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.
The aftermath of Emma's identification, the hunt for a killer, and our respective pairs of ladies hash out some uncomfortable truths.
Jane holds on to Emma as best she can, but they’ve barely even hugged before and Emma’s shaking so violently that it’s as awkward as trying to detain someone who’s resisting arrest.
“Emma.” She whispers against her hair, “It’s alright. It’s going to be alright.”
Even before the words are out, Jane hates herself. The platitudes are ridiculous in any situation, but in this situation they’re absurd. Nothing about this is ever going to be alright. A child is dead and she’s telling his grieving mother that things will be alright? Suddenly Jane hates her job with a burning passion.
“No.” Emma gasps the word out, but it’s choked by the sobs and the way she’s still just shaking. “It’s not, Jane.”
Shit. “I know. I know.” Jane tries to be comforting, tries to rub her back or be soothing in any way, but this just isn’t in her element at all. Maybe Ma will know what to do, when they all get out of here.
“No.” Emma says again, stronger this time as she pulls away to look Jane in the eye. “It’s not him. It’s not him, Jane.” The words come out in a mixture of a laugh and a sob and Jane rears back, her eyes flying to the body.
She grabs Emma’s shoulders and gives her a firm shake. “Emma, are you sure? Are you sure that it’s not him and that you’re not just--”
“I’m not in denial.” Emma murmurs, her eyes trained on the body of the little boy that isn’t Henry -- but god, he looks like him from a distance -- and her body still shaking so hard. “It’s not him.”
“You’re sure?” Jane seizes on the information like Jo Friday attacking a pork chop. “Oh God, I’m so relieved.”
“Yeah,” Emma pulls away, sitting on the floor with her knees pulled tight to her chest. She wipes her eyes roughly with the heel of one hand. “But that’s still… someone else is gonna go through what Regina and I just did. And they’re not gonna have a get out of jail card.”
“Right,” Jane nods in understanding, because whatever else happens someone has still hurt this innocent kid, and that’s never acceptable. She’s worked every kind of horror story for years, but these are still the cases that tear her up inside; even if they get the guy and send him down for life, it won’t feel like justice enough.
“Was there any ID on the vic?” She asks, too late, and is almost glad when Korsak and Frankie shake their heads.
“Since it’s not -- looks like it’s a John Doe.” Frankie gives Emma a soft smile.
“I’ll get Maura to take the body back to the morgue and get working on ID and cause of death.” Jane says, pushing herself off the floor before offering a hand down to Emma. “And maybe from now on we should stick to the rules. I’m not putting you through that shit again, Swan.”
Emma nods once and takes the hand offered to her, swaying slightly on her feet for a moment before she looks up and takes in the aftermath that is Regina. “Oh, shit.”
She takes the stairs two at a time and falls on her knees in front of Regina, pushing Maura out of the way. “Regina. Regina!” She grabs Regina’s face and holds on tightly, forcing her way through the haze of grief that’s taken over her son’s mother. “Listen to me. Regina, listen to me.”
Regina blinks and her eyes seem to focus the littlest bit on Emma, but that only causes more tears to spill down her cheeks and her to start gasping in breaths like she’s hyperventilating. “Oh god. No. Emma. No.”
“Regina, listen.” Emma squeezes her cheeks hard enough to hurt and then continues when she’s got Regina as lucid as she’s going to get. “It wasn’t him. It wasn’t Henry. Do you hear me? It’s not Henry.”
Maura lets out a sound beside her, possibly of relief, but Emma can’t be sure because her attention is solely on Regina. She sags forward in a near-mirror of Emma and Jane’s earlier position and now it’s Emma’s turn to hold on tight.
“It’s not him. It’s not him.” She keeps whispering against Regina, repeating the words over and over, along with the others, the ones that are harder to say, but that she can’t stop from bubbling out now. “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”
“I should have gone,” Regina manages to say when she catches her breath. “I don’t know why… I should have been the one to see it.”
“It’s okay,” Emma assures her. “I mean, it was horrible, but… it wasn’t Henry. That’s all I can think right now.”
Jane and Maura are a few steps above them, talking in angry whispers until Maura raises her voice, seemingly in exasperation.
“This is what I could have spared them from! Don’t you see that? Procedure is not simply the hiding place for bureaucrats and sticklers, Jane. It protects people.”
“I’m sorry,” Emma calls up to Maura. “What I did was rude, and uncalled for. I panicked, I guess. I just wanted to know if we were already too late.”
“I understand,” Maura says, her smile tight. She doesn’t seem all that angry at Emma, reserving her wounded glare for Jane instead. “But we should really get to work here. Jane, is there someone--”
“Frankie will drive you two back to the apartment,” Jane offers, nodding back towards the apartment. “I’ll send him up in a minute. Just don’t remind him how hard you kicked his ass when he tried to teach us self-defense, okay?”
Emma forces a weak grin at the memory of Frankie Rizzoli, barely out of high school, pinned on the Rizzoli’s back lawn by her and Jane until he squealed for mercy. She stands, not all that surprised when Regina does too, still clinging to Emma’s arm like it’s a life preserver. The shock hasn’t quite worn off, and every time Emma tries to focus on the relief, she feels like a crappy person.
“We’ll get out of your way,” she tells them, guiding Regina back up the stairs into the cool evening air. Emma gulps down deep breaths, partly to ward off the sick feeling that’s rising in the back of her throat, and partly to get the damp smell of the apartment out of her nose. She recognises the smell of neglect only too well, a space where no one ever mops the floor or does anything to the dust but disturb it by moving around. The other smells Emma can’t think about, can’t allow herself to identify.
It wasn’t Henry.
Regina lets go as Frankie approaches, pushing her hair out of her eyes and straightening her clothes with that briskness Emma still associates with her being Mayor. Even after an experience like this, Regina has to check her armor and make sure she’s still the toughest person in the room.
“Sorry you got driving duty, Frankie,” Emma says as he pats her on the back. “But we really appreciate you joining in the search.”
“Nah, I just made Detective,” Frankie explains. “Doing these things is what the new guy does, you know? And I’d do it anyway, you know that.”
“I do,” Emma hesitates at the squad car. Regina slips into the backseat without question, but instead of taking the passenger seat Emma follows right behind. She can talk to Frankie just fine wherever she sits, after all. But some little part of her feels comforted by being near Regina, by the way they clung to each other when things looked hopeless. They’re better together, as these situations just keep proving. “Can we stop somewhere to get some snacks, maybe some bottled water? A gas station will do.”
“Whatever you need,” Frankie tells her, and only when the car finally leaves this horrible place does Emma sink back against the seat. It’s not that she can relax, exactly, but sometimes not losing is enough to feel like a win. “Although you do know that Ma’s probably got your whole apartment stocked to the gills by now, don’t you?”
Emma manages a little laugh at that, before she suddenly feels guilty. A child is dead and even if it isn’t Henry, it isn’t the time for laughter. “Of course she does. But you know it’ll all be healthy food.”
“And you’d rather live on Cheetos and Mountain Dew?” Regina pipes up, and she almost looks revived at the prospect of taking a cheap shot at Emma. “Or is this more of a Dr Pepper situation?”
“Please, this is a fifth of gin situation. But, actually, I’m craving some Vanilla Coke,” Emma huffs, turning away to look out at the traffic as they pass through South Boston. “And just for that, you don’t get any.”
“How sad for me,” Regina drawls, but Emma can tell that she is just the slightest bit affronted at being told what she can and cannot have; once a Queen, and all that jazz. It feels normal, this bantering over petty crap, and Emma feels herself relax just a little bit more. They’ve broken a curse together, and saved an entire town from oblivion, so why shouldn’t they also find their kid and beat the everloving crap out of the people who dared to touch him?
This is real hope, Emma realizes. It’s as strange to her as waking up and suddenly being able to speak French, but it’s real. She doesn’t dare mention it to Regina, who no doubt feels about hope the way she does about happy endings, but Emma can have enough for both of them right now.
The lights of the city speed past, and Emma clasps her hands on her lap, almost like praying. Henry is out there somewhere, and they’re going to get him back.
The CSRU techs are doing their usual slow routine when Jane gets done giving Frankie his orders and Emma’s temporary address. He’ll be waylaid by Ma at some point, if she hasn’t already broken into Emma’s apartment to start cooking for them, but Jane can’t worry about that right now. As much as she’s relieved to see Emma again, and to still have a chance in the search for that kid, someone else’s child deserves their attention and expertise right now.
Maura is crouched down by the body, and Jane recognizes the extra care and slight hesitation in her touch as she performs the preliminary examination. For all the times Maura has worried that she doesn’t feel things as deeply or as fully as she’s supposed to, Jane’s never known her to be anything other than compassionate.
“No signs of trauma,” Maura reports, not looking up. “No ligature marks, no cuts or bruising visible. The body is full clothed and there are no signs of disturbance.” She lifted the eyelids with her gloved thumb. “Petechial hemorrhaging.”
“But no ligature? So suffocation rather than strangling?”
“I’m not prepared to speculate. My investigation has already been disrupted.”
“Maura, c’mon. You know it’s different when kids are involved. The press is gonna be all over us like a rash, and we can’t wait, you know, indefinitely.”
“Well, it can wait for the full autopsy, at least,” Maura said, relenting just a little. “Although if Emma Swan asks you to just skip that, I’m sure you will.”
“Wait a minute...you’re pissed at me?”
“I know we have our differences, Jane, and I frequently enjoy your unorthodox way of looking at things. But for all our arguments, you have always respected me professionally. That wasn’t the case here.”
“Oh, like we didn’t cut a few corners when we were investigating your mob boss daddy?”
“You mean like when you shot him?”
“Okay, I thought we dealt with all this? What’s your problem?”
“My problem,” Maura snaps then, looking down at the body instead of at Jane, “is your blatant disregard not only for the proper procedure, but for me as a professional, as a colleague, and as a friend.”
“What do you want me to say, Maura? She thought her kid was lying dead in this basement. You think I was gonna stop her from finding out?”
“And if it had been anyone else? Any other mother, you would have done the same? Can you honestly look me in the eye and tell me that if anyone but Emma Swan had asked that of you that you would have bypassed procedure and given in the way you did?”
“I -- jeez, Maura, I don’t know, okay?”
“Yes you do, Jane. You just don’t want to admit it to yourself.”
One of the techs puts a bag in front of Maura for approval, and she nods quickly, professional mask in place and it’s as obvious as the wooden ones that hang on her office wall. Jane’s seen this shutdown fifty times, but it’s so rarely directed at her.
“Are you… jealous? Is that it?” Jane demands. They’ve lost too much time recently to arguing and outside threats. She doesn’t have the energy for that right now, so they are damn well going to get to the bottom of this. “Maura, come on. It’s late and we didn’t expect to be up all night like this. I’m sorry if I was rude or I got all up in your examining business. You know how I get over these cases.”
“Fine,” Maura says, though it’s clearly not. “Apology accepted. Gentlemen, we’re ready for the bag now. I know I don’t have to remind you, but please, everyone, take the utmost care during transport.”
The techs nod in acknowledgment, and while there’s always a baseline of respect at a crime scene that minimizes the cracking of jokes or chatter about the latest Sox score, tonight it’s especially somber. Jane wants nothing more than to get out of the basement herself, and she’s glad to have an excuse to go check on Frost and see what the canvass has turned up. Jane isn’t optimistic, because a neighborhood like this is filled with people brought up to never see anything, not even when it happens right under their nose.
Mostly, she wants some fresh air to clear her head and work out exactly what bug got up Maura’s ass tonight. Okay, so maybe Jane never introduced her to Emma while they all lived in the same city, but it’s not exactly weird to have more than one friend. Emma goes back way longer than Maura, anyway, even if it was some kind of competition.
“Tell me you’ve got something.” She says when she finds Frost, but it’s just as she figured.
“We’ve got guys canvassing, but so far, nothing.” Frost says, his eyes moving back to the abandoned building. “How’s your friend holding up?”
For a moment, Jane wonders if he means Emma or Maura. “Emma’s with Frankie. She’s okay, I think. We’ll need to keep working on her kid’s case but… this takes precedence. And she knows that.”
“You think they’re connected?” Frost watches as the techs carefully bring the stretcher with the body bag up the stairs.
“A ten or eleven year old kid that fits Henry’s description turns up dead in the basement apartment of the one lead we’ve got? Yeah, I think they’re connected. Now we just gotta find out how.”
“Korsak and I’ll do the coffee run since Frankie’s out of commission. Meet you back at the station.”
“Thanks, Frost.” Jane nods, moving over to where Maura is standing by the car, looking altogether unsure of what to do next. It’s her car, but Jane had been the one to drive to the scene because it’s easier for a cop to break all the speed limits than it is for an ME. Jane’s still got the keys shoved in her pocket and she tugs them out, holding them up as a kind of peace offering to Maura. “Canvass hasn’t turned anything up yet. Frost said he and Korsak would do the coffee run.”
Maura accepts the keys and moves to the driver side door. “Fine.”
Jane knows that it’s anything but. She just doesn’t know how to fix it. And right now, with everything else going on, she doesn’t think she has the energy to even try. So she just drops down into the passenger seat, buckling her seat belt and allowing the silence to settle over them.
“You want some of my Coke?” Emma asks, putting her minimart haul in the fridge. It’s still empty, which means that Angela hadn’t made it there yet. “Or there’s water, if you prefer.” She waits for a response, but gets none. Regina is staring out of the window again, seemingly captivated by the view. “Earth to Regina?” Emma tries again, approaching with some caution.
“It’s so… I’ve see your cities on television and read about them. But it’s something else to really see it. I’ve seen riots and cantered on horseback, but it just doesn’t compare to so much all compressed into one place. I don’t think I could live like this.”
“You get used to it,” Emma offers. “A city’s a great place to get lost in.”
“That’s why you chose this place? It’s right in the thick of the action, it seems,” Regina turns around, genuinely curious now. “I think Henry must have been impressed when he came here.”
“I got a deal from a landlord who wanted me to chase down tenants who skipped. Started happening a lot when the economy hit the skids, I guess,” Emma explains. “But yeah, I like being where it’s busy. It’s easier to get lost in a crowd than in the big open spaces.”
“Mm.” Regina nods, looking back out the window at the view. “But you didn’t really get lost here, did you? You found--” She hesitates, not sure exactly what to call the group of people that she had just met, “a family of sorts here.”
“Well, I don’t know about family.”
“You referred to the brash woman at the station as Ma. Does that not imply a familial relationship?”
“It’s complicated.” Is all Emma will say on the subject.
“And your relationship with the detective -- is that complicated too?”
Emma blows air out her nose in a noise that isn’t quite a snort, but could be. “You like to ask the hard hitting questions, huh?” If she’s going to do this -- talk about her past in this way -- then she definitely needs that Vanilla Coke.
“Perhaps.” Regina moves to the couch, staring at it warily before finally allowing herself to sit down. “Or maybe I just need a distraction right now.” Somehow, after the day they’ve had -- has it really only been one day? Not even a full twenty four hours yet? How is that possible? -- she doesn’t act like it’s a weakness to admit this need to Emma.
Now that, Emma understands. She grabs two cans of soda and the bags of Cool Ranch Doritos and Cheetos before heading to the couch. Regina doesn’t say anything about the choice of cuisine, just opens the soda and takes a long drink, straight from the can. That, more than anything else, is a testament to her state of mind right now, Emma thinks.
“I’m sorry.” Emma whispers, looking out the window because she can’t bare to look at Regina when she says this. She knows Regina wants a distraction and she’ll give it to her -- no matter how much it’ll cost to talk about her past -- but she needs to say this first. “I shouldn’t have just dropped him at the curb and gone. I should have come up to the house. I should have made sure you were there.”
“Why didn’t you?”
“Would you have been pleased to see me?”
“I suppose you have a point. We haven’t really talked much, since the mines.”
“I thought it was over. I wanted it to be over. I wanted -- I wanted to live in a place where I could watch Henry walk into your house and not have to worry about him being attacked. Isn’t that what the fucking fairytale is supposed to be about?”
“You haven’t read many fairytales, have you? They’re never about security.”
“Yeah, now you mention it,” Emma considers. “There’s actually a lot of death and despair. Considering in this world they’re just stories to tell a kid at bedtime.”
“You’re…” Regina hesitates, sipping more delicately at her drink this time. “You’re coping very well. Is that the Savior in action again? Or are you just used to lurching from one crisis to the next?”
“You kidding? I’m scared halfway out of my mind,” Emma counters, reaching for a handful of Doritos, and crunching them loudly as she considers. “But I suppose I have a strange sort of faith.”
“I felt it, in the car. It’s like, here’s another crappy situation, all of that. But if I have to face the crappiness, I guess I can’t think of a better person to have in my corner.”
Regina snorts at that. “So far, it seems your Detective has about as much skill and experience as you do as Sheriff. And if you recall my last performance appraisal…”
“First of all, Jane is a great cop,” Emma feels her usual flush of exasperation, because even in crisis Regina is still so… Regina. “And second of all, I meant you.”
“What?” Regina looks up, startled.
Emma crunches another Dorito. “Don’t look so surprised. We make a pretty good team when we work together. And -- you’re the only one who gets it, you know? How it feels. How fucking scary it is. But -- I don’t know -- I guess with you on my side, it seems… less. God, this is why I don’t talk out loud a whole lot.”
“You’re not quite as bad as you think you are.”
“I mean,” Regina continues, her expression not that far from someone who’s about to have a tooth pulled. “That most challenges I’ve faced in life have been faced alone. Or with someone I couldn’t trust any more than the enemy in front of us. For all your flaws, I suppose I could do worse when trying to get my son back.”
“Speaking of which--”
“Should we be out there? Doing something? It feels wrong to just sit here, eating junk.”
“You’re not eating any junk.” Emma points out, waving another Dorito around. “And you know what Jane said. We can’t help. We’ll only get in the way or fuck things up. Like I did tonight.”
“I don’t know why I couldn’t,” Regina scrunches her face at the memory. “I suppose you know by now I’m no stranger to corpses, to… well, violence of all kinds. But no matter how I tried to tell my legs to take me in there because Henry might need me… nothing happened.”
“Your reaction at the scene suggested otherwise.”
“For a second, I really thought it was--”
“Sometimes when we expect something, we see it anyway. It takes a moment for the truth to take control again.”
“Sounds like the voice of experience,” Emma says sadly. “The worst part? I was relieved. I mean, there’s a dead kid in front of me and I could have turned a cartwheel just because it wasn’t Henry. How sick is that? It’s -- that’s why I -- I couldn’t -- I was so relieved and I hated myself so much. Next thing I knew, I was sobbing on the floor and -- god, Regina, if either of us can be called evil...”
“Stop it.” Regina commands, in a voice that could make whole kingdoms fall to their knees. “You will stop right now.” Her voice softens then, and Emma imagines that it’s how she would talk to Henry when he was small and needed soothing. “There is nothing evil about the way you reacted. People throw around that word so easily, but your reaction was simply human nature. You’re -- and don’t think this is easy for me to say -- you’re a mother. Your first priority is your child.”
“And what about that child’s mother?” Emma asks, tears suddenly in her eyes and clogging her throat. “What about when she walks into that room and doesn’t get a miracle like I did; like we did?”
