A/N: based on this post by corasparasol on tumblr:
"Regina insists that Zelena needs constant supervision so they spend all day picking apples, baking, drinking tea/coffee and gardening. At first Zelena is annoyed but after a while she realizes that it's not about her needing supervision at all, Regina just wants an excuse to bond with her older sister."
"Pass the basket, will you?"
Zelena looks up from her spot on Regina's wicker chair, a borrowed sunhat shielding her eyes, and eyes the basket next to her. She scowls at it, like it's to blame for everythingbecause if she scowls at Regina then this already horrid, sweaty day might just get worse due to door slamming and arguing and god her head hurts from this heat. She hates this hat. It's made out of straw and it's just like the one her mother-
No not her mother.
Strange. She hasn't thought of her adoptive mother in a while. She died when Zelena was quite small and memories are sweet hymns sung at bed time and collecting poppies to make sleeping draughts for restless villagers. She remembers smiles. She remembers the first time she showed her father her magic and he slapped her hands hard like they were wrong.
She wishes that mother survived. She wishes she never heard the name Cora. She wishes she never knew about a sister named Regina. She wishes Regina would have killed her in that cell instead of big brown eyes and a shining smile that no, she shouldn't get to smile like that when you're so miserable, telling her she can be good. Whatever that means anymore. She wishes a lot of things.
"Get it yourself." She says and goes back to reading her book. It's about a boy named Harry who's a wizard and had no one to love him until he finds out that there's an entire magical world that loves him. Fiction is full of wonders, isn't it?
She's about to read chapter four when she hears a cleared throat and slowly lifts her eyes to meet an arched eyebrow.
"I know you despise me, sis, but do you have to be petulant?"
Zelena dog ears the page. Her ears burn, but it's not because of the damn sun. She wishes it were that simple. If it were that simple she'd just keep trying to kill her and this town and turn green, green, green. But Regina is also Cora, but not, and Regina has those big eyes, and Zelena wants to know more. She wants to understand why Regina gave her a guest room and let her onto that strange magic box to pick out what color bedsheets she wants.
And maybe, she wants to understand the sister she never gave a chance, but is giving her one all the same.
"I'm not petulant, I'm just not one of your damn servants, Your Majesty."
Regina looks at her sharply, the corners of her lips turning up in a shadow of a snarl. Zelena remembers last night's conversation: being the Queen wasn't all it's cracked up to be and what mother wanted from me, mother got and she sighs and it's strained, tense in her chest. She's definitely being petulant. Regina is standing on a ladder in heels and expensive suit pants, and Zelena is being petulant.
Regina continues to stare at her for several moments, the expression still very must present before she shakes her head and leans back to sit on the steps of the ladder, a low chuckle building in her stomach.
"Well if you won't get me that basket, then no apple pie tonight. I know you like apples, dear. It tends to run in the family."
The laugh is deeply unsettling. She's almost absurdly proud of it, because it must have terrified her citizens when she needed it to. Little sis, too similar to Zelena for her own comfort. She stares at the boy with the scar and imagines a green girl with auburn hair. She got used to the green. The green became her armor.
She looks at Regina, eyes narrowing in. "What if I don't like apples?"
Her voice somehow comes out softer, hoarser than she expected. She loves apples. Her favorites back in Oz were the bright red ones, and were hard to get because those damn trees would always wake up.
"Then where's my two missing granny smiths?"
Zelena rolls her eyes. "You honestly noticed two missing apples."
Regina reaches out her hand, and gestures towards the basket.
"Do you want the pie or not? I was hoping you'd assist instead of lounging on the couch, flipping uselessly between channels."
Zelena bites back, "What, will you teach me how to fold the crust? Are we going to be some happy family now?"
Regina breathes once and laughs again, raspy and sardonic. "Probably not, but every Mills should know how to fold a crust."
Zelena stares at her. Tries to see the lie, the rouse. Tries to see Cora. Tries to see how Cora failed her too. Remembers the conversation from last night, the cup of coffee, and wonders if everything isn't entirely hopeless without her vengeance complete and her mother still dead with questions unanswered. She wonders how many questions Regina has unanswered too. Sisters. Not for the first time in the past few weeks, she truly tests the word on her mouth, and for the first time, it doesn't taste too bitter.
She hands her the basket and Regina has those big eyes again with the smile and yes, maybe this will work. Maybe the feeling building up in her stomach is actuallyhope, and maybe someday it won't feel uncomfortable and strange and new.
She'll ask Regina about hope, maybe. During the pie.
Or they'll fight before the night ends.
But sisters fight whether they were mortal enemies at one point or not, don't they? Isn't that what the books say?
Regardless, she watches Regina pick apples for a moment, comments about which one she wants, hears be my guest to try and reach that yourself, and goes back to her book about the wizard boy and how he meets his first friend with a smile on her face.
Maybe it starts like this.