Snow crossed through the tall grass leading to the old, forgotten stables. Age had visibly taken its toll on the wood finishes of the roof, Snow could easily tell. The damages from rain and rampaging storms had chipped the wood and caused the beautiful, glossy look on the wood to fade.

The stables seemed cold when Snow entered, and that was odd considering it was late in the summer and the warm air drifted through the air everywhere else. Snow could find no other explanation other than the ominous one of the chill belonging to Daniel's lingering spirit, who didn't wish for her to be there.

Regardless, for reasons unknown to her and to anyone that was watching this scene, she pressed on. Something seemed so strange, and so off about this entire thing. Everything; the air was so calm, and there was nearly dead silence save for the crinkling of grass under her boots. No birds were chirping. It was if Snow was the only living thing in the world.

Or the only two living things.

It was then Snow spotted the cloaked form of her step mother over by a carefully and tenderly constructed grave. The woman panicked immediately when she realized she had no form of protection with her. Her weapons were all at home, although Snow could have sworn she had several with her. It seemed apparent though that Regina hadn't noticed her, so perhaps she'd be able to slip away safely.

"What the hell are you doing here?"

Snow's breath hitched in her throat and she lifted her chin slightly, as if Regina had a blade pressed against her neck. She was trapped. If she tried to run her stepmother could simply flick her hand and yank her to her in magic binds. So Snow turned around.

Regina stood there, her glass eyes as emotionless and cold as a porcelain puppet's. Her visage was one of complete hatred; something Snow had grown quite accustomed to. She stared at Snow, as if she couldn't fathom the stupidity of the idiot girl just standing there. She wasn't even saying anything!

As silence stretched on for several more seconds, Regina slowly looked around, and then back at the silent woman. Finally, she emitted a cold, sardonic laugh. "You're lucky I'm feeling patient today, or else that pretty little face of yours would probably be charcoal right now." She leaned in, and her ice, cold eyes pierced Snow's very soul. "I asked you a question, dear..."

Fumbling to say something, the younger woman finally managed to find her voice. "I simply came for a walk."

Regina regarded her with a look that was even harder, if that was at all possible. "And you chose here of all places? You really think you have the right to be on this land? You really think you have the right to be near him?"

Snow glowered coldly right back, but Regina was pleased as peaches to see the intimidated and cautious look on the girl's face, as well as in her voice. Good, she wanted the miserable little wretch to fear her.

"I wanted to talk to you!" Snow White blurted without thinking. It was the only thing on her mind at the moment, and the only justification she could think have for being there.

Regina crossed her arms and leaned back, tilting her head with an amused and mocking smirk. Well perhaps she'd humor the girl. It might make things more interesting. "Do you now, my dear? The 'fairest of the land' wishes to counsel me with her infinite wisdom, innocence, and love? Well then, by all means." Her eyes glinted with a playful venom. "I only hope this doesn't end up like our last parlay, because I'm out of sleeping curses and I'd hate to resort to doing something particularly messy to dispose of you."

Surprisingly, Regina's threat didn't faze Snow in the slightest. Perhaps she was just used to it. "This isn't a parlay. I just want to talk to you."

"Then talk."

Snow felt her breath catch in her throat for a second time. She gazed at her step mother, who was waiting with an almost patient look on her face. Finally, Snow spoke. "Why haven't you killed me yet?"

Regina blinked for a few moments before starting to laugh wickedly, which gave off into a glare as she was reminded of all her past failures. "As I'm sure you've noticed, Snow, my past attempts have been unsuccess-"

"No, I mean right now."

Regina hesitated for a moment, and then chuckled as she shook her head. "If I really wanted to kill you that quickly and mercifully you would have been dead years ago. Besides, death is merciful. When you truly want revenge on your enemies you plague their life with suffering instead, which is what I intended for you. You and your damn minions seemed to thwart me at every turn."

Snow wasn't making any headway this way, but what did she expect? What was she hoping to gain from this? What was the aim of the entire thing? Did she really think just talking would be able to change anything? It was just a miracle the Queen hadn't melted out her eyes yet.

"How often do you come to his grave?"

The touch of humanity, of sadness taps into those normally cold eyes, as it always did when Daniel was mentioned in the past. Snow never understood how the pain had always remained in her stepmother when she was younger. She couldn't understand how anyone could allow themselves to mourn the loss of someone who had abandoned them. At least, at the time that was what she thought.

Now Snow cherished the moments where she would see that sadness cross Regina's face, and see the tears come to her eyes. As terrible as that sounded, it wasn't that Snow enjoyed seeing her stepmother in pain, but merely because in those rare, seldom moments Regina was human.

