The sudden banging at the door is so loud that Emma jumps, spilling hot cocoa all over her hand. This had better be some kind of emergency, and not another dwarf dispute over the right to bear pickaxes, just one of the many irritating new problems that pile up at the Sheriff’s office every day now. She throws the heavy front door open with impatience, but instead of a disgruntled citizen, Emma’s faced with the former Mayor.
“Regina?” She blurts out, the two weeks of uneasy truce between them since stopping the trigger leaving them on first name terms.
“Where is he?” Regina demands, her hair mussed and her eyes wild. The flush on her cheeks and the exaggerated rise and fall of her chest makes it look as though she’s run the whole way there.
“Uh, you’re gonna have to be more specific here, Regina.” Emma blinks, although in the back of her mind, she’s got a feeling she knows exactly who Regina is talking about, and a seed of worry starts to sprout in her stomach.
“Henry.” Regina hisses, her former self sliding into her words. “Where is my son?”
Emma’s back straightens. She isn’t afraid of Regina, former Evil Queen or not. Maybe because they’ve squared off more than once by now, or maybe because they’ve performed some pretty impressive magic working as a team, but either way Emma isn’t about to let herself be bullied. They’ve only just found a working arrangement for sharing custody of Henry.
“Our son,” she emphasizes, “is supposed to be with you.”
“Well, obviously,” Regina snaps. “He’s not. If you’ve been encouraging him to break our agreement, telling him he doesn’t have to spend time with me...”
“Hey!” Emma says. “He’s not here, okay? When I dropped him off this afternoon he was excited about you showing him how to bake a pie or something.”
Regina grabs the doorframe then, her knuckles whitening as the color drains from her face.
“This afternoon... I thought you just hadn’t brought him,” Regina gasps. She looks ready to fall over right there in the doorway. “Emma,” she says solemnly, none of her usual sneer in the way she says the name. “Henry hasn’t been in my house at all today.”
“But that’s impossible,” Emma says, trying to push away the feeling of dread that’s creeping up her spine. “Regina, we were there at like four o’clock.”
“That was four hours ago,” Regina says, with a cursory glance at her watch.
“I know when it was. I told you, I dropped him off! I watched him walk into your house. I swear it. He went through the front door and closed it behind him. He waved at me.” Emma’s voice cracks just the littlest bit on the last word and Regina clutches the door frame even tighter.
That’s when something: gut instinct, maternal instinct, or just the sheer adrenalin of panic sets in. Emma jogs across the living room to retrieve her badge and gun, swiping her car keys from the kitchen counter on her way past.
“We need to go down to the station,” she explains to Regina. “There are people there to help look for him. I’ll call Mary--my parents first and make sure Henry didn’t somehow sneak out and go there, just in case.”
“I’ll try Kathryn,” Regina says, nodding in agreement. She always responds well to a plan, to some kind of bold and decisive action, Emma has noticed. “It’s already dark out--do you think it’s worth checking the playground?”
“It’s worth checking everywhere. I’ll swing by on my way to the station. After you’re done with Kathryn, call the diner. Check with Ruby and Granny that he didn’t go there to get hot chocolate or anything.”
“Okay, you take the station, the park and the playground. Meet me back here in thirty minutes,” Regina orders, taking off at a jog.
“You didn’t find him,” Regina states, striding through the hallway as Emma unlocks the front door. “I have a very bad feeling about this.”
“What?” Emma asks, impatient to get going. She’s trying really hard not to conjure up a hundred worst-case scenarios, but there’s no telling that to the heart that’s pounding in her chest. “What the hell is that?” She adds, staring at the fancy globe Regina is clutching in one hand.
“I may have borrowed a little something from Mr Gold... let me back inside,” Regina says, bossy to a fault. “I have to do this in private.”
“What--oh damn, Regina, no. You promised,” Emma sighs. “No more magic.”
“I’m not doing magic, this globe is. It’s a tracking device, in a way,” Regina says, angered by the challenge. “And since our friends Greg and Tamara tried to give me a bad perm, I haven’t been able to trust my magic, you know that as well as anyone.”
“Uh, Regina, I hate to break it to you, but that’s not a globe. A globe actually has stuff on it. Continents and all.”
“It’s a special globe--a magic globe. When used correctly, it will tell us where Henry is. But we’re not going to rely on anything of Gold’s until we’ve exhausted every other option.”
“But magic is unpredictable here, remember? Yours especially, after…” She can’t bring herself to make light of it the way Regina can. “And now that my parents have given me my first apartment, I don’t want you blowing it up,” Emma warns, but she’s already unlocking the door, letting Regina push past her into the comfortable sitting area.
“Don’t worry, dear, I won’t blow up your hovel.” Regina calls over her shoulder, even as she settles down onto the couch.
The only reason Emma lets it slide is because she wants to find Henry as soon as possible. “Okay, so, uh, what do you need? Crystal ball, bowl of water, candles, eye of newt?” Even though magic has been back in Storybrooke, and Emma’s seen it back in the Enchanted Forest to boot, it doesn’t mean that she’s any more in tune with how it all works.
“What I need,” Regina grits, her eyes already closed tight, “is for you to stop talking!”
Emma complies, closing her mouth and pushing her lips together firmly as she watches Regina begin to mutter something quietly under her breath. Magic mostly looks like yoga, but with special effects at the end.
After a minute or so of the muttering and swirly fingers, a pink mist appears over the battered coffee table that’s currently home to Emma’s spilled and cooling cocoa. Instinctively, Emma moves closer, trying to get a better look. As she does, a cloudy image of Henry’s smiling face comes into view, causing a pang of what has to be love deep inside of Emma; she’s still overwhelmed, sometimes, by loving anyone this much. It’s a love strong enough to break a curse, after all, and she doesn’t need decades of magical education to know how big a deal that is.
This terror that comes with it, the same dread she sees in the darkness of Regina’s eyes and the lines around her mouth, is why Emma was so set on never loving anyone. Henry, the little menace, didn’t give her a choice in the matter. Regina’s son almost to a fault (although he’d never admit it) he had stolen Emma’s heart before she even knew what was happening.
Closing her eyes against the onslaught of emotion, she opens them again to see that Henry’s face is still in the cloud, smiling happily. Relief begins to slide over her like a cool sheet on a hot night. Henry is smiling and surely that means that wherever he is, he’s safe and happy. Right?
Regina’s face suggests otherwise. She’s moving her fingers quickly now, like a petty thief rifling through someone’s drawers, shaking her head every so often and changing the words she’s muttering.
“He’s gone,” Regina croaks as the cloud suddenly dissipates. “Wherever he is, it’s not anywhere in Storybrooke.”
“How can you be so sure?” Emma demands, not willing to give up her feeling of relief so easily. “I mean, what is that anyway -- some kind of magical GPS?”
“Henry is my family,” Regina explains in a monotone. “It meant that when magic returned, I was able to place a tracking enchantment on him.”
“Wait a minute!” Emma interrupts, her mind still processing everything. “Are you saying you microchipped our son? Like a dog?”
Regina’s eyes flash murderously. “I am saying that I made sure I would be able to keep track of Henry, since you obviously seem to have problems in that regard.” Regina’s eyes soften just a bit after that, her anger seeming to slip away and defeat taking up residence. “But because magic doesn’t belong in this world, I can only trace him within the boundaries of Storybrooke.”
“Next time you curse an entire kingdom,” Emma suggests. “Maybe pick somewhere a bit more dynamic, hmm? New York would have killed you? Then we’d have more places to search.”
