DISCLAIMER:: do not own. just borrowing for purpose of creative expression. no profit obtained.
A/N:: my muse has struck randomly again. i have been working on this at the expense of updates for my chapter fics (sorry guys) because it wouldn't leave me alone. to give credit where credit is due. thank you to james patterson for the inspiration for the title of the diary. thank you to my friend and co-author of my R&I stories, Ren, for contributing entries from her own diary (with modifications of course) for this fic. this is a one-shot, it will not be continued, but be advised it will leave you with two unanswered questions. speculate their answers as you see fit. ALL FLASHBACKS DONE IN ITALICS. ALL DIARY ENTRIES DONE IN BOLD.
A/N2:: those of you waiting for updates of any of my chapter fics please take note that the fics have all been postponed until further notice. my muse was called a disgusting dirty whore for coming up with them. needless to say, she didn't take the insult well, pack her bags and left. i got a postcard from auckland and she doesn't seem fit to come back anytime soon. luckily, this was finished before the aforementioned insults were flung, so at least i have something to give you guys, hope you enjoy.
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Emma Swan stood in the front entrance to the Sheriff's station. Her shift had technically long been over and she wasn't signed off on any overtime, but looking out at the rain, coming down so thick she couldn't see more than two feet in front of her, she knew she shouldn't leave. It didn't help that it was dark, the power out from the storm, leaving no lights from town to illuminate the downpour. She had serious doubts that she'd make it the mile to the flat she shared with Mary Margaret. The two miles to the manor home belonging to Mayor Regina Mills would be nigh impossible. But not entirely impossible. Which was why she was attempting it.
She threw one last look at the dark and empty station behind her, hugging her thick Storybrooke Sheriff's Department standard issue insolated rain slicker tighter around her slender body and closed the door, locking it. She turned to face the torrent falling from the sky, pulled up her hood, took a deep breath, and launched herself out in the direction of her cruiser. It would fair the weather better than her bug. She cried out as the cold water took less than a minute to thoroughly soak through her slicker and the hoodie she wore under it, down to her shirt. She made it to the cruiser, fumbling with her keys for just a moment before getting the door open and sliding into the dry interior. She pushed her hood back, launching little water droplets onto the leather of the backseat, taking deep breaths to adjust to the chill in her bones. Why Maine? Of all the places in the world for her son and his adoptive mother to live, why Maine? It couldn't have been Hawaii? No, that was just too much to ask for… sunny skies, white sand beaches, and a tricked out beach house…. Instead she got endless grey, unstoppable downpour, and the coldly modern mini-mcmansion.
She turned the key in the ignition and let out a silent prayer of thanks as the car roared to life, though she couldn't truly hear the roar over the rain, on the first try. She buckled in and pulled back out of the spot. She drove cautiously through the streets, going slow, her eyes flashing across darkened shop fronts and deserted roads. The order had been issued to stay indoors. It was the worst storm their small chunk of Maine had seen in quite some time. She had been sleeping at the station the past two nights in the little back room used for late nights of work when the sheriff or deputy needed to recharge, though she believed that cot made her increasingly more tired the more she tried to nap on it. The tempest over their little hamlet had been insatiable for three days now. It had been three days since she'd seen Mary Margaret, three days since she'd seen Henry, three days since she'd seen Regina.
Regina. It felt so unreal that it had been two years since she'd arrived in Storybrooke with her son in tow, bringing him back to the adoptive mother he'd run from. The Evil Queen. She rolled her eyes at the very thought. For two years, she'd had plenty of time to observe one Regina Mills. And she never once saw an Evil Queen. At times she saw one hell of a wicked bitch, other times she saw a broken woman, sometimes it was a mother just longing for the love of a child who now saw her as a stranger no longer worthy of his trust. Her cutthroat style of leadership over Storybrooke still kept her estranged and distant from the residents of their town, but Emma had devoted her time to insinuating herself into the woman's life. Originally it had been solely for the sake of their son, quite possibly the only thing they'd done right in their adult life; Emma by giving him life and having the decency to know she wouldn't give him the life he deserved, and Regina by being everything a mother should be. But that was no longer her only motive.
She was halfway there now, turning off the main stretch into the maze of residential streets, at the center of which lay her goal.
She wasn't sure anymore what had prompted the truce between them. She was sure if she thought hard enough she'd be able to recall, but she didn't really care to. The point wasn't when things changed, it was that they had. There was still an entire fortress to break through around Regina Mills, but she'd gotten in the gate and that was more than could be said for anyone else in Storybrooke. Now, she had dinner three nights a week with her son and his adoptive mother. She had lunch with Regina any day they could manage it. The mayor's schedule didn't allow for it to be an everyday affair, or even every other day, but it was often enough that they acknowledged what they had as friendship. They still fought, they wouldn't be them if they didn't, but it wasn't as lethal as it was in the beginning. It was almost a game now for them. They'd fling their insults back and forth, but there was no longer any malice in it. And the whole town knew; they'd felt the dynamic change. The Sheriff and the Mayor had become the closest thing to a best friend either woman had ever had.
But Emma wanted to be more than Regina's best friend. She wanted to have dinner with what she considered her family more than three nights a week. She wanted more. But to be more, Regina had to know the truth, the whole truth. Emma couldn't keep the secrets she'd been keeping from her the past year and a half any longer. It was about time she came clean. She pressed down on the gas, suddenly anxious to be there. It was time to tell Regina she loved her and that she was….
The was no warning, no time to notice the car, headlights off as it met the side of the cruiser, rocking the entire vehicle and threatening to send it flipping. But the flooding at the side of the street kept her from going into a side roll. She felt pain sear her shoulder as her body jerked in the seatbelt, her flesh screaming in agony as it strained against the bonds. The car hydroplaned, cutting off her train of conscious thought as the cruiser careened around on the flooded street. The houses, sparse in this part of the neighbourhood, were all dark that she could see and she knew the colliding of cars or the screeching of tires couldn't be heard over the sounds of the storm.
