A.N: So this is supposed to be a one-shot, an angst filled, no happy ending, one-shot.
I Let her Lie
Regina shifted in bed as the heavy doors to their bedchamber creaked open. She knew who it was and she knew that she would pretend to be asleep as Emma slipped from her soiled, telling clothing quietly, hoping that Regina would stay asleep. Regina let her think she had been fooled, let her think that she knew nothing about her late night trysts, Regina let her lie.
She was quiet and still as Emma slid into their bed and she let her breathing come out steady and even as Emma peered down at her, "Regina?" The voice was less than a whisper as the Princess stared at her. Regina feigned her deep sleep and she relaxed slightly as Emma let out a sigh and settled down next to her. In the aching quiet of the room Emma muttered, "I hate that I love you."
Regina clenched her eyes shut tighter and let herself lie.
The weeks continued on, Emma continued to betray her, betray their supposed love on an almost nightly basis, and Regina continued to play the fool. She wasn't sure what would happen if she confronted Emma about her late nights of passion with someone who wasn't her. Would Snow and Henry insist that it was no more than she deserved, would they pity her? Would her pride even allow her to stay with the shame and hurt made known? She did know the answer to that question and so she kept quiet, she pretended not to notice the marks on Emma's body that she had not put there, the distant look in the blonde's eyes as she waited for Regina to drift off to sleep so that she could slip away into the arms of someone she wanted to love, but couldn't because of Regina, because of the twisted nature of 'True Love' in a world that she'd brought them back to.
Regina let the secrets and betrayal lie between them because she wasn't strong enough to lose her love to betrayal again, even if Emma was the betrayer.
It was Snow that first approached Regina. The quiet concern in her former enemy's eyes set Regina's teeth on edge as she all but growled at Snow to stay out of her business. The woman's assertions that what her daughter did was her business did nothing to quell the rising anger in Regina. It was a known fact that the Evil Queen lashed out when angry, when hurt, and there was Snow, poking the angry witch with a stick she'd chosen to ignore out of desperation, out of necessity.
Snow murmured quietly as Regina stood to leave, "Regina, it isn't right for her to-"
Regina cut her off, "I know it isn't right, but I let her lie. I let her lie." She turned away then, unable to take the sad eyes of the woman whose own life she'd made it her mission to destroy, unable to take pity from Snow whose own Prince was perfect to her, perfect and faithful.
She couldn't ignore it when it was Emma who sat her down, intent on confessing her sins, intent on unburdening her own soul at the expense of Regina's ability to feign ignorance, "Regina I..."
Regina glared at her, "Stop. Don't say another word."
Emma shook her head tearfully, "I have to get this out or I never will, mom says..."
Regina let out a growl and shot from her seat, "Damn your mother! The truly sorry keep their secrets, and bare their burdens alone!"
Emma rocked back on her heels, "Regina..."
Regina waved an angry hand as the doors to their balcony blasted open. She reveled in Emma's wince at her casual, almost destructive display of magic, "You do not get to confess and take away my right to pretend!"
Emma's eyes widened, "You... you know?"
Regina sagged and then ground her teeth down to prevent hot tears from leaking, "Of course I know, I've known since the beginning Miss Swan." She didn't have to look at Emma to know that she flinched at the name.
She finally turned to look at her and almost scoffed as Emma stared at her with what could only be called betrayal, "You knew! You knew what I was doing and you didn't say anything? Why?"
Regina ran a hand through her now long hair and snapped, "What would it accomplish Emma?"
Emma gaped at her, "You just... you let me do it? Why?"
Regina let out a tired breath and whispered, "The same reason you did it in the first place..."
Emma shook her head stubbornly, "I don't even know why I did it, why I kept doing it... I hate that I did it."
Regina stared down at the floor as she let her next words drift from her lips, "Almost as much as you hate loving me..." She let the words bleed from her, let the knowledge, the truth of them settle and lie, deep in her soul as she turned and strode from their bedchamber, ignoring Emma's stricken face.
Emma was considerate enough to keep her mouth shut around their son, and even Snow could not be sure that Emma had confessed because nothing on Regina's end seemed to change. Certainly Emma was more solicitous of Regina and stayed very close, as if she was determined to prove Regina's last spoken words to her false. Prove that she did love Regina, and that she didn't resent the fact. The effort on her part was almost more infuriating than how they'd been before. If Emma had truly loved her completely, and without resentment, she wouldn't have done what she did.
Even more odd, more infuriating to Regina was the fact that she still craved Emma's touch, still wanted her near, but she wanted it to be her choice, free from guilt or obligation. She didn't want this Emma who acted overly kind and yet would not touch her because of guilt. She didn't want this...
After nearly a month of Emma acting the perfect true love in public and shying away from her in private Regina snapped. She let her anger rush up and pushed Emma to the bed. At first it was hard and fast, almost violent as Regina took what was supposed to be hers, as she let Emma take her. As Emma came Regina let hot tears fall into the pillow, because she couldn't ignore what Emma had done now, her skin crawled as she imagined another set of hands on Emma, she couldn't pretend that she wasn't afraid Emma had been thinking of the other even as she cried out Regina's name to the high ceiling.
Slowly the violence and anger bled away as she made love to Emma, as she pressed and kissed, and worshiped her true love, one last time. The part of her that would never stop being the evil Queen wanted to set the room on fire with them both trapped inside but she wasn't that woman anymore, at least not completely and she couldn't do that to Henry, or even Emma.
So as Emma drifted off to sleep Regina slipped from the bed and dressed quietly. She retrieved a satchel from their shared wardrobe and quickly placed clothes in it, as well as some of her trinkets that she wasn't willing to let go of. After less than ten minutes she'd gathered all that she wanted to take and so she stood at the door of their chamber and considered Emma, her true love.
Better to let Henry hate her for leaving, better to let Emma go. Better to admit that she'd finally learned to love someone enough to let them go than to stay, to stay here in this palace where she was hated and unwanted by most, including her son, and though she'd never admit to it with guilt weighing her down, Emma.
She stared at the sleeping blonde as she prepared to leave, and with a quiet sigh she let her lie.
Her last stop was the courtyard where her apple tree still stood tall and strong despite everything. She wanted to leave a sign, evidence of her departure from their lives, and this was the only way she knew how.
With a single tear she passed a slow hand through the air and watched as her tree, her only comfort in the world at times, went up in flames. She watched it burn, owing her beloved tree that at least until it was smoldering ember and ash. It burned more quickly than any other tree would have, helped along by her enchanted flames, fueled by her pain and heartbreak.
She turned and looked up at the window to her son's bedchamber, and then ticked a glance to Emma's before she spun away and told herself that they would be fine, that she would be fine. She couldn't say for sure that Henry and Emma would be fine, not honestly, but she knew the answer to whether or not she would be. Still she told herself she would be as she vanished in a cloud of black smoke.
She let herself lie.
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