Regina’s lips curl into a sneer. “I’ll keep that in mind. You certainly seemed keen enough to visit when your ex was there.”
It hurts, the callous mention of Neal, and Emma can feel the final edge of her temper approaching. Regina might be the only person who understands the fear over Henry, but Emma isn’t going to let her away with her usual crap indefinitely. “Okay, so he’s not in Storybrooke. But, can’t you just -- I don’t know--” Emma waves her hand around in a useless imitation of magic. “Poof him back here?”
“Miss Swan,” Regina warns again, clearly irritated. “I do not, and nor have I ever, ‘poofed’ anyone, anywhere.”
“You know what I mean,” Emma sighs. “Like you said before, what’s the point in having magic back if you don’t use it?”
“Well, what’s the point in having ears if you don’t use them?” Regina asks. “I just said that magic only works within the boundaries of Storybrooke. And it’s possible that mine is just faulty, anyway.”
“Have you tried? Because between the weeks of mobs storming your house and lately seeing Henry every other day, I don’t recall you taking any road trips,” Emma points out.
“I don’t need to try. I know. And as I’ve said before, magic is unpredictable here. I will not put Henry’s life in danger by trying to bring him back here when I know he is beyond my reach.”
“Henry’s life is probably already in danger!” Emma blurts. “He isn’t here, Regina. And he wouldn’t leave Storybrooke. Not without...”
“Not without you?” Regina raises an eyebrow.
“Not without telling one of us.” Emma amends. “He has no reason to go on his own.”
“He’s been angry with me, for a very long time,” Regina says, her head dropping in defeat. Maybe it’s to hide the tears, but Emma sees them anyway.
“He’s a ten year old kid, Regina. He’s supposed to hate his parents. Besides, human lie detector, remember?” She gestures to herself, trying not to think of all the times her ‘lie detector’ has failed her since coming to Storybrooke. “He was honestly excited about baking a pie with you this afternoon. I swear.”
Regina straightens then, her back going rigid. It’s still freaky, how she can morph into a queen like that, and this pose is all queen, no mayor in sight. “We’re wasting time standing around here talking. Henry is not in Storybrooke, so we need to go find him.”
“We? Can you even leave Storybrooke?” Emma asks, thinking of the way Gold had clutched his scarf so tightly, afraid of losing himself when they’d crossed the border. “I mean, you saw what happened to Belle and Gold had to have the magic scarf and--”
“I had no cursed identity. I’ve always been me.” Regina answers.
“Okay, so, maybe you can cross.” Emma relents, although she still feels uneasy about the whole thing. The last thing she needs is to have to look for her missing kid with The Evil Queen along for the ride. “But, where are we even going? I mean, if we get out of Storybrooke, do you even have any idea of where we’re supposed to look? It’s a big freakin’ country out there, in case you hadn’t noticed. How are we supposed to find Henry? Hell, how are we supposed to know even where to start?”
Regina frowns then, her eyes going back to the globe.
“I guess this means we’ve exhausted every other option.” Emma sighs. “It’s going to be alright, isn’t it? I mean, he doesn’t know you took it, so it’s not like he had time to curse it.”
“I hope not.”
“Way to boost the morale there, Regina.” Emma mutters. “So, uh, go ahead. Make it work.”
“Excuse me? You just told me that this was our last option for finding Henry and now you say you can’t make it work? Are you fucking kidding me?”
“I wish I were.” Regina says wryly, staring at Emma. She’s clearly missing something here. “But I cannot make the globe work. Only a blood relative can.”
Oh. Oh. Shit. Talk about adding insult to injury. “So… I can make it work?”
“You are his birth mother, are you not? That would mean you are bound by blood. So yes, you can make the globe work.”
“Okay. Great. So what do I have to -- ow! Shit! Regina, what the fuck are you--“ Emma yelps as Regina pushes her finger down on the spindle at the top of globe, but the rest of the protest dies in her mouth as she watches the blood drip from her finger onto the surface, where it promptly begins to expand and move. “Woah! Wait, I’m not gonna fall asleep for a hundred years, am I?”
Regina rolls her eyes and leans close, watching as the blood takes the shape of North America and then she sees it. One part glows a darker red than the rest. “Boston.” She breathes, as she takes in the spot’s location.
“Boston.” Emma repeats softly. “Okay. Okay.” She nods. “Boston I can do. Boston is... Boston is good.” She’s already pulling out her cell phone, her fingers skimming over the touch screen, searching for the number that she never quite got around to deleting. That the number falls right after ‘Regina’ in her phonebook would be laughable in any other situation. But Emma certainly doesn’t feel like laughing today.
Instead her finger hovers over the name for a second before she pushes down.
‘Rizzoli’ flashes on the screen as the call goes through.
“Rizzoli!” Jane barks as she answers the call, throwing a tennis ball at Frost’s head at the same time. He fumbles, and she laughs through the caller’s greeting.
“I’m sorry, who is this?” Jane asks, kicking her feet off the desk and placing them flat on the floor. It’s a slow day today, and while the healthy part of her is pleased that there are no new homicides reported, the restlessness in her limbs makes her think it might be time to go see if Maura feels like an evening run. Anything has to be better than staring at these stalled cases in front of her.
“Riz?” Says an almost-forgotten voice, and Jane freezes in her chair.
“Swan? Is that you?” Jane gasps.
There’s a catch in the voice that replies that Jane can’t ignore. “Yeah. It’s me.”
Frost lobs the tennis ball back at her, but Jane doesn’t even attempt to catch it. It hits her desk, knocking over a day-old cup of coffee before bouncing off towards Korsak’s desk. Jane remains oblivious to everything but the voice on the phone. “Emma, what’s wrong?”
“I, uh, I’m on my way to Boston, Riz. I need a favor.”
“Of course. Name it.”
“My son, Henry, has gone missing. I think - I don’t think he left of his own free will. And I think he’s somewhere in Boston. It’s only been a couple hours, but... if I send you his picture could you maybe get the word out?”
Jane’s brain stopped processing properly the minute she heard the word son; she can’t even form a reply.
“Yeah. Yeah, Swan. Of course. I’ll do everything I can. But you know this isn’t really my side of things.”
“I know. I just... I need you on this one, Riz. I can’t trust just anyone,” Emma’s voice is pleading, and that’s the scary part of it. Tough, proud Emma Swan has never asked anyone for anything in the time Jane has known her. Jane hears another woman’s voice in the background, and the unmistakable sound of a car being started.
“How far away are you?” Jane asks, clutching for some detail.
“Another couple of hours. We’re in Maine, but I’m not exactly planning to observe the speed limit, you know?”
“Well, get here in one piece,” Jane says. “I’ll talk to our team about an Amber Alert, just text me whatever details you can. You know what we need, right?”
“Yeah,” Emma says. “I know. We’ll come straight to the precinct, okay?”
“I’ll be here,” Jane promises. “And Swan, we’ll find him.”
A dial tone is her answer and Jane can only stare at the coffee dripping off her off her desk as she waits for Emma’s text.
Emma’s got one hand on the steering wheel while the other tries to tap out the text to Jane. Her foot is pushing the gas pedal of the Mercedes to the floor and the car is speeding through town, jerking and swerving around curves.
“Will you stop that!” Regina hisses as she grabs for Emma’s phone. “You’re going to wreck my car!”
