title: once the magic settles
chapters: 1 of ?
fandom: once upon a time
character/pairing: regina mills, emma swan, everyone - it's about Regina and the whole town and how they handle this new situation that they're in, pairings may arise but we'll see where this goes
rating: t
word count: 1534
summary: "Because, like it or not - and I don't - you're part of this town, and you're part of Henry's life. And this isn't a damn fairy tale. We don't kill the bad guy." ~ There's a lot to be handled after the magic settles. S2 story.

author's note: Two hours after the episode ends and I've got yet another multi-chap in the works. I'd say damn this show, but I honestly think this might be my favorite finale of the finale season. It's right up there with Castle's finale folks. That's how serious I am. So, as I said above, this is my take on the second season. It's up in the air right now and hopefully you like it as much as I'm starting to. This is pretty Regina centric, but the whole ensemble will be involved and can/will get their own chapters and scenes.

once the magic settles

The first one at her door is Emma, and it's as if it was taken straight from Regina's nightmare.

Emma stands in the doorway with a smirk, a sort of heavy, flustered, determined presence radiating off of her entire body. It makes Regina's skin itch. She knows part of that is the familiar tingle of the magic beneath the surface. Part of her is dying to use it, to touch into what she has been stripped of for twenty-eight years. It would be easy enough. The curse is broken, so why shouldn't she snap Emma's pretty little neck right here and now?

"Regina," Emma greets stiffly.

No 'your majesty'? No threat on her life? Fine. If the savior is being patient, she can be as well. "Emma." She does not say Ms. Swan, or Sheriff Swan. None of that matters anymore. None of the pleasantries or things dictated by this realm. They're in a mix now. A land that should be devoid of magic but is suddenly throbbing with it. A land of fairy tale and tragedy, side by side. A land where anything can happen.

Emma pushes by Regina, stepping into the home as if she has the right. Regina watches her strut by, and her eyes narrow. Her fingers twitch. She closes the door gently behind the both of them. She expects some sort of shudder or even a moment where Emma steels herself further. There is no reaction. Is Emma that confident that she does not fear Regina? Does not fear what great power the Evil Queen can truly possess?

"Henry -" and all power, all anything leaves Regina, blown out as the strong urge to sob and destroy flood her instead "- is fine. I thought you might want to know that."

Regina stares at her. This is what she came to say? That Henry is fine. Of course he's fine. He has Emma and an entire world of fairy tale citizens ready to welcome and love their new prince. The curse is broken. All traces of the spell(s) are gone. He's fine. She knew that. And yet, a part of her chest lightens at the words. She finds it easier to breathe but harder to hold back her tears.

She curses herself. She's done enough crying. She sobbed into his pillow for Gods' sake. No more tears. Only strength. She'll need that to take on her enemies. Her many, many enemies.

She straightens herself up and nods shortly. "Well, thank you for informing me. I'm sure he's not too pleased that you're away from his side. You should return to him." Regina makes move for the door. Emma stops her.

"Not so fast," Emma says. Regina turns back, and now Emma hesitates. Emma glances around the hall, up towards the stairs where Henry's room awaits, and then back towards Regina. She says, "Earlier, I said that I would kill you. And, I might have meant it at the time, but I don't now. So, um, for what it's worth, I'm not going to be seeking any retribution. Henry's back, and I'm pretty sure you've got enough problems on your plate without worrying about this world's vendettas."

Regina chuckles bitterly. "Of course." Gold was right. Each and every one of the citizens will want payback. They'll want her head on a spit and her heart chopped to pieces. What's left of it anyway. "Listen, I really must be preparing. I don't have time to waste -"

"I'm sorry," Emma blurts. Regina falls silent. Sorry? She's actually apologizing? What is it with this family and apologizing to her? Emma continues, quickly, "I've been acting like you want to hurt him, like you're trying to ruin Henry's life. I needed someone to be the problem, Regina. Someone who wasn't me, or my inability to do anything right. You were my scapegoat, and I never should have reacted the way that I did. I mean, it's obvious that you love Henry just as much as I do, and you don't get any of the credit. I'm not saying I like the idea of him being with you and only you but -"

Regina cuts her off. "I'll stop you there, Ms. Swan. That won't be an issue. Snow White and her prince charming would never allow their grandson to live in my home. That is, if they don't succeed in killing me first." Or I in killing them. No, she shakes that thought away. There will be no killing on her side. She's done with that life. She wants to be done with that life. That's why she's here. That's why she has fought tooth and nail to keep the curse in tact. She simply wants her happy ending. That is all.

