Author's Note: Ignoring the fact that Regina does truly love Henry and she would never hurt him intentionally, I hope you enjoy it.
"I shall destroy your happiness, if it is the last thing I do," she snarled. She gave them a nasty smile, whirling around, her cape floating in the wind.
"Hey!" Prince James screamed.
She turned around, her face impassive. He threw his sword, and their was a collective gasp from the guests, but as soon as the sword hit her, she dissolved into purple smoke.
Henry gazed down at the book, intently studying the picture of Charming and Snow hugging one another fearfully. He looked through the window, liking the lights of the city. He closed the book softly, not wanting to wake the passenger beside him. He hugged the book to his chest protectively, but he wasn't sure if he was protecting the book, or his chest.
"Is that a good book?" the woman across the aisle asked conversationally. He jumped in fright. She gave him an apologetic smile. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to scare you."
He gave her a small smile in return, but it wasn't happy. He was tired from the bus ride and he didn't feel like talking. He gave her a look. "This is more than just a book." It was his life, it was his family's life. It was the answer to his prayers, it was his saving grace, however you wanted to put it. This book was important.
"Oh?" She laughed at his enthusiasm.
The bus driver announced their stop and he was pleased with how convenient the timing was. He didn't want to talk to this woman. "This is my stop," he informed. He put the book in his backpack, zipped it up, and swiftly left the bus.
He was amid a crowd of people. They were all swarming around him. It was overwhelming. The city lights were bright, the people loud and rude. More than once he was shoved by an adult, but he was used to it. It took him a couple of minutes to find a cab, having never seen one before besides on TV. Storybrooke was that small.
He knocked on the window and the black man gave him an incredulous look before rolling the window down. "Uh, do you take credit cards?" he asked, holding up the small piece of plastic.
The man smiled. "Where to, chief?"
The ride took too long for his liking and the driver kept trying to strike up a conversation. He was all too happy to leave the car, his backpack hoisted up high on his shoulders and the piece of paper where he scribbled her address crumpled in his hand.
He took the stairs, trying to prolong the encounter. She was important, she was the Savior. Daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming. But she was also his mother and he didn't want to face up to the fact that this woman gave him up. Why? Because she didn't love him.
His hand shook when he reached up to ring the door bell. He stopped sticking out his point finger and laid his palm flat against the button before pulling away. His heart beat was pounding in his ears and their was sweat on his palms.
The door swung open, revealing a tall blonde woman in a pink dress. He had to crane his head to see her. She looked just like Ms. Blanchard and the coma patient he read to on Sunday mornings. She was pretty and she was his mother and she was also gazing into the empty hallway questioningly, before ducking her head and finding him.
"Uh," she said. "Can I help you?"
He steadied himself before speaking in a voice that, proudly, didn't shake. "Are you Emma Swan?" He knew she was. He could see bits of himself in her, and bits of her in Ms. Blanchard and who the nurses called John Doe.
"Yeah. Who are you?"
He looked down, bracing himself, before looking up. "My name's Henry. I'm your son." Before she could say anything, he ducked under her arm and into the doorway, not wanting to be rejected.
"Whoa, hey kid! Kid. Kid!" He ignored her as he gazed at her apartment. "I don't have a son." Liar. "Where are your parents?"
He was looking out the window now, but turned around to ask her, or more like remind her, "Ten years ago, did you give up a baby for adoption?" She gave him a look. A look of fear and overwhelming that he was all too familiar with. "That was me," he said quietly.
"Give me a minute," she requested. She turned around and ran into another room, shutting the door firmly.
He knew she needed time, so he settled himself against the kitchen island, looking at the vanilla frosted cupcake longingly. He hadn't eaten in a while. Or drank anything. He sighed. He could go a little while longer. Maybe she would be nice and offer him something.
He didn't hear her walk out of whatever room she had ducked into, so when she gently placed a hand on his shoulder, he jumped. He would have jumped regardless if he saw it coming. He didn't like touching. Ever.
"Kid, where are you parents?" she asked quietly.
He looked up at her, into the kind eyes of her father. He had his grandmother's eyes. Or maybe his father's for all he knew. He never met his father, obviously. "I—I—" He wanted to tell her about the book, about her being destined to save the town, but all he could think about was his adoptive mother, and how he didn't want to go back to her. He had planned to get her to go back to Storybrooke with him, but he couldn't, not yet.
"Oh, kid," she murmured, her voice soft. She leaned down to his height. "Henry, what are you running from?"
He looked into her eyes, again reminded by the compassion he had read of her father, of his grandfather. Unlike his brother, Charming was kind. James had been raised as a royal, and acted just like the king. But Charming had been raised by his mother, barely scraping by on their farm. He had been selfless giving himself up to save his mother. He had a feeling Emma had inherited his nature, as well as Snow's, who was notoriously known for being the fairest of them all, both on the inside and out.
He slipped his backpack off his shoulders and started to unbutton his pea-coat. He placed the coat on the counter and lifted up his shirt silently. She gasped. There was a small cluster of bruises on his chest, as well as red hand print on his arm.
"Oh, Henry," she whispered, heartbroken. Her hand trembled as it ghosted across his chest, barely touching, but he flinched anyway. "Was it someone from your school?" She hoped it was, because if it wasn't, it would be all her fault. He shook his head. Oh God. With one hand to her mouth, she used the other to, gently, so as to not scare him, pull him into a hug, where he immediately burst into tears.
