Sleep Well, My Angel

Watching you sleep for so long

Knowing that I can't turn the rain into sun

Anymore

You've been here since the very beginning. You've seen your new kingdom rise from nothing but ash-covered grass to Himalayan heights under your hand. Ever since your love helped shape every sign, every door, every ornate window sill and every strand of hair, you've lived here, looking after your own personal realm like you did after your child. Standing in the dust of where you once belonged, you remember your first experience here. Twenty eight years ago the cursed words died on your lips and your eyes stayed closed for hours as you reminisced about the life of a woman you had just met but were sure you would befriend quickly. When you were done, you awoke to find yourself holding a strange multi-colored device in your hand. After careful observation, you turned on the TV.

I've given you all that I am

Now I stand here too scared to hold your hand

Then came the uprising. People started to remember the building stones you used to construct this magnificent palace and everyone's daggers pointed towards you, leaving no stone unturned.

"You're her?" you choked, absolutely unable to comprehend how something so innocent and pure in comparison could become a knife stuck in your chest, unwilling to be pulled out. Bound and helpless, you watched her cut the rope and come to your rescue.

"I meant to tell you—"

"You meant to tell me," you nodded, processing the information. "I see. Before or after you had my head on a silver platter?"

Afraid you might wake to see

The monster that had to leave

"I made a mistake."

"You've made a lot of mistakes, Miss Swan."

In the end, ultimately, it is you who has brought purging chaos to this land. It seems you always end up being whatever your kingdom needs you to be; at first you were a maiden, fair and just, to be taken and made a mother. So you became the wife, the one whom people could praise for bringing happiness to the castle. Then you became the queen, the ruler, the one for whom others would shun their differences and join forces. A humorless smirk crosses your face as you change yet again, to be the pariah to kill so that the history they needed then can be undone.

'Cause you see the shelter as the storm

Holding wind to keep you warm

He was right about one thing; perception is everything. Especially in court while being judged. The garden you cherished and cultivated your whole life had, unbeknownst to you, been trapped in a glass case with flesh-eating flora, yet you kept watering and loving every flower, every apple tree in your naivety, hoping it would repay you later and let you be not what you need to be but what you are.

You were everything to me

This is why I have to leave

Even after the curse, you find yourself unable to embrace freedom.

So sleep well, my angel

Gripping her wrist, you rush and usher her to the only place you know where the two of you will be safe. A plan forms in your head at such pace you can do nothing to stop it because stepping in the way would mean getting run over by a weight you can't hold.

Under the ash and the lies

Something beautiful once here now dies

The unavoidable feeling of betrayal has no chance when you look upon her emerald eyes. Even after she's double-crossed both sides, even when she's cost you more than you could ever count, even when Storybrooke has become a scorched battleground, the spark shines brighter than it ever has, much to your increasing confusion.

And the tears burn my eyes

As you sit there all alone

I just want to come home

"Emma," you start, your hands on her jacket-clad shoulders, unsure of what to say or that whether it won't be too much so that she might predict your intention. There's paranoid fear at the back of your mind, like a spider in the shadows, whispering that she knows and she won't be pulled along with you again.

She never once looks away, urging you to go on. Say what's on your mind. This is the last time you speak with her, so you'd better make it worth every second of stalling an apocalypse.

This is the last time you speak with her.

"Remember that I love you," you blurt out and kiss her before she can recoil. It tastes like all first times; of promises and adrenalin and the distinct flavor of cinnamon. As one curse is finally truly breaking, you feel her go limp in your arms and a piece of you you never thought would return finds its rightful place in your chest. Shame it must vanish only seconds after.

I'm sorry

"Regina, why is Mom still passed out?"

It's the first time he called you anything other than mom, and the first time he let her bear that title in front of you. Another inch of your heart is chipped away.

I'm sorry

"What did you do to her? What did you do?"

His tiny hands are trying to shake and beat sense into you, but the only reaction you give is stand there, nothing but pity in your gaze, knowing you cannot tell him the reasoning behind this, knowing he would never understand. Knowing his mom will never wake up.

I'm sorry

A salty stream runs down his reddened cheeks as you kneel in front of him, take his hands in yours and try, against your better judgement, to explain, telling him you've done this to ensure his safety and that there was no other way as long as the town stands divided. The boy breaks free from your grip and his next action is almost too fast. Crying. A sting in your hand as you try to wipe the tears away. Force. Impact. A jolt to the side and a cotton pink outline of a palm on your face.

"You're evil!"

Numbness.

I'm sorry

You watch the lamb legs of the one whose love you needed the most run up the stairs of the vault and disappear. It is settled then; you must leave your kingdom at once. After all you have done for it, your reign has come to an end.

You see the shelter as the storm

Holding wind to keep you warm

You turn back to the blonde locks imprisoned in the glass coffin you fashioned as the stampede approaches from the distance. Soon it will be known across all the land that you killed the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming. Light clashes with the glass and distorts the image before you into geometrical shapes and blotches of white, oversimplifying the sleeping beauty that lies beneath. Yes, that's what you shall call her; Sleeping Beauty, in honor of your nemesis, your friend, your savior and your sacrifice.

It would be so easy to just lean in and wake her up so that the two of you could fight side by side. You could undo your greatest sin in a matter of seconds.

You were everything to me

This is why I have to leave

The palm of your hand presses against the marble, you face hovering dangerously – very dangerously indeed – close to her own. Images run through your head. Of who she was – a daughter, their hope, instrument of your defeat. Of who she is – a mother, a stray, your hope. Of who you want her to be – guardian, queen. You close your eyes as the tip of your nose accidentally brushes hers. Golden hair shines through your eyelids, refusing to be ignored just like that. You feel her breath, peacefully regular, coming in small warm puffs that could be mistaken for a subtle draft somewhere far, far away. Your hand moves over the edge of the case to stroll down her neck until the tips of your fingers curl in her hair and a thumb grazes her cheek, bringing you even closer.

So sleep well, my angel

You remember the world she would wake up in – a pandemonium where she could never be safe from the land's all-encompassing wrath, where she would have to fight every day to pull you through. She would in her obstinacy, that much is certain, for her family's sake. She would become you until she could be no more and you can't let that happen, not now that everyone else is on the other side of the front. Henry, Emma – they would both be in danger. You have to leave this behind. You have to run. You have to protect them against all odds.

Your shoulders drop considerably as you release the breath you didn't know you were holding and press your forehead to hers. You're taking everything from her again. They took everything from her again. Maybe one day you'll come back home and you will awaken her to see the light of a new day when this madness has blown over. It's the only way.

Will you still be here?

Sleep well, my angel.