A/N: Holy shit you guys... I didn't realize how many people actually wanted me to continue! I genuinely wasn't sure with how the prologue went, but holy crap, you guys blew me out of the water! 20 reviews on the first chapter! Dear lord, that's a lot! I'm sorry this took me so long to get out, but I've been in Europe for a while, and I got back last week! I've been working on it, and I have a whole outline of how this story will go, so I intend to finish it, don't worry! I'm still gonna keep up the 5 reviews minimum, but wow, you guys really don't need it! I'm so glad you like the story! :) Let's say the goal for this chapter is 12 reviews... if we don't reach it, that's cool, but if we do, I'll be so excited! Either way, I'm glad to be back, and I hope everyone will enjoy this chapter!
Oh, and thanks for the person that left me 6 reviews... that's some real dedication! :)
Disclaimer: I don't own OUAT! (And no beta, so all mistakes are mine!)
Emma doesn't understand, really, the effect that Marian has on Regina by being here. Not only has she taken away her "happy ending," though Emma still calls bullshit on that, but she's brought back the Evil Queen title that accompanies the torture that Regina's had to go through.
Her last chance has been taken from her, and her old personality is continuously coming back to haunt her, her old mistakes never truly being forgotten. She can't stomach the thought of not ever having a clean sleight, never getting a second chance.
She hates that she can't even blame Emma for this. Well, she can, but for some reason, her mind continues to make excuses for the irritating blonde. This seems to only put her on edge more. She hates herself for not being able to keep her happy ending and for not being able to blame the one person responsible.
So when the doorbell rings, she sets her cider down a little harder than usual and gets up from the uncomfortable chair in a huff, leaving her study behind to check the mirror, a habit she doesn't want to break, and open the door with a little sneer already in place.
But when she see's the normally straightened brown head of hair accompanied by a mess of blonde hair, the sneer falls, concern covering her face as she bends down to her son's level.
"Henry," she breaths, "what happened? Come in quickly." He shuffles past her, careful not to let the little girl in his arms hit anything.
"I found her by the town line, mom. I wasn't sure if she was breathing, so I brought her here. I don't recognize her from anywhere. She was just laying there! And she's so little… I was really scared for her." Regina quickly takes the little girl into her arms, feeling a slight shock when she touches her. Shoving any thought of the electric shock aside, she struts to the nearest couch, quickly setting the small blonde down.
"Is she gonna be alright?" Henry asks quietly, not wanting to jar the little one from her fitful sleep. Regina looks her over, doing a quick sweep with her magic to make sure there aren't any injuries that the naked eye can't see. Finding none, she nods slightly.
"Yes, Henry, she will be perfectly fine. She simply seems to be tired." Looking down at the little girl, she has more time to stop her inward panic and actually see her. She sees the blonde locks and strong jaw and has to curse Emma.
The little girl looks just like her.
She swears to herself that if she finds out Emma somehow brought back this little Emma that she's obviously looking at, she'll kill the blonde.
But then, her mind can't help but supply that Emma wasn't anywhere near the time of her, as the little girl appears to be, six-year-old stages. She was in the Enchanted Forest, not in America.
Brushing a stray lock away from her face, she stands up quickly, straightening out her skirt before making the decision that she needs to make sure Emma didn't somehow bring back her six-year-old self. And the best way to do that, she reasons, is to call her.
"Henry, I need you to watch this one while I make a quick call. I'll be right outside the room." She turns to walk away before narrowing her eyes and turning back. "And no eavesdropping, young man." Her look is stern enough to make the thought immediately disappear from his mind.
"Yeah, mom, I won't." At her disbelieving look, he rolls his eyes. "I promise. I'd rather look at the exact replica of Emma, anyway." He says with a somewhat confused smirk, the smirk all but disappearing when he glances back down at the young girl. Regina eyes him fondly before nodding to herself and turning on her heel. She pulls her phone out of her pocket and makes the quick call.
Emma picks up on the third ring.
"Regina," she breaths, and Regina can't help but remember how she'd greeted Henry just ten minutes prior.
"Did you go into your past when you went on your little adventure with Killian?" She thinks she sounds perfectly neutral, a great feat with the amount of emotions swirling in her system. She hears a throat clear over the line, and she lets out the perfectly timed impatient huff. "Today, dear."
"Nope, I didn't go into my past. Why? Is something wrong?" Regina scoffs lightly, yet loud enough to be heard.
"Nothing more is wrong than what was already." Her voice sounds angry, and she almost wishes that it was that simple to conjure anger inside of her heart, not just into her voice.
Across the line, Emma lets out a disappointed sigh. She's been hoping, through her long walk back to her place, that she might have gotten through to Regina. Apparently it wasn't that easy, though she didn't really think it would be.
"Right, I would apologize again, but I really don't think you'd hear me, so," she trails off, scratching her head awkwardly, even though she's well aware that Regina can't see her. She clears her throat again, missing the slight hitch in Regina's breath. "Can I know why you're asking about where I traveled? Or is that forbidden territory, too?" She hates the way her voice betrays the defeat that she feels.
Regina pauses long enough to give her just a brief feeling of hope that maybe she'll get some answers.
"I don't think it's really anything that should be of concern, but if it turns out to be, I will notify the Sheriff's office immediately." It's clipped, Emma notes, but also not as sharp as her other words have been thus far. She dares to hope that Regina's softening just slightly.
Regina also notes the change in her tone and berates herself for such weakness showing, especially when she knows how she's supposed to feel about Emma bringing back Marian and ruining her second chance. Even the thought throws her back into a confusing mess of sadness that she wishes she could explain. She, however, chooses to throw the thoughts away for another night, a night with much cider involved and no Henry or little Emma wandering around.
