Note: I need to note that I'm throwing in a slightly obscure reference to HER this chapter, but I've stated earlier in this story that telephone calls made outside of Storybrooke don't make it in, so please count the phone call to Greg's cell while he's in surgery as one of the (many) canon things I'm changing. Thanks!


Monday morning did not start well. Emma overslept, predictably, and Henry –her ever chipper, morning-type-person son- was actually having an off day.

So naturally it was raining too and everyone who usually let their children walk to Storybrooke Elementary were now crawling through the drop-off line in front of the school.

"You gotta quit breathin' kid you're fogging up my windows."

The comment should have gotten her a groan or at least an eye-roll but Henry just sighed and the cloud on the glass in front of his nose grew.

"What's up cranky?" She asked, easing off the clutch to let the Bug roll forward another car length and sparing him a glance as she braked once more. He shrugged and continued his forlorn staring contest with the downpour.

"Do you think-"

The text tone of her cell cut him off. He snatched the device off the dash to answer it and schlumped back into his seat as soon as he saw the contents.

"…Lessons are canceled because of the rain."

Emma shot him a sympathetic look.

"Did she say anything about rescheduling?"

"Nope, just a mass text to cancel."

"Sorry, kid. Maybe we can call her later this week?"

"Yeah," he sulked. "I'm just gonna run from here okay?"

He was already halfway out the door and popping his umbrella before Emma even processed what he'd said.

"Okay," she said lamely, retracting the words to stop him from the tip of her tongue. "Have a nice day."

Henry didn't even look back as the door slammed shut. Emma signaled and squealed out of the line.

Most of the cars she followed out of the parking lot turned left toward the harbor but Emma headed right, intent on swinging by Granny's for a bear claw and cocoa before she was due at the station. Of course there were no parking spots near the diner, so she continued passed it, just in time to witness as a rag top convertible slid through the stop sign at the intersection and t-boned the beater Camry in front of her.

And just like that her morning was unsalvageable.

Half a mile north of the chaos downtown, Greg Mendell was huddled in the front passenger seat of his car. He'd been sleeping in the back when the rain started and woke him in the small hours of the morning. After that he hadn't been able to sleep with the sound of the gale and the eerie flashes of lightning on the angry waves not far from where he was parked. He'd huddled in his sleeping bag until after dawn. The livid clouds prevented it from getting truly bright but at least he could see to get out of his sleeping bag and turn the car on. The tide was out and there was no real danger of the stormy sea reaching the campground but he'd decided that coffee was in order and when he returned from the convenience store he'd parked in the day-use lot above the beach and spent the rest of the morning thinking about his story and the night that had inspired it.

Almost thirty years ago he'd been camping with his father not far from where he sat now when a storm blew in, four times as loud and as furious as the one howling outside his car. They'd barely had time to get in the truck before it had seemed like they were surrounded by storm clouds and lightning and the wind had been terrible. He hadn't slept that night or any night during a bad storm since.

The next morning their camp had been destroyed by the wind and fallen branches. His father had used a chain saw to clear the worst of the debris so they could crawl back to the road in their Bronco, which sported a dented hood and a cracked windshield that needed repairing before they'd be able to drive home.

Eight-year-old Owen hadn't understood why his father didn't stop in Storybrooke, the little town just down the hill from the highway.

"What town?" His father had asked.

Owen had pointed toward the other side of the road and the large clock tower whose hands were stuck on 8:15 even though the clock on the dash read 9:37.

"You seeing things now kid?" His dad had razzed him but when Owen kept insisting about the town, even when they'd gotten home, Kurt had finally decided it was time Owen talked to a professional about his mother's death.

Fourteen years, two shrinks, 10, 220 doses of Ritalin and one B.A. in Journalism later, Owen had come to write his first story for Travel Freak on the mysterious town that no one but him could see. He found the town where he'd left it, looking very much the same as he remembered, but no matter how he tried he couldn't get passed the 'Welcome to Storybrooke' sign. His car had spun off the road like he'd hit a patch of black ice in the middle of June. When he'd tried to walk into town he'd tripped on a tree root and fractured his foot.

He'd had to use his company cellular phone to call for help. The tow truck had taken an hour to get there and the driver had insisted the nearest town was thirty-seven miles away. He hadn't pushed it, remembering what had happened with his father as a boy, and returned home to write some bullshit about a diner he'd stopped at on the trip where things mysteriously appeared and disappeared. The story had kept him his job, but his father had been furious that he'd brought "that goddamn ghost town" up again and told him he'd better come up with a penname if he was going to keep writing for his freak rag.

So Owen Flynn paid the bills with freelance pieces while Greg Mendell searched for the weird and unexplainable, waiting for the day when he could prove he had a story bigger than poltergeists and Jersey Devils. The only problem was, not only could he not get into the place, he couldn't get pictures to develop properly, or find it on any map. His GPS wouldn't plot the coordinates, and Google maps showed nothing but trees where they should be a moderately sized little town.

He hadn't given up, visiting when he could to cautiously check if anything had changed but never had any luck until last January. He'd been in Portland doing a Stephen King special and picked up a road map and there it was, in tiny print on the tip of a peninsula halfway between Portland and Rockland: Storybrooke, Pop. 6,174.

He'd wrapped the King story and set off after the one thirty years in the making. The timing couldn't have been any more perfect; his magazine was courting Travel Channel and the History Channel for a travel series and Storybrooke would be the perfect pilot for his freaky travel feature.

Unfortunately it had proven more difficult that he'd expected. The accident upon entering town had been the least of his problems. He'd always thought the hard part would be proving the town existed but instead he was finding the opposite to be true. How was he going to prove the town hadn't existed until 1983 when there was nothing to contradict the "Established: 1908" on the plaque at City Hall?

The sound of a car approaching jolted him from his contemplation. He half expected to see the Sherriff there to tell him about some kind of over-night-limit and he needed to leave. He was surprised to see silver SUV with New York plates and sighed when he realized who it was and it was definitely worse than the Sherriff. It was his boss.

Greg pushed the sleeping back into the passenger seat and grabbed his car keys before making a mad dash through the rain and into the passenger seat of the Explorer.

"What's a nice Head Editor like you doing in a place like this?" He asked lightly as he kicked sand off his shoes and shut the door against the torrent.

"You know, I spent the entire drive up here wondering the same thing? Do you know how long it takes to get here from Manhattan?

"No, but I have a feeling you're going to tell me.'

