A/N: last chapter! Thanks for all the wonderful reviews! XD
As she neared the newly established battlegrounds, Regina could practically smell the metallic scent of blood. The worst images flashed through her mind and Regina forced the mare to pick up speed. The sound of fighting reached her ears, making her feel a little sick to her stomach.
A loud roar indicated that the Jabberwocky was still rampaging throughout the area, occasionally pausing to breath electric amethyst flames, disintegrating all in its way.
Rose Red stood, practically paralyzed before the Jabberwocky. It was sniffing the air, as if it had detected an airborne creature. But upon finding nothing, it looked down at Rose Red.
Keep calm Rose and carry on, Rose Red thought to herself. The worst thing to do in this situation was to hesitate and that was just what she was doing. She could not simply stand there.
The breath of the Jabberwocky was rotten and foul, like that of a burning corpse. It was enough to make Rose Red gag. She felt the bile creep up her throat and Rose struggled to keep down the vomit. Not wanting to waste any more valuable time, she bolted out of the way.
She dived to the ground, hissing in slight pain. She really wished she was fighting in armor. But those thoughts of pain relinquished her mind when Rose realized that she was now on the ground beside her Jeremy. But it wasn't Jeremy, it was his corpse.
Choking back a sob, Rose Red scrambled to a standing position. Now was not the time to be weak. Looking around, she saw that it was just her and the Jabberwocky. Everyone else was dead.
Regina, when she felt she was close enough to the ongoing battle, got off the horse and ran the rest of the way. Her heart was thudding in her chest. She wanted to find Rose, hopefully alive, and hug her tightly.
Trying to stay positive, Regina swore to herself that she would take Rose Red back home to the castle on the horse and make love to her until dawn. She wouldn't care if the whole castle would hear the screams of pleasure, she would let Rose Red know just how much she was missed, just how much she was loved.
The ground was beset with bodies of fallen knights, both of King Leopold's men and the Red Queen.
For a brief moment, Regina wondered how in the world all of the Red Queen's men managed to come to this world.
It had been a boring, rainy day some time ago when Regina wandered through the library in the castle and picked up an informational book about Wonderland. It seemed that the way to Wonderland and back was through a mirror. But there was a catch. The same number of people could leave through the mirror as the number of people who came through the mirror, no more, no less.
And then Regina recalled overhearing King Leopold talk with one of the knights that a powerful enchantress was called upon by the Red Queen to temporarily lift the charm on the mirror for the occasion of the battle. That certainly explained how the training camp Rose Red went to was attacked.
Regina felt her anger towards King Leopold grow. Not only did he favor Snow White and shower her with unconditional love while she, Regina, his wife, stood in the corner, fading into the background; Leopold deliberately sent Rose Red away to this battle, possibly to her death.
She couldn't back down. Her own life and the life of the kingdom were at stake. Rose Red boldly stepped towards the Jabberwocky, sword drawn. She knew it would do no good to attempt to kill the beast, but it wasn't impossible to maim it.
Rose Red raised her sword, prepared to throw it at the Jabberwocky's heart, hoping to pierce it. On the count of three, she mentally told herself. One, two…
With a sharp intake of breath, Rose Red spun around to face whoever had called her name. "Regina," Rose Red breathed.
In that moment of hesitation, the Jabberwocky spread its translucent wings, the veins clearly visible. The ghastly creature let out an ear piercing roar before taking flight, back to its homeland where it would take refuge until the destined Frabjous day when it would meet its match.
Rose's sword dropped to the ground with a loud clatter as she just stared and stared at Regina. Rose wasn't sure if her stepmother was really there.
Tentatively, Regina took a step towards Rose. Suppose it was just her mind playing tricks on her?
These thoughts of all of this being a hallucination were pushed aside when Rose Red was suddenly right in front of her. Without hesitation, Rose Red placed her lips against Regina's in a long, drawn out kiss.
"I was so afraid I would lose you," Regina confessed in a whisper, her lips still against Rose's.
Rose Red pulled back just a few centimeters. "Never will you lose me. No matter what happens, no matter what anyone tells you, I love you."
Regina captured Rose Red's lips in another kiss before saying, "I love you, too."
And then it happened.
Regina would never know how fast or how slow it all happened, all she would remember was that it did happen.
Rose's body jerked slightly. It seemed to be just a minor flinch. But Regina felt something weird, like a sharp tip gently poking her stomach. Looking down, Regina saw that a tip of a sword as indeed poking the tip of her stomach gently. What worried her was the sword's blade was protruding from Rose Red's abdomen.
