A/N: Set possibly after 3A but as if Emma and Henry had stayed in Storybrooke and all had been good in that sense. TW: Self-harm/alcoholism/depression/suicidal issues discussed so please don't read if these things will disturb you. Initially this was going to be a quick oneshot but it just kept evolving, so now I'm considering doing a follow up to this, let me know if you would be interested and if you have any ideas thanks for reading!
"You have no idea what I feel. You have your parents, you have this person, a pirate who pines for you, you have everything and yet you claim to know what I feel. All I have is henry and I am not about to lose him because he is everything."
Regina should have been happy; she knew that but she wasn't. She couldn't shake this anxious, niggling feeling so she pulled the covers over her head and closed her eyes. Sometimes sleep was the best defence.
At least it was until there was a knocking at the door downstairs that woke her up slowly. The visitor was persistent and the pounding continued. Regina groaned as she threw back the covers and quickly fixed her bed-head in the mirror, smoothing out the shirt she had fallen asleep in as she made her way down the stairs and to the door.
"Emma," she sighed, "What are you doing here?"
"I thought I was picking Henry up from school, but I couldn't find him anywhere?" Emma asked, with a concerned frown.
Regina rubbed her forehead, "Uh, yeah he was hanging out with David, I think, down in the mines, after school today. Didn't I tell you?"
Emma shook her head, "No, you didn't tell me. I was worried, Regina."
Regina couldn't be bothered fighting, she sighed and nodded, "I'm sorry," she simply said, shrugging apologetically.
Emma was confused, it wasn't like Regina to apologise or not fight back, "You haven't been around much lately… Is everything okay?" Emma was still frowning, "Were you asleep?"
"Asleep?" Regina blinked; did she look that bad?
"You have bed-head," Emma let a small smile sneak onto her face as the mayor self consciously patted her hair.
"I was…tired," was all she could come up with pathetically.
"Uh-huh," Emma nodded, "Aren't you gonna invite me in?"
Regina raised her eyebrows before shrugging and moving aside to let the younger woman in, "If you wish," she led the way into the kitchen, opening a cupboard and pulling out a bottle of whiskey, "Drink?" she asked, setting a couple of glasses on the bench.
This time it was Emma who raised her eyebrows, "At this time of day?" she asked.
Regina put the bottle down, glancing at the clock; it was only four in the afternoon, "Oh, right," she smiled, "Cup of coffee then?"
Emma nodded, watching Regina busy herself about the kitchen, she couldn't help notice the brunette's shaking hands. Something was definitely off about the mayor since they returned from Neverland. Emma hadn't seen much of her at all to be honest, and when she did she was like this; unsure, sleepy, drinking during the day.
"Regina," Emma started, after as much small talk as the two could politely get through, something they'd never been great at, "Is everything… okay?"
Regina broke eye contact with the other woman, "Yes, fine," she simply answered.
Emma bit her tongue; perhaps it wasn't her place to push the other woman to talk.
"I'm sure she'll be here soon, kiddo," Emma smiled at Henry.
"She's probably sleeping," Henry shrugs, "She sleeps a lot lately."
Emma bit her lip, "She's tired after the trip, huh?" she asked light-heartedly.
Henry nodded, pretending to focus on the tv, "Yeah, I think she's sad or something. She sleeps in the day but she's up all night. She never makes me dinner anymore, either," he turned to her, "We used to eat together every night but she just gets those microwave meals now. They're not as good as her cooking," his eyes were downcast.
Emma grimaced, "Don't worry, I'll talk to her okay?"
Henry shrugged, "You can try. I tried to get her to make her lasagne the other night, but…" he trailed off for a moment, "she just snapped at me and went up to her bedroom."
Emma nodded, "Hey, I'm gonna give her a call, see where she's at," she lifted herself off the couch and pulled her phone out as she wandered out of earshot of her son.
Henry wasn't stupid, he clearly knew something was up, but he was just a kid, he couldn't take care of his adoptive mother, especially if she was overwhelmed by some kind of depression like it sounded. The truth was, if Emma wouldn't talk to her about this, who would?
Regina hadn't answered her phone and that worried Emma. She used to be so particular with when Henry was meant to be with her, and now she wasn't here and she wasn't even answering her phone. And so Emma dropped Henry off with her parents with a reassuring smile and headed over to the mayor's mansion.
