A/N: So sorry I haven't updated yesterday. The muse is alright, don't worry, but life has caught up with me a bit. It's finals time again, and that means I'll have a lot of work to do in the next month or so. So I've decided to update only one out of two days for now. Keep giving this story love, I swear it will give it back.
A Robin-less chapter I'm afraid, but we do learn who the villains are this time. Brace yourselves, those who had no idea, and congrats to all those who HAD found out. You're true geeks!
Also, keep asking questions!
asked: "Why did he [Robin] walk away when he heard she said she loved him?"
He didn't, he was knocked out. ;) He walked away basically because, even though he still loves Regina, he has for now chosen Marian over her. Sad I know, but true.
Captain Swan is endgame asked: "Can you write the missing scene where Emma and Killian are babysitting Neal?"
Nope, sorry for that, but I'll keep this story as much Regina's POV as I can. I may go inside Robin's head once or twice, but never someone else, sorry. Although I too wonder what these two have been up to. ;)
Spyrosb9 asked: "Is Robin teasing with all his "I could open my eyes to that sight eveyday and not grow tired of it" and that hug "Thank you"?"
No, he's not. He's genuinely hurting too.
18. Forty-sixth sunset
Regina had a hard time realizing it was actually her reflection in her mirror and not some hallucination.
She looked as if she was glowing. Her eyes seemed bigger and brighter, her skin more toned, her body more beautiful.
She had heard about how pregnant women tended to look their best before their belly and breasts started swelling, but she had never thought she'd be one of those women.
The door of her bedroom opened just as she lifted her shirt to place a careful hand on her still flat tummy, and Henry's reflection joined hers.
He sported a beautiful smile as his grey eyes stared down at her hands, and soon, his own fingers joined hers and their eyes met.
"Can you feel anything?"
She smiled softly and shook her head. "It's a little too early for that, darling."
He nodded. "But you'll tell me when he or she is going to move, right?"
She nodded back. "I will tell you everything."
He chuckled then ewed. "Not everything. Grandma says there are some gross things too, and I don't wanna know those."
Regina chuckled back and leaned down to kiss his forehead. "Go make breakfast, I'll be right down."
"'Kay. Just wanted to tell you Gramps called. He says Mowgli has agreed to see you all." He shrugged, obviously not knowing what the fuss was all about, and exited the room.
Regina's eyes went back to her reflection, and her brow furrowed.
Ever since that strange figure 'attacked' her – she was still unsure to call that an attack – none of the patrols saw anything move in the woods again, and if the strangers had left.
But they hadn't, Regina was sure of that.
If Robin's and Tink's tracking skills were anything to come by, fresh marks still appeared regularly closer and closer to the town.
To the point when sometimes, Regina felt as if she was spied on.
Mowgli was basically their only chance at having a clue about who these people were.
Belle had searched in all the books in her possession – both in Rumpel's and in the town's library – and had found nothing.
Snow had even resorted, to David's pain, to rewatch all the Disney movies available on Netflix.
But so far, nothing.
(Well, Snow had only reached Pocahontas by then too, and as far as they knew, Native Americans didn't wear white and blue.)
When Regina reached the town's hall, everyone was already gathered. Well, everyone...there was a couple of people missing.
She met Emma's eyes the first, as the Saviour shuffled on her two feet as if she wished nothing else more than to leave. "Where's Hook?"
Emma jumped slightly, surprised that Regina talked directly to her for a change, and smiled. "He wanted out on the sea for the day. He took Henry. He hasn't told you?"
Regina's brow furrowed. "He didn't. And he will hear me for it."
Snow, beside her chuckled and put a friendly hand on her shoulder. "Boys will be boys..."
And Regina took the opportunity now that another was missing to add "That's why I hope it's a girl" and placed a hand on her stomach.
Snow smiled softly back before placing herself next to her husband again.
That's when Regina noticed something unusual.
Ever since they met, Jefferson and Elsa were always standing close to each other. The Hatter was obviously very comfortable around the Frozen Queen, and Elsa seemingly liked his conversation and teasing company.
But that day, Elsa was standing as far as she could form Jefferson, and he...seemed displeased.
Her eyes darted from one to the other, pondering to whom she'd go first.
She decided to go to Jefferson.