The sword disappeared from its place in Rose Red's body as the Knave of Hearts retracted it. The smirk that was upon his face was devilish. It was blatant that he took pride in what he had just done.
Before Regina could react and harm the Knave of Hearts, he turned on his heels and took off towards a portal that had appeared out of seemingly nowhere. It was a portal back to Wonderland and Regina watched with horror as the portal closed, disappearing. The Knave of Hearts got away.
There was no time to think about that though. Regina's main concern was Rose Red.
Rose Red had grown limp in Regina's arm. It was almost too easy to miss the life leaving her once vibrant green eyes.
"Rose," Regina choked out. She was struggling supporting Rose Red so she gently lowered Rose and herself to the ground. She adjusted so that she was kneeling, holding Rose Red in her lap. "Rose, please stay with me." The Queen kept pleading for Rose to stay with her, but it was no use.
The blood was starting to seep through Rose Red's clothes. It was plain to see that the princess was struggling to breathe as her life slipped away from her.
Tears slid down Regina's cheeks. "You shouldn't have gone to battle! You should've at least worn armor! Why, Rose? Why did you leave me?" Regina closed her eyes, causing more tears to escape. As the sobs wracked her body, she held Rose close.
"I… I…" Rose Red tried saying. Regina was sure to listen close since Rose Red's voice was so soft.
But Regina was left disappointed when Rose Red didn't continue. "You… what darling? Tell me, please, tell me," she urged the princess.
"Love you," Rose uttered weakly. "N-no matter what h-happens, n-no m-matter what an-anyone t-tells you," and then the light left her eyes.
Rose was gone.
"I will always love you," Regina finished for the now dead Rose Red.
She kissed Rose Red's sweet lips. Her body trembled as she cried. No, it wasn't just crying. Regina sobbed her heart out.
Mary Margaret Blanchard sighed to herself as she clutched her lesson book to her chest, walking out of the school to go home. It had been a long tiring day at work and she couldn't wait to go home to get a nice cup of hot chocolate with whip cream and cinnamon.
As she headed to her car, two high school girls walking home passed her. One of them was a pretty blonde girl, the stereotypical popular high school student. The other girl made Mary Margaret do a double take.
She couldn't have been more than seventeen and her eyes were a surprising green. What had caught the fourth grade teacher's attention was how red the seventeen year old girl's hair was. It had to have been as red as a rose. But when she had done her double take, Mary Margaret saw that it was just red hair dye, the dark brown roots that had begun to show giving it away.
Shaking her head, Mary Margaret got into her car. While she started up the vehicle, she wondered why the girl had briefly caught her interest. But seeing her made a sense of familiarity spark in the teacher. As if she had seen a girl just like her before…
Ridding her mind of the thoughts, Mary Margaret drove home.
It was Thursday and the mayor of Storybrooke was overwhelmed with paperwork. She glanced to the clock and sighed quietly. The paperwork would have to wait. There were more pressing matters at hand.
Every Wednesday, Regina Mills went to the cemetery to visit her father. Every Thursday, she went to visit the grave of someone else whom she held dear at one point in her life.
Upon leaving Town Hall, Regina saw the same teenage girl Mary Margaret had seen, though the girl was by herself now. The mayor couldn't help but stare. She knew that this seventeen year old was not the girl she wished it was, but still she stared.
"Rose," Regina whispered quietly to herself. Shaking her head, she went to her car, the flowers already in the backseat.
The drive to the cemetery felt as if it took forever. It was completely worth it though, Regina knew. It was always worth it.
As always, there was no one else in the cemetery at that time of day. That was one of the reasons why Regina chose that particular time and that particular day. She wanted to be alone during this time. Besides, she couldn't let people see her cry.
The headstone hadn't moved. It never did. It always stayed right where it was. She always stayed right where she was.
Biting her lower lip, Regina set the flowers down on the ground in front of the headstone. "I love you," she whispered sadly. "Remember that. No matter what happens, no matter what anyone tells you, I will always love you."
Regina spent a few more minutes at the cemetery, just watching the headstone. But she had to get back to work. Storybrooke wasn't going to run itself after all.
So the mayor turned around and slowly made her way back to her car.
The flowers she left leaning against the headstone were a rather unusual arrangement. One red rose amongst many white roses were leaning against the headstone that read: