Regina walked home in a haze. Her lip tingling where that cow had punched her was the only way she had of knowing she wasn't on some sort of opiate. She knew, of course, that Graham's heart was behind her, that he'd been within minutes of finding her secret, that he'd rejected her for Emma no matter how much he denied it, because even though this world was where she could be happy, Emma wouldn't get with the program and she got everything Regina wanted. I've killed men for less, she thought, although the exact memory eluded her. Nonetheless, she was sure she had. Evil Queen, of course. That's what they called her.

Really, killing Graham would be his own fault. She'd warned him, warned Emma, given them every chance to get onboard. They'd be happy that way. Not as happy as her, of course, but she deserved it more, the way she'd suffered. She'd even invited that... hippie into her bed. Now he and Emma were probably being disgustingly cloy together, bandaging each others' wounds and making googoo eyes with their raw, burning, Hallmark card sexuality. It'd served them right if she crushed Graham's heart under her heel, hopefully killing him right on top of Emma and giving her a neurosis in the process. It'd serve her right, the slut.

Regina was just about to turn her car around (having climbed in and keyed the ignition in a vengeful haze) when she saw that damned wolf of his. Hadn't she let Graham keep his ridiculous spirit guide or whatever it was back in the kingdom? And of course, he'd still never made the first move. There she was, with the finest silks money could buy and a little (very little) magic in the chest area and he couldn't be a goddamn alpha male to save his life. She had to imply he was her consort just to save face, when she could've made him her king. Honestly, her romance with Maleficient was steamier, and she wasn't even a lesbian. Just debauched, as any good evil queen should be.

All these past offenses flashed through Regina's mind in an instance. The wolf was in the middle of the road, the other lane to be precise. With a single "Ha!" of would-be maniacal laughter, Regina jerked the wheel to the side. Her car swerved into the nonexistent oncoming traffic, but the wolf was quicker. It bounded out of the way and Regina found her tires skidding with the sudden motion anyway, shrieking like a disappointed chorus. She spun the wheel back toward her lane, then remembered the brakes, and somehow all of her impeccable driving skills sent the car into a skid. Thankfully, she didn't go off-road-the town's tow-truck operator was a witch, and she didn't want to spend all night going over the gingerbread house collection.

But her back tires did plow through the gravel on the side of the road, eventually making a loud crack just as the car came to a stop, one Regina couldn't place. She looked over her shoulder and saw the Welcome to Storybrooke sign-which she had just replaced-wobbling, teetering, falling.

Numbly putting the car in Park, Regina got out of the car. She walked around to the back of it. The sign was down and out. The damage, a long crack right through the middle, had been concealed by the backseat. Even if she managed to get the sign upright again, it would probably split apart. What an apt fucking metaphor. Lolling up at the night sky like Graham's stupid, flea-ridden, un-house-trained, worse-than-a-cat-in-every-conceivable-way wolf, Regina spat out the longest string of curses she had ever uttered in her adult life, a majority of them centering on Emma, her parentage, and her parenting skills (which consisted of laying her eggs in someone else's loving, supportive, financially stable nest and then coming back later to reclaim her brood without so much as a babysitting tip, like that bird Regina couldn't remember the name of. The asshole one).

"Uh, Madam Mayor? Is everything alright?"

It was Archie, he of the newfound backbone. Driving a Volvo. Stopped in the road like the picture of concern, as if he hadn't probably already taken a picture to e-mail to Emma. Probably with a caption like 'herp derp' or 'i have a stupid' and why did she even let the Internet into her perfect world? It was full of perverts and men pretending to be women. If she ever did this again, she was putting her world in the 1950s. And adopting a daughter.

Regina looked at Archie for another half-second, thinking of baby girl names, then gave him the finger. "Screw you, cricket!"

He drove away, rolling the window up.

Regina spent an almost-cathartic minute stomping on the sign, only stopping when one of her heels snapped. She was becoming Emma. That was it. A magic spell had been cast, probably by that little dip Mr. Gold, and now Emma was claiming her life. She was becoming a successful, independent, strong woman in charge of her sexuality, and Regina was becoming a loser with a GED. That was the only explanation. That was why they'd both destroyed the sign (which Regina had never liked anyway). Well, it wouldn't work. Gathering herself, Regina straightened her clothes, slid back behind the wheel of her car, and drove home.

Let Emma have Graham. He was literally as emotionally unavailable as a man could be (the thought that this was Regina's fault for having his heart in a box occurred to her, but she consoled herself that she would've given it back if she wasn't sure he would've immediately turned around and stuffed it in Emma's panties. Or however that metaphor went). Oh, and let Emma prance around out in the open, fucking Graham, who was her boss, after all. Let her see how moralistic the average ex-fairy tale could be. Pretty soon it'd get around that Emma Swan spread like cream cheese, and then what court would give her Henry? Yes, this was all coming together!

