Title: Coveting (2)
Disclaimer: These characters are not my creative property
Summary: "Sometimes you don't have to necessarily spend a lot of time with somebody to have exchanged a lot of yourself and taken away parts of them that become a part of your body map. That sort of becomes written, tattooed on you in some way. And it can't be seen visibly, but it's felt internally." –Tori Amos
Emma had always wondered about the woman who had adopted the baby. Even while her belly swelled she pictured the life he would have with her. She never really thought about him directly, it was too painful. She had chosen to sever the maternal bond before it was even formed. She let herself imagine the woman who had taken her place. Her son's provider and support: his true mother.
How he fit in her arms. Did she read him stories and rock him to sleep? The pride she must feel as her child reached each of life's many milestones: his first step, his first word, first day of school. Did she feel like he was growing up too fast? Did she cherish the time they spent together playing in the park or baking cookies? Was she raising him to become a respectful and honorable man?
She had willingly given her flesh and blood to a total stranger, trusting her more than she trusted herself.
Emma had never been one to second guess. She lived life in a straight forward line. She hovered in the present, and had never felt the pain of regret from her decision. He was never really hers anyway. Given up, before he was given away. At no time during her pregnancy or post-partum had she claimed the child. Her solace came from the knowledge that he would have a chance at a better life. She took comfort that her son would know love that she wasn't capable of giving; the depth of which she had never herself known.
When the baby, no- the boy, appeared at her door, she couldn't even bring herself to call him by name. A name Emma didn't choose.
I don't have parents, just a mom and she's evil. She doesn't love me she only pretends to.
Emma refused to believe him. She had to see for herself. She was trained to read people; to know instinctively if they spoke the truth. Even tear stained and red, Regina's dark eyes were impenetrable.
In each of their subsequent meetings, Emma constantly searched those eyes for clues, clinging to flashes of vulnerability. Regina seemed ageless. She displayed confidence and bravado, and was all too quick to snap. Regina revealed the most when she thought Emma wasn't looking. Emma glimpsed her innate passion and raw desire. Those eyes had a hold over Emma, when fixed on her they caused involuntary shivers to course through her. She was warned to fear the mayor, but she didn't. What she felt was something else. All too often she felt prickles of recognition in the other woman: the loneliness, the helpless desperation when Henry was in danger.
Emma was amazed to find she couldn't compartmentalize her emotions when it came to Regina. Everything rolled and stuck together in a big gooey mish mashed ball of bleeding rage and infuriating longing. The more Regina pushed, the more Emma needed to pull. She needed distance; she needed to find breathing room to sort the jumbled foreign emotions that scratched insistently at her insides. The uncontainable outpour broke forth when Henry fell unconscious.
It was only when Emma realized her own love for her son, breaking the curse and bringing him back to the waking world with the kiss of true love, did she finally know with certainty the answer to her original question.
Henry, no matter what you think, no matter what anyone tells you, I do love you
Regina's shining eyes were trained on Henry. Always her son. Blind, unbreakable: love.