Snow can remember her first lullaby, sang to her by her late mother when she was only an infant. So many years ago, and yet the pictures are still so sharp and vivid, as if it had only happened yesterday.
Lullabies to Snow have never lost their meaning. You simply don't grow out of lullabies. They would always be there for you. Sometimes, lullabies are good for when you are alone. You can sing them to try and convince yourself someone cares for you out there. Snow has no doubt her daughter sung to herself when she was alone and waiting for a clarification that someone cared for her.
Snow had sang a lullaby only mere days ago, and can remember the blank look of terror in the pair of blue eyes they had soothed. She remembers smoothing her fingers through the brunette's tangled and damp hair, as her saccharine notes push Aurora's fears away.
Snow often wonders what it would have been like to sing to her daughter - to her tiny, pink newborn she had given life to. Lullabies are something you never outgrow, but Snow knows that she doesn't have the liberty to sing Emma to sleep. Snow wonders if she can finally sing to her grandson now, and convince him that a lullaby is something a person would always need in a time of trial.
Snow is forced to remember the grisly sight that made her think of lullabies in the first place. The bleeding body in front of her collapses into a pile of debris and broken glass, while the other form, hunched and dying, remains standing.
From behind her, Snow's family backs up. Henry can be heard screaming in a fit of hysteria, and from the corner of her eye, Snow can see him fighting and kicking and even biting down on James's arms to try and get to the body. He is held back and instead scooped into Emma's arms.
"It's okay, kid," Emma tells him, rocking his small figure back and forth. Snow can tell by the crack in Emma's voice that she is crying as well as she watches her little boy witness the horrors and pain no ten year old should ever have to experience. "It'll all be okay."
Snow moves, barely by her own accord, through the rubble and approaches Regina. The former Evil Queen is twisting and gasping as much as her frail body will allow. Her suit is scorched, and her raw wounds pulsate as the blood dribbles down her face.
"She's gone." Cora's voice, cold and calculating. Triumph is in her eyes, although a mockingly sympathetic frown appears on her face. "You must be happy, dear. The woman that caused your suffering, the woman that took every thing dear to you, you will finally be free of."
"No." There is no attempt to hold back the festering rage or the way Snow's face contorts into an unimaginable expression of pure, black hate. "No. You took it all. You are the one that destroyed everything. You are what made her who she is."
"I did none of the sort." The macabre expression doesn't leave Cora's face, and she pays no heed to the heavy flow of crimson leaking from her chest. Her cracked lips form a cruel and brutal smile. "I simply gave her the life she deserved." There is a more sinister meaning to these words, and they aren't lost on Snow. She watches Cora's body collapse, and she becomes still.
It is only her and Regina now. Snow is quite certain her family is still behind her, but to her the only ones there right now are herself and her stepmother.
Regina's twisted and broken body twitches as she gasps out in pain, no longer having the energy to scream from the spell destroying her organs and shutting them down. With every gasp, blood drips down her chin and her chest convulses.
Lullabies; Snow wonders, has Regina ever been sung one? The probable truth is that, if at all, it was rare, and the thought saddens Snow. She holds onto the hope that perhaps at a time Regina's father may have sung to her. Regina's father, from what Snow knows, is one of the only people that ever cared about her.
Maybe Daniel used to sing to her, to lull her to sleep or just into a state of calm. Maybe before Snow destroyed her life, Regina knew the comfort in hearing a lullaby sung to you. Snow holds onto that thought as she watches the woman in front of her writhe around in her last moments.
The hysteria in Regina is something new and foreign. Snow has never seen it before. She has never seen her stepmother express true fear, but right now the terror of death and of the pain she is in is as clear as day.
Snow's expression is nearly vacant. She isn't sure why. Is she supposed to be happy? Is she supposed to be sad? The only thing Snow's thoughts can process is the panicked woman bleeding out in front of her.
"Henry," Regina tries to whisper. Her voice doesn't even sound like her. She tries to get up, but Snow's gentle hands push her back down.
"Henry is fine," is all Snow says. She's on her knees now, feeling her pants become stained with Regina's blood. Her hands cup the back of her stepmother's head and lifts it slightly into her lap. Regina sputters out another stream of blood as her eyes widen in fear. She tries to struggle, but Snow hushes her.
"Close your eyes, Mother," Snow says. The address shocks both herself and Regina. It came out without a thought, but for some reason, Snow doesn't regret it. Calling her Regina hadn't even crossed her mind. Snow isn't sure why.
Regina is fading fast. The spark of life in her eyes is barely more than a dim flicker of light, like the flame of a candle about to go out. She stares up at Snow, and the eyes that once showed nothing but hatred and the intent of revenge now hold only curiosity. "What...what are you doing?"
Snow's response is soft and honest as her hands cradle the dying woman's head. "I'm going to sing you to sleep."
Regina looks like she wants to say something to Snow's absurd words, but she has no voice by this point. Her lungs are barely allowing a few breaths to escape her. She only stares up at the woman with true puzzlement as she forgets the pain when Snow starts to sing.
"Angels full of love and light
Come down around this house tonight
As we sleep and as we dream
Please hold us in your golden gleam
Angels full of golden light
Come down into our hearts tonight.
As we dream and as we sleep
Please hold us in your love complete..."
Perhaps Regina never has had a lullaby sung to her. She drops her head against Snow's knees and stares silently up at the woman she's tried all her life to shatter. Her eyelids are beginning to droop, and she can no longer fight the approach of sleep.
Snow is fully aware that her step mother is dying, and that she is singing her into a sleep that Regina will never again awaken from. The reason she's singing is lost on both herself and Regina, but perhaps with all the pain Regina has been in, she deserves some comfort. Perhaps Snow wants to make sure she leaves in peace. Regina's last moments shouldn't be lived alone with only her agony and blood to accompany her.
The moment is almost here, and both are aware. Regina's eyes close and open again. Each time she does this, the time in between opening them gets further apart. The lullaby and Regina's sorrowful eyes convey the words not said. Regina's eyes are full of apology. Apology for not being able to hold on, apology for the pain she caused... Perhaps in these final moments, the two make amends. Perhaps if this wasn't the end, the two would have a chance of being in each other's lives as the mother and daughter they could never be.
Snow is crying as Regina's fingers barely graze over her hand. To shove it off of her or to hold it in a final gesture of peace, Snow will never know as her stepmother grows limp, and the warmth quickly leaves her body.
Everything is silent; the world is muted to Snow as she continues singing with no one to hear it. She isn't sure who she's singing to. Perhaps she's singing to comfort herself, or perhaps she's singing to the spirit leaving Regina's still body.
After all, you're never too old for lullabies.
(I know the whole "Cora killing Regina and Snow reflecting" has been done before, but I've had this idea in my head since I saw "Broken", and I had to get it down. Regina and Snow's relationship is my favorite of the entire series, and I just had to write this. Even when you hate someone with all of your being, things change in death.
Lullaby is "Nighttime Blessing" by Amy Robbinson.)