Forgetting that she's on the phone, she lets out a sad sigh. Much too late, she realizes her mistake, having heard the hard intake of breath from the other line.
Emma, consumed with guilt and grief for she knows that sigh isn't one of anger but of sadness, inhales sharply on the other end of the line. It's obvious to her that Regina's forgotten that she's even there. She knows the brunette well enough to know that she'd never sigh like that with someone in earshot.
Emma has to force herself to sit down on the nearest surface to gather her bearings. She, luckily, took the long way home so she could think clearly; having a screaming infant around all the time was really starting to get to her. She sits on the park bench closest to her, and starts taking deep breaths. She feels as if she's having one stone after another pressed onto her chest, constricting her breathing until she can't breath anymore, but that precious moment of relief never comes. The uncontrollable grief that assaults her every time she thinks of the pain that she's putting Regina through is hitting her hard once again.
She can't help but hate herself for what she's done.
"Regina," she whispers through haggard breathing, "I'm sorry." She feels tears prick at her eyes as she listens to Regina's uneven breaths coming from across the line. "I'm so sorry." She hopes, maybe this time, Regina will understand. She presses a palm to her forehead, trying to blink away the tears and the headache that accompanies the horrid feeling of being sick.
Regina does hear the words. She hears them loud and clear, and for once, she lets herself grieve for what she's lost, what she longed for. Her back hits the wall softly, and her head hangs. Tears gather in her eyes at the utter brokenness in her blonde's voice, but she refuses to let them spill: not yet. She will cry when she's alone, where no one can see her being weak. She takes a deep, unsteady breath, willing her voice to come out smooth and not crack through her throat like she knows it probably will. She clears her throat once, just to make sure.
"I'm aware, Miss Swan, but sorry won't bring back my chance, will it?" The breath that's exhaled on the other line almost sounds like a sob, and she wishes she could take back the edge that she put in her words. "No," it's softer this time, sadder, "I didn't think so." She clears her throat again, feeling the constricting return.
"If you feel so obliged, Sheriff, you may come by later to help this little girl find her family. She hasn't woken up yet, but Henry found her near the town line, and he came by to see if I can help, but I think having the Sheriff on her side is probably best. When she awakes, I'll call you, and you can come down to question her and see if you can be of any use." She wanted away from the topic that they'd somehow strayed back to, so she used whatever she could. The little girl in the room next to her came to mind, so she took advantage of the opportunity.
She forgot that having Emma come by would mean that she'd have to actually see the blonde woman, but she figures the little girl will actually have a better chance at finding her family with Emma on her side.
That doesn't mean her opinion has changed of Emma Swan, oh no. She still finds the blonde terribly irritating to be around, and she still absolutely hates the way that looking at her makes her remember all she's lost, and, simultaneously, all that she longed for.
She shakes her head at that thought. The way she thought that was weird and uncalled for. Emma doesn't remind her of what she longed for… not in the way that her mind made it sound. No.
That'd be just…
"There's a little girl at your house? Is that why you called in the first place? You think that she's from the past? You think she's me from the past?" All the questions brake Regina from her ridiculous thoughts. She rolls her eyes in exasperation; of course the infuriating blonde would ask her all the questions that were obvious.
"Sheriff, I'll call you later when the little girl wakes up. Goodbye." The finality in her tone is accompanied by the sound of a quick click, indicating that she'd hung up. Emma, still feeling rather uncomfortable with the constant weight of what she's done in her stomach, rolls her eyes and puts the phone back in her pocket and stands up, ready to head back to her apartment and wait for Regina's call.
Regina, however, stares at the phone for a moment before sliding it into her pocket, instead of putting it back into her purse. She might need it on hand when the little one wakes up.
She flips a stray piece of hair out of her face before slipping back into the family room. She hadn't really thought about where she'd set the little girl, but the closest couch had been in the family game room. It also happens to be the most comfortable couch she has in the house. She thanks whoever's out there that the little girl is comfortable while she's sleeping. Her eyes widen when she realizes that she never got the little girl a pillow or blanket. Her eyes quickly find Henry, crouched over the girl somewhat protectively. She smiles fondly at the sight before realizing that the girl does, in fact, have a blanket draped across her small frame and a pillow tucked safely underneath her slightly chubby face.
She blinks in understanding; Henry had already taken care of the little girl. Her eyes gaze at her son tenderly, tears gathering slightly at the sight of his larger physique. How had her little prince grown so much in maturity and body? Wasn't he just this little girl's age a few years ago? She blinks away the tears as quickly as she can. Her little boy was growing up right before her eyes.
So busy looking at her son, she doesn't notice the shifting form of the blonde girl.
"Mom!" Henry calls quietly, breaking her out of her thoughts. "Mom, I think she's waking up." He studies the blonde intently, his eyes never leaving her face. Regina walks over quickly, her eyes watching the girl's transformation into the waking world.
Her little face scrunches up cutely as her mouth opens in a yawn. Her hands clench into fists and come up to rub at her eyes. Her brows furrow as her eyes begin to flutter open.
Finally, her eyes open fully, taking in the scenery quickly, very vaguely recognizing the small area, but the recognition recedes quickly, as if it was never there.
Two gasps can be heard as her deep brown eyes lock onto the two people leaning over her.
"Hello." She says with a small smile.
A/N: Hope you liked it, and, if you didn't, tell me what you find wrong with it so I can fix it. I'm cool with constructive criticism! I don't bite, I swear... Well, unless you want me to. ;) You guys are great! Leave a review if you want! :) Love ya!