Arriving in her driveway just in time for her rear bumper to fall off, along with a taillight, (Regina would order Henry to clean it up. That was one of the joys of having kids, after all. Free labor), Regina walked her crisply-in-charge-of-the-world walk to her front door, displaying to her audience of none that she was still the Mayor and she was still a BAMF (as the stupid internet put it) and she certainly hadn't been dumped for some bottle-blonde trash. No, no killing. She'd let the two lovebirds suffer instead, with their meaningless sex and their... stupid faces!

Regina decided a glass of white wine was called for, to reward herself for her saint-like behavior (not very evil queenish, she knew) and her masterful manipulation of the situation to screw her ex-boyfriend and his whore lover (much more evil queenish).

Halfway through the second bottle, the doorbell rang. "Henry, get the door!" Regina shouted, then remembered he was in bed. Was he really that tired out by putting one little bumper in the trash? Probably just faking it to get out of more work. Probably learned that from Emma. In no time at all, he'd start wearing tanktops and flaunting his little boy cleavage to get what he wanted, just like mommy.

Standing-and wobbling a little before remembering that she was a strong, assertive woman and could handle her liquor like some kind of saint of drinking-Regina glided her way to the front door, with all the course corrections a hang glider might get from thermal updrafts and trying to avoid flying into a mountain. She opened it, after puzzling out how to work the doorknob with her brilliant, computer-like mind.

Graham. And his stupid, can't-figure-out-how-to-work-a-razor-because-of-stupidity face.

"Regina, Archie called about you being in a wreck, are you alright...? Is this a bad time?"

She stabbed her finger into his chest. "It was a pity fuck. They were all pity fucks."

Slamming the door in his face, she went to congratulate her own stylish, Hepburn-esque handling of the situation with some red wine, which had to be feeling neglected by then. She might've erred with the kid, the sheriff, and the internet, but getting a house with a wine cellar was a perfect display of the kind of criminal genius that made her such a dangerous, completely-justified villain.


It might've pleased Regina to know that Emma was thinking of her, in a roundabout way. A bottle of beer in hand to counter Mary Margaret's orange juice, Emma was just relating her tale of woe: how Graham had caught cute-crazy-person from Henry, how she'd gotten in the middle of a break-up, then punched the mayor, then had a Moment with Graham, then he'd run off because Regina had called. It was like high school all over again.

Alright, Graham hadn't exactly run off because he'd gotten a sext from the mayor (as if she'd know how to spell a sexy word). But he'd gotten the call from Archie and decided both the Moment and his earth-shattering realization could be put on hold. So Emma trudged home to drown her sorrows and face facts-anyone interested in her was either a criminal, possibly delusional, or a lesbian.

A good night's sleep, contrary to M&M's advice, didn't help so much. She was willing to redo the experiment by staying in bed all day, but her phone rang. If it was Graham, she would-it wasn't Graham.

"I'm not in the mood for Operation Cobra, kid," she told Henry.

"It's not that. Regina's sick or something. And there's no one to take me to school. And you ask Graham about his other life, he believes-"

"I'm coming over," Emma said, throwing on clothes, visions of "I only hit her once, your honor, how was I supposed to know she had a concussion?" dancing in her head.

Thankfully, ensembles were easy when you only owned one jacket.


Emma had time to think about her panicked response to Regina's possible brain damage on the way over. It was a little odd. Regina would've assumed that Emma would have a little dance for the Mayor being in any sort of pain, and she was right. It was pretty much just the moonwalk, but Emma was proud of being able to do that and looked for opportunities to show it off. The thing was, now that the Mayor actually was hurt, Emma felt like she was going to pant her lungs out. She hadn't felt this queasy since Henry had gotten trapped in that mine. Maybe it was because she was such a good person that even the thought of her enemy in distress got her het up.

Yeah, right. If she'd gotten an e-mail saying that Jimmy Corrigan from sixth grade had gotten AIDS, she'd have gone off and bought the nearest bar a round on the house. Bastard needed to learn not to go around spreading lies about girls and what sort of underwear they preferred.

Arriving at the Mayor's (and able to take some satisfaction in Regina's car's suffering, if not that of the woman herself), Emma found Henry sitting on the front step, slaughtering Nazis ogres or whatever it was you did on a Nintendo DS. Emma had fallen out with videogames somewhere around Bubsy the Cat. "Your mom's inside?"

"Yeah. She said my game was giving her a headache. Are you taking me to school?"

"Later, kid." Emma pushed her way into the house, closing the door behind her. If Regina had died, she didn't want Henry to see her corpse. Trauma like that made people grow up to be Batman or whatever. And why was she thinking about Regina dead? Get a hold of yourself, Swan.