"I come here as often as I can," Regina's voice startled Snow from her thoughts. "Coming here brings me the only sense of peace nothing else can." Nothing else except for your suffering, that is.

There was a lot that Snow White wanted to say now. There were many things she wanted to ask, and there were many things she wished to scream and to cry, but the woman settled on something that was just as abrupt as her answers before had been. Beyond that, it was a question that had been aching in her heart for ages.

"Did...did you ever love me? Was there ever a time you cared?"

This question seemed to catch Regina off guard and her expression changed, melting back from her mourning tears to the cold, puppet look again. "Well, my dear," she sneered, "you never gave me a chance to try. I didn't know you long enough before you betrayed me, but if you must know, when I first met you I found you endearing and sweet. What a fool I was."

"You used to be kind to me. You used to care. Say what you want, but I know the step mother I loved was in there, for a time...even if it was short." Snow wanted so badly to believe this was true. She didn't want to think that Regina, her mother, hated her her entire life. She wanted to rest in the comfort of knowing that she had cared, that the fevers she soothed, the times where she did her hair or went on walks with her weren't all lies.

Regina turned to her and her expression had changed. There was no malice in her face right now, but only confusion. "Why is this information important to you? The care I showed, the love was never genuine, so why does it matter?"

"Because knowing this, remembering that you took care of me and protected me gives me a sense of comfort and peace," was Snow's soft response. It was the truth. It was what her hope lived from, and half of what kept her alive was knowing that somewhere her mother was in the wicked witch that wanted her dead.

Now Regina looked even more confused. It was a different look, and one that was almost comical on a normally serious or all-together vacant face. "My intentions were to lull you into a state of security and only help in your future undoing. They never meant anything. They never meant love. I was never able to love you, only to hate."

"Would you have loved me then and until this day if the outcome had been different? If I hadn't of broken my promise?"

That puzzled look stayed on the Queen's face. "If you'd never have broken your promise I doubt we would have maintained a relationship anyway, as I would be gone..." Her breath hitched and quieted. "With Daniel."

"But would you have hated me?" Snow pressed.

"No," Regina said quietly, "That much I know is true. I had never even felt hatred, not even to my mother, up until you, a young child, managed to completely ruin my life." A thoughtful haze came to her eyes, masking the anger and pain; it almost looked casual. "In the beginning, I wanted to be able to love you. I protected you, in the beginning. It was not for the reasons I protected you in the future, which was only because I wanted to be the only one to inflict suffering on you-"

"Then what was the reason?" Snow pried.

"I protected you...from myself." Regina turned, and saw the look of utter confusion in the younger woman's eyes. They glistened with curiosity and pain, and for once Regina found herself too thrown off by these events to take pleasure in it. "When I felt the urge to harm you I'd leave, and I'd find a healthy way to direct my anger. I'd go off in the woods to scream in anguish, or I'd kick a tree. I wouldn't allow myself to hurt you. I refused to become her..."

'Her' was all that needed to be said for the pangs to blossom in both of their hearts. "Cora..." Snow whispered.

Regina shut her eyes and was alarmed to feel the hot tears forming behind her eyelids. Tears were something she was accustomed to when she was alone with her old love's grave, but not when she was having a conversation with her step daughter.

Snow may have shattered her life, but her mother had slowly cracked its foundations for as long as she had been her prisoner.

Regina inhaled sharply and shakily, the tears stinging her eyes. She refused to let them fall. "I didn't want to become her—I told myself I wouldn't become her. I told myself that...that I'd never stoop to her level. I told her over and over that I'd never let myself turn into a monster. I hated you, but I didn't want to hurt you because I didn't want to be my mother. I didn't want to disgrace Daniel."

She shut her eyes in anguish. "...I didn't want to choose this. I hated you because you were so weak against my mother...but look at me."

Snow could only stare, and she felt her hand go over her mouth at the sight. Her mother was still human. Her mother was still in there.

Over the years, Snow was always able to tell when Regina was her mother and when she was the Evil Queen. The emotion, the humanity flooded back into her voice and replaced the dead monotone. Her voice could actually be very sweet when it was a voice. It had a hint of innocence and purity. Snow always loved those moments when her mother was human.

"Regina." Snow startled the both of them with the sheer intensity of her voice. "Daniel would not hate you." Neither of them realized how close the two suddenly were, their fingers brushing against each other without realizing. "He would disapprove of what you have done, but he would know you did it because you were in so much pain..."

They were now staring straight into each other's wide, and searching eyes, still not having realized their hands were practically in each other's.

"He wouldn't agree with your justification for the things you've done, but Regina..." A joyful twinkle came to the girl's eyes as a smile broke across her face, and she gave what almost sounded like a giggle. "The wonderful thing about love—any kind of love, is that love is forgiveness. There is no crime you can do that can't be forgiven. ...And that is why I forgive you, Mother."