If this were eighteen months, even a year ago, she would have been afraid for her life, sending up prayers to God or whatever higher power that she be allowed to survive this. But that was not what she prayed for now. Instead, she prayed that Regina and Henry would be okay, that Henry would not be crushed and he would go on to be everything she hadn't been, under Regina's guidance, and that Regina would finally find someone who would give her the happy ending that she so desperately sought and deserved. Her only regret in life was that she wouldn't be the one to give it to her.
The car smacked into the pole, collapsing the front as it wrapped around it, pushing the dash in towards her. She felt chunks of plastic and twisted metal bite into her legs. She was probably pinned, but she couldn't tell for sure. The belt strap across her torso ripped sending her careening forward only to be kept from shooting out the windshield by the timely deployment of the airbag. It flung her backwards into her seat, holding her against the leather. She fell against its embrace, exhausted. Her body felt torn in a hundred different directions. She knew better than to try and move it. It would only cause more damage. Someone had to have heard the crash, right? Someone would come.
The windshield was smashed, the downpour coming straight into the car. The airbag blocked her from most of the unforgiving flood, but not all of it. She shivered, then winced as the action sent pain searing through her body. Long minutes passed by with no sound, no movement save the rain.
And then, blessedly, the numbness began to weave its way through her ruined body. Only then did she try to move. Her legs responded to nothing. Her left arm seemed pinned but a shot of pain, sharp but not alarmingly so told her it was reparable. Her right arm, though sore, seemed able to move freely. Her head hurt and her vision blurred in and out. She tried to call out, but her voice didn't seem willing to work. All the pain seemed to fall away and though a part of her was relieved, training had taught her to be more afraid of the numbness than of the pain. Pain meant your body was still responding, numbness meant it was giving up.
And then Emma Swan saw something she never thought she'd see in her life. Regina swam before her eyes, blurring in and out of focus. But not Regina as she knew her. This Regina had long hair and was dressed all in black. She looked like, well, like a queen. The Evil Queen to be exact.
"Princess…" The voice was Regina's, but an octave different. She liked it just as much as the real thing.
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Regina Mills had been mayor of Storybrooke, Maine for thirty years now today. Normally she'd be celebrating such a long reign, but the weather was not permitting. The sky seemed content to spoil all her plans. Communication within town had been reduced to a minimum. Power had been out for the past two days. Luckily the cell towers had maintained through the brunt of the storm, leaving her able to keep minimal contact with… well, mostly with Emma Swan. But no matter, that was the only person Regina was interested in talking to anyway.
She wasn't sure how Miss Swan… Emma, as she now called her without hesitation, Miss Swan only in times of wordplay for the benefit of the town's residents… had worked her way into her heart. She'd learned to tolerate her at first, for Henry's benefit. It was an unsteady truce that revolved around their son. That was all they'd had to talk about at first.
And then one day, she'd looked over into Emma's eyes and had seen something… different. There was no accusation, no threat in those green eyes, just respect, acceptance, and something else Regina hadn't seen in anyone's eyes before. It had caught her off guard and it took her a moment to realise Emma cared about her, truly cared.
An unsteady friendship had blossomed then. She hadn't ever truly had a best friend, or many friends at all. In the days of Daniel, she'd been too sheltered, kept from the outside world by her mother. After she'd married the King, it had been much the same, different jailor, same prison. And once he was gone and she was finally left to her own devices, there was too much hate in her heart to manage anything of the sort. Kathryn Nolan had been the first exception, and though they were still friends to this day, they weren't what anyone, even themselves, would consider close.
But Emma had become her best friend. She preferred her company over that of anyone else in this little world she'd made for them. She was charming and quick-witted. They had more in common than she'd ever imagined and the things they didn't have in common they had fun teasing each other about. Emma teased her about her love of the classics like Casablanca and Breakfast at Tiffany's and she, in turn, teased Emma right back about the blonde's taste for raunchy comedies like American Pie and Old School.
And Henry had been so much better over the past year. He was letting her back into his life, though he still believed her to be the Evil Queen. But Emma's acceptance of her, despite her flaws, had led to a reluctant repairing of their relationship by default. He liked to spend time with Emma and if Emma was spending all of her free time with Regina, it meant he was forced to spend time with Regina too.
She opened his door and looked in on him. She had no idea how he slept so easily with the torrential downpour right outside his window. But he looked peaceful, off in the land of his dreams. She smiled to herself and backed out of the room, closing the door softly and continuing down the corridor to her own room.
There were several candles flickering on various surfaces to provide her with enough light to see. She shut the door and her eyes instantly found the cell sitting on the bedside table. It hadn't been able to charge for three days, so they had been forced to only send occasional updates to each other, not talk. She picked up the phone and unlocked it, bringing up their conversation. She ran her finger across the screen over the words of the last few texts. Emma had made her promise to keep Henry and herself safe and she had extracted much the same, making Emma promise to crash at the station another night rather than risk making it back to Miss Blanchard's flat.
She wasn't really worried, and neither was Emma, that any of them would risk leaving the safety of a building for the outside world. None of them had a death wish.
She crossed to the bureau and grabbed a pair of silk night clothes from the top drawer. She tossed them across the foot of the bed and began to unbutton her blouse. She was on only the third button when she heard it. At first she thought it to be a rumble of especially loud thunder, but the sound was off for that. Then she heard the persistent wail of skidding tires. It was faint, muted by the sound of the rain, but unmistakable. Who in the hell would be driving in this? She grabbed her phone and raced downstairs, grabbing her raincoat. It was madness to go out in this, but someone might be hurt and she was the mayor. The people in this town were her responsibility.
She pulled the blue coat on over her outfit and typed a quick text to Emma, informing her of the accident. She tucked the phone into the inside pocket so it would stay as dry as possible and then zipped the coat up. She grabbed her keys, opened the door, and set out.