Emma whispers something. Something soft with a reverent, detached look in her eye.

Out of habit, Regina snaps, "Oh, do speak up, Ms. Swan. I might be magical, but my ears aren't."

Emma glances up then and that same determination that Regina has seen in Snow's eyes is staring right at her. Emma declares, "I won't let them. Kill you. Not here. It's not happening."

"A-and why is that?" Regina asks, her eyes crinkling in distaste. She stuttered. She's a queen and a mayor. She doesn't stutter. Especially not over some half-assed declaration from a woman who has already served her purpose.

"Because, like it or not - and I don't - you're part of this town, and you're part of Henry's life. And this isn't a damn fairy tale. We don't kill the bad guy."

Regina adds, "Not unless we're in Texas."

Emma sighs, her frustration evident. "Well, we're not, and I just saved all of their lives so I'm pretty sure my opinion's got to count for something. No one's hurting you. We're going to talk this out and figure out what's the best thing for everyone."

That sounds diplomatic. Fair. Much more than Regina could have ever hoped. It won't work. She's certain of it, but she could always give it a try. At the very least, it will put her in a nice position to flee and allow her to see Henry one last time.

With that in mind, Regina lets a small grin slip onto her face. Emma almost starts to return it. Then, Regina says, "For once, you're actually sounding like the sheriff."

Emma responds with a sarcastic laugh before turning to face the door. She says, "Saving the damned is kind of what I do I guess. Just keep your phone up and be ready for when I call. And don't kill anyone while I'm gone." Regina huffs, but Emma gives her a look that defuses her anger. That's a joke. Hm. Ha, it's not bad. For Emma.

Regina watches the blonde leave. Lets her get all the way to the door before calling out, "Emma." She turns. "Henry sometimes has nightmares. Bad ones. If he does, just hold him. Sometimes he likes when you sing to him. Any song will do, but none of that heavy metal nonsense. That's the work of nightmares already. And, he needs to have a blanket on him when he goes to sleep. He might argue. He might say he'll overheat or that he doesn't need it, but he does. He always gets cold feet in the middle of the night. He'll get a cold if he doesn't cover them. It's happened every time. And about dessert-"

"Regina!" Emma says. Regina stops, curses herself again. She's fretting. Smothering. This is exactly what drove Henry from her. She just couldn't leave well enough alone. She had to fix what her mother did wrong and she came down too harshly and he hated her. Hates her. Everyone hates her.

"I-I just want him to be comfortable." She wants him to be happy. If he's happy, then at least she's done one thing right in his life.

Emma's silent a moment. She probably doesn't know how to respond to that, to the simple admission. Lightly, she says, "He will be. I'll call you." Then she's gone. The door closes behind her with such finality that it leaves Regina breathless. The queen leans against the nearest wall for support, her eyes drifting closed as she does so.

It's not until she hears the voice of her trusty mirror that she realizes she's been asleep. She startles at the sound of him, and her heart nearly breaks when she sees his face back behind the barely repaired glass. He seems almost happy. Probably because he's not rotting away in a holding cell for kidnapping any longer. Kidnapping.

Sidney speaks up, "I have a message from Snow White." Regina stiffens. Channels her inner strength.

"And that is?"

"'The meeting will be at dawn. At Granny's. Come unarmed and we shall do the same. Lift one magic finger, and we will be forced to assume the worst. This reprieve is for Emma, not for you.'"

As if that needed stating. Regina sighs, tells him, "I'll be there with bells on." It's a figure of speech, but she can't help but consider it. She does miss her royal wardrobe. Perhaps a revival of that is in order.

And perhaps a review is as well? What do you think of this? Worth continuing?