A/N: I meant to thank Nadine Stammingerfor the fic idea. Granted, the fic changed slightly from our original thoughts. But thank you Nadine for the idea. JI hope you enjoyed the story!
It was late by the time we got back to Storybrooke. The second we passed the town line, Regina poofed her, Robin, and Zelena out of the car. "What was that about?" Lily was a little taken aback from the purple smoke.
"Most likely she's dropping her sister off in the same asylum cell she held Belle in, dropping forest boy off in the woods, and then making herself a rather strong drink."
"You seem to know her pretty well." Lily looked at me in the rearview mirror.
"I've known her for awhile. We're more alike than she wants to admit. It's too late to introduce you to your mom. I'm not sure where she sleeps anyway. Do you want me to take you to the inn we have?"
"Honestly, a strong drink sounds better. Is there a bar in this town?"
"Yeah. It's called the Rabbit Hole. I'll drop you off there and then I need to do something."
"Check on Regina?" I didn't answer. I just continued to drive. "Well, if she doesn't want to talk, feel free to join me." I watched as Lily got out of the car. When she was inside, I drove towards Regina's.
"Regina?" I knocked on the door. "Come on, I know you're in there. Please don't make me pick the lock." Before I could knock again, the door opened.
"I thought you said you would respect my boundaries." Regina's eyes were red. She had been crying and I hated it. "Look, Emma, I really don't want to talk."
"Then don't. Let me just sit with you. I don't want you to be alone after…" My voice trailed off.
"Come in." Regina stepped to the side. I walked in and followed Regina to the den. "Would you like a whiskey sour or a martini?"
"Whatever you're having." I took a seat on the couch about a foot from Regina. I chuckled when a whiskey sour appeared on the coffee table. "Hitting the hard stuff tonight I see."
"I thought we weren't talking." Regina sipped her drink.
I shrugged. "Not that I blame you." We sat in silence for about half an hour before Regina spoke up.
"Where's your friend?"
I glanced towards Regina slightly surprised. "She's at the Rabbit Hole."
Regina chuckled softly. "Of course she is. Are you afraid she's going to attack your parents?"
Leaning back I sipped my drink. "I don't think so. She's angry but I think after she meets her mom things will be different. Lily's known about all of this so it'll be different for her."
"If she kills your mother, it might not be for what she did but what she does."
I couldn't help but laugh. The whiskey was starting to make me feel warm and fuzzy. "Be nice. Mary Margaret isn't that bad…" Regina raised a brow in argument. "Okay…she is."
Regina refilled her glass. "I dropped Robin off in the woods and Zelena…"
"In the asylum?" Regina's brow creased. "I know you Regina. I figured you'd do that and then come home to make a strong drink. And I was right."
"I had to fix his nose. Why did you punch him? It wasn't the darkness. I could tell that." Regina watched me from her end of the couch. I didn't dare answer. "Emma."
"Because he hurt you. Again." Awkward silence fell between us.
"I'm not sure whether to thank you or be irritated."
I chuckled. "Probably both."
"Probably." Regina finished her drink and leaned back on the couch. "It's been a long day. I think I'll go to bed." She stood. "I'll walk you out."
We stopped on the porch and I shoved my hands in my back pockets. "Are you going to be okay tonight? If not, I can stay."
A soft smile pulled at Regina's lips. "I'll be fine Emma." She cupped my cheek. "Thank you." The look in her eyes was mixed. There was sorrow and tenderness in them. I knew the touch was because of the whiskey but I leaned into Regina's touch. Just to have it taken away a second later. "Goodnight Emma."
"Is she okay?" Lily asked as I took a seat across from her.
"She will be." I flagged down the waiter and ordered a whiskey sour.
"So, what's the story between you two? And how do you have a son? That means you actually slept with a guy." There was a small chuckle in Lily's tone.
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"Oh come on Emma. I know you liked me back in the day. And I liked you. So, how did it end up you sleeping with a guy?" Lily watched me over the rim of her glass.
"I met him when I stole a car. We started to date and fell in love. Then he set me up and I went to jail. I had Henry while I was locked up. I gave him up for adoption and Regina adopted him." I continued to fill Lily in. She was amazed at what all has happened.
"And now you're in a one-way relationship with a pirate. Oh how the tables have turned." Lily ordered another drink.
"I care about Hook." I didn't mean to slam the glass hard on the table but the sound slightly echoed.
Lily leaned in to whisper, "Yeah, you may care about him but you're in love with Regina."
"Shut up. I think we've both had enough." Thankfully Lily didn't fight much. I paid our bill and walked out. We made our way to the inn in silence. "Everyone goes to Granny's for breakfast around eight in the morning. I'm sure Maleficent will be there too. She really does love you Lily."
