Prompt from thequeenandherswan on tumblr- Emma is having a panic attack in her home when snow comes over and makes it worse. She stars calling random people to come help, but Henry calls Regina over to calm her secret girlfriend down.

TW: Panic attacks, self loathing, abandonment issues


In. Out. In. Out.

Emma repeats the words over and over in her mind like a mantra as she fights to even out her breathing. She's on the floor of her bedroom, huddled by the far side of the bed with her back pressed to the mattress. Faced away from the doorway it's the most distance she can put between herself and the rest of the apartment, the rest of the world. Her knees are tucked up tightly to her chest and she's buried her face in them, her hands are fisted in her long blonde hair at the back of her head. She's pulling hard on the locks wrapped in her grasp, but she doesn't even register the sensation.

The only thing she can feel is the panic and anxiety, it's expanding in her chest like a balloon at the same time as it's constricting her throat and making it even harder to breathe. Tears are flowing freely, soaking the rough denim material of her skinny jeans where her eyes are pressed to her knees.

Downstairs, the sound of the door opening and shutting quickly reverberates through the loft. It goes unnoticed by Emma who is still in the throes of her panic attack. Feet thud up the metal staircase that leads to her bedroom and soon there's another person rounding the corner and stepping into the room, but Emma still doesn't look up to see who it is.

She can sense the presence of the other person as they crouch in front of her, but only curls tighter into a ball. When she hears her mother's voice, her rigid frame locks up even more. Her muscles are tensely bunched coils, and she digs her fingernails into her scalp.

"Emma, baby, please look at me?" Snow's voice is trembling and thick with guilt. It was her thoughtless comment that caused this, and now she's frantically trying to hit the undo button.

They had been sitting in the diner, and Snow couldn't have been more thrilled. She was with her husband, both her children, and her grandson; all of them together, a real family. Emma had been holding baby Neal with a bright smile on her face, and the six month old was giggling as she made funny faces at him. Watching her children together, happily bonding and smiling at each other, made Snow's heart swell.

But then she had to open her damn mouth. After the words left her she couldn't even believe she had said them, couldn't believe she had made such an asinine comment.

"I can't wait to hear him speak his first words! This has all been so wonderful, I never knew how amazing it would be to become a parent."

She hasn't stopped kicking herself since she saw the look on her daughter's face as soon as the sentence had carelessly spilled out. At first Emma had just appeared stunned, but it quickly morphed into hurt. The sheriff's jaw had dropped minutely and she looked as though she had been slapped in the face. Snow could feel Henry's gaze boring into her, he was just as taken aback by the comment as his mother. Emma had hurriedly passed her baby brother back to her father and excused herself, mumbling something about having to get paperwork done.

Henry and Snow had called after her, asking her to wait but the blonde didn't stop and didn't look back. Snow even thought she saw Emma wiping subtly at her eyes before throwing the door to the diner open and making her exit.

Emma must have poofed from outside of Granny's to the loft, because Snow had followed after her moments later, leaving Charming to watch Neal and Henry, and there was no trace of the blonde anywhere in sight. She had gone to check the station first, knowing Emma wasn't going to be doing any paperwork, but thinking she might have hidden there. She had rushed to the apartment next.

In the time it took her to make it to Emma's side, the blonde had spiraled into a full blown panic attack. It was way too familiar to her; being replaced with a newer, younger model, never being wanted, not being the kind of person a parent would choose.

She had banged the back of her head against the mattress repetitively, her mind spewing vitriol directed at herself as she remembered the pain of growing up without parents or family to love her.

Orphan. Pathetic little orphan Emma. That's all you'll ever be. They don't want you. They threw you away just like everyone else! How could you have thought it would be different with them? You're pathetic. Pathetic orphan Emma.

It played in her head like a reel until she realized her lungs were rapidly sucking in short, burning bursts of air and it was making her feel fuzzy and lightheaded. She recognized the signs of a panic attack, she's had them before, and she knew she needed to calm herself down or she'd pass out from hyperventilation. And that's when she had started repeating; in, out, in, out; attempting to align her breathing with the rhythm to slow it down.

And now she feels like she's underwater, her mother's voice distorted and unintelligible. It's disorienting and only pushes her deeper into her panic. She can't understand what the woman is saying but her imagination begins filling in the blanks; We're sorry, Emma, but we have our own baby now. This one's really ours.

"Oh Emma, honey, I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry." Snow watches Emma sob, and every time she tries to speak the blonde's knuckles grow whiter. Snow's afraid she's a few seconds away from tearing chunks of hair out. She's at a complete loss for how to help, and it makes her feel like the most miserable failure as a mother to exist. The only thing she can think to do is call for help, clearly she's only making this worse.

She rips out her cellphone and dials David, who answers instantly. He doesn't bother with a greeting, just asks worriedly, "How is she?"

