One day I know we'll find a place of hope
Just hold on to me
Walk tight, one line you're wanted this time
There's no one to blame
Just hold on to me
(Hold on my love) –PJ Harvey "A Place Called Home"
"Awesome!" Henry shouted, unable to hide his boyish excitement over the use of magic and carnage.
"Henry! People just died…human beings. This is real! August…" Emma cried, taking hold of Henry's shoulder and shaking him.
"He wasn't August anymore, he was…a zombie," Henry argued, but his mood deflated appropriately.
Regina was trying to regain control over her breathing. She felt the bloodlust rise inside her; her former glory. She was processing the fresh knowledge that she had once and for all defeated Rumplestiltskin: sworn enemy and rival of her family since before she was born. She fell to her knees from the shock of it all and Emma rushed over, kneeling beside her, and cradling her face with her hands.
"Hey, look at me," Emma whispered, jostling Regina trying to get her glazed eyes to focus. She looked up into Emma's eyes and a dopey smile slowly spread across her face, slightly pinched by Emma's firm hold on her cheeks. It was the cutest face Emma had ever seen, and she momentarily forgot that the town was in shambles, and that everything burning down around them. She forgot her concern for anything but the beautiful fierce woman she was cradling. She leaned in and kissed Regina as if in a stupor. Just as their lips touched, Emma heard her name called as if from a great distance.
"Emma!" Snow yelled as she raced down the street holding Charming's hand as they dodged fallen pieces of charred rafters from the burnt clock tower. Emma broke the kiss and stood, helping Regina to her feet, holding her forearm possessively.
"You're okay!" Emma sighed in relief as Snow skidded to a halt in front of her, wrapping her arms around her and pulling her in for a feet lifting hug. Regina took a step back frowning as she thought ahead to what might happen next. As Snow, James and Emma reunited as a family, Regina remembered Jefferson's hat and what it could now do for them: send them back to their world.
Her eyes scanned the remnants of Storybrooke, nothing but a broken visage. There was nothing left here for her, and she knew that Emma would want to go with Snow and Charming. Regina stood beside Henry, placing a hand on his shoulder and praising him for his bravery. Despite the disdain she still felt and always would feel for Snow, she couldn't help but be slightly touched by the family portrait unfolding before her. Damn her healed heart causing her to become a sap, she thought rubbing Henry's back soothingly.
"Henry, if you had the option to go live in the Enchanted Forest, would you like to?" Regina asked curious to get his opinion, while simultaneously afraid of his answer.
"I don't know? I would get to live with you…and Emma. We'd be a real family?" Henry's question tugged at Regina's heart, steeling herself as she caught Snow shooting her a look sharper than Rumple's dagger. Undoubtedly, Emma was filling them in on the recent 'true love' development between she and Regina, and she was certain Snow would try and convince her it was a manipulation. Snow could never be trusted not to pervert the truth.
With great trepidation, Charming was the first to break the invisible barrier and approach Regina, "It's true then? You saved my…Emma?"
"We saved each other," Regina replied calmly, holding Henry closer to her. The truth and love in her eyes resonated with James as he gave a simple nod. Regina was not the Evil Queen he remembered. Emma hugged Snow again and then strode over to join Henry and Regina, tears shining in her eyes.
"What happens now?" She asked with a genuine curiosity, but surprisingly without fear.
"I know a way to get us back, but only if that's what you all want," Regina announced to everyone present. The way Regina said it told Emma that all she wanted was to be with her wherever she wanted to be.
"Yes!" Snow responded, immediately. "We shall go back home. We shall feast and celebrate the end of your curse."
Her tone was cheery, but not without blame. Emma's touch grounded Regina as she tried not to let anger consume her. Emma spoke for her, "There's a place for Regina? She won't be banished or slain? Whatever you people say?"
"Oh, Emma. I admit that it's a cruel twist of fate, but if Regina really is your one true love, of course there's a place for her," Snow was sincere, she wouldn't forget what she had done, but her desire to see Emma and Henry happy was top priority. James concurred and they looked expectantly to Regina, eager to go home.
Regina conjured the hat box to her, "This is the way. We must go to the source of the magic. Follow me."
Emma took her hand and they walked through Storybrooke for the last time, to the edge of town and out into the woods. To the wishing well, where not 24 hours ago Rumple had unleashed his powerful potion of true love. Without ado, Regina opened the hat box, pulled out the hat with reverence, then gave it a spin and threw it into the well. They all felt the magic swirl as the gateway opened.
"After you, my dear Snow White," Regina dipped her head, and gestured to the glowing entrance in presentation. Her teeth shined, mischievous and evil, that caused all the fear and mistrust to rise within Snow.
"What if this is another one of your tricks to get me gone?" Snow asked reasonably.
"Take Emma with you. You know as well as I that I would not let my true love go knowingly into danger," Regina nodded to Emma, who instantly joined her side and let a trembling hand cup her cheek. She nodded taking courage from Regina's certainty and kissed her. Even though Emma was frightened, she took a deep breath and Snow's hand. They crawled onto the ledge of the well and jumped into the swirling vortex.
"Go on, I'll be right behind you," Regina said coaxingly to Charming, stepping back and making way for him to join his daughter and wife.
James took Henry's hand, whispering to him to be a strong and brave prince as they disappeared into the abyss.
Regina took another look out to the town she had created from despair and pain. She stood back, raising her arms and shouting a formidable and very old spell that she didn't even know she knew. She let the influential magic surround her, feeling as though she might collapse from the weight of it. After a few minutes of dancing darkness and light, she felt the spell do its significant work. Satisfied with the result, she levitated herself to the edge of the well and let go, jumping with abandon to join her family.
She knew they would return one day.
She had used the magic to open the portal permanently.