Thunder without Sound

When the time came to cast the blame, people were quick to point their fingers. In a way, it seemed, Regina had won much more than she lost. Even though all happy endings were returned to their respective owners and peace was restored in Storybrooke, it was always Regina. The topic of 90% of all conversations was Regina. What's missing? Something Regina stole. Why did this happen to you? Because of Regina. Who told you that? Regina, before. In a land in turmoil of rapid, bizarre changes, one thing was certain and one thing only - Regina would never be forgotten. What more was there for her to wish for?

Yes, yes, there was something. There was one person who, given enough time, could forget. Whom she hadn't marked as deeply as she would have wanted to with her pain. It was her privilege only and not only did it not seem fair to Regina; it didn't seem fair to anyone, how Emma was free of their burdens, but obviously no one would ever mention anything with her being their savior.

The Queen was doing everyone a great favor when she, as she was led back to the town hall in handcuffs by the Sheriff she had so foolishly let be elected in the first place, broke free from Emma's grip and turned to face her.

They both knew very well Regina wouldn't be able to run far, so Emma didn't rush to take a hold of her again. Rather, she was curious what was going on in the Queen's head this time.

"Miss Swan."

Crickets chirped in the empty street surrounded by darkness.

"Madam Mayor."

Everyone was already at the hall, waiting for the presentation and hoping for an execution, which gave the two enough time for one last very private conversation. Or at least they thought it to be, neither noticing Snow White watching over her daughter from the shadows on the other side of the road.

It was comforting to both that the two had come to a silent mutual agreement to keep their Storybrooke titles, as a remembrance of a life they once knew and the only one they wanted to remember.

"I took your parents, I took your son, I took your life, I took your man — yet you always seem to recuperate," Regina said, tilting her head to the side in confusion.

Deciding to take that as a compliment, Emma replied "Thanks. You're not too easy to silence yourself." She was initially going for 'kill' or 'put down' or 'get rid of' but all of these got choked in her throat. Silence was good enough a euphemism.

Regina stepped closer to her until their faces were barely inches apart, straightening on her heels in the most regal way possible. Their eyes met and somewhere, a thunder without sound hit Emma's heart full force. The crickets stopped chattering and the whole world fell into just that - silence. "I know the reason," the Queen whispered hauntingly before capturing the blonde's lips with her own.

Emma couldn't move; she couldn't do anything, really. Perhaps it was some kind of a spell that froze her in place, hands almost touching Regina's blazer but never quite reaching her, instead hovering in the air. Luckily for her, Regina was still handcuffed, or else there was no doubt her hands would already be glued to the back of Emma's neck. There it was again, the thunder in her heart, stronger this time as Regina tasted the younger woman, marking her in her own twisted way.

And then a single tear escaped Emma's eye and somehow it happened; she kissed her back. But she barely had time to press her lips to Regina's on her own accord before the Mayor pulled away, smirking as devilishly as ever.

"And now I'm taking it from you too."

Utterly speechless, Emma simply stood there and watched as Regina resumed their journey on her own, walking towards her more than probable death, welcoming its serenity, maybe, after decades of chaos. And the thunder skulked behind her, carrying stolen bits of Emma's heart that would die just as easily in their basket.

Snow White covered her mouth with her hand to prevent herself from screaming something - anything - preferably rotten and terrible and threatening, at the woman who so shamelessly abused her daughter's weakness to add one more heart to her collection. The next time she looked at Emma, when Regina was out of sight - forever - her eyes found her staring right back at her mother, tears streaming down her face and coloring the road a darker shade of black. They held each other's gaze, scared to look anywhere else.

Emma closed her eyes, giving in to a helpless sob.

A gunshot could be heard, and then there was a thunder without sound.