A/N: I'm honestly so sorry. Genuinely, I sincerely apologize for my extremely late update. College has been a real bitch to me, and the stress of it has caused a major block in my writing. I didn't want to rush this story and make it anything other than the best for my readers, so I didn't push myself to write it. I wrote it mostly in different sections here and there, and once I was done, I read over the whole thing and fixed what I wanted to be fixed. This actually didn't turn out how I expected it to, but at this point, I'm simply following my story. I know how it will end and how I want things to progress, but this is what I got out of my wanting. Again, I apologize for the lateness, but I cannot bring myself to regret it. I hope you enjoy the new chapter!

Disclaimer: I don't own OUAT!

Silence is one of the loudest sounds when allowed to be. Emma is currently hearing the screeching sound of silence all around her, making her want to bang her head against the window. She glances over at the woman next to her who has refused any and all speech. Sighing lightly, she stares ahead, letting the silence drive her mad. She had already tried breaking it, several times in fact, but Regina had quickly shut her down.

"I'm going to talk to Gold." Emma quickly said, looking over at Regina. "You can stay here if you want?" Regina had simply glared at her, one sculpted eyebrow lifted to accent her irritation.

"I am the one that Henry came to for help with her, of course I'm going. If anything, you should be staying, but I would never trust you alone in my home. Two children is enough, I definitely don't need a third." The harsh comment makes Emma look away so as not to let the woman see how much the comment had actually bothered her. Emma knows she deserves whatever the woman is throwing at her.

Regina, on the other hand, knows she's hurt the blonde with her comment, and she desperately wishes that she didn't want to take it back. She wants so badly to have the ability to hurt people without the regret following once again. When she was evil, when she didn't care, hurting people didn't bother her. But now, now that she's "good" again, it hurts her, more than she'd care to admit. But, this time, she refused to take it back. Emma hurt her first; she's allowed to lash out, right? That's how it's always been.

Yet, when she looks down and sees Henry's head hanging and little Lizzy Grace looking at her with sad eyes, she knows she shouldn't be fighting with Emma. At least not in front of the children.

"Come along, Miss Swan, we don't have all day. Henry," she bends down and waits until Henry looks at her, "you'll stay here and take care of Lizzy Grace, all right? We'll be back shortly, but just make sure she has everything she needs." She then turns to Lizzy Grace with a smile. "And you," she says softly, "can go and finish your grilled cheese sandwich that's on the table. If you need anything, just ask Henry, and he'll help you get it, okay?" Lizzy Grace nods her head, a sweet smile spread across her face. Regina stands with grace that only she could possess.

"See ya, kid. Keep an eye on the mini-me, okay?" She throws a wink in before ruffling his hair. He glares at her lightly before brushing it back into place, mumbling a "don't mess up my hair." Emma chuckles, turning to Regina. "That's all you, right there." She expects some sort of reaction, something other than the black stare she receives.

All Regina is thinking of, though, is the way the little girl had reacted to Henry ruffling her hair earlier and the similarities between the two. She refuses to admit what is sitting right in front of her. Henry and this little girl act exactly the same, and the girl, well, the girl looks exactly like Emma with her fathers eyes. But, she reasons, Henry has eyes almost exactly like hers. What if, she muses, this is Henry's little girl from the future. The looks are too much of a coincidence, but that would be easily explained if the girl was actually related to Emma.

Yes, she thinks, that's what this is.

She turns away from Emma's gaze just as Emma looks away, both of them feeling uncomfortable. Regina wasn't even aware that they had been locked in the small staring contest, having been lost in her thoughts. Emma, however, was just awkwardly waiting for Regina to say something, anything. And, somehow, she had accidentally gotten lost in the pool of brown. She had looked away before Regina had the time to actually notice.

Emma looks down at Lizzy Grace before bending down much like Regina, hearing her knees crack with the controlled force of her weight. She looks at the blonde and smiles lightly.

"Will you do me a huge favor?" She asks, her voice fluctuating as if it's the biggest favor in the world. Regina hides her amusement well, but Henry manages to catch the slight twitch of her lip. Blonde curls bounce with the force of her nodding head, her face completely serious. "I need you to take care of Henry, make sure he doesn't get into any trouble." She smiles at the stern look the little blonde sends the older brunette boy. Lizzy Grace turns back to the older blonde.

"Henry won't do anything bad on my watch!" She exclaims, head bobbing. Emma winks at her and holds up her hand.

"High five, champ." A look of concentration crosses the little girl's face as she jumps, hand colliding against Emma's, trying desperately not to miss. Emma winks at Henry's faux affronted look. She slowly backs up, heading for the door, a smiles on her lips as she watches Henry place his hand on the little girl's shoulder, leading her to her unfinished sandwich.

"Bye moms!" Henry throws over his shoulder.

Regina opens the door, and Emma grabs it, letting Regina out first. She shuts the door behind her and Regina slides up next to her, locking the door. Emma, momentarily caught off guard from the closeness, loses her thoughts. Gathering them quickly, she spews the first thing she can think of.

"Right, so… who's car are we taking?" Regina hardly even glances Emma's way, yet the look of the disgust is hardly invisible.

"There's no way I'm getting anywhere near that monstrous thing you call a car." Regina sneers, heading straight for her Benz. Emma ducks her head, frustration and embarrassment warring in her head.

