Ash and smoke bleed into the clouds, and rain beats down on Regina Mills’ windshield. An obsidian plume mars the horizon behind her, casting an oppressive shadow upon the narrow, wet one-laned road as she speeds around a corner, her elbow banging into the driver’s side door as she sharply swerves around the curve.
“Regina, slow down!” Emma Swan shouts, bracing one hand on the dash and the other against a splintered passenger side window, glass fogging around her fingers and palm. “We’re not gonna make it if we crash before we get there!”
But Regina can’t slow down, can’t stop, can’t pause for a minute to think beyond Almost there almost there almost there! and the frantic ba-bump ba-bump ba-bump of her heart beating in her chest.
Sweat beads at her temples, tracks through ash, grime, and a smear of blood at her hairline. She’s shaking, muscles spasming painfully, harshly inhaling shuddering breath after breath.
Calm down, Regina. Just breathe, she thinks, trying to convince herself that everything is going to be alright.
But there’s a drowning dread brewing in her belly, a gnawing terror clawing at her heart as her eyes dart up to the rear view mirror again and again – the sky alight in an unforgiving red behind them as rubber hitting the road puts more distance between them and the horrors of a bloodbath they weren’t prepared for at the Swan House.
God, all those people. The screaming. The flames.
Robin is missing.
Kathryn is dead.
And the world is on fire.
Emma yells again as Regina jerks the wheel to swerve and miss broken crates and an overturned delivery truck on the righthand side of the road. There’s debris littered everywhere – fallen trees, burning countryside, gaping wounds in the earth the size of craters, big billows of smoke reaching up into the air like skeletal tendrils.
She can barely hear Emma, barely lets her friend’s sharp curses divert her attention. She wonders if she’ll be too late, wonders if Henry and Roland are alright.
She needs to get back, needs to get home, needs to get to her boys.
She’s sure they’re alright, prays they are, hopes they are. For what more can she do with five more miles separating her boys from the safety of her arms and the frantic combing of her eyes over their limbs and faces to make sure they’re untouched by the inferno that came from the sky. She thinks of Henry’s apple cheeks and sweet smile. Thinks of Roland’s curly hair and delicious dimples. Dimples he got from his father. Oh God, Robin. She thinks of Robin, of all their letters and tear-stained parchment, and a million unanswered questions filling the pit of her belly with dread.
Her knuckles turn white as she tightens her grip on the steering wheel and bites down on her lower lip. She needs to get home. Now.
Slamming her foot on the accelerator, the tires grip to the road and yank them forward with a lurch. Rubber meeting ground in a godawful screech.
How did everything turn upside down so quickly? How did it all go to shit? That last question makes her think of Robin again. He’s rubbed off on her, and that makes her smile, makes her eyes water, and goddammit, she does not have time for this. This is why you don’t fall in love during wartime, Regina, she thinks. This is why you focus on duty, why you do your part and keep your heart out of play. But she didn’t keep her heart out of play; it cracked open, slowly at first, and then all at once, letting warmth and comfort and love flood in. Robin and Roland had done that, with their charm and their goofy grins, her love for them had snuck up on her, and she’d been flabbergasted at how much she and Henry had soon wanted the Locksley men in their lives. Their love had laid her heart bare in a way that it hadn’t been in years (not since Daniel, not since before she’d been brokered into a marriage to Leopold, and not since she’d first held her darling Henry to her chest. He’d been lost just like her, an orphan during wartime, and she may not have brought him into this world with blood and pain, but she’d loved him instantly with a force so fierce she hadn’t known where it had come from.
“Regina!” Emma exclaims and grips tightly to her arm to get her attention, pulling her out of the past and into the very chaotic present. “I don’t want to die in this stupid piece of metal! Not after what we just went through! Not after Kathryn…”
Regina whips her head around, glaring at Emma, fighting off tears threatening to fall.
Robin is missing.
Kathryn is dead.
The world is one fire.
And she has to get home to the boys.
It’s a mantra she keeps repeating in her head. Something to ground her. Truths she can’t ignore.