Emma’s foot slams on the brake and the car screeches to a halt. Regina flies forward, her hands coming up instinctively to stop her from crashing into the dashboard. “I’m sorry,” Emma bursts, “that your god damn car is more important than your son!”
Regina glances over then to see that Emma is actually shaking in her seat. She’s not sure if it’s from rage or fear or a combination of both. “Nothing is more important than, Henry.” She says fiercely, but her voice is quiet. “But it won’t help him if we both die in a car wreck. Now, what is so important on your phone?”
“A text. I have to send a text with the information about Henry to someone at the Boston PD. They’ll get the Amber Alert out.”
Carefully, Regina takes the phone from Emma’s trembling hands. “You drive. I’ll text.”
Emma takes a shuddering breath before she focuses her attention back to the road and depresses the gas pedal once again. She does her best not to think about the fact that she’d somehow managed to stop the car in the exact spot that she’d stopped with Henry their first night in Storybrooke. It won’t do to begin thinking about those memories now. As much as she hates it, she knows Regina is right. It won’t help Henry if she crashes the car.
“Now,” Regina says as she glances over the information that Emma has already typed out - Henry’s age, birthdate, hair and eye color - “what else do we need to tell them?”
“What he was wearing last time we saw him. Any birthmarks or um, scars... Identifying features, basically.”
“But that sounds like--”
“It’s just their procedure, Regina,” Emma assures her, although the swirling dread in the pit of her own stomach suggests otherwise. “And when I dropped him off he was wearing blue jeans, a red t-shirt, and a blue-and-white plaid shirt. I think. And, um, black sneakers.”
“Okay,” Regina says, fingers moving furiously over the keys. “Anything else?”
“If we have any ideas of who has him, names and descriptions are always helpful.” Emma glances over, as though searching Regina’s face for something.
“We don’t know--”
“Who else would want to take him?” Emma asks, turning back to the road, her voice almost desperate for Regina to come up with anyone else.
“There are plenty of people who are not happy with me, stopping the trigger or not. Everyone knows that Henry is - that he is the way to hurt me. There could be hundreds of people who would’ve had cause to take him. And your family might be beloved by many, princess, but not by all.”
“But we can’t ignore the fact that two weeks ago you were kidnapped, right here in town. By two people we didn’t manage to kill before they disappeared.”
“And how do you suggest we explain them? Why they attacked me in the first place?”
“Fuck, Regina, I don’t know. We can tell the truth -- the kid blamed you for his father’s disappearance and he wants revenge.”
“Oh yes, I’m sure that will go over swimmingly when the police start asking questions. Like why a child would think I had made his father disappear. And why that child now appears to be around the same age as me.”
“Fine. Then don’t put them in. But you and I both know that it was them. Whether we want to admit it or not.”
“And we will deal with them, once we find Henry and know he’s safe. Should I just send now? To this, uh, Rizzoli?” Regina’s tone is sniffy, as usual.
“She’s a really good detective, Regina. Commendations from Boston PD, the whole deal,” Emma gets defensive on behalf of her friend. Truth be told, Jane Rizzoli is the only person Emma knows better at finding people than Emma herself; it’s just that Jane usually has a dead body as an incentive.
“We’re approaching town limits,” Regina says in a monotone, but Emma glances over to see the panic in her eyes. If Regina really can’t leave, if something happens to her, then Henry is in even more trouble. Emma presses down on the gas pedal, and holds her breath.
They make it through.
No wolves, no signs to crash into, no sudden jerking of the steering wheel to have them in a ditch at the side of the road. There’s a crackle around the car for a second, like lightning is about to strike, but Emma holds her foot steady on the pedal and the little black car keeps speeding on through the night.
“Okay,” Regina says, the word almost lost in a shaky breath. “I remember who I am. Let’s go find Henry.”
“You sure?” Emma asks.
“That I cursed everyone to this town where they lived under me as Mayor for 28 years that didn’t actually pass? Or did you mean the part where I was the Evil Queen to your mother’s Snow White?” Regina fires back, apparently satisfied.
Luckily for Emma, Regina’s bitchiness is just as intact as her memory.
“Jane?” Maura calls out, and Jane registers the sound above the buzz of the room. An incident board is already filling up with information, sketchy though it is, and some familiar faces from the Family Support Team are getting busy on the phones.
“Hey, Maur,” Jane says, waving her over. “I was going to come suggest we grab a late dinner, but something came up.”
“You were supposed to be off at ten, that’s why I came looking for you. Anything I can help with?” Maura asks, dropping her purse into Jane’s unoccupied chair. The purse that she bought just last weekend, in fact, and it cost about the same as Jane’s car.
“God, I hope not,” Jane groans, rubbing her hands over her face as the reality of a long and boring day sets in. It’s stupid to take on something like this right at the end of her shift, but it’s not like she really has a choice.
“Oh,” Maura says, in that snippy way she has when her feelings are hurt. “Well, if I’m just bothering you, I’ll go home.”
“No,” Jane says, crossing the rest of the space between them and laying a reassuring hand on Maura’s shoulder. “I caught a case really late, it’s a favor, actually. And I really hope it doesn’t end up needing the Medical Examiner, is all I meant.”
“I see,” Maura says, her smile sliding back into place. “By saying you didn’t hope for my help, you were actually hoping to avoid a fatality in this particular investigation.”
“That’s what I said,” Jane agrees, biting her tongue before she can elaborate and spoil the atmosphere again. “So if you want to rush home to whatever Ma has cooked up, I don’t blame you.”
“Have you eaten?” Maura asks, smoothing out the deep pink dress that she’s wearing. Jane can’t tell why, there’s not a crease or a scrap of lint that she can see.
“I had a sandwich,” Jane says, flicking through the Missing Children update that’s just been printed for her.
“That was at lunch,” Maura points out. “Wait here,” she adds, grabbing her purse and sweeping out of the squad room.
Jane turns back to her files and tunes the world out again.
What seems like five minutes later (although the clock says an hour has passed) there’s a commotion by the squad room doors. Jane is on her feet and in motion before she can think about it, and she’s treated to the sight of one of the newest sergeants getting an earful from her mom. Great, just what this day needed: Angela Rizzoli on the warpath.
“Ma!” Jane shouts at her. “Leave the new boy alone! What are you even doing here this time of night?”
“I called Maura to see why you two didn’t come home for dinner, and she said she was going to fetch you take-out. I said ‘no way’, my Janie eats badly enough as it is. So I brought you both dinner.”
Maura comes into view then, striding down the hallway with her usual oblivious confidence.
“First of all, Ma, I don’t eat dinner at Maura’s every night. Second of all, I caught a case, so I have to work late. I’m sure Maura would have bought me a salad or something anyway.”
“Actually, I was going to get you a cheeseburger, because the last time I brought you a salad you suggested I do something to myself with the beets which may not even be anatomically possible,” Maura chimes in.
“You’ll both have risotto and like it,” Angela warns, dropping Tupperware onto Jane’s desk like suddenly the Homicide division is just an extension of the cafeteria.
Jane hears her stomach rumble at the sight of the perfect risotto, chunky and creamy and no doubt just how she likes it. For all the things her mother refuses to understand about her life, they’ve always been able to talk food fluently. It’s good enough to make her forget about the cheeseburger that was rightfully hers.
“Why did you take overtime, Janie?” Angela asks as soon as Jane has a mouthful of rice. “You’re never going to meet someone working all these extra hours.”
“It’s not some workaholic thing,” Jane says as soon as she swallows. “Although catching murderers is more important than getting a date, Ma.”