"Six hours and seventeen minutes. That's six hours and seventeen minutes I could have been…hmm, I don't know, spending time with my fiancé, working out the details of my wedding, which I'm sure you remember is in a month; or finishing my edits so that when I take of a week for my honeymoon I won't have to worry about work. But no, instead I had to leave my warm bed and my sweet fiancé at 5:00 in the morning to beat traffic and come to Bumfuck, Maine to chase down my lead writer who doesn't even have the decency to answer his cell phone for two weeks."

"I can't believe Murphy sent you," Greg said apologetically, picking at a fray in his tweed coat instead of meeting her eyes. "I've been emailing progress reports but I can't get phone calls, something about the reception in town. They go out fine but-

"I don't give a fuck about the goddamn reception I want to know why I don't have a story on my desk yet when you know this issue is either gonna make or break us!" Tamara screeched. "Thank you for the emails by the way, if you hadn't sent them Murphy would have just called the cops or fired you by now and I would still be in New York where I could take your video, write the story and leave you here to rot with the yokels!"

"Video? W-wait, wait a minute, what video?"

Tamara turned her acidic glare on him.

"What do you mean what video? The video! The one with the Witch of the West wannabe levitating shit and the only reason Murphy hasn't fired you and hired someone who understands the concept of punctuality."

Tamara finished ranting and waited for Greg to respond, defend himself, make excuses; anything other than what he was doing which mostly consisted of staring at her with a stupid expression on his face.

"I don't know what video you're talking about," he said finally, looking more suspicious than stupid now.

Tamara yanked her cell phone out of the consul and leaned over to show him the screen a few seconds later.

"You don't remember sending this? If this is a joke it isn't fucking funny."

She hit the play button. For a split second a woman, dressed in black and standing next to a bed appeared on the screen but as soon as she started to move the image blipped out.

"That's it?"

"No!" Tamara tapped the play button again. "It was like ten seconds –it's gone!"

She reopened the email, and then her own messages but couldn't find the video file anywhere on the device. She shot a desperate look to Greg who pulled his own phone out, looking for the video but found nothing.

"Are you sure it was from me?"

"Yes," she insisted. "You sent it to me right after the last time we talked on the phone, when you called to say you were gonna stick around here for a while."

"I don't remember sending you a video," he said. "I don't remember calling you, just e-mailing –though I did call Mel after the wreck…but I definitely didn't send you a video."

"You did! You said you were on to something and sent it. I had Dar look at it and then we sent it to Murphy, that's the only reason she hasn't fired you yet."

"What was on it."

"That lady –she waves her hand and shit starts flying from this bag, like make up and brushes and crap just dancing in midair. Dar said if it's faked it's the best CGI she's ever seen but the file size –somebody would have had to take a video of a video to have a file that small with those kind of special effects and she said the light was right and everything. You have to remember sending me this video."

"It's not just that, I would definitely remember a woman who levitated a bag full of beauty supplies and I'm pretty sure I've never seen her in my life."

"Then who sent the video?"

"Look, I know there is definitely something going on in this town but I haven't been able to prove it," Greg told her. "I've been trying to prove that this town existed since I was just a kid but nobody believed it few months ago."

She opened her mouth and from her expression Greg could tell she was about to spout some possible way to debunk his tale that he had heard a hundred times before.

"No!" He cut her off. "I know what you're going to say but I am telling you, in the last thirty years I have stood outside this town with cops, with ghost hunters, with psychics and even with my father and not one of them could see it but here we are sitting here right now. This town is a living myth and we can prove it!"

"How? You have the real story right there," she waved the phone at him. "Black magic woman, in the flesh! I'll call Dar and she can send us the file again. All you have to do is find her and you have the greatest material you've ever written."

"Right, the best lead I have to figuring out this whole damn town and I can't remember taking that video, and now it just randomly disappears off your phone? What if there's more going on here? If it's real and I sent it to you…What if she caught me; maybe right after I sent it? What if she wiped my memory or something?"

"Seriously? I know you want this TV show but this is some serious X-files shit you're talking about."

Tamara could just about wrap her mind around the magic lady; she'd seen some weird shit of her own in her globe trotting; hell, some of the stories her Mawmaw told her were enough to make her want to believe in the first place. A whole town that just appeared over night though? She wasn't convinced Greg hadn't been drinking too much of his own kool-aid.

But, mad as she was that she had to come up here after his late ass –and she was fucking pissed- he was a good writer and he knew his trade. With a serious offer for an expansion into television on the table he wouldn't pull this kind of bullshit on her if he wasn't for real. And if it was for real then now this story was even bigger than a strange travel destination.

"I am willing to go with you on this one, but if it goes bust it is both our asses on the line. We have a week to figure out how the hell you sent me this video and don't remember it or find something better."'

"I've been looking for a month Tamara, what makes you think we can get a story in a week?"

"We have a solid lead now. We gotta find witchy woman here," she said, tapping the screen of her phone where the bizarre video was running in a loop. "Where's the nearest hotel? I want to drop my stuff off, and then I think we should start at the hospital; see if we can't find our bedridden friend there."

"Get back on Harbor Boulevard," he pointed to the main road behind them. "Go up to Franklin and hang a right, the place is called Granny's."

"Aren't you coming?" She asked as he popped his door open and stuck a leg out.

"You definitely don't want me with you on this one."

"Why?" She asked suspiciously.

"I uh, may have managed to fall onto bad terms with the proprietor."

"What did you do?"

"Nothing technically illegal," he defended himself. "Although, I did kind of get arrested –They dropped the charges though!"

Tamara's expression was growing furious again.

"It was a couple weeks ago; I heard some geezers talking in the diner about the old bat that owns it needing a new freezer door before the next full moon –sounds like the start of a good werewolf story right? And I wasn't having any luck with any other leads so I might have snuck into her back room to take some pictures."

Tamara covered her eyes, already knowing where this was going. Privacy laws were the bane of her existence, as they usually came down on the side of private citizens and even business owners and hindered the journalism process; at least in the case of the more off beat of the topics her magazine tended to cover.

"If I can't get a room because of your shitty people skills I am going to go back to Murphy, take that video and write this story myself and tell your father than you're stuck in your nowhere town unless he comes to get you."

Greg recognized it for the empty threat it was, she was too invested now that her precious video had disappeared, but bringing his father up was a little low.

"Just don't mention my name."

"I'll pick you up in forty-five minutes to go to the hospital," she called as he slammed the door shut and ran back to his own car.

By eleven, after the morning she'd had, Emma was more than ready for that stop at Granny's, before she arrested someone out of hanger.

The bell over the door tinkled as she ducked inside out of the unrelenting and she smiled sheepishly as she hung up her soaked coat and sauntered over to an empty bar stool; still feeling sodden from head to toe. Being out of the jacket helped but her hair hung in damp shanks and her jeans were soaked; someone had handed her an umbrella about the same time the EMT's had shown up but it hadn't done much to protect her from the rain for three hours while she diverted traffic and wrote out citations.