"Yeah, well….I'll see you tomorrow."
"Lily," I knocked on her door lightly. I knew she'd have a hangover. "It's time to go. Your mom is waiting."
"Stop banging on the door!" Lily walked out of the room and stretched. "I've been up since seven." I could tell she was nervous. "So, she's at the diner?"
"Yeah, you ready?" All Lily did was nod.
As we entered Granny's, everyone was there. Well, everyone but Regina, Robin, Roland, and Zelena. Maleficent stood when we neared her table. "Lily?" Tears started to glisten in the older woman's eyes.
"M-mom?" Maleficent was hesitant but when Lily gave her a small nod, she wrapped her daughter in a strong embrace. Lily reciprocated and I actually felt a lump start to form in my throat. Lily may not have been a real orphan but she did always want a real mother. Now, she has one.
"Well, I'll leave the two of you alone. You have a lot to catch up on. And Lily, please don't kill my parents."
She chuckled. "I won't. Unless they start giving me a hope speech or bearing overwhelming optimism on me."
"Ooo…" I turned to Mary Margaret and David, "don't optimism her to death please." Turning on my heels, I started towards the door.
"Mom!" Henry wrapped his arms around me as he walked in. "You're back."
"Yeah, I'm back." Hugging Henry quickly, I leaned back. "I need to go do a few things. Then I'll come back and have breakfast okay?"
"Not until you make peace with them." I was about to argue when I was stopped in my tracks. Henry gave me a look he could only have learned from Regina.
"Really? You and Regina need to stop giving me that look." Sighing, I turned and walked towards my parents. "I'm sorry for the way I've acted towards the two of you. You did a really crappy thing but, I…I can't hold that against you the rest of your lives. I think even Lily will come to forgive you….Somehow."
"Emma." My parents hugged me tight. "Thank you."
I could hear Mary Margaret start to sniffle. "Okay, okay. No crying on my jacket. This is my favorite one."
"Okay." Mary Margaret cleared her throat with a chuckle.
"Lily, let's get together later and finish the conversation we started last night. Get to know your mother for now." Once I left the diner, I made my way towards Regina's. I needed to pick up my car and I wanted to check on her. As I walked up the driveway, I noticed a note on the door.
There's fresh coffee and a bear claw in the kitchen. Use your key. I know you have one. I'm dealing with my sister now so please don't come looking for me. You've beaten up Robin enough for awhile. Thank you for sitting with me last night. ~Regina
I couldn't help but chuckle at Regina's note. Letting myself in, I went straight for the coffee. Regina set a coffee cup out and the bear claw under glass to keep it fresh. "Thanks Regina." I leaned against the island as I drank coffee and ate. Regina and I have come so far in the past few years. We've had good times and bad. I owe her so much. Sadly I can't show her just how much I care.
"We need to talk." Lily pulled me away from Granny's.
"What? Please tell me you didn't kill my parents." Finally I broke loose from Lily's grip.
Lily rolled her eyes. "No, they're eating lunch in there safe and sound. It's about Regina and Robin." My brow creased. "He wants her to take care of Regina's sister's baby."
"He what?!" The windows of the diner started to shake.
"Emma, calm down." Lily placed her hands on my shoulders. "There is some good-ish news. Here, listen." Lily pulled out her phone and hit play.
"You recorded them?" I folded my arms as Lily snickered.
"There's a child involved. The two of you will be bound in a way we never will be." Regina was in such pain. Her voice was about to crack.
"Like you and Emma?" A pause, "Come on Regina. Henry may not be biologically your son but you share him with Emma. There's a bond there that will never break."
The recording ended after that. I almost felt bad for breaking forest boy's nose. Almost. "They were quiet after that." Lily shoved her phone back in her pocket. "They didn't realize I was there. That or they just didn't care. But when he said that, Regina was taken aback. I don't think she ever thought about that."
"Why are you telling me this?"
"Because maybe I can help you with your happy ending. You gave me mine." There was a soft smile playing at the corner of Lily's mouth. She was up to something.
"We can call it Operation Moms."
I jumped when I heard Henry's voice. "What the heck kid? Where did you come from?"
"Come on Mom. You should know by now that I'm like a ninja." Pinching the bridge of my nose, I sighed. "Mom, everyone can see the way you look at Mom. Even Lily knows you love her. Mom loves you too she's just afraid."
"And how do you know all of this?" I knew I had one of those 'mom tones.' "And how generic of a code name. You need to work on that."
"Because I'm not an idiot and I see how she acts around you. It's vastly different from around Robin. Lily and I figured out a way to get Mom annoyed enough to admit how she feels. Oh and Hook is in on it too. He knows you care about him but he knows you love Mom."