"Not good. David, I don't know what to do! Come back to the apartment, maybe you can help?"

"Okay, okay, I'll be there soon."

She's about to hang up, when Snow hears Henry's muffled voice coming through the line. It sounds like he's asking Charming something, but she can't quite make out he's saying. Charming's response to the boy, however, comes through more clearly.

"You're mom's very upset right now, Henry, but she'll be okay. Come on, I'm dropping you off at Regina's then I'm going to over to help. It'll be fine."

Snow's heart is shattering as she watches her daughter continue to break down, so she interjects, "David, please hurry."

He assures her he's on his way, and they hang up. Snow briefly considers calling Archie but decides against it. So she awkwardly settles in next to Emma and waits. She figures it'll be about ten minutes before David gets there, and each second of Emma's suffering is like another stab in the gut.

But she's not waiting anywhere near as long as she thought, because after a minute or two there's a cloud of purple smoke swirling in front of her. The raven haired woman jumps at the sudden appearance of another in Emma's room, and it's the last person she would have expected.

"Regina!" she practically screeches, "What are you doing here?"

But the former queen pays her no mind. She steps swiftly over to Emma and crouches before her, in much the same position Snow had been in earlier. Snow watches in bewilderment as Regina begins to speak, low and soothing.

"Emma, my love, it's me. Can you hear me, dear?" Regina places one hand on each of Emma's forearms tenderly and calmly strokes them. She begins humming a tune Snow doesn't recognize, and appears to be waiting for something that the pixie haired woman can't predict. She's floored, and so confused. Did Regina just call Emma, 'my love?'

And then suddenly so many things make sense. The way the olive skinned brunette looks at Emma, how Emma looks at her, how they seem to always be drawn to each other like magnets, and since the defeat of the Snow Queen both Henry's mothers had been inseparable. So Snow says nothing, and watches attentively as the former Evil Queen soothes her daughter.

She's shocked at just how okay with this she is. It's partly because she's so relieved that there's someone here who appears to know how to help Emma that she doesn't care who it is so long as Emma is alright. But it's also because she thinks she knew on some level, and looking at Regina now it's blatantly obvious how strongly the dark woman loves Emma. Snow has known Regina maybe longer than anyone in Storybrooke; she knows how fiercely the queen loves. She throws every ounce of her soul into it.

Finally, Regina's deep voice seems to get through to Emma. The blonde lifts her head from her knees, her eyes are bloodshot and puffy red but they instantly connect with Regina's. Her throat is scratchy and raw when she croaks out, "Regina?"

It sounds like she just noticed the queen's arrival, but upon doing so she doesn't waste a moment before throwing herself heavily into Regina's open arms; the brunette responds by winding them around Emma without a second thought.

"How did you know?" Emma asks meekly, mumbling into Regina's neck.

"Henry called me."

"Henry knows about you two?" Snow interrupts, and again she's kicking herself for opening her trap without thinking. The couple huddled together on the floor in front of her tenses up at the sound of her voice. Emma turns her face further into Regina's neck, and the queen sends Snow a harsh glare. The accusation in it is clear, and Snow can tell that Henry had explained to his brunette mother just what triggered Emma's panic attack. The pixie haired woman swallows hard but holds her ground.

"There's nothing to know." Regina staunchly denies what is so plainly the truth, though Snow can see a flash of hurt in her eyes, and wonders if maybe the mayor isn't the one who's wanted to keep this hidden. But Snow's days of poking at Regina's secrets are long gone, so she doesn't push. There's no way Emma and Regina can believe she doesn't know about them now, but if they want her to play along and pretend she doesn't then she'll leave it be for now.

"I see," she breathes out. The room falls unerringly quiet for long moments, and Snow feels like she's about to explode with everything that has occurred, but she knows she can't be the one to break the silence.

When Emma turns to look at her again, pulling her face from the crook of the olive skinned woman's neck, Snow sucks in a sharp breath. Her daughter's forest green eyes are blazing with determination.

"I love her." Emma's voice brooks no argument and she says nothing else. She narrows her eyes challengingly, daring her mother to object, and the queen fixes the pixie haired woman with a warning scowl.

Snow knows that she won't get a chance to redo to this reaction, she has to get it right the first time. So she doesn't back down from her daughter's glare. She meets her gaze directly, and smiles brightly when she speaks, pouring every ounce of conviction into her voice that she can, "I can see that. And I'm really happy for you both. And your father and I, we love you, Emma. So, so much. No matter what."

The blonde doesn't react at first. She blinks once and says nothing, she was braced for a fight, but she was unprepared for this outcome. After a moment she deflates. All the fight seems to evaporate from the savior's body; exhaustion grips her and she slumps further into Regina's hold.

"Okay," she says softly, already drifting off to sleep as the emotional toll from her panic attack has depleted all of her energy, "Okay."