Oh man, where do I begin for this? First off, sorry for the delay in the final chapter. I wanted to take time and make sure it did this story justice. Second, thank you SOOOO MUCH for following, reading and reviewing. This story has been fun, sometimes therapeutic, and really dear to me, and the fact that you all enjoyed it made it even more meaningful. Right now it's gotten almost 116k views and it blows my mind that you all have given this story that much love. Seriously, thank you. If there's anything you didn't see here that you want to see in the sequel, please let me know. So, for the last time in this story, I'll ask that you read, enjoy, and let me know what you thought :) xoxo
"David," Regina gulped when the memories flooded her, their reality coming back in full force and the love for the two people near her shot through her like a hot adrenaline rush. Memories of the past year flashed in her mind, her current relationships and life events becoming clear once again.
"Regina," He murmured, cupping her face and giving her a firm kiss, "I knew it…I knew she was ours," David pulled back, pressing his lips to the top of Violet's head in between them. Relief washed over him like a tidal wave as it all started to make sense and he found his intuition had been right all along.
"My baby," Tears fell from Regina's eyes almost immediately at how much she'd missed her daughter, kissing her forehead before holding her to her chest tightly, "I've missed you," She half laughed, half cried with a shaky voice as Violet nuzzled her face into her mother's neck. Her daughter seemed to have been aware of the separation as much as she had.
The three of them held onto each other, David's strong arms wrapped around both of them and his face in Regina's hair. Violet's arms wrapped around Regina's neck, enjoying the comfort of her mother's embrace. For a moment Regina forgot all about the pain she was in, for the overwhelming love of them took precedence.
"We need to get you looked at," David pulled himself from them reluctantly, remembering the state he'd found his fiancé in when he came in here, "You can't walk on that," He bit his lip at her deeply bruised ankle, shifting onto his knees, "Hold onto her."
Regina nodded, wrapping both of her arms around her daughter despite the hot pain in her left upper arm. David put one arm under the bend of her knees and the other one around her waist, picking them both up as he stood from the ground of the vault. She worried they might be too heavy for him but he seemed to hold them with ease.
Her stomach turned when they heard the commotion outside of the vault as they ascended the stairs, "Are you ready?" David asked in a tone that indicated he didn't know what they were about to step into. But they would do it together.
"Yes," She nodded, pressing her lips together grimly as she glanced towards the door and held her daughter tighter in her arms. Her maternal instincts kicked in and she knew that if she had to, even in her weakened state she would level anyone who tried to harm her child.
"Mom!" Henry's voice was the first one they heard from his post outside of the door, his eyes turning wild with worry when he saw David carrying her. "Are you okay?" He rushed towards her, assessing her injuries with his gaze and swallowing hard.
"I will be," Regina smiled through thankful tears that she could call this young man her own, reaching out to grab his hand and squeeze it gently in a reassuring manner.
The rest of the townspeople approached slowly, their once urgent mission to find the Queen and destroy her halted by the breaking of the curse. Questioning voices buzzed as they all began to remember their true reality, turning to one another with exclamations of their confusion.
"Regina, oh my god," Emma jogged ahead of the group to where her father stood, holding the injured Queen. "I'm so sorry, I…What is going on?"
"We were under a curse," David replied through gritted teeth, his gaze traveling past Emma to Snow standing towards the front of the mob of townspeople with an expression of fury.
"But who? There's been no newcomers show up that we know of," Emma looked at them with wide eyes, wheels visibly turning behind them as she turned to look at the equally confused citizens. Everyone stood in silence, glancing around at one another awaiting answers.
"Emma maybe we should have this conversation in private," Regina bit her lip, looking up from where she had her face nuzzled in Violet's hair. Her heart hurt for her friend who thought she'd got her mother back when in actuality Snow wasn't her true self. She knew what it felt like to think you had a second chance with your mother only for it to end in tragedy.
"No, everyone deserves to know who did this to the town," David spoke up with an anger in his tone that surprised Regina, causing her eyes to widen when she glanced up at his face. He glared at Snow White and everyone's gaze followed his to see who he was pointing out, "You would go so far as to have Regina hunted down like an animal and killed?!" His voice raised and there was a rage Regina felt emanating from his chest, but he controlled himself, most likely considering he held her and his daughter.