"Hey Ems, how's your day been?"

Emma gave the perky waitress a droll glare in response and went about twisting her hair up into a bun.

"Monday'd huh?"

"Oh yeah."

"Sorry. Coffee?" Asking was perfunctory, she was already filling a mug.

"And a grilled cheese sandwich, tomato soup and fries with the works."

"Uh-oh, that bad?"

"Whose idea was it to let Stu Lytle have a Boxster anyway? He's barely tall enough to see over the steering wheel. And who drives a classic car when it's pouring cats and dogs?"

Ruby set out Emma's drink with a sympathetic smile.

"That sucks. Good thing you didn't have a hangover on top of it huh?"

She turned to put Emma's order through so she didn't get to appreciate the filthy glower Emma aimed at her.

The bell over the door tittered again but Emma didn't look to see the newcomer until she felt someone approach her and she realized who it must be. She turned on her seat to find a smiling Elena leaning against the barstool next to her.

"Fancy seeing you here," she drawled.

"Miss Swan," Elena greeted and Emma decided she could get used to being addressed thusly if Regina would always add that much warmth to the words. "It seems we're destined to run in to each other every time I come to town."

"I dunno, destiny has never been that nice too me; must be something else."

"I really don't intend to keep crashing your meals but if you're not meeting someone perhaps you'd be willing to keep me company?"

"Absolutely," Emma answered immediately, ignoring the inner voice that questioned whether that was wise with ease.

"A booth just cleared if you want it," Ruby informed them, winking at Emma before turning to slide new order slips into the kitchen.

"Thanks Ruby," Emma muttered, hoping Elena had missed it. Contrary to whatever Ruby was imagining Emma had zero intentions of making her relationship with the woman anymore complicated than it already was. Regardless of whether she might or might not want to. But lunch…well, it was just lunch and they were both there eating any. It wasn't like she planned it.

"Coffee Elena?"

"Iced tea please."

"Did you need a menu?"

"No, I'll just have the soup in a bread bowl."

"Good day for it, isn't it? I'll be over with your drink in just a minute."

"Thank you, Ruby." Elena grinned at her and waited while Emma collected her own beverage and keys and together they slipped into the recently vacated booth.

"So, how has your day been?" she asked, watching with amusement as Emma dumped sugar into her coffee.

"It's a Monday," Emma said shortly, deciding that was explanation enough; she didn't feel like rehashing her morning.

"Mm, the rain doesn't help does it?"

"Not a bit. Henry was bummed you had to cancel."

"I wish I didn't need to," Elena said with genuine regret. "But the arena is a mess and there's really no point in holding a lesson if we can't leave the barn."

"No kidding. He'll get over it. It's not like he hasn't gotten more riding time than the rest of the kids anyway."

"He's welcome to more, I feel terrible about what happened on Saturday."

"It wasn't your fault."

"He was on one of my horses, I get to feel responsible," she informed her. "Owner's prerogative."

"Well, it hasn't fazed him at all."

"I'm glad; I know how hard it can be to get back on after having an experience like that."

"It sounds like there's a story there," Emma commented, as she sipped her coffee.

"Many stories actually," Elena replied, with a smile like Mona Lisa. "How do you think I came up with the rules?"

"What, 'don't get off' and 'hold on'? Aren't those pretty standard?"

"One would think. The first time I fell off a horse it was because I'd tried to climb off a runaway before we got to a busy road. The horse made it across with no trouble and I would have been fine if I had just stayed on it so my father decided he'd better remind me from then on; something of a running joke."

Once again Emma was intrigued by the offered tidbit of Elena's memories. She knew very little about Regina's past beyond what had been in Henry's book and they hadn't exactly made it to the point in their relationship where they could sit down and talk about it. If Snow knew anything about the former queen's life before they'd met she hadn't told Emma, so she had no way of knowing whether Elena's blessed memories held any truth. If they had been reworked into her new life the way everyone else's seemed to be then this might be a glimpse into things she doubted Regina would ever be willing to tell her about and if not…well, it wasn't as if the conversation was unpleasant so Emma saw no harm in trying.

"You know I think runaway horses are more common than I've been led to believe," Emma said lightly. "Mary Margaret had an experience with a runaway horse when she was just a little older than Henry."

"More common than I'd like to admit," Elena conceded. "But not so common that I feel they're unsafe for children."

Her regret over Henry's incident was obvious and Emma could have kicked herself for rubbing it in.

"No, I didn't mean to imply that," she rushed to say. "I was just trying to –I don't have a lot of horse related contributions to make to this conversation, so I was going with what I had. I didn't mean to make you feel guilty or anything."

"It's fine. Answer me something though, how is it that your sister has s much experience with horses and you don't?"

"Ugh, long, complicated story," Emma groaned. One which she had no intention of telling at the moment, though Ruby's full disclosure with Belle seemed to have its benefits and she'd been wondering if it might not be easier to just show Elena magic and explain what was going on. She wasn't going to do that without running it by Henry first however, so she gave the highly-censored, slightly duplicitous, short version. "We weren't raised together; we didn't even know that we're related until a few months ago."


"Like I said, it's complicated. I was put in the foster system and shuffled around until I ran away and wound up pregnant in prison and she was raised by her father and became a teacher here. Henry, actually, is the one who figured out our connection, about the same time he was using adoption web-sites to find me."

"He told me he'd been adopted," Elena said. "I hope that's all right?"

"It's fine." It wasn't as if it was a secret, even under the blessing which was why Emma had no problem mentioning the circumstances of Henry's birth.

"He also told me his adoptive mother is gone?"

"Sort of, we're…looking for her," Emma hesitated on the words; feeling like the conversation was absurd and gravely important all at once. "He needs her back."

"Well, then, I hope you find her," Elena said sincerely.

"Me too," Emma replied with a thin smile and found herself searching the expressive face before her for any hint of recognition even though she knew it wouldn't be there. She felt like she was constantly playing a game of hot and cold, looking for a crack in Elena she could press and chip at until it widened enough to find Regina in. There never was and she felt silly when she caught herself trying.

"So," she started, needing a change in the subject as much as she needed to breathe. "How did you get from climbing off moving horses to champion rider?"

