It demanded to be written. Apparently, my soft spot for Regina Mills knows no bounds. I said I wouldn't write any fic for this fandom, and here I am. I'm sort of kicking myself, to be honest.

This is my first attempt, and I'm really just now learning these characters, so, if Regina seems out of sync, that's why. Please be kind.

Characters aren't mine. They belong to ABC, Disney, and other assorted entities of importance. I gain nothing
from writing these stories but the fun of doing it. Please don't sue me.

Gold has always been untrustworthy, and I can't believe I allowed myself to be taken in by him once again. If Henry is to ever trust me again, I need to stay true to my promises to him. Of course, I only broke my promise to protect him. This world is not like the Enchanted Forest. There are shades of gray here.

I've watch this world and the people in it for many years, and I know the line between good and evil is not as well defined as it is in the world from which we come. Good doesn't always win, and evil doesn't always lose. All too often, one entity holds both, so there's simply no way absolute good can win over absolute evil because absolutes don't exist here.

He doesn't understand. He's too young. He trusts in that book Snow gave him and in his undying faith for Emma Swan. He does not trust me, and, now that I've had time to think it over, I can understand why. The moment he said he didn't want to be like me, when he threw my own words back at me without ever knowing he had, I knew I couldn't force him to trust me or to love me.

But there are dangers in this world, and I do love him. I want to protect him from those dangers, and I want him to never have to know what I've been through or have to come to understand why I am who I am today. He should never suffer those hardships, which is why I agreed to help Gold set up the spell to prevent Cora, my mother, from coming into this world.

In this world, Good doesn't always win, and she is beyond Evil, beyond redemption. She's a destructive force of nature that would stop at absolutely nothing short of destroying any semblance of redemption or love that had become a part of my world.

Henry is both. He's my purpose for even trying to push back the draw of the magic I've used most of my life to shield me from the things that would destroy me. He makes me weak. He forces me to question my decisions, my actions, and my intent. He makes me be civil with the Charmings, and he pulls on my heart a little bit each time he smiles at me because he knows that I'm trying.

Each look of approval or hug from my son is a lifeline, and it's one more reminder of why I must not give into the temptation to use magic. But Cora would destroy us all, and Henry is too young and too naïve to understand. I must protect him, and I'll do whatever I must to keep her from him, even if that means destroying what little trust I've built with him.

It's small wonder that he rushed to Emma's arms after she climbed out of the well. He trusts her. He loves her. He doesn't understand that, if Good hadn't won the day in the Enchanted Forest, we'd all have been doomed. I'm not sure that he cares or that he'll ever believe me. He asked me to have faith in him, and so I did, absorbing the energy and nearly putting myself in the hospital to do it, not that he cared, of course. No one would bat an eye or shed a tear if I were to die.

I am trying to be a better person, but I know the dangers here are far more complex than what Henry has learned about the Enchanted Forest, and now I know my mother is out there and trying to be here, in this world. I know her, and I know she won't stop until she's made it here. I don't know what I'll do once she finds her way to me, but I know that I must protect my son, even if that means making him hate me. If he hates me, then he's protected from Cora. He'll be safe.

I suppose some happy endings are simply not meant to be.