually everything in it's path until their was nothing left but the ashes that was once the Enchanted Forest.

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Across the realm, in the far distance of the Enchanted Forest...

The Ice Queen stood on the balcony of her bedroom and watched with narrowed eyes as the dark purple storm cloud, that was the Evil Queen's Dark Curse, rolled towards Arendelle with a speed that was frightening, and sent chills down the beautiful blonde's spine. She clutched her urn tightly to her chest that held the remains of her family, she had waited until they were all sleeping to curse them to the urn—but it was for their own good, for this very reason. The night was the darkest it had been in a very long time—even the stars did not shine, and the Ice Queen knew that was a bad omen. The purple cloud that seemed to eat everything in it's path, was bright enough to be seen in the distance, and loud enough to be heard.

When the Ice Queen felt the unnatural breeze sweep past her, she knew it was time to leave. She pulled out a snow flake from the small pouch on the front of her desk and brought it to her mouth and gently blew. The snow flake particles flew from her hand and began to swirl in front of her like a small twister, until it dissipated and revealed a brown door.

The pensive woman took one last look at Arendelle, saying her quiet goodbyes to her home and walked through the door, and closed it firmly behind her.

A couple of minutes later...the door melted just as the Dark Curse overtook Arendelle and it's remaining residents.

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It wasn't until later that night when Madeline and Emma got home. Madeline couldn't stop talking about the movie they just went to see; Maleficent. Maleficent was actually a pretty decent movie. As both mother and daughter stepped off the elevator on the top floor of their condo building neither really noticed a small figure sitting at their door until they came right up on him. Upon closer inspection Emma saw that he was a young boy,probably a year or two younger than her daughters age. He had auburn hair that was shaggy but tidy and he was also asleep.

Emma kicked his converse covered feet gingerly until he responded. It took half a second for him to jump to his feet nervously. He had dark brown eyes and he was shorter than Maddi and he dressed as if he came straight out of a private school.

"Uh, h-hi."

Emma raised a brow, while Madeline crossed her arms; eying the boy like he had some sort of disease. "Uh, Hi?"

"Are you uh Emma? Emma Swan?"

Emma nodded warily, eyes darting around the hallway. For all she knew this kid could be bait for an ambush, suddenly the weight of her gun was comforting. "Who's asking kid?"

The young boy nodded, feeling a little more confident as straightened out his hoodie. "My name is Adam Whale, and I need your help."

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Emma paced in front of her large plasma TV with her arms crossed, and tried to wrap her mind around what this kid was telling her. She stopped and held out both her hands, "Wait wait...stop." Emma ran her hands through her blonde hair, "So what you're telling me is...you came all the way to Boston to find me just to tell me I'm a...what was it again?"

"Savior." Maddi supplied, amused; thumbs moving across her phone screen flawlessly.

Adam sighed, exasperated at both of them. "Yes!" Emma smirked, seven year old kids sound so cute when they're annoyed.

"And the Mayor of your little town is the Evil Queen and she cursed some fairy tale land to this world? And no one can leave right? And your dad is the evil Dr. Frankenstein?"

Adam nodded, smiling. "Yeah!" the he frowned, "But Frankenstein isn't my dad!"

"Ugh." Maddi rolled her eyes, crossing her arms as well as giving Adam the 'are you kidding me?' face—the face Emma received more than twice a day. "Okay, but how did you get here then genius?"

Adam returned Madeline's look but it wasn't as strong, he shrugged off his backpack and pulled out a book with brown leather covering. "The book. It keeps me safe and lets me leave town." Then Adam checked his digital Pokemon watch. "We should get going."

Madeline looked at her mom, then back to Adam. "Going...where?"

Adam smiled like it was obvious, "I want you to come home with me."

"Okay kid" Emma pulled out her work phone, flipping it open and dialing 9-1-1. "I'm calling the cops."

"Then I'll tell them you kidnapped me."

Maddi snorted, getting up to go to the kitchen to get herself some juice. "Yeah, good luck with that. Google is our witness."

Emma's thumb hovered over the call button, eye brow raised. "Google?"

