TWICE CURSED

Author's Note: I know this chapter came up pretty quick, but don't expect it to be that way all the time. I am busy, and will do my best to update once a week, but once a day will rarely happen. Also, some of you have been wondering about baby Neal. He was born, and was happy and healthy before the curse hit.

Now, on with the story.


Regina had stayed up late the night before, while deciding if she needed Charming and Belle. Due to that, she was groggy and grumpy when she walked into her office that morning, and was surprised to see Gold there. She was about to snap at him when she saw he was filing papers, and she remembered that she'd hired him the day before.

"You don't have to get here so early," she muttered. He nodded his head, eager to please his new boss. Regina sighed, missing the Gold she got into verbal spars with, before walking into her office. Unfortunately, he followed her.

"Did you still want to talk to me?" he asked.

"Yes, later," she snapped. He nodded and quickly left the room, before she got angrier.

Regina turned her attention to figuring out what items she needed to enchant, after filing a mental note that she needed to get Gold back into suits. It would make him look more professional, and make her feel more at ease.

The item she needed to get for Belle was glaringly obvious; the chipped cup she and her loved one were completely obsessed with. Regina had never understood it. In her opinion, they should have just bought another cup, and that would be that. However, they loved it, and it would be the perfect item for her.

Deciding what to use for Charming was much harder. Maybe his sword would work? That was the only thing she could think of, so she decided she would give it a try. Now, all she had to do was find the cup and sword.

She walked out of her office, and Gold stiffened, sitting up straighter in his desk.

"Relax, you don't have to be afraid just because I walked into the room," she told him, and he nodded nervously, trying to focus on relaxing. "I'll be back later," she informed her new secretary as she left the office.

"Where are you going?" he asked. She turned to face him, and he rambled his explanation. "You know, just in case someone calls. I know it's none of my business, but just in case someone "

"I'll be at the pawnshop," she told him. Regina heard him gasp in shock as she left the office to go face her new nemesis and hopefully get what she needed out of him.

Sure enough, Mr. Black was in the pawnshop, cleaning a silver necklace. He looked up as Regina entered. "Madam Mayor, I'm sorry, but I don't have any more employees for you to steal," he spat at her. Regina just smiled sweetly at him.

"Well then, it's a good thing I don't need any more employees." Black glared at her, and put the necklace down.

"What do you want?"

"I just want to look around. I'm here as I customer, and if I see something I like, I might buy it." As she talked, she scanned the cluttered room for the sword or cup. She didn't see either.

"I'm sorry, but thieves aren't allowed to shop here."

"I am not a thief!" she exclaimed indignantly.

"You stole my employee."

"He came with me willingly!" she yelled, enraged. "You can't classify that as stealing!"

"I don't care what it's classified as, you cannot shop here anymore, unless you want to return my employee to me."

She sighed, realizing he was hard-headed and she wasn't going to get anywhere with him. "Fine, I don't see anything interesting in here anyway!" She stormed out, but on the way, she caught a glimpse of Charming's sword. It was leaning against the wall, taunting her. The sight of it just forced her into a fouler mood.

She went back to her office, trying to plot how to get the sword, to find Sidney standing just outside the office, yelling at Gold.

"You should leave at once!" the reporter yelled.

"Sidney!" she snapped, and he turned around. He had missed the dangerous tone in her voice, or attributed her anger to Gold being there.

"Madam Mayor, thank goodness your back. I came here to inform you of a problem, and I found him "

"Sidney, Gold is my new secretary, and I am the only one who is allowed to yell at him. Do I make myself clear?"

"Yes, Madam Mayor."

"Good. Now, come into my office and tell me what's got you so worked up."

Sidney shot one last glance at Gold, who had his head down and was trying to avoid eye contact, before following Regina into her office.

"Well, now I know why Black's so mad at you," he said once the door was closed.

"What are you talking about?" Regina asked, and she started to get worried. Maybe her new nemesis had done more to oppose her than by simply banning her from his shop.

"He emailed everyone in the town. He said that no one can associate with you until he says they can. Anyone found being pleasant to you, or letting you shop in their establishment, will be evicted from their homes."

Well, that was a shock. He had just guaranteed that no one would interact with the Mayor of their town. It would probably be impossible to even buy groceries. "This will be interesting," she mused. She was delighted, despite herself, for the challenge this would bring.

"Why don't you just give him what he wants?" Sidney inquired.

"I can't," Regina said, positive in this. If Black wanted Gold back this badly, then she needed to keep Gold away from Black, even if it cost her. That, mingled with her excitement at having another challenge, made her refuse to give her enemy what he wanted.

