Emma joins in on Operation Mongoose, determined to help Regina get her happy ending, however neither woman expects to be reliving the other’s life through the book, their dreams, and even the briefest of touches. Video collab with MissLane. [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWByjZz-Qdk]
Sighing, Emma flipped open the book once more. There had to be something in its pages. They wouldn’t have found the secret room full of empty books for nothing. But even in the three days that she, Regina, and Henry had been meeting together, coming up with theories on where the Author was located and how to change the book, they had come up short. Now, all they had was a knocked out Henry curled up on the sofa with colour-coded notes as his blanket, a crest-fallen Queen who was getting more and more despondent with every dead end, and a very frustrated Saviour. Emma was supposed to bring back the happy endings. Why was finding Regina’s like pulling teeth?
The cartoon image of the Evil Queen vowing how she would destroy everyone’s happiness stared up at her mockingly. Emma had heard that phrase once or twice since meeting Regina, and though the Queen had come close a few times, Regina was the one to actually give Emma her happiness. Henry’s upbringing, the gift of memories during their time in New York. Regina gave her without thought, and all Emma wanted to do was repay her in kind. She was the Saviour, right? She had to have some leeway in that department.
She flipped the pages again, hoping to find something in the ink when Regina saved a young Snow, but she stopped dead at an unfamiliar picture of a young Regina clutching a man in her arms on the floor of a stable.
“What the hell?” She said out loud, drawing Regina’s attention behind her.
The brunette was nearly cheek to cheek with Emma as she gasped seeing her younger self on the page. “What did you do?”
“Nothing.” Emma turned her head and nearly collided with the older woman. Wide, nearly fearful eyes stared back at her, but Emma couldn’t question any further. She felt a pull, like a rope lassoing around her chest, and before she could even turn back toward the book, Emma’s vision grew hazy.
Regina’s presence beside her dwindled, and the comfort of the carpet under her body gave way to hard ground and the overwhelming smell of manure. When her vision cleared, her heart was already racing, both in fear, anger, and absolute dread. Cora stood above her with a glowing red heart in her hand, and Emma didn’t need to feel Daniel tense in her arms to know whose heart it was. Then Cora squeezed, and a breathy sob escaped her lips as the heart crumbled into dust. She held him tighter as if her physical hold could stop the life being taken away from him, but as the final grain of dust fell to the ground, Emma felt her world coming to an end. A little house on a hill, a small farm with horses, and dark haired children running carefree in the field behind their home. Daniel trudging in from the farm covered in mud and hay and the children hanging off his shoulders as she fixed up dinner for the evening. All ripped away just as Daniel’s heart had been taken. She was vaguely aware of Cora’s footsteps echoing her exit as she left the stables, but all Emma could do was sob over Daniel’s body, begging for him to come back. She kissed him over and over and even gathered the grains of dust that once comprised his heart and tried to mould it back together. It was no use. Daniel was dead.
She felt the pull in her chest again, the edges of her vision fading like a burning piece of paper, and then she was out of the stables and back in Regina’s living room.
“Ms. Swan. Ms. Swan! Emma!” With a gasp like she was breaking the ocean’s surface, Emma seized against the foot of the couch and nearly clocked Regina in the jaw when the brunette tried to hold her steady. Her heart was still racing and her palms were shaky, and the only thing Emma could comprehend was that Daniel was dead.