The town watched as Snow took a few steps towards them, her expression storming with hatred and envy, "People were only seeing her for what she really is!" She defended herself and the crowd behind her began to murmur with her admission of guilt.
"Mom, please tell me you didn't do this," Emma's lips parted in shock, her expression pleading.
"I did this for all of you, too!" Snow yelled, losing her cool with a hotheadedness that was unlike her. A faint green hue started to creep up her neck when she looked at David holding Regina to him protectively, "After everything she's done to us, how can you all be okay with her living happily ever after? With my husband? This is not how the story ends!"
"The Queen has changed," Grumpy suggested, his face scrunched up in utter confusion at the new wicked temperament behind the woman he'd once been most loyal to.
"Aye," A couple of the Merry Men said in unison, holding their weapons behind their back in the shame of what they'd almost done earlier. Regina swallowed hard as the people began to make quiet comments and nod their head in agreement, sticking up for her. In the curse they'd hated her, but this was reality and they were on her side.
The green tint to Snow White's skin became brighter, traveling up her neck and over her jaw line when she stomped her foot angrily, "You cannot be serious!" Snow screamed and Regina felt David's arms tighten as he held her to him.
"What's happening?" Henry asked Regina with a worried frown as his grandmother seemed to transform into true evil, fully green now and eyes glowing with barely contained rage.
Guilt crept up in Regina for the entire situation, knowing if she hadn't started something with David this would've never happened. The townspeople now had to watch someone they'd always cherished become everything they never thought she would. Someone who had always preached hope and love had turned into something none of them recognized and they would now have to mourn that loss.
"Henry, don't watch," Regina said firmly, thought she knew it was no use. Although Violet would never understand, she kept her baby's head tucked into her neck and luckily she was too enthralled to be in her mother's arms again that she wasn't fighting it.
A burgundy cloud of smoke appeared, leaving Gold leaning on his cane when it dissipated, "I warned you, if the curse is broken, you're dust."
Snow glared at him, "You…" She started to step towards him, but Zelena's magic began to make her body vibrate, the ground underneath them shaking and green smoke seeming to rise from beneath Snow's feet.
"Magic always come with a price, Deary," Rumple's lips pressed into a thin line, glancing towards Regina and David and his grandson with an almost apologetic look.
The ground beneath Snow's feet seemed to create a vacuum effect, a dark vortex beginning to open below Snow White. Gasps and cries came from the crowd of citizens watching someone they once considered a hero reaching a villainous demise.
"Gold, what are you doing?" Emma demanded to know, her face a mixture of anger and sheer terror.
"Me? I'm doing nothing," He raised his voice as the sound of the vortex began to increase in volume, Snow White shrieking now in anger, "Merely watching the universe restore it's balance. You cannot create a curse based on a reality in which you did not actually exist and expect to still live when it's broken."
Similar to when David killed Zelena in the Enchanted Forest, Snow White's now green form seemed to evaporate in a green cloud of smoke, producing particles of dust in the same color that were sucked down into the vortex before it's abrupt closing. David's arms tightened around Regina, pressing his face into her hair at what they'd just witnessed.
"Mom?!" Emma exclaimed, emotion audible in her tone, "What in the hell was that?" She ordered Gold to explain.
"Zelena tethered she and Snow's souls together for eternity when she used her body as a vessel. It seems as if your mother had inherited the wickedness that came along with Zelena's magic," Rumple rested both of his hands on the head of his cane, "The Snow that we just witnessed was a tainted version of the woman we all knew. Like you were The Savior for the Evil Queen's curse, a younger savior was the undoing of this one," His eyes traveled towards David and Regina, nodding towards the child in her arms.
The crowd stood in silence for a long moment as Rumple bent down slowly, picking up Zelena's green jewel pendant that had fallen to the ground, the only earthly remainder of Snow's form after disappearing into the vortex. Regina and David exchanged an emotional glance at one another at the knowledge that their daughter together was also a savior, born of true love. Emma turned to Killian standing behind her, allowing herself to be comforted by his strong embrace.
