Like Son Like Mother

So it finally happened; the long awaited resistance. Regina had learned ages ago that there would always come a time when the child would oppose its parents. It had followed her bloodline like a curse. So when Henry openly accused her of killing Graham and called her evil and a wicked witch over and over again, it was less of a surprise and more of a relief that she didn't have to be afraid and cling to every passing glimmer of hope any longer. He asked her why and she couldn't find the strength to respond.

It was when the boy yelled at the top of his lungs "Why don't you just kill me like everybody else, now that I'm in your way?" and stormed upstairs sobbing that he broke her heart. Worst of all was knowing he was right.

The mayor, who was always ready for everything, obviously wasn't ready for this. And she was ready for a Sheriff - how ironic - to appear in the doorway of the dining room even less.

Regina quickly turned away, terrified, staring at the glass of blood red wine in her hand intently. She had been crying like she hadn't in whole decades just seconds prior and it struck her speechless to have to put up the walls again so quickly and so abruptly after just about half an hour of freedom. "How did you get inside?" she finally asked when she was certain her voice could handle the sentence with its trademark disdainful bitterness without breaking.

"Henry let me in," Emma replied, staring awkwardly at the door because she didn't dare come any closer. She entered just in time to see the mayor sitting at the table with an unstoppable flow of tears streaming down her face, which was unlike anything she would ever have expected. Almost as if she were a different person. A person Emma didn't know. And she was downright terrible at this, terrible at doing anything for people she didn't know. She would stand by the few friends she had to the bitter end, yes, but not strangers. Hell, she would cover for an enemy sooner if there was a reason. She trusted strangers even less than they trusted Emma. Drowning the initial instinct to turn on her heel and run at the back of her brain, Emma gulped down a lump in her throat. "He snuck out and came looking for me."

"He was outside? At this hour? With you?" Regina yelled angrily and stood up, already in banter mode. Now that was a glimpse of someone Emma knew, the familiar fire blazing in her eyes, but the image became distorted in the most unnatural of ways when the flame clashed with salty waters.

Emma raised her arms as if to show she was weaponless and meant no harm, but didn't back off. "He was worried, and scared. Said you two fought. He could hear you crying."

"Well, I'll be quieter from now on so that he can sleep undisturbed," Regina replied bluntly and turned away once again, clearly dismissing Emma.

"What in the world did he say to you?" Emma asked in disbelief at the sight in front of her.

'Why don't you just kill me like everybody else?' Regina didn't realize she was crying again until her head started to spin and she had to lean against the wall. It didn't help much though, and since all conscious thought was directed at the pain behind those words at the moment, soon enough she stopped caring even about standing upright and fell to her knees to the sound of a frightened "Regina!" coming from behind her.

"Go ahead. Technically, you won't be taking him. I never had him in the first place."

Whatever it was, it must have been something radical and Emma wasn't sure she wanted to know. Thanks to Henry - not that she was blaming him, or thanking him for that matter - Regina was lying in a crumpled heap on the floor. A tiny part of her saw it as an accomplishment, because just the combination of words alone would have normally been enough for the Earth to spontaneously combust because it wouldn't be able to bear the nonsense. The rest of Emma didn't care anymore. Regina might have been the Evil Queen, but Emma didn't care. She had attacked her in various ways time and again, but Emma didn't care. She had tried to keep Emma apart from her son, but seeing her like this, nothing short of heartbroken, Emma just didn't care anymore. Because good had to play fair.

Instead, Regina noticed something red in her blurry vision, and then it was moving closer and Emma's arms were on her back, and then she was resting her head on Emma Swan's shoulder, sobbing quietly, and never wanted to get back up again.

"For the billionth time, I'm not taking him anywhere. He's sorry, and he didn't mean it. He told me as much," Emma whispered, rubbing Regina's back to try and soothe the dragon.

"He did?" Regina looked up at her with such hope in her eyes that yet again, it seemed like she was someone entirely different, and the thought made Emma slightly uncomfortable. Like this, Regina was someone young. Someone naïve and foolish, maybe. Someone unscarred.

"He did," Emma said and watched Regina beam like fireworks in the night for a second before pulling her into another hug. It was strangely comforting to see her in this state, even though she knew nothing would change between them. Even though in a few moments, she would be leaving back to Mary's with a soaked jacket and a sleepless night to look forward to.

Even though he hadn't.