"Happy New Year!"
Granny's Diner erupted into cheers and hoots as soon as the countdown reached zero. Party poppers were pulled, drinks were clinked together, fireworks could be seen through the window. It was a happy time, the beginning of a new year, who wouldn't be thrilled?
Well, as everyone else in the room celebrated this new beginning, Regina stood in the corner with her arms folded across her chest and watched. She watched Henry and Violet soothing Neal, who had been awoken by the loud noises, though they stopped to give each other a quick peck as the new year began; she watched Mary Margaret and David kiss and hug; she watched the dwarfs take a shot together; she watched Archie scolding Pongo for eating the sausage from his plate; then her eyes fell on Emma and Killian.
She watched as Killian turned Emma's head to face him, then she watched as the pirate ducked his head and stole a kiss from the blonde. Regina closed her eyes and turned away, feeling a sharp pain stab inside her chest. This was too much, it was too hard. It was New Years Eve, well, New Years Day now, and she was all alone. She had been alone since Robin had died, and she couldn't take it anymore. She was lonely, when a few short months ago she had thought that she would never be lonely again.
Every time she saw a couple, she remembered Robin, and remembered when she hadn't been alone. It was silly, really. She had been alone for 28 years during the curse (with the exception of Henry), and she had been fine. But, back then, she hadn't known what she was missing. Obviously she had been heartbroken about Daniel, but she and Daniel had never really had the chance to be together properly, not like she and Robin had. Now she knew what it was like to be with someone, and what it was like to not be alone in the world, and she missed that.
Usually, she could take it, but she couldn't anymore. She wished that she could just forget about Robin, so that she wouldn't know what she was missing. If only there was a way to forget all of their time together, because then she could...
Wait. There was a way. There was a potion, the one that Snow had taken in the Enchanted Forest, that made people forget their true love. If Regina took that, then she would forget about Robin and all their time together. She would forget about his death and how upset she had been. She wouldn't be heartbroken anymore.
Regina immediately turned to the table that she was standing next to, which she had put her handbag and coat on. She picked up her things and then walked across the room to the door, slipping outside before anyone could notice.
The sun was just starting to rise when Regina finally returned to the mansion, sleep deprived and hungry, but with a Forgetting Potion tucked into her coat pocket. She had worked away in her vault for hours, perfecting the potion that she had never actually created before, but she finally felt confident that she had got it right. She hadn't taken it yet, but she was going to soon. Today, probably.
She entered through the back door, which led to the kitchen, to try to make as little noise as possible. She didn't want to wake Zelena or the baby, as that would just lead to a million questions about where she'd been and what she'd been doing, and she didn't really feel like answering right now, especially after being awake for twenty four hours.
And, of course, Zelena had had a late night too, seeing as everyone in Storybrooke had stayed up past midnight to welcome the new year. Regina was kind enough to not want to wake her sister after so little sleep, especially seeing as Zelena had a baby. She didn't get enough sleep as it was.
Regina put her keys and phone on the counter next to the door, then slipped out of her heels. She bent down to pick up her shoes, intending to put them away, (she may be exhausted, but that was no excuse for making a mess), but a voice made her jump before she had the chance to move.
"Really, sis? The walk of shame?"
Regina almost jumped out of her skin, then scowled and turned to see her sister sitting at the breakfast bar with a cup of coffee in her hands. How she had missed Zelena, she didn't know. She must have been more tired than she'd initially thought.
"Zelena, what are you doing up?" Regina asked, feeling herself blush at being made jump.
"I wanted to see if you'd come home yet, but you hadn't, so I decided to wait for you. I'll admit, I was getting a little bit worried, but it's good to see that you're fine. More than fine, by the looks of things. Isn't that the dress you were wearing last night?" Zelena looked Regina up and down with a smirk, making her roll her eyes.
"Yes, but this isn't what it looks like."
"Who's the lucky guy?" Zelena completely ignored Regina's words.
"I wasn't with a guy." Regina informed her sister.
"Oh." Zelena raised her eyebrows. "Then who's the lucky woman?"
Regina rolled her eyes again. "I wasn't with a woman, either. I wasn't with anyone."
Regina crossed the room before Zelena could reply, picked up the coffee pot, and poured herself a cup. She was going to need all the caffeine she could get if she was going to stay awake all day. At least she didn't have to work, seeing as it was New Year's Day.
"Then where have you been all night?" Zelena asked, surprising Regina by sounding genuinely curious, and even a little worried, instead of just trying to tease her and embarrass her.