At this point, Regina couldn't say anything, and her face was only vacant because she simply wasn't sure what she was supposed to feel.

"I know it may be hard for you to ever apologize for what you've done, or to even feel guilt, but I forgive you anyway. Love is forgiveness, and that is why I can let it go. I only hope, more than anything, one day you will forgive me."

The blank expression lingered on the Evil Queen's face a moment longer, and to Snow's fear, the cold look washed over her yet again. The emotion died in her voice until it had faded to nothing but that haunting monotone. "Yes, well, good for you."

Suddenly, Snow reached forward with her hands. At first, Regina thought she was going to strangle her, but even if she did, she was still too stunned to react as her stepdaughter harshly grabbed her by the shoulders and shook her.

"No..." Snow was breathing so heavily you'd think she had run a marathon across The Enchanted Forest. Her eyes were so fierce they made the Queen pull her face back a bit. "No, don't you do that," she snarled in desperation. "Don't you slip away again." She jolted her mother violently with another hard shake. "Don't you leave me."

Snow knew she was risking her very life right now. At any moment Regina could snap out of this emotional state and take her life, especially since she was touching her, but Snow didn't care. She wouldn't let her mother go. She could liquify her hands for all she cared; she'd just cling with the stubs where her hands used to be.

"I want this to end," Snow whispered hoarsely as an onslaught of tears suddenly struck her. "I want peace. I don't want to have to worry about being threatened and I don't want to be fighting with you! I just want my mother... I want forgiveness."

At this point Regina was beyond the capabilities of speech, and beyond being able to angrily repeat that she never loved the girl to begin with. Her eyes drifted from Snow's tight and yearning hands, to her step daughter's pleading eyes.

"Please forgive me..."

Snow's vision continued to distort and blur as the tears rolled, but she realized abruptly that it wasn't her vision, but her surroundings fading off into a haze. The scenery blanched several pale shades, and then began to slowly dissipate completely. Regina was fading as well.

"No...!" Snow could barely see her stepmother now, but she clung onto her, her arms wrapping around the woman's neck as the dream ate away at the Queen's image. "No please, don't leave me again! You didn't give me an answer! Regina!"

Snow held onto Regina until there was nothing but cool air underneath her fingers, and the still lingering scent of roses.

The resonating cry reverberated through Snow White's head and echoed through her soul. She didn't even realize she was moaning incoherently through her tears, but Charming did. His gentle hands shook her awake and was already brushing over her wet cheeks before she opened her eyes to look at him.

"Darling, what did you dream of?" James tried to coax his beautiful wife into his arms and rock her, but Snow found herself rejecting his comfort as she inched off the bed. James wouldn't let up. "Are you alright, Snow?"

Snow stood shaking in the pale moonlight pouring in from their open window and tried to gain control of her emotions. "I'm fine, Charming...I am. I just had a terrible nightmare." No, it wasn't a nightmare. It had been something she had yearned for longer than she could remember.

"What did you dream about?" James couldn't understand why Snow didn't want comfort right now. "Was it about the Queen? Was it because of her threat?"

The mention of Regina made Snow want to cry hysterically and tremble, but she only nodded. It was a well fabricated lie and one she knew her husband would buy. "James, I need a little time right now." She smiled shakily, but lovingly and drew him into a passionate kiss. "Go back to sleep, my love..."

He hadn't wanted to—he could tell his wife was in distress, but he knew when she needed to be alone, so he begrudgingly climbed back into bed while Snow did some soul searching.

She pulled out an old box made of silver and diamonds, and flipped it open. Despite having it since she was a child, from her late mother, it was kept in perfect condition. She rummaged through the jewelry box and pulled out a pendant her step mother had given to her. It was an expensive, crystal pendant that Regina had doubtlessly paid the servants to buy her in hopes that showering her with materialized stuff would cover how much she truly hated her.

None the less, Snow loved the pendant, and she slipped it around her neck. Feeling the little crystal heart pressed against her chest made her feel the security of her step mother, and it made her feel at peace with hopes that any amount of love between the two still survived, if any did at all.

Someday, maybe she would forgive her.

(In this time of trial
Pain that no one sees
Trust Me when I say
I will give you perfect peace...

So I had a dream about Snow and Regina, and this was basically what happened. I don't find this relationship is concentrated enough on. As much as I love relationships like Rumbelle and SnowCharming, there are more than pairings, to me. c:

But if Regina really is going to try to redeem herself in the show, then I'd love to see some form of peace between her and Snow, and finally some forgiveness.)