"Practice; what else?" Elena accepted the topic leap gracefully. "My father owned a ranch and horses were our life. I wanted to be a barrel racer but my mother disapproved; she thought western riding was masculine and low-brow so when he passed on she pushed me into dressage and cross-country because she thought it was more suitable for 'a lady of my stature.' When I didn't make it to the Olympics she shipped me off to university, hoping I'd forget about horses and get my MRS. degree from some future senator or something but by then my trust had kicked in, so I put myself through vet school, started working as a trainer and I haven't seen her since."

Elena looked down at her drink and reached out as if to play with the straw but she stopped herself and folded her hands solemnly on the table top instead. Emma took in the fingers that were so deliberately relaxed; her rigid posture and the faraway look in her eyes and knew that there was more to that story but knew just as deeply that this wasn't the time or the place to dig at it. She would, soon, because that's what she did, she dug and she picked and she found. That was her true superpower; seeing through what was said and what wasn't and looking until she found the truth somewhere behind them both and right now she could see what Elena said and what Regina never spoke of, but implied, about parents and childhoods and "Your mom, she's a piece of work you know?" and "Indeed I do," and she knew there was truth there, just beyond her reach.

"Wow," Emma said and silently berated herself for not coming up with something more intelligent to say, but it was enough to pull Elena back from wherever she'd gone and when she looked up there was warmth in her eyes again and a knowing quirk to her lips.

"What about you? Forgive me for saying but 'pregnant in prison' to town Sherriff seems like a bit of a leap –not that it isn't commendable."

"Yeah, who would have thought right?" Emma scoffed. "It's another long story."

One she had never told anyone before. Mary Margaret had assumed that she'd gone straight into bounty hunting after her release and Emma had let her. She hadn't mentioned the three year gap in between or how nobody wanted to hire an eighteen-year-old with no credible work experience or references and a juvie record instead of a resume.

When she'd gotten her self back, Snow hadn't asked, and to Emma's relief Henry never had either; she hadn't been able to tell him about the low-life who'd knocked her up, how would she ever explain getting out of jail and having nowhere to go but back? How boosting cars and saying one step ahead of her parole officer had led to moving contraband. Which, at the time, had been a lot of fun until the law had caught up with her and the thought of seven years for 'possession with intent to sell' made eleven months in minimum detention look like a goddamn vacation.

She wanted even less to confess how she had run then, letting others take the fall while she slipped through the cracks and slinked across stateliness, finally making it to Tallahassee where she'd used dirty money to recreate herself.

"I told you mine," Elena prodded.

"I show you mine, you show me yours, over lunch?" Emma feigned shock and added the coy grin she'd perfected over years of running cons and duping fugitives. "Miss Quijano, I don't know what kind of girl you think I am-"

"You don't have to," Elena cut her off with a laugh. "But I'd like to hear it, someday."

Someday was a loaded worded; a sore concept when you'd spent most of your life watching other people get someday but never having it yourself. Henry, Snow and David believed with everything they were that if you were good then good things would come to you; that if you believed everything would work out happily then someday it would. But life in this world had taught Emma that someday never came unless you went and took it yourself and didn't care who you stepped on getting it. Her parents and her son wouldn't understand and she doubted the woman with charmed memories would either.

"Maybe someday I'll tell you," Emma allowed, thinking that if they did lift this blessing then maybe a former evil queen might understand what her family never would; that sometimes the only difference between a good person and a bad person was the opportunity they'd been given.

She opened her mouth to change the subject again, not that she knew what to, since pasts were a minefield but was saved by the diner door tinkling open again as a familiar face stepped inside.

"Emma!" Snow's eyes found her immediately and she darted over to perch next to her daughter.

"Hi," Emma blurted, more disgruntled than she'd have liked to admit by her mother's sudden arrival.

"And…Hi, Elena," Snow stuttered, looking genuinely surprised to see who Emma was having lunch with. It obviously threw her off her game, but only for a fraction of a second. "Sorry, I didn't mean to interrupt, I thought you were Ruby."

"Nope, us peasants have to work through lunch," Ruby announced as she walked up carrying a tray loaded with Emma and Elena's food.

Emma was less than successful at keeping her chagrin at the intrusion off her face but Elena seemed to take it all in stride.

"It's fine," she said amiably. "Emma's popular today; I was the first to invite myself to eat with her."

Emma forced a what-are-ya-gonna-do? grin to her face when she felt both Ruby and her mother scrutinizing her.

"Did you want to order Mary Margaret?" Ruby asked pointedly when no one seemed to be picking up the trail of conversation.

"Yes!" Snow chirped, snapping her attention to present rather than her daughter, much to Emma's relief. "Just a skinny latte to go."

"White chocolate?" Ruby asked a little too innocently for it not to be a joke.

"Café and you know it Ruby Lucas." Snow glared at her as she handed her money over.

"Be right back." Ruby giggled and Snow sighed dramatically before settling back into the bench as she sashayed away.

"Rough day?" Emma guessed, eyebrows raised at her mother's erratic behavior. She hadn't seen her in such a state since she'd been sneaking around with David before the curse broke.

"You could say that." Her tone suggested she would have called it something more colorful and if her morning had been anything like Emma's then she had to admire her restraint. "David's having lunch, with Kathryn."

Emma's eyes bugged comically.


Snow nodded just a little too quickly and a little too long to convince anyone that she was totally okay with the situation.

"She still won't talk to me, but she and Fred are officially engaged and she needs David to sign divorce papers."

"Oh." Was all Emma could think to say.

"Yes. Oh. And the phone at the office has been ringing off the hook with calls from people who are very unhappy with the state of the roads this morning and the nuns are in a tizzy about whether the weather is going to interfere again with the Miner's Day festival. And, to top it all off, Mr. Gold decided to stop by today."

Emma coughed as the fry she'd been eating suddenly got caught in her esophagus.

"That's how I felt about it too."

"What for?" Emma demanded.

"He wanted to discuss how much the town has changed since he left for New York," Snow answered delicately and Emma spared a glance to Elena who was quietly enjoying her soup but obviously paying attention to the conversation. "And he wanted to snoop around in the contracts office, apparently it's not quite the way he remembers either."

"Of course not," Emma groaned. She'd known Gold had been too quiet lately, if anything she supposed she should have been surprised that he'd taken as long as he had to venture out of his shop and start causing trouble.

"I'm sorry, who is Mr. Gold?" Elena interrupted.

"He owns the pawn shop, and until recently most of the town," Snow explained. She shot Emma a significant look and continued, "He used to have a great deal of influence on the Mayor's office."

Emma smugly popped another fry into her mouth, correctly interpreting the look as Snow finally being completely convinced that Emma's version of events was correct and Gold truly had never been the mayor –but the woman sitting across from them had.

"Sounds like a swell guy," Elena quipped drily.