Regina tries not to feel bad, she really does. She's used to insulting the blonde like this, yet the defeated way that Emma is responding isn't something that she's used to. She doesn't like this… guilt that's building inside of her because of how the blonde is reacting. It frustrates her even more, making resentment grow. The least she could do, she thinks, is let me insult her without feeling guilty about it. This is ridiculous.

So, instead of throwing more insults at the blonde, as she so desperately wants to do, she remains silent. If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all, or whatever. She mentally rolls her eyes at her childishness; the stupid blonde is rubbing off on her. She never used to be this juvenile.

Silently, they get into the car. Emma can already feel the tension in the air, though she doesn't really know what she's done this time. Or, she thinks, it's always going to come back to this Marian bullshit. She rolls her eyes and looks out the window. There's only so much I can do, only so many times I can apologize.

Thus, leaving them where they are now: driving to Gold's. Regina had done everything in silence since getting into the car. Emma tried turing on the radio, which was promptly shut off by Regina. She tried whistling, yet when she caught a glimpse of the glare Regina was sending her through the windows reflection, she slammed her teeth together, cutting off the high pitch sound. Finally, Emma resorts to doing nothing, giving up entirely. If Regina wants silence, fine. Emma will give it to her. Only when she feels Regina's hand grasp tightly around her wrist does she realize that she's been tapping her fingers. She sighs and rolls her eyes, though she doesn't force her hand away from Regina's, which remains on her wrist for longer than necessary.

Even through Regina's annoyance, she knows she should let go of the blonde's hand. She blinks when she feels a slight, hardly there, disappointment when her fingers leave Emma's soft skin. She shakes her head, pulling up to Gold's shop. She quickly turns the car off, hopping out of the car. Emma follows her example, jumping out of the car and walking swiftly into the shop, Regina right behind her.

"Gold!" Emma's voice is loud and angry, so much so that Regina is slightly taken aback. She raises her eyebrows at the blonde's back, though her expression quickly morphs into anger as well when she thinks of the little girl back at her home, family-less because of this man. Or, at least, that's what she believes. Who else would tell someone that they're "invested in your future."

No, it has to be Gold.

And that little girl is as innocent as it gets. She wouldn't hurt a fly; she's only six. How was she supposed to find her family? Who is her family? Where did she come from? Thoughts race around Regina's head, unanswered questions that anger her. She feels as if she's supposed to know these answers, yet she doesn't. She feels, she shudders at the thought, helpless. She doesn't know who this girl is, let alone how to get her back to her family or where she even came from.

She can already feel the vein in her forehead popping. She takes another step forward.

"Gold!" Her voice is thunderous as it echoes around the shop, expecting the man to appear out of nowhere, as per usual.


Letting out a furious huff, Regina tries to sense his magic, anything to see where he might be.

"He's not here." She growls.

"No, really? I thought we were playing hide-n-seek." The blonde snarks, anger marring her face. Regina's eyes flash.

"Miss Swan, I advise you to hold your tongue. I am in no mood to deal with your petty sarcasm." She snaps, a thrill going through her now that Emma is actually fighting back. Yet, as soon as the fire is there, it's gone, and she's left with the shadow of her usual fight.

"Sorry, I didn't mean to snap." Emma's eyes fade to emptiness, an eery look to the blonde that Regina really doesn't like. Yet, suddenly, then there's a new spark, one that Regina hasn't noticed in Emma before. Protectiveness.

"It's just," she huffs, "that little girl deserves answers. She… she needs to know where she came from, who her family is. It's not fair; we're just so close!" And it clicks with Regina, then, that maybe this isn't just about little Lizzy Grace.

"We'll find answers, Emma." Regina doesn't even register that she's softened slightly, letting Emma's name slip out of her mouth. "It's not like he's gone, we just have to come back another time and catch him." Emma nods, a flash of sadness covering her features before the mask is up again, and Regina is left with nothing to read but emptiness.

She hides the disappointment fairly well.

They decide to go back to Regina's house, and, on the way there, Emma thinks back on the conversation, remembering Regina saying her name. A small smile breaks across her face.

There's a reason to hope after all, she supposes.

Her thoughts are broken by something strange inside of her. Her brows furrow, and she looks over at Regina, who has a similar look on her face. She swallows down a feeling of dread; she's unsure of where the feeling is coming from, but suddenly Regina is speeding toward her house, running stoplights and stop signs that merely get in the way. The feeling is suddenly intense, so much so that it's becoming difficult for the both of them to breathe.

"Something's wrong." Emma's the first to voice it, though they were both well aware that something definitely wasn't right. She smells it before she even sees it, as does Regina.

Throwing the car into park, not even bothering to turn off the car, both doors fling open, neither shutting.

The black smoke coming out of Regina's house is enough for horror to strike deep inside the both of them.

They're not sure who gets to the house first, but they're both well aware of the fact that they're screaming the names of the children somewhere inside of the burning house, trying to reassure them that they're coming.

A/N: The next update, hopefully, will be much much sooner than this last update that I've given you. As I've said, I have this whole story planned out, so I'm desperately hoping to finish it. Please leave me a review or PM me with anything that you want to say. Once again, though you guys have far outreached my goals of 5 reviews, it will remain the standard. I hope to reach 20 reviews with this chapter, as that seems to be the number that I've been hitting recently with the last few chapters. You all are amazing, and I hope you think the chapter was worth the wait. I love you guys!