Disclaimer: I do not own Once Upon a Time or any recognizable characters.
AN: Another installment of the Growing Up Series. I was pretty sad with how Henry was with Regina in 2x03, so I needed to write something nicer to counter that. I get where he's coming from, but man, did I yell at the TV on Sunday.
Growing Up: Light in the Storm
Regina sat on the edge of four-year old Henry's bed, a stuffed dragon clutched firmly in his possession as the rain pitter-pattered against his bedroom window and only increased in speed and sound. A thunderstorm was approaching the small town of Storybrooke, nothing too large to warrant the town under caution but enough to know that even the bravest of little boys could get frightened by the noise.
"Are you sure you don't want to sleep in my room tonight?" Regina asked for the third time. She added as an encouragement, "I could really use the company."
Henry's eyes showed a brief moment of contemplation before he put on a brave face and hugged his stuffed toy tighter. "I'm a big boy."
Regina couldn't help the smile forming on her face and leaned down to peck her son's forehead. "Yes you are."
He scooted up a little to wrap his arms around her neck in a hug before laying back down, his mother tucking him in nice and tight. She wished him good night, and the boy didn't object when she 'forgot' that he didn't need his night light anymore. With an affectionate glance at her son, Regina inched the door closed, leaving it open a crack just in case.
The wind howled causing the tree next to Henry's window to rap menacingly against the glass. Lightning crackled through the sky lighting up the toddler's room for the briefest of moments before succumbing to darkness again, its only source of light was the Spiderman plug-in night light and the red light of his clock letting him know it was well past his bed time.
As brave and grown up as Henry told his mother he was, he couldn't stop the crippling fear coursing through his bones with every tap of the window and eerie flash of the lightning. The boy remained still under the covers, the blanket hiding up to half of his face giving him enough space to peek around. He had been on high alert for what seemed like hours, but in reality had actually been fifteen minutes. He had to be vigilant. Him and his dragon had to be awake in case his mom got scared and needed protecting. His trusty dragon, Rex, was on watch duty, but Henry knew his stuffy was a tad bit frightened too.
"It's okay, Rex," he whispered to the toy. "Just rain."
A fierce wind blew the branches into his window creating a particularly loud thump against the glass. Henry gulped. "And wind."
He paused as if listening to his dragon. "It wasn't a monster."
As if on cue, a gunshot-like boom of thunder sounded accompanied by a crack of lightning. No longer was Spiderman giving off light and the red digital time of Henry's alarm clock had gone black, forcing the room into complete darkness.
In the moment the thunder had sounded, Henry had shot up out of bed with Rex in tow. He flung his door wide open and ran at full speed to Regina's room. To protect her, of course.
Despite the black out, Henry easily ran through the hallway and into his mother's room as she was putting down a novel. He didn't note her surprised yet amused face as he dove under the covers and wrapped her arms around him.
She smiled affectionately, sliding down to properly wrap around him and brought him up to eye level.
"I'm not scared," Henry immediately defended. "Me and Rex were protecting you."
"You have perfect timing," she whispered and pushed back his floppy brown hair from his forehead. "That last boom had me scared."
Her son nodded his agreement. "And it was dark."
"That it was. I'm lucky you're here to protect me." She adjusted his plushie to settle in between them. "My brave little boy."
"A big boy." He immediately glared then his expression turned sheepish. "I was a little scared."
She held him tighter to her as if daring the storm to get her son from her grasp. "I was always taught the lightning is our light in darkness and the thunder, the big boom, tests us."
"If we're not scared of the thunder, then we can have our light. The darkness doesn't seem so bad, does it?" She asked
He shook his head. "'Cause it'll get brighter."
She tapped his nose in confirmation.
"I'm not scared no more-"
"Anymore," she corrected affectionately.
"Anymore." He turned his puppy dog eyes on her. "But can Rex and me sleep here tonight?"
"Of course, sweetie." She felt her son snuggle deeper into her warmth.
The first big boom had Henry tense and curl into Regina's neck. However, as thunder kept sounding and lightning kept rippling, he realized the noise was rather quite soothing.
Regina grinned as she watched her tired son attempt to fight sleep. He wasn't even flinching when thunder sounded anymore.
The Mayor glanced up when she noticed the room had gotten significantly brighter. Her bedside lamp was on and the digits of her alarm clock blinked 12:00 waiting to be programmed. A faint mumbling from the boy beside her had her turning her attention back to her son.
"What was that, dear?"
"Our light came," he said tiredly before finally drifting off to sleep.
Regina watched him for a moment and pecked his forehead. She couldn't help but think that her light had been present for the past four years.