The good news was, Regina was still alive. The bad news was the four empty champagne bottles by the couch where she was sleeping. Thankfully, at least one of them had emptied into the carpet instead of Regina's mouth.

"Her honor, the Mayor."

One eye opened, pupil swimming in a morass of veiny red. "Hi slut," Regina said, and held a cushion over her head.

Emma, automatically tidying up, picked up the wine bottles. "No more drinking, alright? I'll take Henry to school. You just lie there and—ah hell." Going to the kitchen, Emma dropped the bottles in the recycle bin and summoned a tall glass of water from the tap. When she brought it to Regina, the mayor was at third base with her cushion. "To think, all those geese gave their feathers so you'd have a place to store your drool." She set the water down by Regina's dangling hand. "Drink that. It'll help with the hangover. Voice of experience here."

"Sstop stealin' my life," Regina slurred at her, or possibly the cushion.


By the time Emma had found Henry's school and dealt with a domestic disturbance call at Belle's ("My love will change him!"), the vindictive thrill of seeing Mayor Perfect three sheets to the wind had turned back into concern. What if Regina died of alcohol poisoning? Your honor, I just gave her a glass of water. Yes, my fingerprints were on the fatal wine bottles, but only because I was trying to dispose of the evidence.

She got back to stately Mills manor just in time for the hangover. Regina was on her laptop, typing, wincing at the noise of the keyboard, and typing some more. "What are you doing out of bed?" Emma pitched her voice to turn it, as much as possible, into an insult instead of a concern.

"Haven't you heard, deputy? No rest for the wicked stepmother." Regina's inbox pinged and she glared at her computer with murderous intent. "Being mayor isn't just cutting things with really big scissors. I have responsibilities."

"Yeah, without you, who will coordinate the bail-out for Suzy Miller's lemonade stand?" Emma shut the laptop, trying not to enjoy the way Regina groaned at the sound. "Go sleep it off. Storybrooke will get by without you."

Regina forced her laptop open, Emma snatching her fingers back. "This is my town. I'm not telling them I drank three bottles of wine last night and need a sick day."

"Four bottles."

"I spilled one."

"Fine," Emma spun the laptop around, e-mailed 'does anyone know what an FAT32 error is?' to her contact list, and turned the power off. "There. Computer trouble. Mayoral enough for you?"

"You're enjoying this, aren't you?"

"If I were enjoying this, don't you think I would open the blinds?" Emma ushered Regina to the nearest love seat in a way only vaguely reminiscent of a perp walk. "Look," she said, backing away as if she'd pulled a thorn from a lion's paw and now wanted to avoid being mauled to death. She moved to sit down in Regina's vacant chair. "This isn't easy for me to say, so promise you won't interrupt until I'm done?"

"Certainly. Out of my chair."

Emma sat on Regina's desk instead. "I owe you an apology."

Regina was actually more stunned than when Emma had punched her. "We're in agreement," she stammered.

Emma wagged a finger. No interruptions. "I'm used to dealing with methheads and repeat offenders, not-women. Looking back, I haven't done so awesome."

Regina said nothing, in accord with the rules, but she did open her mouth and close it again so Emma could imagine her response.

"We got into a fistfight," Emma said, unamused. "Can you imagine if Henry had seen that? That's how you grow up to be on Criminal Minds."

Regina stared at her. This was a trick. Some kind of trick. "So what are you proposing?"

Emma stood again, shuffling her feet. "Look, you're not the worst mom in the world. I've been in the system, I've met the leading candidates. You're pretty good, actually. You obviously care, it's just maybe I got the wrong idea when I first got here. I asked you if you loved Henry and you... had to think about it."

Regina shut her long-suffering eyes. "I would very much like to interrupt."

"Thank you for not." Emma set her feet firmly. "I was wrong. So, let's start over. I'll stop shooting at you and you stop shooting at me. Ceasefire."

"That sounds nice," Regina said noncommittally.

"And about the Graham thing..."

Regina shot her a warning look so intense it actually triggered her own hangover. She held a hand to her head.

"I don't know what's going on with you two. But I promise to stand clear while you work out whatever you're working out. There's nothing going on between us."

He's mine! Regina bit her lip immediately, embarrassed at the thought. Stupid. Stupid, obvious, transparent, insulting trick. "And why would you be so kind to me?"

"Do I need a reason?" Emma halfway shrugged. "And I'm sorry for what I said in the graveyard. I had no right to say those things to you. I just... do stupid stuff when I'm trying to hurt someone."

Regina was too tired for this. Her head was too big, and this was too stupid for her to deal with. She'd sort out Emma's game later. For now, she'd use this to her advantage.

"Alright, friend. How about some Aspirin and a cup of hot coffee to wash it down?"

Emma nodded smartly. "Yes ma'am, Mayor Mills." And she actually went off and got it. The idiot must've been a real moron to think she'd fall for that.