A/N: I wasn't sure if I was going to have enough time to post tomorrow and I couldn't leave you all hanging, so here it is. This is the last chapter, folks. I want to thank everyone. You have all given me so much support throughout this story,and I can't express how much it's meant to me. As always, Enjoy :)
May 10th had arrived. It was a Wednesday. Just as Emma had planned.
In fact, almost every thing about Regina's day had been planned. Last night, Emma had snuck her way into Regina's planner and changed things around the way she wanted it. She hoped the brunette wouldn't notice, and if she did, she hoped she wouldn't be too mad.
According to that planner, Regina had the busiest day of the year ahead of her. Everyone wanted to interact with her on The Day of Silence, so Emma had her lover running around town until the party.
When Regina woke up, Emma was already gone, something that was extremely unusual. But after rolling over on her side, She saw Emma had left her a note.
Happy May 10th. I hope you have a good day. I had to go in early to work and I might have to stay a little late. I have a surprise planned for you at town hall at 7 pm. I'll meet you there. In the meantime could you run some errands? I meant to do them, but work is really kicking my butt right now.
Regina read down the list. Geez, Emma wasn't kidding about the errands.
Get your car inspected
Go buy some wine
Pick up a package from Granny
Drop off Henry's lunch at the reception desk
Pick up some of that Italian bread
She had no idea how Emma thought she could fit this all in one day, in addition to getting her work done. She also had no idea how Emma's job was "kicking her butt", the crime rate in Storybrooke had been at or around zero for years now.
Nevertheless, she grabbed the list on her way out of her bedroom. While she slightly wanted to strangle the woman right now for loading this all on her plate, she also loved her to death, and she knew she'd finish the list because of it, even if she grumbled about it in the process.
The brunette decided to drop off Henry's lunch first, and turned left at the stoplight instead of right. She stepped out of the car, her five inch stilettos hitting the pavement as she walked up to the entrance of the school.
Whether it had been fate, knowing she'd be the center of attention today, or she just random luck, Regina wore a tight blue dress with an asymmetrical cut at the top. It was undoubtedly one of her most form fitting and form flattering outfits.
She pulled open the door to Henry's school, turning into the receptionist's office sharply.
With a friendly smile, Regina held out Henry's lunch to a woman behind the desk, and turned it slightly so the receptionist could see his name written on it. The receptionist didn't take it from Regina's hands though, instead she lifted her own hands up and began to sign.
'Did Henry forget his lunch again?'
Regina's entire body stilled in confusion. She wrinkled her forehead and tilted her head sideways, completely floored by the fact that this woman, had just signed to her. Signed. As in American Sign Language. With her hands. Without talking. To Regina. Who was deaf.
The receptionist chuckled a bit at how right Emma had been, she warned everyone that Regina would most likely look as if you had just grown another head in front of her. The key was to just keep going like nothing had happened. 'Whatever you do', Emma had said, 'just don't explain yourself.'
'I can just take that. I'll have Henry come pick it up after his class.' The receptionist added before taking the bag from Regina's still held out hand.
Regina realized her lips were parted and pressed them together, swiveling around on her heels unsurely. What just happened? Did she know that woman? Had she just not known someone else in this town signed?
She arrived at Michael's Auto Shop ten minutes later to get her car inspected. She figured she could run to the store and Granny's before picking up her car again and finally going to work. She'd be lucky if she made it there by eleven.
Michael walked out and rubbed his hand clean on a towel. Regina got out her notepad, but he put a hand up to stop her.
'What can I do for you Madame Mayor?' He signed expertly. He was by far the most skilled signer and not only knew the basics, but had taught himself most of the words he needed in his profession.
Regina reverted back to her reaction at the receptionist's desk. Seriously, what was going on? She knew for a fact that Michael hadn't known how to sign the last time she was here.
She looked from side to side. For what, she had no idea. But somehow this felt like an episode of one of those pranking shows she, Emma, and Henry watched sometimes.
'I need to get my car inspected,' She reluctantly signed, waiting for a blank look of confusion to appear on his face. Instead, he nodded understandingly.
'Alright. Are we doing an oil change too?'
Regina kept giving Michael a dumb look, her jaw literally dropping a couple inches. After the pause became awkward, she forced her hands to move.
'No I think just the inspection will be fine.'
She practically ran away from the man, while her head kept spinning. What. Was. Going. On. Am I dreaming?
