Regina's life had come to this, a sacrificial lamb for the dragon which tormented the kingdom every year. She, the Queen would become dinner to the winged beast in hopes of appeasing it for another year. Her thoughts ran back to meeting with the King and his royal advisers as the King's Guard led her forward into the clearing outside of the dragon's cave.
The old seer had foretold that the dragon's attacks would not stop this year until someone of young royal blood was sacrificed. Regina's first thoughts had been of her stepdaughter Snow. Snow was after all the youngest royal in the Kingdom, but the King had not wanted to hear it. He deemed it to mean her, since she had just become a royal by marriage less than a year ago, and Snow had been a royal since her birth.
So here she was being tied to a wooden stake in the predawn hours just waiting for the dragon to come out and end what had become her miserable life.
Somehow she kept herself together and held her head up as the guards left without so much as a goodbye let alone a sorry, for they were all loyal to her husband the King. Her personal guards had tried to protect her but had all ended up in the dungeons or dead, to ensure she would be brought before the dragon and end it's wave of terror on the Kingdom.
"Snow" She muttered to herself. Snow had caused her to lose the love of her life Daniel and now she would cost her, her life. "I never wanted to be of Royal blood!" She screamed to the empty clearing and dark cave.
She felt the tears on her face before she knew she was crying. The only positive thing about being a royal was it had led to her meeting Jefferson. He was a traveler, a realm hopper, who made a living by selling secrets, magical items and spells to the highest bidder. He had tried to help her when no one else would, but his Wizard friend wasn't able to bring her dear Daniel back to life; but their agreement had led to more meetings and business until one day it became some more.
Jefferson had brought out feelings she only had, had for Daniel, feelings which she never thought she would ever have again.
Noise of the dragon stirring inside the cave brought a scream to Regina's lips. "Jefferson!" She cried. "I will never see him again. He's most likely off retrieving some dangerous and expensive item for the Dark One himself. He won't even know about what happened here until it is too late. Not that he would be able too much against dragon he is a thief, not a knight."
"And I thought that was the way you liked me your majesty?" Jefferson commented as he appeared behind her.
"Jefferson?" She gasped trying to turn around to see if he was really there or if she was imaging it.
"The one and only." He grinned moving in front of her. "And judging by the sounds coming from inside the cave I arrived just in time." He pulled out a knife and moved behind her again starting to cut the ropes.
"How did you know where I was?"
"I have my sources Regina, haven't you learned that at our adviser meetings over the last year? This is costing me a chance at beating Jack to a rather loftily treasure but nothing is more important to me than saving you."
"You came back for me?" she whispered.
"Of course, did you think I would just let a dragon eat you?"
The dragon gave a roar followed by a blast of fire which exited the dark cave.
"If you don't hurry he is going to eat both of us!" She urged him on as the dragon finally exited the cave.
He stopped cutting the ropes which held her and moved around in front of her. "Do you really think I of all people would come here and not have something to handle a dragon in my bag of tricks?" He pulled out a small black egg shaped item.
"What is that?" She asked him.
"Just a little something I picked up on my travels. It is supposed to kill dragons."
"That little thing is going to kill the dragon?"
"Let's find out." Jefferson threw the magical item at the ground in front of the dragon. It exploded and dragon screamed as it rolled around on the ground hitting the cave wall behind him.
"Hmm." Jefferson muttered. "That didn't seem to kill him."
"Just pissed him off more by the sound of it." Regina agreed.
"I have to stop trusting that Will Scarlet. He will say anything to make a shilling." He ran on as he rushed to cut the ropes which still bound her.
"You thought something that cost a shilling would work against a dragon?"
"I thought I was getting a good deal at the time." Jefferson tried to reason as the rope finally gave away. He pulled her around behind him as the dragon gave another angry roar. "Should we take leave without killing the dragon?"
"Who cares about the dragon, or what it does to the Kingdom. Let them all die, the way they would have let me. I am finally free, and with the man I want to be with. Use your hat and take us far, far away from here."
"As you wish Regina." Jefferson pulled her tight to him with his left hand and with his right he gave his hat a spin. The two of them disappeared in a cloud of purple smoke as the dragon came roaring towards them.
Regina clung to him tightly it felt like she was free falling and she all but fell over when they came to sudden stop.
"Don't worry Regina, I got you." He reassured her holding her until she got her bearings back.
"Where are we?" She asked looking around at the green meadows and gently rolling hills. "Are those doors in the hillside?"
"This is Middle Earth, looks like we landed near The Shire. Those are Hobbit holes. Hobbits make their homes in the earth, but they are harmless."
Regina looked around towards the mountains way off in the distance. "Are there dragons here as well?"
"There are but they don't come this far. We will be safe here, and if you don't like it we can pick another world to live in once we are married."
"Married?" She asked startled at his proposal.
"Well yes, I mean you do want to marry me don't you? You didn't just want me to take you away somewhere and leave you did you?"
"Yes of course I want to marry you!" She smiled throwing herself back into his arms.
A few days later in the town of Hobbiton with some help from the locals Regina's dreams of a better life were coming true. She had on a long white gown; her long dark hair was down in the loose curls. She held her flowers tight as she walked down the little path towards Jefferson and the Hobbit who agreed to marry them. The ceremony was a blur to her, her senses finally coming back after she heard the Hobbit say, "You may kiss the bride."
Jefferson moved forward taking her in his arm and pulling her in for the kiss, just then Regina woke with a start. Jefferson was moving away from her leaving the bed. "Jefferson where are you going?" she asked confused.
"Regina I didn't mean to wake you." He whispered as he pulled his pants back on. "But it is almost morning. I thought it best to leave before dawn actually breaks, like our normal routine" He added pulling his shirt over his head and reaching out for his vest.
"Leave? Normal routine? But we, our wedding…" Regina trailed off as she sat up taking in her bedroom and realizing the dragon, the rescue, and the marriage had just been a dream, a silly fantasy, an alternate universe, one which she could never reach. This love in the dark was the only thing her and Jefferson could ever share. She was the Queen and he was Rumplestiltskin's thief.
"Wedding?" Jefferson laughed flashing that toothy grin Regina loved so much as he pulled on his coat. "That must have been one hell of a dream you were just having. Care to share any of it with me?"
"My dreams are none of your concern." Regina hissed at him upset that she shown such weakness in front of him, and how no matter what she wanted she had no escape from what her life had become.
"As you wish your majesty."
"I told you not to call me that!"
"How am I to remember my place if I don't remind myself of your title." He teased placing his travel bag over his shoulder.
"If you wish to continue sharing my bed you will call me by my name and name only." She huffed turning away from him.
"Regina." He whispered as he crawled across the bed towards her. He moved her hair to the side to kiss her neck. "My Regina."
"Yes." She whispered turning to meet his kiss.
He pulled back from the kiss first. "Until next time?"
Regina couldn't find her voice she only gave a slow nod of her head, and watched as Jefferson withdrew from her bed. He placed his hat on his head and with a smile on his lip she watch as he disappeared in a cloud of purple smoke, leaving her alone in bed with just the remnants of her dream and the life she longed for.