AN:: I know I get tired of reading author's notes too, but stick with me here... sometimes there's useful information.
I appreciate everyone who's actually reading these ramblings people like to call stories, and LIKING them in some cases. I am humbled by some of the people who's writing I look up to so much reading my stories, and for the reviews.. Grateful. Thank you so much, and I am eternally indebted to you guys for it.
So here goes my first 'Remma,' as the fan world has so lovingly named it. I will do my best not to betray the characters, and still twist them so that they fit to the world I hope to create separate from the actual story line.
Enjoy! R&R (please).
I would also like to thank Miss Madeleine Blanc for giving me the general idea for this, spurring my creativity and also letting my mind come up with funny things to fill in the blanks... even though the majority of them might not be SO funny. Anywho.. Thank you!
Things are crazy.
That's just the way life is, and we can't do anything about it, because we are at the mercy of the universe, or God, or whoever or whatever is in charge of all the things we can't see.
Most of the time I can turn my head; just look away and make myself think of something else. It's almost too easy to be oblivious when you don't care. And when you detach yourself from so much because of pain or guilt or ignorance of the real world, then you find yourself not caring about almost anything.
But not with Henry.
From the moment that little boy walked into my life, I think everything flipped around - even if I didn't realize it at that moment.
A birthday cup-cake was magical, no matter if I believe in it or not, it was. I wished I would have seen it then and held onto that feeling. Even though I was overwhelmed with both information and unwanted maternal feeling, I was still thankful (obliviously thankful) for someone to connect myself to. Just seeing him once - he was still mine. That crooked little smile is all me, and I was so thankful that even that small piece was present.
Of course I didn't know how to react to that after dissociating myself from everyone and everything that ever came in contact with me, and I knew he wasn't mine in the legal sense, or an ethical one - if I had one of those, of course.
I had to take him home.
It didn't pain me so much as perturbed me. I knew nothing of this little boy before that night, and chances were that I'd think about him all the time from then on, and I wouldn't even be able to see him. I think that's what bothered be more than anything; chance and legality. I hated it.
But at least he was with someone who could provide for him. I knew I couldn't do that when I had him, so I decided to give him to someone who could, and who wanted him as much as I wasn't wanted. I think after the neglect I faced in the system, I would have never been able to be the propper parent to a child; a baby. I would have had no reference point. So I was glad for Regina. At first.
Then I met her; Power heals and 'fuck me' eyes... it made me sick.
I'm not sure if I was envious of her or what she had (everything else, along with my son), or if I was intrigued by the way she carried herself, but I immediately had to question what exactly she was. Emminating power the way she did - it wasn't natural. Or maybe it was, and THAT bothered me too.
Eventually I stopped caring eventually about what it was that 'bothered' me as much as it did, and I started being more and more interested in Henry's happiness. That kid just kept taking peices of my heart and not giving them back. Not that I wanted them back; feeling that kind of love for any one thing feels like an act of God, even if you don't believe in God - I didn't think I did either - but that little guy coming into my life was not by accident. I refuse to believe it wasn't planned, or destined or something like that.
As for his delusions, I can deal. I've never believed in anything like that, not even when I was small with the occasional 'nice' family I was sent to. I know full well that there is no such thing as fairy tales, but if it comforts him and his world, I have no problem indulging it.
And still, with all the craziness I'd endured and told myself it couldn't get any worse, I've put myself in a situation that I never thought possible;
Laying here, staring at the back of a woman I was so sure I hated less than a week ago, watching her breathe.
I know she's sleeping. She's been sleeping for almost an hour. And even with the peace and quiet, I can't find a way to let myself relax enough to find sleep. I wonder if she dreams.. and if she's dreaming now, would it be about me?
The day started as it usually did; a cold morning only softened by coffee and my thin leather jacket. I am fully aware I should get something warmer, but I am far too stubborn to give any of my jackets up. They're the best.
I've never had a schedule like this; the waking up early, going and seeing the same people I've become so familiar with, going to the same office, attending to people that know who I am and how I work, dealing with the same problems - all of it is strange to me. Especially the smiles... I've never had so many smiles given or to give, though I liked it. LIKE it... I still do.
It was colder than usual, though. The snow kept falling at night, and melting in the day, getting colder and turning the water to ice AND snowing. The roads got more dangerous and more people started to walk places instead of drive. Yet there was still the same amount of chattering people in Grannie's, munching on breakfast snacks and gossiping about the same things; I'm sure.