“The world is cruel, Emma,” Regina reminds her. “I think you know that as well as I do. Her pain is regrettable; of course it is. But it’s certainly not your fault. You’re just paying the price of trying to be a ‘good’ person. You think you should carry the pain of others, too.”
“And you don’t?”
Regina shrugs. “We carry enough pain ourselves, don’t you think? Why add to it? Now, this might be a good time for that distraction, don’t you think? Why don’t you tell me how Emma Swan, friendless orphan and social misfit, found and left behind an entire mob of Italians who seem quite taken with her?”
“I wouldn’t put it like that,” Emma squirms under the questioning. She worries, for a moment, how this conversation will play out if she ever has to have it with her parents. Until she remembers she can’t ever introduce them to the Rizzolis, or anyone else, at least not as the long-lost Emma abandoners she spent so many years hating and searching for. “But I guess this isn’t the first time they’ve had my back.”
“Go on,” Regina insists, inspecting the Cheetos like they might be radioactive. She pops one in her mouth as though it’s a cyanide pill, and Emma can’t help grinning at the surprised ‘oh’ of not-quite-hating that Regina allows to escape.
“Jane could have busted me, while I was still on parole. I hadn’t eaten in a couple of days and I got sloppy stealing, believe it or not, a couple of bags of Cheetos. Old habits die hard, I guess.”
“It’s a miracle you’ve lived this long.” Regina sniffs, but she places another Cheeto into her mouth.
“Anyway, the guy in the store made me for a thief, but I outran him easily enough. I ran into what I thought was a bunch of uh, working girls, and I thought I was safe. Only one of the girls was actually Jane Rizzoli, undercover.”
“Did she arrest you?”
“No,” Emma replies. “But she gave me the talking to of my life. Took me home to her Ma, got me some real food -- sometimes I still dream about that ziti -- and said I could sleep in her old room for two nights, nothing more. And if I stole anything from the Rizzolis, there wouldn’t be a place in Boston I could hide.”
“But you haven’t been in touch since you came to Storybrooke? Despite knowing her for years?” Regina is searching again with her dark eyes, her old habit of ferreting out Emma’s weak spots not having stopped with their truce.
“What was I supposed to say, exactly? Hey Jane, come meet my kid. Don’t worry about the giants in the diner or the talking donkeys in the park?”
“You knew nothing about those things when you first came to Storybrooke.” Regina points out. “You thought it was all Henry’s imagination, right up until you slammed me into a locker.”
“Yeah, well, just be glad that I didn’t stay in touch or tell them about Henry, huh? Or else you’d have had Angela Rizzoli marching into town and trying to take over Granny’s so she could be near her ‘grandchild’.”
“Granny and her crossbow would have had more to say about that than I would,” Regina points out. “But you must have had some contact. The Detective didn’t seem surprised when you called her about Henry, which means that she must have known about him.”
“I told you, I met her when I first got out of prison. I got a Greyhound ticket to anywhere I wanted, so I said Boston off the top of my head. So that kid she busted for stealing Cheetos was the kid who’d only just given up her baby. I guess I needed someone to talk to, back then. Before I learned my lesson, fully.”
“You trust her with your life. And Henry’s. But besides not busting you and taking you off the streets for a short time, what is it, exactly, that this woman did to engender such trust?”
“That might not seem like much to you but for me? Well, that’s a lot when you’ve never had it before. But you know all the fairytale crap about Saviors and Big Damn Heroes?” Emma asks. “Jane’s like that, but for real. We met for coffee after that, when I was getting on my feet. She didn’t give up on me, even when I skipped a couple of times. Not even when I disappeared off to Florida for two years. And the few times I had trouble? She saved my ass without even asking for a ‘thanks’.”
“And the rest of the family?”
Emma grins at that. “You get one Rizzoli, you get ‘em all.”
“Sounds just like you Charmings. How horrible,” Regina mocks, but her heart isn’t in it. “Actually…”
“I was going to say nobody ever took a chance on me like that. Everyone accepted what they were told, or they saw when I was in pain and left me to it. Assumed I could cope, whatever their reasons. I was going to say nobody ever gave me a chance, but I’d be lying.”
“How would you be lying?”
“Because you did,” Regina says, in the smallest voice Emma’s ever heard her use. “Not just over the trigger, but when you thought the Cricket had been murdered. Before that, even, when it would have been easier to let the mob take my head. I just hadn’t seen it that way until now.”
“Regina,” Emma says, and she wonders if this is where a normal person would get up and offer a hug. The sun is coming up through the huge window behind Regina, and even that weak sunlight makes her glow like they haven’t been up all night and their clothes aren’t crumpled and nobody has synthetic cheese dust all over their hands. “I just--”
There’s a thunderous knocking on the front door. Both of them freeze for a second before scrambling to answer it, just like a few hours earlier.
“Morning!” Angela greets them, laden down with grocery bags and carrying something in a casserole dish. “I know it’s early, but I couldn’t wait another minute. Tommy, get in here!”
Emma tries to tell her heart to return to a regular beat, and even manages a smile for Angela as she brushes past them into the kitchen. Regina just looks dumbstruck, before smacking Emma on the arm for good measure. Tommy ambles in with another couple of bags and a baby in a carrier on his chest.
“Uh, Tommy…” Emma points at the baby and raises an eyebrow.
“I’ll tell you over breakfast,” he promises.
“Have we got anything new from the canvass?” Jane asks, her head on her desk. She’s got one hell of a headache, not only from staring at the board for so long trying to make connections, but also from the silent treatment Maura’s been giving her since they got back. Jane gave up her chance of a half-hour nap for a cool shower instead, but it’s not doing much for the dullness behind her eyes.
“Guys have been at it since we left, but no one’s found anything. Everyone’s pretty exhausted, Jane,” Korsak tells her, and it isn’t new information, but she needs to hear it again.
“I know. I know.” She rubs her hand roughly over her face. “Alright, tell ‘em to go home. Frost, any luck on IDing our vic?”
“I’ve been running his fingerprints through the database and checking any missing person’s reports, but so far nothing.”
“Great. So we’ve got a whole lot of nothing. What else could go wrong today?”
“Vanilla!” Comes the voice from across the bullpen and Jane groans as she buries her head in her arms.
“You asked.” Korsak teases softly.
“Rondo, I cannot deal with you right now. I’ve got a missing kid and a murdered kid, so unless you’ve got any information that’ll help me with that case, then I suggest you just turn right around and go back to whatever it is you do all day.”
“You wound me, Vanilla. Here I am, helping the police -- and a fine specimen of police at that -- with their enquiries, and you reject me.”
“If I give you the twenty now, will you skip the pretending to have info part?” Frost asks, pulling his wallet out of his pants pocket.
“I am insulted.” Rondo frowns, even as he pockets the money. “I do not pretend to have information.”
“Jane?” Maura comes in with a file, stopping to survey the scene in front of her. “Good morning, Rondo. New bag?”
“Bag?” Jane rolls her eyes at the fashion talk. Trust Maura to spot new accessories, even on a CI. “Had you down as more of a briefcase kind of guy, Rondo. Backpacks are just so casual for the man about town.”
“Well, I don’t have to stay here and be insulted,” Rondo says, turning away in a huff. Jane is ready to wave him off when she sees the bag fully: black backpack, mesh pockets on the side and an Incredible Hulk keychain attached to the zipper. She almost falls over her desk, rushing after Rondo.
“Let me try that again,” she says, putting a little sugar in her voice. “I haven’t had my coffee yet, and you know how us ladies can be this early in the morning. Frost, weren’t you just saying that you couldn’t face your breakfast donut this morning?”
“Was I?” Frost asks, looking down at the sugary goodness that he’d been looking so forward to. “I don’t think I--”
“I’m sure Rondo could help you out with that. Maybe we’ll give him your chair for a while, let him take a load off while we have a chat about this bag of his.” She motions her head toward the bag and Frost seems to clue in then.
“Oh, uh, yeah. Yeah, I mean, that’s a real nice bag.”
“It really is, isn’t it?” Jane smiles.
“This old thing?” Rondo shrugs, dropping the bag to the floor next to the chair as he settles in, donut already halfway to his mouth. “I’ve had it for ages.”
“Ages, huh? Hey, Korsak, is that a mochalatte sitting there untouched on your desk?” Jane does the glare of death at him before he can even think about denying it. “I’m sure talking makes Rondo pretty thirsty. And I just know he’s got a good story to tell.”
“Next one’s on you, Rizzoli,” Korsak mutters as he hands over the still-steaming cup.
“You’re too good to me, Vanilla.” Rondo preens as he takes the cup from her, slurping loudly as he drinks.
“Only the best for my best CI.” Jane continues to lay it on. “So tell me, where did you get this fine bag, Rondo?”
“Who remembers these things?” Rondo shrugs and Jane knows that he’s playing with her now. “It was ages ago, you know.”
Jane grits her teeth and clenches her fist. You might catch more flies with honey, but you’d be surprised how quickly people talk when they’re in pain. “And what might it take to jog your memory?”
“Well, now that you mention it… my brain does always work better when I’ve had breakfast.”
“You just ate a whole donut!” Frost complains. “My donut!”
“I like to think of that as a snack. A treat. But breakfast -- real breakfast -- we’re talking eggs and bacon and waffles. Some syrup. You know how I love sweet things, don’t you, Vanilla?”
“I sure do.” She hisses, already digging out a twenty. “Frost, why don’t you see about getting Rondo some real breakfast?”
“I’m keeping the change.” He tells her as he takes the money and heads off.
“Now, while Frost is getting your breakfast, why don’t you think about where you got that bag for me, huh?”
“Well, when I said ages ago…”
“I might have meant a few hours ago. Like, last night.”
“You don’t say. And where, exactly, might you have gotten it?”
“You know, it’s funny what people will throw out of a car window,” Rondo answers, leaning back on Frost’s chair and taking another gulp of his coffee. “I mean, they don’t even think that there might be people on the sidewalk, and that says to me you’re not dealing with a considerate person. This is a selfish person, understand?”
“Can I have a look inside?” Maura asks, without looking directly at Jane. “Just to check what kind of storage it really has.”
“Sure thing, Dr. Vanilla,” Rondo says, handing it over. “You don’t, uh, have a list you’re comparing the contents to, or anything?”
“What did you take?” Jane pounces right away.
“An Apollo bar. Okay, two of them. Finder’s fee, okay? Oh, and I read the comic but I didn’t crease it, not even one page. Put it right back in there.”
“Contents fit the description we have,” Maura confirms, holding up each item in turn. The comic, the notebook, the wooden sword, just like Emma said. “Rondo, we’re going to need to borrow your bag for further testing.”
“Well, that seems like kind of an inconvenience,” he replies.
“Enough, already!” Jane hollers. “You’ll get your breakfast, but we’ve got a missing kid to find. Now, wanna tell me about the car this bag got thrown out of?”
“I don’t care much for cars,” Rondo says, voice filled with wounded pride. “They’re all pretty much the same, really.”
“Oh, I think some of them are different colors,” Jane tells him. “And a smart guy like you, he probably reads the make or model on the back. I don’t know if you’re the kind of, well, genius, who’d think to look at the license plate, but I know better than to hope--”
“It was blue, okay? Real dark blue so it’s almost black. One of those gas-guzzlers that’s killing the planet, looks like it could carry a soccer team. And it had that peace sign on the back.”
“You mean the Mercedes logo?” Marura asks. “Actually, it’s a three-pointed star, first registered by Daimler-Benz back in 1937, but I can see the similarity.”
Jane catches on, looking to Korsak who is already typing on the computer. “Good, Rondo. That’s real good. Anything else?”
“Well,” Rondo sits up, straightening his shoulders out. “I don’t know if I’d call myself a genius, but I did get a look at the license plate. Couldn’t see much -- it was really flying and I remember thinking that they were going way too fast and that I should have a talk with you about the safety of Boston streets--”
“Rondo, focus.” Jane snaps her fingers to get him back on track.
“Right. Okay. Well, like I said, I didn’t see much, but I remember 2, no… the last 3 digits.”
“And they are?” Jane snaps, her last strands of patience fraying.
“Alright, alright! It was uh…” Rondo closes his eyes. “YR...4. Yeah, YR4.”
Korsak is typing and searching already, and Jane leans back in relief. “Thank you, Rondo. Now, I just need one more thing from you.”
“Anything for you, Vanilla.”
“Can you tell me where you were when the car went by? Street name, landmarks, anything?”
“Sure. I was on my way home from the Dirty Robber -- thought maybe I’d find you there, Vanilla, but I was out of luck. I just got to the corner when the bag came flying at me.”
“Are you kidding me?” Jane frowns. “The Robber? It was that close and--”
“You got a time?” Korsak calls out, to help stop Jane’s rant. There’s nothing they can do but get the information and go with it now.
“Well, I’m not one for watches,” Rondo replies. “Don’t need that pressure, watching every minute, working to the man’s schedule and all that. But I’d say it couldn’t have been much past 8, maybe 8:30.”
“You think of anything else, you’ll let us know?” Jane reminds him.
“Of course I will.”
“Korsak, will you have Frost start looking for any traffic or security cameras that might have been in the area around where Rondo found the bag when he gets back? And let me know if you guys come up with anything. I gotta call Emma, let her know something finally broke.”
“You can’t call her from here?” Maura chimes in, frowning again. She’s changed into another designer outfit, even though she went straight to do the autopsy on their child John Doe. Actually Jane can’t blame her for wanting to shower and change after that, no matter how used to death Maura is.
“I need to get coffee, anyway. You coming?”
Maura shakes her head, before changing her mind and dropping the file on Jane’s desk.
“Although I normally avoid too much caffeine, a night without sleep is definitely cause to break my own rules.”
“If you promise to get off my ass about my cholesterol, I’ll even buy,” Jane offers, glad to see some thawing from Maura’s side. “Let me just make this call and they can head down here.”
“You don’t want the autopsy findings?”
“God, yeah. Sorry, Maur. What did you find.”
“My initial findings held up to further examination. We’re looking at suffocation as cause of death,” Maura explains as they walk down the hallway. “It’s just…”
“If he was intentionally suffocated -- perhaps trapped in an airless space, or more likely something was held over his nose and mouth -- we would expect to see some evidence of him resisting. Smothering is frequently used when victims are asleep or incapacitated. But the tox screen was clean and the child has no obvious injuries.”
“You’re saying, in Maura speak, that although you’re saying he suffocated, you can’t say exactly how?”
“Yes. And that’s troubling to me. There are no signs of struggle, but also no bruising around the mouth or nose and no trace material on the skin either.”
“The killer wiped his face clear of any fibers? From the pillow, or whatever? I don’t really know what that means,” Jane admits.
“No,” Maura agrees. “I’m not sure I do, either.”
“Riz!” Emma comes into the cafe like she’s being chased, and even in heels Regina is only a couple of steps behind. “You found his bag, really?”
“We don’t know for certain that the bag belongs to Henry. The contents matched the description you gave us, however speculating--”
“What Maura’s trying to say is that we’re pretty sure it’s his.” Jane interrupts, placing a warning hand on Maura’s forearm, not entirely surprised when she shrugs it off. “In fact, it’s down in the lab now for analysis. We’ll confirm it’s Henry’s, then see what else the bag can tell us about where he’s been and who he’s with.”
“Can I see it?” Regina asks, voice nearly breaking, but she recovers enough not to break down in front of strangers. “I just… if it helps with confirmation, maybe? I’d like to do anything I can to speed it up.”
“Why don’t you come down to the basement with me?” Maura suggests. “We’ll have to sign you both in as visitors, but there’s a small waiting area outside the Materials Lab. I can’t promise you’ll be comfortable, but it’s there.”
“Thank you,” Emma says, looking at Regina for agreement. “You find anything else? Did anyone see Henry with the bag?”
“Not exactly,” Jane says. “You want some coffee before we head down?”
“We’re fine. Your mother came to make breakfast,” Regina supplies, her tone so tense that everyone smiles in recognition of Angela Rizzoli in full-on fussing mode. “There was a lot of coffee with the bruschetta and the eggs.”
“And Tommy has a kid,” Emma adds, eyes still widening in surprise at the thought. “Damn, you could have warned me.”
“Wasn’t a lot of time,” Jane says, leading them through to the turnstiles where Maura signs the register and offers up the Visitor passes. “But you know Tommy, he didn’t exactly go about it in a sensible way.”
“His son is beautiful,” Regina says, the cords in her neck straining. Finally, Jane thinks, someone even worse at small talk than Emma herself. “You must be pleased to be an aunt.”
“You wouldn’t think so,” Jane replies as she calls the elevator. “But man, I love it. And TJ, he’s the best. His mom isn’t exactly a MENSA member, and you know Tommy, so we were kinda worried. But I swear, he’s the smartest baby I ever saw.”
“He does seem to be in the highest percentile for developmental progress,” Maura confirms, but her smile is just as goofy as the one Jane knows she herself is sporting. “And he has a very sweet nature, too. Not that children so young really have a personality, as such. We’re projecting our own views, really.”
“Henry was a sweet baby,” Regina says, staring straight ahead at the closing elevator doors, hands clasped over her stomach like she might be sick. “He only kept me up nights when he had colic. Otherwise, he was a dream.”
Emma bursts into tears, and for a moment it isn’t clear who’s the most horrified of the four of them. Maura reacts first, pulling a neatly-folded handkerchief from her pocket.
“It’s clean,” she says, leaning past Jane to hand it to Emma. “And don’t feel embarrassed. You’re having a hormonal reaction to the mention of your son as a baby, prompting a release from your lachrimal glands.”
Emma takes the handkerchief with shaking hands and uses it to hide her face as she tries to force the tears back down. “Thanks,” she mutters through the far-too-expensive-to-have-snot-blown-on-it cloth.
“Are you okay?” Regina asks after a moment, stepping back towards Emma as the doors open onto the basement floor.
Jane steps out with Maura, to give them a moment’s privacy. It feels strange, like stepping out when a married couple starts to argue, the way she would slip away at church or family parties when Ma and Pop got into it after a few glasses of wine.
“I’m fine.” Emma assures as she swipes the handkerchief over her face one more time. “Just gotta get my, uh, lactose glands under control, I guess.” She offers a weak and watery smile that Jane can see right through. Regina doesn’t look any more convinced than Jane feels, which is kind of a relief. Emma won’t be up to her old tricks of hiding and suffering in silence with both of them on her case.
“Actually, it’s lachrimal, which refers to the bones and glands in your eyes that collect and secrete tears. Lactose refers to the disaccharide sugar that is derived from galactose and glucose, most commonly found in milk.” Maura corrects as Emma and Regina join them in the corridor.
“Wow,” Emma remarks. “You’re like a walking Wikipedia, aren’t you?”
“Well, Wikipedia is actually a very fallible resource, riddled with factual errors and frequently articles are vandalized to suit political agendas or online trolling.”
“Trolling?” Regina looks startled, her eyes snapping to Emma for some reason.
“It means someone who acts like a jerk on the Internet.” Emma assures, and Regina calms at the information.
“Actually--” Maura begins, before she notices the looks on the others’ faces and swallows the rest of her response. “In layman’s terms, I suppose that is an adequate assessment. Anyway, the lab is just down here,” Maura says, pointing like a flight attendant down the corridor. The three of them fall in step behind her, and right in that moment, Jane’s pretty glad that the so-called ‘Queen of the Dead’ is in their corner.