She saw a car wrapped around a pole and the car that had obviously t-boned it, sitting abandoned it the middle of the road. She couldn't see whom the cars belonged to from where she was, but as she got closer, she realized she'd never seen the one in the street before, which was odd. The other was so damaged that it was hard to tell, but she saw movement inside. Someone was in there.
As she came up on the right side of the car, the side that didn't appear to have been damaged, bile rose in her throat. Storybrooke Sheriff's Department glared accusingly up at her from the side of the vehicle. "Emma?" The rain drowned out the sound of her voice. She pried open the right door, thankful when it didn't object.
Emma's right arm was undamaged save a couple superficial scrapes, but Regina could see the dashboard was crushed around her legs. It prevented her from seeing them to assess their damage, but she knew it probably wasn't good from the way the blonde's head lolled dangerously back and forth as if she were fighting consciousness.
Regina crawled across the passenger seat, leaning forward, bringing her face close to the blonde's, she urged her to look at her. "Emma…"
Green eyes found hers, focusing, but something about them was distant. She was looking at Regina as if she were seeing her again after a long time apart. But she looked glad to see her. "My Queen."
Regina frowned. "Emma, it's me."
"You're here." The blonde sputtered and her eyes fluttered closed before popping back open.
Regina felt hot wetness on her face and she knew it had nothing to do with the rain. The tears weren't exactly welcome, but she'd deal with them later. "I'm going to get you out of here. You're not going out like this Emma." She released the buckle of the seatbelt and it gave way easily. She grabbed Emma's right arm and put it around her shoulder, wrapping her own arms around the blonde's waist, she lifted.
Emma screamed as excruciating pain shot through her left arm. Her eyes cleared and she saw Regina next to her. "Regina?"
Regina looked into focused green eyes. Blood leaked out from between dry lips in an angry red river. "I'll get you out Emma. Can you move your legs?"
The was a moment of pause where the blonde tried. She shook her head. "I'm stuck."
"No you're not Miss Swan! I will get you out of this car!" Regina wrapped her arms tighter around the blonde's waist.
Regina heard the tone of the blonde's voice. She was conceding the battle. "No! I am getting you out of here. You have a son Emma, you have me. You don't get to give up!"
"I've have something to tell you. It's important."
"Tell me when I get you out." Regina lifted once more.
White hot pain seared through Emma's body and she screamed once more before the blackness took over.
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Regina Mills watched the ventilator as it expanded and retracted, expanded and retracted. It reminded her of an accordion. Regina hated accordions. The sound they made was utterly atrocious. But this accordion she liked. This accordion was keeping Sheriff Emma Swan alive. She could care less what that machine looked like, what images it called forth to her brain, as long as it continued to perform its duties, as long as it continued to breathe for the blonde. Expand, retract, up, down, in, out. The soft whirring of the machine as it deflated had become her soothing lullaby. Emma was alive as long as this song was playing.
It had been three weeks now. Three weeks she'd been without those green eyes that were constantly rolling at her, that voice that was always dripping with sarcasm, the attitude, the tight jeans, the defiance, those irritating leather jackets that she seemed to have an endless supply of. Everything she hated about Emma Swan, that was all that she missed. And she hadn't realized that until she'd had to live without them.
No one knew what she had been doing on the streets during that storm. There was no explanation. Everyone had been ordered to stay inside. Emma had been at the station. She knew because she had texted her on her cell. Emma had made Regina promise that she and Henry would stay safe indoors until the storm had blown through. Regina had done the same and Emma had promised! She had agreed to stay at the station, promising she would only leave if there was an emergency. But Regina had interrogated every citizen in this town. There had been no unusual emergencies, no calls made to Emma's cell. So why had she been out there? And the mysterious car that hit her had been reported stolen weeks earlier by a man in Augusta.
No one saw the accident. No one heard it over the storm. She would have been okay had she not hit that pole. It had squashed straight through the centre of the car as if it were as insubstantial as a soup can. The sheriff had been less than a block from Regina's manor house when she crashed.
There had been so many what ifs thrown around. What if the other driver, still missing and yet unidentified, had helped her? What if someone had heard and stopped the other driver from leaving? No one had seen so no one knew. But the questions tortured Regina every waking moment. She replayed their conversation, trying to remember if she had said anything to imply either her or Henry needed Emma's assistance, but she drew a blank.
She looked up at Dr. Whale.
"Sheriff Glass is on the phone for you."
She rolled her eyes and got up from her seat beside the bed. She easily could recall why she'd wanted Sydney Glass in the position of sheriff over Emma Swan, but now that he was serving as temporary replacement pending Miss Swan's recovery, she found him insufferable in the job. Emma worked from her instincts; she was well suited to a career in justice. Sydney was constantly calling, asking Regina what he should do. She leaned down and pressed a kiss to a pale forehead. "I'll be back."
Dr. Whale pointed to the phone receiver sitting just off its base at the nurses' station. She walked across to the counter and picked it up. "It is between two and five Sheriff Glass. What did I say about the period of time between two and five?"
The voice on the other end of the line stammered as it responded. "That is your private time. You are not to be disturbed unless there is an emergency."
"And what constitutes an emergency?"
"Henry is hurt, the town is under threat of some form of fatal attack, or if I've found the answer to why Sheriff Swan was out in the storm that night."
"I trust that the reason you're calling falls into one of those three categories?" She knew it wouldn't. He wouldn't be stammering so much if that was the case. If he completed a task he thought she'd be proud of, he carried himself with a smug air, his voice smooth and concentrated. But he was the usual nervous wreck he always was.
"It might give us a clue as to why Sheriff Swan left the station that night."
Regina's heart leapt in her chest. "I'll be right there."
"There's something you need to bring with you."