And there was the same, utterly controlled, woman sitting in the corner, pretending to read her paper. There were a barrier of empty tables around the booth she regularly occupied - no one wanting to be near her. But that was her own fault. I don't know why I decided to go over to her, but I did.
"Morning, Madam Mayor." I slid in across from her, smiling lightly.
She didn't even bother looking up from her paper. "Alliteration. How fancy of you, Sheriff Swan. I am slightly impressed."
With an eye roll, Ruby smiled over at me, mouthing 'The usual?,' to which I just nodded. Thinking of anything to do instead of look at the woman who was across from me.
"So, do we have a reason for bothering me during breakfast or not, Miss Swan?"
I just shook my head. "Well, you looked a little lonely over here all by yourself, and i figured we could talk... about Henry or... something."
"Ahh... there's your ulterior motive." She laughed, not even looking up from her paper. "I will not talk about my son or anything else with you Miss Swan. There is absolutely no need for it, and I can't tell you I find your company useful at all."
"Way to be a bitch."
This time she did look up at me. "Excuse me?"
"You heard me, Regina! Why is it that you always have to shut me down as soon as I try being civil with you. Not even for Henry!"
She was just about to reply when her phone rang, so instead she just gave me a dirty look and answered with a "Yes."
I watched the look on her face go from absolutely hating me to looking down at her cup with a somewhat worried expression.
"Are you sure?" She asked, still paying no attention to me.
"Alright. Thank you." She hung up.
"What? What's wrong?" I asked.. like a nosy shit, because I am.
"Henry's missing again." She said sternly, gathering her things.
"What?" I exclaimed, possibly a little too loud for an average morning at Grannie's "What do you mean, he's missing? AGAIN?"
She gave me a look that might have killed me if what Henry wanted me to believe so badly was true. "He runs away to be with you quite frequently, Miss Swan.. Don't look so surprised."
"You let a ten-year-old walk to school by himself?"
"The school is two blocks down the road, and I am the mayor; I know everyone in town, not to mention have an anotated map of my neighborhood. Do not question my parenting, Miss Swan."
That disdainful tone took residence in her voice like it usually did just then, but I chose to ignore it; we had bigger things on our plate this morning than to argue with eachother like silly children on the playground.
I stood up with her, and as soon as she saw me she stopped.
"Where do you think you're going?"
"To help find him." I said like it was the most obvious thing in the Western hemisphere.
She shook her head slightly. "No, you are not. He is my son and I-"
"He is our son, and I will help you find him." I said, leaning in just slightly. "Like you said; he runs away to be with me a lot.. that means I know his hiding spots. I could be of some use to you, Madam Mayor."
She looked at me, the only way I can describe it is how someone looks at someone who just beat the shit out of a puppy. But that look softened into something of consideration, right before she huffed "Fine." and 'Jane Fonda' walked her regrettably attractive ass out the door, leaving me to follow like a puppy who'd just got the shit beaten out of her. Funny how that works.
I don't know how long we were in the car for when Regina started breaking down. One minute it looked like she was pissed the kid was gone; the next she had tears in her eyes and her chin was shaking like she was going to cry.. and I don't do tears. I don't know what it is but when someone starts crying I become one of those wierd foreign exchange students who don't completely know the language yet, and just guess at what's actually going on. Tears confuse me. And what's worse was if they came from Regina, I would be more out of place than usual.
I mean, the woman was practically heartless, for all intents and purposes. The only other time I'd ever seen her show emotion was when Henry was stuck in the mine. Or when I brought the kid home the first time... or really anything to do with the kid.
Then it made sense; she felt for him.
I think that was the moment I understood that she wasn't as terrible a person as we'd all taken her for, that she was a bitch, but she was a mother. She mothered my kid that I couldn't.
She didn't look at me when the first tear found it's way down her face. I don't think she thought I saw it, so she just whiped it away and kept driving.
I don't know what came over me, but I patted my hand on her shoulder, just because that was about as much coherent sympathy as I could muster for the situation in general.
Right away she looked at me, and for a moment I saw the slightest bit of insecurity - a vulnerability that was completely foreign looking on the Mayors face, however not unpleasant. But in a flash, it was gone and replaced by the cold sneer she usually assumes.
"I don't need your sympathy, Sheriff. And I don't want it." She turned back to look at the road.