Within the next five minutes, she became legitimately convinced that this was a dream. She pinched herself to check, which was juvenile even for her, but she had no idea what else to do. Little did she know, her confusion was only beginning.
When she went to pick up the bread, a woman Regina had seen at Henry's school sometimes struck up a conversation through signing. She could tell the woman was relatively new to sign language since her movements were slow and deliberate, but it was a real conversation, and it had flowed pretty easily between them.
The baker who handed her the bread signed for her to have a good day.
The teenage boy at the register signed that the weather was nice out.
As people kept coming up and signing to her, Regina learned to control her outward confusion, instead responding naturally as if it wasn't the weirdest thing in the entire world that the whole town had seemingly learned sign language overnight.
As she was checking out, she casually looked around, just passing the time, and that's when she realized it. It wasn't just that people were signing to her, they were signing to each other.
Exiting out the grocery store, she seriously considered that the reality of her life right now was that she was currently stuck in the twilight zone or something like it.
When she entered the diner and saw everyone in THE ENTIRE diner signing including Granny, Regina lost her shit.
She sped walk to the sheriff's station, completely disregarding the fact that she hadn't picked up the package Emma had wanted her to. When she entered the doorway, she saw Emma and David signing to each other.
She motioned between the two of them, and then to out the window where other people were signing to each other, all while looking completely flustered.
Emma chuckled but she felt bad for the woman, she was obviously driving herself crazy. Emma knew she had been a fool to think that Regina would just go with it until the party tonight.
'Care to tell me what the hell is going on?' Regina signed, distressed, while she flopped into Emma's desk chair. Emma asked David to give them some time and he signed back, replying that it was just about time for his patrol.
'So…' Regina's eyes were wide in anticipation, and it looked as though she was two seconds from tearing her hair out. Emma sat in David's chair and rolled it over, placing both of her hands on Regina's cheeks before kissing her. Regina wasn't phased.
'Don't play dumb with me! Everyone in this fucking town is signing. People who can hear perfectly fine are signing to each other, and to me! I. Don't. Understand. And from the way you were smirking, I can tell you do. So explain it to me right now!'
Emma had a slightly puzzled look on her face.
'What?' Regina asked, motioning to Emma's face.
'I don't know what that hand motion means.' Emma admitted while repeating a motion Regina had used. Neither Mrs. Hamilton or Henry had ever taught it to her, and she'd never seen Regina use it before. Regina narrowed her eyes after she saw Emma repeat the hand motion.
Regina grabbed a notepad on Emma's desk and scribbled on it before holding it up to Emma.
Fucking. Regina had written on the pad. Emma raised her eyesbrows and smirked.
Regina rolled her eyes, knowing exactly the dirty path her girlfriend's mind had gone down.
'Okay, okay. I'll tell you. The Tuesday and Thursday baseball practices Henry and I had...'
Regina nodded, waiting for Emma to continue.
'Well…we aren't exactly on a baseball team…' Regina raised her eyebrows, This ought to be good.
'We kind of formed a sign language club. And basically the whole town joined.'
Whatever Regina had been expecting Emma to say, it hadn't been that. For the tenth time today, the brunette was completely frozen from the outside in, her face was frozen, her heart stopped beating, her stomach felt suspended.
'The entire town has been learning sign language two times a week for like four months in secret?' She signed incredulously. Never in her life had she ever thought she would be asking that.
'And today you just decided to, what, show off your skills?'
'We made today The Day of Silence. Everyone is signing only. Actually, pretty much everyone learned to sign because of you, so it's kind of your day.'
Regina shook her head from side to side as if to say 'no'. There was no way the entire town had learned essentially a different language just for her. There was no possible way. Everyone hated her.
Yet there they were, walking around town all signing to each other.
'So go enjoy the day and talk to as many people as you want,' Emma signed encouragingly and essentially pushed Regina's still shocked form out the door.
Regina stood outside the sheriff's station and debated on going back in there and demanding more answers, but she doubted Emma would give them to her anyway.
Instead, she decided to finally go into work. On her way there she watched people sign to each other while a repeated loop of They all did this for me? They learned sign language for me? ran through her head. She hoped that maybe if she repeated it over and over enough times, she would start to believe it.
The second half of the day went pretty much the opposite of the first half. Regina reluctantly took Emma's advice and enjoyed her day.
During it, she chatted endlessly with a guy in her building about fashion and style. He turned out to be the flamboyant shopping partner she'd always wanted.