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There had been very few possessions on Emma when she was finally pulled from the crushed car. It was just the clothes on her body, most of which had been destroyed in the crash, torn to shreds by shrapnel and shards of glass, as well as the contents of her pockets and the gun and badge on her belt. When Regina had arrived at the hospital, she had demanded possession of all Emma's personal effects. Henry was Emma's only living relative (legally at least) and therefore next of kin. Since Henry was a minor, as his legal guardian, that responsibility fell to her. No one saw fit to argue the point with her, though Emma very well would, were she conscious. The box's contents had been meager, the badge, the sidearm, a half empty pack of Fruit Stripes gum, a loose solitary antique key, her necklace, and a picture of the three of them taken at Henry's twelfth birthday dinner three months prior.
She clutched the key in her hand now, standing next to Sydney in the sheriff's small office. They were both staring at the carved wooden box on the desk. It was fairly small, a ten inch perfect square, about six inches tall. Its lid was intricately carved with a picture of Snow and Charming's castle, there on the edge of the sea. It was elegant craftsmanship, obviously hand carved, and so blindingly accurate that it could only have been done by someone who'd seen the castle many times. It must have been carved there and brought here with the curse. But how? And how did Emma come to possess it?
"Where did you find it again?" She glanced sideways at Sydney.
"There was a loose brick in the wall over there. It was stashed behind it. I knew the second I saw the lock that the key would fit."
Regina looked at the key in her hand. She was almost afraid of what lay inside this box. If Emma had gone to so much trouble to hide it, it was obviously important. She took a deep breath and stuck the key into the lock. It turned with a little nudge and the lock released, the lid popping open just an inch. She lifted it carefully. The inside of the box was lined with pale green silk. There was only one thing inside it. What appeared to be a small leatherbound novel. Regina gingerly grabbed it and looked at it, turning it gently over in her hands. It seemed unremarkable, just an old-fashioned book. She opened the front cover to the title page and gasped.
"What is it?" Sydney leaned over, the journalist in him instantly intrigued.
Regina snapped the book closed before he could get a peek. "Thank you Sheriff Glass. This will be most helpful in my investigation." She placed the book back into its cradle and closed the box, locking it. She slid the key into her pocket and grabbed for the box.
Sydney held it down on the desk with a firm hand on the lid. "I think you mean my investigation, Madam Mayor."
Her eyes flashed dangerously. "Choose your next actions carefully Mr. Glass. Need I remind you what I'm capable of?" She made no effort to disguise the threat.
His eyes warred between his extreme curiosity and his self-preservation instinct. In the end, survival won out and he removed his hand.
Her eyes narrowed and she snatched up the box and held it close, protectively. "Wise decision. Now if you'll excuse me." She turned and stormed from the room and the station. She slid behind the wheel of her car, setting the box gently in the passenger seat. She glanced at her watch. Henry would be off school by now, but he had taken to spending his evenings with August at the hospital, with Emma. He would just sit with her while he did his homework, talking to her about his day because Dr. Whale insisted there was a possibility she could hear him. She allowed it. How could she deny him when she spent three hours with the woman every single day herself? So she went to a place where, before she became friends with the blonde she wouldn't have been caught dead, but since the accident had become somewhat of a safe haven.
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The brunette schoolteacher wasn't surprised in the least to see her standing on the other side of the door when she answered it. She stepped aside and let Regina enter the flat. As soon as she closed the door, she looked at the mayor, her eyes shifting curiously to the box the woman was clutching as if it were a lifeline. "Would you like some tea?"
Regina shook her head. "No thank you. I'd like to go up there for a while."
Mary Margaret nodded.
"Thank you." She hurried past the brunette without another word and hurried up the stairs. She stopped in the doorway of Emma's small excuse for a bedroom. It was tiny, smaller than the size of Regina's en suite bathroom. She walked slowly over to the bed, her fingers tracing across the worn patchwork quilt, with hotel corners, a product of her time in the system no doubt. Even after two years, this little room was proof positive that Emma was uncomfortable with commitment. The room screamed Mary Margaret Blanchard, there was no real trace of Emma anywhere, even after it became obvious she was staying for the long haul. She sat down on the edge of the bed and grabbed the pillow and brought it to her nose, burying her face against it for a moment. The faintest trace of Emma remained. She inhaled deeply to calm herself and then replaced the pillow. She made herself comfortable and then slid the key out of her pocket, opening the box again. She removed the small leatherbound book and set the box aside on the bedside table. She opened the cover once more and traced the title, written in black ink in Emma's own hand.
Emma's Diary For Regina.
2 November 2011
I don't know how to talk to you without fighting. Maybe it's my head's way of stopping my mouth before I say something stupid. Of course, knowing you, you would say I always say stupid things, rendering the point moot. And then I'd make some smart ass comment right back and presto- another fight. I've only been here a couple months and already I've become part of the small town monotony, predictable in every way.
This book, journal, diary, whatever it's supposed to be is a gift. I have no idea who from. I've asked everyone… okay so everyone consists of Mary Margaret, Henry and Ruby, but who else would send me something so… formal? It's a nice gift, but who would ever think it's my style? I don't want to just toss it aside, out of respect, but I don't really like the idea of writing to a book. Dear Diary… who's this elusive Diary? I've never met him/her. I'd rather write to someone, a tangible someone. And my tangible someone is you, Regina. This diary is for you.
Regina felt her breath catch in her throat. She flipped through the book, skimming the pages in rapid succession. Some of the entries were long, most were short drabbles. Emma Swan had been writing to her? For almost two years? But why? They had been enemies back then. She flipped to the second entry.
5 November 2011
I'm not sure how I'll ever get used to being sheriff. I know technically I'm just temporary, but you have yet to pick a replacement, so I'm guessing I'm it. Never had this much responsibility on my shoulders before. Is this what you deal with every day? Because if so, you gained quite a bit of my respect. I don't think I could do what you do. Scratch that… I don't think anyone in Storybrooke could do what you do.
8 November 2011
Elections?! Really?! You are such a control freak! And yet…. You let your guard down again, with me. And I didn't take advantage. Doesn't that tell you something? I suppose not. You were scared with me, you let me know you were afraid, and I protected you.