I was immediately offended, retracking my hand and balling it into a fist. "Why are you like this? I was trying to make some sort of understanding between us, Regina! I'm worried too!"
"And what reason do you have to be worried anyway!"
"HE'S MY SON TOO."
The car stopped. She angled herself in her seat to look at me. I could see the anger boiling in her through her eyes.
"You gave birth to him. You carried him for nine months and brought him into this world. You created him, but you are not his mother, and he is not your son. I took care of him, and fed him, and loved him, and clothed him, and gave him everything he needed." Her intensity was almost vibrating the air between us, yet she was calm and stern. "Just because he came from you does not mean you are his parent. I AM. No matter if he hates me or not, I love him, and I will always love him because he's mine."
She took a deep breath and straightened out imaginary wrinkles in her suit before turing and taking hold of the steering wheel. She didn't actually start the car, but I could tell she was trying to get a hold of herself again. I reserved myself to just looking forward as well, not reallly knowing how to reply, even though I didn't agree, (or not completely), I didn't know exactly what I was to the kid anyway. Just short of a parent? But more than just a glorified babysitter. I know I want to be in his life, and I know that I love him more than anything that I've ever felt, but what I actually am to him.. that is something I don't know if I am defined enough in just inside of myself. What I want to be to him, and how much influence I am ready to put into his life.
At first I didn't realize the sniffling next to me because I was so caught up inside my own head, but it became more apparent as Regina laid her head on the steering wheel.
Oh, God... she was actually crying now.
Suddenly I didn't know what to do with my hands - they felt like they were awkwardly attached to arms that weren't in the right place either. I tried to make myself as small as possible - and maybe she would forget I was here. Maybe I could just become invisible.
"I don't understand..." she said softly through the sobs. "I love him so much, and I've given him everything and he hates me. He's only just met you a few months ago and he loves you. I can see it in the way he looks at you and I hate it."
I didn't know what to do. Now more than ever. She was crumbling in front of me and I had no idea how to react to that.
Moving slower than last time, I put one of my hands on her back and rubbed my thumb back and forth gently. This time she look disgusted.. she just kept crying.
We sat that way for a few moments - her crying on the steering wheel with me trying to console her as much as I knew how, and it didn't feel all that forced. A little strange; of course, we hated each other, but now at least we had some common ground.
"Regina, he's ten.. kids always rebel against their parents at that age." I tried, speaking softly.
She shook her head, not picking it up. "They don't hate their parents though. They don't call them evil and look at them like they are the soul reason for everything bad in everyone else's world - like I disgust him."
Sobs wracked her back and I resorted to rubbing my whole hand back and forth rather than just my thumb, as if it would offer her more solice.
"Maybe it's just a phase-"
"Stop!" she flinched, making me pull back my hand quickly. She looked up at me with big eyes, tinged red with her tears. "You don't know how hard this is for me."
She whiped her face, took a breath, and put her car in drive again. At least her determination to not be phased by her emotions was strong.. that was a good trait.
Well, the strength was a good trait – not so much the phobia to all emotion.
In that moment, for the first time all day, I knew exactly what to say.
"Regina, no one knows what you're going through because you don't let anyone in – you shut anything and anyone down who could possibly relate to you. The fact that I don't know how hard this is for you is completely your fault, and nobody else's.
She just kept staring at the road.
"I've been trying to try and at least be on good terms with you, but for some reason you-"
"I what? I don't give people the chance to destroy what I've worked hard for? What I've sacrificed for? No! I refuse to give anyone the satisfaction, much less you, Miss Swan."
"God, I don't want to ruin anything!"
"Then what do you want to do?"
"Help! That's all I've wanted to do and you don't fucking give me the chance!" I yelled.
"Why do you deserve a chance? What have you done to-"
I turned in my seat to face her almost fully. "I brought him back to you. I didn't keep him any of the times he wanted to stay with me, because you're his mother, and I know that."
She just kept staring out the front of the car like she didn't hear me. Her mouth formed a tight line and I could see her eyes fixed on the road and breathing heavily. I knew I was good at getting under people's skin, but this was a new high for me.
"And what if I try?"
She glanced at me exasperatedly. "What if I try to let people in, and it turns out terribly?"
"Regina, that's just what happens sometimes. People are stupid and we have to live with it."
She shook her head. "That doesn't give me much motive to change, does it?"