Madeline pulled out a carton of orange juice and a bowl of grapes, "Yeah, Google tracks our location until I turn it off. Cops won't believe mop head when we have Google."

Emma laughed, "Never thought I'd be saying this...but thank you Google."

Adam got up, stopping a few feet from Emma looking up at her pleadingly as he offered her the book, "Please, you have to come home with me. Please. You're the savior, you have to believe me...it's in the book."

"Oh brother."

The blonde sighed, rubbing her face with both her hands. "Okay, okay. Where is home?"

"Storybrooke Maine."

"Storybrooke?" Adam nodded, looking a little too hopeful for Emma's liking. She sighed, pulling out her car keys. "Alrighty then...let's get you back to Storybrooke."

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Emma had just topped off her tank and they were on the highway leaving Boston. Adam was in the backseat and he wouldn't stop gushing about how cool his 'the saviors" car was while simultaneously coming up with ludicrous ideas about how Emma was going to break the curse and destroy the Evil Queen.

Emma scoffed, she was pretty sure the 'Evil Queen' was some harmless old lady who was stuck in the office thinking about the 'good ol' days'. Madeline however had no qualms telling Adam where to put his operation ideas and turned on the radio and the music seemed to slow down Adam's talking.

Emma noticed that the closer they got to Storybrooke the thinner traffic became until it was just them on the road and Emma was going well over ninety miles an hour. She also noticed the lack of street lights, and the heavy fog. She turned her fog lights just in case—the road that was not showing up on the GPS anymore and there was nothing but darkness and woods around them. The powerful engine and lights of her challenger was the only thing that could be heard and seen.

Madeline who had finally put down her phone, was starting to get worried. Really worried.

"Uh, mama?"

Emma held up her hand, keeping her eyes focused on the road in front of her. Her eyes were darting anywhere, as if expecting a masked man in robes to jump out from behind a tree with an RPG. Madeline knew her mother well enough to know when she was starting to freak out. She stayed quiet, but kept an eye on Emma...ready to turn the music up loud enough to bring her back.

Finally...Emma took a deep breath, spotting the 'Welcome to Storybrooke' sign. She loosened her grip on the steering wheel when town lights appeared over the horizon. The town was way bigger than expected, especially for not being on any map. Emma settled back in her seat, lowering her window to get some much needed fresh air. "I'm here, I'm okay."

"What happened?" Adam asked, startling the two in the front seat who forgot he was there...and why they just drove three hours to a town that was literally not on the map.

"Nothing kid" Emma waved him off as she downshifted, slowing down as she entered the town. "Where do you live?"

Adam shook his head, "Will you stay if I told you?"

Tired of his games, Emma pulled her car over across the street from Granny's diner and put her car in park, she turned in her seat but just as she was about to get on Adam about his games, she spotted something in the diner. Someone with a badge. "Let's go kid. Game's over." Emma shut down her engine and opened her door, ignoring Adam's attempts to get the blonde to listen to him.

Once everyone was out of her car, Madeline walked behind them as Emma gently hauled Adam to the diner. As soon as she opened the door and the bell jingled, everyone stopped what they were doing and looked towards the door. A man with dark brown hair wearing scrubs was the first to recover to the fact that there was a stranger in town and saw his son. "Oh my god Adam!" he pulled the boy into a tight hug, kissing the top of his head. "Where the hell did you run off to boy?!"

Adam pushed himself away from the man, frowning. "I went to find help, to get away from you!" all eyes went back to Emma, and Madeline hid behind her mother.

"Uh," Emma's eyes widened, and she held up her hands. "Look, he showed up at my house and I brought him back. No harm no foul. I'll just be on my way now."

Quickly Madeline backpedaled as her mother did, though the sheriff was on her heels. "Hey now wait a minute!" he ran in front of the two stopping their escape. He was rough looking man, at least 6 foot 3 with dirty brown hair and it seemed as if he was sporting a mountain man beard. Emma wouldn't be surprised if he lived in a cabin without electricity. He seemed athletic in his brown sheriffs uniform but he wasn't impressive by any means...and he didn't believe in oral hygiene.