"Everybody go home and get some rest," David addressed the people of the town and they all made comments and nodded in agreement, slowly dispersing as they made their way back to their vehicles.
"I'll have Emma come home with us and heal you," He spoke quietly to Regina, pressing a kiss to her hair as he began to carry she and Violet towards his truck.
"No, don't bother her right now," Regina protested, glancing over to where Killian held her friend, "Let's just go home, I'll be okay for a while."
Emma wrung her hands out, sitting down on the edge of Regina's bed after she'd made David leave the room so she could heal her. Regina had convinced him to honor Emma's request that he leave, explaining to David that doing magic when you were mentally exhausted was hard enough without an audience. He'd been hesitant, not wanting to leave her side since the curse had been broken, but he agreed and went to check on that their children were tucked in.
"Emma, relax," Regina said in a gentle tone, one she would use with Henry if he were upset. She could feel the tension radiating from her friend, saw the worry in her furrowed brow and determined set of her jaw. Her eyes were puffy and red from crying, probably to Hook, but she sensed that the sheriff's grief was still very present, despite the fact she seemed more controlled now.
"I'm trying, I just-" The blonde swallowed hard, eyes surveying Regina laying on top of the covers, dressed in one of David's loose flannels he'd helped her change into.
"You don't have to explain to me, I know," Regina reached out for Emma's hand, taking it into her own. It wasn't how they usually expressed support for each other, but her friend had went through much and now was not a time for them to be standoffish with one another, "I'm sorry, Emma."
Emma lifted her gaze from their hands, looking at Regina's expression with a confused one of her own, "You? What are you sorry for? Regina the whole town was turned against you, we tried to kill you."
"You lost your mother for the second time tonight," She smiled weakly, "I know how much it hurts to think you have someone back only for them to be taken from you again...and without...without your father and I being together then you may not have had to go through that...so, I'm sorry."
A tear rolled over Emma's cheek as she averted her gaze from Regina in an attempt to regain control. For people like she and Emma, crying in front of someone was an intimate thing only done with someone you wholeheartedly trusted. It touched Regina, but also saddened her to know the pain Emma carried that brought her to this point.
"You're ridiculous, Regina," Emma said good humoredly with a shaky breath and a quiet laugh as she brought her free hand up to quickly swipe under her eyes, "You take responsibility for everyone, you're weighed down by guilt and sadness that isn't even yours to carry. But I get it because I'm the same way. The fact that you're apologizing to me for what I'm going through after what we just tried to do to you...we're more alike than we care to admit."
"Scary, isn't it?" She deadpanned with a raise of her eyebrow, giving her friend a gentle smile, "You all were under a curse, it wasn't real. I'll admit, it did hurt to see you all look at me the way you used to, but it's not your fault. Besides, I'm fine. Just a few bumps and bruises, I've dealt with worse."
"I know you have," Emma's lips pressed into a thin line as if she were remembering something vividly as she looked at the cut on Regina's upper arm, leaning over her more and flexing her hands to prepare her magic, "When Dad and I found you after you had Violet..." She paused and swallowed at the knot in her throat, glancing at Regina's face for only a moment before looking back to focus on the wound, "I swore I'd never let anything like that happen to you again. So this...this feels like I've failed you."
A gasp of relief escaped from Regina's throat and she closed her eyes momentarily when Emma's healing magic came like a wave over her arm, closing the wound and bringing the skin back together. The blonde shook her head slightly when she realized the extent of the pain Regina had been experiencing, but had been so controlled and uncomplaining. She'd even addressed Emma's own issues before even asking to be healed.
"You didn't fail me Emma, you were under a curse," Regina responded when she was finally able to open her eyes again, "Thank you for that, you're getting really good at healing," She complimented and Emma gave a weak smile at the acknowledgement from her mentor.
"Where else are you hurt?" She asked, reaching up to run a gentle hand over the Queen's forehead and heal the minor cut on it before glancing down her body for any more obvious wounds.