The Hatter met her eyes and made a grimace of shame. "I may have tried to kiss her..."
Regina rolled her eyes. "Men..." But she still smirked and nudged his shoulder by passing him as in a silent 'I told you so'.
Elsa was less welcoming of her, remaining silent and fidgeting with her everlasting blue gloves. Regina only noticed the slight chill in the air as she stood next to her, and she placed a careful hand on her wrist to enquire on her.
"Are you alright?"
Elsa met her eyes, and hers were red, as if she had been crying.
Regina understood the passing message and leaned in to whisper in her ear. "We'll talk about this later."
Elsa nodded quietly, and then, David cleared his throat, and all eyes went to him.
There was a young man next to him, one that Regina had known a long time prior, when he was still a boy not much older than Henry.
Mowgli had coffee-toned skin and long black hair that hung lazily to his shoulders. Grey eyes were scanning the assistance from his tall height – he was reaching David's height easily.
When his gaze fell on Regina, he smirked.
The Queen stared at him, unable to move her gaze, until Snow placed herself in front of the newcomer and outstretched a hand. "Hello. I'm Snow White, but I'm called Mary-Margaret here."
The boy tore his gaze from Regina and smiled, shaking Snow's hand. "I know who you are. Your face was on many posters back home. I'm Mowgli. But around here, I'm called James."
"You were taken with the curse?"
He nodded. "I was. But I scarcely went outside my parents' house. Agoraphobia is a pain." He chuckled.
Emma's eyes had grown the size of tennis balls. "I can't believe it. Mowgli. I mean, the Jungle Book... Baloo, Bagheera, Kaa, Sheerkhan, everything..."
He chuckled again. "I've seen the movie too. I can tell you my story is really far from that. Speaking of which," he turned to Regina again, taking long strolls to her and playfully outstretching his hand again, "hello, Your Highness."
Regina smiled, trying to remain civil when she could remember perfectly a day when this brat had broken into her rooms and stolen many valuable objects, right under her nose at that. "He-hello."
"Right. James, if you please. We have called you here for a reason."
Mowgli whirled around and faced David again before nodding. "I know. This one," he pointed to Rumpel, "has already filled me in when he came to see me. Unfortunately, I don't think I can help much. I was quite alone living in the forest back then. I can't recall any other people living in the trees or such."
There was a general sigh of disappointment.
"But," all eyes went to him again, "I've heard stories. Of a very old people. There weren't from the Enchanted Forest, or any world I know of. But they could have matched your description." He paused, making a dramatic effect. "Ever heard of the Atlantes?"
No one answered, and Regina's eyes met Snow's, who shrugged.
"The Atlantes lived like millenias ago. Their city was buried under water by the sea god Poseidon."
"This is a myth, Mowgli. A legend. This world has many of those, and none were real."
Rumpel cleared his throat. "Hercules was, darling, if you need any recalling at what Hades tried to do to you."
Regina glared at the wizard before reporting her attention to the wolf-boy. "Anyway. What tells you that particular story was real?"
He shrugged. "Nothing really. Just a hunch."
She sighed again and fell back on a chair. "This was useless. We'll never know what-"
The door slammed open.
Hook ran in, panting as if he had been running the whole way from the docks. His eyes searched for Emma, and as he grabbed her hand, his gaze went to the rest of the group. "You have to come see this."
Emma tugged on his hand. "What's happened?"
"The docks. Something happened at the docks."
Regina sprang up. "Henry?"
Emma's eyes widened too in realisation and fear, but both women sighed in relief when Hook shook his head.
"No, he's safe. I left him with Smee. But you have to come."
Everyone nodded, and soon, the group was hurrying behind the pirate, and towards the docks.
"We had just arrived from Granny's. I wanted to...lent...a ship for the day, but it was impossible to even set sail."
David nodded, while Snow, her hand gripping her husband's, enquired. "Why was it impossible?"
But they had reached the edge of the docks already, and as Hook pointed forward, there was a gasp of surprise.
Regina's hand felt contact with Tink's on her right, and the fairy's eyes were full of fear.
The water had risen. Not as it would have on a normal beach with the sea's current, no.
It had risen in a arch over the docks, advancing over the boats there as a ball of melted glass.
Jefferson chuckled darkly behind the group. "Well, I guess the kid was right. Atlantis is here."