“Well, not if you want to get married and have babies before you’re fifty,” Angela says reprovingly.
“Ma!” Jane is short on patience, and even shorter on time, even as she keeps shoveling food into her face. “It’s... aw hell, you’re gonna find out anyway... it’s for Emma, okay?”
Angela’s face goes through about seven different colors as she processes the news.
“Emma Swan?” She splutters, finally, her face turning a deep shade of purple. “She called you?”
“Her kid is missing,” Jane says, holding up a hand to try and calm the reaction. Emma Swan left a trail of chaos every time she passed through Boston, but the one person who never stopped holding out hope that Emma would calm down and settle down, was Jane’s own mother.
“Her kid?” Angela asks, recovering a little. “She had another baby?”
“No, Ma,” Jane explains, trying to be patient as she feels Maura’s inquisitive gaze on her. “It’s the baby she gave up that time. He uh, well, he’s back in her life now.”
“That kid must be, what, nine?” Angela says, hand pressed to her cheek in shock.
“Almost eleven,” Jane corrects. “Anyway, Emma and the kid’s mom will be here soon. I need to give them something.”
“Emma’s coming here?” Angela squeals. “God, Janie, I would have brought more food.”
“That’s not--” Jane starts to say, but she’s interrupted by the woman striding into the squad room, having already shaken off her escort from the front desk.
“You know you don’t have to feed me, right, Angela?” Emma says, and though she tries to force some good cheer into her voice, it sure as hell isn’t fooling Jane. “We have food in Maine, too.”
“Emma!” Angela shrieks, falling on her in a wave of hugs and cheek kisses that Emma squirms under but doesn’t quite resist. Jane wants to smile at the sight, but she’s already putting her dinner down on the desk and reaching for files.
“Hi, Ma.” Emma murmurs against Angela's hair, trying to keep her voice low, but everyone in the general vicinity hears the words. Jane notes that the only person who looks more shocked than Maura at Emma referring to Angela as ‘Ma’ is the dark haired woman that was trailing behind Emma.
“Oh, Emma.” Angela leans back, cupping Emma’s face in her hands. “How are you, honey?”
Emma offers Angela a watery smile that Jane knows says far more than the words she actually manages to get out. “I’ve been better.”
“Oh, honey, of course you have.” Angela pulls her back into an embrace again. When they part, Angela smacks her upside the head with a heavy hand.
“Ow!” Emma protests. Jane watches the dark-haired woman, who smirks when anyone else would look shocked. There’s something unsettling about the way she looks from Emma to Angela and back, with a gleam in her eyes that says finally something is meeting her expectations.
“It’s been at least a year!” Angela tells her, and for a moment, Jane is just happy that her mother has someone else to pester. “You don’t call, you don’t write..."
Emma has the decency to wince and look sheepish at the words. Jane recognizes the look and knows the contrite tone of voice that slips through Emma's lips. It's Rizzoli through and through. "Sorry, Ma."
"Don't you Ma me, Emma Swan." Angela warns with a wagging finger, but everyone can see the softness of her eyes. "And don’t you worry one bit. Janie is going to find your boy. Aren’t you, Jane?”
“My boy,” Regina chimes in, with her usual impeccable timing. “Tell me, Detective,” she manages to spit the word out like it’s an insult. “What exactly have you been doing to find Henry? Because so far I see a picnic and a family reunion.”
“Regina!” Emma warns, but after over two hours of stony silence in the car, it would seem the former Mayor has found her voice at the worst possible time.
“We’ve put a statewide alert out for Henry,” Jane says, summoning all her professionalism when addressing the woman that is sneering at her like she's something to be scraped off the bottom of her Prada shoes. "I've got some of our guys out canvassing as well, but as Emma knows, this isn't really my side of things."
"Oh?" A dark eyebrow raises and Jane feels her hackles raise with it. "Then what exactly is your side of things, Janie?"
"Regina!" Emma warns again, moving toward the woman, but Jane snaps.
"Homicide!" She hisses out, the words flooding out before she can stop them. "But maybe you'd rather I wait until your boy comes to my side of things, huh?"
“Well,” Maura pipes up. “This is awkward. Oftentimes people undergoing emotional stress create further confrontation to deflect from the issues causing them pain.”
“And sometimes,” Angela adds. “People just need to mind their manners, no matter how bad a day they’re having. I’ll have you know, Ms...?”
“Mills,” Regina snaps, still glaring at Jane.
“I’ll have you know, Ms Mills, that my daughter is one of the finest police officers Boston ever had. You don’t believe me, you go talk to her boss. He’s a tough man, but really lovely when you--”
“Ma!” Jane groans. “I got this. Swan, we need to sit down and get as much detail from you both as possible. I’ve got one of the interview rooms ready.”
“Good,” Emma says, and this time when Regina looks like she’s about to lash out again, she’s calmed by Emma placing a hand on her shoulder. “Lead the way, Riz. Angela, it really is great to see you. Hopefully we can grab some coffee when all this is done.”
“I can sit in with you,” Maura offers. “Since Frost and Korsak are both done for the day, and you have a notoriously hard time creating a working relationship with new people.”
“Thanks, Maura,” Jane says through gritted teeth. “Can you show the ladies through?”
“Of course,” Maura says, that Girl Scout eagerness of hers coming right to the fore. Jane listens to the chatter as the three women leave the squad room, trying not to smile at Maura’s apologetic way of saying how much she likes Regina’s blazer. Clearly, those two shop at the same kind of hoity-toity stores.
“Jane,” Angela says as soon as they’re alone again. “Are you okay?”
“Of course I am,” Jane says, keeping the bite out of her voice. “Emma’s been a good friend to me, whatever else she’s done. I just want to find Henry for her.”
“Henry,” Angela says, like she’s testing how the word feels in her mouth. “That’s a nice name.”
“Ma.” Jane warns, already sensing where this is going. “Do not, under any circumstances, start thinking this somehow means another grandkid for you, okay?”
“What?” Angela shrugs. “If you won’t give me one...”
“MA! He is not your grandchild. You’ve never even met the kid before, so stop.”
“And if you don’t find him, I never will.” Angela says seriously. “You gotta find him, Janie. If you don’t--”
Angela doesn’t need to finish the sentence. Jane already knows how it ends. She’s watched Emma unravel before. “I know, Ma.”
Jane scoops up her files, and her lukewarm coffee and heads out into the hall. The sooner she gets more information, the sooner she can give the unis something to go on.
It’s been a while since Emma found herself on this side of an interrogation table, and although her gut is just telling her to do whatever it takes to find Henry, that familiar fight-or-flight response is turning her stomach to lead and her legs to jelly. Regina is practically vibrating with tension, her spine rigid and her dark eyes flitting all over the confined space, ignoring this Maura woman’s attempts at conversation. Although whether that’s because Regina is stressed or the conversation is unusually stilted, Emma can’t be sure. She fills in the gaps as best she can, because the woman is clearly a good friend of Jane’s, and that’s recommendation enough.
“Hey,” Jane says as she comes marching into the room. Emma smiles to see she’s lost none of her usual intensity. “Let’s get right down to it, okay?”
“You should start with Miss Swan’s past addresses here in the city,” Regina says. “If you give her pen and paper, I’m sure the Sheriff can supply those.”
“Wait... Sheriff?” Jane asks, her jaw actually dropping. “You’re the town Sheriff?”