I'll admit it felt better than it should have, rescuing you. Being your hero, even if you refuse to consider me as such. It almost made your smear campaign worth it. I think I may be able to be the saviour of fairytale kind, as Henry claims, if I get to save you too.
Regina took a deep breath to calm her emotions as she set the diary down. Miss Swan had been writing her since she became sheriff of Storybrooke. That was over a year and a half ago now. She held her place as she flipped quickly through the rest of the pages once more. There must have been over a hundred entries, very few blank pages were left at the end. She never knew Emma had so much to say to her. Certainly not enough to fill a diary. Besides, she spoke with Emma on a daily basis. Why hadn't she just told her all of this before?
A throat cleared from the door and Regina's head snapped up. August Booth stood in the doorway, staring at her accusingly as she sat there on Emma Swan's bed.
"Mayor Mills." His eyes flashed down to the book in her hands and then back up to hers. "What are you doing in Emma's room?"
Barely disguised hostility flitted across her face. "Privacy, although I see I was mistaken, as your current presence is proof." She reached for the box and placed the diary reverently inside it, closing it and locking it back up. "Where is my son Mr. Booth? I trust you have better judgment than to leave him to run around by himself? Of course maybe I'm giving you more credit than is due." She stood, slipping the key back into her pocket.
"Henry's downstairs. I was walking him home from the hospital when he spotted your Mercedes. If you want privacy, maybe you shouldn't park your car right in front of the building?" He rolled his eyes as she narrowed hers. But when his gaze once again settled on hers, it was almost apologetic. "He's having a bad evening, try and go easy on him yea?"
"Why? What happened?"
"When we were at hospital he went to the bathroom and on his way back, he overheard Dr. Whale discussing Emma's condition." August frowned. "They were discussing pulling the plug. There was a confrontation between your son and the good doctor in the hallway. Henry was pretty broken up about it. He's invested so much hope in Emma… she's his mother." He saw her seething expression and amended. "One of his mothers."
Regina wasn't sure which pained her more, the fact that Henry had overheard the conversation or the fact that Dr. Whale had been discussing giving up hope on Emma Swan at all. "Thank you, Mr. Booth, for bringing him to me."
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"What's this?" Henry stared down at the box she'd asked him to hold while she drove home. His small fingers traced the carving on the top.
"It's something Emma meant to give me." It was entirely a false statement. Emma had addressed the diary to her, even if she hadn't necessarily been intending to give it to her.
Henry glared at her suspiciously, not quite buying the story. But he'd accused his mom of keeping secrets from him so many times that it was pretty much becoming old hat now, not even worth the breath to utter the accusation.
Regina glanced at her son. "I apologise for what you overheard at the hospital today Henry."
The boy grew very quiet, his knuckles going white as they gripped the box harder. "Dr. Whale is stupid, and wrong. Emma's going to be fine."
She reached over and smoothed down his hair. "I want her to get better too Henry, but Dr. Whale is just looking at things from a medical perspective. It's his job to consider all possibilities, including one in which Emma doesn't wake up." She shivered at the mere thought and withdrew her hand. "But don't worry; I will not let them terminate Emma's life support, alright? Look at how many years David was in a coma before he came out of it. Emma will too."
Henry looked at her, hope in his eyes. "Do you really believe that?"
Regina nodded. "Yes, I do." She was grateful that her face didn't betray the doubt in her heart.
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Regina curled up in bed. Her assurances to Henry had seemed to alleviate the worst of Henry's fears but he was still in a funk. Dr. Whale had brought the possibility that Emma might not wake up to the forefront of the boy's mind and that was something not easily rectified. His belief in fairytales was hanging precariously in the balance here. His saviour was lying on a hospital bed in a coma, her future unsure. If she died, where did that leave his plan to save the residents of Storybrooke?
Where did it leave her?
If there was one thing Regina had learned in the past three weeks, it's that life was considerably more dull without her best friend around.
She grabbed the box from it's place next to her on the mattress, unlocking it. She took out the diary and set the box back down. She had already read through most of the entries from when they were still enemies, though she was surprised to find Emma had not truly been as hostile towards her as her actions in person suggested. Now, she had gotten just past the part where August had installed the lock on Mary Margaret's door to keep her out and Emma had threatened to take Henry from her. Regina remembered the time well. She flipped to the next entry. This would have been where things changed. If she couldn't talk to the woman herself, at least she could take a trip into her thoughts.
19 March 2012
I went to see Dr. Whale today. You remember that cough I wrote you about? It turns out it's a little more than a cough. A lot more actually. It's… big Regina. And bad. I've blackmailed Dr. Whale (I found him um, shall we say oddly dressed when Mrs. Finnigan called the other day about a female prowler snooping around her daughter's window) to keep it from you. I know how you are and if you get wind that I've been to see him, you'll be all over it. It would be the perfect thing to tip the scales in your favour, let you keep Henry. Well I'm going to grant your wish. Henry is yours. What kind of life am I going to be able to give him? You were always a much better mother than I could've been. And I know you'll do right by him. I'll stick around for as long as I can manage, as long as this allows me to, and then I'll go.
27 March 2012
I've had some time to think about my options and where I go from here. And everything always comes back to you. I've been trying to deny it all week, and even before that I suppose. It's funny how you always think it's possible to shut off your heart and that will keep you safe from love. It has never worked and will never work. Someone always finds their way in past the walls. Who was I to think I'd be spared the pains of unrequited love? I can't change you or how you feel. I wish I could.
The small journal dropped into Regina's lap. She blinked at it in surprise. Emma had loved her? And what was wrong with her health? She had to find out. She picked up the journal and continued to read on well into the night, never getting the answer she sought, but instead reading how Emma's love for her only grew.
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"Mayor Mills, aren't you a little early today?" Dr. Whale looked up from his seated position behind his desk.
Regina narrowed her eyes at him and closed the door to his office. "I need to know what illness has befallen Miss Swan." Her voice was stern, telling him in tone that she would not be refused.