They had built up a bond over the past few months, especially since they'd started living together, but it still amazed Regina when Zelena showed signs that she really cared about her, even if it was just the slightest glimmer. Maybe it was because of the troubled past that they had had, but it came as a pleasant surprise to Regina whenever her sister displayed actions even slightly related to love.
"I was at the vault." Regina replied, seeing no use in lying about what she had been doing. If she took the potion, then people would notice that she no longer possessed any memories of Robin anyway, so she may as well tell people from the get-go.
"Why? What were you doing? Is Storybrooke in trouble again?" Wow, Zelena was even showing signs that she cared about the people of Storybrooke. She had come a long way since she'd first arrived.
"No, it's nothing like that." Regina assured her sister. She took a sip of her coffee, then put down her cup and reached into her pocket, pulling out the vial with the white, glowing liquid inside. "I was making this."
"What is that?" Zelena asked in curiosity. She stood up and walked over to Regina, taking the small bottle and inspecting its contents.
"It's a forgetting potion." Regina informed, taking the bottle back.
"And why would you need that?"
"Because I want to forget Robin."
Regina expected Zelena to react right away; to either call her crazy, or ask her why, or even just accept Regina's choice with disinterest in the matter. Instead, Zelena stared at Regina like she was waiting for her to laugh and say that she was only joking. When it became clear that Regina wasn't going to do that, Zelena frowned and walked back over to her stool at the breakfast bar.
"Wh- Why would you want to do that?" Zelena finally asked, her voice full of confusion.
Regina sighed and leaned against the counter. "Because I'm sick of being heartbroken. I'm in pain, emotionally, and sometimes even physically, and I have been ever since Robin died. I'm alone now, and-"
"You're not alone. You have a family." Zelena corrected. "You have me, and Henry, and Robyn, and Emma."
"And all of you have someone else." Regina argued. " You have Robyn, Henry has Violet, Emma has the damn pirate. I don't have anyone, and that hurts me."
"But forgetting Robin isn't going to change that." Zelena reminded her.
"I know, but..." Regina sighed and rubbed her face. This made sense to her, but saying it out loud made it sound like a bad idea. "I was fine before Robin. It didn't hurt me to see other couples around town. But now... I see Emma and Killian kissing on New Year's and feel like someone has stabbed me in the chest. I think it's because Robin showed me what it's like to not be alone, and I liked that. Now that I'm on my own again, I see people together and remember that I used to have someone too. If I forget Robin, then I'll forget what it's like to have someone, and it won't hurt to see other people get their happy ending. You can't miss something that you never had."
When Regina finished her explanation, she noticed that Zelena was just staring into her coffee cup, and didn't answer when she had finished talking. Regina frowned and asked, "Did that make any sense?"
"It did. Sort of." Zelena acknowledged. "But I don't know if it's a good idea."
"Because you have a lot of good memories with Robin, right?"
Regina thought about her time with Robin, and tried to find some good memories, but she could only recall a couple. To be honest, her time with Robin had been hectic and tumultuous, filled with a wife who came back from the dead, (Well, technically she came back from the past, but still), a pregnant sister, and trips to Camelot and the Underworld. The only moment of true happiness that came to mind at the moment was the night of the ball in Camelot, when she had danced with Robin in a beautiful dress.
Even then, it wasn't Robin who made that memory amazing. It was feeling like a princess at a ball filled with her friends and family, with Henry looking all grown up, which had made her so proud. It was also one of the few times that Regina had seen Emma look like the princess that she was.
But, Regina didn't want Zelena to know that she lacked good memories with Robin. Robin was her true love, assigned to her with pixie dust, she would be ungrateful to say that she hadn't been overly happy with him.
"Of course I have good memories with him."
"Then do you really want to lose those?" Zelena asked. "Yes, you'll be taking away the pain, but you'll also be taking away the happiness."
"I won't know what I'm missing." Regina argued. "I wouldn't be sad about losing the memories because I wouldn't know that I'd had them in the first place."
"Do you ever wish that you could forget about Daniel?" Zelena asked, making Regina frown.
"Of course not."
"But I bet you did at the time. I bet that it hurt so much when you lost him that you wished you could forget about him to take away the pain. But you moved past it. That's what you have to do now: just move past it. It will pass and you'll be fine. And until it does, you have your family to support you."
"Zelena," Regina sighed. "I appreciate you wanting what's best for me, but I've already made up my mind. There's nothing that you can say to change it back."
Zelena nodded her head, accepting Regina's words, though she didn't look too happy. "So, when are you taking the potion then?"
Regina looked at the vial in her hands. There was no time like the present. "Right now." Regina said decisively, before she could actually change her mind. She was pretty confident that this was what she wanted, but 'pretty confident' could soon become 'unsure' if she let her mind play on it for too long.
So, Regina pulled the top off the bottle and stared at the liquid for a moment. After a deep breath, she brought the bottle to her lips and tipped her head back, downing the contents in one.
As soon as she'd swallowed, Regina felt a tingling throughout her body, especially in her head. She felt weak, and needed to grab onto the counter for support. Then, a white light emanated from her body, almost blinding her as it illuminated the room. Regina felt dizzy, her head started spinning, it was such a horrible feeling that Regina worried that she hadn't made the potion right.
But then her mind went blank, as if everything had been sucked out of her brain. She didn't know where she was, or who she was, for a full ten seconds. After that, things started to filter back to her. All of her memories came back, one by one, until she felt that she had pieced together a full puzzle.
As quickly as it had begun, the process ended. The light disappeared, her mind became clear again, her head stopped spinning. Everything returned to normal, all at once, except for the fact that the last few moments were rather hazy. But she knew that she was fine, even though she was standing in her kitchen, with Zelena staring at her, clinging to the kitchen counter like her life depended on it.
"Well?" Zelena said, sounding nervous.
Why was Zelena nervous? Regina stood up straight and realised that she was holding something. She looked down and saw that it was a tiny, empty bottle. She frowned and lifted it up, wondering why she was holding it. That's when she remembered what had happened: that she'd taken a forgetting potion to forget Robin and make herself happy again.
And it clearly hadn't been successful, because she remembered Robin clear as day, and everything about him. She remembered Tinker Bell showing her the man with the lion tattoo in the Enchanted Forest, all the way up til Hades killed Robin.
Regina sighed and slammed the bottle onto the counter top. "It didn't work." She said through gritted teeth. "I remember Robin."
"But I thought-"
"I must have made it wrong." Regina shrugged, then turned around. "That's the only explanation."
"Zelena, don't. It's fine. Maybe it's for the best." Regina hated seeing the look of sympathy that her sister was currently sporting, mostly because she knew that it was exaggerated. Zelena didn't feel that badly when bad things happened to others. She may be a better person now, but she was still Zelena. "I'm going to go for a shower." Regina said. "I've been wearing the same clothes for twenty-four hours, I feel disgusting."
Regina didn't wait for her sister to reply. She walked out of the room, too fed up to deal with talking to Zelena.
How did the potion not work? It didn't make sense. It should have worked, and it certainly felt like it was doing something when the light had shined from Regina. In fact, it still felt like it had done something, because Regina didn't feel that same pain that she had felt for such a long time. She was thinking about Robin, and she was thinking about the fact that everyone else in Storybrooke had someone apart from her, and of course that hurt to think about, but it wasn't a soul-crushing pain anymore. Something was definitely different.
Not to mention the empty feeling in Regina's chest. It was as if a part of her anatomy had been removed, leaving a gaping hole inside of her. The potion had definitely done something, just not what she had intended.
'The person that you are calling is currently unavailable. Please call again at another time, or leave a message after-'
Emma clicked 'end call' and threw her phone onto the couch, beginning to pace in front of it. Regina wasn't answering her calls, and hadn't been all morning. She had disappeared from Granny's last night, without saying anything to anyone, not even Henry, and Emma hadn't seen or heard from her since. She was worried. What if something had happened to her? What if she'd been involved in some sort of accident? What if she was seriously injured? Or even dead?
"There you are," Killian's voice came from the doorway to Emma's living room. "When I woke up alone, I thought you'd done a runner."
"This is my house." Emma reminded him.
"Soon to be ours."
Emma rolled her eyes and carried on pacing. Killian wanted to move in, but he hadn't even checked to see if it was OK with Emma, (it wasn't, by the way). At some point, Emma was going to have to tell him. But that time wasn't right now.
Killian walked further into the room, collapsing onto the couch and rubbing his head with his good hand. He was wearing some sweatpants, but no t-shirt or socks. When he put his bare feet on Emma's coffee table, the blonde wrinkled her nose but didn't say anything. "I think I had too much rum last night."
"Seeing as I had to practically carry you home, I'd say that you're correct." Emma responded.
Killian laughed, despite Emma's lack of amusement. "It was a good night though."
"Hmm." Emma said absently.
Honestly, it wasn't. Killian had been glued to her side, drinking too much and being too loud. Every time she tried to escape him, be would be back again, with another bottle of rum in hand. Maybe that was why Emma didn't see Regina leave.
"Swan, would you stop pacing? You're making me dizzy." Killian said, though his eyes were closed anyway.
Emma rolled her eyes at him and made no move to stop. "I'm pacing because I'm worried." She informed her boyfriend. "Regina has disappeared and she isn't answering her phone."
"So?" Killian said with a lack of interest.
Emma looked at him in disbelief, although his eyes were still closed so he couldn't see it. "What do you mean, 'So?'? Something could have happened to her!"
"She's a big girl, love, I think she can take care of herself." He said with a chuckle. "Actually, scrap that, she's the former Evil Queen, I think she can take care of herself."
"Even former Evil Queens get into accidents, Killian." Emma reminded him. "Maybe I should go to the mansion." She said thoughtfully.
"Why would you do that?"
"To see if she's there." Emma said, as if it were obvious. She picked up her phone, which was next to Killian, then grabbed her keys from the coffee table.
"Wait a second. Aren't you going to take care of your hungover boyfriend?" Killian asked, sitting up and looking at Emma expectantly.
"You're a big boy, Killian. I think you can take care of yourself." Emma retorted, making the man roll his eyes.
"You're seriously choosing Regina over me?" Killian asked in disbelief. "I'm your boyfriend. Shouldn't you care more about my well-being?"
"You're fine." Emma glanced around for her red leather jacket, but couldn't see it anywhere. She must have left it at Granny's.
"Regina probably is too."
"I don't like the word 'probably'." Emma stated, shrugging on a brown leather jacket instead. "I want to know that she definitely is."
"Seriously, Swan, it isn't normal how much you care about that woman."
Emma paused her movements to look at her boyfriend in disbelief. "Are you serious? It isn't normal to care about people?"
"That's not what I said."
"I don't care." Emma shook her head. "I'm going to check on Regina. I'll see you later."
After parking her bug in front of the mansion on Mifflin Street, Emma practically ran to the door. Her imagination was taking her on a wild ride, supplying her with all of the various things that could have happened to Regina.
Car accident. Murder. Kidnap. One-night stand. Overslept. But this was Storybrooke, which meant that anything was possible. Regina could have been eaten by a giant marshmallow for all Emma knew. Still, Emma was praying that Regina had simply gone home and slept. Maybe her phone had died and that's why she wasn't picking up. As long as Regina was OK, that's all that mattered.
As soon as Emma reached the door, she knocked three times, loudly. After waiting for a couple of seconds, impatience started eating away at her, and she knocked again. After another couple of seconds, she knocked again. This time, the door opened to reveal a very confused, but very safe, Regina.
"Regina, thank God you're OK." Emma said, relief washing over her. She had the strongest urge to hug the brunette, but they had never actually done that before, so she stopped herself. Instead, she walked past the other woman, inviting herself into the mansion. "After you pulled a Houdini and disappeared from Granny's, I thought that something had happened to you. I've been calling you all morning, but you didn't pick up." Emma turned around, seeing Regina still standing next to the open door, looking at her as if she were insane. "Did your phone die or something? And why did you leave Granny's without telling me? And why did you leave so early, anyway?"
"Um," Regina said, looking at her doorstep, where Emma had just been standing, then looking back to Emma with confusion written all over her face.
"What is it?" Emma asked. "I know that I didn't tell you that I was coming over," She said, thinking that that was the reason that Regina looked so perplexed. "But I couldn't get hold of you. As I said, you wouldn't answer your phone. I thought something bad had happened, so I had to come and check on you. You know, to make sure that you weren't the victim of some horrific monster. Let's face it, this is Storybrooke." Emma laughed at herself, but Regina was still looking at her in such a strange way that she was getting concerned. "Regina, would you please say something?"
Regina folded her arms across her chest, making herself look more powerful and confident. "I have two questions for you."
"Who the hell are you, and why are you in my house?"
A/N: Dun, dun, dunnnnn. Though I guess you all saw that coming, based on the summary. But I had to start somewhere, right?
This isn't going to be a huge fic; maybe four chapters or something. But, even though I have other stories on the go, this idea came to me and I had to write it.
Please let me know if you find this idea interesting, and whether you'll stick around for another chapter. :)