"Regina," she called as she knocked on the door, "Open up," and when it became obvious that she wasn't going to, she turned the handle which thankfully, allowed her entrance to the mansion. Jeez, she thought, Regina would not like this at all.
She made her way through the rooms of the house; it really was a mess. Regina was usually so meticulous with keeping a clean home, but now there were dishes all over the place, an almost empty whiskey bottle on the kitchen bench and the bins were overflowing. Emma sighed; this was serious.
As she made her way further into the house, she saw Regina splayed out on the couch; asleep, or more likely, passed out, with another bottle on the coffee table in front of her. She was in pyjama bottoms and a singlet. Emma closed her eyes; this wasn't going to be fun.
"Regina," she tried, hoping her voice alone would be enough to wake the sleeping woman, "Come on, wake up," she continued before bending onto her knee's beside the couch and laying a hand on the other woman's shoulder, shaking gently, "Come on, Regina, you're stronger than this," she shook a little harder, gritting her teeth before getting frustrated, "Oh come on, woman, you're the evil freaking queen, you don't give up."
Regina groaned and moved a hand clumsily over her face, "What are you doing here?" she mumbled, propping herself up on her arms and glancing at Emma before averting her eyes, clearly embarrassed.
"Well, you were meant to pick up Henry hours ago, and he mentioned that you've been…," she paused, "unwell," she settled on.
Regina quirked an eyebrow, "Unwell," she repeated slowly, "I've been a little under the weather, that's all."
Emma rolled her eyes, "Okay, let's stop pretending," she said firmly, "There are two nearly empty bottle's of whiskey in the house, and I'm going to guess from the fact that you were passed out that you got through them pretty quick. The house is a total mess, Henry says you won't even cook for him – "
"So that's what this is about? You being a better mother than me?" Regina snapped, "Fine, you win."
"Regina," Emma instinctively put her a hand on each of Regina's shoulders to calm the quickly becoming hysteric woman, "That's not – "
"Fine, take him, I don't care," Regina pushed her away angrily, tears welling in her eyes.
Emma's eyes widened, "Bullshit," she said, taking Regina's wrists in her hands, "Calm down, I know that's not true. You're stressed, or maybe you're still intoxicated, I don't know but you don't mean that."
"Why are you even here?" Regina pulled her wrists out of Emma's grip and sat back down, her head in her hands.
"Because you're…you're having a break down. It's affecting Henry, but," she shook her head, "I'm not just here for him, okay? You need help, you need," she hesitated, "a friend."
Regina looked up at the blonde incredulously, "We've never been friends."
Emma shrugged, "Well, we've always been fighting over something or another. But…we're not fighting now. Believe it or not, I know what it's like to feel alone and lost."
"You don't know what I'm feeling," Regina whispered through clenched teeth.
Emma nodded and her teeth played with her bottom lip, "Well then…tell me," she braved.
Regina hung her head in silence.
"Jeez, Regina, you don't want to be alone but you don't want to let anyone in. That's just not going to work."
Regina shrugged, mumbling to herself, "I need a drink," she stood up.
Emma huffed and swiped the bottle off the coffee table before Regina could reach it, "Seriously? How the hell did you rule a kingdom if you just run to the bottle when life throws a turn at you? You used to be so driven, and now you're…" she trailed off.
"What?" Regina snapped, "Weak? Let me give you a clue, when I ruled a kingdom I was…" she shrugged, "It was different," she finally muttered.
Emma frowned, "What changed?" she asked.
Regina bit her lip, "You have this whole life and this whole town adores you. You're the fucking saviour," the brunette ground her teeth, "I don't have… all I have is Henry and one day he'll grow up and move away and do great things. Good things. And all that will come from you, the good mother and I'll…I'll be left alone again," she followed in a small voice.
"But… you are good now. You're trying and that's what Henry see's in you. That's what a lot of us see in you and if you'd just try to socialise more, then maybe you could make friends – "
"I don't want friends," Regina growled.
Emma sighed in frustration, "Then what the hell do you want?"
Regina suddenly leapt forward and took Emma's face in her hands, pressing her lips to Emma's surprised lips roughly before pulling away, "I want this."
Emma blinked rapidly, her mind still spinning, "You want…"
"You're just so goddamn loyal and good but not an idiot like your mother. I just want someone to…" she shook her head.