"Just my ankle," She nodded, pressing her hands into the mattress and gingerly scooting herself to sit up, "You really did a number on me when you sent me flying against that wall. I'm relieved for everyone's sake that the curse is broken and you remember how to control yourself now," She jested, teasing the blonde to lighten the mood.
"Me too," Emma gave a soft laugh and a sniffle of her nose, turning her torso towards Regina's ankle and ghosting her hands over it until the dull ache was completely gone, "So you and Dad, you were still seeing each other during the curse despite not having any idea why?"
Regina bit her lip, bringing her legs up to tuck underneath herself and pull David's flannel down over her knees, "Yes," She admitted, bearing her teeth in an apologetic smile.
"Gross," Emma laughed more easily now, her emotional moment seemingly passed, "By the way, where do you get off giving birth to another savior and stealing my thunder?"
"I was just as surprised as you were, Miss Swan."
Regina studied her baby, rocking her gently in her nursery later that night. Emma had healed her fully and all she'd wanted to do was keep Violet close to her, to make up for the weeks she'd lost. She caressed her baby's cheek and chin with her knuckle, drinking in the sight of her.
A grin crept up on her face at the way Violet's expression changed, seeing the baby smile in her sleep and snuggle closer against Regina's chest. Her little girl must be dreaming about something pleasant. Otherwise she was entirely relaxed in her arms, having fallen asleep almost an hour ago though she couldn't bring herself to let go of her just yet.
Violet's hair wisped and was starting to get long enough to curl and she wondered for a moment where she'd inherited that. Her own hair was generally straight, some wave and body to it but nothing like her daughter's ringlets. David's hair was the same, but then she remembered him mentioning his mother Ruth had curly hair. And now Violet Ruth did, too.
Her daughter's face was like looking into a mirror and Regina felt immense pride. After years of yearning to be able to have her own biological child, to look at someone and see herrself in them, she finally could. The heartbreak of being barren and seeing her sister and Robin share a child only seemed to make the experience of having her own seem sweeter. She'd waited so long for this.
Although her daughter's birth had been traumatic, she'd still carried her for nine months. She'd felt her kick, heard her heartbeat, watched the man she loved talk and kiss her rounded stomach with affection. It was something she believed she'd never have, something she'd went to the extent of denying herself with a potion. Considering her past made the feeling of holding the little miracle in her arms that more special.
She lifted her gaze towards the door when she saw David peek his head inside, leaning an arm on the door frame and giving her a warm smile that she returned. He was already dressed in grey pajama bottoms and a fitted tshirt that hugged him perfectly, his hair disheveled. The look of love in his eyes made her insides stir, prompting her to rise from the rocking chair.
He came up behind her as she stood at the edge of the crib and gently laid Violet down, watching her become restless for a moment before returning to her deep sleep. David's arms wrapped around Regina, hands running over her stomach and thighs as he pulled her back against his front, "I love you," He whispered into her ear, pressing his lips to her temple intimately.
Regina felt an intense yearning begin to burn low in her belly, turning around in his arms and running her hands up over his chest, "I missed you," She murmured, leaning up on her tip toes to press her lips to his, giving him a long, slow kiss. His hands slid down her lower back, one resting on her bottom as their kiss deepened and Regina's hand came up to thread through the back of his hair, "Lets go to bed."
"Are you sure you're feeling up to it?" He whispered against her lips, hand ghosting over her upper arm as he pulled back slightly and inspected her forehead where the cut used to be.
"I'm fine," She gave him a warm smile, wrapping her arms around his neck as he nodded and slid his hands down to her thighs, picking her up with ease and wrapping her legs around his waist. "Are the boys sleeping?"
"Neal has been tucked in for a couple hours now and I just walked by Henry's room and his light is off," David whispered quietly, carrying her out of the nursery and across the hall towards their own room, shutting the door behind them. He gave her a grin when he turned, pressing her against the door and leaning in to kiss at her neck momentarily as he turned the lock on the knob.
"Hmm," She hummed, lips pressing together in a smile as her hand pulled and massaged through his hair, her other one running over the breadth of his shoulders, "I missed you like this."
