A/N: Another OUaT fic from me. This one is for borg_princess based on the prompt was "How the Evil Queen got Charming's Jacket," and is inspired by a behind the scenes Twitter photo of Ginnifer Goodwin's. Hope you enjoy it!
How the Evil Queen got Charming's Jacket
Mr. Gold's pawn shop was a veritable treasure trove of items.
When the Evil Queen cast the curse over the fairytale realms, if she was perfectly honest she hadn't known exactly what would happen.
She'd had a general idea of course. The Queen was no fool. She'd known that Fairytale, in its current incarnation at least, would be completely destroyed. She'd known that she'd send it, and all who lived within it, into another world, a whole other reality in fact. One where happy endings for the pure of heart were by no means assured.
A world where she would have control, power. Where everyone else would have to do her bidding.
A world where she could watch that miserable little Snow White eke out some kind of pathetic existence, not having any idea what she was missing.
It would be beautiful. The Queen had known it would be when she cast the curse.
What she hadn't known was exactly how the logistics of the transfer would work.
(Spells tended to be a little vague about the details, after all.)
Would fairytale just disappear in a puff of black smoke? Would everyone wake up in a strange place, all having a kind of amnesia? (All except herself, of course.) Would others be able to enter the new world? Would people age? Could they die? And what about material items? Surely the castles themselves wouldn't transfer over, but what about everything else? What about personal possessions?
At the time, she just hadn't known.
And now that the spell was cast, Regina still wasn't quite sure.
Oh, she understood how the town's inhabitants had reacted (waking up in new homes with a strange sort of selective amnesia had turned out to be correct). The castles obviously hadn't made the jump, but she wasn't sure about everything else.
It all seemed a little hit and miss.
Her father's crypt had been preserved, for example. As had the remnants of the dwarf mines, for some irritating reason. But the woods and cliffs surrounding the town weren't the same. Nor was the furniture in everyone's houses or their clothes.
Still, some possessions from the old world remained.
Just not with their original inhabitants.
Any remnant of fairytale had somehow found its way to Mr. Gold's pawn shop as inventory.
Regina didn't care. Most of it was trinkets anyway. And even if it wasn't, no one in the town remembered the significance of the items, so what did it matter? It was no threat to her, she decided. Not worth worrying about.
But for some reason she couldn't quite let it go. So she decided it would be wise to at least check out the store. Rumpelstiltskin had always been unpredictable, there was no reason to suppose that Gold would be any different. Regina needed to be prepared for that.
So she found herself walking in the door of the shop, less than a week after the completion of the spell.
She heard the familiar drawl before she saw him. "Madame Mayor," the man she'd formerly known as Rumpelstiltskin said. "To what to I owe this very great honour?"
Regina smiled to herself, enjoying the respect that always came with power. "Oh, now Mr. Gold, a simple visit from me is hardly cause for celebration."
Gold smiled, that sinister smile Regina remembered so well from the past, "Don't sell yourself short dear," he told her. "It's a rare day that you grace my shop with your presence, though I hope you won't object if I say that the two of us have always been... friendly."
Regina's smile turned tight. Rumpelstiltskin, or Gold, or whoever he was had always been a bit dangerous. He was another unknown in this curse of hers. She wasn't sure how much he did or didn't know. He wasn't supposed to know any more than anyone else. But things rarely went as they were supposed to where he was concerned. And that worried her. "Of course we're friends," she assured him. Whatever he was, she needed to keep him close, keep an eye on him. So she sent him her politest smile, "I've just been so busy lately, with council matters, you understand."
Gold smiled again. "Ah yes, the council does take up so much of your time. Nature of the job though, as they say. But don't let me disturb you, dear. Have a look around, see if there's anything that tickles your fancy. If there is, well, I'm sure we can work out some kind of deal."
The blood froze in Regina's veins for just a moment. Then she shook herself. She was done with deals. She had the power now. She shook her head. "No, no, I couldn't," she told him. "Even if I am the mayor, I'll pay for my purchase just like anyone else. Wouldn't want people to talk."
"As you like," Gold said easily. "I'll be in the back if you need me."
"Thank you," Regina said with a dismissive nod, already looking around the store. Some of the items she recognized, but most she didn't. Most were common household items, mobiles or teacups, lamps and dishes, sewing machines, and even a large (and rather ugly) windmill. Nothing really stood out to her, not even the two rather creepy looking dolls in the corner. Though she was sure they were all from the old realm. She wasn't sure why, but the air positively stank of something different. She had no idea why these items would have transferred over and not any others. Maybe it really was all just random.