Emma's eyebrows furrowed in concentration; this was unexpected, "Want someone to…care? Henry cares, I care," and when Regina rolled her eyes, "Hey, I do. Come on, whose the one who always protects you when the town wants to kill you? I know you're a good person, Regina, but this," she gestured to the mess of the mansion, the bottle, "this isn't you. You're stronger than this."
"Maybe I just ran out of strength," the older woman whispered, hanging her head once again.
Emma shook her head, "No, you haven't. You just need help. You've been trying to hang on on your own for so long, I mean Henry's just a kid, you just need someone to talk to."
"Forgive me if my heart doesn't race at the thought of more sessions with Dr Hopper," Regina rolled her eyes.
Emma smiled and tentatively placed a hand on one of Regina's, "That's not what I meant, though…that may help. But I can be your friend, if you let me."
Regina continued to grind her teeth; she couldn't even look the blonde in the eye, even when she felt Emma's hand constrict around her own.
"It's okay," Emma whispered, "to need someone. It's human nature, we're not built to be alone, Regina."
Regina nodded, refusing to let the tears spill out of her eyes until she had no power over it anymore and she choked as a sob escaped her throat. That was enough for Emma to pull her into her arms, and, surprisingly the stubborn woman didn't pull away but just sobbed into the blonde's chest, apologising as she did.
"Shh," Emma stroked the other woman's hair, "Don't apologise, it's okay. This is what friend's are for."
"I don't think I've ever really had a friend to cry to before," Regina sniffed, still buried in Emma's neck, too afraid to show her tear stained face.
"Yeah, I know," Emma responded, "But you do now, okay? You're not alone."
Eventually, Regina finally pulled herself out of Emma's arms and sniffed as she wiped her eyes clear of any stray tears, "I'm sorry I kissed you," she muttered, not looking the other woman in the eyes.
Emma smiled, "Are you really?"
Regina blushed, "I don't know why I did," she mumbled as she shrugged, "I just… I think you're quite refreshing."
Emma almost laughed; that was as close to a compliment as she was going to get from Regina Mills and she knew it, "Thanks… I think," she shrugged as a cheeky smirk came across her face, "It wasn't so bad, though probably not my best performance – I was a bit surprised."
Regina glared at her, "Thought you were used to having all the…people chase you. There's always boy or another on your trail."
Emma quirked an eyebrow, "Is that jealousy I hear, madam mayor?"
Regina shrugged silently, breaking eye contact with the younger woman. She couldn't possibly have…feelings for Snow White's daughter? Life sure was cruel sometimes, she sighed and rest her somewhat aching head on the cushion of the couch as she allowed Emma to pull a blanket over her before she climbed into an arm chair with a blanket of her own, turning on the television at a low volume.
Emma never could have guessed when she first arrived in Storybrooke and Regina was her biggest adversary that a couple of years later, she would be the other woman's only confidant. Truth was, for a while she had only cared about Regina for Henry's sake – she was still his mother after all and the kid obviously still loved her, despite everything and so Emma had, at the very least, tolerated her. But it didn't take long for her opinion to soften up a little; Regina wasn't necessarily evil, she just had a really twisted way of dealing with things and Emma, of all people, knew that that kind of stuff usually comes from the way you were raised.
Meeting Cora had definitely shed some light on the situation; Regina was in a constant battle with herself between light and dark and she'd known dark for so long that sometimes it was easier. But then she had Henry and she wanted to change for him.
What it boiled down to was that Regina was a very complicated woman, riddled with demons' most people couldn't even imagine. And right now, it was as though all that darkness had caught up to her and was threatening to pull her under in a very different way than ever before. Usually, Regina would take her pain out on everyone else, but it was like something within her had crumbled and now her mind was attacking itself instead.
Emma knocked on the door and waited patiently for Regina to answer. Thankfully, she did; that was a good sign at least.
"Hey," Emma smiled, holding up a Tupperware container, "I bought you some lunch from the diner, in case you hadn't got to the shops."
Regina nodded stiffly, "I hadn't… thanks. Where's Henry?"
Emma bit her lip, "I've left him with my folks, can I come in?"
Regina opened the door to allow Emma in, "He's meant to spend the night here, isn't he?" she frowned.