It keeps her going, keeps her from breaking down.
Regina’s eyes are back on the road in front of her, but she doesn’t miss the reassurance in Emma’s voice when she speaks next.
“I know, and you know, they’re safe–” the boys, she’s talking about the boys “–Maggie and Marcus wouldn’t let anything happen to Roland. And they love you and Henry, as if you were their own blood. They’ll protect them.” Emma lets go of Regina’s hand as they turn onto the long driveway up to the Locksley farm. Emma blows out a breath, and then gasps, turning around swiftly in her seat and craning her neck to peer out the cab of the truck and up into the clouds.
Regina follows her gaze out her driver’s side mirror.
Planes. An entire fleet, flying overhead toward the city center.
Oh God. Changing autumn leaves pass by in a blur as Regina barrels up the driveway, pebbles spinning out from beneath the truck’s tires as they grapple against gravel for traction.
Her fingers grip more tightly to the steering wheel and she presses down on the pedal again, hard. Takes the next turn at an alarming speed, and on any other day, she’d be more cautious. She’s never driven like this before, hasn’t really driven in years, would never drive like this in general, but there’s still a faint metallic taste in her mouth. There’s still the subtle, unwelcomed burn of ash in her lungs. And Kathryn’s broken body is still clearly painted in her mind.
The lower pasture up ahead blurs, goes watery, and then tears spill beyond her lashes like a flood breaking through a dam. “Almost there,” Regina urgently speaks, voice caught in her throat.
“Come on, come on.” She can see Emma staring at her through the corner of her eye.
They pass over hills and into the valley paralleling the lake, getting closer and closer to the homestead as her heart violently beats faster and faster in her chest. Ba-bump ba-bump ba-bump. The sound of it bleeding into her eardrums, drowning out all other sounds, snuffing out the voice in her head telling her she’s not going to make it, shouting that things will never be the same again as more planes fly overhead.
This is it, she thinks. This is how the world ends.
The truck skids to a halt on the graveled drive in front of Maggie and Marcus Locksley’s country home. And then Regina’s pushing open the door, slamming it shut behind her–the key still in the ignition. She doesn’t take the time to wait for Emma before hiking up her skirt and bounding up the front steps of the house, practically throwing open the front screen door; it violently swings on its hinges, bangs against the wall with a godawful snap. But she doesn’t care that that’s probably left a doorknob dent in the drywall. Who the fuck cares about something like that when London has just been bombed and the city is burning?
She’s out of breath when she shouts, “Henry!” careening down the entryway hallway. “Henry! Roland! Maggie! Marcus!”
She sees Maggie first. “Christ, Regina! You’re covered in blood!”
And she is, but she doesn’t have time to explain, hears the echo of Kathryn’s scream in her head as the ceiling had collapsed on them, remembers the heat of the inferno singing the hair on her arms, and her colleague’s blood on her hands and apron as she and Emma had tried to carry Kathryn out of the rubble of the Swan House. But she doesn’t say any of that, instead blinks back tears burning at the corners of her eyes and says, “It’s not mine!” and begs, “Where are the boys?”
Maggie pulls her into a quick squeeze and runs her palms down Regina’s arms, checking her over for injuries. A mother through and through. “Marcus has the boys. They’re grabbing the dog and then we’re going to the cellar. Bags are already together.”
Regina nods frantically, and then Emma’s behind her, the screen door slamming into its frame again. “We have to go!” she shouts. “Where are the kids?”
“They’re coming,” Maggie replies, handing Regina and Emma potato sacks filled to the brim with clothing, canteens filled with fresh well water, produce, and basic medical supplies. Regina’s eyes widen as she stares at the contents. There are black market items in these bags. Things they’ve been out of for months, things she thought Maggie had gotten rid of, some things that she in fact helped the older woman get rid of. And yet here they are.
“Maggie…” she says, “where did you…”
“Does it matter?”
No, she supposes it doesn’t, and they’ll be happy for Maggie’s hoarding of illegal items when they’re down in the bunker.
