14 years later...
Regina exits the bathroom to see her wife nervously pacing the length of their chamber. She forgets about her own queasy stomach instantly in concern for the other woman.
"Are you okay, dear?" Regina asks and puts a hand on the blonde's arm.
Emma stops pacing immediately and puts her head on Regina's shoulder.
Emma is usually the calm one.
"I'm so nervous." Emma reveals into her top.
Regina rubs her back soothingly. They have both already changed into their gowns so she is also trying to be a cautious as she can about not wrinkling the outfits, while still giving as much comfort as possible.
"Why are my parents stepping down now?" Emma wonders and pulls back to look at Regina. "They aren't old yet. They have another good decade of ruling before age starts to wear them down!"
"Your mother became the Queen at a very young age. I can understand her weariness." Regina tries to explain. But Emma is in no mood to listen to logic. "Plus, your parents want to go and have adventures while they still can. You know they are always jealous when we talk about our travels."
It's true, in the few years after they got married, they were away more than they were home. That only changed when they had children. But even that didn't stop them completely. They wanted their children to go up knowing about the world around them.
"Why aren't you freaking out?" Emma asks, once again ignoring Regina's explanation. She looks at Regina almost suspiciously. "In less than two hours you will be Queen. And no offense, but you are usually much more anxious than I am."
It's true, Regina has come to realize that she is a worrier.( Not that she ever lets her worries show in front of anyone but Emma. Royalty must always look in-control.)
But she's also found that worrying can be a benefit. She admires positivity, but not assuming everything will turn out wonderfully (like her in-laws) also makes her prepared for negative outcomes. She has found that she is better able to then deal with the situation quicker than most.
"You're right I'm not really." Regina says wonderingly. "I suppose I've had too much on my mind with the planning and the children to worry about what the actual coronation will mean."
"Well it means that we will be responsible for an entire kingdom!" Emma huffs.
"I'm sorry to say but it's more pressure on you than me. I will only be a Queen consort. A representative of the kingdom is crowing you. It's a symbol of their love and trust in you. Whereas you will be crowing me. And I already know you love and trust me." She winks.
Emma simply pouts. Regina's teasing is clearly not making her feel better.
"Em." Regina says sternly. Emma looks up nervously at the use of Regina's 'mom' voice. "You are a strong person. You have stood up for this kingdom and have done what you can for them for years." She points to a scar she can see on Emma's shoulder due to the low set of the sleeves. It was earned during a small battle on the eastern border. Successful for them, but not without losses and injuries. "You've fought for them, and they trust you."
"But what if I make the wrong decisions?"
Regina cups her cheek.
"You're not doing this alone. You have a dozen counselors, your parents will still be around for advice...and I will be right next to you every step of the way."
Emma leans down to kiss her gently.
A knock sounds on the door.
"I believe they want to come in make sure we're ready. Are you?"
After the ceremony, (which just like the wedding, went by in a blur) the two newly crowned Queens sit on their thrones in the grand hall. They were required to greet their guests before giving a speech.
It's a more intimate and ritualistic affair than the wedding, but only just.
"Moms!" Henry calls and runs toward them.
"Hen!" Emma enthusiastically greets and- not caring about people watching her behavior- leaves the throne to run up to the boy and hug him. An impressive feat in her gown.
He chuckles and wiggles out of the hug.
"How is my little prince?" Regina asks as she joins the ten year old and her wife on the steps of the dais.
"I'm well." He replies happily. "The coronation was so cool. It was a little boring though so I think when I write about it in my book tonight I will jazz it up a bit."
"Jazz it up?" Emma directs the question to Regina and they share a laugh at their son.
"Yes it needs to be more exciting. Maybe an ogre will come and crash through the wall at the last second." He explains as if they had actually not understood.
Henry was such a creative little boy. A natural storyteller. He truly lived in his own little world.
Her father had been so proud that they had named their son after him. It was the easiest decision considering how close Regina and Emma both were to the man. Much to their heart-break, he passed last year.
Speaking of grandparents...
"I would hope as King you would have protective measures against such things." A voice says behind him- semi-seriously.
He stiffens slightly at his grandmother's voice.
"This is only for the story Grandma Cora." He explains when he turns to see the woman.
Regina shakes her head at her mother's intimidation. Although, she doesn't look as intimidating as she once did. She is older and more frail. Most importantly, she is carrying a five-year old Maggie on her hip, and the little girl is more than content to be there.
Margaret, or Maggie for short, was named after Emma's mother (it is her middle name) and great-grandmother. They may as well have named her Cora jr though. The two had taken to each other instantly upon her birth and the bond as grown ever since.
It baffles both mothers to this day.
But Maggie could be a bossy little girl at times, and naturally Cora only brought out those habits.
Henry Sr. always use to say the two were good for each other though. And while their son had definitely softened Cora, she was still stricter on the crowned prince and expected more of him than her precious little princess.
Regina sometimes wonders if Maggie will end up Queen anyway. While she has no doubts that Henry would be the kindest and most loved King the kingdom as seen in generations, she wonders if he would want that responsibility. She can see even now that he is a free-spirit looking for adventures and stories. A natural bard. She wouldn't be surprised if he abdicated the throne to his sister.
But they are still much to young to think of those things.
"Mother." Regina greets with a small smile, which expands when she looks at her daughter. "My Princess." She says and runs her fingers through the girl's golden curls.
"Don't mess up my hair mommy."
"I promise I didn't. You look very pretty."
"Thank you mommy." The girl gives her a toothy smile before becoming distracted.
"Congratulations." Cora tells both of them. "A joyful day."
"Indeed." Emma responds. Although her and Emma have never had problems exactly, they've also never quite meshed.