"Our sex during the curse was amazing," David grinned against her skin, his stubble grazing over it and making her press her hips up against his, "But I like knowing why I want to make love to you."
"Me too," She smirked, running her hands down to grip the edge of his shirt, starting to shimmy it up his torso, "But that doesn't mean we can't ever pretend we're still cursed every once in a while."
"True," He chuckled into her skin and let her pull his shirt of her head before running his hands over her bottom again to pick her up from the door, carrying her over towards the bed and laying her down, "You're so beautiful," He let out a breath, crawling overtop of her and leaning down to give her a languid kiss.
She enjoyed the feeling of him pressing her into the mattress, ran her hands over his bare back and spread her legs for him to settle in between. He was big and warm and she felt safe, overwhelmed with love and want for him. Her hands ran down his sides, pushing at the waist and of his pajamas before using her feet to push them down over his thighs.
"Impatient," He whispered against her lips with a smile as he kicked them off, reaching down for the edge of his flannel that she wore and beginning to push it up. Regina lifted her top half from the bed slightly, allowing him to pull it up and over her head, "God, Regina," He groaned, glancing down between them at her wearing nothing but a pair of panties.
She gave him a heated smile when he glanced back at her, threading her hands through his hair once more as he pressed his lips to her breast, planting slow kisses around the sides of them. He brushed his lips over the nipple, causing her to hum and let her head rest back against the bed. His elbow propped him up on one side as he hovered over her, free hand cupping and massaging one breast as his mouth teased the other.
"Mmm," A whimper vibrated in her throat when his mouth closed over her breast, tugging at the nipple that was much more sensitive since having a baby. She scratched her fingers over his scalp, her hips pressing up against his torso instinctually in search of friction.
"Is this not where you want me?" David grinned, lifting his head to see her give him a breathy smirk as she nudged his head down with her fingers. He half chuckled, half groaned at how she never held anything back, quickly pressing chaste kisses down over her stomach as he slipped his fingers over he edge of her panties and worked them over her hips.
Her breath hitched when he threw them off of the bed and spread her thighs, running his hands up and down them as he groaned. His cock twitched, growing in hardness as he settled down between her legs again, seeing her glistening slit. He pressed his mouth to her inner thigh, making her hips curl and a moan escape her as he started to suck down on the skin.
She was sure she'd have marks all over her thighs tomorrow but tonight she didn't care, in fact she egged him on, "Daviiiiid," She moaned pleadingly, spreading her legs a little wider as she bent them at the knee and tugged at his hair. "Quit teasing."
He grinned when he saw her glance down at him with a pouty expression and flushed cheeks, "So demanding," He teased before flattening his tongue and running it over her entire sex, hearing her hiss as her head fell back against the bed again, "You taste amazing, Regina."
"Mmm..." She moaned as he gripped her thighs, holding her snugly up to him as he sucked and teased her bundle of nerves, enjoying the little whimpers and sighs she was giving him. His ultimate goal was to hear her run off at the mouth like she often did when he went down on her. It made him hard like nothing else when she lost control of her senses and babbled at the pleasure.
"David, oh," She moaned deeper, thighs squeezing his head gently before he pushed them back apart causing her to gasp again, her hips curling against his mouth, "Do...the thing..." She whispered pleadingly.
He grinned against her clit, giving it a firm suck as his gaze traveled up at her, seeing her slack jawed and eyes closed in pleasure. His grip on her thighs tightened to keep her in place, wrapping his arm around one and bringing his thumb and forefinger down to spread her lips.
"Yes!" She cried out in response when he kept her slit spread apart, starting to flick his tongue over her clit in fast licks, "Harder," She demanded and he obliged, pressing the tip of his tongue firmer as he kept up the pace.
Her body was writhing now, at least her upper half, as he had a firm grip on her thighs to keep them where he needed them. She tasted delicious, sweet and arousing as he lapped her up and made her begin to babble. His cock was stiff now, pressing into the mattress below him and prompting him to eat her with earnest.
