A/N: This is more or less just an experiment AKA me trying to ward off my writer's block with something I haven't done before - attempting to write in 1st person plural even if the characters I'm referring to are not necessarily doing the same things (or are they?). I must say it was fun while it lasted, very much. Still, regular is regular for a reason.
Spoilers for 1x07 The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter and a subtle speck of True North, lines so shamelessly and obviously stolen for the sake of me fooling around with a random scene playing out in my head; and English is not my first language.
Neither of us planned to end up here, and to be honest, the other was the least of our concerns. Nonetheless, even if our judgment has become clouded by a veil of denial, we do have a lot in common. For one thing, we were both seeking refuge.
"None of this happened until you got here."
We were running away tonight – either from the past or from loneliness, perhaps both. The two seem to overlap lately.
"I'm starting to think the problem isn't with me, but with you." Our eyes lock.
We found ourselves before the grave of Henry Mills Sr., wearing the same shocked expressions and holding the same frozen hearts in our chests. All chances of us getting the time we wanted – needed – to think were lost in that very moment.
"Henry came and found me. Graham kissed me. Maybe, Madam Mayor, you need to take a good hard look in the mirror and ask yourself why that is."
We tense up and our fists clench, much like a wrestler's before a match. Even the big talk is included in our little quarrel. Then again, it always is.
"Why is everyone running away from you?"
Papers scatter and fly around us in circles, slowly descending and blending with the leaves as we lunge at each other and fight with more ferocity than the two caged, brawling lionesses we might as well be; locked up in an impenetrable prison with no way out, hiding in cells within said prison within a prison named fate. We were bound to try to eat each other alive sooner or later because imprisoned minds lose what they cherish most – their sanity.
We throw punches and we kick and we scratch, clawing at one another until there's blood on our cheeks and dirt underneath our nails. A file lies open on the ground, saying Still no leads on deadbeat parents – Baby Emma remanded to foster system. By now that's the only legible thing as all the others are torn apart and turning to dust and it only spurs us on. Panting, we remain relentless, pacing around in circles during the few moments of rest we allow ourselves to have. Though the pain should have worn us out by now, we are too blinded by rage to realize how much damage we've caused, and we run into each other clenched fist-first again. We hate one another.
Until we realize. Well, maybe 'we' is not the appropriate term to use here.
"Is this all you can feel?"
It's a whisper, a mere, frightened whisper accompanied by a disbelieving shake of the head as if this being all one can feel were the tough guy equivalent of seeing a ghost walk through your bedroom wall. We stop, breathless, as it dawns on us that it's just the two of us among trees and columns cut out of twenty eight years old journals. Our knees refuse to listen and we're both awfully close to crumbling under the sheer force of our weight and the weight of the burden on our shoulders.
"You're so used to taking you've forgotten how to receive," we're both trying to catch our breath, "And you're desperate enough to go as far as to take pain from me when you can't figure out how to steal anything else of mine."
We can't believe our own ears. Something must have gone terribly wrong when we go from Rambo to James Wilson within seconds. Just like that, all that remains is a voice full of anger and shameful pity. It's breaking us.
"Look, Regina, you're lonely and full of regret, I get it; but whatever it is you're looking to find, I can tell you one thing – You're not getting it with me. I'm done being your puppet."
Just as unexpectedly as we found each other, we get lost one more time.
And again the act of god Emma would call something along the lines of "plans going all the way to hell" happens and Regina is standing in front of a forest green door. The little metal plate is quite misleading, she thinks when the words Mary Margaret fade away and the one emerging from behind the door is most certainly not Mary Margaret. Not even close. Not that she minds; on the contrary, the reason for this surprise visit has nothing to do with someone's incompetency as a teacher or someone else's well inherited skill at stealing.
The blonde's eyebrow rises in question when she spots not one, but two middle-sized cups in the hands of the woman who stomped all over what was left of her past only several hours ago, one of which Regina is handing her without a word.
"Free coffee? I must have been good this year," she snorts, taking the cup in both bruised hands. She tells herself it's because coffee is warm and the house is not, even though her tank top disagrees. "Why the sudden change of heart? Is it poisoned?" she pretends to flinch, but she's never been a very good actress. She prefers a more hands-on approach, so to speak. She giggles and then winces, bringing her other hand up to cover her split lip with a quiet mutter of sonovabitch.
"Miss Swan, do me a favor and stop abusing this opportunity to embarrass me further."
"Or else you'll make me wish my life was merely a living hell?"
Sometimes the past is better off being just the past. While the word would have come off a threat or a downright menace at any other time, today, Regina Mills smiles – impeccably well dressed and standing proud as always even after yesterday's, ahem, slight dispute – and receives a smile in return.
We might be getting somewhere.