“No need to sound quite so surprised,” Emma grumbles, shoving her hands in the pockets of her jacket. “I needed a job to stay near Henry, so I started out as a Deputy. Things... happened.”
She can practically feel Regina’s glee at someone else underestimating Emma’s abilities to be a functioning human adult.
“That’s really great,” Jane says, her smile lighting up the room for just a second. Emma squirms under the weight of expectation, and she’s never been good at making other people pleased with her. But Jane, more than almost anyone, took a chance on the nineteen year-old that she could have sent back to prison for violating her parole. Ever since then, Emma’s been quietly hoping for a moment like this, as some kind of payback.
Maura hands Emma a fancy leather-bound notebook and a pen that looks like it cost more than the Sheriff Station’s entire stationery budget, and she starts to scribble the addresses from memory, starting with the sparse apartment where Henry showed up and changed her life over a year ago. Regina, being Regina, picks up the slack.
“He doesn’t have any medical conditions, although when it’s cold sometimes he wheezes a little. He has a scar on his left knee, about three inches in a jagged line from when he fell off his bike. There’s a birthmark on his left shoulder blade. It’s about the size of a quarter, faded purple and well...”
Emma looks up from her notes to see what Regina’s going to say next.
“It sort of looks like an apple,” Regina says in a hurry, her Mayoral mask firmly in place and just daring Emma to blow their cover.
“Are you kidding me?” Emma splutters. “Henry has an apple freakin’ birthmark?”
“Is that relevant?” Maura asks. “Because a ‘purple’ birthmark would be considered vascular, and those aren’t hereditary.”
“I... just don’t remember that,” Emma confesses. “From the hospital.”
“Maura, Emma gave Henry up for adoption,” Jane fills her in. “Regina adopted him when he was... what, three weeks old?”
“Well, birthmarks sometimes won’t show until almost one month old,” Maura supplies helpfully.
“He had it the day I became his mother,” Regina says shortly. “Anyway, you wanted all the details.”
“Has there been...” Jane pauses, clearly struggling for polite words. Emma’s always known Jane to struggle with being polite at the best of times, but to do it every day as a cop is pretty impressive by her standards. Of course, kicking the crap out of scumbags probably balances that out. “Are there any problems at home? Any reason Henry would run away?”
“He didn’t run away!” Regina growls, slamming her hands flat on the table. “He knows it isn’t safe.”
“Swan?” Jane persists. “You know what I’m talking about. Even minor things seem like the end of the world when you’re eleven.”
Emma glances over at Regina for a moment before she turns back to face Jane. There are so many things that could’ve made the kid run - god knows Emma’s been on the verge more times than she can count in the last few months - and none of them can be considered minor. But she also knows that Regina’s right in this case. “He didn’t run away.”
“You know as well as I do that if a kid has a history of--”
“There isn’t a history, Riz.” Emma cuts her off before she can finish. Regina looks ready to explode and she actually fears for Jane if Regina can’t keep her anger under control. “He ran off once, to come find me. That’s it. This isn’t like me. Henry’s a good kid. He wouldn’t leave, not without telling one of us.”
“Besides,” Regina adds. “He has other people in town to run to. His grandparents, for a start. They’re very close,” she continues, practically spitting the words out in disgust. “And he has friends, his th--his doctor, any of whom he could go to if he had a problem with Emma or me.”
“So you two don’t... that is,” Jane flounders again for a second. “What I’m asking is, does Henry have two primary residences?”
“Actually,” Maura interrupts, her smile friendly but still somehow serious. “I think Jane was trying to ascertain whether you’re in a relationship. Other than co-parenting the child.”
“No!” Regina yelps, only a little louder than Emma’s own denial. It would be insulting if the idea wasn’t so insane.
“Okay,” Jane says, running a hand through those dark curls. “I think we’ve got as much as we need for now. The description is already all over the wires, and the Amber Alert should stop anyone getting too far if--if--Henry’s been taken.”
“Thank you, Detective,” Regina says, drained of her hostility. “And you too, Detective,” she adds, reaching to shake Maura’s hand.
“Oh, Dr. Isles isn’t a detective,” Jane hastily explains. “She’s our ME.”
“Actually, I’m the Chief Medical Examiner for the Commonwealth,” Maura qualifies, preening just a little. She shakes Regina’s hand, not seeming to notice it’s gone limp in her grasp.
“As in... the coroner?” Regina gasps. “You think he’s already dead?”
“Regina,” Emma tries to sound soothing. “Maura is a friend of Jane’s. They work together a lot, that’s all.”
“No one thinks Henry is dead.” Jane affirms and Emma knows that she’s feeling just the littlest bit guilty about her earlier words. “Although I gotta say, with all we’ve discussed, I’m still not sure why you think the kid is in Boston. He could be anywhere off the I-95, right?”
“Riz,” Emma says, placing her palms on the table and leaning towards her friend. “I’m going to tell you that it’s mother’s intuition, okay? And you’re gonna hate it, but you’re gonna trust me, right? The kid is somewhere in Boston. At least as of a couple of hours ago.”
“Emma,” Jane starts to argue, her shoulders squaring for the fight. “Nah, okay. Okay. But if you’re holding out on me...”
“I swear,” Emma says, as serious as she’s ever been. “Nothing is more important than getting my kid back, okay? I won’t put him at risk.”
“But--” Maura starts to say, before Jane silences her by laying a hand on Maura’s forearm.
“Not now, Doc,” Jane says kindly. “We’ll talk back in the squad room. Swan, where are you staying?”
“There’s room at my house,” Maura says instantly, and the offer is as warm as it is genuine. “Angela lives there, too, if you want to be near her.”
“We can get a hotel,” Regina says, sounding a little panicked.
“No need,” Emma says, fumbling in her jacket pocket for keys. “I still have my apartment, the one you already sent your guys to.”
“The one Henry found you at?” Jane confirms. “Okay, that’s smart. You make that your base, you stay there in case Henry somehow finds his way there. It’s one place we know he’s familiar with.”
“I want to join the search,” Emma says. “Once I get Regina settled in.”
“Like hell,” Regina grumbles. “I’m looking for him, too.”
“Neither of you can,” Jane says sadly. “You need to stay in one place. And you need to have someone at your homes in, uh, Storybrooke too, in case Henry goes back there.”
Regina bristles at the thought of someone being in her home when she is not, but Emma nods, already pulling out her phone. “They’ll be covered.”
Emma watches Maura and Regina leave the interrogation room before she reaches out and grabs Jane’s arm, stalling her progress. “Listen, Riz, I -- uh -- I’ve gotta tell you something else. It might be important to the case but… you can’t ask questions, okay?”
Jane looks Emma up and down, her eyes narrowing. “Jesus, Swan, what have you gotten yourself into?”
“Nothing. I swear. It’s not -- it’s just -- I can’t explain it any more than what I’m about to tell you. But I’ve got an idea of who might’ve taken Henry.”
“What?” Jane pulls her notebook back out. “And you’re just now saying something?”
“I don’t know for sure, but -- my gut tells me it was them.”
“And who are ‘them’?”
“A guy by the name of Greg Mendell. Might also be known as Owen Flynn. And his accomplice would be a woman who goes by Tamara.”
“Any last name for her?”
“Not that I know of.” Emma sighs, thinking again of just how stupid she was for not putting the pieces together sooner. A woman with no last name - how many times had that been her when she’d been pulling cons?
“You got descriptions for me?”