"Oh, Elosie!" Maggie interrupts. "May I please get down grandma?"
She may be a bossy little girl but Cora has also instilled strict manners in her.
"Yes princess." Cora says gently and rests the girl on the ground.
"Thank you!" Maggie says before rushing off to her best-friend with both women watching her adoringly.
Maggie's best-friend Eloise, happens to be the only child of Llewellyn.
Two summers after the women were wed, Lew accompanied the family to the summer manor on their trip. That's where she met Christopher, her now husband. Regina could see how infatuated the he was with her right away but she didn't see it, or refused to see it. Chris was a few years younger than Lew and combined with the fact that he lived hours away made her cautious of forming any attachments. However, you can't stop love, and he more than willingly came to work at the castle for a chance of being with her.
Regina couldn't be happier for the family. And Elosie (born only days apart from Maggie) is the perfect little companion for her own daughter.
"Are you really going to stand there and ignore me?" Regina hears a voice say sarcastically and it calls her attention back to the people in front of her.
"Neal! I didn't think you were going to make it!" She pulls the young-man into a hug. He has become quite tall and strong. He looks very much like a young prince Charming but with darker hair. Handsome to the point where girls follow him around. He seems to not have an interest in finding a wife though. At least not yet.
Must be nice to be a man and have that option.
"How could I miss this?" He rhetorically asks.
"How are the...chimera? That's what you were trying to save this time, was it not?"
"Still endangered. But I think I made progress informing hunting communities about the benefits for not killing all of them off."
Regina smiles at him kindly.
"But you're well? Taking care of yourself I hope?"
"Yes Mom." He mocks.
She hits his arm playfully.
"Speaking of moms...you look beautiful by the way. You have that glow."
Regina scoffs in response. "Tell me that again in five months when I'm the size of a house."
"I do hear it gets harder after each baby to loose the weight." He teases.
"Nonsense." Emma interrupts and puts her hand on Regina's back. "She'll still be beautiful."
"If we ever have another one, you're carrying it." Regina huffs and places her hands on the small bump.
Emma's face falls.
"Three is enough...more than enough...we're getting to old for another anyway." Emma tries to backtrack much to Neal's amusement.
"Can't take the pain sis?"
"You don't understand. You've never seen someone give birth before." The blonde argues.
When Regina was in labor with Henry, Emma almost passed out. She just stood there and apologized to Regina over and over again for having any part in the pain. She also kept promising that they would never go through this again.
Naturally it happened again. And will happen a third time soon enough.
They really plan for this to be the last one though. Every time they want to have another baby they have to have a visit from the blue fairy to get pixie dust. Honestly, Regina finds her a little sketchy and would be more than happy with never having to deal with her again. She is eternally grateful that being true-loves meant having children was a fairly easy process and they didn't need more of her consultation beyond providing the dust.
"I still think labor was a worse experience for you than it was for me." Regina jokes.
The two brunettes share a laugh while Emma playfully pouts.
"It's time girls." David says before shuffling everyone else away from the dais.
Emma stands before her throne and straightens her posture. She does not like giving speeches so it probably wont be very long, but she is capable. And she looks as regal as anyone ever has.
"Ladies and Gentlemen, citizens of the White Kingdom, guests from kingdoms near and far...thank you for being here and giving your support and love. It's odd to think that such a momentous day in my life personally will be an important day in history as well..."
Look at her
Regina's thoughts travel as Emma continues her speech. She can't seem to focus on Emma's words when Emma herself is such a figure.
In her deep purple gown, her golden hair, and cream skin pop. She can only imagine that the large crown adorning her head is uncomfortable (as her own is starting to be) but Emma stance is one of power and you would never know.
The love the two women have is deeper now than Regina could have first imagined. She often thinks she knows Emma better than she knows herself. And she's sure the reverse is true too.
But sometimes...in moments like this one...she feels like she's seeing Emma for the first time all over again. The same emotions of awe and yearning occur as when you first meet someone that you really like and want to get to know. That same desire to love them and be loved by them. That irrational envy of anyone who already has the privilege to be a key member of their life.
It's amazing to remember that she doesn't have to yearn. She gets to call this magnificent woman hers.
"I am honored to have the trust of my people. And I am awed by the imposing responsibility this crown represents." Emma's words register again. "I will not take it for granted. I am also overjoyed to have the honor and pleasure of crowning my wife as a leader of my people. I admire and respect her, as well as love her, and I know she will take care of our kingdom. May good fortune rain upon all of us!"
The crowd claps before settling down to prepare for the feast.
Regina takes Emma's arm and they make their way to the head table. Regina always takes the same seat to the right of her wife, because it has the perfect view of her apple orchard through the large windows. She often times will look out at them if the company is particularly dreadful.
However she not looking out the windows tonight. She is still focused on Emma.
How lucky am I to be in a marriage where there is mutual admiration, love, and respect?
"Why are look looking at me like that?" Emma softly asks with a smile.
Regina thinks of a way to sum up her emotions.
"I have a crush on you." She says casually yet lovingly.
She actually see's a blush forming on her wife's cheeks. She can't remember the last time that happened.
"Even after all these years?" Emma counters.
"Especially after all these years."
Emma looks at her adoringly for a few seconds.
"It's good to know I'm not the only one."
And it's over! I can't believe it! I really thought this fic would only be about five chapters long. The ideas just kept coming though and your overwhelming response really kept me happy and wanting to write.
I hope you liked the ending! Please let me know your thoughts. I know I didn't mention the Matchmaker again but I decided that I liked the idea of him being perhaps a mysterious figure. That being said if you have any ideas on who it might be/where he came from I would love to hear them.
Lastly I do read reviews from my old stories so if you decide to check one out after this let me know what you think!
Thank you Thank you Thank you