"Yeah, he is," Emma confirmed, "It's just…I think maybe until you get yourself sorted… - "
"You're keeping him from me?" Regina asked, anger flaring in her eyes.
"No," Emma said quickly, "I would never do that, Regina. I just think maybe day visits would be better for a while. I don't think he should spend the nights right now."
Regina's shoulders dropped, "Has he said something?" she asked quietly.
Emma swallowed hard, "He says he hears you crying through the night," she replied just as quietly, "It scares him, Regina. He's never seen you like this."
"He doesn't want to see me," Regina whispered.
"Regina, no, that's not it at all," Emma said quickly, "He wants to stay here. He wants to take care of you, he wants to learn to cook lasagne and make you breakfast in bed," she smiled at the brunette, "But I don't think that's his place… He's the kid, right?"
Regina sunk onto the chair in the lounge room and nodded, "Of course, you're right. It's not fair on him, he's just a child."
Emma watched the other woman, eyes full of concern, "How are you doing?" she asked earnestly.
"I am fine," Regina forced out, shrugging, "I just need to snap out of it."
Emma shook her head, "It's not that simple though, is it?"
"Of course, this is another subject that the saviour is an expert on, what a surprise," Regina replied hotly, crossing her arms.
Emma resisted the urge to roll her eyes; when would this woman just accept help? "I'm not an expert," she said slowly, "But growing up, I knew a lot of people who went through stuff," she shrugged, "Foster homes… alcoholics, drug addicts, people with mental illness – "
"I am not an alcoholic," Regina snapped.
Emma put her hands up, "Hey, I didn't say you are. I'm just saying, I've seen it and I've heard it, you don't have to hide anything – "
"Why? Because you've heard everything and you know exactly what I'm feeling," Regina growled.
"No," Emma sighed, trying to keep her own temper under control, "That's not what I'm saying at all. You know what? You're right, I'm not an expert but honestly, Regina, maybe you need one."
Regina's eyes widened and she stood up, "If you say a single word about this to anyone, especially our little insect friend…" she trailed off, unable to finish the threat.
"Archie could help you, Regina… If you let him."
"He got his phd from a curse, for heaven's sake," Regina retorted.
Emma shrugged, "He's helped lots of people with it though, hasn't he?"
"You should leave, Miss Swan," Regina spoke in a monotonous tone.
Emma thought about protesting but instead, stood up and walked herself to the door, "If you need anything, feel free to call," she meant it, but she knew the mayor would never take her up on the offer.
"How was she?" Henry asked the moment Emma stepped through the door.
"She's okay, kid," Emma replied, taking her coat off, "I'll take you over to see her tomorrow, okay?"
"Did she eat?" he asked, "Did she look okay? Did she have those black circles under her eyes or – "
"Whoa, hold on," Emma smiled at the boy in front of her, "Henry, come here," she sat on the couch and Henry followed her, "Your mom is…going through something. She's just a little sad at the moment and it's making her disorganised. I'm going to get her some help though – "
"Archie?" Henry interjected, "He helps sad people all the time."
Emma smiled, "Yeah, maybe. But hey, it's not your job to take care of her, alright? Let the adults do that, it's what we're for."
"But she's my mom," Henry insisted.
"I know, Henry, she is. And she needs you to love her and hug her and spend time with her, okay? But all the practical stuff, like cooking and cleaning, all that, that's what I'm here for okay?"
Henry nodded, "Okay," he thought for a moment, "So are you guys friends now? I mean you're looking after her," he looked up at Emma with shining eyes.
Emma nodded, "We're getting there, kid."
The first time, it really was a mistake. But it had distracted her mind for the quickest moment as she saw the blood leave her finger. It was only a quick prick on a new razor, but it had her wondering. And so slid her finger across the entire blade and winced with the pain but revelled at the blood that now dripped from her finger.
If only she could make the pain last longer, she thought, she might have some freedom from the enemy that was her own thoughts. And so she continued to pull the blade right over her palm, as she clenched her teeth, and right up her arm until she reached her inner elbow and stopped, letting out a gasp of pain. She lent her head against the wall of the shower and let the water wash over the blood trailing down her arm and that too, stung like hell.
Regina didn't fight this time, she sobbed against the wall as both the physical and emotional pain merged; what was happening to her? She was a wreck, and she supposed she always had been but she'd buried it deep for so long. Pretended for everyone else, for herself even, that she was fine, well not anymore.