“Greg’s caucasian. Kind of pasty. Tall and thin. Balding. Tamara’s African-American. Long hair. Build kind of similar to mine, I guess? I don’t -- I’m sorry, Riz.”
“Hey. Don’t worry about it. I’ll run them through the system and see what I can come up with.”
Emma tries not to flinch at that. Who knows what the system might reveal about them?
“We’ll find him, Swan.” Jane says again as they turn to go back to the squad room. Emma feels like she’s going to break down any minute, because she’s keeping so many secrets and telling so many lies - Henry hates lies - and Jane’s just being there, not questioning her, only helping. She doesn’t know how much more of this she can take.
Emma’s fingers are clutching the keys to her old apartment so hard that they’re making indentations into her hands when she walks out of the interview room. It’s the only indication she gives that she’s not perfectly in control of this situation and she knows that there are very few people who could ever read her anyway. The unsettling thing is that nearly all of them are under the same roof at this moment.
Her step falters just slightly when she sees Angela, still standing by Jane’s desk in the squad room. She’s holding two styrofoam cups of coffee and Emma can’t help the small smile that spreads on her face at the sight of them.
“How’d it go?” Angela asks, handing her cup over easily before hesitating a moment at the look Regina is giving her.
“Jane is doing everything she can, of course. Regina and I gave them all the information we know. Now it’s just a waiting game until everything gets disseminated.” The coffee is scalding and probably not all that helpful for either her or Regina if her already jittery nerves are anything to go by, but she swallows it dutifully because she needs something to do and she already knows she’ll be awake all night.
“Well, if you need a place to stay, Emma--”
“Thank you, Angela,” Emma smiles genuinely at the offer, even though she already turned it down when Maura offered. There’s a conversation to be had with Jane about why Angela isn’t staying at the Rizzoli house anymore, and how the Medical Examiner that Emma used to hear about in passing is now practically joined at the hip with Jane. “But I still have my apartment, so we’re just going to stay there.”
“Angela?” Angela frowns at the name, seemingly forgetting that she’d scolded Emma earlier for calling her ‘Ma’. “What happened to Ma? And are you sure you don’t want to stay with me? Your place hasn’t been used in what - a year? You’ll need groceries and fresh sheets and -”
“Ma,” Emma holds up her hands, using the term that she knows will get Angela’s attention, “it’s fine, honestly. Regina and I will be okay for the night. We just really want to get back in case Henry shows up there. It’s been a long day.”
“Of course, of course.” Angela agrees then, “That’s smart thinking. But how about I stop by in the morning? I’ve got some extra sheets I’ll bring over and groceries. You still like my breakfast bruschetta? And I’ll make some cannolis, of course! You need to eat, you look like a stick.”
“Sure.” Emma agrees, even though she can feel the daggers that Regina is shooting into her back. She’d normally squirm at being fussed over so much - has been doing nothing but squirming under the attention from her newly discovered mother these past few months - but it’s a strange comfort coming from Angela Rizzoli.
“You get some rest. You need sleep. Janie will find your boy. Don’t you worry. You just be ready to love him when he gets home.” Angela pulls her into an embrace and Emma allows herself to relax into it for just a moment, letting the warmth and familiarity of the Italian woman wash over her. It’s something that Emma’s been seeking her whole life - the embrace of a mother - and even now that she’s found her real mom, no one’s ever actually felt more like a mother to her than Angela Rizzoli.
“Thanks, Ma.” Emma manages to get out before the lump rises too much in her throat, and then she ducks her head to hide the tears as she makes her way out of the station, knowing that Regina will follow.
“Well,” Maura says once she and Jane are alone in the interview room. “That was interesting.”
“Interesting how?” Jane asks, scribbling on the forms for her colleagues to act on.
“It’s my understanding,” Maura says, gearing up into lecture mode. “That the title of ‘best friend’ implies a certain level of trust, and certainly a great deal of intimate knowledge of that friend’s life.”
“What do you mean?” Jane says, signing the last requisition form for manpower.
“It means we’ve been close friends for a number of years now, and yet today is the first time I’ve heard you mention Emma Swan, a person so important to you she’s apparently a de facto sibling.” Maura explains, and there’s genuine hurt in her eyes.
Jane shrugs. “She’s not -- I mean -- it’s just Emma. We knew each other a while back and she’s been in and out of Boston a few times since then. We were close before, I guess.” Jane feels uncomfortable even talking about it, because Emma’s habit of keeping everything a secret has rubbed off even when talking about her.
“And you know how Ma is, always needing more people to feed and fuss over. And Emma - well, she needed fussing over back then. But she hasn’t been around in over a year and honestly, we didn’t see her much for a couple of years before that. Besides, it’s not like I know all of your friends or anything, Maur.”
Maura blinks at that, a pained look slipping onto her features and Jane realizes a moment too late what it is that she’s said. Although she and the boys often joke about it, it is true that Maura really doesn’t have any other friends besides them. Acquaintances, sure, but the number of people that Maura actually classifies as friends is so small, Jane could count them on one hand. Other people don’t understand and appreciate Maura the way that Jane does. “Actually, Jane, you do.”
Jane frowns and quickly tries to backpedal. “No, I mean, yeah, friends friends. But it’s not like I know all the people you went to boarding school with or your med school buddies or whatever.”
“Emma Swan does not strike me as the ‘police academy buddy’ type.” Maura frowns, putting the situation into Jane’s terms. “She doesn’t seem like any of your other friends, actually. In fact, it seems like maybe there’s an altogether different nature to your familial bond with her...”
“What, you think she’s some kind of ex?” Jane snaps.
“The thought crossed my mind,” Maura admits, and she stands to leave the interview room. Her heels clacking on the concrete floor are a sound so familiar to Jane that she wants to freeze time for a moment, go back a couple of hours maybe when her life hadn’t been just turned upside down again by Hurricane Emma.
“I don’t date women,” Jane reminds her as Maura opens the door. “And neither does Emma.”
“I wouldn’t be so sure,” Maura says over her shoulder. “Because I counted every noticeable physical sign of arousal whenever Emma looked at that other woman. And you should probably know that the same was true in reverse.”
“Emma’s not gay,” Jane says, shaking her head as she gathers her papers and walks out past Maura. “But let me buy you a drink at the Robber when all this is over, and I’ll fill you in on all the details, okay?”
“I’d like that,” Maura says, honest to a fault. “Now go, help them find this missing child.”
“This is where you used to live?” Regina asks as they travel up in the elevator. She actually sounds almost impressed.
“You were expecting something a little rougher around the edges?” Emma asks, suppressing a cheeky smile. She can’t quite relax into being comfortable around Regina like this, it feels far too dangerous when Emma’s guard is already down.
“Well,” Regina hedges. “I didn’t expect such a nice neighborhood.”
“You mean you expected another hovel,” Emma says, but there’s no bite to her words.
“Perhaps,” Regina admits as Emma opens the front door, the hinges groaning from disuse. Regina runs her fingers over the calligraphy on the door, reading the fragments with an amused twist of her lips. “You’re the one who told everyone what a hard life you had. No mention of the downtown apartment with fairytales etched into the door.”
“Ironic, right?” Emma says, flipping on the lights and breathing out when none of the bulbs have blown. “Maybe the mothership was calling me home the whole time.”
Regina frowns at the reference she doesn’t recognize, moving deeper into the apartment, and Emma kicks herself mentally once again for all the times that happened before the curse broke and she just didn’t pick up on it. All the signs were right there in front of her face and she’d missed every single one of them.