"Gee, you betcha," Emma muttered, looking up to find Elena grinning at her with a twinkle in her eye and despite the return of her irritation with the day in general, Emma returned the smile. She was aware of Snow's gaze batting back and forth between the two of them again but couldn't bring herself to care though she did break eye contact and returned her attention to her fries.

"Sorry that took so long." Ruby arrived with Snow's latte. "How's your food? Soup okay?"

"Excellent, thanks Ruby," Elena answered for them.

"Right, thanks," Snow said abruptly. "I've got to get back to the office. I'll talk to you later Emma?"

"Sure." Emma had known Snow had planned to interrogate her some more about Regina at Henry's lesson, she figured she was really in for it now that she'd been caught having lunch with 'the evil queen.'

"Nice seeing you again," Snow told Elena politely as she gathered her coffee and purse. "Bye!"

"Maybe it's just me; was that awkward?" Elena asked as soon as the bell over the door tinkled, announcing Snow's exit.

"Super awkward," Ruby answered for Emma as she refilled the blonde's coffee. "Would you like another iced tea?"

"No thanks."

"All right, just stop by the register on your way out then."

"Will do," Emma promised and picked up her sandwich, dipping it liberally in her soup before taking a big bite.

Elena started tearing her bread bowl into pieces to dip too and together they ate in companionable silence until Elena paused to ask, "So David and Mary Margaret aren't married?"

Emma swallowed. "Not technically?"


"It's a long story."

"I'm beginning to think that all of your stories are long stories."

"I lead a very interesting life. In the Chinese sense."


"You know that old saying about living in interesting times? It's supposed to be a Chinese curse?"

Elena cocked one eyebrow skeptically.

"It's a thing," Emma insisted.

"If you say so." The twinkle in her eye was back and Emma knew she was being teased.

"I do."

"Then it must be," She replied and drained the last of her iced tea.

"Well," she continued definitively. "It's been delightful eating with you. But I need to get going; with it raining I thought today would be a good day to get a farrier out, I need to meet him at the barn."

"You need a coat fitting?" Emma asked skeptically.

"Not a furrier, a farrier," she said. "'Air'."

Emma's expression didn't change.

"It's a blacksmith who puts shoes on horses."

"Don't try to act like that's a word anybody knows."

Elena rolled her eyes. "I trusted you about the Chinese thing; you'll just have to go with me on this one."

"Okay," Emma agreed happily; then, catching herself with a silly smile on her face tried to school it into something more Sherriff-y and less…smitten.

She stood, dropping her napkin onto her plate and offering a gallant hand to Elena as the brunette slid from the booth and joined her.

"And they say chivalry is dead," Elena quipped.

"Oh, definitely not in Storybrooke," Emma replied, but she dropped Elena's fingers, hoping no one who would report back to her mother or Henry had seen her little move. This was not a date. She was pretty much able to convince herself of that, right up until the moment Elena handed Ruby a credit card and covered their bill.

"Hey," Emma protested.

"You owe me now Sherriff," Elena informed her with a smirk that couldn't be mistaken for anything but flirty. "And I expect better stories from you next time, regardless of their length."

Emma's mouth hung open in stunned silence.

"I'll take that as an agreement," she said smugly.

"Uh, I'm pretty sure not answering doesn't actually constitute a yes."

"Would you like to have lunch again, with me, sometime?"

"Yes, but-

"It's settled then. Are you going to get the door?"

"Are you always going to be this bossy?"

"I am a trainer; it's in my nature." She waited to the side of the door with folded arms and pursed lips that did nothing to hide the smile shining from her eyes. "Well, Miss Swan?"

Emma tugged her coat into place and stepped forward, invading Elena's personal space with all the bravado she could muster. In the low heeled boots she favored Elena had to tilt her head up to meet Emma's gaze. For a desperate second Emma was close enough to feel her breath on her chin, close enough to lean forward and-

She caught herself and reached passed Elena, tugging the door open; the bell and the rush of damp, chilly air shattered the moment.

"After you my lady," Emma said with an exaggerated flourish toward the patio.

Elena's smirk returned.

"If that's how you're going to play," she snarked, "Then I prefer, your almost royal, not quite Highness, Dr. Quijano. "

Emma rolled her eyes and together they turned to make their way out, nearly colliding with the woman making a mad dash toward them with a roadmap covering her head. Instinct kicked in and Emma reached out to pull Elena towards her as she moved backwards and held the door open further.

"Sorry!" The woman cried as she double-stepped sideways to avoid running into them. "I wasn't watching where I was going very well; it's really coming down out there."

"No harm done," Elena politely replied as Emma released her.

"I'm glad, I…I'm looking for a room, I was told I'd find the B&B owners here?" Her voice caught briefly when she looked up from the map she was folding and saw who she was talking to.

Ruby arrived and traded a worried glance with Emma from behind the woman's back before speaking up.

"You were told right," she said. "What can I do for you?"

"I'd like a room."

"So you said." Granny joined Ruby at the register. "For how long?"

"Well, that's the thing. My name is Tamara Ray, I'm from Travel Freak magazine; I believe you've met a colleague of mine, Greg Mendell?"

"Honey, that's not a name you want to be dropping if you're hoping to stay in my establishment."

"I'm more than aware of that, believe me," Tamara said emphatically. "But I hope we have a common goal and you'll have mercy on me. I'm Mr. Mendell's boss and I'm here to enforce his deadline. I'll be leaving in a week, with Mr. Mendell in tow, whether he has a story or not."

"Considering what he's willing to do to get his story I have to say I'm surprised you're still willing to employ him," Emma spoke up.

"I'm sorry, who are you?"

"Sherriff Swan," Emma said, drawing her jack back as she put her hands on her hips so the badge on her belt was visible.

"Of course; and you are?" She turned her scrutiny to Elena and Emma didn't like the way she studied her one bit; like a scientist waiting to see if a lab rat would perform a behavior.

"Just leaving," the trainer replied frostily and Tamara backed down, turning once more to the Lucas women to appeal to their hospitality.

"Tenacity is a trait I look for in travel writing," she said. "But I can't tell you how sorry I am that one of my reporters overstepped his purview or thank you enough for not pressing charges."

Emma opened her mouth to say something else but Elena's fingers bussed her wrist and stopped her. She glanced at the brunette who inclined her head toward the doors, torn between following her and lingering. But sheriffs didn't normally hover over regular business transactions and they were all trying to keep Storybrooke from seeming like anything out of the usual. So she followed Elena out the door, but not before she gave the barest nod to Ruby who was watching her while Granny sparred with Tamara, waiting for her to weigh in. She figured it was better to give her a room and possibly have some idea of when she was coming and going than leave her with Greg and a vendetta on the beach.