"Well, it's your decision," Sidney consented. "Just know that I'll have to be more discreet when I come to talk to you, and it might take me longer to get the information you need."

"Alright, that's fine," she said, before looking at some of the papers on her desk.

"Do you need anything else?" Sidney had obviously missed the hint that she wanted him to leave. She was about to dismiss him, when she realized that she did need something else that he might be able to help her with.

"Actually, yes. There is a sword in Black's shop that I was going to buy, before he banned me from the shop. I need you to buy it for me. I'll pay you for it, of course."

"No, he'd notice that. I'll do it for free," he said, reminding Regina that her reporter was deeply in love with her. Why she had decided to keep him around even though he aggravated her, she'd never know. "Do you need me to buy you groceries as well?"

"No, he'd notice that. I'll find another way to get groceries." Sidney nodded, and left the office. Regina sighed, and resigned herself to catching up on the paperwork the town needed her to do. When it was twelve, Regina was starving, and decided to go get lunch. Since Granny's was not an option, she decided she could probably get leftovers from the fridge at her house.

She walked out of the office, to see Gold cowering away from Mr. Black. "One sound out of you to alert you're new boss, and I'll tan your hide."

Before he could do anything else, Regina was standing between him and her employee. "The only reason you should ever come in here is if you need to talk to me. It's obvious you don't, so leave my office, now!"

"Who's going to make me?" he taunted. "No one's going to help you. Sheriff Swan isn't even stupid enough to go up against me."

"Well, good thing I can take you on without help."

He glared at her, and then, hiding it from Gold, he made a fireball appear in his hand. "Are you sure?"

She smiled sweetly at him, and soon a ball of energy was hovering above her hand, also out of sight of Gold. Black looked shocked. He obviously hadn't known that she had her true memories, and had wanted her to freak out.

"Positive," she said triumphantly. He scowled at her, before stomping out of her office.

She turned to look at Gold, who was staring at her in awe.

"What are you gawking at!" He shrank back some, but the awe was still evident on his face.

"You stood up to him. And won." Regina sighed, hoping that she could break the curse soon, because this Gold was terribly annoying.

"Well, stop staring and come on. We're going to lunch."

"Wait, I'm coming with you?" Gold asked, obviously shocked.

"Yes, I don't want to worry about you being assaulted by Black while I'm gone." He nodded, accepting that answer, before following her to her car.

It was only once they were at her house, eating lunch across from each other in complete silence, that Regina noticed Gold was wearing the same tee shirt as the day before.

"Why are you wearing the same shirt as you were yesterday?"

He looked up from his plate, shocked by the sudden question. "Well, Madam Mayor, I "

He was interrupted when the door opened and Henry ran in. He froze when he saw his mother.

"Henry, what happened?" she asked, worried since he was here in the middle of the day and looked so distraught.

"They kicked me out of the school. They said that letting me go to school was considered being nice to you. Mom, what's going on?"

Regina cursed under her breath. Of course Black would go after Henry when he realized he couldn't get to Gold. "Look, Henry, Mr. Black is angry with me right now, and "

"Wait, did you actually stand up to him?" Henry was shocked, and pleased. He had thought his mom was selfish and only cared about herself, but apparently, he'd been wrong. Of course, she had been pretty nice last night, but he had thought it foolish to hope it was more than a one-time thing.

"Yes, Mr. Gold is now my employee instead of his."

"Mom, you shouldn't think so small!" he said, surprising her. "You should protect everyone from him, and get the town out from under his grasp!" Henry suggested, excited that his mom had started a resistance against the tyrant of the town. Maybe, he could even suggest

Regina was startled, and happy, that Henry approved of her opposition of Black. However, reality was setting in. "And how would I do that?" Henry thought about it, and his face fell slightly.

"I don't know, we'll have to think about it," he consented. He pulled out the lunch he had packed that morning, and sat down at the head of the table, in between his mother and their guest. He realized that they should focus on that problem first, and he could ask his favor later. "So, is Mr. Gold staying with us?"

Before Gold could deny it, Regina spoke up. "That would probably be wise. We don't want him to get hurt." Henry nodded, ecstatic that his mother seemed to be turning a new leaf. "We'll need to move your things here. Where do you live?"

"At the pawnshop," he whispered, just barely loud enough for Regina to hear.

"So that's why you're wearing the same shirt. You didn't want to risk running into Black." He nodded, embarrassed that he'd been too scared to tell her about the situation before now. "Wait, where did you sleep last night?" If he had been too scared to go get a change of clothes from the pawnshop, there was no way he slept there.

"The office," he admitted quietly. "I locked the door to make sure he couldn't get in, and then I slept in my chair. It was comfortable."