“A word, Swan?” Emma groans as Jane pulls her out of the lab.
“Thanks for letting us come see the bag. I think Regina needed something to go on. It’s been a long night.”
“Let’s have a chat in Dr. Isles’ office, hmm?” Jane has her bossy-hooker-cop voice on, and Emma knows the lecture she’s avoided so far has probably just caught up with her. The moment the door closes behind them, Jane launches into it.
“Okay, I want the whole story on Mendell and Tamara. Kidnapping with no ransom note is bullshit. I know Regina’s the Mayor, but it’s a small town and you can’t tell me she has Bloomberg money and you just forgot to mention it. We’ve got clues, sure, but your kid isn’t coming back unless I get the whole story.”
“Hey, I asked for your help, not a trip to the naughty corner, okay?” Emma feels her hackles rise, but on no sleep and a buttload of stress, she can’t quite rein the temper in. It’s not like Jane hasn’t seen it all before. “I can tell you that Greg and Tamara attacked Regina a couple of weeks ago and then they skipped town. I don’t have a motive, and the little I did know about either of them turned out to be cover story bullshit.”
“You’re gonna tell me they’re spies now?”
“I don’t know is what I’m telling you. Tamara was engaged to my ex, but that was apparently a total fake out. And Greg, I don’t know, man. He seemed like this slightly geeky guy who wandered in out of nowhere, but then he beat up Regina, so maybe there’s more to him?”
“We get a print off any of that stuff of Henry’s, is it gonna tell me anything you know but haven’t given up?”
“No,” Emma sighs, relieved that she can answer truthfully. “You’ll know more than I do if you get a hit.”
“She was engaged to your ex? Wait, not that ex, surely?”
“Yeah, Neal. I bumped into him in New York, he found out about Henry… it’s been kind of a stressy few months, Riz.”
“Henry’s biological father is back on the scene and you don’t tell me? What the hell?” Jane looks ready to put Emma through the door without opening it first, and she holds up her hands in half-hearted defense.
“He’s not back on the scene. Not anymore.”
“You mean to tell me he bailed on you again?” Now Jane sounds like she’d like to put Neal six feet under and it would almost be funny if he wasn’t already there, in another fucking universe.
“Not exactly. He -- uh -- he’s--” She hasn’t said it aloud yet. Not the word ‘dead’. ‘Shot’ and ‘fell through a portal’ and ‘gone’ and every other variation but never actually… “he’s dead.”
“Shit. I didn’t know. And you’re sure that Henry’s not just reacting--”
“Come on. You think I’d call you over a runaway? I’m sorry I can’t tell you every detail about our lives, but I am sure that someone has taken my kid, and it’s most likely those two.”
Jane’s phone rings, and she grabs it right away. “Maybe Frost is about to confirm that for you. Rizzoli,” she answers. “Definitely Mendell, huh? Okay, let me know how far you track it.”
“Showed up on traffic cams,” Jane explains as she hangs up. “My CI’s info turned up good, and the Mercedes is registered to Greg Mendell. Car had him at the wheel, African-American woman in the passenger seat, and what appears to be a kid in the backseat. No visuals clear enough for positive ID.”
“You’re gonna track the car on the cameras?” Emma asks. “Oh, thank God. It’s pretty hard to go off the grid in this city.”
“Assuming they’re still in the city,” Jane cautions. “One of their first stops was a gas station, so that probably means filling up for a bit of a drive.”
“Well, fuck,” Emma groans, her brain already spinning a hundred worse scenarios. “They could be anywhere, right?”
“The cameras will help track them. Korsak will have put out an APB now we have the full plate. It’s not as bad as it seems.”
“And yet you still look worried,” Emma accuses.
“I don’t work a lot of kidnappings,” Jane confesses, her brows scrunching in annoyance at herself. “But there’s almost always a demand, unless it’s a custody thing. Not having one makes me edgy.”
“You and me both.”
“Listen, not for nothing, but are you sure there’s nothing between you and Regina? If you’re protecting her, I get that. And I know what a little bitch you can be about your privacy. But a change like that, a relationship like that: it could be relevant.”
“You think I’m banging my kid’s adoptive mother?”
“I’m saying, a lot of people don’t think they can be open about that stuff.”
“You’re unbelievable! I try to kiss you -- once, drunk off my ass -- and you think I’m making major lifestyle changes?”
“I’m not judging. And you were trying to do a lot more than kiss me, Swan. We both know what you had in mind,” Jane accuses, pacing the room now with her hands clenched into fists.
“Like I said at the time,” Emma fires back. “I was just trying to repay the kindness. You’ll have to forgive me for assuming you wanted the same as everyone else did, in return.”
“I’m sorry you thought that,” Jane says, deflating as the anger leaves her.
“Maybe I’m not the only one,” Emma says, and it’s more spiteful than she wants it to be. “Because Maura sure seems close for ‘just a friend’. And you can’t tell me her nose isn’t out of joint over me showing up. She’s acting like she’s jealous over an ex.”
“No, she isn’t.”
“If you say so.”
“I do say so. And if you say there’s nothing between you and Regina, then I believe you. Even though I’ve never seen you act with anyone else that way you do with her.”
“I’m not sleeping with my son’s mother!”
“And I’m not sleeping with Maura! God!”
Emma’s just reaching for another maybe-not-that-mature comment when there’s an almighty crash from next door, and a weird whooping alarm begins to sound. Without thinking she jumps on the sofa and snatches a ceremonial sword that hangs between two masks. She swings it left-to-right and hears the tell-tale sound of a sharp blade cutting the air, just like Mulan taught her.
It’s only when she turns back to a shell-shocked Jane that Emma realizes her mistake.
“I, uh, left my gun in the car?” She offers weakly.
“Oh, we’re having a conversation about this, Swan,” Jane says, grabbing the door handle. “But right now we’re gonna go check your girlfriend didn’t blow up my Medical Examiner.”
“She’s not my--”
Emma hangs back and lets Jane push into the lab, which has opened its huge back doors out into some kind of corridor, and all the staff are streaming out that way. Only Maura and Regina remain, standing on opposite sides of an immaculate workbench, the only items on it being Henry’s wooden sword and a microscope that’s fitted to the surface.
Maura’s eyes are wide and focused on Regina and -- oh shit -- there’s definitely smoke coming out of her fingertips. Smoke that’s purple and Emma knows what that means but Jane and Maura don’t. She moves quickly to pull Regina aside, grabbing her wrist and hoping that she doesn’t make things worse by amping up Regina’s magic like she did with the hat.
Pulling her friend aside, Jane has to take Maura by the shoulders and force her to look at Jane. Maura’s babbling, which can’t be good. Something about ‘advanced technology’ and ‘chemical weapons synthesized with skin’. Regina, meanwhile, is staring at her own hands like she’s never seen them before.
“Uh…” Emma says, looking around the room in panic. Jane is trying to shake some sense out of Maura, and although she seems to have short-circuited, Emma’s pretty sure it won’t take long for someone that smart and collected to get her shit together. “What did she see?” Emma asks in a pointed whisper, and that’s enough to get Regina back in focus.
“I didn’t mean it,” she hisses back.
“I don’t care if you meant it or not. What did she see?”
“I was frustrated, I just kept thinking there’s a tracing spell that would be perfect for this, but here we are in a world without… you know. And then it happened. It was weak, but it happened.”
“And she didn’t say ‘oh that must have been your jacket reacting with the chemicals’ or some explanation we can grab on to?”
“No,” Regina sighs. “She just started doing that. Like a computer searching out loud for some missing information. It doesn’t look good. Nor does you holding a sword, I might add.”
Emma looks down in surprise then, realizing that she is still clutching the sword. Perfect. “I didn’t think.”
“Once a Charming…” Regina mutters under her breath.
“Well, I can always say I got really into samurai movies over the summer. Do you have a plausible excuse?” Emma demands, noticing that Jane and Maura have gone quieter, and the gun Jane laid on the bench when they first arrived is now back in her hand, even if it’s resting by her hip.
“No,” Regina says, shaking her head.
“Then, your Majesty, I think it’s time we blow this popsicle stand. Can you keep up in those shoes?”
“It’s not like I have a choice,” Regina grumbles, but when Emma bolts, Regina is right there by her side, and not just because Emma hasn’t let go of her wrist. They push past the disgruntled scientists for the freedom of the parking lot beyond. Jane shouts after them, but Emma ignores every word.
Emma has never been more grateful about her tendency to park illegally and work it out later, because Regina’s Benz is right there across two disabled bays, which, okay, Emma should definitely feel a bit crappier about but there’s running for their lives to be done right now.
“I’m driving!” She barks, tossing the sword into the back seat, and Regina pulls open the passenger door without complaint. They’re peeling out of the spaces before either of them has fully settled into their seat, taking the corner of the exit ramp almost on two wheels. Regina pointedly pulls her seatbelt on immediately after.
“Complain all you want about my driving,” Emma yells at her. “But what do you think they’ll do to you, magic fingers? There’s no way they don’t hand you over to the government. Or whoever the hell Tamara and Greg work for, if that’s not the same thing.”
“Just get us out of here,” Regina snaps. “Miss “I Trust Jane With My Life”.”
“I didn’t say anything about trusting her with magic,” Emma grunts, running a red before realizing how dumb that was. All they need now is a traffic detail up their ass. She drops her speed to something near the limit, constantly checking the rearview.
“Magic is your life now. At least part of it.” Regina reminds her, but Emma ignores the words as she’s been doing since she broke the curse.
“We need to ditch the car. And we can’t go back to the apartment for a while.”
“Well, both of those sound convenient,” Regina grouses, but Emma’s relieved she doesn’t shoot down either option.
“Might not be convenient, but they’ll keep us from getting caught. How much money do you have on you?” Emma asks, her eyes darting back and forth, looking for a place to ditch the car.
“About $500 in cash. I didn’t know if bribes would be necessary. I can take more out. My bank cards are actually valid.”
“For every other curse there’s Mastercard, huh? Too risky, they’ll put traces on everything connected to your ID.”
“Is it worth pointing out we haven’t actually committed a crime? Or at least we hadn’t, until you decided to run that red light.” Regina sighs. “You could be completely overreacting.”
“You want to find out how seriously they took your biohazard smoke? It set off an alarm. They can hold us on wasting police time, I’m sure. Wait, this’ll do.”
“What?” Regina looks around in confusion.
“Multi-storey parking lot. Cash only. Exactly what we need. And there’s a T stop three blocks from here. We can leave our jackets in the car, grab some hats if we see some on the way.”
“My god, you really are a criminal,” Regina deadpans, but Emma could swear there’s a hint of admiration in there.
“It’s not that different to being a Girl Scout,” Emma insists as she pulls into a spot and shrugs out of her jacket, tossing it into the backseat so that the sword is at least partially covered. “At least I’m always prepared.”
“Well, dear,” Regina says, throwing her jacket in too and hooking her purse over the shoulder of her white blouse. “I suggest you lead the way.”
The aftermath of Regina doing magic in Maura's lab, and some progress in the investigation.
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
“There was no iodine on the table. Nothing to react to. No iodine or zinc or ammonium nitrate, which would be the most common reactors. But purple smoke. And...the image. Possible afterimage from an explosion. But no known reactors in the immediate vicinity. And no reaction to the smoke. So it couldn’t have been iodine. But the purple smoke…”
“Maura! You’re rambling. Maura!” Jane realizes her friend has slipped back into uber-science geek mode and right now she needs a fully functional Maura. At least the alarms have shut off and they’re allowed back into Maura’s office. “Doctor Isles!”
“Yes?” Maura replies. “I’m not having some kind of fit, Jane. I’m trying to work through a number of variables to come to a logical explanation for the events we just witnessed. There’s no need to shout.”
“Well, whatever Emma and Regina are up to, they think us seeing it is reason enough to run. Any theories on that?”
“I suppose there’s the possibility they’re involved in some kind of undercover operation? But then they would have resources to find Henry that make us irrelevant. Maybe Frost knows more about portable weaponry, but it honestly looked more like a hologram.”
“You’re telling me Regina can make Tupac appear? This isn’t a music festival,” Jane reminds her. “Will the alarms in the lab tell us exactly what set them off?”
“I’ll get a report within the hour, yes. Jane, what do we do?”
“We do exactly what we were doing before. We find out who the kid in the morgue is. We find his killer. And we make sure Henry Mills is back in our custody before anything bad can happen to him.”
“And what about your friend?”
“Emma’s always been a runner. There’s no use chasing her. I just hope she’s not getting into more trouble. And hey, it’s not like she really told us all that much.”
“You’re not upset?” Maura has that quizzical expression she reserves for Jane, a naked sort of curiosity that says she wants to know how people react to these situations that Maura just can’t seem to understand. “She’s supposed to be like family.”
“Family who hasn’t called in a year, remember? And you and I both know that ‘family’ only means as much as anyone wants it to. Or do we need to compare dads again?”
“No, we definitely don’t,” Maura agrees. “I’m aware that it’s simple attachment theory, but I can’t imagine cutting off all contact with you for a year. Isn’t that strange? I’m so used to being self-sufficient, but I can already tell that I would miss you.”
“That’s a dorky way of saying it, but I’d miss you too, Maura. Try not to end up in witness protection or anything, okay? Or at least don’t change your cell plan, just in case.”
“I’m very happy with my current plan. It provides excellent value for money and--”
Jane chuckles at that. “I have no doubt that you have compared every possible plan and figured out exactly which one is best for you, Maura. Now, I say we go back to the kid, get an ID. That’s one break we don’t have yet, and someone has to have reported him missing by now.”
“I’ll get the lab work expedited,” Maura offers. “And I’m sorry Emma ran out on you like that, but I confess I’m also a little glad.”
“Really? And why might that be?”
“We’re already a good team, there’s a large amount of empirical evidence to support that we have a successful partnership. I think we stand an excellent chance of solving this case as we are.”
“That and you suck at change, right?”
“Jane! I do not. I confess I’m not the most adaptable person at times, but I think I can ‘roll with your punching’ by now.”
“You mean ‘roll with the punches’? Yeah, I guess you can. And you really are pretty sweet sometimes, you know that?”
Maura shakes her head as if the very idea is ridiculous, but Jane catches the smile as she turns to leave Maura’s office.
“See you when you get the results.”
“Absolutely not.” Regina hisses as Emma heads towards the front entrance to a dilapidated building that has a sign out front proclaiming it a ‘mo’ instead of a motel because the last three letters are burnt out.
“We need a place to regroup that we’re not gonna get found. This is it. Trust me.”
“Or we will be found, by your Detective and her Medical Examiner when they’re called to investigate our murders!”
Emma rolls her eyes. “Gimme your cash.”
“I will not pay to stay in this establishment!” Regina actually stomps her foot, but by the time she’s done with her little display, Emma’s already got her wallet in hand and is pulling out the cash.
“Fine. Then don’t stay. But I am.” She holds the moneyless wallet out to Regina.
“How did you --”
“Petty criminal, remember? Picking pockets is the easiest con there is.”
Regina shoves the wallet back in her purse and hurries after Emma.
The man behind the counter is clearly more interested on whatever raucous television show is on the tiny set he’s got on the desk than he is in them.
“Whaddya want?” He asks, never looking up as the sound of people chanting ‘Jerry! Jerry! Jerry!’ filters up to them from the television.
“We’d like to book a room in your five-star accommodation,” Emma says, trying her best to be flirtatious. Regina scoffs beside her.
The man glances up at them for just a moment before his gaze goes back to the television. “Names?”
Emma looks at Regina for a moment before she smirks. “Lucy and Ethel.”
That gets the man’s attention. “Oh yeah? And you got any IDs on yous, Lucy and Ethel?”
Emma makes a show of sticking her hands into her pockets. “Well, what do ya know? Must’ve forgotten them. But maybe my friend Ben can help sort all this out.” She pulls one of the hundred dollar bills out of her pocket and holds it up. “What do you think?”
The man snatches the money. “I think you got yourself a room, Laverne and Shirley.”
Emma grins as she takes the key. “That’s Lucy and Ethel.”
“Yeah, yeah, whatever. You stay more than one night, your friend Ben might need to make another visit to me, otherwise I’ll call the cops.”
“No you won’t.” Emma sounds sure of herself as she turns away, glad she didn’t have to resort to the gun shoved in her waistband to make a point. “Come on, Ethel, let’s go check out our digs.”
“Lucy and Ethel?” Regina huffs once they’re away from the man and heading for their room. “What kind of names are those?”
Emma stops in her tracks and stares at Regina. “Seriously? You don’t know Lucy and Ethel?”
“I have no idea what you’re blabbering on about. And I don’t see why you gave the man fake names to begin with. He obviously isn’t going to tell the police anything.”
“Yeah, until they come around and start offering him stuff too. Not taking that chance.”
“Well, you still could have picked better names.”
“I was gonna go with Thelma and Louise, but figured that wasn’t the kind of ending we were looking for.”
Regina stares blankly at her again and Emma rolls her eyes. “Seriously, do you never watch television or movies? What names would you have preferred, Your Majesty, Rapunzel and Cinde-fucking-rella?”
“Yeah, yeah.” Emma shoves the key in the lock and twists until it opens. “Welcome to your new castle.”
“We’ve identified the kid, Jane!” Korsak announces, already in motion as Jane wanders back into the squad room, checking her phone for the explanatory text she already knows won’t come. “The prints just came on the system and we managed to match them with the child protection database a bunch of the private schools implemented last year. Huck Lyman, twelve years old.”
“Anyone speak to the parents?”
“They’re already on their way. I let Frankie do the notification call, he handled it pretty well.”
“Thanks for that, Vince. Seriously,” Jane insists. “Listen, we might not have access to Henry’s moms for a while, so this investigation stays in house as much as possible, okay? Other than the APB I don’t want to release any more details yet.”
“But someone might have seen--” Frost starts to argue, but Jane shakes her head.
“Frost, you did more background on this Mendell guy? Tell me we know more about him than we did last night.”
“He was a rookie at the police academy in Portland, but they flunked him out on the psych eval,” Frost reads from his screen, eyes darting back and forth as five or six programs run at once. “He’s done a bunch of fake-cop jobs since, mall security, that kind of thing, and then two years ago he just drops off the grid. No taxes filed, nothing.”
“Tell me there’s no--”
“Not even a hint of pedophilia. Nothing to indicate he’s ever so much as talked to a kid before. I know it’s no guarantee, but Dr Isles confirmed in the autopsy report that there was no sign of… you know.”
“Yeah. Let’s be grateful for that,” Jane sighs.
“Grateful for what?” Maura asks. “The fingerprints are done, you’ll have DNA and trace as soon as they can finish running them.”
“Thanks, Doctor Isles,” Korsak replies. “I was just telling Jane we got a hit right away on the fingerprints. Poor kid’s parents will be here soon.”
“Did they file a missing person’s report?” Jane asks. “If Mendell and his girlfriend were driving back and forth to Maine, the kid has to at least have been gone a day, if not longer.”
“Kid was staying with his grandma while Mom and Dad were out of town. She didn’t call anyone because he’d sneak back to his own house whenever he had trouble sleeping. By the time they all worked it out and called the police, we were already chasing this creep down.”
“The file on Huck is in the system?” Jane asks, sinking into her desk chair. Maura pulls up a spare one next to her, curiosity piqued. “That’s a cute name.”
“It’s probably short for Huckleberry,” Maura starts to explain. “Although the name was far more popular in the time of Mark Twain, it has been making a resurgence on the most popular name lists in recent years.”
“You read those things?” Jane asks, bringing up the information on her screen. “You got a turkey baster lying around that I don’t know about?”
“There’s one in the utensil drawer.”
“But that’s to baste actual turkeys, right?”
“Or chicken. Guinea fowl, too. In fact, if you wanted to--”
“Relax, Maura,” Jane says, saddened by the picture of a happy little boy in his smart school uniform, one of his front teeth missing in the picture. She can see the resemblance to the boy they’re still searching for, and that’s worrying on its own “It’s just something people say if you’re having a baby with a sperm donor. Forget about it.”
“He looks happy,” Maura sighs. “I can understand the psychology behind most crimes we process, but some emotional response just rejects the logic for hurting a child.”
“It’s called being a person,” Jane mutters. “But I know what you mean. If Mendell did do this, he’s going down for it. Anything on that APB yet, guys?”
“Nothing,” Korsak confirms, looking at his own screen. “Last camera that picked them up did have them heading towards the docks, but we can’t narrow it down any further right now, or if they actually stopped there. Could be a decoy, if he’s trained at all. Searching the docks thoroughly could take all day and all night.”
“And then some,” Frost adds. “Plus, a big search tips off anyone in hiding. We can’t risk the safety of the kid until we’re sure.”
Korsak’s phone buzzes and he nods towards Jane. “Let’s go deal with the Lymans, okay? And you can tell me on the way why we don’t have access to your friend and Henry’s other mom.”
“Tell me you know where he is.” Emma says, her voice dull and flat, when they’re hunkered down in the room that reminds her just a bit too much of the basement apartment she’d been in only hours before. She moves around, turning on all the lights to try and cast the darkness away.
“What?” Regina looks up, startled, from where she’s been eying the single bed with disgust.
“Tell me that your little magic act back there told you where Henry is. Or at least gave you something more to go on than we had before. Tell me that I didn’t just lose--” her throat clogs and she can’t finish her sentence, so she goes in a different direction, “that we didn’t just run away from the only help we had for nothing.”
Regina seems to be studying her for a long moment before she speaks. “You were the one who fell back on old habits and decided to run.”
“Oh, you wanna talk about falling back on old habits? Really?” Emma laughs, but it is by no means pleasant. “You used magic, Regina! In a public place. With witnesses. When it wasn’t even supposed to be possible! So don’t talk to me about falling back on old habits.”
“You said you trusted this Jane and yet your first instinct was to run. Why?”
“I’m not doing this now, Regina.” Emma flops down on the bed, doing her best not to think about the stains on the comforter.
“It seems to me that this is a pattern with you. Always running. What is it that you’re running from, Emma?”
“You think I wanted to stick around and tell her that you’re the fucking Evil Queen?” Emma’s eyes trace the cracks in the ceiling, the words spilling from her mouth strangely devoid of any inflection. It is almost as though she’s exhausted everything she could possibly give. “You think I wanted to see her face when I tried to explain that my parents are Snow White and Prince Charming? No. She can think...I don’t know. I don’t care. But I could not stand there and see that look in her eyes and hear her tell me that I’m… no. Anyone else, maybe. But not Jane.”
“What look?” Regina asks softly, moving closer to Emma. “What do you think she would’ve said?”
“When I told her that fairy tales and magic are real? I think she would’ve looked at me with pity and told me I was crazy, Regina. Like any normal fucking person would.”
“Perhaps she wouldn’t have. Perhaps--” Regina begins, suddenly defending the detective that Emma has placed so much trust in, probably just because a part of her still wants to piss Emma off at every possible opportunity.
“No. I know Jane. She is even farther from a ‘true believer’ than I was. I was fighting an ogre and my brain was still telling me, ‘you must be dreaming about Shrek’.”
“And if she thought that you were...mistaken about things, would that really have changed your relationship that much? Would it change the way she feels about you, just because she didn’t believe you on this one thing?”
Emma sits up then and there’s just a bit of fire in her eyes. “It doesn’t matter, Regina. Because when the people you love and trust start looking at you differently or telling you that you’re crazy, you know it. No matter how much you try to pretend you don’t or that you aren’t. And that fucking messes you up.”
“Like I did with Henry.” Regina murmurs, turning away to look out the window.
And Emma wants to comfort her in that moment, wants to assure her that she didn’t irrevocably screw Henry up, but she can’t. Because she knows what it’s like to be on the other end, knows what it does to you to have people who are supposed to be on your side not believe you and just how fucked up it can make you. She knows about second guessing yourself and being cautious with everything you say or do. So she can’t just absolve Regina of this crime.
“Yeah.” She nods. “Like I did too.” But she can shoulder some of the blame.
Regina spins around and stares at Emma, the look on her face reflecting her disbelief.
“I didn’t believe him either. I humored him, sure, but I didn’t believe him. You were there that day. You know what I thought. What I said.” She thinks back to that day in Regina’s office, to the perfect set up and how even though she’d been so mad at Regina, she was also mad at herself. Mad because she had called Henry crazy when she knew how much that could hurt. And mad because deep down she’d believed it too. “In fact, you set me up to say it.”
“It wasn’t the same. Not to him.”
“But it was to me. And me thinking he was just a little bit crazy almost got him killed. He ate that pastry to prove me wrong.” Emma rolls her neck and shifts on the bed, doing her best to avoid the springs that are poking up through the mattress. “But it’s done now.”
“Are you gonna tell me if your magic trick revealed anything that actually helps us? Because time is ticking and without the cops, we need a new gameplan.”
Regina looks down at the tattered carpet for a moment before she looks back up. “I saw him.”
Emma’s off the bed before the words are out of her mouth. “What? You did? Where is he? Is he hurt?”
“I -- I don’t know. It was very hazy. And I was so surprised that it even worked, and then Dr. Isles reacted and the alarms went off.”
“And everything went to hell in a handbasket.” Emma runs her fingers through tangled hair. “Okay. Well. Do it again.”
“I don’t know that I can.” Regina admits. “I don’t have any of his things with me now and -- it shouldn’t be possible here.”
“But it was. You did it. And you have to do it again, Regina. You have to.” Emma reaches out and rests her hand on Regina’s shoulder. “Please. Just try.”
Regina’s shoulders sag for a moment before they straighten and she closes her eyes, her lips moving silently and her brow furrowed in concentration. Emma lets her hand fall, moving back a step to give Regina the semblance of space. There’s a slight puff of purple smoke and Emma squints hard, trying to make out anything about the image, but the smoke fades away, leaving her with nothing but Regina’s frustrated face.
“I can’t. The magic’s not strong enough without his things. And like I keep telling you, this is a world without magic.”
She sounds so defeated, but all Emma can hear are those same words from the mine. Not strong enough. But maybe we are.
Emma reaches out and grabs Regina’s hands, catching her eye and nodding. “Try again.”
“Is this going to be your answer for everything?” Regina demands, tugging her hands from Emma’s. “Manhandling me into producing magic whenever you think you can jumpstart me? Because while it may have escaped your notice, I am not a broken down Oldsmobile.”
“It’s called trying to help, Regina. Or have you forgotten that our kid is out there, suffering God knows what, and we don’t have the first clue how to find him?”
“Of course I haven’t,” Regina growls, her voice more sad than threatening. “Oh, fine,” she relents, extending one hand to grab Emma’s wrist, and not gently either. “There’s still no guarantee that--”
But the purple smoke is much stronger this time, light glowing within it as it forms a cloud between them.
“We’re doing it!” Emma can’t help shouting it over the hissing sound of the smoke. She sees Henry and her knees buckle. He’s awake, moving, but there’s blood just over his left eye.
Regina’s grip on her wrist tightens, her nails biting into Emma’s flesh. “Focus.”
Emma forces herself to stay upright, to focus on the cloud of smoke and taking in every possible detail about Henry and his surroundings. It’s all rather hazy, except Henry himself, their combined effort focusing so much on him that everything else seems irrelevant. Besides the blood, there is a bruise blossoming under his left eye as well. Emma will be more than happy to give a matching bruise to whoever it is that dared to raise a hand to Henry, but for now, she shifts her focus, taking in the blurred background.
There are what appear to be some shipping crates stacked up behind Henry, as well as some pieces of old, rusted out equipment. She looks for any names or logos, anything to give them a hint on Henry’s location and finally finds something just as the image flickers and fades.
“No. No!” She gasps, squeezing Regina’s hands tightly. “Come on. Come back. I need - come on!”
Regina sways on her feet and releases her grip on Emma. “Enough. I can’t make it work anymore.”
Emma looks at her and sees just how drained she looks. Working magic in a land where it isn’t supposed to exist can take its toll, and even though Emma wants to push, wants to keep going, keep using every ounce of strength they have until they know where Henry is, she also knows that she can’t. What they have now will have to be enough. She can’t risk Regina, not when she’s the only person Emma’s got left. “Okay. Okay.”
Regina looks at Emma then, her eyes glassy. “He’s hurt.”
“He’s alive.” Emma assures. “And we’re going to go get him.”
“How? We don’t even know where he is.”
“Not yet. But we will.” Emma heads for the door, already pulling another hundred out of their stash.
“What are you doing?”
“Getting access to a computer. There was a name on one of those old shipping crates behind Henry. We find out where they have warehouses in the city, we found out where to start looking.”
“It’s that simple?”
“No, but it’s a start,” Emma bites back. “Now come on, we need to get new clothes, too.”
They pick their way carefully over the uneven ground, bricks and rotting wood scattered haphazardly everywhere Regina tries to step. After a Google search of the company name Emma had seen, she’d been convinced that the abandoned shipping warehouse on the docks of Pier 21 was where Greg was holding Henry. Regina hadn’t been able to argue as she’d been unable to peel her eyes away from Henry for even a second to take in any other details of his surroundings. His face, with the messy bangs and bruised eye and bloody forehead, had been the only thing that mattered to her.
She supposes that she should be thankful that Emma managed to spot the other details, but it’s difficult to be thankful about any of this as she nearly stumbles once again. She feels ungainly in the cheap sneakers Emma insisted were necessary, along with darker clothes made of cheap and scratchy fabrics that didn’t exist back in the Enchanted Forest; it’s the first time in years that Regina has actually missed the place.
“Any sign?” Regina asks, as Emma pulls her behind a wall of debris that barely hits shoulder height for them.
“Not yet. You really don’t have any idea what this bastard wants with Henry? What he might be doing here?”
“No,” Regina snaps.
“Ah, the Savior’s famed superpower. Tell me, has it ever actually worked?”
“Worked fine when you told me you loved Henry, my first full day in Storybrooke.” Emma is casual at delivering the blow, but her eyes flash with victory as it lands, Regina too tired and raw to attempt hiding the effect.
“How dare you?” She grunts after a moment. She could plead and reason and explain herself, Regina knows that, but it’s much more satisfying to grab Emma’s ridiculously blonde hair and yank, hard.
“Oh yeah, come at me. That’s gonna help,” Emma says as she pulls out of Regina’s vindictive hold on her.
“You still doubt that I love him?” Regina is angry at Emma now, because being angry at people she can’t see and insult and lunge at is too unsatisfying, but this burns hot and immediate. “After all we’ve already been through? After last night, you still doubt how much I love Henry?”
“No,” Emma mutters. “I’m sorry. It was a cheap shot because I’m tired and cold and halfway out of my mind. I’ve never had anyone to worry about like this. I’ve never felt anything this strong before, and it’s pretty awful.”
“It is. And I don’t know what Owen… Greg… wants. But I do fear that his only goal is to hurt me. I let him believe that I killed his father…”
“A queen doesn’t like to get her hands dirty.”
“You had Graham do it,” Emma surmises, that mind of hers so quick when it comes to understanding wrong. “But you weren’t queen then. You were the Mayor.”
“Since I came to this world, I’ve always been both. And I didn’t order him to do it. I simply removed the restraints from his own desire to kill, and gave it an outlet.”
“I think we should stop talking about this,” Emma says after an uneasy moment where the conversation hangs in the balance, an invisible hinge seeming to squeak under the weight of their silence.
“Because you’ll remember who I really am? And who’ve you’ve joined forces with?”
“No,” Emma answers, darting around the wall of trash. “Because I’ve just seen what I’m pretty sure is a signal. Up there, look!”
“I don’t see-- oh. A mirror! Reflecting the sun,” Regina seizes on the glimmer of hope like a starving woman suddenly dragged before a banquet.
“See? He really is your kid,” Emma points out. “I hope he’s taking time between flashes to lace some apples with strychnine, too.”
“In the absence of a sleeping curse, yes, that would do.”
Emma looks around, and Regina’s struck by the shrewd expression as she surveys the landscape around them. The fence they pushed through is not the only broken part of this place, and rusted vehicles litter concrete that’s cracked and populated by weeds. When Emma makes a move, she’s not a hunter. She’s prey looking for a safe route through, someone looking to avoid arrows, or in this world, bullets. It’s quietly impressive, even if Regina refuses to tell her so.
“Wait here,” Emma instructs once they’re closer to the building where the mirror still flashes every minute or so. Regina looks at the rusted construction crane in disgust, not willing to lay a hand on it.
“Like hell.” Regina folds her arms over her chest, defiant.
“I’m not ditching you. You’re lookout. I need to get close enough to see what we’re dealing with: if the place is rigged, if they’ve got help in there. And recon is much safer when it’s a one person job.”
“Or you’re leaving me here to make sure you look like the hero.”
Emma looks wounded by the accusation. Even now, she wears the Savior title like a prisoner’s chain around her neck. “First of all, I’m not that petty. You want the glory of being shot at by kidnappers and torturers? Be my guest. But you’ve never cased a joint in your life, have you?”
Regina hesitates, before shaking her head.
“Right. And I’m not getting myself or Henry killed because you think this is after-school club and it’s important that everyone gets a turn. I know what I’m doing.”
“Pretty proud of yourself for a common criminal,” Regina accuses, dragging the toe of her sneaker through the broken dirt at her feet.
“Hey, until Neal came along and screwed things up, I was a pretty good one.” Emma looks embarrassed, shoving her hands in the pockets of the cheap, black hoodie that hangs much too loose on her.
“So, go. Case, scout, whatever you call it. But find us a way in there, quickly.”
“This isn’t really time to get impatient, Regina.” Emma is already in motion, even as she issues the warning.
“You say that like I have a choice,” Regina answers, but she’s talking to herself.
She watches Emma scurry across the industrial wasteland, the smell of briny water mixing with grease and decay. Regina thinks of the grand ports she visited as Queen, collecting new spells and leveraging favors from other rulers. Jefferson had been at her side, a surly and reluctant tour guide. Here, no dragons block the weak sun overhead with their beating wings, but jet streams streak the sky behind the planes that rise and fall around what she has to assume is Logan.
Regina always intended to travel in this world, once she tested the effectiveness of her curse. Something held her in Storybrooke, though, some irrational fear that the curse would weaken or break in her absence, and when the chaos of single motherhood took over her life, Regina pushed the notion aside entirely. It’s a waste, she realizes now. To have had the freedom she sought for so long, and remain a captive just the same. Perhaps if she’d taken Henry on adventures and broadened his world, he would never have looked so closely at the town around him, or sought out his curse-breaking birth mother.
Circling the dilapidated building, Emma considers the twisted metal of a broken fire escape for a moment, before ducking behind the safety of more boxes. Thoroughness Regina didn’t expect, but it seems they won’t be charging the building unprepared, even though her feet are itching to do exactly that, and near-dormant magic itches in her fingertips as it’s battered by the non-magical world they’re in. It’s a flickering flame trying to withstand a stiff breeze, and Regina swallows her nervousness at going into battle without it. Dressed in a gray sweater and jeans that were stolen from an unlocked motel room three along from their own, her only weapon is a switchblade jammed in her pocket.
It doesn’t take long for Emma to disappear into the debris, invisible to Regina’s watchful eye. Every so often the mirror flashes, the gaps lengthening suggest that Henry fears someone inside will notice. Regina wishes fervently that she could send a signal in response, but the depth of the emotion starts to charge her magic, and it makes her hands seize painfully. Forcing herself to calm, she looks for Emma again.
Lookouts can move, she decides. Her guards would rotate around the castle battlements, and that’s excuse enough for Regina to follow in their stead. She’ll take the opposite direction, do some scouting of her own. And if she finds a way to Henry first? A way to finally be the hero in his eyes? Well. Maybe she’ll just take it.
“Maura, you’re staying in the car for this one.”
Despite the gruff concern that underlies Jane’s words, Maura bristles at the condescension. After all these years, it still rankles to not be one of Jane’s ‘guys’, to contribute only in the sterile confines of the lab and not the physical pursuit and capture. Last month, checking on Lt. Kavanaugh after Paddy’s sentencing, Maura had brought up the subject of getting an official BPD firearms certification. Despite her careful argument about the dangers of field work and being a public figure most criminals could identify, he’d treated her suggestion as a joke. “Good one, doc,” he’d said, face red with laughter. “That way you can just shoot each stiff down there and we’ll know the cause of death right away. That might be bad for our stats, though.”
“I could stay to the rear of the formation,” Maura suggests, eager not to be left behind.
“Not in those shoes,” Jane shoots her down, checking her ammunition and her phone battery.
“I have running shoes in the trunk. And I studied Boston’s shipping trade intensively just a few years ago, so I could help with--”
“We’re looking for kidnappers, not pirates.”
“The term pirate is historically ambiguous. Many of the men who sailed ships from here on raiding and plundering missions could be more correctly described as privateers. They may have been committing crimes, but they were committing them on the instruction of leaders and politicians who hadn’t yet formed any kind of naval force.”
“Right. Maura, I gotta go. Wait here, and I’ll call you if we can’t wait for a medic.”
“You think they’ll hurt him?”
“They already killed one kid, so I’m not ruling anything out. But I’m damned if they’re gonna get another one because I blew the approach.”
With that, Jane is out of the car, thumping the roof in some unconscious ritual or superstition that Maura can’t claim to understand, but it’s comforting all the same. It’s the same thing Jane would do leaving her partner in the car. Maura watches in the side view mirror as Jane joins up with Frost, Frankie and Korsak, issuing directions with sharp jerks of her head and those deliberate finger motions that recall one of the coaches in the sports Jane makes Maura watch.
Jane puts herself down often, describing herself as somehow limited and simple to understand. Instead she’s a deep and sometimes unfathomable person, whose natural intelligence isn’t subject to the books read or classes attended. Of all the sides Maura sees of Jane each day, Jane in this committed and commanding mode may well be her favorite. Despite the danger, and the rational fear that results, something almost elemental in Jane seems to thrive, the adrenaline and confidence fuelling her.
It serves to remind Maura that days like these hang in the balance, thanks to Casey’s ultimatum disguised as a proposal. Although Maura isn’t personally familiar with that particular courtship ritual, she can see the weight of the decision on Jane’s shoulders, and Casey being called back to Washington for a colleague’s funeral has bought a couple of days that Jane doesn’t seem to want.
What puzzles Maura most of all is the tension in her own chest every time she thinks about it. She’s tried to rationalize it as fear of change; her own inflexibility is perceived as a flaw by others even when the order of her life is soothing. Since Jane announced the ultimatum at the retirement home, Maura has found her sleep disrupted and her focus wandering at inopportune moments, the restlessness in her system feels almost like the unease before an extreme weather event. Extra yoga isn’t helping, and if it persists she may need to request a prescription.
Looking around at the broken glass and discarded packaging, fresh and not rain-soaked or discolored, Maura is reminded that nothing in a busy city is ever truly abandoned, even when industry and wealth retreat. She gets out of the car (next to it is approximately equal to the operational benefit of remaining in it and frankly, Jane can be too bossy for her own good) and frowns at a discarded syringe by the front tire. Maura is reaching for her latex gloves and a bag to dispose of it when there’s a flash of movement in her peripheral vision. Blonde, her brain registers. Ignoring the syringe, Maura closes the car door gently and moves around the vehicle in an improvised squat, the running shoes in the trunk seeming more practical by the second.
Peering over the hood, the flash of blonde appears once more, closer this time and moving around the large warehouse that dominates this part of the landscape. The car is parked behind some ramshackle fencing, invisible to the woman moving gradually towards Maura’s location, and when the blonde comes in to view it confirms Maura’s initial, unfounded suspicion that she’s staring at none other than Emma Swan. Although her clothes have changed in the last few hours and her hair is under a cap, the eye-catching ponytail still hangs down her back. If she were trained in undercover work, like Jane, Emma might know better and pull the hair up under her cap or hide it under her jacket.
The emotional duress may be affecting her attention to detail, Maura surmises, because according to the Rizzolis, Emma was quite successful in her days of tracking criminals for profit. Still, her reappearance has sparked a fresh surge of curiosity in Maura, it’s a powerful need to know that she hasn’t experienced since her first encounter with a dead body, over thirty years ago. Whatever science or technology Regina exposed Maura to earlier has captured her imagination in such an exciting way that she almost feels giddy from thinking about it. To think that there might be entire strata of science yet to be uncovered and explored is intoxicating.
The ache to know more is a part of her, just as Frost pounces on every new gadget to understand its workings, or Korsak befriends every animal they encounter within minutes. Yes, Emma Swan knows what Regina Mills is capable of, and although Maura harbors some doubts about Emma’s educational level, she is very much Maura’s best chance of finding out more. From an operational standpoint, Maura can always excuse the interference as stopping a civilian from walking into Jane’s investigation of the premises.
Weighing the risk, Maura stands up in her once immaculate Balenciaga heels and darts across the waste ground to sneak up behind Emma, grabbing her arm just in time to prevent Emma pulling away. And yes, maybe a tiny bit of her motivation, if Maura were forced to analyze and answer to another person, is that some part of her is jealous of this woman who can waltz in and out of Jane’s life. That their friendship persisted even during the time Maura has known her without so much as a mention, feels unfair. Maura has come to include Jane as a reference for almost everything significant in her life, even when reading journal articles she mines them for relevant pieces of information to make them of interest to her best friend. After all, Jane might have this Emma, but she knows everything about Maura’s life, right down to her awkwardness in making friends and dating. Somehow, Emma feels like a threat to that happy balance, even moreso than Casey and his guilt-tinged talk of matrimony.
“Swan,” Maura hisses, hearing an impersonation of Jane’s toughness creep into her voice. Emma deflates visibly on recognition, although she reels around with fists raised, the stance falters when she sees Maura.
“Dr. Isles,” she sighs. “Let me guess, Riz is right behind you?”
“There’s no one behind me,” Maura corrects, risking a glance to make sure. “But I would think you’d be pleased the BPD has tracked Henry to the same location as you obviously have.”
“You want to let me go?” Emma tries. “I’d hate to have to drop you, doc, but I’m kind of on a mission.”
“We need to talk, first,” Maura insists. “We should move behind these crates, if you’re worried about visibility.”
“Let me go and we talk. But the moment we’re done, I’m going to get my kid.”
“Deal,” Maura agrees. “Are you spies? CIA operatives make frequent use of localized explosives, although the purple smoke seems counterintuitive from a discretion standpoint.”
“You really talk like that all the time, huh?” Emma moves behind the crates, ready to bolt at any moment. “I don’t know how Jane keeps up with all the big words.”
“Jane is highly intelligent,” Maura retorts, instantly on the defensive. “And while her vocabulary is reflective of her background most of the time--”
“Whoa, I was just kidding. When I rag on Riz, it’s just for fun.”
“You didn’t answer my question.”
“Trust me. You don’t want me to.”
“Why would I ask if I didn’t want an answer?” Maura is aware she’s demanding, but it seems that Emma will slip away at any moment.
“I have to get to my kid,” Emma groans. “Are you gonna move? Or am I gonna have to make you?”
“Only person making her do anything is me,” Tamara says, emerging from behind a hunk of rusted metal that might once have been a truck. She has two handguns raised, one trained on Emma and the other on Maura. “You should have kicked her ass and run when you had the chance, Emma.”
“Fuck you,” Emma spits, pulling her own gun. “I already beat the shit out of you once, I’ll do it again.”
“Try it and I’ll shoot her, just like I shot Neal.”
“You heartless bitch.”
“Sounds more like Regina. Surprised you didn’t bring her along for your failed mission.”
Maura looks at Emma, but her face betrays nothing.
“I told you before, he’s my kid. And if you hurt him, I won’t need anyone’s help to end you. I’ll rip your heart out myself. And trust me, it’ll hurt a hell of a lot worse than if Regina did it.”
“So touching,” Tamara drawls, as Maura wonders why exactly Emma is mentioning Regina in the context of ripping out hearts. She doesn’t look like a butcher, or a surgeon for that matter. “Move! If this one’s a cop, you’re both dead.”
“I’m not a police officer,” Maura explains, relieved at not having to lie.
“Then move. Head for that corner, there. Door’s behind that aluminum sheeting. Don’t make me ask again.”
“I haven’t heard you ask yet.” Emma spits, every bit as defiant as Jane would be. Maura wants to smile at the sheer familiarity, but she also knows how often Jane’s temper leads to gunshots and punches that don’t need to be inflicted.
“We’re cooperating,” Maura says quietly, laying a hand on Emma’s forearm to halt any last-ditch attempts at violence. They just need to stay safe until Jane and her team can come for them.
“Stay tight, Frankie!” Jane hisses as he skirts too far around the far corner of the warehouse. He holds a hand up in acknowledgment, pulling tighter to the wall. “Frost, anything on your side?” She directs that to her sleeve, the handsfree kit improvising as a Secret Service style mic at Frost’s suggestion.
“I think I got movement,” he whispers. “I’m gonna follow it up.”
“Slow and steady,” Jane urges. “We don’t want to spook anyone, okay?”
“Jane!” Korsak calls quietly. “Up there, you see what I see?”
“Wait for it… there. That’s a deliberate flash, right?”
“It’s not Morse Code,” Jane says, eyes trained on the broken window that the light flickered at.
“We’re dealing with a kid, Jane. If he’s just trying to get attention, it’s possible he’s not thinking straight. Or he’s never had cause to learn it. Not everybody was weirdly obsessed with kidnap and crime as a kid.”
“Thanks, Korsak.” Jane rolls her eyes, but watches as the flash comes again. “Definitely deliberate. Looks like we found our kid.” She lifts her sleeve to update Frost, when she glimpses the movement off to her left.
“Freeze.” She hisses, her gun trained on Regina before she even realizes who is standing there. “Oh, you’ve got to be kidding me.”
“Detective.” Regina draws herself together like they’re at one of Maura’s insufferable cocktail parties, despite the Contempo Casuals look she’s currently rocking. “Before you say anything, I have reason to believe--”
“Yeah, we think he’s in here, too,” Jane cuts her off. “So we’re gonna deal with that before we get into purple smoke tricks and you guys bailing on me earlier. Where’s Emma hiding? Swan, get out here so I can kick your ass real quick!”
“Much as I would like to watch that, Miss Swan is not with me right now. And I don’t have any popcorn, anyway.”
“Where the hell is she then?” Jane huffs, already knowing the answer by the way Regina’s eyes flick to the building for just a second. “No. Even Emma’s not that freakin’ stupid.”
“I beg to differ.” Regina smirks. “However, in this case, she wasn’t being stupid. She was trying to find our son.”
“Damn it.” Jane lets the gun drop, while she raises her sleeve. “Frost, Emma’s gone after Henry too. Try to cut her off before she gets herself killed.”
“Too late, Jane. I got eyes on one of the suspects marching her through a side entrance. Looks like they had some debris pulled over it. And uh, Jane?”
“Tell me she’s not hurt,” Jane insists.
“No, she’s walking fine. But she’s not alone. I can’t get a clear shot at what looks like Tamara because someone else is in my line.”
“She got Henry already?” Regina gasps, her eyes lighting up.
“Is it the kid?” Jane asks, her mind already working on ways to get them both out of dodge.
“No. Jane, it’s - well -”
She doesn’t need him to say it. She knows and she feels her gut clench along with her teeth. “I told her to stay in the car! Son of a bitch!”
“Maura’s in there too?” Korsak groans. “She’ll be fine, Jane. She’s learned enough by now to keep her head down.”
“I’d love to believe that. But if I’ve learned anything over the years, it’s that when you’re with Emma Swan, it’s impossible to keep your head down.” Jane sighs, her eyes boring into Regina. “We’re going in there and we’re getting them out. You are staying here, because so help me god, if I have to deal with one more civilian screwing up my investigation, I’ll shoot all of you myself. You got that?”
“Then shoot me,” Regina says, moving with surprising speed away from them and towards a banged up door that Frankie just scoped out a few minutes before. “Because that’s the only thing that will keep me from Henry. And even then, you’d better shoot to kill.”
With that, she yanks the door open in a shriek of hinges and cloud of dust, disappearing into the building with Jane and her team having no choice but to follow. “So much for good police work”, Jane grumbles to herself as she steps into the cold and drafty space. But the thought of Maura anywhere near another madman (and possible madwoman) with a gun is enough to get her moving quickly through the shadows.
“Up here,” Tamara barks, shoving one gun in the small of Emma’s back when they approach a black iron staircase that looks one more layer of rust away from complete collapse.
“Are you taking us to Henry?”
“I’m taking you to Greg. Then we’re going to deal with you before our boss comes to get Henry.”
That does it. Guns be damned, Emma launches herself backwards off the stairs, tackling Tamara in the fall. Emma holds her breath for a startled shot to go off, for hot lead to hit her in the kidneys, but there’s just a ‘whoosh’ of air being knocked from both their bodies as they land on the dusty floor.
“Emma!” Maura’s startled voice rings out, but then there are heavy footsteps on the metal stairs, and a squeak as Greg gets hold of her.
“Who’s this?” Greg asks. Although Emma pushes clear of Tamara first, there’s a gun pointed at her chest before she can draw her own again. Even on the floor, Tamara is a threat, and she’s slowly picking herself up.
Maura looks petrified and Emma knows that Jane’s going to kill her if they ever get out of this mess. Just as she’s about to mumble an apology to Maura, Greg lashes out, and judging by the way Maura falls it’s a kick to the back of her knees.
Maura falls hard, no one to break her fall as she tumbles those few steps in her heels, no hope of bracing in her fitted dress and blazer. The dust rises up around her and Greg keeps his rifle trained on her the whole time, even as she rolls over to reveal bloodied knees and deep scrapes on her hands that are already dripping blood on the ground. Her hair has fallen in her face, so Emma can’t tell if there’s another wound where Maura’s head hit the ground, but at least she’s conscious.
“I think Tamara told you to come upstairs, Sheriff,” Greg says, in that weirdly babyish voice he has. Emma should have let Whale nick a couple of extra organs and had the bastard bleed out on the table. If Greg’s done to Henry what he just did to Maura, or worse, that other kid… Emma squeezes her eyes shut for a moment at the thought. Well. It ends any debate she’s had over the past year about whether or not she could kill someone other than self-defense. For the first time, she thinks she might understand Regina’s particularly dangerous flavor of anger.
In another act of defiance, she moves to Maura, helping her get to her feet and glancing over her, checking for other injuries, before she starts back up the stairs.
“We’re coming, okay? Can’t blame a girl for trying to escape, Greg.”
“Don’t wiseass me,” he warns, blocking their way for a moment. Emma wants to spit in his face. “You’re just as bad as Regina.”
Emma laughs then, the sound escaping her lips reminiscent of the woman she desperately hopes is still outside, giving them some kind of backup plan. “Oh Greg,” she leans close, “you have no idea.”
Her head jerks back at the force of his slap, but she still just laughs, even as blood trickles down from the corner of her mouth. She’ll do anything to buy Henry more time, haven’t these idiots worked that out by now? If they’re hitting her, they’re not laying a finger on him, and she’s already inside their stupid, crumbling Batcave. It’s a hell of a lot more promising than even just a few hours ago, and Emma feels like her parents for thinking it, but there might just be a glimmer of hope here.
“Come on, Maura,” she says, having spit some blood out of her mouth onto Greg’s shoes, enough to talk. Giving away surnames and titles is not a good idea right now, because anyone who hurts kids on the regular might just recognize the name of the Commonwealth’s Chief Medical Examiner. Titles like that get your name in the newspaper a whole lot. “Let’s go see Henry, huh?”
Maura nods in reply, too shaken to speak it seems. Emma offers a sympathetic glance, but Greg is in motion and Tamara is right behind them so there’s no chance to linger, or to formulate any kind of plan. They march up the rest of the stairs into what clearly used to be some kind of office, with a view down over some dry docks on the other side.
“Where’s my kid?” Emma demands.
“What, you thought we were just gonna hand him over because you caught up to us?” Tamara asks with a snort. “You think this is some company paintball game, where you captured our flag so we just roll over?”
“I mean it,” she warns, tensing for another blow and not caring where it comes from. “I want to see him, right now.”
“Look a little harder,” Greg suggests. “There’s an open doorway right there.”
Emma edges closer, trying not to gulp too loudly at the very steep and sudden drop where there used to be some kind of walkway outside the office. The frame remains, but almost all of the boards have rotted away.
“Uh uh,” Greg continues, getting way too close for Emma’s liking. He tuts under his breath, like she’s a kindergartener who refuses to color in the lines. “Think more like Rapunzel’s prince, hmm? You gotta look…”
“Up,” Emma finishes, doing exactly that.
The echoes in such a large and empty space distort the sound, and although the words make no sense as they overlap and fade, it’s creepy as hell when they seem to come from all around them as Jane grabs Regina back and takes over leadership of their impromptu patrol.
They come across Emma and Maura just in time to see Emma’s semi-spectacular backwards jump, and Jane is ready to send in reinforcements when Mendell appears. Two guns, at least, makes the scene too unpredictable and so Jane signals a stand down.
Then Mendell kicks out at Maura and it takes the combined force of Frankie grabbing her around the waist and Regina’s arm shooting out over her chest to hold Jane back. That’s a cheap, punkass move and he is gonna wish he didn’t have any legs left when she gets done with him, that is for damn sure.
“Wait,” Regina murmurs. “You told us back at the door that nobody moves until we know for sure where they’re holding Henry.”
“Just let me…” Jane says through gritted teeth, squirming to get free. She relents at last when Emma helps pick Maura up, and at least she’s not too badly hurt to walk up the stairs again.
“If your feelings for that woman are going to put my son in jeopardy…” Regina rounds on Jane the minute Frankie lets go, backing her against a wall where they lurk in the shadows. “I won’t have his safety compromised.”
“What the hell are you talking about?” Jane demands in a whisper, ignoring the look between Frankie and Korsak. “She’s my best friend, but that won’t stop me getting your kid back in one piece.”
“Good,” Regina says, letting go of Jane’s jacket where she’s been clutching the lapels. “That’s all I ask.”
“You’re one to talk,” Jane adds, in another angry whisper as she pushes off the wall. “Seems to me you’re not exactly hating all this time one-on-one with Swan. Last I checked, that apartment of hers only has one bed.”
“How dare you!” Regina hisses, but Korsak steps between them, stopping whatever else she was going to say.
“Why don’t you ladies continue this after we rescue Henry and stop the bad guys, huh?” Frankie adds softly, and Jane can see the warning in his eyes. She looks down, ashamed for just a second that her little brother has to be the voice of reason, before she nods.
They step carefully on the stairs, guns raised again, Regina in the middle of their formation as Frost joins their group with a nod to Jane. If nothing else they now know at least two different ways in and out of the building.
“I requested backup,” Frost tells Frankie, and Jane sighs in relief. “But it might not be that quick, out here.”
There’s conversation going on in the large room Emma and Maura have been led into, and with a full group again, Jane pushes Regina aside and lets Frost and Frankie take point, crouching on either side of the door that’s only slightly ajar. She and Korsak take up secondary positions, and with a three-count, she gives the go.
“Hands up!” Frankie yells as Frost follows with a “Freeze!”
Greg and Tamara both turn with weapons raised, and when Mendell twitches his finger, Jane doesn’t think twice. He has a bullet in his shoulder before she can second-guess herself, and it’s enough to make him drop the rifle, at least. Tamara considers, both guns raised, but with three trained on her, she relents and drops them to the ground before placing her hands on the back of her head.
“Jane!” Maura exclaims at the sight of her.
“Emma?” Regina’s question is desperate, and the fact that she’s saying that name instead of Henry’s is what tips Jane off to the one very obvious thing that’s missing from this little reunion.
“Henry.” It’s that word, the way it falls from Emma’s mouth, not in relief, but horror, that stops them all.
“You got eyes on Henry?” Jane demands, moving past Mendell to where Emma is standing by a gap in the wall.
“He’s up there,” Emma points, her arm weak, and Regina rushes to look before Jane can get a chance. When they look out, they see Henry suspended from a pulley, high above them all in the middle of the huge space. Under him isn’t just floor, but the deep dry docks, concrete basins big enough to clean and maintain pretty big ships in. The sheer height of it is making Jane dizzy, and it’s not even her kid up there.
Greg lets out a laugh and begins to chant, in that creepy baby voice that makes Jane’s blood run cold. “All the Queen’s horses… and all the Queen’s men… couldn’t put Henry together again.”
“Get him down from there!” Regina snarls, launching herself at the injured felon like a wild animal. She’s scratching at his face, half an inch from a full-on eye gouge when Jane pulls her away, still kicking and punching at the air.
“Regina!” Jane yells at her. “Don’t make me cuff you. Mendell, you tell us how to get that kid down from that goddamn rope, and you tell us now.”
Jane realizes a second too late that they’re all standing around trying to either contain Regina or find the end of the rope that is connected to the pulley, and somewhere in the mess they forgot Containment of a Suspect 101.
There’s a sickening crack of bone, and Frankie drops to his knees, arm gone limp where Tamara has snapped his wrist and taken his gun. Frost reacts before Jane can, but Tamara’s kick knocks his gun out through the door and clattering down on the floor far below. Her follow up slams Frost into the wall, and he’s out cold from the second his head makes impact. With his assailant pulled off him, Mendell pulls a handgun from inside his coat, before pointing it at the struggling Regina.
“Korsak!” She shouts, pushing Regina away from Mendell to buy a moment or two when Jane lets her go to raise her gun in defense. “Which one you got, Vince?”
“Jane,” he gasps, his voice weak off to her right hand side. He’s slumped in a half-broken office chair, gun hanging loosely in his left hand. He’s clutching the top of his left arm and Jane wants to cry at the sight. She has to focus, has to get them all out of here. So with the quickest pat of his arm, she grabs his gun and passes it to Regina.