She was considering whether she could politely leave without buying anything after her conversation with Gold, or if she'd better just buy a teacup for appearance's sake (and because it probably would be be a good idea to stay on Gold's good side, at least for the time being), when the wardrobe in the corner caught her eye.
Regina approached it warily, unsure what it was that drew her to it. She opened the door slowly.
She didn't know what exactly she'd been expecting, but she wasn't surprised by the contents. It was a wardrobe after all. To anyone else it would have looked like a series of various costumes dating to some nonspecific time in the past. But Regina knew better; these she definitely recognized, at least the style. They didn't worry her overly much either. She may have recognized them, but nobody else would.
Regina was about to close the door, when a flash of red at the end of the wardrobe caught her eye.
With a suddenly shaking hand, Regina pushed the rest of the clothes to the other side.
And there it was.
She remembered it well. She'd seen it on him, the man who'd nearly ruined everything. Regina took a moment to remind herself that the former Snow White had no idea who she was, and that her Prince Charming as she'd called him as a kind of sickening pet name, was currently laying on a bed in the hospital ward just feet from where the fool woman volunteered every week. Neither of them remembered a thing.
It was glorious.
In fact, the only memory of the Prince's identity was sitting on the hanger in front of Regina's eyes.
Prince James' jacket.
Regina removed it from the hanger, feeling the quality of the cloth, noticing the work that had gone into the details. No expense had been spared in its fashioning. The jacket really was a beautiful piece of work, literally fit for a king.
Because that is what he'd been after the marriage. King. He'd married a princess after all.
Snow White had always held the hearts of her people. They'd loved her far more than her stepmother. Regina had always known that. It was why she'd been afraid to simply dispatch Snow White herself, as easily and efficiently as possible. So when the events of the Queen's treachery had come to light, when the kingdom learned of Regina's many attempts on Snow's life along with the murder of her father, the kingdom had welcomed the little brat back with open arms. Especially since she brought with her the romance of a happily-ever-after with a neighbouring prince.
Then the two of them had taken Regina's kingdom from her.
The one she so richly deserved. The one she'd worked for, schemed and plotted, just ripped away. When she'd been so close.
Well, Regina had her own kingdom now.
And in it, they were all her subjects.
She fingered the sleeve of the jacket, glancing down at her own black pantsuit. She couldn't say she was all that upset by her altered wardrobe. Black capes may have been dramatic and intimidating, but they could become rather unwieldy. Her suits were more practical, and commanded respect in their own way.
Still, she found she missed the awe-inspiring clothing of her past life.
And this jacket, even if she couldn't ever wear it...
"Beautiful piece of work, isn't it?" Mr. Gold said silkily, suddenly materializing over her left shoulder.
Regina gave a shaky laugh, then she remembered herself. She straightened her spine. "Yes," she said, her tone clipped. "It is." After a moment she softened, "I know this is probably going to sound a little foolish, it's a men's jacket after all, but I might take this."
Gold took the hanger from her gently. Regina nearly flinched at his touch. "The things we want are never foolish dear, not to ourselves at least," he told her. "It's the world that sometimes judges us. Why shouldn't you have what you like? If you don't take it, someone else will."
Gold paused almost imperceptibly, and Regina's heart gave a painful thud. But he couldn't possibly know anything, could he?
Gold smiled slowly at her. "I'll just go ring this up for you," he said softly. "It really is a lovely choice."
"Thank you," Regina said awkwardly, once again distracted by the worry that Gold knew more than he was letting on. Far more.
Moments later, and after an awkward goodbye to Mr. Gold, Regina was relieved to be back out on the streets of Storybrooke walking briskly to her home. She didn't open the garment bag again until she was back in her own bedroom. Only then did she let herself relax.
She slid the coat out of the bag, and couldn't resist slipping it on.
It really was the coat of a King, a ruler. The coat of someone affluent, and in charge.
James may once have had power over the land, may have been beloved by his people, loved his Queen, and ruled with her. He may have stolen Regina's kingdom from her, all the while wearing this very coat.
But all that was over now.
Now Regina'd taken it all from him. Now she'd retaken what was rightfully hers.
She'd taken everything.
It was her turn to have all the power, the control.
And she wasn't ever giving it back. Not this time.
Regina smiled to herself in the mirror, enjoying the way the coat looked. She'd been born to rule.
And now she even had the wardrobe for it.