She gripped the razor in her hand and drew another mark from her palm, right up her arm; it felt awful but so incredibly cathartic at the same time. In that moment, she was filled only with anger, hate and despair at who she was. She wanted to bleed out the person she was and in that second, when she started the third long cut up her arm, it seemed entirely possible that if she just kept on cutting that maybe she could.
Otherwise, she supposed, if she cut enough she would bleed out and pass out for the night, and at least then she would get some sleep. And so she turned the shower off, and got dressed in a singlet so she could continue watching the blood spill from her arm.
All of a sudden it hit her, that she would need to cover these marks up and she swore to herself. However, she only panicked for a moment; as it was, she had already made these marks, what was the difference between covering these up and a few more, if they were all in the same area?
She spent over an hour carving up her arm and she had to admit she was starting to get dizzy, that last incision had really let some blood out and she crawled into bed, not caring about bloodying her sheets as the world began to darken and the last thing she remembered feeling was anger, because even though she was in physical pain, something in her heart still felt such despair and as she closed her eyes, she felt the tears make their way down her cheeks onto her lips, a salty mess.
Emma took her arm from around Henry's shoulders to knock on the mayor's door. There was no answer. Henry looked up at his mom. She smiled back and knocked again. When there was no answer, she turned the door handle – didn't this woman ever lock up her house?
"I'm sure she's just asleep, wait here okay?" Emma told Henry with a smile; he smiled unconvinced but remained in the foyer.
Emma walked through the house checking each of the rooms, suspecting to find Regina either sleeping or perhaps passed out somewhere from too much alcohol, not knowing what awaited her was far worse as she climbed the stairs.
"Regina," she called out, before turning back and checking Henry was still in the foyer, "Are you here? I've bought Henry to see you," she reached the top of the staircase.
She pushed the slightly open door to the bedroom and saw Regina asleep in bed and sighed as she approached. As she got closer, she saw the blood and gasped, rushing to the side of the bed where she could see the blood coming through the sheets. She tore them back to reveal Regina's bloodied and cut up arm.
"Oh god," she breathed, "Hey," she shook the woman, "Wake up, come on Regina," she didn't even notice the tears spilling from her eyes, "Don't do this, wake up."
Regina's eyes fluttered open as she groaned, her eyes flicking from Emma's concerned and tear stained face to her bloodied arm, "I'm fine," she simply stated, blinking slowly.
"Regina," an exasperated Emma said, "You're not fine, I've got to get you to a hospital, your arm – "
"No, no hospital. I'm okay, honestly. I didn't pass out from the…I didn't pass out, I fell asleep, really I'll take care of it," she muttered, guilt filling her mind as she saw the tears in Emma's eyes, "Why are you crying?" she asked.
Emma looked at her incredulously, "Regina, I thought you were… I thought you might be dead. Your arm looks awful, there's so much blood, I thought… I just… I didn't…" she shook her head, this was not the time to lose it, she needed to hold it together, and shit, she still had Henry downstairs, "Hey, Henry's downstairs… please stay here, I need to send him to the diner, then I'll come and clean you up."
Regina clenched her teeth, "I told you, I'm fine, I'll take care of it," but Emma was already on her way out the door.
"Hey kid, she's alright," Emma lied, "She's just feeling ill, and tired, and, anyway I think I'll stay with her, are you alright to walk to Granny's?"
Henry frowned, her mom seemed uncertain, "Are you sure? Can I help?"
"No," Emma reassured him, "No, we'll be fine, really. Go on, get on your way, Snow will meet you there."
Henry shrugged, "Alright, tell her I miss her though, okay?"
Emma forced herself to smile, "Yeah, of course. I'll see you later, don't drink too many milkshakes," she gave the boy a quick hug and closed the door after him.
Regina stood at her bedroom door, hearing Henry's voice float up the stairs as he enquired about her well-being. She lent her head against the door frame, tears welling in her eyes, which she wiped away angrily. What the hell was happening to her? She sat on the edge of the bed and put her head in her hands.
"Hey," Emma took Regina's hand and saw the cuts on it, "Jeez, what were you thinking?"
Regina raised her face to Emma's, "I just wanted it to stop," she whispered.
Emma's eyes melted, "What is going on, Regina? You need to talk about it," she began bandaging the brunette's arm, wincing each time Regina showed pain.
