AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is my first attempt at a fanfiction story, and the first attempt I've made at writing anything in quite a while. It's not beta-d either, so please be gentle, but all reviews/criticisms are encouraged and appreciated. I would love to know what you guys think. T for some violence and language right now, may be bumped up to M in future chapters. This WILL be a Swan Queen story, just bear with me through the first bits.
Regina felt the wave of magic flow through her, closing her eyes and reveling in the feel of pure heat and power coursing through her veins for the first time in twenty-eight years. She felt elated, energized, completely transformed from the moment of weakness she'd just been through, heart-broken at losing once again, losing the curse, losing her power, losing her son. Now, she knew, she could get him back.
And then, just as sudden as it came, it was gone. As the last wisps of purple smoke fled the room, the magic drained right back out of her. Her eyes snapped open, staring at her hands, feeling deflated once again. She tried desperately to cling to the energy, to hold onto it, closing her eyes again and putting her hands together, concentrating on creating a ball of fire. A quick spark, a burst of air, and it fizzled out, leaving her feeling even more spent than before. She cursed under her breath and started pacing, alternatively staring at her hands and attempting small spells, trying to move various things around her room. It was no use. She was powerless.
Growling in frustration, she stalked down the stairs, trying to decide on what to do. If she was quite honest with herself, she had no idea what came next. She had no idea why the curse breaking hadn't transported them back, whether everyone had already fully regained their memories or some came quicker than others, how to get Henry back with no magic and a town full of very angry subjects who were sure to gather and come knocking down her door with pitchforks at any moment.
Almost as if on cue, she heard the faint beginnings of the roar of a crowd in the distance. She looked out a window as she passed, no pitchforks, but there were a few torches. "Oh good Gods" Regina thought to herself, "Are they going to burn me on the stake? Torch the house? Could they get any less original? Pathetic."
After a moment of deliberation, she decided she would go out and face them. No sense hiding away like a vagrant. If she was going down, she wasn't going down without a fight, magic or not. As the crowd passed into the perimeter of her property line, Regina crossed through the foyer and flung open the door, charging out scowling, before the sight she came upon on her doorstep stopped her dead in her tracks, heart dropping through her stomach. No. It couldn't be.
But it was. Standing calmly not three feet away from her was a dark-haired woman Regina long thought she had escaped.
"Hello, my dear daughter."
Regina grasped the side of the door frame to support herself, suddenly finding holding her own body upright a most difficult task. "Mother," she gasped out, eyes wide with shock. How in the hell did she get here? Had she been here the entire time? How could I not have known?
Cora casually flicked her wrist behind her, and suddenly the angry murmurs from the crowd turned into shrieks as they were flung backwards and out of a clear barrier around the yard. Then, silence. Regina's eyes finally shifted from her mother to the barrier and the people of Storybrooke. She could see them, but she couldn't hear them. Her breathing picked up speed, as though on the brink of a panic attack. Her mother was here, in Storybrooke, and she had magic. How could she have magic when Regina did not?
Cora took a few steps closer to Regina, a false-looking smile on her lips that did not reach her eyes. "Well my darling, aren't you going to invite me in?"
Regina ignored her question, but finally finding the strength to speak fired back at her, "What the hell are you doing here, Mother?"
The faux-smile immediately dropped. "Well I came to see my daughter, of course. I must say, I was impressed by this little spell of yours, although why bring yourself to mayor a place as common and boring as this, I will never understand." Her gaze suddenly darkened, her words gaining more venom by the second. "I did not, however, appreciate being stuck in a mental hospital all this time. Really, that's the best you can do for your own mother who has done nothing but work for your success?"
"Work for my success?" Regina spat out, her reactive nature coming out, not even pausing to absorb how her mother had ended up in this place when pre-curse Regina had thought them to already be in completely different worlds. "You never did anything but abuse and trap me! You took everything from me!"
Suddenly she found herself lifted off the ground and violent flung against the side of the house. She cried out from the impact, tears immediately springing to her eyes as she found herself transported back many years, once again reduced to a powerless little girl in the face of her mother's violence. Her head rolled forward, the fight immediately leaving her, feeling more depleted than she could ever remember. The day's events had worn her down, now this. She didn't think she could take much more of it.
"Still as petulant as ever, I see," Cora hissed, "See that was always your problem Regina, you are so rash and quick to forget your place. So much bravado, so little spine. You thought you were the big bad Queen now? Quite wrong, my dear. Don't you remember what I told you?" Cora stepped closer, twirling her fingers with a cruel smirk as thick vines tightened their hold around Regina's legs, torso, wrists, even one around her throat, making it difficult to breathe. She tried to fight it, even knowing it was a useless effort. Cora made a slapping motion in the air and Regina felt her body burn as though she was engulfed in flames, crying out with the pain and memories long buried flooding back to her. Suddenly it stopped and she dropped straight to the wooden porch floor in a crumpled heap, shaking as the aftermath of the magic left her.
"You will never escape me Regina," Cora said, looking down at Regina and jerking her face towards hers, "I will always find you. I will always be more powerful than you. You will never beat me. I think it's high time for you to be reminded of that."