Dr. Whale looked slightly confused. "I wouldn't really call a comatose state an illness, but…"
"A little over a year ago Miss Swan was diagnosed with something… what was it?" Her teeth clenched together at her mounting frustration.
He paled. "I'm sorry, Mayor Mills, all diagnoses past and present fall under doctor/ patient confidentiality."
"I am her next of kin."
He only seemed to get paler, gulping deeply in the face of her growing anger. "Quite right, which grants you access to all records pertaining to her current condition. This, however, doesn't. I assure you, her coma is a result of the injuries sustained during her car accident three weeks ago, not her previous diagnosis."
Regina slammed her fist on the desk and leaned across it, getting intimidatingly close. "I know all about your gender-bending extracurricular activities and unless you want Mr. Glass to have a new expose for the front page of the next edition of the Mirror, I suggest you tell me what it is I want to know."
He sputtered, looking as if someone had just punched him in the gut. "I… I… She promised you would never know, that no one would ever know!"
"Relax Whale… Miss Swan kept her end of the bargain. I have other methods of finding out useful information. You should know that by now. Right now, I'm the only other individual who knows, but that could easily change. Now, you will tell me what I want to know or should I call Sydney right now?" She pulled out her phone for emphasis of her point.
He stood, waving his arms to stop her. "No, no, don't!" He gave her a wide-eyed stare until she slipped her phone back into her pocket and raised an eyebrow. "Miss Swan came to me for a persistent cough. She assumed it was pneumonia or bronchitis, something easily fixed with the correct anti-bacterial medications."
Regina felt her chest constrict and her hands go numb. "But it wasn't?"
"Miss Swan had tumours in her lungs, most likely from her early twenties when she admitted to smoking heavily."
"Cancer?" She couldn't breathe.
"Yes. We did a biopsy and the cells were cancerous. Miss Swan refused treatment. She had about five years roughly from date of diagnosis before she would succumb."
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12 June 2012
Guess what? I'm in love. I have been since the day our eyes met and her name is Regina. And I'm starting to feel like we may have had a chance, you and me. Just maybe. If only I could, I would tell you how I feel. But I can't.. I wouldn't do that to you. I would never give you a glimpse of a happy ending just to take it from you. Who would be the Evil Queen then?
14 June 2012
Everyday I have you, I'm blessed.
18 June 2012
So last night, or rather, early this morning, I decided that I couldn't wait until the next day to see you and I just showed up on your doorstep, with no explanation, nothing. But you didn't care. You were happy to see me and that was new, for both of us. Maybe you couldn't wait to see me either.
To be in love, perhaps the most glorious of experiences, and I am living it. Things with you have come leaps and bounds from where they were before. While I don't believe you feel quite as strongly as I do, I do believe you care about me. It is a relief to know my time and efforts have not been wasted, especially when time has become so precious. This could be a turning point for us. We've come a long way from where we started Regina Mills.
Regina felt tears sting her eyes. Emma had never said a word. She remembered that morning as if it were yesterday. She hadn't been able to sleep, which was not unusual for her, but considering the circumstances of her day it was strange that particular night. She'd had a good stress-free day at work. Things had been smooth all day, not a worry in the world. The only thing that had been missing from that day was Emma Swan's presence. But it had been enough to keep her from slumber.
When the blonde had shown up, she'd been so relieved to see her. Something had just settled. They'd curled up on the couch and turned on some old movie and within minutes they had both fallen asleep. They'd woken only when they heard the sound of Henry's pounding footsteps coming down the stairs and Emma had stood, acting as if they hadn't just been sleeping against each other and welcomed their son as if she'd just arrived.
At the time she had been content to just pretend right along with Emma. Now she wished she had said something, done something. Maybe if she had, things could have been different for them this last year.
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6 November 2012
I know Dr. Whale told me I have four to five years but I think it might finally be time. I don't like talking about being sick, mostly because that is not how I want you to remember me when you read this. I contacted a lawyer, in Boston so you wouldn't find out, to handle my will. I don't have much of value, sentimental or monetary, but what I do have… I want you to have it. It hasn't been finalized, but if you find this, this is my recording of the fact. I know something's happening. Maybe I've overstayed my welcome in life. I'm just in pain all the time. I can't sleep and that makes it worse. I just want to sleep. I want to sleep so badly. I want to close my eyes and rest, get a break from the pain. I want this to be gone. I just can't imagine my life continuing this way. I have no more energy. I have no one to help me get through nights like this. I want it to be gone. Save you and Henry, I'd pay whatever price. Just you, Henry, and being healthy again. I can live without money and all the other stuff. Just you, Henry, and health. Normal nights, Henry, and you…I can never forget to include you. You and Henry are the reason I'm still alive, the reason I breathe. I fight for you. If you knew I was writing this… but it's the truth. You both are my strength, my courage. You pull me back from the edge every moment of every day. Henry's my son and you… you are my best friend and so much more. Everything in me magnified, everything I am a million times better and everything I could only dream of being. If you asked me to marry you, I'd say yes. If you asked me to run away with you, I'd go, no matter the destination. I could spend all day, every day for the rest of my life listening to your heart beat softly in your chest. That is the sound of my world. And all that I've just admitted terrifies me because you'll never know any of it until it's too late.
7 November 2012
I survived the night.
Regina stood in the doorway, looking down at the still figure on the bed. She'd learned to tune out the beats and blips coming from the various machines. At first, they were all she could hear. But now, after three weeks, they were merely background noise, a constant theme song to the time she spent in this room everyday.
She stepped in, moving towards her normal chair. She came to a stop beside it but couldn't bring herself to sit, preferring to stand next to the bed and stare down at that pale face. At every feature she could have spent her days placing gentle kisses on. Her brow, her eyelids, his nose… her lips. Just the mere thought of kissing Emma Swan seemed so utterly right, that she couldn't comprehend why it had never crossed her mind before.