As they walked out she heard Granny acquiesce and offer to show the newcomer over to the B&B in the back of the diner before the door closed behind her.

"You don't see many outsiders around here do you?" Elena observed as she opened an umbrella and Emma pulled up the hood of her coat.

Despite being relatively protected from the rain Emma felt Elena press close, her right arm settled in front of Emma's left so they were almost linked and the umbrella sheltered both of them as they meandered to their cars.

"What makes you say that?" Emma asked as if she couldn't guess.

"I'm not sure what tipped me off first," Elena said with mock thoughtfulness. "The openly hostile looks I got when I first came to town or everyone apologizing and mentioning they didn't see newcomers much once they got to know me."

"Well, Storybrooke's a little…" weird, strange, fucked up? "…secluded, but I know what you mean."

Not that anyone -other than Regina- had treated her with open hostility when she'd decided to stick around. Suspicion and curiosity yeah, but most people just left her alone. Apparently fairytale people who retained their identities were less hospitable than Disney would like people to believe.

"The 'colleague' she mentioned caused some trouble a few weeks ago," Emma added feeling like Elena was waiting for her to explain something. "I don't think anyone will be sorry to see him go."

"That sounds like another story I'd like to hear."

"It's another long one," Emma warned.

"Remember I said I wasn't particularly concerned with size?"

"Now I think you're just playing with me Doctor," Emma drawled as she tugged open the truck door so Elena could climb inside.

Elena let out a laugh that was positively wicked.

"Perhaps," she concurred as she folded the umbrella. "Will you be around? If there's a clear day bring Henry over, we'll go riding."

"He'd like that."

"Would you?"

"Yes," Emma admitted, because as nervous as she'd been about the activity she'd found herself genuinely enjoying riding in spite of her awkward parents and Henry's adventure and they'd had a lot of fun learning.

"Good. It's supposed to be sunny Wednesday. I'll see you both at 5:00."

Emma realized she'd played right into Elena's hand and found herself grinning stupidly again as she nodded.

"Goodbye, Emma."


Emma tipped the door closed and stepped back as Elena started the engine and pulled out into traffic. She stood in the rain and watched until the crimson Silverado turned onto Harbor and disappeared around the corner.

This was ridiculous. Henry was supposed to be the one spending time with Elena. Henry was supposed to be the one falling in love with Elena.

Falling in love? She was not falling for someone who didn't exist. Elena would disappear when Henry kissed her and she would resume her hate/whatever non-relationship with Regina and that would be that.

Emma's phone beeped and she fished it out of her pocket to find a text from Ruby waiting.

Ruby: Was that a date? ;)

No. Emma jabbed the send button. Touch screens just weren't as satisfying as keypads when it came to vehemence.

Ruby: It totally was!

Ruby: You go girl!

Ruby: Henry's mom has got it goin' on!

Ruby: Too soon?

Ruby: Okay, well what do you want me to do about this Tamara character?

Nothing for now. Emma texted back as she ducked into the bug and out of the rain.

Keep an eye on her and let me know if Greg starts snooping again. With any luck she'll get him out of our hair soon.

Ruby: 10-4, Sherriff :0)

Tamara set her bags down in the room Mrs. Lucas had shown her to and went immediately to the window, unfortunately it faced the forest instead of the square, but she figured the blonde cop and her brunette companion would be long gone anyway; they'd been at their cars when she and Granny made their way from the diner to the B&B.

She pulled out her phone, cursing again because the video still wasn't working. It hadn't shown witchy woman's face for very long, but the woman was striking and Tamara was positive the Sheriff's friend was the very person she was after. She exited out of her messages and dialed a number.

"Good news," she said as soon as Greg picked up, apparently his reception was working fine now. "I think I found our gal, seems she's acquainted with your friend the Sheriff. She drives a red Chevy pickup. Get looking for her. If we know where she works or where she lives this will be a lot easier."

"What are you going to do?"

"I'm going to keep an eye on the Sheriff, I've got a feeling about her; she knows something."

Tamara hadn't missed the subtle exchange between Swan and the waitress. Maybe Greg had been onto something when he'd gone snooping around the diner. She doubted it was werewolves but it was obvious to her that Swan was leading the town masquerade and she wasn't fooled. Swan had been hovering over the nameless brunette like a mother bear and she doubted it was because she was worried that Tamara was going to woo away her lady friend.

"Just see if you can't follow her for now, there can't be that many red trucks driven by women in a town this size. Keep your distance and we'll pay a social visit later."

She ended the call and then thought to check her messages again before she put the phone away. She was a little surprised that her fiancé hadn't called to check up on her and dialed out again only to be disappointed when a tinny recording picked up.

"The party you have reached, Neal Cassidy, cannot answer the phone. Leave a message after the tone."

"Hey Baby, just wanted to let you know I made it here. I got a room for the week but hopefully I'll be on my way home in a few days. Call when you can."

She touched the phone off and stowed it in her laptop case before slinging the strap across her shoulders. She grabbed the old-fashioned brass key from where she'd dropped it on the bed and set off for her stakeout.

"Hey," Emma looked up from her phone as David came through the office door almost two hours before she expected him.

"Hey," he echoed tiredly as he sank into the seat at the desk next to hers.

"Do I dare ask how it went with Kathryn?"

"You heard huh?"

"Mary Margaret came at found me at lunch."

"What did she say?"

"Not much; just that you were meeting to go over divorce papers. I was at Granny's with Elena, so she couldn't really say much."

"Elena…Regina, Elena?"

"Do you know anyone else here called Elena?"

"Good point."


For a moment David looked like he was going to say something but then he snapped his jaw shut and relaxed once more.

"No," he said finally. "No, I think I have reached my heart to heart limit for the year."

"Good to know I come by that one honestly," Emma quipped, grateful that he didn't want to press the Evil Queen thing. "So that bad huh?"

"Nah, just catching up."

"So you're like…friends?"

"Yeah." David sounded like he was surprised by that, and when Emma looked over at him he looked perfectly content, leaning back in his chair, foot propped up on one knee and his hands folded across his stomach.

"But she still won't talk to Snow?"

"Well, she really doesn't know Snow. They only really met at our wedding, and I hadn't heard from her since before the curse broke so…"

"Right," Emma finished, all too familiar with how things had been between Mary Margaret and Kathryn before the curse broke.

"Anyway, I thought I'd come in early. You can pick Henry up from school and I'll head home in time to have dinner with your mom."

"Sounds good. Want me to take the on-calls tonight?"

"Nah, it's not like anything ever happens anyway."