Shaking her head, Emma turns to offer up sleeping options to Regina - she’s pretty sure she’s gonna be on the couch tonight - but her eye catches something in the kitchen that stops her in her tracks.
Regina is reaching for the handle on the fridge, and it’s dusty and kinda gross-looking but Emma can see with perfect clarity what it used to look like when Henry raided it without invitation.
“Do you have any juice? Never mind. Found some!”
Regina hesitates, sensing Emma’s gaze on her. Caught in her snooping, she shrugs and continues, but when her hand actually grasps the handle, Emma can’t stop herself reacting.
“No!” Emma lunges towards the counter, where she can’t stop seeing Henry sitting, all innocent smiles and pleading eyes. “Don’t touch it. Don’t you touch it.”
“Really, Miss Swan, it’s probably empty anyway.”
“I said don’t touch it!” Emma snaps and Regina stills her hand, letting it fall to the counter.
“I just thought I’d look.”
Regina is right to look puzzled, and Emma’s acutely aware of how weird she’s being, of how noticeably she’s freaking out.
“Give me a minute,” she manages to gasp before she takes off for the old, familiar safety of the bathroom, slamming the door behind her and leaning against it when her legs threaten to give out on her.
Many shaky, gulping breaths later, Emma turns the handle and walks back out into the kitchen. Regina is sitting on one of the high stools, staring out at the Boston skyline.
“Thanks for uh, humoring me” Emma says quietly. “I got a little overwhelmed. It’s kind of... well, it’s been a hell of a year.”
“I suppose it has,” Regina says evenly, not turning around. Emma wants to kick herself because if her life has been turned upside down, then Regina’s has been completely blown apart, and it’s not even like it would be the first time.
“Think you can sleep tonight?” Emma asks, crossing the room to the closet that should still hold a few blankets and pillows that came with the apartment.
“Not a chance,” Regina admits. “What about you?”
“Let me see if I can still steal next door’s cable,” Emma says, resisting the urge to wink. “We’ll have some food delivered, we’ll get comfortable, and we’ll wait. Okay?”
“Not even slightly okay,” Regina snaps. “I couldn’t eat a bite, for a start. But in the absence of any other plan...”
“Bathroom’s over there if you want to change, or wash up,” Emma says, nodding towards the door. “Let me fix everything else.”
“Thank you,” Regina mutters, almost in spite of herself. She stalks off towards the bathroom, phone clutched desperately in her hand still. Emma checks her own, making a mental note to get the chargers from their bags.
It’s going to be a long night.
One by one, disgruntled uniform cops radio back from Emma’s previous addresses with no reports of the kid from their canvass. Jane stops listening after the first two, pulling the murder board into the center of the room and wiping it down to make space for new photos and her own messy scribble.
Maura watches patiently until Jane finishes her first flurry, and while she flicks through the brand new file, Maura steps up to straighten haphazard picture placement and correct a couple of hasty spelling mistakes.
“You don’t have to do this,” Jane says again, only pulling focus from her reading for a second. The intel from this town in Maine has been quick and easy to find--photos and basic info on every relevant person right there on one of the town’s websites. It looks like a pretty nice place to raise a kid, Jane concedes. She can’t imagine ever wanting to grow up anywhere but the familiar streets of Boston though.
“I’m happy to help,” Maura replies. “I have a free day tomorrow, not a single plan besides maybe checking out the new Farmers’ Market in--”
“Well, I appreciate it,” Jane interrupts, before Maura can get lost in one of her tangents. “Any thoughts on where a missing kid is likely to turn up?”
“It’s not really my area of expertise,” Maura admits. “But this boy, Henry, he wouldn’t be a typical runaway, would he?”
“He didn’t run away,” Jane reminds her, not really sure why she’s still putting quite so much faith in everything Emma Swan says. “But what does that mean?”
“I mean, he’s from a wealthy home, he’s bright and obviously resourceful. If he left through choice, it isn’t out of desperation. He may even have a plan, of sorts.”
“Why are you so sure?” Jane asks.
“That’s how I plotted when I was his age,” Maura says, studying a meaningless memo quite intently. “You know my parents were never cruel to me, but there were times when I wanted so badly to know that I would be missed, that they would really care... well. I thought about it many times.”
“And you never actually did it?” Jane presses.
“Oh, I started a few times. Hiding out in a museum all day, only to go home when I got bored and find out my parents thought I had a field trip and weren’t worried at all.”
“Ma used to volunteer as a parent helper on our field trips,” Jane recalls with a shudder. “Until Frankie realized it was smarter to just not tell her about them. I think the entire Rizzoli family is still banned from the Aquarium.”
“It’s possible Henry is troubled about something and neither mother knows,” Maura points out, her logical brain whirring into overdrive. “Children are actually quite adept at keeping secrets.”
“It just feels like something hinky,” Jane confesses, knowing she’s about to get dropkicked with science. “I know you don’t know her, but Swan is not the panic over nothing type. If she’s getting cops involved, it’s serious.”
“Motherhood changes people,” Maura argues. “The protective instinct interferes with the brain’s rational thought processes. Hormonal surges dictate behavior, especially when there’s a perceived threat.”
“I’ll bear that in mind,” Jane says, trying for diplomacy. “But I think right now we should go update them on the early leads, let them know we’re doing something.”
“I’ll drive,” Maura offers, keys already in her hand. Jane smiles at the easily-given support, and follows Maura out towards the parking lot.
The knock at the door sends them both scrambling, and Emma would laugh if she could remember what laughing felt like. Regina barges her out of the way, and Emma frowns as her shoulder hits the wall in the tiny hall area, while Regina wrenches the door open.
Neither one of them can hide their disappointment at finding Jane and her friend Maura waiting on the other side.
“News?” Emma barks, too panicked now to form a whole sentence.
“Nothing yet,” Jane reassures. “I just wanted to let you know what we’ve set in motion.”
“Come in,” Regina says, ever the damn hostess. She’s wearing the most casual clothes Emma has ever seen her in, and her feet are bare, but Regina still makes it look like she’s about to take them on a tour of the one-bedroom apartment.
Jane looks to Emma as though for permission and Emma manages a nod, suddenly remembering that it is her apartment after all. “Whatcha got?”
“Not much, yet.” Jane says bluntly, knowing that Emma won’t let her get away with anything less. “Unis are out canvassing, but so far no one’s seen any traces of him.”
“Damn it.” An ugly vase that Emma never cared for hits the wall. Maura is the only one who jumps.
“Hey.” Jane grabs Emma’s arm. “The Amber Alert is out. We’ve got all his information out there. My guys are covering every inch of this city. Frankie’s out there looking. So are Frost and Korsak. We’re doing everything we can. If it comes to it, I’ll even get Tommy out there.”
Emma slumps against Jane for just a second before she straightens back up. “I know.” She nods, her voice coming out firmer the second time. “I know. Sorry.”
“Eh,” Jane shrugs, “I know that temper. Nice to see you still got that throwing arm on you. If you’re thinking about moving back, we could use a good pitcher on the BPD team.”
The humor and familiarity calm Emma, who lets out a shaky laugh, but do the exact opposite for Regina. “If you’re quite done discussing your needs for a baseball team, why don’t you get out there and find my son yourself, Detective.”
“I think that Jane was merely--” Maura starts to explain.
“I don’t care what she was trying to do! I only care about finding my son!”
Emma hasn’t seen Regina this raw since the wraith attack, and where the impulse comes from she’s not entirely sure, but she gently takes Regina by the shoulders and stares her down.