"Your motive should be for Henry!" I sighed, half defeated. "I want to help with him, and if that means helping you, then that's fine with me. I'm more than willing to be a sounding board for his issues and helping deal with them. That's what two parents are used for; to share ideas and come up with what's best for the kid."
"You aren't hi-"
"-his parent... blah blah blah.. You've said that enough. I would gladly be something LIKE a parent if you'd let me. I don't want to take him away from you. All I want is what's best for him."
I could see the wheels turning inside her head. It was almost frightening how far in thought she could throw herself. It reminded me of Henry when he was angry at me for one thing or another.
I'd been thinking about her thinking face far too much and got caught in my own thoughts. "What?"
"Fine. We can.. try to be, copyable.. for Henry."
"Really?" I asked.
She nodded, keeping her eyes glued to the road. I stared at her for a few moments, wondering if something in her brain snapped. But I didn't question her out loud – I was too thankful for the little bit of allowance I had in to her life now, which meant further into Henry's.
"So, what now?" She asked.
I shrugged. "We find Henry."
"I don't understand why he's not with you."
"Maybe he wants to get away from everything, instead of just you."
She shook her head. "I don't know where he could be. School called to tell me he wasn't there, he's not at Dr. Hopper's... could he be at your apartment?"
"No," I sighed, "he doesn't know where we keep the key anymore. I told him he needed to let you and me know before he came over."
"This doesn't make any sense..." She honestly looked exasperated. Like she'd been up for three days straight, even though we'd only been looking for about an hour. I felt a little worried, but had faith that Henry was smart enough to be safe. I wondered exactly how she felt; how it felt to be a mother.
"Do you two have some special place?" I asked.
She looked at me, confused.
"Some place you go, or used to go that he knows how to get to on his own?"
Her jaw dropped the slightest bit. "There's a cabin on the other side of the woods that we used to spend Christmas at. It's only about a ten minute walk from his school..." she trailed off, obviously having something more to say.
"What?" I prompted?
She sighed again, a little perturbed. "It's a half hour drive because we have to drive AROUND the forest."
"...fantastic... It's worth a shot, though." I shrugged. "I didn't know you were Christian."
"Then why Christmas?"
She shrugged. "It was an excuse to treat Henry for all the wonderful things he did.. does. We used to love it up here."
We drove in silence for.. well I don't know how long. Every time I glanced over at the obviously way too up-tight woman driving, I couldn't help but wonder what she felt; what it felt like to be a mom. I knew what she said earlier was right – that she was his mom, and that I wasn't honestly anything close. I hoped to be, of course, but I really didn't think I could be anything more for him. But she was – she was his everything for all of his life. She gave him everything I couldn't. And what surprised me was that I didn't hate her for it, envy – of course a little bit, but I was more curious than anything.
"We're almost there." She said, pulling me from my crazy inner thoughts.
"What?" ...God, I'm a genius.
"We should be there in a minute or so." She kept her eyes gazing out of the windshield, maybe to hold onto whatever certainty she had left. That's one thing I could sympathize with; everything changing was something that was hard to take hold of, and grabbing onto anything, even the steadiness of a familiar road.
"Do you think he'll be here?" I asked.
She shrugged. "I don't know where he is anymore.. ever."
"What do you mean by that?"
Her hair shook as moved her head from side to side, then swept a piece away from her face. "When we used to come up here, he was always so happy. We used to play in the snow for hours and he'd say 'Mommy! Mommy! I'm the snow king!'... and I'd tell him he could be anything he wanted." she sighed, heavier than I'd ever heard. "I miss him so much. I miss the snow."
She turned to look at me, a little nervously. "Oh, God... here I am spewing my life at you, when you're probably sitting there thinking how pathetic I am."
"I'm not." I said, a little taken aback. I'd never seen her this way – so vulnerable.
Her face went a little blank before she stared out the front window again. I don't know what was going through her head, but she did as good a job of disguising it as she had every other time. I know I had more to say, but we pulled up to the cabin before my mind could push me to form the words.
My jaw immediately went limp seeing the size of the 'cabin.' It looked at least as big as her Mayoral Mansion, or easily bigger, except made out of wood. It was beautiful. "Hell, Regina.. this place looks like a hick version of the fucking white house!" I exclaimed. "Where do you come up with the money to do all of this?"
"This was a gift.. from my father, before he passed away." she lied, I could tell it in her voice. "I didn't own it until it was years old." That one was the truth. I wasn't going to delve too far into the semantics just yet.