“Don’t shoot anyone unless they’re about to kill you,” Jane orders, and Tamara is pacing in her conquered corner of the space like she’ll be happy to oblige. “Swan! You brought your own gun, right?”
She turns slightly to confirm, surprised Emma hasn’t faded in with fists flying like Regina just did. Only the gap in the wall where Emma stood watching Henry is empty, and Jane groans as she works out what comes next. Emma Swan is part freaking monkey when it comes to climbing, and Jane only has to glance out into the main warehouse to confirm the blonde lunatic is already pulling herself up some rope to get to the rotting gangway behind Henry.
“You’re gonna break your neck!” Jane shouts out after her, but she has to keep her attention on the room full of kidnappers and the look in Regina’s eyes is making Jane think she might have been safer wielding a second gun in her weaker hand. There’s no response from Emma but the metallic creaking of whatever that rope is attached to.
“You’re too late,” Mendell says, still slumped on the ground, but active enough to have his gun pointed directly at Regina’s chest. Tamara has Frankie’s gun trained on Jane, and there are still two more on the floor that could end up in play. This is a goddamned mess. “I hope the boss lets me do you, Regina. I’ve waited such a long time.”
“You two have a history?” Jane demands, nodding at Maura who’s behind the cabinets and edging her way back to the door behind Tamara on her hands and knees. If at least one of them can get out, there’s no way these two crooks will risk giving chase. It might be enough to bring backup straight in and get them all out alive.
Jane looks at Korsak, he’s even paler now, and the sweat is visible on his face. Frankie is groaning on the floor, but he might rally enough to grab one of those spare guns, if Jane buys him a little time. Frost is still out cold, and it has to be a concussion, Jane won’t let herself consider anything worse. Right now she’s kind of glad she can’t ask Maura about traumatic brain injuries.
“Not really,” Regina answers after a moment. “Who’s your boss, Owen?”
“Owen?” Jane sputters. “You didn’t give us that alias.”
The room darkens suddenly, as though storm clouds have gathered over the mostly-glass roof and walls.
“He’s here,” Tamara says, momentarily distracted and smiling at Mendell. Jane considers a shot, dropping her at least, but Tamara focuses again before Jane can aim and shoot.
There’s a whooshing noise then, like a wave rushing, but indoors. Jane doesn’t want to risk looking away from her suspects, but there’s something about the darkness that makes her glance back over her shoulder. Emma’s only just reaching the shaky platform, leveraging herself off the rope. Henry, further along and bound by his own rope, is swinging helplessly way up in the air.
“Emma!” Jane calls out, because something is seriously wrong here. She can feel it in her gut. Maura is almost at the door when Jane looks back, but Tamara notices in the nick of time, and grabs Maura by the hair, pulling her roughly to her feet.
“Who’s your boss?” Regina asks again, gun still pointing at Mendell like she knows what she’s doing, but her voice has gone all shaky.
“You’ve met before,” Greg says. “He was very interested to hear that you’re Henry’s mother. He’s the one we want, but you… you could be useful in other ways.”
“No,” Regina says, as the room dims even further. “No! No! Leave him alone, don’t you touch him!” She’s screaming now, seemingly at the air around them. Jane wants to offer a steadying hand, but she can’t risk it.
She’s just about to start negotiating with Mendell when they all hear it: the sound of shattering windows, glass spraying down around them. Darkness seems to seep inside the building and her mind can’t comprehend why darkness is all of a sudden some physical thing that she can reach out and touch.
Just as Jane tries to wrap her mind around that, the dark is punctuated by the horrible slow, shriek of metal giving way, overlapped by a little boy’s scream.
Which really, must be as bad as this fucked up situation can get, Jane thinks. And that’s when the shooting starts.
Apologies for the big gap, I had an unexpectedly busy spell at work and Tiff was patient enough to wait for me. We'll get cracking on the rest just as soon as we can. -Lola
Jane doesn’t want to look, doesn’t want to watch a mother’s panic over her son falling to what can only be his death. She wants to watch Emma fall with him even less, but someone has to step up, in case Regina does something stupid like throwing herself after them. But Regina has dropped her gun, after apparently putting a slug right in the middle of Mendell’s forehead. It has to be her, because Jane hasn’t fired her weapon yet.
The darkness of the room is suddenly illuminated by a blast of purple light, Regina sinking to her knees as it seems to pulse right out of her hands -- but that can’t be right, it’s gotta be Jane’s mind playing tricks on her -- out into the space where Henry and Emma are falling.
“Greg? Baby?” Tamara’s voice is plaintive, almost childish as she talks to his dead body, slumped against a desk, making Jane focus back on her. “That bitch shot him,” she adds, almost to herself. Jane doesn’t get a chance to say anything before another gunshot rings out.
Maura’s mouth forms a perfect ‘o’, and Jane knows it then, without seeing the gun. A few seconds later and the blood starts to spread across the fabric of Maura’s dress, like a dark red rose blooming over her abdomen.
Jane shuts down in that moment. She fires, she realizes after, but it’s just instinct. Tamara drops like a stone, with Maura sliding down, bleeding, bleeding, oh God she just collapses and there’s so much fucking blood, it just opens up a whole target for Jane to empty her magazine into. It doesn’t even feel like relief, she’s numb and calling Maura’s name but that isn’t going to fix a damn thing.
“Jane,” Maura gasps, and it’s barely even a sound. Jane’s on her knees before she can think, cradling Maura’s head in her lap.
“Tell me what to do,” Jane pleads. “Pressure, right?”
Maura nods. Jane pulls off her jacket and wads it up to press against Maura’s stomach. “Stay with me, Maura. Stay with me.” She begs, trying to ignore the hiss of pain Maura lets out when she pushes down and the way she can feel the warm, sticky blood coating her hands. That it’s Maura’s blood - Maura’s life force - sliding over her fingers makes her stomach turn.
“Vince?” Jane blurts out. “You still with me?”
“I’m here, Janey,” he huffs, but he doesn’t sound good at all.
“Can you get us a bus? Might take two.” She has to give him something to do, something to keep him conscious and with them.
He fumbles with his radio, using his good right hand, and calls in their location. When it’s done, Jane sees his hand go slack, and when she looks up at his face, his eyes are closed. Shit.
“Korsak. Vince!” There’s no response and she feels her throat tightening, even as she pushes down harder on Maura’s stomach. “Frost?” She tries, already knowing she won’t get an answer. “Frankie? Please.”
“Janey.” His voice is weak, but it’s there, it’s there and Jane feels just a little less alone.
“Frankie, I need--”
“Regina.” He gasps and Jane finally tears her eyes away from Maura to look at Regina, still on the ground with her hands splayed out in front of her. And it’s like a tractor beam is coming out from between her hands, only it’s bright purple instead of white and Jane still doesn’t understand what’s going on, still can’t think any farther than the blood on her hands and how Maura’s stomach is rising and falling much slower with every minute.
“Frankie, come here, press down on this jacket, okay?”
“Okay,” he grunts, moving across the floor without complaint about his injuries.
“Harder,” Maura whispers as he takes over. Despite his broken wrist, Frankie uses both hands to bear down, gritting his teeth through his own pain. Jane kisses his cheek, even though they don’t do that, because her little brother is turning into a goddamn hero and she needs that so badly right now.
“Regina,” she calls out, crawling across the floor because standing right now is a risk too far. “How are you… what is…”
And Jane loses whatever the hell kind of thought she was trying to form, because at that moment Emma and the kid come floating through the hole in the side of the office wall, right over Regina’s head. Regina is shaking violently, looking like she’s ready to burst at the seams, but she keeps doing whatever it is that’s making that weird purple glow, right up until she places both Emma and Henry carefully on the dirty, blood-spattered floor.
“Mom!” Henry launches himself at her the second the glow releases him. “Mom!” He’s chanting it now, muffled against her shoulder as she gathers him up in a bone-crushing hug. Emma lies on the floor, panting. Jane looks at each of them in turn, waiting for an explanation. There’s a crash from downstairs, a door maybe, and help is finally on the way.
“What the hell just happened?” Jane demands. “What the hell are you two up to?”
“Not now, Riz,” Emma grunts, pushing herself up to sitting, nodding at Regina. “You didn’t let me drop, Regina. I think we can call that progress.”
“I didn’t want to traumatize Henry any further,” Regina snarks right back, but she’s smiling at Emma like the sun just came up over her head. “Detective, what’s wrong with the doctor?” Regina notices at last.
“She got shot. Because you dropped Mendell.”
“He deserved it,” Regina says simply. She isn’t even in the neighborhood of remotely sorry, and Jane can’t entirely blame her, despite the nauseating blind panic over Maura.
“We’re up here!” Frankie yells as the sound of footprints echoes underneath them. “Jane, can you… I’ll go wave down the paramedics?”
“Sure,” Jane springs into action, but when she’s back at Maura’s side the news is far from good. Her usually peachy skin is gray, and there’s sweat beading along her hairline. Maura barely breaks a real sweat anywhere outside of those damn Bikram classes she drags Jane to, and her eyes can’t seem to stay open. “Help is here, Maura. Just hold on a minute, okay? Just please keep fighting. We’re nearly there. Just keep your eyes open, okay? Keep them open.”
But Maura’s eyes aren’t opening and she’s suddenly still, so still. “Maura! No. Maura! Open your eyes. Help is here, Maura. Open your eyes.”
“Who are these ladies?” Henry asks Regina.
“Friends of Emma’s.”
“Do something!” Jane howls. “That purple thing, do it! Make her float or something! Maura, please. Don’t leave me, Maura. I shouldn’t have brought you along, I’m so sorry.”
“Regina.” Emma says and it’s as close to begging as she’s ever been, watching Jane crying over Maura. Jane, who never cries, who is never afraid, who is always strong and steady. Hell, she’s cried exactly once in all the time Emma’s known her and that was the end of the 2004 World Series, which owed a lot more to beer and a curse-breaking miracle than anything else.
“I can’t,” Regina groans. “I’m completely drained. Catching you two almost killed me.”
“Fuck this,” Emma announces, rolling up her sleeves and focusing her gaze on Maura. “If I have it too, now is the goddamned time. Come on…”
Jane doesn’t really know what that means, but everything’s kind of blurry and her eyes are burning with the heat of tears, and Maura isn’t moving, no matter how hard Jane shakes her.
“Please,” she begs, and she isn’t really sure what she’s asking or who from.
Emma doesn’t feel anything. Her hands are as flesh and bone and useless as they’ve ever been as she stands over the wounded Maura. She looks to Regina in desperation, and although one of them should be saying no, should be saying don’t expose them any further, Regina simply mouths ‘emotion’ at Emma.
Right. Stop thinking.
Maura got shot and that isn’t fair. Maura’s nice and clever and she helps solve murders. And Jane loves her, that much is clear from space, whatever they want to call it. And all Emma wants right now is to stop Jane from looking this broken, from feeling this awful, just to take it all away right now and make it never come back.
And it happens. It’s just a spurt of pink smoke at first, but it happens. Emma grabs on to the success and tries again, just lets herself feel good about it working, about Henry being safe, about Greg and Tamara lying dead on the floor and never hurting anyone ever again. And she can feel it then, the power, surging through her.
She moves closer to Maura, falling down beside Jane, moving her hands closer to the wound that Jane is still pressing down on. “Jane, I need you to move.”
Jane remains motionless, her eyes zeroed in on the pink light that is coming from Emma’s hands in a steady stream now.
“Riz, move.” She coaxes again, nudging Jane and the jacket out of the way, putting her hands directly over the wound, letting the power flood through it and into Maura’s body. “Come on. Come on.”
Nothing happens at first, and Emma can feel her cheeks burning with embarrassment. But then she remembers the spell in Gold’s shop, the way Jefferson’s hat suddenly started to spin from a simple touch, and the tingling sensation of draining all that magic from the diamond, of Regina’s steady gaze down there in the mines.
“Regina,” Emma gasps. “Come here and, um, touch me.”
“Just put your hand on my shoulder or something! Move!”
“I don’t have any left, I just--”
“Trust me. I just need the steering, or something. Can you just shut up and do it?”
“Listen to Emma, Mom. You two working together brought you to me, remember?” Henry is the voice of reason once again, and that’s more than any 11 year-old should have to bring to the table. It certainly nudges or shames Regina into action, and Emma closes her eyes as she feels the squeeze at her shoulder.
Maura coughs then, and Jane actually squeals, which is the least Rizzoli noise ever made. There’s a fresh trickle of blood from Maura’s mouth and so Emma focuses harder, willing every last injury to heal, and sure enough the color starts to return to Maura’s face, and when her eyes open she seems alert.
“What…” she tries to speak, but it takes too much effort. Jane is cradling her again in an instant.
“Don’t try to speak, Maur. The paramedics are just doing their thing. You just relax and wait for the hospital, okay?”
“No pain,” Maura breathes. “Why?”
“Must be the morphine,” Jane lies smoothly. She looks at Emma, and Emma removes her hands, satisfied the job is done. She’s glad that Regina hasn’t let go of her, though, because a second later Emma’s collapsing against Regina’s legs.
“I’m fine,” she blurts, before anyone can fuss. “Just worn out. Gimme a minute.”
Regina doesn’t protest, just allows Emma to slump there until she gets her bearings. When she feels less like she’s going to pass out, she opens her eyes and grins up at Regina. “I did it.”
“You did.” Regina nods and her lips curve up just the slightest bit. Emma might be projecting, but she swears that Regina sounds almost proud of her.
The paramedics finally come running in then, and there’s four, thank God. Jane has to be pried away from Maura again, and Frankie directs two of the paramedics to the older detective whose name Emma can’t quite remember. They yank at his shirt and start CPR right away.
“Doctor Isles?” The paramedic clearly knows them. “Can you tell us what happened?”
Regina is the one to step up this time.
“She took a hit to the lower back. There was some kind of struggle and she passed out.”
“I was shot?” Maura says, but she’s fading again.
“I don’t see any bullet wounds,” one of the paramedics says, looking around for confirmation.
“Other people got shot,” Jane says, nodding at Greg and Tamara. “It’s all been a bit confusing.”
“You riding with her, Rizzoli?”
“Yeah, I just gotta check on Korsak,” she says. “And Frost. Someone needs to check on Frost.”
“I’ll go with Korsak,” Frankie insists. “Get my wrist checked out at the same time. You go with Maura and Frost. Call Ma on the way or she’ll never forgive us.”
“Detective, we can’t take a ridealong with two patients in the bus,” the taller of the two paramedics says, and it’s clear he’s used to arguing with cops from his arms-crossed posture.
“We should get going,” Emma attempts, pulling herself up to standing and taking Henry’s hand. Regina takes the other, forming their own little chain gang. This not having to announce every step in a plan thing is getting kind of handy, Emma admits. Having someone on the same page makes her feel a lot less alone than usual.
“No, no,” Jane interrupts, all fake smile and warning glare. “You three should get checked out too. Just in case. So how about I drive you in myself, huh? Since there’s no room for me in the ambulance,” she adds, the glare now aimed at the paramedics.
“That’s really not necessary,” Emma insists.
“Henry is fine. We’re fine,” Regina agrees. “We can always bring him in later, if there are any problems.”
“Emma, we got two bodies and officers injured while trying to find your kidnapped son. We’re gonna need statements. So go to the hospital with Janey, huh?” Frankie’s tone brooks no argument and Emma knows better than to even try. She’s already in deep, but if they cut and run now, they’ll be royally screwed. Nobody needs to be tracked by Rizzolis for the rest of their lives; that’s more trouble than even Emma would ask for.
“Okay.” She folds, even as she feels Regina’s angry glare. “We’ll come in and get Henry looked over, give you our statements, but then we’re taking our kid home.”
“Let’s go,” Jane instructs, once she’s satisfied that Maura’s safely strapped into a stretcher. “We can start chatting about those statements on the ride over.”
Running looks like a much better option the minute they’re all belted and buckled inside Jane’s car. Emma is regretting taking the passenger seat, but asking Regina to let go of Henry right now is a fool’s errand. Emma just needs to have him nearby, where she can see him, to feel the relief.
“So,” Jane says, conversational as can be as they pull out of the dock area and onto the road. “I think it’s time we all had a chat about purple voodoo whatever and how the hell you two can throw it around like that. Can the kid do it too?”
“I can’t believe you did magic in front of a civilian,” Henry groans, bumping his head against the window.
“We were saving your precious little butt, kid,” Emma answers, because it’s easier than addressing Jane directly.
“For your sake, Detective,” Regina is in take-charge mode now, so God help them all. “I suggest you change your line of questioning. Find something more acceptable for the reports you’ll have to write up. I assure you, the truth will have you out of a job before you can finish signing your name.”
“Jesus, Regina.” Emma sighs, but it’s not entirely untrue.
“I suggest,” Jane sasses right back, “that you answer my questions and let me worry about what to put in my reports.”
“Riz, come on.”
“No, you come on, Swan. You come on and tell me how it is that you are sitting here beside me when you should be splattered all over the concrete at the bottom of that shaft. You tell me how it is that Maura was -- she was dead, Emma -- and now she’s fine. And the two of you are tossing colored light around like it’s nothing--”
“Hey! It definitely wasn’t nothing.”
“And your kid is talking about using magic in front of civilians. What the hell is going on?”
“Can’t you just be glad that everyone’s okay? Always with the questions and the butting in. Henry’s safe, Maura’s alive, the assholes who caused all this are dead. Does it really matter when the ending turned out right?”
“That is so you,” Jane chuckles, and there’s not a scrap of humor in it. “Always with the shortcut, always skipping to the bit at the end where Emma Swan gets what she wants. Who cares that some shopkeeper is trying to make ends meet, when you need to steal your food for the day, right?”
“Hey! If I wanted a laundry list of my failings, I brought Regina. You can lay the hell off.”
“Don’t try to change the subject. Are we seriously talking about magic, here? You’re fighting crime based on, what? David Copperfield?”
“How do you know Betsey’s nephew?” Regina pounces, confusing both Emma and Jane in the process.
“She means the illusions guy. You know, Vegas and making stuff disappear live on TV? That kind of thing,” Emma clarifies.
“Oh,” Regina calms. “I helped the other one out with his stepfather, back home. I thought maybe he’d ended up here, too.”
“Where is home?” Jane asks, watching Regina in the rearview.
“Storybrooke, Maine,” Regina recites. “108 Mifflin Street, to be exact. You should pop over some time. I make the most delicious apple turnovers.”
“Mom.” Henry cautions.
“Seriously, Regina?” Emma turns to look at her. “You wanna add threatening a cop to the growing list of our offenses?”
“She didn’t know it was a threat until you just told her.” Regina hisses. “This is ridiculous. I say we just wipe her memory and go back to Storybrooke.”
“We aren’t wiping Jane’s memory!”
“You have a better idea?”
“Wiping my memory? What the hell are you two into? Maura said you might be CIA, but this is science fiction crap.”
“Oh, Riz,” Emma sighs, knowing that if this backfires she might actually have to let Regina have her way and magically reboot Jane. “Let me ask you this… how familiar are you with Snow White?”
“The Disney cartoon?”
“Uh, yeah, I guess. Well, what would you say if I told you that Regina here is the Queen from that story?”
“I’d say I can see the resemblance,” Jane teases. “But seriously.”