"Faster!" Regina gasped, curling her hips as much as his grip would allow to add friction, "Da-vid, don't stop, please, keep going," She moaned her pleas, eyes screwed shut as she focused on the intense pleasure. Her hands gripped his hair desperately as she gasped and whispered, not caring to lose control with him. She'd never let any of her previous partners see her in such a state while doing something so intimate, but David had proved himself worthy. "I'm almost-keep, ahh.."
David grinned at her rapidly losing control, groaning and continuing to flick his tongue against her clit in a faster pace. He felt her fingernails dig into his scalp, her stomach tensing tightly as a cry escaped her, holding her hips up to him. He kept his mouth on her sex, covering it and continuing to lap at her through the orgasm until her hand pushed his head back at the sensitivity.
"Mm, I love making you come," David murmured as he crawled back up over her, seeing her looking up at him with an almost delirious smile in the aftershock of her orgasm. His cock was hard and heavy as lead, brushing against her folds as he settled between her legs again.
"I love you," Regina smiled, wrapping her legs tightly around his waist as her arms snaked around his neck, keeping his body tightly against hers, "So much," She whispered as she pressed her lips against his, tasting herself on his lips and humming.
He groaned into her mouth, kissing her deeper at how she was comfortable enough to say it openly now. Considering the walls he'd had to climb and tear down to get to her heart, it was quite an accomplishment to make her feel safe enough to admit her love for him. It made his heart swell with pride that she trusted him so, "I'll always be here for you, Regina," He promised, pressing his forehead to hers as he began to push himself inside of her.
"Mm," She moaned, cupping the back of his neck as she looked up at him, feeling him push himself the rest of the way. The feeling between them was hot, intimate and emotional as he filled her, stretched her, made their bodies one. All she could do was grip his neck and shoulders, shuddering into him when he began to move.
"Come for me again," He whispered as he buried his face into her neck, keeping his body pressed tightly against hers, as close as they could go. This wasn't about raw sex, it was about being one, about their commitment to each other and their love. He continued to curl his hips into hers, whispering words of encouragement near her ear as his hands came under her bottom, tilting her up at a different angle.
Regina cried out quietly before sucking in a gasp of air, her body contracting around him after only a few minutes, nails digging into his shoulders and back arching, pushing her chest up against his, "David!" She moaned, her hot heat clamping around him as her nipples grazed his chest. Just the feeling of her orgasm brought him near his own, thrusting a few more times before letting himself go with an exclamation of her name.
Six months later...
It was a simple ceremony. Both of them had been married before so they'd kept it short and sweet, but the celebration was anything but. Regina had preferred that it only be a small group present when they exchanged their vows. Their audience during the brief exchange included only people like Emma, Henry, Neal, Violet, Granny, Belle and Killian. She wasn't one for big displays and besides, she hadn't wanted to cry in front of the entire town. Regina Mills didn't cry over a wedding, but she did during this one.
She hadn't been able to keep back the tears that slipped over her cheeks when David vowed his love to her, couldn't help the tremble in his voice when she repeated her own vows back to him and saw his own eyes well with tears. It felt like just the two of them as they promised themselves to each other, though many misty eyes watched them intently. Violet lightened the mood towards the end, cooing a loud mam-ma from Emma's arms and Regina knew her daughter must've sensed her emotions and was trying to get her attention to comfort her. The baby had made them all laugh before the ceremony ended with a sweet, gentle kiss between the newlyweds.
They'd decided to do the simple affair in their backyard, Regina thinking it would be easier for Neal and Violet to be involved if they were close to home where their nurseries and toys were readily available. Emma and Granny had put together tables, warm outdoor lighting and refreshments for a reception in a beautiful arrangement just off the back deck. It was perfect for them, for they had decided against a honeymoon, considering everything that had happened in the past year. Now they just wanted to be together as a family, safe and sound under one roof.
Regina now sat beside her husband, head against his shoulder while they laughed and talked, watching their friends and family celebrate their marriage. She wasn't much of a dancer, but he'd managed to pull her out with the rest of them for a few songs after she'd had a couple of drinks and she had to admit it was fun. She chuckled at Neal who had seemed to find his groove, dancing furiously in the middle of it all. Emma held Violet on her hip, playfully dancing with Killian and making her younger sister grin from ear to ear.