"Well I'd live here. Screw just a holiday home – this is great."
She just laughed, then shut off the car. "I suppose I could spend more time here myself. Though I do come up here every few months to clean and restock things, just in case."
"In case of what?" I asked.
She purposely didn't look at me. "In case I need some place to get away."
"From what?" I asked.
Another sigh. "I don't know yet."
She got out of the car and just stood there for a minute, looking. I don't know if she was looking for something in particular, or just looking to see if there was anything to see, but her eyes never found the same place twice. So I decided to put a stop to that.
I stepped out into a big snowy space (much the same as all the rest forever around it), and started spinning.
"What on earth are you doing, Miss Swan?" Regina said, though I could hear the smile on her face.
"What does it look like?" I laughed. "Why don't you join me?"
"Because I'm an adult!" she laughed.
"Well maybe that's your problem, then." I took a few dizzy steps towards her. "Maybe you need to act like a child once and a while..."
Before she had time to react, I took the Mayor in my arms bridal style and started spinning her around with me. She laughed and screamed and held on to me like I was going to drop her. But I'm not as weak as I appear. How could I be as a bounty hunter? I have to chase down people and wrestle them into handcuffs for a living; spinning a hundred and five pound woman around isn't that big of a deal. Though, if you add snow to that mix, I might just be a little off my game.
We ended up on a heap in the snow. Thank God it was still soft and I was quick enough to fall back so Regina landed comfortably on top of me.
She was laughing and trying to catch her breath at the same time as she leaned her head back in the snow. And in that moment I saw her as just another woman. Someone who was just like the rest of us; just a little different in coping with her emotions, and dealing with other people. All I could do was look at her, because this was not the woman I'd held such hatred for for so long.
She picked her head up and saw me staring. "What?" she asked, a little out of breath.
I shook my head a little, my eyes unable to leave the slight blush that was coming up on her cheek. "Regina.. I don't think-"
RING RING RING RING RING
She scrambled to her feet and answered her phone at the same time, just as the wind began to pick up.
I got up and dusted myself off a little.
She plugged the ear opposite the phone. "Are you sure?" she asked. "Is he safe?"
I moved in closer, trying to make out some of what was being said, but the wind and the snow were too much to try and hear past.
"Miss Blanchard? I.. I think you're breaking up... Will you tell Henry that.. Miss Blanchard?" she looked at her phone and gave sort of an angry grunt. "I have no service here!" she called, even though we weren't standing more than a foot away from one another.
"But Henry's alright?"
"Yes." She nodded. "We need to go inside.. I can't drive in this."
I nodded back and followed her up to the cabin entrance. She fumbled for the key for a moment, before she struggled to get the key actually in the door to open it. But soon enough we were inside, but still cold. Regina was shivering and attempting to warm herself.
"Do you have any heat in here?" I asked.
"Of course.. there's, uhm.. in the living room there is a touch-screen pad that controls almost everything." she said a little bashfully. "It's just through here."
I followed her into a sitting room area, with a giant fire place and the touch pad not too far from it. She sat on the couch to continue warming herself, and within two minutes I had the heat and the lights on where we were.
"This thing is nifty.." I said, still playing with it. "Upgrade?"
She laughed again. "Yes, I suppose so. I like to keep this place nice, so we don't have to do a lot when we come up here."
"That sounds reasonable." I said.
I looked over to the brunette on the couch, shivering and looking a little damp from all the playing in the snow, wearing a skirt-suit. Good Lord, this woman was crazy.
"Where's the extra blankets?" I asked.
She pointed to the closet, where I got out a thick-looking quilt and draped it over her. All she seemed to be able to do was give me a tight-lipped smile. I went back to playing on the touch pad when she spoke up again.
I looked at her a little confused. "Oh, no problem. It's just a blanket."
"Not for that." she said. I looked up to see her playing with her fingernails behind the quilt. "For.. well... what happened outside." She smiled to herself. "I haven't felt like that for a long time."
She shrugged. "Like I was..." her eyes met mine. "...myself."
I couldn't help but smile at her. I think this was the truest version of the Mayor I'd seen thus for in Story Brooke, and it was a side of her I had to admit I sort of enjoyed. "You're welcome."
Thank you for reading! There will be more on the way, hopefully soon. R&R.
Peace and Love.
And all that Jazz...