"Ooh," Emma knocked on her desk three times. "Don't say things like that; we'll have six catastrophes before midnight."

"When did you get superstitious?" David chuckled.

"It's been creeping up slow ever since I woke my kid up from a sleeping curse and found out my parents are Snow White and Prince Charming," Emma dead-panned. "You wanna head over to the cemetery then?"

"Yeah, let's go."

At the cemetery Emma pulled the key to the lock she'd put on the Mills tomb off her personal key ring to unlock the heavy metal doors and pull them open. Sunlight spilled into the black space, lighting dust motes as they drifted aimlessly in the air, stirred up by the doors opening. The two side by side vaults remained undisturbed since Emma had last opened the tomb, weeks before; the placards on them coated in a thin layer of dust because Regina no longer made regular visits to her father's grave.

Emma could feel raw power emanating from the coffin on the right. She'd been caught out in a thunderstorm once in Florida and the air in the mausoleum felt just like that, like she was holding a live wire with a mild current; it was uncomfortable and made her skin tingle and hair stand on end. The tomb definitely hadn't felt like that when she'd visited with Henry, or when she'd checked it before putting the lock on the doors. She had assumed then that Regina sealed her mother's coffin with magic, but now it felt as though that magic growing, spilling out to fill the crypt. Was it supposed to do that?

"This is it?"

"Yep, that's the one," Emma answered as she stepped in cautiously, a little worried her mere presence would awaken what slept inside.

She reached toward the tomb than held Cora's body. Her skin prickled the closer her hand got; the magic was cold and flowing, like the coffin was full of dry ice and water, and leaking thick, invisible fog everywhere. When Rumpelstiltskin had brought magic to Storybrooke the cloud that roiled through the town had a similar feeling, but it hadn't chilled her as this magic did. As soon as her hand connected with the granite it seemed to dissipate, the charge didn't recede but the misty feeling of the magic felt warmer, less malevolent.

"Emma?" David questioned behind her, and she turned to see him with his hands raised as though he wasn't sure whether to go for the gun holstered near his elbow or a sword that wasn't on his belt.

"It's okay," she said, though she wasn't quite sure that it was she was confident that the spell on the coffin was holding and the woman entombed inside wasn't going to burst through at any moment. She pulled her hand away and was pleased that the cold, dense feeling didn't return even though she could still feel magic swirling around the tomb. She wished, not for the first time, that she had more experience with her own power, or at least knew how it was that she actually used it.

"Are you sure?"

"Yeah, it just feels…weird in here. I think it's supposed to."

Not for the first time, Emma wished she could just ask Regina what was going on but as it was she couldn't even ask Rumpelstiltskin. Maybe it was time to hit the books, starting with the ones Belle had found. If there was no one around to ask about magic then she'd have to start teaching herself. Not like it would be the first time.

She retreated back to the doorway, ushering her father out so she could shut the doors and replace the lock.

"Do you stop by often?"

"Everyday," she replied. "I usually just drive by and make sure the lock is still on."

"You don't go inside?"

Emma shook her head. "Maybe I should, but I've never felt like I needed too."

"Does it always feel…weird?" David asked, like he was trying to figure out what she was talking about.

"Have you ever felt magic? When you woke Snow up or the curse broke?"

He shook his head.

"I thought I would. Grumpy told me once that there was a light surge when I kissed her, but to me it just felt like kissing your mother always does."

Emma's lip twitched; her parents' romantic activities were something she actively tried to not think about.

"Why?" David asked as they walked back to the cruiser.

Emma shrugged.

"I can feel it sometimes, it's like electricity but more organic. Going over the town line doesn't feel like anything but I could see it when Gold passed through. And in there it was just…thick."

"Is that bad?"

"I don't think so?"


"But I don't know," Emma clenched her keys and looked back at the mausoleum. "I don't think it's good. The sooner we get Regina back the better."

"Have you talked to Mother Superior? I know you said she can't help with the blessing but she should probably know there's a cursed witch in town and there's magic in her tomb."

"There's magic everywhere or there's supposed to be."

"But the fairies need diamond dust to use theirs, maybe we should be worrying less about the beans and more about mining," David mused.

"Seriously? You're willing to table your trip home?" She couldn't keep the disdain out of her voice, although she did make a valiant effort.

"Not indefinitely," David said. "But I don't think anybody will be going home if we have a witch that even an evil queen is afraid of running amok."

"Amok? Seriously?"

"Amok," David confirmed with a smirk and Emma thought he was trying for humor. Then his expression turned serious and he faced her fully, putting his thumbs through his belt loops like he was stopping himself from reaching out and touching her. "We said we'd trust you on this one, but I think if you're serious about bringing Regina back to help us with her mother I think you'd better have a contingency plan, just in case she does go evil queen on us."

Emma rolled her eyes.

"Here's the thing, I know you guys like your buddy the Blue Fairy but I don't trust her. You realize she's the one who lied to you for Gepetto so I had to come here with an enchanted puppet instead of a responsible adult?" She couldn't bring herself to say mother, she couldn't think about what she'd missed out on or she was going to start freaking out again.

David's jaw set and he looked down guiltily.

"So the fairies are not exactly my plan B, more like plan…twelve."

"I understand that," he admitted. "But I do think that she wants the same things we do."

"Which is what, exactly?"

"For everyone to be happy again," he said. "And to not constantly worry about dark beings or evil queens cursing us. And it would be nice if your mother could stop stressing out about the Miner's Day festival."

Just like that the tension between them broke and the weight of the fairytale world lifted from their shoulders. Emma felt as though reality had returned. She could make herself crazy thinking about all the possibilities that hung in the balance of a blessing but small town struggles felt familiar and comforting, even though she'd never felt like she was actually part of a town before. It was something she could handle.

"Is it that bad? Last year I kinda got the impression that Miner's Day is something she looked forward to."

"I think she feels a little differently now that she's the one planning it," David replied as they walked back to the cruiser.

"I thought she'd be in her element, it's like being a queen right?"

"Not exactly, when you're queen or king people do what you say because you say it. I don't think she was prepared to have to go to battle with the arts council and the historic society over the details of what is essentially a party."

"Planning balls is a little easier when you have absolute power?"

"Something like that," David laughed. "The real difference is the politics are backwards. It didn't take three treaties and fifteen council meetings to decide where to hold a celebration, we went to the celebration to deal with matters of state."

Emma wasn't sure she followed and was glad that she was in a world where her participation in politics was limited, at least now that she actually held the sheriff's position.

"I think what I like best about being here is not having to do that. There are a lot fewer meetings involved with being a deputy."