"Have I missed my chance Emma? Was I so lost that I overlooked my happy ending when it was right in front of my eyes?"
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14 January 2013
I keep having this dream in which I'm sitting on the counter next to you while you cook breakfast for Henry and I and then you insinuate yourself between my legs and you kiss me. It's soft but passionate, not what I expect from you but somehow perfect in its unexpectedness. I wish that could be reality one day but I don't think that's possible.
Dr. Whale has suggested a specialist in Boston. She's supposed to be really good at dealing with my form of… God, I can't even bring myself to write the word… cancer, there I've said it. He gave me a referral. I think she's worth a shot. I have an appointment in three days, on Thursday. Now I just have to think of some excuse to tell you why I'm leaving for Boston.
15 January 2013
Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans. Thank you John Lennon, my sentiments exactly.
18 January 2013
Things are worse than I believed. This oncologist Dr. Whale referred me to, Dr. Masters, would like to do surgery. She believes she can remove all the cancerous cells. She's trying to give me hope. And while I appreciate the gesture, I do not want it. I am too scared of it. I think I might refuse. I know that sounds selfish, what with Henry and you to consider, but I want to have as much time as I can with you. What if I don't survive? Ugh… I cannot think. I cannot get through this without you… I just can't. You're my rock, my reason. How do I make this decision without you?
19 January 2013
Sorry about the text I sent you last night. I hadn't intended on staying in Boston even over night, but Dr. Masters said I should make a decision ASAP. I couldn't go back and look at you and Henry. I have to have a clear head for this. That's why I didn't answer your call. To hear your voice…. I'm so scared to tell you. Your friendship is something given, which suggests it can always be taken away. I just wish I would have cherished it more from the start, cherished you more. But I refuse to regret any of the time we've spent together. This last year has been the best of my life. And all because of you and our son. I could have done forever with you. I want nothing more than forever with you. And I still think we could have forever. That's why I've agreed to do the surgery. I love you Regina, and I always will.
20 January 2013
Not much to report today. I woke up very sick this morning after only three hours of sleep. It seems, even when I'm exhausted, sleep is hard without you. I'll spare you the gory details, but it wasn't very pretty. I miss your voice. My surgery is Monday. I'll call you tomorrow evening, Henry too.
Regina remembered the conversation well.
She jumped for her cell phone when it rang. It had been four days since she'd heard anything more than a couple vague lines of text from Emma. Just a quick message to say that circumstances were keeping her in Boston. "Hello?" She was breathless.
"Hey, it's me."
"Emma, are you still in Boston?"
"Yea Regina. I'm going to be here for two more weeks. I'm staying with a friend."
"Two weeks? Why?"
There was pause. "My friend's really sick. She has to go in for surgery and she, uh, lives alone so she needs someone to look after her while she recovers enough to perform day to day activities."
"I thought you said you didn't have any friends?"
"Not any friends, I said I didn't have many friends… I did retain a few from my time here. I'm not that socially awkward Regina."
There was something in the blonde's voice that gave Regina pause. She sounded almost… scared. "I could come to Boston for a couple days."
There was an excruciatingly long pause. "I'm not sure that's a good idea Regina. I don't want to overwhelm her by bringing a stranger around."
Regina tried to hide her disappointment behind her usual mask of attitude. "Very well, Miss Swan."
She heard Emma sigh. "If I didn't think it would overwhelm her, I would say yes Regina. I miss you."
Regina's eyes fell closed, a smile forming on her lips. "I miss you too Emma."
"I should tell Henry."
"I'll get him."
The brunette stopped, bringing the phone back to her ear. Emma sounded so desperate. "Yes?" She heard only silence on the other end, and then a choked sound that sounded almost like the beginnings of a sob. "Emma? Talk to me."
"You're my best friend Regina and I…" There was yet another silence as if the blonde was struggling to find the right words. "I want…I mean I lo… I'm really glad Henry and you found each other, and that you've let me be a part of your life this past year and a half. I know it wasn't always the easiest for you."
"Emma…" She searched her mind for her own right words. Four days apart had been madness. How would she handle two more weeks? "Come home to us soon." It sounded too vulnerable for something a best friend would say so she quickly tossed in a buffer. "Henry misses you. I'll get him for you." Feelings had never been her strong point. That had never been as glaringly apparent as it was now.
5 February 2013
I'm coming home to you. I'm coming home to you cancer-free. But the best thing baby… I have time… plenty of time.
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She stared at the second to last page of the diary. This was it. All she had left was Emma's last entry, dated the day of her crash. It wasn't long, but Regina prayed it would tell her why Emma had risked going out in the storm. And yet, part of her was terrified to read it. Did she really want to know? Of course. But was she ready to read what could possibly be the last words Emma would ever have for her? Hardly. The thought made her stomach turn. She took a deep breath and slowly flipped to the final page.
22 August 2013
Today is my thirtieth birthday, and I can think of only one thing I want. Two years ago I wished to not be alone on my birthday and Henry knocked on my door and changed my life forever. Today I make the same wish, but a little more specific. I wish to not be alone, but together with you. I love you Regina. I'm finally not afraid of that. I want to be with you. I want to be everything you think you don't need. I love you. I can't wait another minute. I have to tell you. I love you. And right now, I'm going to take that first step, I'm going to drive those two miles to your front door, I'm going to stand on your porch in the pouring rain… and when you open the door, I'm going to kiss you and I'm going to tell you. I love you. I know that now. And in a few minutes, you'll know it too.
Regina felt her heart stop in her chest. She had been coming to her. That was why she'd been out in the storm. She had been coming to her. Because she loved her, and she wanted her to know it. She had been coming to her.
The scream that ripped itself free of Regina's throat held so much anguish, so much pain, that anyone who heard it would have no doubts about her devastation.
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Mary was surprised to see Regina at her door so late, but even more surprised to see how unkempt she was. The normally well put together mayor was a mess. Her hair was mussed and unstyled, her silk shirt and slacks were both wrinkled. She looked as if she'd just thrown on the first clothes she found, maybe she had.
