Paint dribbled down the side of the car as she sprayed the final letter.

The 'P' was a bit wobbly, but it would do her just fine. A bright red. Like the blood of her father—no, rather…like the gleaming red skin of her apples, tart and yet sweet at once. She made for home with the can a comfortable weight in her purse.

Regina set the spray paint back into her drawer, careful not to disturb Henry's sleep. She checked in on him, as she always did when she got home.

The child clutched the sheets up to his chin in a way that made it clear to Regina that Henry was having a nightmare.

Brows furrowing, she gently drew down the covers away from his face and smoothed his sweaty hair back from his forehead. Turning away, she moved into the privacy of her bedroom where an angry tear fell, unbidden.

Sometimes, as she lay in bed at night on the hazy border of wakefulness and nothingness she doubted her actions in a previous life and now.

Regina grasped the linens tightly until her knuckles went white. She had only to think of Snow—Mary Margaret's—face, and bile rose up into her throat and destroyed all insecurities.

Snow had always been the catalyst for all her troubles, and always would be. There was no changing that. That's a story for you. Written in goddamn stone.

Exhaling deeply, Regina reluctantly shut her eyes. She would be joining Henry in sweet dreams tonight.