Regina sits on her own throne, Queen-consort once again. The music is lighter, happier than the first time around, and today nobody is looking at her, which suits her perfectly. She reaches for Henry's hand, and squeezes.
It's their brave new world, Regina supposes. She hears the sobs from the pews, and is surprised to find she's holding back one of her own. It wasn't supposed to be this way, not after the curse broke. Happy endings were restored, or so she thought. Loving Emma, and Henry, in the way she wasn't supposed to be able to feel, had blinded her.
Love is weakness, Regina hears in her own voice and a long-hated echo. Love is weakness.
It's only been a week since the state funeral, after all. Two glass coffins resting in the palace while mourners shuffled by for two full days. Two glass coffins and the occupants not stirred by any kiss, or gently resting hand, or fervent prayer. Regina, at Emma's urging, had scoured every dark corner of the magic books in her library, but no spell had brought them back.
And so Emma, who still doesn't understand how to live without electricity or cars, is about to be made responsible for an entire Kingdom, with only Regina as her guide. Henry worries about the rumors he overhears—of how the subjects will choose now to seek revenge against their former Queen, even as they lay the crown on their newest one. Regina strokes his hair and tells him not to be concerned, then paces her bedchambers all night taking all the concern upon herself.
Regina holds her breath as the heavy crown comes to rest on Emma's flowing golden hair. Emma straightens her back, takes a deep breath, and steps forward to assume her throne. It's only when she takes Regina's hand that Regina even remembers to breathe out.
"My Queen," Regina whispers, the words so unfamiliar on her tongue no matter how many times they were spoken to her: to praise or to mock her, to worship her and to condemn her. Emma smiles uncertainly, before looking out at her assembled court.
"People of the Enchanted Forest," she says, the words sounding foreign on her tongue. "I thank you for this sad but wonderful honor. I will do everything possible to honor the memory of my parents, and that begins today with punishing the man responsible for their deaths."
Regina gasps at that. She hadn't expected such a bold opening statement.
"There will be a reward for anyone who can bring me Rumpelstiltskin," Emma continues. "Dead or alive."
"In the meantime," Emma continues. "I invite you to feast with me, and my family. You are always welcome in my court."
The room erupts in applause and Regina leans in to press a soft kiss on Emma's cheek. "You're a natural," she whispers, and Emma quirks her lips a little in response.
The tables begin to fill, the feast beginning at long last. Regina holds back when the family stands to join the party, watching the sky through the highest window of the room. Storm clouds, it seems. Dark and angry and almost—but no, Regina reminds herself as the sound of rain begins to echo from the roof.
They're just clouds, she tells herself again, as Henry tugs at her sleeve.