Regina nodded, "I've never been one for talking," she mumbled, "I've never even been one for feeling," she continued, "and the only one that ever made me feel was Henry. I loved him the moment I held him, and that love only grew as he did, but I was still…" she paused, "guarded. Henry's just a boy and, at least until recently, I could still be distant with him… I didn't have to expose myself," she shook her head and glanced up at Emma as if checking that she was listening and she was intently, there was something in the other woman's eyes that told her she could continue, "But he's growing up and he sees through me. And then you arrived and things got so complicated and I was still trying so hard not to feel and it's like all of a sudden, all those…feelings have just come to the surface and I don't know how to deal with them," she finished, shrugging.
Emma nodded, "That makes sense."
"It does?" Regina asked, wide eyed as she looked down at her now firmly bandaged arm.
"Sure, you buried everything for a really long time, Regina, pretended you were some kind of emotionless robot, it makes sense that it would simmer out eventually."
"You're a psychiatrist now?" Regina asked, but not in the same scathing tone she had the other day and continued before Emma had a chance to answer, "You said…you'd seen people with these kind of…problems before. Did any of them…" she trailed off, staring at her arm, "Did any of them do this?" she held up her arm.
Emma nodded, "Yes…they did," she screwed up her eyes for a moment, "I did too," she admitted, "A long time ago."
Regina blinked, "You? But you're so…"
Emma tilted her head to the side, "So what?"
"So good," Regina muttered.
Emma shrugged, "All kinds of people self-harm, and in different ways too. The drinking, that's a form of it too. I mean, I guess it depends on why you do it, if you do it because you're trying to numb something or escape something, then it's basically self-harm."
"You know a lot about this," Regina noted.
"Yeah, I guess," Emma shrugged again, "And hey, you're not a bad person. Good people suffer too," she smiled warmly at the brunette.
Regina nodded weakly, "Usually under the hand of evil though," she mumbled.
Emma frowned before her eyes widened, "Do you regret the things you did as the Evil Queen?" she asked softly.
Regina broke eye contact, "Perhaps," she mused quietly, "But I have done many, many evil things, more than you know about and I don't think I can ever change the core of who I am – the Evil Queen."
"You put the "Evil" there, Regina, you can take it away," Emma said.
Regina quirked an eyebrow; "That is very wise," she cleared her throat, "I… Emma, I would like to," she paused, "Hm," she cleared her throat again, "I would like to say thank you."
Emma couldn't help the smile that broke out over her face, "That was hard for you, wasn't it?"
Regina blushed as she rolled her eyes, "Yes, it was," she muttered, "But you have been…very helpful lately and I-I, well, I appreciate it."
"I almost expect some of these sentences to end with Miss Swan, you get very formal sometimes, you know."
Regina couldn't hold back a small smile, "Well, if you would prefer, Miss Swan – "
"No," Emma laughed briefly, "No, I like knowing the…real you."
"Emma?" Regina asked, any hint of a smile vanishing from her face and a certain darkness clouding her eyes.
"What is it?" Emma asked curiously.
"Can you… I mean, would you be able to teach me how to be good?" she whispered.
Emma's eyes widened and she pulled Regina into her arms, cradling her head in her chest as she felt a tear course down her cheek as she swallowed hard.
"You don't need to be taught to be good, Regina," she whispered, "But I can support you if you'd like, be your friend, help you get all these feelings out," she finished, and felt Regina nod in her chest, "I'd really, really like you to let me take you to get Dr Whale to check out these injuries," she touched Regina's arm gently.
"I don't want Henry to know," Regina whispered, her voice cutting in and out between fighting back tears.
Emma nodded, "I know, so if we can get Whale to stitch them, they'll heal faster, I promise."
Regina pulled her head out of the blonde's chest and looked up at her, "Okay," she agreed after a moment, "But, Emma, I have one more favour to ask," she asked, averting her eyes.
"What is it?" Emma questioned, still holding the fragile mayor in her arms.
"Do you think… Are you able to stay with me tonight?" she couldn't look Emma in the eye as she finished, "I just don't want to be alone."
Emma put a hand under Regina's chin and forced her to look her in the eye, "Of course I will stay. Any time you need. I can bring Henry here any time and we can all stay. And Regina, you are not alone anymore, I promise."