“And that whole left by the freeway thing? Turns out I was actually shoved through a portal to save me from a curse. By my parents. Because my mom? Is kind of Snow White from Snow White. Which makes me the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming. And Henry is kind of their grandson.”
“Okay, how hard did you hit your head? Or are you dabbling in something stronger than beer again?” Jane asks, keeping her eyes resolutely on the Boston traffic in front of them, both ambulances having long since sped past with their lights flashing. Emma has to admit that saying it out loud for the first time since she started to believe is up there with the weirdest moments of her life.
“She’s telling the truth.” Regina says, remembering the conversation in the hotel room and Emma’s fear of Jane thinking she was crazy. “I am the Evil Queen.”
“You were.” Henry corrects and it makes Emma smile. “And Emma’s the Savior. She broke the curse. She’s the product of True Love. It’s why she has magic.”
“Henry, you just went through something very traumatic,” Jane starts, her voice calm and soothing.
“We’re not crazy.” He protests. “Show her, Mom.”
“Your mom’s drained, kid. Besides, I think we already showed Jane when your mom saved us and I saved Maura. If she doesn’t believe--” Emma can’t blame her, but she doesn’t say that.
“Believe what? You’re some street magician with special effects?” Jane is still incredulous, but she’s gripping the wheel tight enough for her knuckles to go white.
“You ever see a street magic bring someone back from the dead?” Emma counters.
“I know it sounds crazy. Believe me, it took me fighting a dragon to believe it myself. But it’s true, Riz. I swear to you, I’m telling you the truth. I am the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming. Regina did cast a curse that sent everyone from the Enchanted Forest here. Magic is real. And I can introduce you to Cinderella, or Belle, or Hansel and Gretel any time you like, to prove it.”
“Wow,” Jane mutters. “I knew growing up without your parents did a number on you, Swan. I didn’t realize it had gotten this fucked up.”
“Let’s not talk for a bit, okay? We’re almost at the hospital. You three think about getting your stories straight before I have to put anything on paper.” Jane has shut down again, Emma can see it in her posture.
“So I was right all along,” Regina sasses from the backseat. “What a surprise.”
“Aw, crap,” Jane mutters under her breath as they approach the Admitting Desk. “Swan, do me a favor and ask for Korsak. Say you’re his daughter or something.”
“You just called me a delusional liar and now you want me to… lie?”
“That nurse hates me. I may have yelled at her once or twice for not letting me cuff some perps when they came in for treatment. So I’m uh, kind of barred unless I’m bleeding from somewhere.”
“Oh, for God’s sake,” Regina sighs, pushing past them both and approaching the nurse and looking stricken. “I’m Mrs Korsak,” she says, voice wavering, the whole bit. “Can you tell me where my husband has been taken?”
“Vince got married again?” The nurse asks, instantly suspicious. Jane keeps walking, heading to the vending machines on the far side of reception with her hair hiding her face. Emma clutches Henry’s hand, ready to bolt as ever.
“We met in Vegas,” Regina lies, smooth as ever. She flashes that emerald ring she wears all the time, now conveniently on her wedding finger. “It hasn’t been long, and God knows I’ve asked him to think about retiring and spending more time with me, but…”
“He’s still in the Trauma bay,” the nurse changes her tune then, all sympathy. “But our best doctors are working on him right now. The waiting area is just through those doors.”
“Thank you,” Regina says, wiping away a very convincing tear and hurrying in the direction indicated. Emma and Jane follow from their respective spots after a short pause for the nurse to be distracted.
“Only you could get yourself banned from a hospital,” Emma mutters, still sore from their conversation in the car.
“Cram it, Pocahontas,” Jane warns. “We need to track down Maura and Frankie, too. Start pulling back curtains and pretending to have wandered into the wrong place, okay?”
“Pocahontas wasn’t a fairy tale character. She was a real person.” Emma shoots back. “Get your facts straight. No, shit, so was Mulan and I met her. Damn. I wonder if--”
“Seriously? Knock it off, Swan.” Jane says, pulling open a curtain and quickly muttering an apology to the people behind it. “It isn’t funny.”
“You see me laughing?” Emma peeks behind a curtain, breathing a sigh when she catches sight of Frankie. She pulls the curtain open wider to allow Jane to see in.
“Frankie.” She rushes forward. “Are you okay? Do you know anything about the others?”
“They looked pretty concerned about Korsak,” Frankie says, arm already in a sling. “Mine’s a clean break and Maura’s awake and they’re checking her out. I think she’s a couple of beds down, but Korsak is still in the actual trauma room.”
“What about your boy Frost?” Emma asks.
“He woke up,” Frankie tells them. “But because he hit his head, he’s gonna be getting every scan under the sun. Gotta work that Department insurance for every last dime, right?”
“Of course.” Jane nods, but it’s obvious that her mind is elsewhere.
“Jane, I’m fine. Go.” Frankie nudges and Emma’s glad to see she’s not the only one aware of Jane’s feelings for Maura, even if no one’s saying anything.
“You sure?” Jane asks, but she’s already moving away from the bed.
“We’ll wait with Frankie,” Emma suggests, because if Jane’s questions were bad, she can only imagine what Maura will subject them all to. “So he’s not on his own.”
“Francesco! Where is my boy? Frankie!”
“Ma!” He calls out. “I’m in here.”
“Oh, what happened?” Angela barrels past them all, grabbing Frankie and showering his face with effusive kisses. “They said you were hurt, there was a shooting…”
“I didn’t get shot this time, I swear,” Frankie tries to reassure her. “And Jane didn’t either, we’re fine, Ma. We’re fine. Just gonna be in a sling for a few weeks.”
“You’re not hurt, Janey?”
“No, Ma. Maybe a bruise or two, but I’m good. I gotta go check on Maura.”
“What happened to her?” Angela asks, and Emma has to force herself not to look at anyone in case they give the game away about the shooting.
“She got beat up a little bit,” Jane explains. “You stay with Frankie, Ma. I’ll report back in ten minutes, okay?”
“You’re a good girl, looking after everyone,” Angela gathers her daughter up in a bone-crushing hug, and for once Jane doesn’t look embarrassed about it. “You come here, Emma Swan. What happened to you?”
“Me? Nothing. I’m not the badass cop here,” Emma says, quite honestly. “Listen, we need to go get Henry checked out, so…”
“This is Henry?” Angela squeals. “Oh come here, let me look at you.”
Henry looks to Emma in alarm. He’s still not used to the whole crazy grandma thing, which is pretty ironic given his family tree.
“Oh, he looks just like you. Look at that chin! And the way his mouth turns down just like yours. Aren’t you a little heartbreaker in training, huh?”
“Hello, I’m Henry Mills,” he says, extending a hand like Regina no doubt taught him years ago.
“And such a little gentleman!” Angela praises, even as she ignores the outstretched hand and pulls him into a tight hug. “Come here and give your Grandma Rizzoli a hug.”
“Ma, go easy on the kid, will ya? He’s not used to… you.” Emma cautions, causing both Angela and Henry to look up in surprise.
“Grandma? Ma?” Henry frowns, his nose wrinkling. “What’s going on, Emma?”
“It’s a long story, kid. Just… go with it for now.”
Henry looks like he’s going to protest for a minute, his inquisitive nature and need to know everything not wanting to let things drop, but then he relaxes and melts into the hug, wrapping his arms around Angela as his eyes close and he just enjoys the embrace. Emma knows how he feels. There’s nothing quite like a hug from Angela Rizzoli.
Jane takes her chance and moves down a few curtains until she hears the unmistakable sound of Maura arguing with someone about science. Jane may not know the vocabulary, but she knows what an exasperated Maura sounds like, so she’s quick to intervene.
“How’s she doing, doc?” Jane asks.
“Very well, considering. We’ve done a full examination and found no evidence of a gunshot wound. I think the trauma of the event has caused some confusion but we expect that to clear up in a few hours. We’ll monitor. Are you her partner?”
“Yeah,” Jane says, not wanting to get the doctor in any trouble. “Is it okay if we have a minute…?”
“Of course,” the doctor is quick to agree, already fantasizing about his next chance to sit for a minute and grab a coffee, no doubt. “The nurses will be back to complete the bloodwork in a little bit.”
“Why would you say you’re my partner?” Maura launches into it right away.
“Because ‘best friend’ gets you thrown out until regular visiting hours. And this is one ward I can’t flash my badge to get special perks, okay?”
“You’ve angered the staff with your demands in the past?”
“You could say that. You’re looking so much better already, Maura. I’m so glad you’re okay. It was pretty scary for a minute.”
“After I was shot, you mean?”
“Maura--” Jane shifts her weight from one foot to the other.
“Don’t lie to me, Jane. I know what happened to me. I felt it.”
“It’s complicated, okay? The important thing is that you’re fine. You were lying there and you were just… gone. And I lost it for a minute. I just lost it and the thought of you… Maur… I can’t…”
“Jane--” Maura reaches for her hand, and they’ve gotten better at the hugging and things over the years, but something feels different tonight. Maybe it’s the unspoken magic stuff hanging over their heads--no, not magic, come on Jane, get it together--or the fact that Maura basically died in front of Jane’s eyes and no matter how many times she blinks that sight just won’t go away. It’s burnt into her vision like the glare after staring directly into the sun.
“We’ll talk to them about it, okay?” Jane offers, her voice muffled against Maura’s hair, which still looks almost perfect even after being shot and brought back to life. Sure, the curls are a little less perfect, but it still looks artfully mussed and smells like that ridiculously expensive Swiss shampoo that Jane feels guilty about using every time she showers at Maura’s place. “Emma tried to explain in the car, but… we’ll talk to them about it, okay? They need to get Henry checked out first and then I need to go see how Frost and Korsak are doing.”
“I’ve asked the nurses to keep me updated,” Maura explains, not letting go of Jane yet. “I was… scared, Jane. All those times you’ve told me to stay behind, not to get in the way… I should have listened. I had no business being in the field today. Or any other time.”
“Hey,” Jane soothes, pulling back just far enough to look Maura in the eye. “You were so brave today, okay? I saw how that asshole kicked out at you. And you were trying to get out to help us all when that woman grabbed you. Don’t you dare apologize for being a hero.”
“They got Henry back?”
“They did, he’s right down the hall with Frankie. And Ma. Who is gonna be in here to fuss over you any minute now. Did the hospital contact your parents?”
“You’re my emergency contact,” Maura tells her. “I meant to mention it before, but the paperwork was overdue, so I filled it out and submitted it before I got a chance to check with you.”
“That’s cool. Guess I’ll have a voicemail or two to delete, then.”
“You don’t mind?”
“Why would I mind? I only have Ma as mine because if she ever finds out second when I’m hurt, I’m worried for the safety of others.”
“Maura!” Angela cries, pulling back the curtain again, right on cue. “Are you hurt? Are they treating you okay? What happened?”
“It’s… all a bit of a blur,” Maura says, and at least that’s not enough of a lie for the hives to break out. Jane offers a silent prayer for that much. “I’m feeling fine, Angela. Really.”
“You’re sure?” Angela moves over, her hand already pressed against Maura’s forehead, checking for a fever like she’s five years old and hasn’t just been brought back from the dead. Not that Jane will ever, ever tell her mother such a thing.
“She’s sure, Ma.” Jane tries to intercept. “The doc already cleared her. Just some bloodwork to be sure they didn’t miss anything and she’ll be good to go.”
“How’s Frankie, Angela?” Maura asks, knowing it will be the perfect distraction.
“Well, it was a clean break, at least. Not like that spiral fracture he had junior year. Maybe this time he’ll listen to the doctor and actually rest his arm, but I wouldn’t bet on it. I’m going to stay at his place until he’s healed, keep an eye on him.”
“Does Frankie know that, Ma?” Jane asks.
“What, I have to ask permission to care for my own children now? Emma said to tell you they found a doctor to take a look at Henry. They’re just around the corner on the kids’ ward.”
“I’ll go check on them,” Jane says, a little too quickly.
“Leave them be, Jane,” Angela warns. “You know how Emma is. If you smother her, she’ll run.”
“Says the queen of smothering,” Jane mutters to herself. “I just want to make sure everything’s okay with them. I still need to write up reports on everything that happened. If either of them have injuries, I need to know about it.”
“They looked fine to me,” Angela offers. “Relieved to have their kid back. Say, is Emma… you know? I’m not judging, but she always had a sort of quality, you know? I mean, she spent all that time with us and never let Tommy or Frankie take her out on a date. And you know they asked.”
“Ma!” Jane scolds. “Not dating a Rizzoli male is not proof of being a lesbian. God!”
“I didn’t say it was. I just meant -- well, they’re good catches. And I see the way she is with that hoity-toity Regina. I know she was worried about her son, but who died and made her Queen of England?”
Not England, Jane thinks, the Enchanted Forest. Oh God, this is so screwed up. She needs to talk to Emma again soon, hopefully with Maura for backup. Between the two of them, they should be able to get the truth out of Emma.
“She does seem rather regal, however I’d venture to say that it has to do with her status in Storybrooke. If she holds a position of political power there, then she’s probably doing her best to uphold her reputation. Saving face and all of that.” Maura offers. “Plus, with the stress of the situation, it’s not at all uncommon for people to retreat into more formal behaviors, there’s a level of comfort in the ordered and familiar. I find it useful, myself.”
“You don’t say,” Jane teases. “Ah, here’s the bloodsucking nurse patrol.”
“How did you get in here, Rizzoli?” The grumpy nurse is the one holding the tray. Well, shit.
“She’s my emergency contact,” Maura points out. “The basilic vein in my left arm is more pronounced, you’ll have better luck with venipuncture there than in my right arm.”
“Thanks for the tip, Doc,” the nurse softens at that, someone respecting her job a little more than Jane usually does. Maybe there’s a lesson to be learned, but Jane doesn’t much care right now. “We’ll have you done in a jiffy.”
“Ma, did you think to bring--”
“There’s a sweater and those nice gray slacks you like in this bag,” Angela tells Maura, laying the tote out on the bed beside her. “I just grabbed the underwear at random, I hope you don’t mind. The flats should make it easier to get around.”
“Thank you,” Maura says, taking Angela’s hand. “I was going to call the lab and have one of the staff collect something for me.”
“No need, when I live right there,” Angela assures her. “And God knows Jane would never think to ask me.”
“I’ll get changed,” Maura says as the nurse fills another vial with blood and tapes a cotton ball over the puncture. “Then we can go interrogate Emma and Regina.”
The doctor has just cleared Henry when Regina pushes the curtain aside and moves in.
“Mom.” He grins at seeing her and Emma notices how he relaxes a little too, the same way he had in Angela’s embrace earlier. There’s some fundamental ‘mom’ness in each of them that Emma can’t seem to access, no matter how hard she tries. Maybe it’s like her magic, and she’s going to have to ask for help, but the thought of asking Regina seems like a terrible idea, so Emma stays quiet for now.
“Is everything alright?” Regina asks, brushing hair from Henry’s forehead and then running her hands down his arms, as though trying to make sure he’s still intact. “I didn’t want to leave you, but I wanted to wait for news on the sergeant.”
“I thought checking on Korsak was just a way to get in the door?” Emma asks, genuinely surprised.
“The man risked his life saving our son, not to mention both of us. The least I can do is check on his progress. Besides, the nurses now believe I’m his wife. The other detective, Frost, is doing well. They gave him a CT scan and the doctors seem happy.”
“Good. That’s really good. And Korsak?”
“They revived him, but he hasn’t woken up yet. It’s still critical.”
“So now we know all that,” Henry chimes in. “Are we gonna get moving?”
“Henry--” Regina begins.
“Kid, we can’t run,” Emma takes over the explaining, shooting a glance at Regina from the other side of Henry’s hospital bed.
“Why not? Isn’t that what you do?” Henry asks and then quickly tacks on, “No offense.”
“None taken.” Emma mutters, but it stings to know that Henry thinks of her like everyone else ever has. A runner and nothing more. Certainly not his damn hero. “Look, a lot of stuff went down while we were trying to get you back, Henry. And now that we’ve got you back, I’d like nothing more than to get out of Dodge. But other people are involved -- people I care about -- so we can’t just cut and run. We’ve gotta deal with all of this before we can leave.”
“Magic always comes with a price, even in this world,” Regina reminds them. “And the price of doing it in front of ‘civilians’ -- as you put it, darling -- is that explanations must be made. Or memories must be altered. I’m going to leave the decision on that to Emma, since she’s the one who apparently cares so much about these Rizzolis and everyone around them.”
“And if I make a decision you don’t like, you won’t just spring clean their brains anyway? How do you even do that, with magic? No, don’t tell me. I really don’t need to know.” Emma sighs, suddenly feeling like running might not be the worst idea. But she’s already done that once this trip and it certainly hadn’t helped matters. No, they’ll face this head on. And if that doesn’t work, then she’ll look the other way while Regina does her stuff.
“I’m hungry,” Henry sighs, slumping back against the pillow. “Greg wasn’t exactly cool about stopping for cheeseburgers.”
“Well, luckily for you, Henry Mills,” Jane saunters in then, Maura following behind her in clean clothes, hair tied back. “I know where the best bacon cheeseburgers in Boston are.”
“Please,” Emma snorts. “You only eat things that are chargrilled within an inch of their lives. If we’re eating, we’re going somewhere with real food.”
“You’re all very welcome at my house,” Maura suggests. “We’ll get takeout on the way.”
“Because you want to get our stories straight before taking us to the station?” Emma isn’t fooled by the sudden onslaught of niceness. She can see the anger simmering in Jane’s expression, no matter how much she tries to fake smile and cover it.
“Maybe some carbs will make you think up a story more plausible than ‘fairies made me do it’,” Jane admits, through gritted teeth.
“Fairies?” Maura looks intrigued suddenly.
“We aren’t having this conversation here.” Emma says, looking around at the various people bustling around. “But I’d be fine with going back to Maura’s. Without being cuffed, anyway.”
“Oh, so now you’re worried about what people might think of your crazy story?” Jane presses. “And no arrests here, not right now anyway.”
“Are we gonna ride in an actual police car?” Henry asks. “Because Emma won’t ever let me put the siren on in hers.”
“Just a regular car, sorry,” Jane tells him. “But you can put the blue light on top for me, deal?”
“Deal!” Henry hops down from the exam table, ready to go. Emma looks to Regina to be sure that she’s okay with this, although they really don’t have much of a choice. Regina inclines her head just a bit and Emma feels herself breathe just a little bit easier. She’s not sure exactly when Regina’s approval became the green light for so many things in her life, but something about it is weirdly reassuring.
“Let’s go,” Emma says, directing Henry towards the corridor and leading their slightly-battered little group towards the hospital exit. She needs a hot bath, a change of clothes and something hot and greasy to eat, but it really doesn’t matter which order any of those arrive in. Just a few more hours, hopefully, and they can get back to the relative sanity of Storybrooke.
“You have a lovely home,” Regina offers, as they stand around awkwardly in the living room. Henry is eyeing the takeout cartons like a wild animal who just stumbled across some defenceless chickens, so Emma springs into action.
“I can get plates, or…?”
“I’ll get them,” Maura replies. “The dinner table is just over there. Jane, you know where the coasters and placemats are?”
“Formal dining for food that comes in cardboard?” Jane whines. “Maura, the poor kid is starving. And he ain’t the only one.”