She had a meeting with the town planner and they got through a month's worth of proposals within twenty minutes, something that would have originally taken hours via email.
When she went to grab the wine on the list, which she now had a hunch was just a set up created by Emma, she signed with the man about the differences between Italian and French Wines. She even gave him a mini lesson on signing certain adjectives that had to do with wine.
With each and every interaction she had with the townspeople, the gravity of the day slowly began to sink in. Not only the day, Regina realized, the rest of her life. These people had just given her the gift of words.
She felt like chains that had been wrapped around her ankles her entire life had just unlatched.
At seven, Regina finally walked toward town hall. She hadn't seen Henry all day. And she'd only seen Emma for the short time she visited her.
Yet somehow, she had conversed with more people today than she had in all her time in Storybrooke, and the truth was, she had enjoyed every interaction she'd had.
Whether they had changed, or she had changed, or both, Regina felt like she was living a new and improved version of her life.
Standing in front of the door, she wondered what lie behind it. Knowing Henry and Emma it was undoubtedly some grand gesture.
She fixed her hair and flattened out her dress. With one last breath, she pushed the door open and took a step in.
Emma and Henry's eyes remained fixed on the door, waiting for Regina's form to walk through it. The woman was known for never being late, and they knew she wouldn't start now. Right on the dot, they saw a black stiletto reach through.
'Okay, now.' Henry signed to a waiting crowd.
Once Regina was fully in the room, every single person in it started clapping. It was almost comical how wide Regina's eyes widened when she saw how many people were there and smiling at her.
Emma rushed down to lead Regina to the front where the speaker's stand was.
One by one, the clapping died out, and Emma stood on an box Henry had dragged over, making sure Regina could see her sign as well as the crowd.
'Regina. We made a video to show you exactly what you've just experienced today. And what we've been doing. Basically it just explains everything.'
The lights dimmed and a video whirled to life on a move projector that projected on a sheet hung on the wall. The video started with a black screen, white writing fading in.
After everything you do for this town Regina, we decided it was much overdue we made the effort to get to know the real you.
The words disappeared, replaced by new ones seconds later.
Emma and Henry started Sign Language Club and we began on a journey, with no understanding of the effect it would have on us.
A video clip from a meeting at the Sign Language Club played across the screen.
It showed Mrs. Hamilton teaching a group some new hand motions. The camera focused on Archie, sitting in the group, who signed innocently.
'Your bosom is very beautiful, and I would like to touch it.'
Mrs. Hamilton looked at him strangely, but a group of guys who sat next to him, which the camera soon zoomed on, were dying of laughter with tears in their eyes.
Everyone in town hall watching the video laughed as well, even Regina chuckled a bit.
Emma looked over at the woman who was mesmerized by the video, her eyes were pooled with tears that were desperately trying not to fall. Emma reached over and interlaced her hand with Regina's.
The screen cut and switched to a different scene where Emma and Henry acted out animals and people around them raced to sign the answer correctly.
Next, the video transitioned to a new screen where, for a couple seconds, August seemed to be trying to pick up a couple women while showing off his sign language skills.
When he looked up and realized the video camera was on him, he winked at it and flexed a muscle.
A few more dispersed laughs escaped from the crowd.
The video cut to a new scene, this time showing Henry holding the video camera inches away from himself, allowing only an extremely zoomed in portion of his face to be in the screen. He set the video camera down on something and took a few steps back so he could sign.
'This is all for you Mom! We asked all these people the first day why they were here, this is what they said.'
The camera remained in the same spot, but flashed from scene to scene as people appeared and disappeared, repeating in a shortened version what they had said on the first day.
After a bunch, but definitely not everyone had gone, the video went black again. New, white words appeared almost immediately.
And in order to show you all our new skills, Emma came up with The Day of Silence where everyone would spend the entire day signing
…it turned out to be quite interesting.
The video switched to a blurry scene of the receptionist's office in Henry's school. As it slowly focused, Regina realized it was filming her reaction when the receptionist signed to her.
Everyone began to giggle and laugh, Regina even joined in laughing at how ridiculously shocked she looked.
There were some more scenes of people signing to each other in the street.
One of Regina's reaction when she walked into the diner and stormed out to go see Emma.
A random clip filmed secretly from inside a closet of Granny dancing by herself.
A short burst of video where Emma laughed as she hung a sign of shame around a man's neck that said 'I talked on the Day of Silence'. He hung his head, but you could still see the corners of a smile from his downturned face.