“Regina, listen to me.”
“I mean it. You know I don’t trust anyone, right? Not really. Even with my parents…” She trails off, realizing the slip up and that Jane’s sure to have heard it. She shakes her head, refocusing. She’ll deal with the rest of it later. “But Jane? I would trust Jane with anything. With my life. And Regina, I trust her with Henry’s.”
“Not now, Riz,” Emma pleads. “Okay?” She asks Regina, almost crumpling in relief when Regina nods once, and then relaxes in Emma’s grip. It’s almost like hugging, for a moment.
“But did you just--” Jane’s cell rings and Emma wants to punch the air in relief. Until Jane actually takes the call, and suddenly the room is as quiet as an empty church, all four of them straining to hear every word.
“Rizzoli.” Jane listens intently, and Regina is ready to pounce again, but for Emma’s hands still on her shoulders. “Okay, Frost. Good work. We’ll meet you there.”
“They found something?” Maura confirms.
“An address for your boy Mendell.”
“You told her about Mendell?” Regina hisses, shrugging Emma’s hands off her shoulders.
“Yeah. I did. And apparently it’s good that I did, if they got a hit on his address.” Emma replies, refusing to feel bad about what she’d done. “Now are we gonna stand here and argue, or are we gonna go get our son?”
“You can ride with us,” Jane says, because they all know there isn’t going to be any other answer. “But this is police business, so you stay clear until I give you permission, okay?”
“Of course,” Regina agrees, like she’s been on her best behavior this whole time. “Please, just take us to Henry.”
Jane notices the crime scene tape before she’s done parking the car. She nods at Maura, who sees it too. Subtly, Maura tucks her purse under the passenger seat and grabs some gloves from the glove compartment, two pairs that are quickly shoved in the pocket of her blazer. Neither Emma nor Regina seems to notice, their eyes drawn by the blue flashing lights and the officers standing around. Thank God, there’s no sign of the press yet.
“Jane.” Emma looks to her, eyes wide. For a moment, Jane is reminded of the scared nineteen year old she met, who tried so hard to act tough.
“Stay here. I’ll be back in a minute.” Jane cautions as she and Maura climb out of the car.
“Should we lock them in?” Maura suggests.
“Jeez, Maura. They’re grown adults, not Schnauzers.” Jane says, unwilling to mention that Emma’s had enough experience boosting cars that she could get out in twenty seconds flat, even if they did.
Frost is waiting by the tape, notebook in hand as he confers with a young cop in uniform. She looks barely old enough to find the Academy, never mind pass out of it, but Jane knows saying that out loud just makes her sound even older than she is. She waves at Frost and he wraps up his chat, his expression way too close to queasy for her liking.
“What’ve we got, Frost?”
“Frankie’s in there right now, uh…”
“The tape’s up, is there a body?” Jane presses.
“It’s a kid, Jane. Caucasian, brown hair, can’t be more than eleven or twelve.”
“Jane that fits the description of--”
“I know, Maura.” Jane snaps. “Shit. Shit!” She bypasses Frost, ducking under the tape and going straight toward the building. Maura follows her quickly, already pulling out the gloves.
“Jane,” Frost calls out to her. “It’s the basement apartment. And it’s definitely seen it’s better days.”
“I can go down and bring the body--”
“No.” Jane shakes her head, moving down the stairs, even as she feels the adrenaline spike at the base of her spine. Basements still make her uneasy and this time, even more so. “I have to do this.”
The room is dark and dank, obviously having been flooded at least once. It’s not furnished, so the only thing of note in the room is the body. Jane moves towards it, swallowing hard against the bile that is rising in her throat. She stops when she’s close enough and prepares herself to look.
She jumps at the sound of Emma’s voice, but she’s also not surprised. Glancing down quickly at the body, she turns and moves up the steps as fast as she can, cutting off Emma and Regina before they can reach the building.
“What did I tell you?” Jane scolds.
“The van pulled up, Jane,” Emma says, grabbing at her jacket. “Please, please tell me that he’s not -”
“There’s a body.” Jane tells her, doing her best to keep her voice calm. “But we don’t know--”
“Oh god.” Regina sways, just barely staying standing. It takes her a full minute before she can pull herself back together enough to stand straight. “No. No. Not Henry. It can’t be Henry.”
“Jane?” Emma pleads, tears gathering in the corners of her eyes.
“I don’t know, Emma.” Jane says softly. “I -- I couldn’t tell.”
Maura moves up to stand behind Jane.
“In most cases it’s really better to wait and perform the identification at the morgue. Things will be clean there, it’s much less confusing for… families. And we can be sure of all the facts.”
“Identification?” Regina gasps, as though everything is suddenly crashing down on her.
“Emma, you shoulda stayed in the car,” Jane pleads. “Maura’s right, there’s a reason we do things the way we do them. This is a trashed apartment, you don’t want to make any new memories here.”
“I need to know,” Emma states, and it’s as serious as Jane has ever seen her.
“I really must insist--” Maura begins, but Emma ignores her.
“Jane. You’ve gotta let me see him. I need to see him now.” She glances over at Regina who is still struggling to stay upright. It’s obvious that she won’t be able to make the identification, and Emma almost wants to laugh at that. The woman who had crushed hearts to dust and had whole villages massacred can’t even manage to look at one dead body after she’s seen how many others? But this, Emma knows, isn’t just any body. And Emma has to be the one to do it. She has to be strong enough. What kind of savior is she, if she can’t do this?
“Emma,” Jane tries again, but Emma already hears the weakening of her voice. She’s going to give in. “Maura will be with him and it’ll be easier--”
“No, Jane.” Emma shakes her head, the tears spilling down her cheeks now. “It won’t be easier. Nothing will ever make this easier and you know that. Now either take me down there or I’ll take you down.”
“Jane, procedure is very clear--” Maura tries again, but Emma pushes past her, defying Jane to make a move.
“What’s it gonna be, Detective?” Emma challenges.
“Okay,” Jane relents. “But only because I don’t want you doing anything dumb. I don’t want to have to arrest you, Swan.” She lays a hand on Emma’s back, but Emma shrugs it off. She’s never had comfort on the hardest days of her life, and right now that caring touch feels like a kidney punch; she can only get through it if they all leave her alone.
She stumbles, twice, the stone steps nearly rising up to meet her face, but Jane is there to steady her with her arm, having learned enough to let go right away. Too soon they’re at the busted front door, with its dangling yellow tape.
“You don’t have to do this. Not right now.” Jane reminds her again softly.
Emma glances back up to where Regina stands with Maura and then nods resolutely. “Yes, I do.”
She can feel Regina’s eyes on her as she moves into the room. She stops in her tracks at the sight of the body -- oh god, it’s so small in this big, empty room -- and this time Jane’s hand stays put when it falls on her back. She takes another tentative step forward, her eyes squinting against the darkness.
“Frankie, can you give us some light?” Jane asks and Frankie scrambles for his flashlight, his eyes not leaving Emma.
Korsak is there too, his flashlight at the ready, and they both turn the beams on so they fall on the body like some sickly choreographed light show. The face is illuminated and Emma’s breath all comes rushing out at once as her knees give out.
“Oh god.” Emma gasps, clutching on to Jane, who falls to the ground with her because her body has become too much dead weight to support. “Oh god. Oh god. Jane.”
Above her, Emma hears Regina’s feral wail, and she buries her head in Jane’s jacket, trying to block out the sound.