“Isn’t the only one,” Maura corrects without thinking, and Emma has to smirk at Jane being schooled every five minutes. It almost makes things worth it.
“Actually,” Regina says in a tone that’s trying just a little too hard to be conversational, “Henry is used to eating with coasters and placemats. At least when he’s with me.”
Emma manages not to flinch at the dig, but it still hurts just a little bit. After all they’ve been through, she thought they were done playing ‘who’s the better parent’, not least because it’s always been and always will be Regina. “Is there a bathroom that I can use?” She asks, suddenly feeling the walls caving in around her.
This whole ordeal has been nothing but a reminder of what a screw up she is -- who doesn’t make sure their kid is safely inside with his other mother before leaving? -- and now it feels like Jane and Regina are both on opposite sides from her.
“Of course. It’s just down the hall, third door on the left.” Maura offers with a smile and Emma supposes that she can count that as the one good thing she’s done through all of this. Maura is playing happy hostess instead of lying on a table in her own morgue and that’s something.
It’s only when she locks the bathroom door that she recognizes the pattern, remembers hiding in a much less ornate bathroom from Henry and his bombshell and his juice-commandeering that changed her whole life. And then again, she remembers, when Regina had tried to open the refrigerator and she’d lost it at the thought of Henry being gone. Even before that, when she needed to escape from less than ideal situations in her various homes, the bathroom had always been a place she could hide, at least for a few minutes -- a place to get her bearings and regroup; a place whose window was usually the easiest to wriggle out of, in a pinch. It’s funny what you only see in hindsight.
“So, Regina,” Jane begins, after her first bite of a sinfully greasy burger. Maura is going to have them in three extra spin classes for this meal alone. “Or do you prefer Your Highness?”
“It’s Your Majesty, actually,” Regina answers, removing the pickle from her own burger before taking a healthy bite. The room is quiet, waiting for her to chew and continue. “But that couldn’t possibly matter less.”
“Hey, mom?” Henry pipes up. “Am I prince on both sides of my family tree?”
“I suppose you are,” Regina tells him. “Adoption back home is a little different, but in our kingdom at least, you would be recognized as my heir. On Emma’s side, it’s even less complicated.”
“Cool,” Henry says, before shoving a handful of fries into his mouth and slurping down some chocolate milkshake.
“That’s cute,” Jane remarks. “You know, pushing delusions on a minor is probably grounds to get social services involved. If you were seen to be… how can I put it, Dr. Isles?”
“Detached from reality?” Maura supplies helpfully, picking at her lackluster salad. Even the tomatoes look kind of… sad. Jane had told her to go with the burger, just this once, but she’s used to losing the battle on food.
“What did you say?” Regina’s voice drops to a growl, and her stare is so intense that for a second Jane actually believes--no, she doesn’t. It’s just straight up rage, and that she’s seen a thousand times before.
“As a police officer, it’s actually my sworn duty to report any potential threat to a kid. And a mom who believes she’s a freaking Disney character qualifies, I would say,” Jane is calm about the threat, not least because right now she has no intention of following through on it.
“You will not,” Regina is on her feet before Jane gets a chance to blink.
“Mom!” Henry calls out, even as the lights in the room begin to flicker. There’s a sudden sound of glass breaking -- a window, just like in the warehouse and Jane feels a sliver of fear creep up her spine -- as Regina advances on her.
And when she grabs, it’s not for Jane’s throat like she expects, or even the swinging blow of a slap. No, Regina clutches Jane’s blue top and there’s this weird pressure in her chest until in a sudden flurry of motion, Emma is pulling Regina away, momentum carrying them all the way to the wall.
“Jesus Christ, Regina,” Emma mutters. “After all the crap you give me about appropriate behavior, you’re ripping hearts over dinner? Pretty sure Miss Manners doesn’t allow for that.”
“She was threatening to take Henry from us!”
“She what?” Emma spins, still holding Regina back, her own eyes shooting daggers at Jane now. “What the fuck, Jane?”
“Jane was merely concerned that you may be… experiencing some mental health symptoms. And while you both seek treatment, perhaps Henry would be better off in a temporary care situation.”
“You seriously want my kid in the system?” Emma is the one advancing now, Regina smirking behind her like the Sorcerer’s Apprentice just graduated to the assault portion of her training. “After all the shit I told you--stuff I have never shared with another living soul--you’re throwing it around as an option? Like it’s just two weeks in Cabo for him?” There are angry tears in Emma’s eyes. “Fuck you, <i>Detective</i>.”
“Emma, I’m worried about you,” Jane pleads, getting to her feet now, arms held up in a gesture of surrender. “The things you said to me--”
“Maybe it would help if I heard the whole story?” Maura suggests. “I’m not a professional psychiatrist, but I did a rotation and maintain a healthy interest in forensic psychiatry. I should be able to determine the scope of the delusions, at least. Then we can discuss options for Henry.”
“My understanding of delusions,” Regina counters. “Is that they’re usually unique to the individual. It’s almost impossible for two people to believe exactly the same thing, isn’t it?”
“Well, there’s a phenomenon known in simple terms as ‘folie à deux’,” Maura muses. “But even then it tends to be the sharing of one traumatic event, with the reactions diverging as time passes.”
“My moms are telling the truth,” Henry interrupts. “And if you try to take me from them, I’m ready to run away. I know they’ll always find me, and I’m willing to bet you won’t.”
“Then, please,” Maura insists, pointing back at the table. “Emma, you haven’t even eaten yet. Let’s talk about this. And Jane, no more threats until we’ve heard the whole story.”
“Okay, but I want you to know that I’m not screwing around here. Any other time you’d need a Clydesdale to drag me away from the hospital when both of my partners are still in there. I don’t even know if Korsak is gonna be okay yet…”
“We can call in a little while,” Maura suggests. “Emma, I missed the story in the car, so if you could start at the beginning?”
“I’m the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming,” Emma snaps, taking her seat with no grace at all and grabbing her food. “I came through a portal that was a wardrobe on one side, and a tree on this side. Someone else came with me, a kid, and that’s why I was found by a freeway. He took me there.”
“A portal,” Maura says quite calmly, like this is just another interrogation she’s sitting in on.
“Wait, wait, wait,” Jane says, almost choking on her Coke. “You don’t have a problem with anything in that sentence?”
“There are studies in theoretical physics that support the premise,” Maura returns, like it’s the most natural thing in the world. “And alternate universes are well-documented, even in popular media.” She turns to study Emma. “But why would your parents send you through a portal?”
“That’s where Regina comes in.” Emma mumbles around a mouthful of burger.
“She’s the Evil Queen.” Jane jeers.
“Was the Evil Queen.” Henry counters. “She cast a curse that sent everyone here to our world, only they didn’t remember who they really were. Snow and Charming knew that Emma was destined to be the Savior, so they sent her away so she wouldn’t be cursed too.”
“A form of failsafe,” Maura surmises. “Now, this sending you away, was it part of a prophecy? Or simply their best guess at a solution?”
“A prophecy,” Emma answers, looking suspicious about how quickly Maura is buying this. “I couldn’t break the curse until I was 28. And I didn’t know the first thing about it until Henry showed up on my birthday.”
“That’s unusual,” Maura points out. “Usually in myths, the hero is born into their destiny. Lots of foretelling and mentoring, that sort of thing.”
“Maura, do I need a psych hold for you next? Wait, did you do something to her when…”
“When she brought Dr. Isles back to life?” Regina fills in, more malicious than helpful. “Using magic, of course.”
“Okay, before we start throwing that word around--” Jane starts to argue, but Maura is locked in and processing hard.
“It’s been theorized that magic is simply an ability to manipulate nature at an elemental level,” she informs the group. “Would you say that’s an accurate reflection of how you treated me? Of what you did at the lab?”
Emma is looking at Regina for an answer, and Jane’s struck by the simple trust in that. Emma, who’d kick a person in the shins before asking them for help, is waiting for someone else to tag in and fight the fight with her. Even over the span of years, on and off, Jane never got that kind of ease around her.
“Magic,” Regina begins to answer, “at least our magic, relies heavily on emotion. It shouldn’t be possible in this world, but it seems as though there are areas -- pockets, I suppose -- where it has bled through. I believe that, plus our heightened emotions -- myself for Henry and Emma for Jane -- caused us to be able to use magic here, where there should be none. As for your original question, yes, I would say that in some cases magic allows nature to be manipulated in such a way.”
“It also depends on the type, right?” Emma asks. “Light or dark, they deal with different elements. Healing versus harming and stuff.”
“Why, Miss Swan,” Regina teases. “You’ve been paying attention.”
“Doesn’t sound like you, Swan,” Jane adds.
“You try having what feels like nuclear power surging through your fingers,” Emma grunts. “You’d do some asking around too.”
“This is all fascinating,” Jane continues. “But whether I believe you or not--”
“And you don’t,” Emma accuses.
“No, I don’t.” Jane isn’t scared to say so. “I need a version of events that can be typed up for Boston PD files. That’s what it all comes down to.”
“Wait,” Maura says, her brain finally catching up, “you said that your magic was based on emotion and that Emma used hers based on her emotion for Jane. But she saved me, not Jane. Emma barely knows me.”
“Six of one, half dozen of another, really.” Emma shrugs. “You were bleeding out and Jane was freaking out. She begged for help. I couldn’t --” Jane sees it then, in the brief look that Emma gives her before she looks back at Maura. She sees just how much Emma does care and just how hurt she is over all of this. And Jane knows she’s right -- she had begged and Emma had helped. And then she’d turned around and called her crazy, played right into all of her fears. “I knew what losing you would do to her and I couldn’t let that happen. So I just made it work. Regina helped some.”
“Thank you,” Jane says quietly, because whatever else happened in the past 24 hours, Emma definitely did something that means Maura is sitting here at the table with them. “I can’t believe, for the record, that Little Miss Science and Rationality is sitting here asking what magic saved her life.”
“You mean me?” Maura is pouting at the accusation.
“Yeah, what happened to that medical rule thing you’re always telling me? Assume hoofbeats are horses, all that crap.”
“But don’t you see?” Maura argues right back. “That’s exactly what I am doing. The evidence suggests that what Emma and Regina tell us is true. That I don’t yet have the scientific knowledge to analyze the power doesn’t make it less real. It just shows that science still has a way to go. And punishing people for things you don’t understand is more in line with Salem than what I expected of you, Jane.”
“Who’s punishing anyone?” Jane demands. “I’m listening, aren’t I?”
“You’ve been cold to Emma. Mean, even. And she’s supposed to be your friend.”
“Well, that’s because you’ve all gone nuts in the space of one day! Jesus!”
“Jane. I know you’re not entirely comfortable with divergent views that fundamentally alter your worldview--”
“Or really big words,” Emma snorts.
“But I don’t see the point in denying what we’ve all witnessed. Whether we choose to keep it within the bounds of this room is another discussion, and one we need to have now. I must confess, the scientist in me wants to fall on my knees and beg for a chance to study this power of yours. Then again, I can see why that would make you feel a little threatened. People like you haven’t been treated kindly by science over the years.”
Regina tenses and Jane can tell that she’s thinking of something that has happened to her in the past. “You would be correct about that, Dr. Isles.”
“Hey,” Emma interrupts, leaning over the table towards Regina, nodding at Henry to back her up. “With everything that’s been going on, I didn’t get a chance to… he can’t hurt you again, Regina. It’s done. They’re done.”
“I’m well aware,” Regina does the bossy, dismissive thing, but Jane’s too good at her job to miss the quirk of Regina’s lips for half a second. Maybe she doesn’t hate being fussed over as much as she likes to make out.
“I won’t let anyone else hurt you.” Emma says, the words so soft Jane barely hears them, but the sincerity is so strong she feels it tug at her heart.
“Me either.” Henry responds then and Regina looks away, Jane guesses, to hide her tears.
“Aren’t you both charming?” She says a moment later and it’s clearly a tease.
“Sure are.” Henry grins. “I mean, I totally have to grow up to be a hero now, right? Talk about destiny.”
“Being a hero isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, kid,” Emma warns, but she’s smiling at him all the same.
“Tell me about it,” Jane adds. “Okay, so the report’s gonna read Emma got Henry down from the walkway thing. Regina shot Greg in self-defence. And I took out Tamara after Maura dropped because I thought she’d shot her in the confusion. Luckily I was wrong about the shot. That much is easy to sell.”
“More problematic,” Maura picks up the thread, ever the perfect tag team member. “Is the discrepancy between reported injuries and what we were actually treated for. And a cursory explanation of the crime scene will show that Henry was actually on the pulley. Not to mention that walkway is falling apart. And if CSU does any work, they’ll find my blood on the ground.”
“But they’re only gonna do that if anyone pokes around with awkward questions. Sure, it’s an officer-involved shooting, but it’s a clean one, with plenty of witnesses,” Emma points out. “What? I do know some stuff about procedure. Sheriff, remember?”
“Yeah, witnesses like Frankie and Korsak who also know that Maura was bleeding out.” Jane frowns. “And I think Frankie saw the tractor beam thing.”
“They were compromised by pain and a heart attack respectively,” Maura interjects. “It wouldn’t be difficult to convince them they were mistaken. Especially if you were calling out to me, they may have imagined my injuries as worse than they were.”
“Well, you can’t convince them,” Jane snaps. “Unless you want to break out in hives. Maura isn’t big on lying,” she explains, for everyone else’s benefit.
“Regina and I don’t have that problem.” Emma assures. “I’ll handle Frankie and Regina can handle her new husband if -- when the time comes.”
“I don’t think we’ll need it,” Jane says, rubbing her face with her hand. “It might be best if you all haul ass back to Maine once the statements are signed. People are less likely to go around re-interviewing when its out of state. And no way my own brother or Vince does anything to get me in trouble. I don’t need outside help on that.”
“We will gladly ‘haul ass’, as you put it,” Regina agrees.
“Mom!” Henry gasps. “How come you’re allowed to say that and I’m not?”
“Because I was repeating what someone else said,” Regina points out. “Besides, you’re already picking up enough bad habits from Emma.”
“On that note,” Emma announces, scrunching up her burger wrapper and throwing it back in the bag. “I think we’ve imposed on you enough. There’s an apartment waiting for us to sleep this off, and a car to retrieve.”
“You’ll come by the station for loose ends?” Jane presses, her gut reacting to the prospect of Emma bolting, true to form.
“And, if you have time, I’d love to talk to you more about your powers. If you’d be amenable, of course...” Maura adds, in full Poindexter mode.
“We’ll see about that,” Emma hedges. “It’s just my parents will be out of their minds by now, and we should get back as soon as we can.” And damn, but it’s still so weird to hear Emma talk about parents. “But definitely all paperwork first, before you start again, Riz.”
“Call me when you’ve had some shuteye,” Jane offers. “You want me to drive you?”
“Can we take a cab?” Emma asks. “It’s just… and I say this with love, but I’m kind of ready for some family time.” And if hearing Emma talk about parents was weird, that takes the cake over everything, even all the talk of magic and fairy tale characters.
“Uh, yeah. Of course.”
“If you call us one, we’re gonna get some fresh air while we wait,” Emma suggests. “We all need to walk these burgers off for a few minutes.”
“You can wait on the porch,” Maura offers. “You saw it on the way in. I’ll turn on the light for you.”
“Thank you,” Regina says, and damn if she doesn’t actually seem to mean it. “For everything. If anything had happened to Henry, I--”
“But it didn’t,” Jane reassures her. For a moment she considers chancing a comforting pat on the arm, but it’s not worth the risk of being turned into a toad or what-the-hell-ever. “Happy to help, you guys know that.”
“See you sometime after lunch,” Emma says, leading Henry towards the door and lingering long enough to make sure Regina is caught up in their little procession. Jane watches them go, and when she turns to Maura there’s something in the moment that feels like… well, like two women who spend a lot of time together and God, wouldn’t Maura be just the loveliest thing raising a kid?
Jane shakes her head, because for all the teasing, that’s not an option on the menu. At least not in any way that involves her. She should be thinking about this kind of thing with Casey and somehow the image just won’t form. Jane closes her eyes for a second, pictures another chubby Rizzoli baby with dark, curly hair, and it’s not hard to see herself holding him. But when she tries to put Casey in the picture, she only sees Maura’s face, and that’s… okay, that can get blamed on the insanity of the week. Probably.
“Do you think they’ll be together now?” Maura asks, shattering the easy silence and pulling Jane out of her conflicted thoughts. “I mean, do you think they’re aware of the attraction signifiers they mutually display? They seemed quite oblivious before.”
“Emma Swan just used the words ‘family time’, so I suppose anything is possible.” Jane shrugs.
“Anything?” Maura asks, her voice taking on a teasing tone. “Even magic?”
“Maura--” Jane starts to warn, but there’s a commotion from the porch and she’s instantly on alert and moving.
“God, I will be so glad to get back to my apartment,” Emma groans, hauling herself up onto the porch railing, heels kicking against the panels. “What about you, kid? Ready to get out of the big city yet?”
“I haven’t really seen Boston this time either,” Henry sighs. “Greg and Tamara didn’t really give me a tour.”
“We could come back another time,” Regina suggests. “I always wanted to take you places, Henry.”
“Can Emma come too?” He asks, and Emma pretends not to notice the way Regina’s face falls. “Only, she lived here, so she’ll know all the cool places.”
“Right,” Regina says, voice tight enough to snap.
“I could just write down some cool places and directions,” Emma suggests. “Besides, my idea of cool places might not line up with yours. I’m sure your mom would have a better idea what you like and it’s not like she can’t Google.”
“But I like this!” Henry whines, and suddenly Emma sees the very tired and still-scared kid behind the ‘everything’s fine’ facade he clearly picked up from Regina. “I like when I get both of you. Nobody is mad. Nobody is left behind.”
“Well, aside from the kidnapping and mortal danger,” Regina says softly. “I suppose it hasn’t been all bad. I could maybe stand a whole weekend in your company, Miss Swan. We’ve almost managed that already.”
“It’s Emma,” she insists. “And as travel buddies go, you’re not the worst I’ve shared a car and a skanky motel room with.”
“You stayed in a motel?” Henry perks up at the mention of some new experience. “Can I stay in one on the way home?”
“We’ll see,” Regina says. “For now, there’s a perfectly decent apartment waiting. Is that the taxi?” She asks at the sound of an approaching car. Henry runs off the porch in anticipation, and Emma is about to follow him until she sees the way Regina has frozen in panic.
“Regina? Regina!” She yells. “What the… Henry, it’s not our cab, get back here!”
“His… oh, no,” Regina murmurs.
“What?” Emma asks, frantically looking Henry over for some injury that they’ve missed. “His what, Regina? What’s wrong?”
“Henry,” Regina says, suddenly much calmer and faking yet another comforting smile. “Come here, sweetheart.”
“What is it, Mom?” Regina clears her throat, and it’s almost like she’s nervous around their son all of a sudden.
“Henry... where’s your shadow?”
Jane throws open the front door then, no doubt alerted by their shouting, and in the fresh source of light, Emma sees exactly what Regina means. Where Henry’s shadow should be, stretching out just beside Regina’s, there’s only light spilling across the porch.
Emma isn’t sure exactly what that means, but she is sure what kind of luck she has when it comes to anything magic. Henry missing a shadow is bad news, and she’s about to find out exactly how bad.