Suddenly, the video switched to a view outside of Henry's school. The camera was stationed in the courtyard, but zoomed in really far, you could see Henry sitting in class from outside the window. He turned and saw the camera, signing, 'Get me out of here!'
But then, a teacher with a reputation for being strict appeared in the corner of the view and began signing to whoever was carrying the camera to stop distracting the kids.
The camera holder, who was soon revealed to be Ruby, flipped the camera around to her face and laughed freely as she filmed herself sprinting away from the teacher who was chasing after Ruby now, shaking her fist.
Just before the scene cut out, Regina saw half of Emma's body in the video running away next to Ruby.
Beside Regina, Emma snorted in laughter and looked at Ruby who was laughing just as hard. They had hid behind a tree for twenty minutes to escape the clutches of that woman.
After Emma's laughter had died down, she looked over to Regina who she expected to be laughing as well, but the woman was sobbing. Tears ran down her face with no intention of stopping. All of her walls had broken down.
From the minute Emma had walked into town she had begun construction on Regina's exterior and now, right in this moment, Emma realized there were no more walls to wreck. The woman beside her, that had been stunning the entire time, was now showing it to the rest of the world.
The movie flashed between some more scenes from The Day of Silence before ending with one last scene of Henry and Emma sitting on stools in the room that all sat in now.
'Learning sign language was the best thing we ever did, Emma began while Henry looked on, 'because it was the way that we got to know you, Regina.'
'And hopefully now the rest of the town will be able to see you just like we do. Which is...' Henry's hands stilled and he looked back at Emma.
'Beautiful' Emma signed, the video catching the tears that were pooling in her eyes.
'Funny' Henry pressed his lips together to keep his own lip from quivering.
'Sassy' Henry signed, causing his face to break out into a smile that quickly turned into a sob.
'Perfect' Emma finished, the video fading out to black.
When the lights turned on, almost everyone's eyes were a little redder, almost every nose in the room a little more runny. Emma wiped her own tears away and stood on the box again, trying to compose herself.
'So without further ado, why don't we have Regina herself officially end The Day of Silence.'
Emma stepped down from the box and helped Regina on it, who swayed a little on her heels.
Regina realized in the pit of her stomach that now was the moment. Now was the time. She took a deep breath to calm the butterflies that had filled her stomach in seconds and cleared her throat, focusing on everything she had practiced with Budd the last couple months.
"While all of you were learning sign language, I happened to be going to speech lessons. Maybe we can meet in a happy middle. I now declare The Day of Silence over." Regina said authoritatively.
Her speaking wasn't completely smooth, she still had to keep her hand hovering slightly over her throat to feel the vibrations, and not all the words came out clearly. But to Emma, who stood next to her with her mouth opened in a wide 'O', it was the single most wonderful thing she'd ever heard.
When Regina had said Emma's name all those months back, Emma had been shocked, but this. This, was a million times better.
This was Regina. The real Regina.
The crowd was shocked into silence as well, but after one person began to clap, they all erupted into wild clapping, shouting, and hollering.
"EVERYBODY GO GET SOME FOOD," Granny shouted as loud as she possibly could. A line formed in record time to the tables that held all the donated food for the event.
When Regina returned to Emma's side, Emma's 'O' shaped mouth slid into an ear to ear smile.
'I can't believe you kept that a secret!' was the first thing Emma could force herself to sign. Regina threw her head back and laughed.
'I kept that a secret? Look at all of this you kept a secret!' Regina signed in reply before waving around the whole room.
They both looked around, people were eating, talking, laughing, some of them still showing off their sign language skills.
In that moment, Regina realized that tonight was going to be a night to remember for many reasons. It had not only been the right moment for her to finally speak, but it was the right moment for something else as well.
Something that she had been wanting to do since the first time she had kissed Emma.
She caught Henry's gaze out of the corner of her eye and turned her head to look at him. He nodded to her with an adorable smile on his face, knowing exactly what she asking with only one look.
Regina reached into her pocket where she wrapped her fist around a little, square velvet box.
She took one final breath and opened her mouth.
"Emma Swan, will you marry me?" She asked, pouring every emotion she had for the woman into it.
And for once.
Her implant activated at exactly the right time.
Because the next thing she heard, was Emma's beautiful voice saying yes.
Tell me what you thought. About everything. The story. This chapter. Any chapter. I want to hear it all.
Thank you again!