"Do you know the meaning of boundaries? And you want to annoy Regina into admitting her feelings? Henry, did my parents drop you on your head while we were gone?" All my son did was grin.
Regina and Robin were eating at the dinner; therefore, Lily and I were going to as well. This was going to be awkward and…just awkward. We took a seat a booth away from them. They were close enough to hear us but it not look intentional. Lily would keep an eye on if Regina gave her a death glare or not. "It's really good to see you again Emma. And I'm sorry for what I did when we were kids. I just wanted you to…I don't know."
"It's in the past. Everyone deserves a second chance. And I know you have the darkness that was meant for me, but I think since you're back with your mom that won't be a problem."
"And because I'm with you again." My eyes grew wide when Lily placed her hand on top of mine. I felt Regina's eyes flash towards us. It took everything I had to not crumble from that look. "Maybe this is our second chance…to do things right this time." Another glare. This one more deadly.
The next words killed me inside. "Yeah, maybe." I felt Regina's heart sink. Not a minute later, her and Robin left. "Are you insane?!"
Lily leaned back with a grin. "It worked didn't it? You should have seen the territorial look in her eyes." All I could do was shake my head.
"Please don't make my diner your battlefield. I don't need a pissed off Regina and a dragon going at it." Granny walked up with our drinks. "I just brought your normal and I figured Lily likes what Maleficent does." Granny paused a moment. "You would think saying stuff like that wouldn't faze me by now."
For some odd reason, Henry wanted me to drive him to Regina's. It was his week with her. "Is this part of Operation Moms?"
"Yup! Mom acted like we thought she would and now she'll have the chance to confront you about it. After dinner of course, when I'm upstairs doing something."
"Kid…you have problems."
"Yup! And you're going to fix them." The memory of me taking Henry to Regina's for the first time came to mind. I think we said those exact words. Henry unlocked the door and let us in. "Mom, we're home!" There was something warm inside me when Henry said that. I guess I considered wherever Regina was my home.
"In the kitchen." Henry and I were surprised to see Robin leaning against the counter when we walked in.
Robin's eyes grew wide when he saw me. "M-Miss. Swan…"
I raised a hand in surrender. "I won't break your nose again unless you give me reason."
He chuckled nervously. "I'm…uh…going to go." Robin kissed Regina quickly on the cheek and all but ran by me. He was out before I could get irritated about him kissing her.
"Hello Emma," Henry and I cringed slightly at the knowing sound of Regina's tone. "How are you?"
"I'm good. And you?" I'd rather her yell at me. This tone was making me squirm. And not in the good way her sexy purr does.
"I'm well. Thank you for bringing Henry. Would you like to stay for dinner? I made lasagna and apple turnovers." The blood drained from my face. She was pissed. "Don't worry, they're not poisoned." Regina turned and flashed me an award winning smile. It was the smile I've not seen in years. She was planning something.
Dinner was awkward. It was filled with small talk. Everyone was ignoring the metaphorical elephant in the room. Tension between Regina and I was high. Dissert was just as awkward. "So it's not poisoned?" I looked down at the pastry. "You can understand why I'm worried."
"Not to worry Emma. I'm not going to kill you. Not when you just got reunited with your long lost love." There it was. There was the jealousy. And the anger. And the hurt.
Henry cleared his throat and stood. "I'm going to eat this in my room."
Regina never took her eyes off me. It wasn't until we heard Henry's door close that she spoke up. "You didn't think I wouldn't know? This is my town. I always had a feeling you liked women. I just thought you would have better taste."
"Regina…" I didn't know what to say. I wanted to say that I do have better taste, that she's my type. But then I was slightly offended that she said that about Lily.
"I'm not sure what you thought would happen. Flashing your happiness around when you damn well know I'm having issues with mine." Regina's voice rose with each word. "I thought you would be there for me. Instead, you're parading your new found love." I jumped when Regina slammed her hand on the table. Her voice was about to crack. "Get out!" I did as she ordered. Before I got into the bug, I glanced towards Henry's room. He stood there with a thumb up. This was part of his plan? What the hell was wrong with this kid?
"Another." I placed the shot glass back on the counter; never taking my hand away.
"That bad?" Granny refilled the glass and left the whiskey bottle.
"She yelled. Loudly. She was hurt." I threw back the shot and poured me another. "I hate hurting her. I don't understand how this is helping…." My attention was drawn to the door as Robin walked in. "Oh God…what are you doing here?" I threw my fourth shot back.
"Granny's isn't closed yet so I have the right to be here." Robin kept his voice light. He was worried I would attack him in some form or fashion. "She's hurt Emma…."
