Disclaimer: Not mine, etc, etc
An Eye for an Eye
"I'm sorry," Snow half whispered. Regina wanted to scream at her; sorry wasn't good enough sorry wouldn't bring Daniel back, which was who Snow thought this, all of this, was about. It was partly, Regina felt like she'd had a knife in her stomach since the day he died. But in the back of her mind, Regina knew Snow had been young, tricked into revealing her secret by her mother; she knew it wasn't really her fault.
But Daniel wasn't all Snow took from her; of course, Snow didn't remember that, another act of kindness on Regina's part. The Evil Queen had erased the memories of her daughter from the only two people, aside from herself, who knew about her. She deserved more than to be grieved for a while, then forgotten when something new and shiny came along. No, she and Daniel deserved revenge.
It had been six months since Snow had caught her with Daniel. Regina had married King Leopold, and she had become Snow's new mother. For the first time since her real mother had died, Snow was happy. This happiness was almost shattered the day she found Regina in the stables.
"Mother?" Snow had been riding on her own for the first time since her accident, she had always insisted Regina go with her until that morning. At Snow's voice, Regina shot up from where she was crouched over a stack of hay, and span herself fully to watch Snow enter the stable, warily holding her arms half out as if protecting the hay behind her. "Are you ok?"
"Perfectly fine dear," Regina smiled, though it didn't reach her eyes, it hadn't done so in a while, though nobody seemed to have noticed, "Riding alone? Good for you,"
"May we still ride together sometimes?" Snow asked, mistaking the reason for the sadness in Regina's voice as the prospect of not riding with her. She stepped closer to Regina, whose expression became even more wary, her arms stretched more fully to protect the stack of hay.
"Of course," Regina's smile didn't falter though, "that's what I'm here for." That's all I'm here for. Her words seemed lost in the air, as if someone else was talking over Regina. The pair froze, Regina's eyes went wide and Snow frowned. Had she just heard? Regina bought her hand round to her back, muttering an incantation that Snow couldn't quite hear.
"What was that?" Snow asked, stepping even closer to Regina. Regina stepped back and started to mutter faster, trying to transport the thing behind her somewhere else, anywhere else. But it what too late, Snow rounded Regina and gasped loudly.
"Snow," Regina started to explain, but the girl wasn't listening; she broke into a huge smile and practically launched herself at the little bundle on the hay, picking her up and cooing.
"She's ours?" Snow asked, the baby started to cry, struggling in Snow's grip. Regina looked around for any nearby palace guards, hastily taking the baby from the girl. The child almost instantly calmed, reaching out unconsciously for her mother's grip. "I have a little sister?"
No, she didn't. Regina had yet to be with Leopold. She had feigned her monthly bleed for the weeks he was here, but mostly he had been away; too busy to notice his wife's expanding waistline. Though he wouldn't have unless he touched it, Regina had cast several spells to keep the girl hidden. She had delivered her alone, in this stable, a little under a week ago, and she had looked so much like her father that Regina had let herself cry for the first time since he died.
"No, Snow," Regina divulged, Snow knew now, and she'd use that to her advantage. She wasn't going to ask her to keep a secret, she didn't want her to. She wanted the girl to run and tell everyone. To get her and her daughter banished from the kingdom. "Do you remember Daniel?" she choked on his name, not having said it in so long.
"Of course, he ran…" Snow looked at the baby, her eyes widening as she realised what her new mother was saying. "You, he?" Snow couldn't formulate the question. She looked sadly up at Regina, wondering what the pain would be like, to have the man you thought you loved, force himself upon you out of wedlock, and now to have a constant reminder of that. Snow could not imagine it.
"Yes," Regina half smiled, unaware of the wrongdoings Snow thought Daniel capable of. Snow shook her head and launched herself at Regina, hugging her tightly, trying to make it better. Regina held her daughter higher in her arms, frowning at the girl clinging to her waist.
"I won't tell," Snow promised, knowing the consequences of her father finding out about the baby; whether Regina was a victim of the situation or not, she would lose another mother. She couldn't let that happen. Regina couldn't tell Snow to break the promise; that would defeat the object of this conversation.
"Thank you," Was what she said instead. Regina extracted herself from Snow's grip and sat on the haystack, still cradling her daughter in her arms. Snow followed and sat with her, staring at the baby.
"She must remind you of him," Snow whispered, hating that this child that Regina was protecting out of obligation, must have been making her new mother miserable. Reminding her constantly of the circumstances in which she was conceived.
"She does," Regina schooled a giddy smile into impassivity, looking at her child rather than at Snow, "She looks just like him, don't you think?" She proffered the baby to Snow, who stared at it as if it were an alien, or a monster.