Emma did laugh then, thinking that maybe she was more like her father than she'd realized.

David gave her a smile as they got in the car and headed out of the cemetery, privately thinking the same thing.

Neither noticed the silver SUV parked on the next lane through the graveyard, or the woman kneeling in the section across from the mausoleum, crouched with an umbrella she appeared to be placing flowers on a headstone.

If they had they probably would have been more careful to keep their voices down and not lingered at the crypt. Not that Tamara had heard anything, but from her vantage point she had seen enough to be very interested in the large tomb with the bright yellow lock on its doors.

"Hey kid," Emma said lightly as Henry ducked into the bug.

"What are you doing here?" He asked as he settled his backpack on the floor and pulled his seat belt on.

"Nice to see you too," she drawled and fluffed his damp hair and laughed when he swatted her hand away. "David came in early even though your lesson was canceled, so I thought I'd pick you up today."


"Don't sound so excited," she muttered as she pulled out into traffic. It was unusual for him to stay grumpy for long and she'd thought it would have improved by the time school was over.

"I'm not not excited," he explained with a sigh. "I was just looking forward to lessons today."

"I know, but hey, I ran into Elena today."

"You did?"

Emma nodded. "She said if the weather's good we can come over Wednesday and she'll take us riding. Just you and me."

"Really?" Now the kid perked up.


"Can we go over today? Not to ride, just to say hello?"

"I don't think it's a good day. She had someone coming over to put shoes on the horses since no one had lessons?"

Henry scrunched his nose in disconcertion. "How long did you guys talk?"

"A while, we had lunch at Granny's."

"Without me?"

"I didn't plan it kid; I was just trying to get out of the rain. I had to deal with a car wreck all morning."

"We could go over and watch the farrier?" He said hopefully, focused on visiting his mother rather than on his birth mother's morning mayhem.

"Or you could get a head start on your homework so you don't have any Wednesday?" Emma suggested as they parked and made their way up to apartment number three.

"I always have homework," he groaned.

"Well, you missed three weeks of school, that's kind of how it goes."

"Can't I just quit school? You did and you turned out okay."

"So not an option kid," Emma said, pushing back the sharp burst of anger that rippled through her at the very suggestion. "I still had to get my GED and believe me it is way more fun to do It in High School than prison."

"We're from a world with magic Emma, it's not like I need a college degree to be a knight or a prince."

"I'm pretty sure you do and if you don't your Grandma is going to make it that way."


"As soon as I tell her to."

"You could homeschool me?"

"Not the better option, although you might be able to talk her into it," she said contemplatively.

"She's not too busy being the mayor?"

"Honestly, I don't think she's a huge fan of being mayor. She'd rather be a teacher."

"Why not, she was a queen?"

"Apparently they're not at all the same. Besides, I thought you liked school."

"I do," he admitted. "I just hate homework."

"I feel ya dude, spread out," she tapped the table. "I'll join you. I have some of my own to do."


She went to the coffee table where the magic books lay untouched from the night before and brought them back to the kitchen table.

"What are those?"

"Belle brought them."

"When?" Henry asked, puzzled.

"Last night, after you went to bed. Ruby brought her over."

"Are they about the blessing?"

"Mm, kind of related but nothing very helpful."

"Oh." He went back to unpacking his satchel.

"I'm beginning to think the only people who know anything about fairy magic are fairies and maybe Rumpelstiltskin."

"Probably," Henry sighed.

"We'll keep trying though," Emma tried to boost his confidence back up. "Belle and Ruby did give me an idea."


"We could just tell her who she is and see if that jogs her memory."

Henry tilted his head and raised his eyebrow at her, the picture of skepticism and displeasure.

"They gave you that idea?"

"Well, sort of," Emma replied defensively; it wasn't that dumb of a thought. Simple yes, but rooted in logic. "Belle doesn't remember anything about her real self but she saw Rumpelstiltskin do magic, so Ruby told her the truth; everything about the curse and who she was and what's going on now."

"And that made her remember stuff? Like being the librarian?" Henry asked hopefully.

"No, not exactly, but she's fine with it all and she and Ruby are friends," Emma said. "I thought maybe, even if it doesn't help break the blessing it might be nice if told Elena who she really is. You know, like Operation Cobra type stuff."

"Because that worked so well before?" He said sarcastically and with more venom than Emma had ever heard from him.

"Hey, it was just a suggestion."

"You didn't believe me when I told you who your parents were, and neither did they! What makes you think Elena will believe us if we tell her she's a former Evil Queen who had her memories changed by fairies?"

"We could show her the letters she left –we could even show her magic if we really needed to, that's why Belle believes."

"She'll think I'm crazy."

Emma's heart sank. She'd thought of ways to convince Elena they were telling the truth but she hadn't considered how Henry would feel if she didn't believe them.

"I didn't think about that," she admitted. "I'm just trying to figure out a way to fix this. I mean, if we don't tell her we could take her across the town line, since she didn't have a cursed identity maybe she would revert to her old self? And there are still these books; Belle didn't know what to look for but maybe I can find something that will help."

"You're going to do magic?" Henry asked skeptically.

"No," she said, then when he refused to let her look away, "Yes. Maybe?"

"You don't even know how to use magic."

"Well, maybe it's time to teach myself."

"All magic has a price Emma," he reminded her.

"I know that. But I already have magic and if that's what can get your mom back then we should use it."

Henry folded his arms and leveled a dubious stare at her. Regina had definitely taught him that one.

"Why do you keep coming up with more ways to break the blessing? We have a plan. I'm going to wake her up."

"I know kid; I just worry that it won't. I want to have a plan B."

"We don't need a plan B Emma," he assured her. "True Love's kiss is more powerful than anything. And I do love Elena. I know it's going to work."

Emma didn't share his certainty but she forced a self-assured smile to her face anyway, for now he could believe enough for both of them; she wasn't going to destroy that. But she was going to keep thinking of contingency plans, for this at least.

"You're right, but I still need to read up. I'd like to have some idea of how the magic your mom put on the mausoleum works and since I can't just ask her…"

"You're doing homework," Henry finished for her.


"Okay. But Emma? Will you tell me if you decide to try magic?"

"I swear you'll be the first to know."

He gave her a grateful little smile.

"And kid," she pulled his attention away from his homework once more. "I'm sorry about the suggestion, I should have thought about how telling Elena and not having her believe you would make you feel."

His smile wavered just a little but when it returned it was brighter than before.

"It's okay," he said and went back to his worksheet.

Emma was pretty sure it wasn't, but with time maybe it would be.

Don't panic yet, Neal's not coming to town any time soon. Let me know what you thought, pretty please!

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