"I know. I was the cause of it." I laid my head on the cool counter. "And I fell horrible about it."
"She cares about you."
"But she loves you. You're the one with that fucking tattoo on your arm. You're her soul mate not me. I'm just the woman who gave birth to Henry."
"And you will share that bond with Regina for the rest of your lives. You will have a bond with her that I will never have; especially now. May I?" I pushed the bottle towards Robin as Granny brought him a glass. "Thank you."
"Yeah." I groaned and covered my head with my arms. "Why? Why do you have to be the lucky one?" I wasn't angry with him. I was more upset that he was the chosen one.
"Emma…" Granny warned.
"I'm not as lucky as you think I am. I may have this tattoo but," he paused a moment. "But that doesn't mean much now. Time changes people." Slowly, I sat up and looked at Robin. "I'm not so sure about our destiny together."
"What are you saying?" I watched as he stood and placed a few bills on the counter. "Hey, where the hell are you going?" Without a word, he walked towards the door. "Dude? What the hell?"
The next morning, I was woken by my cell phone. Groaning, I answered it. "What?"
"Emma! We need you by the town line! Something happened and Lily turned into a dragon! Hurry!" Once David ended the call, I shot up and threw clothes on. Since I was still fuzzy from the night before, I grabbed Henry's bike. Half way there, I remembered I could have poofed myself there.
"MOM!" I ran towards my parents. Mary Margaret was on the ground in a small pool of blood. Lily was out of control. She wouldn't calm down and was setting everything on fire. "LILY!"
"It's no use Emma." Maleficent's voice cracked. "She won't listen. I don't know what happened. Please help her. If she gets hurt…"
"Lily!" I waved my arms trying to get her attention. "It's working! Operation Moms is working! She's pissed. And I mean very pissed." Lily started to calm down. "Thank you."
Suddenly a cloud of smoke enveloped the dragon and Maleficent started to run. "Lily!" Falling to her knees, Maleficent wrapped her daughter in her arms. "What happened?"
"What?" I kneeled beside Lily.
"She needed your darkness to make the ink work. She got me pissed off to get the darkness stirred up. Regina cut my hand and got it. She's with the author. I think she's about to do something she'll regret. You need to go to her now."
Stepping back I looked down at my friend. "Thank you."
"What are sisters for?" I gave my friend once last glance before looking towards my parents.
"Go. I'll take care of Mary Margaret." David always knew how I felt about Regina. I was glad one of my parents knew.
"You won't need this." I grabbed the quill from the author when I poofed into the cell. Everyone gasped when I appeared in a cloud of purple smoke.
"Emma what are you doing here?" Regina clung to Robin. I looked into his eyes. He gave me a small nod and stepped back. "Robin? What are you doing?" Regina looked between the two of us.
"Regina…you don't need this," I held up the pen, "to be happy."
"I know." Regina glanced back to Robin with a smile. I knew that wasn't Regina's true smile. It was the one she put on for a show. "I'm tired of standing in front of my happiness."
"You don't need him to be happy either." I took a step towards her. "Regina…"
"Ah another woman basing her happiness off of a man." Zelena snickered. "Though, come now sis, you know that's a load of crap. Your happiness has been in front of you for years now."
I swallowed hard. "She's right." I paused, "I'll have to see Dr. Hopper about the fact that I just agreed with the Wicked Witch…but she's right. Regina, you don't need him to be happy…but I need you. I want to raise Henry with you as a family. I want to fall asleep with you in my arms and have you yell at me in the morning for taking too long to get ready; or using all the hot water. I want a life with you Regina. I don't want you to settle because you don't think I could be happy with you. You are my happy ending. And I saw how annoyed you were when you thought Lily and I were together. Well, irritated isn't the word. Livid would be more accurate."
"Emma…" There was that look again. Tenderness, anxiety, and love shined in Regina's dark eyes.
"Well, I'll give her one thing Regina; she gets straight to the point and goes all in."
Regina and I both glared at her sister. "Shut up Zelena." Looking towards Regina once more, I took in a deep breath and let it out slowly. "What do you say Regina?"Panic raced through me when she said nothing. "Regina, yell, scream, smack me, do something…anything."
"Why would I do that?" Regina's voice was soft.
I couldn't help but shrug. "Well if our history tells us anything, we've been good for awhile so it's about time I do something to screw it up."
Regina rolled her eyes at my cheesy grin "You idiot." Stepping forward, Regina took my hand in hers. "But you're my idiot." I sighed when she closed the gap between us. Not thinking, I dropped the quill when I laced my fingers in Regina's hair. As we kissed, the author got away. We knew where he was going and we would handle that together. I knew in that moment, there was nothing anyone could throw at me that I couldn't beat.