Regina couldn't help but stare at him. His cursed memories must be truly terrible, if he thought sleeping in his slightly padded office chair was comfortable. "Well, if you tell me where your stuff is, I'll go pick it up for you."

Gold told her that his stuff was in the back room behind the curtain, but not all of it was his. "Just the suitcase next to the cot is mine." Regina rose, preparing to go face Mr. Black again. "Oh, and there's a chipped cup on the small table next to it. That's mine too."

"Don't worry, I won't forget the cup," she informed him, relieved. Of course Gold would know where the cup was. She should have asked him in the first place.

"Can I come?" Henry asked.

"No, but you can protect Gold," she told him. There was no way she was letting her son meet a dark magician who had unknown amounts of power.

"Fine," Henry consented, pouting a little. He had always wanted to be a hero, and now that his mother was fighting the most powerful man in town, he had thought that would be a possibility. Apparently, he'd been wrong.

Regina watched the shop until Black left, flipping the sign to closed. She walked over to the back door and used her magic to unlock it. She knew she only had a little time before Black would get an alarm and realize his shop had been broken into, so she rushed over to the cot and grabbed the suitcase. She put the cup in it, and then heard footsteps in the ally.

Fearing that Black was already there, Regina went to the front of the shop. As she walked toward the front door to make her escape, she spotted the sword. Sidney must not have had a chance to buy it yet, she thought as she grabbed it and dashed out the door.

Once she was far away from the pawnshop, she thought about the sword. Now that she had it, she realized that she had no way to wake Charming up. She'd worked it into the curse that only Snow telling him their story would wake him up, because she'd thought that was an unlikely thing to happen. Unfortunately, it now seemed impossible, since Mary Margaret would avoid her like the plague, due to Black. There was a potion that would wake him up as well, but she had no access to potion ingredients, and had made the only one in town who did extremely angry with her.

She decided to deal with that later, and focus on something she knew she could do; get Belle's memories back. She started to enchant the cup and walk toward the hospital, figuring that once she gave Gold his belongings, she wasn't going to get her hands on the cup again. She wanted to wake Belle up before she gave Gold the cup back.

She finished the spell right as she reached the hospital. She hid the sword and suitcase in the woods nearby before entering the basement through a secret tunnel she was very glad she'd built into the curse.

When she exited the tunnel, there was no one in the hallway. She walked over to Belle's door, and opened it using magic. Belle's head shot up, and she looked distraught. She wasn't used to anyone entering her room except for the orderlies. She definitely wasn't prepared for Regina, the woman who looked in and laughed at her, to enter her room.

Regina, however, didn't notice her fear. She walked over to Belle, who sat, frozen. "Hold this and look at it closely," Regina ordered. Belle complied, out of terror of being punished, mostly. However, there was a part of her that was truly curious.

Why would this lady want me to look closely at a cup? It was this curiosity that allowed her to actually examine the cup instead of just pretending to while her heart hammered in her chest. It did look a little familiar, but why was it chipped? She examined it closer, wanting to know what had caused damage to such a beautiful cup. Maybe someone had dropped it, or

Her memories came flooding back in a random order. It started with her dropping the cup, and moved outward like a ripple effect, so she remembered things before and after that event at pretty much the same time.

Her look of shock as she processed the information turned to anger the second she realized what all had happened. "What did you do?" she yelled at Regina.

"Hmm, let's see, I just gave you your memories back, and I'm here to rescue you!"

"So, you didn't cast the new curse?" Belle asked thoughtfully. It had seemed like Regina had simply cast the curse again from her point of view, but now that she thought about it, it wouldn't make sense for Regina to give her memories back if she had cast it.

"No, but I have a pretty good idea who did," Regina told Belle, thinking about Black. "Which reminds me, we should get out of here before anyone finds us."

Belle followed her out, mind working on figuring out what was going on. "Wait, Regina, how do you have your memories?"[a1]

"No idea. That's one of the mysteries I'm trying to figure out."

"So, you said you have a suspect for who cast the curse," Belle reminded Regina after several minutes of silent walking.

"I'll tell you when we get back to my house. Now, be quiet, before someone hears you and knows where we are." Belle complied, but was still curious.

Once they were out of the tunnel, Regina found the items she'd hidden. She handed Belle the suitcase, and kept ahold of the sword. That's when she noticed the third item. There was a small potion bottle, which she'd almost overlooked because the foliage hid it well. She picked it up, and looked at the label on it. It said, "Coma Antidote."[a2]


[a1]Mystery: How does Regina have her memories?

[a2]Mystery: How did the bottle get there?

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