"You think he gets his moves from me?" David grinned, referring to Neal as he squeezed his arm around her waist gently, causing her to chuckle.
"Most definitely," She turned her head to flash him a smile, watching him lean in and press his lips to hers. He tasted like cider, his kiss making her warm in anticipation for later.
"Did everything go as you wanted?" He asked more seriously when he pulled back, knowing the details of her first wedding. She'd been a scared child being forced in as a replacement, ignored and abused by a man who had taken her innocence and her freedom. Regina had expressed her worry and anxiety of weddings because of the feelings it evoked from her past, but she'd ultimately decided she wanted to share the experience with David. He'd hoped that tonight was enough to heal the wounds inflicted upon her from the last time she'd entered marriage.
"It was perfect," Regina gave him a warm smile, her eyes glossing over with unshed tears. Just the fact that he was asking her meant more to her than she could express. Her last wedding and marriage was nothing but a grand sham, leaving her feeling cold and unwanted. For years she had been ignored by Leopold for the memory of another, but the love she saw reflected in David's eyes made her feel like she belonged, "It's silly, but it feels like I'm experiencing this for the first time."
"You are," He gazed at her, reaching out to cup her chin, "You didn't want your first marriage, you were forced into it. That doesn't count. This," He smiled, bringing his hand down to hold her own, "I love you more than words can say and I want to show you what marriage truly is."
Regina swallowed hard at the knot of emotion forming in her throat, giving him a watery smile before feeling tiny hands tugging at her simple, classic cream colored dress, "Mam-ma!" Violet chirped, her head peeking out from under the table cloth after crawling under the table to them, making them both laugh in surprise.
"What are you doing under there, little girl?" She cooed at her daughter, reaching down to draw her up into her lap.
"It looks like someone got into the cake," David grinned, reaching over with a napkin to wipe Violet's face off and laughing when her dark brows drew down and she chirped 'no no' in the same fashion they told it to her when she was doing something she wasn't supposed to. "Are you sure I had anything to do with making her? She's your clone, looks and attitude wise."
"Trust me, I think you had a hand in it," Regina grinned and pressed a kiss to Violet's forehead, "I can't believe she'll be one next month."
"Don't remind me," David's lips drew into a pout, "Time to have another?" He teased with a mischievous smirk, seeing Regina turn to him and her eyes widen, "What?" His mouth dropped open in mock innocence.
"We'll have to discuss that another time," She chuckled, seeing Henry approaching their table. He looked handsome in his suit, starting to fill out his tall and slender frame.
"Can I have this dance?" He smiled, reaching his hand out towards his mother, making her lips part in pleasant surprise. She glanced at David who smiled at the gesture and took Violet into his own arms, allowing Regina to rise and follow her son.
"Congratulations, Mom," Henry said more seriously, bringing his arms up to grasp hers for the slow dance, "I'm happy for you."
Emotion welled within her at how grown up he seemed, for now she actually had to look up at him. She grasped his one hand, the other resting on his opposite shoulder as they began to move slowly, "Thank you, Henry. You don't know how much that means to me."
"I think I do," He gave her a lopsided smile, "I know how long you've waited to be happy, I've watched you my whole life. I don't know if I've ever really thanked you for all you did for me."
"You don't have to thank me, Henry," She replied, gazing up at him through watery eyes, "I'm your mother, it was my job."
"But there were plenty of times you could've put yourself first, yet you didn't," He shook his head with a slight frown, "I was a brat when Mom first came to town, I didn't understand at first. I'm sorry I ever doubted you."
"Don't be sorry, it was the wake up call I needed. Seeing myself reflected in your eyes was what made me want to change," She looked up at him honestly, a touch of firmness to her tone at him blaming himself, "If I hadn't, I wouldn't have all of this now. You're the best thing that ever happened to me."
He smiled almost shyly down at her, tightening his arms around her and pulling her into a hug for the last few sways of the song, "I love you, Mom."
One month later...