“Okay, we have to go, seriously,” Emma says again. “There’s gonna be a second wave any minute! This isn’t a drill!”
“Where are the boys?” Regina shouts again, nerves unraveling at the seams.
“We’re here!” Marcus Locksley calls. Roland is propped up above his hip, arms tightly wrapped around his grandpa’s neck, and then Henry is shouting, running past the two of them and colliding against Regina’s body.
"Mom!” He cries as she drops to her knees and clutches him to her, her fingers threading into his hair as she breathes his name in a sigh of relief. Her baby is safe; he’s safe. He’s in her arms, and she’s breathing him in, and kissing his cheeks, and drying tears from his eyes, and he’s safe.
It takes them all of five minutes after that to make it across the field to the bunker, and as they lock the shelter door behind them and start running down the stairs, the next wave begins.
Dust unsettles, the walls vibrate, Roland buries his face into his grandpa’s chest and whimpers.
“Mom, I’m scared,” Henry cries into Regina’s shoulder as they huddle together in the far corner of the cellar.
She hugs him a little tighter, presses her lips to the crown of his head and whispers, “I know, honey. Me too.”
“Regina?” Marcus sets Roland down and the five year old runs over to her.
“Yes, sweetheart?” she says, folding him into her side and giving him and Henry a squeeze. She ushers them to the cot near the shelf with all the canned peaches and beans, and urges them to sit down.
Roland wipes his runny nose on his sleeve and sniffles. “Is my papa gonna be okay?”
“Oh sweetheart, it’ll be okay,” she says, brushing his curls out of his face and situating herself onto the cot so both of the boys can curl into her sides. She combs her fingers through their hair, and whispers reassuringly, “He’s safe; your papa’s safe.” And then she says, “We’re safe. You’re safe, he’s safe, we’re safe.”
She repeats those words over and over.
And then it begins again.
The walls shake.
Roland covers his ears, and Henry buries his face in his mother’s side.
“We’re going to be alright,” Regina whispers, pressing a kiss to Henry’s brow and combing her fingers through Roland’s curls again.
She wraps her arms more tightly around them both and prays to God she’s right.
I know that quite a few writers who take requests end up posting a prompt list at some point so figured I would do the same just in case some of you would like to request something but may not be entirely sure what it is that you want to have written up.
Essentially you would first pick a character that you would like to interact with you, the reader, and this could be any of the Once Upon a Time Neverland characters and then pick one, or maybe even a few, prompts from the list that you want to be within the story.
I will keep adding to this from time to time but so far this is what I have:
- Peter. - You walk up to him and he doesn’t turn around.
- Not now, (Y/n). I’m busy. - He continues talking about something with Wendy.
- But Pan, it’s important. - He avoids you. - Fine. - You leave angry and he gives you a significant side-glance.
You’ve been noticing that Peter isn’t the same boy that you knew. He’s always talking with Wendy. Since that girl arrived he doesn’t even pay attention to you. You hate her, not just for making Pan separate from you, also because she won his heart.
At night-time, you are almost falling asleep listening the rain falling, until you hear someone entering to your tent. You sit and notice Pan walking up to you.
- What was that “important” thing you wanted to tell me? - He sits besides you while looking at you.
- Nothing to worry about. - You sight and look at him.
- It might be important, if not you wouldn’t came up to me. - You remember himself ignoring you because of Wendy.
- Believe me that it wasn’t. And, otherwise, you were busy talking to your flawless girlfriend, so nevermind. - You lean in your bed and turn around. You hear Pan laughing a bit and turn around again.
- You actually think i like her? - You look at him confused.
- Well, you do. Don’t you? - He leans looking at you closer.
- Of course I don’t. - You look at him.
- Don’t lie to me. I saw how you flirt with her. - He frowns.
- Sorry to tell you, but never flirted with her. I already told you my feelings for you. - You look at him.
- I don’t believe in them. - He comes closer.
- You were, are, and will be my only love. -He kisses you.