"Did you know?" Regina held up the object in her hand.
Mary Margaret hadn't noticed the small leatherbound book before that moment. It seemed familiar, but she couldn't recall where she'd seen it before. She ushered the other brunette into the flat and then closed the door, pulling her robe tighter around herself. "Know what?"
Regina looked lost somewhere between rage and devastation. "Did you know about this?" She held up the book again.
"On what that is." Mary Margaret looked curiously at the book.
"It's Emma's diary."
Mary Margaret raised an eyebrow. "Huh." She looked thoughtful. "Emma never really struck me as the diary type, but it makes sense. She was a very private person; she had to have some way to express her feelings. But to answer your question, no, I didn't know. How did you find that? Did you take it from her room when you were here last week?"
Regina ignored the question. "Did you know she was sick?"
"Sick?" Mary Margaret moved to the kitchen. If Regina wasn't going to let her go back to sleep, she needed tea. She put some fresh water in the kettle and put it on the heat.
"Emma had stage 2 lung cancer."
Mary Margaret was glad the kettle wasn't still in her hand or it would have been crashing to the ground. "What?!"
"She was diagnosed over a year ago."
"Why didn't she tell me?"
The schoolteacher had been talking more to herself than to Regina, but the older woman pursed her lips and responded anyway. "As you said yourself Miss Blanchard, Emma was a private person. If her diary entries are anything to go by, she didn't see fit to burden us. Tell anyone in this town and within a week it would have reached Henry's ears. Our son is only twelve. Look how he's reacting to the aftermath of her accident, now imagine him having to watch her slowly die. He's strong, but he's not invincible." She ran a hand through her tousled hair. "Did you know how she felt about me?"
"Anyone paying attention knows she's in love with you Regina. If you were able to see past the end of your own nose, you'd know it too." The kettle started to whistle and Mary Margaret removed it from the heat. "We always knew it wasn't a matter of if, but when with you two."
Regina frowned. Had she really been the only one oblivious to it? "Yes well… it seems my chances are slipping farther and farther away. She doesn't seem to be getting any better."
Mary Margaret nodded. She gestured to the tea kettle in silent askance and Regina shook her head, declining the offer. The schoolteacher frowned to herself. "Too bad Henry isn't right about us all being fairytale characters. If we were, solving this whole mess might just be as simple as true love's kiss."
Regina's eyes went wide. That was it! "Miss Blanchard, for once, you're right."
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Dr. Whale stood next to the mayor. "You realize the risk if this doesn't work?"
"It will work." Regina gave a firm nod. It had to work. There were no other options left to her. Emma loved her. She loved Emma. The acute pain in her chest was proof positive of that. She would have Emma Swan. She'd do anything, risk anything. Even this. They were meant to be; they had to be.
Dr. Whale shifted uncomfortably. "Sign here then." He held up the termination of life support forms.
Regina took a deep breath and scrawled her signature on each of the copies, all the while repeating the mantra that this would work. True love transcended worlds; it would work even here in this magicless place; it had to. Emma's life depended on it.
Dr. Whale took the signed forms and handed them off to a nurse. "Okay, it's time to extubate her."
Regina stood by his side as he removed the ventilator, and pulled out her tracheal tube.
Emma's chest gave a few weak attempts to rise and fall in a normal rhythm before going still. The monitors blared out her respiratory distress until the doctor reached up and turned the alarm off.
Regina took a deep breath. She could do this. She put a hand gently to Emma's cheek and leaned down. Slowly, her lips met the soft, unresponsive one's belonging to the blonde on the bed. Even with no reciprocation, Regina could tell this kiss was different. She was meant to be kissing Emma Swan and only Emma Swan. The knowledge gave her hope and, as tears began to rain down freely from her eyes, she pressed her mouth more greedily to the comatose woman's.
Clear energy rippled out from their embrace, passing through Regina's body like a shot of pure warmth and then continued outward in all directions. She knew then that the curse had been broken; the saviour had finally fulfilled the role put on her at birth.
Images flashed in front of Regina's eyes and she was forced to close her eyes against the onslaught. She watched as a future flashed in front of her eyes, visions of Emma in the Enchanted Forest, of their bodies tangling in bed, of Henry grown and younger children still, with Emma's eyes and her own complexion. The future she was meant to have, her happy ending, played out like a movie on fast forward. She forced her eyes open and they were instantly met with light green. Emma was seeing it too; she could tell by the look on her face. Regina felt her heart lift. "I love you."
The barest hint of a smile ghosted across Emma's pale face and she exhaled once, a breath of life departing. Her eyes slipped back closed.
Regina shook her head. No this wasn't right. "No, Emma, baby, no, no, no. Wake up. Emma, darling, wake up." She looked over her shoulder at a stunned Dr. Whale. "Help her!"
The medical staff shook off their disorientation at the demand in her voice and jumped into action, pushing Regina out of the way.
She watched in disbelief as they tried to bring the blonde back to life, shouting commands. The world drowned out for Regina. Emma had seen their future too. She knew that Regina loved her. She was the White Knight. She had to come back right? Right?
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Henry trudged down the stairs, happy to finally be out of his stuffy clothes and in his Batman pajamas, Emma's favourite. He crossed the dark foyer to the den, the only room where the light was still on. His mom must be up. He entered and saw her asleep on the couch, her heels on the floor next to the couch, a leather book open, steepled across her lap. He walked over, eyeing the embossed words on the cover: Regina's Diary For Emma. He picked it up gingerly with one hand, holding it open to its place and used his other hand to pull the small lap blanket over Regina's body, still in the black dress she'd been in earlier. He kissed her forehead. He was about to close the book and set it down on coffee table when his curiosity got the better of him. He opened it to the page it had been open to. Under the day's date there were only four words written in Regina's careful hand.
29 September 2013
We buried you today.