Family life was bliss. Better than any revenge or curse or magic spell she'd ever created. The chorus of happy birthday ended and David wrapped an arm around her shoulders as they watched their daughter grin from her high chair, hands covered in cake and her birthday hat lopsided on her black curls. This was what she'd been searching for, this feeling of love and belonging and contentment. This was what she'd spent so many years trying to obtain, but going about it in all of the wrong ways.
"Hey Madam Mayor, can we cut this cake now or what?" Emma brought her from her daydream with a knowing smile, nodding towards the sheet cake on the table that she'd prepared for the rest of them, Violet having her own small round one to eat. And play in.
"By all means, go ahead," Regina laughed, giving her a nod before glancing over at David and catching his eye. He responded with a grin, his eyes flickering over to Violet in her high chair at the head of the table, crumbling hand fulls of cake in her hands, scattering it everywhere. "She gets her table manners from you," She teased her husband, causing the corner's of his mouth to turn up into an adorable smirk.
Regina's dining room was once again full of laughter and love, making it the happiest she'd ever been. She used to be annoyed by chaos, used to roll her eyes at overly affectionate families and loud children, but now they were hers. And she loved it.
Emma began to cut and serve the pieces, doling them out as Neal chanted 'cake cake' from his own booster seat and Henry waited patiently.
"Little anxious, are we Love?" Killian teased Emma when she put a giant piece on her plate, causing her to elbow him in the side.
"I didn't even think you liked sweets, Emma," Regina chuckled, glancing across the table at her friend who looked slightly different. She couldn't put her finger on what it was, but she'd spent a lot of time around Miss Swan and she couldn't always tell when she was holding something back.
David and Regina exchanged a curious glance when they watched Emma and Killian do the same as they hesitated to reply. The children were oblivious, playing and indulging in their cake as their parents waited for an explanation from their older sibling.
"Guess now is as good of a time as any," Killian began with a smile towards Emma.
The blonde glanced over at her father and best friend, taking a deep breath before she spoke, "We're having a baby," Emma admitted with a sheepish smile.
"You mean I'm officially no longer an only child in either house?" Henry joked with a raise of his brow, making them all laugh.
"Congratulations, Emma," Regina smiled warmly at her friend, feeling genuinely excited for her. "You too, pirate."
"Aye, thank you," Killian gave a proud grin, raising up his glass towards Regina.
"That's great," David nodded in fatherly approval towards the younger couple, his smile warming at his daughter. Their family was growing and changing and he couldn't be prouder of all of them. Things were entirely different to when they'd first found themselves in Storybrooke, but he was perfectly fine with it.
"Heavens help us if it's a girl," Hook gave a grin, "I don't know if Storybrooke can handle a new generation Emma and Regina."
"More like can we handle it?" David joked with his son-in-law, glancing sideways at his wife who rolled her eyes and smiled in good humor at his jest.
"We'll remember that the next time your asses need saving," Emma deadpanned.
"Ass," Neal repeated with a confident grin at the new word he'd just learned, cake smeared over his face and hands equally messy.
"Sorry," Emma smiled tightly at Regina and David before laughing, "I guess I have a lot to learn about having a little one around."
Regina gave a smile and a quick shake of her head, "Don't worry, we're all here to help," She held Emma's gaze for a moment, seeing the appreciation in her gaze.
How far they'd come from the two quarreling mother's, fighting over custody of a son and coming after one another any chance they had. The woman whom she once despised more than she even had Snow was now her closest friend. A man who had seen her darkest deeds had become her husband, loving her despite her flaws. The son she'd once made doubt her was now her biggest supporter, believing in her when she didn't even believe in herself.
Even the pirate who used to grate her nerves just by his presence brought a smile to her face during family dinners. Her smallest step son she thought she'd have to distance herself from could now call her mommy again. And the baby she thought she'd never be able to have sat happy and healthy, celebrated today by all who loved her.
The storybook mentioned nothing of the way things had turned out for her. She'd found no missing pages of anything that had happened in the last couple of years, the book was simply wrong. This was completely rewritten, a product of change and hope, of taking your happiness into your own hands, of not giving up on people. This was Regina's alternate ending.