"You can't just show up with a kid, and leave. You have some questions to answer stranger."

Emma frowned, shoving her hands in her front pockets. Aware of her daughter hiding behind her once again, and she had to force herself not to get too invested with the idea of forcing this guy to tone down his approach. "We brought him home alright? I understand it looks suspicious. But that's what happened. No need to make a big deal out of this..." Emma glanced at his name plate, "Sheriff Lochlyn."

"He is a 7 year old boy, I'm sorry but you're going to have to come down to the sheriff's station to answer a few questions."

Emma dropped her head back, sighing. "Of course." she pulled out her keys and handed them to her daughter, "Go wait in the car."

Maddi eyed the sheriff warily before taking the keys and leaving the two adults alone. Before Emma or the sheriff could speak, the diner door opened behind them and Emma heard heels coming up behind her. "Is everything alright sheriff?"

Emma turned and stopped, as did the brunette. Both women just simply stood there and stared at each other. Emma has been around plenty of beautiful woman but she's never felt the urge to pursue them for anything aside from friendship, but here she stood about five feet away from a woman slightly shorter than herself wearing a tight black dress that was professional and enticing at the same time. Emma took in the short dark hair, the high heels, the perfect hour glass figure and completely forgot where she was and why. The brunette's brown eyes trapping her in an intense stare down.

Sheriff Lochlyn cleared his throat, unaware of the ogling he just interrupted...or rather the visual reuniting Regina was enjoying. It seemed as if the older Emma became the more beautiful she became. Regina resisted the urge to pull out her wedding ring that was currently nestled between her breasts beneath the fabric of her dress on a simple silver chain. She didn't see any sort of jewelry on Emma's person and was simultaneously relieved and disappointed.

"Madam Mayor" Emma noticed his change of tone, it was a little deeper and she could hear the hankering undertone; it was disgusting. This woman was not his to yearn after, she was hers and hers only. Frowning Emma wondered where that possessive thought came from, she hardly knew this woman...for all she knew these two were fucking married. That thought alone almost made her throw up in her own mouth, but she managed not to dry heave. Barely. "I was just telling this stranger that she's gonna have to stay and answer some questions."

Emma turned to him once more, "Look. My kid is tired,and so am I. I'll stay and answer your petty questions but at least let me get some sleep."

The sheriff shook his head, "How will I know you won't just skip town?"

Emma rolled her eyes, but it was the brunette who spoke this time. "Sheriff, it's alright I can take it from here."

"But-"

"Sheriff." Regina settled her intense glare on him, and Emma raised her eyes brows impressed when the sheriff inclined his head and went back inside the diner but not before glaring at Emma one last time.

Once they were alone, the two woman stared at each other again, neither knowing what to say exactly. Emma felt as she knew this woman but she was so sure that she hasn't seen her in her life...but she wished she had; because there was just no way in hell this woman wasn't single. Emma didn't just want to look, she wanted to touch—so badly. But beautiful women like her were never single.

Shuffling nervously, Emma brought her hands out of her pockets and held out her right hand. "Emma Swan."

Regina glanced down at the calloused hand before taking it in her own, she felt the familiar scar on Emma's palm and she felt at home, she felt as if her heart had finally come home. "Mayor Regina Mills."

"Nice to meet you Mayor Mills." Emma smiled,reluctantly releasing the brunette's soft hand. Then cleared her throat politely, "Um...does Storybrooke have any hotels? Within five miles?"

"Granny's bed and breakfast is the best we have to offer, dear, it's right behind the diner."

Emma took notice of the triangle roof that was hovering over the trees and the diner and blushed slightly for not noticing it earlier. She must be really tired. "Right, thank you Mayor Mills."

Regina nodded and watched the blonde awkwardly wave goodbye before turning on her heel and crossing the street to the orange car that was rumbling across the street. She watched as the headlights flickered on—those obnoxious xenon lights—and drive away. Regina sighed, desperately wishing to go home and to just drop everything and pull her family together after all these years. She knew she had to stay to be the Mayor for a few more hours.

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