"What's her name?" Snow asked reaching out to touch a soft pink hand, also schooling her expression to one more suited for looking at a new born.
"Rain," Regina smiled, she never planned for children, never thought she'd have a need for names, but it had been raining on the night her baby girl was conceived, and it was raining on the night she was born. It seemed fitting.
"Hello, Rain," Snow smiled and Regina let herself think of a home, with her, Rain and Daniel, where Rain was the girl sitting beside her, saying hello to a little brother or sister for the first time. "I'm Snow, I'm your sister," Regina smiled down at the girl, maybe it was hormones, maybe it was her physical exhaustion, but Regina added Snow to her imaginary family, a girl who had a choice, but chose Regina as her mother anyway.
"Regina!" The two girls jumped at the sound of King Leopold approaching the stables. Regina shot up, muttering a spell that would keep the baby quiet and hid Rain in one of the stools. Snow rushed to the entrance of the stable and stalled her father.
"Father!" Snow hugged him, looking back into the stables, only releasing the king when she saw Regina emerge from the stool. "I missed you," Snow smiled up at Leopold, who kissed her forehead and grabbed Regina's hand as soon as she was close enough. He pulled his queen towards him, kissing her soundly on the mouth. Regina forced down the urge to vomit and kissed back with all she could muster. Snow smiled at her father, and her new mother, her family. Then glared at the stool in which the one thing that could ruin it all resided.
"It's time for dinner my darlings," The king said, relinquishing his grip on Regina. He ushered the pair out of the stable, not noticing when both of them looked back; Snow at the stool where Rain was secreted away, Regina at the rafters, at the man who was to protect her daughter with his life.
It was almost midnight when Snow snuck down to the stables again. She made quick work of untying her horse, placing a small riding cradle onto the saddle. She had to stop her perfect world from falling apart; the only way to do that was to get rid of the threat. Hurrying into the stool, Snow found Rain where Regina left her, wrapped up warm and sound asleep. Picking her up, Snow found, was a great way of waking her up. The young girl clamped a hand around the baby's mouth and rocked her gently.
"Hey, shhh," she soothed, placing the baby into the riding cradle, "No one can hear you anyway, shut up!" Mounting the horse, Snow hesitantly rode out of the stable, glancing towards the castle to make sure no one had followed her. Satisfied that she was alone; Snow pulled on the reins and rode off towards the forest.
If she'd have looked back into the stable, she would have seen a man jump down from where he was crouching on the rafters. Regina had charged Rumpelstiltskin with protecting her daughter, from all of the things that go bump in the night; which he was all too happy to do, for a price of course.
"Oh dear," He giggled and started to walk after Snow and his charge, disappearing into a cloud of purple smoke on his third step. He reappeared next to the edge of the world, where water swallowed land that no man had ever walked across. He gathered a few pebbles and sat on a large rock by the water's edge, he began to skim them across the water as he waited for Snow to bring Rain to him.
They can't have been very far from the castle, because he didn't have to wait long. He hid himself behind the large rock and watched Snow ride down the rocky hill towards the water. She jumped off of the horse and retrieved Rain from the riding cradle.
"She's my mother now Rain, you can't have her," Snow whispered, gently placing the girl on another of the large rocks near the water. She kissed the girl gently on the head and remounted her horse. "You'll only hurt her as you age, become more like your hideous father." Snow promised, "Someone will find you, give you a new home." A home that's not mine. She dug her heels into the horse's sides and sped back up the hill.
The baby started to cry, the tide was coming in, and when it did, it came in fast. Rumpelstiltskin clambered over the rocks to the child, trying to pick Rain up, a strong energy pushed his hands away. Regina trusted him to keep Rain safe, but not to touch her.
"Oh dear," Rumpel started to panic, over the past almost-week; he had become fond of the child, who was so much like her mother already. Knowing that he couldn't move the baby, Rumpel recited several incantations, for floating, swimming, breathing underwater and anything else he could think of that might help. When he could do no more, he regrettably left her to her fate, but not before throwing a spell at Snow, forcing her to look back at what she'd done.
When Snow looked back to the child, Rumpelstiltskin was gone, but the baby was still there, crying out for someone to save her. The tide was already up to the rock, lapping at the blankets that Rain was wrapped in. By the time Snow had turned her horse around, ready to go back for her, the water had already swallowed the child.
"No!" Snow yelled, jumping off of the horse, sliding down the embankment as far as she could, she couldn't swim, and if she tried it would inevitably lead to her death too. She saw the baby, under the sheet of thin glass; she could almost reach out and touch her. She blinked and Rain was gone.
"You took my father, haven't we both suffered enough?"
"No," An eye for an eye; Snow had taken two, so would Regina.