Her father gives her a vanity mirror for her fifth birthday. All mahogany, smooth ends, elegant carvings of horses on the sides. She thinks she's never seen something so beautiful that's so entirely hers. She didn't care for her reflection in the mirror, didn't even notice the changes in it day by day. The world was still hers then, just a little, perhaps only in her mind, so her reflection wasn't yet the stark reminder of all she was and all she could have been if the world in the mirror were entirely her own.

It doesn't take long before her mother is angry, all too angry, and the mirror is smashed with a gust of magic and Regina's reflection is split completely down the middle by the jagged crack in the once pristine glass.

Her self loathing comes in tides of broken glass and shattered picture frames. The one of Henry after he found the book, cleaned up and forgotten before any was the wiser. She can't stand the sight of her eyes, as big and brown as they once war but now so full of the emptiness of hatred, of years corrupted and corned into a cage of her mind. Her mouth is curled into a snarl so harsh and such a reminder of her own mother.

Evil won, her features remind her. Evil always will

And it was there, watching her, within her, lurking like a snake in the shadows and then gripping her and squeezing her until she couldn't breathe air, only the flickerings of her failures.

Goodness is a farce, maintained until one can't take the sacrifices that must be made to achieve its shining crown.

That crown toppled from her head long ago. She'd given up wading in the dark murky depths to find it. Even if it was still there, its glimmer was long gone.

She is alone, her last thought is before she smashes the mirror and hears only the echoes of the good Prince's footsteps.