She had never been good at comforting. She herself had been abused. Life in the system wasn't a pleasant one. Her social worker never seemed to listen and the adults that abused her were always good at putting on a show around other people. She did what she thought was right, maternal instinct, perhaps? She didn't know. But she rubbed his back until his tears stopped and held him in her arms until he stopped shaking. They split the vanilla cupcake and each got a mug of cocoa. Cocoa had always been a comfort food for her and it seemed to do the trick with Henry, too.
"My teacher likes cinnamon in her cocoa, too," he murmured, his hands curled tight around the warm cup. They were on the couch, Henry curled into himself and Emma sitting close. It must be a family thing, he mused. He wondered if John Doe liked cinnamon in his hot chocolate as well.
"Are you and your teacher close?" she asked, hoping he had someone in his life that he could trust.
He smiled a little bit and nodded. "She's like a grandma to me." He laughed, but she didn't get it. Of course she didn't. He really did need to explain.
"That's great!" she said, trying to sound enthusiastic. She sighed. "Do you want to talk about it?"
He shrugged. "Not really." She frowned. "But I will." He settled himself against the couch, getting comfortable. He shifted his grip on his drink before starting his story. Unlike the others, his story wasn't important. It wasn't in the book, immortalized like all of the others, but he told the story like he would any fairytale.
He was adopted at a month old and he did believe she loved him. Why else would she adopt him? She had wanted a child, preferably one who looked like her late fiance. He didn't know when it had changed to be honest, because bruises, nasty words, and threats was all he knew for as long as he could remember. But change it did, despite that, at some point, he knew she loved him. He didn't know how or why it changed, his guess was that Rumpelstiltskin told her the truth. The truth that he was no random child, but the grandson of Snow White and Prince Charming. Perhaps she was angry at the deal, or maybe she wanted to exact her revenge in a different way. Or maybe she just stopped loving him, her broken heart turned black as her mother's. He didn't voice his magical theories to Emma, knowing it wasn't the right time.
The physical abuse never hurt as much as the mental. Her hands lashing out was rare, and when she did it, it was never in a place that people could see. The bruises were always hidden by his clothes, much like his feelings were hidden by a smile. He wasn't happy, he was never happy, but he pretended to be. For their sake or his, he didn't know. She only hit him when she was angry enough. Most of the time he didn't have to say anything to provoke her. It might have been a bad day and he would open his mouth and she would hit him to shut him up. Her preferable method was her foot, which was always clad in some type of pointy, high healed shoe that hurt like a mother. The only time she slapped him was when she was younger and it was deemed fit to give him spankings. But then he grew older and as a big boy, he could take the big boy punishment. The red hand marks on his arms were nothing, she just grabbed him too tightly, it was nothing compared to the kicking. He was only happy she didn't have magic.
The mental abuse was something else. Henry was a smart kid, he knew that what she was doing wasn't right. If he wanted her to stop he needed to get help, preferably from someone who's mind couldn't be altered by the curse. He had read up on books at the library about abuse, the librarian always giving him confused looks, but he ignored her. He realized what she did to him was a form of mental abuse and he didn't like it. He tried to ignore her bitter words, but they cut deep. It was the tone of voice she used that made it even worse. She didn't yell, she spoke calmly, rationally, with a slight smirk twisting her lips. He was worthless, that's why his mother gave him up, because he could never do anything right. His mother didn't love him, she would never want a child who whined like him. Who always screwed up, who couldn't follow simple directions, who couldn't get high enough grades, the list was endless. That's why he never ventured to find her, until now, until he read the book, front and back, twice.
She wasn't a drunk, so he knew what she did was intentional. And maybe, a little tiny part of him sympathized with her. She had also been abused. Her mother had said awful things to her, did awful things to her with her magic. It was Daniel's death that was the straw that broke the camel's back. The fact that Snow White had betrayed her, it was too much, and her heart turned black as she exacted her revenge, but it was never enough. It wasn't enough until she had every single person trapped in that hell, all of their happy endings ripped away from them. Even though he understood where she was coming from, he couldn't deal with it anymore. There was no rationalizing, not with her. She was the Evil Queen. Emphasis on the evil part.
"I just want her to stop," he murmured and it broke her heart. "My chests hurts so bad." He didn't acknowledge that his heart hurt, too, but she heard it loud and clear.
"Henry," she whispered. "look at me, please." He did. "I loved you, with all of my heart. The minute I laid eyes on you."
Tears formed in his eyes. "Then why did you give me up?"
"I wanted to give you the best chance," she explained, her voice cracking. "I was eighteen, I couldn't take care of you the way I should have been able to. But you listen to me," she said earnestly. "I would have never gave you up if I knew this was going to happen. I thought I was doing what was right, I never would have guessed that this would happen to you. I didn't want this to happen to you."
Ignoring his adoptive mother's words in the back of his mind, taunting him, he listened to Emma. "Okay. I believe you."
"I am going to get you help. You will not live with her any longer, okay?"
He had drank all of his cocoa, a nervous habit of his, so he set his cup down on the coffee table and nervously looked at Emma. He reached his hand out hesitantly to grasp hers. "I trust you," he murmured truthfully. "Completely."
She was touched by his words, and squeezed his hand. "Thank you."
Neither trusted easily. Emma because so many people left her, and the people who were supposed to protect her, were the ones who hurt her. Henry trusted no one but his grandparents. Everybody in the town was Regina's play thing. Not only had Regina lost his trust, but she could get anyone she wanted to hurt him as well. She was that powerful. If he couldn't trust the person who raised him, who could he trust?
He could trust Emma, that was a fact.