Regina could admit that she felt a little uncomfortable being alone with this Emma all night. She hadn't slept well at all, fearful of something happening. The night before they had eaten dinner but hadn't spoken too much before Emma said she was tired and wanted to retire for the night.
She offered her the guest bedroom and some clothes and they said good night. Regina sat up for a long time, thinking about what she could possibly say to this woman to get her to help because whether they liked it or not they needed her help. This Emma was the only one who knew how to get to that other timeline. She was the only one who knew about this Alex and possibly how to defeat her.
When she did manage to get some sleep, she woke with no more answers than she had the night before. Although she had texted Emma to let her know she was fine – as required – she hadn't asked Emma her opinion. She had thought about it, thought about calling her to ask her what she thought the next step should be. In the end, she hadn't though. She hadn't because she wasn't sure how helpful Emma would be. These two Emmas may technically be the same person, but they weren't really. Their different experiences had made them different people.
Plus, we don't often know ourselves well – or atleast don't want to admit certain truths about ourselves. Dealing with two Emmas, Regina wasn't sure either would be helpful in understanding the other.
She had gotten up and dressed while Emma apparently was still in the guest room asleep. She didn't go to wake her until breakfast was done.
This Emma had had no trouble sleeping and Regina felt a little silly for losing out on her own sleep because she didn't 100 percent trust this woman.
After eating, Emma showered and once dressed returned downstairs, where Regina was sitting in the main room. She shouldn't have been surprised that Emma took a seat also on the couch.
It was time for them to talk and they both knew it.
"Why did Alex believe she could send you back here and you would bring me back to her?" Regina asked.
"Like I said, she would talk to me a lot while she had me prisoner. Believe it or not, I even listened. I tried to sympathize with her."
"Did you?" Regina interrupted. "Sympathize with her for real?"
Emma shrugged, "A little, I guess. She didn't ask for this. She made that clear. She wouldn't have chosen for things to have happened like they did or so she said. She hated Gold for doing this to her."
"Then why not kill him and take his power?"
"She's unpredictable in some ways, a lot of ways I guess. You see, she felt bad about what happened to Belle. She was a child and she didn't understand death or why Belle thought she was her mother. With Gold though, I think she kept him alive for two reasons – one to ensure I or the other Emma would kill him and take the Dark One's power so she could enact her plan. The other reason was I think she thought keeping him alive was a better way to punish him than killing him," she said. "Once Belle died, Gold fell apart. He was never the same afterward. And I think part of that was because he knew, he knew she had killed Belle even as a child and so in a way, he killed Belle by creating her."
Regina thought about it and she knew it was true. Not only would losing Belle devastate Gold, to know he was responsible for it would have destroyed him.
"Did Alex start to trust you, is that why she sent you here?"
"If you are concerned that I'm here to bring you back to her, I would hope by now you know that isn't the case," Emma said, staring at her now with an intensity. "I would hope you know that you can trust me even if you can't trust the me who is here in this time."
"It's not about you," Regina said. "That's not why I'm asking. I'm trying to figure out who this Alex is. From the moment I watched the videos you did and I learned about this child and then learned that she is now an adult, the more I learn, the more I'm trying to figure out not just what she wants, but who she is. She was created with my soul so how much of who she is and the actions she is taking is because it was my soul that brought her to life?"
It was a question she had been continuing to wrestle with because if Gold had felt responsible for Belle's death because it was his creation who killed her, what responsibility did Regina have in all of this when her soul brought this child into being? She knew she probably shoudn't feel any responsibility for this Alex especially when they weren't even in the same time line. But Regina couldn't ignore it either.
That other Regina had been scared when she had figured it out and knew her soul was being drawn into the vessel. She was afraid of what the living magic could do with her power. Regina realized she too was scared of what this Alex was capable of when she too had been capable of causing so much harm.
Suddenly, she wished that it was her Emma there with her and not this one.
"I don't think you two are anything alike," Emma said. "There is something not human about her. When I first held her as a child, I thought I was looking into your eyes. They were exactly the same at least I thought they were. But as she has grown they seem to have changed because now when you look in her eyes there is nothing there."
"It's like I can look into your eyes right now," Emma said, inching forward while maintaining eye contact with her. "I can look into your eyes and I can see you. I can see all the pain and sadness that has led you to this moment. I can also see love and a capacity for caring that barely scratches the surface of who you are. I see you."
Regina could tell Emma was leaning in for a kiss and she debated for a split second whether to let it happen or not. She had no desire to kiss this Emma but she allowed it to happen so that she could continue to try and get information out of her.
The kiss was a little clumsy at fist as if Emma too was trying to decide whether to through with it or not. Emma quickly recovered her resolve though and intensified the kiss, but this time Regina did back off.
"Sorry," Emma apologized.
"You know for any of us to have a future, we have to deal with this Alex," Regina said. "We will have to face her and while I hope she can simply be reasoned with, there is a good chance given all she has done up to this point that there will be a battle. I have no wish to confront her in such a manner but if she is willing to go to these lengths to get me to her time, then I can't believe she doesn't have some ill intent on her mind."
"I won't let her hurt you," Emma said.
"But you do believe she intends to?"
Emma moved back – and Regina could tell she was losing her again. She clearly knew something about what Alex's intentions were, but was apparently unwilling to speak of it yet.
"I wish I could tell you more, to be more useful, but I don't know what to say."
"You battled her, what kind of magic was she using – light or dark?"
"Both? Really?" Regina said.
"Why is that surprising, you have both?"
"Yes, but somehow I assumed she would simply have dark magic," Regina said, sitting back in her seat. "Now the question becomes does she have both because of who she is or because of who I am."
"I think you are concerning yourself too much with whether she is like you or not, I'm telling you she isn't," Emma said. "She's not wired like a human being should be. If we really are going to confront her in battle that is the first thing you need to realize. You need to see her for what she really is or else you will do what I did the first time and fail. I couldn't do it, I couldn't fight her because I thought I was fighting you."
"This is your world we will be going to," Regina said. "So what would you suggest we do?"
"She is expecting me to bring you back, to bring you right to her at the library. We could do the direct approach."
"You don't think she might be expecting something like that. I mean does she 100 percent trust you to bring me back to her?"
"You haven't said much about Henry, your Henry. Is he safe, is he still with Robin?"
"Yes, he is safe," Emma said.
"When did you speak to him last?"
Emma stood up and began to pace. It seemed like this was something all the Emmas did.
"Before I went to see Gold. I came in to town and tracked him down first," Emma said. "He didn't want to speak to me, he never does, but I begged him to hear me out. I told him I had a plan to fix things. I told him I was going to go back in time and make it so that you never died. I told him I was going to do it right this time around. But hey, the kid is used to me disappointing him so this shouldn't be any different."
"You have to stop being so hard on yourself," Regina said, as she also stood and approached her. "You made mistakes, God knows I can relate. But your Regina forgave you. She forgave you and maybe it's time you start forgiving yourself."
"I don't know how."
Regina led her back to the couch and sat down next to her. "It's not a quick or easy process. In fact, I don't believe it's a process that really ever ends because life it always going to throw hardships in your path that are going to make you want to give up. When I was with Robin, I was really beginning to think that maybe the universe was giving me another chance to get it right. Then Marian was brought back and there was really nothing for me to do at that point. I couldn't fight for him. Not when he had a wife and a son. I have ruined too many families in my lifetime, I couldn't do it again. So I was sitting in here, locked away from the world, trying to figure out what to do next. The thing was, I never once thought of going all Evil Queen on the town. I may have had some unkind thoughts about your counterpart here, but that is as far as it went. You see I had already turned that corner, made the decision that the person I was, was not the person I wanted to be. That is what you need to decide, you need to decide what kind of person you are going to be going forward."
"I want to be less afraid," Emma said.
Regina tilted her head slightly, "how do you mean?"
"I'm afraid all the time," she admitted. "I don't know how it started or when it did exactly, I think maybe it was right after you and I, I mean me and my Regina had sex. I was afraid of what it meant. I was afraid of how to move forward with her so I pushed her away and then it all snowballed. I don't know why I let it get so out of hand. Then she was dead and I was still afraid that someone might find out what we had done. Then it was me being afraid of that thing growing inside of me and what that meant.
"That first time when I held Alex in my arm and she called me mommy, I was so afraid and I ran. She didn't just defeat me with her magic to get me to leave town, she saw inside of me and saw through me. I remember, I was on the ground, she was walking toward me, but she didn't make a move to do anything. She just knelt down and she whispered to me. She said she was going to bring you back, that you were the one she needed, not me and that I should do what I do best and run away. And I did, I ran from Storybrooke, I ran."
Emma started to cry and Regina pulled her in to her and let her cry, let her get it all out of her. Until that moment, she hadn't realized how lost this Emma really was.
"You don't have to be afraid anymore."
Emma pulled away from Regina, but she wasn't looking at Regina. She and Regina were both looking at the Emma of this time who had spoken the words.
"Miss Swan …" Regina began, but Emma held her hand up to stop her.
"I told my parents about what has been going on," she said. "I told them and of course the first thing they want to know is how they can help. It got me thinking that of course they would offer to help because they are my family and for a long time I didn't have that. I didn't have other people I could rely on to have my back. I have that now, but what if I didn't. What if my life had gone down another path. How many time lines are there out there? How many different versions of me are out there. In how many of these versions did you not cast the curse and so I grew up with my family in the Enchanted Forest and none of this even exists? There is no way to know, but what we do know is that there is me, there is her, and there is the other future me and we're all involved in this so maybe it's time to stop with games, with manipulations, with lies and with the fear we feel because at the end of the day we don't know what our futures really hold."
Emma came closer to them and she knelt down, looking up at the other Emma. "I don't trust you," she admitted. "I don't trust you because when I look at you, I see me as a person I don't recognize. But maybe you and I aren't as different as I try to make us out to be. Because I fear things too. I fear this future that the other Emma painted – the one where I am married to Regina and have another child. I fear it because when you have so much, you always fear the day you will lose it. And I fear this other future you say I am supposed to have here – one where I am with Killian and not Regina. I fear it because I know Killian isn't the one I want to be with." Emma glanced briefly at Regina. "I know why you have this fear built up in you," Emma continued. "It's because you lost something you can't get back. But you can't replace your Regina with this one. I know you miss her, but this one here siting beside you isn't her. Don't insult the memory of your Regina by coming after this one. You want to stop being afraid? Then help me, help us defeat this Alex. Will you do that?"
The other Emma looked at Regina first before turning back to her counterpart. She nodded yes.
"Good," Emma said, standing up. "You are going to need to tell us the truth of why you came back here."
Again she looked at Regina. "I came back here for you," the other Emma said. "I wasn't lying when I said Alex sent me here to get you and bring you back. I hadn't quite worked out in my head yet what to do because I don't trust her. I knew she was just using me because I could come back here and she couldn't."
"Explain that to me." Regina said. "The fact she can't come back here could expose a weakness of hers. How did she explain it?"
"It's because she doesn't exist here," the other Emma said. "I do so I could travel here, as could that other Emma from the other future."
"How can you take Regina back to that time then?" present Emma asked. "Since that Regina is dead, how can she move to that timeline?"
Other Emma shrugged. "That is a little beyond my understanding. All I know is that Alex says it's possible."
Regina considered this a moment, thinking it through. "My soul," she said. "I think maybe it's possible because my soul would be a match to that timeline's Regina. Some of it must still exist in that time, inside Alex."
Even as she said, she was about to discount it, because if she could travel there because of that, why couldn't Alex travel back here.
"I don't really want to think about any part of Regina's soul inside Alex," other Emma said. "I was hoping that she is resting in peace somewhere."
"Even if a part of her soul exists there wouldn't that mean that Alex could travel to any time line where you exist though?" her Emma said.
Regina was somewhat surprised Emma had come to that conclusion as well. Another theory had already begun to form in Regina's mind – one she wasn't about to say out loud.
And that was maybe she could travel to that time with Emma because their souls matched. Maybe it had nothing to do with that other Regina's soul and every thing to do with having one of the Emma's soul there with her.
"I don't know," Regina answered finally. "Let's just be thankful that Alex is limited in that way at least."
"We need to start thinking about strategy, about what to do when we get there," this timeline's Emma said. "I told my parents we would handle this, that I didn't want them involved because someone needs to be back here with Henry. But what about the people of your Storybrooke? Can they be relied on to help if needed? Do they want Alex gone?"
"I think we have to do this ourselves," future Emma said. "The people of my Storybrooke fear Alex and her powers because they saw her defeat me. They aren't going to fight her unless they were completely certain we would win. As for my parents, of course, they'll want to help, but I don't know how much I want them involved or put into danger. My Henry will need them if this goes south."
"Fair enough," Emma said. "We will do this on our own then."
"Henry," future Emma said. "There is something you should know about him."
"What?" Regina and current Emma said at the same time.
"He has been spending time with Alex," future Emma said. "If we can convince him to help us, that might be a away to catch her off guard, but convincing him to help might be an issue."
"Why is he spending time with her?" Regina asked.
"Because she promised to bring his mom back, she promised him you."
"Surely, he understands that I am not his mother," Regina said.
"I don't think he cares what version of you he gets," future Emma said. "Losing you nearly destroyed him. He just wants another chance to have his mom back. Alex told him she could make it happen. He trusts her more than he trusts me so getting him to help will be complicated."
Regina held her tongue because she almost lashed out at this Emma. How could she let this happen? How could she let Henry anywhere near this Alex? But she knew saying it wouldn't help matters at all. She had already told this Emma she needed to learn to forgive herself, so she couldn't very well berate her now.
One thing she knew for certain, that Henry may not be her Henry but she wasn't going to let him get hurt in this if she could help it.