The Fragility of Losing Someone - Chapter 1

A/N: This is undeniably a darker fic compared to what else I've written. I understand that Regina seems very OOC in this, but I think Regina made the curse just to find her own happiness that she knew she could not have in the FTL. So alas, the start of this fic. The curse has broken, but ignores all events of Season 2. Instead, Storybrooke stayed relatively peaceful, apart from the Charming's obvious dislike for Regina.

"You turn around right now, and walk out of that door, Miss Swan. I'm too busy for your games today." Regina was huddled over several large piles of paper work, her large desk practically hidden under what looked like planning permission forms and complaints. It had been a long day, after having a particularly harsh argument with Henry then being faced with this monstrosity of paperwork, she was ready to sink down with a glass of red wine and sleep.

She glanced up, her glasses resting low on her nose, noticing that the blonde was still stood firm, an uncharacteristically worried look on her face. A sickly sweet smile graced the older woman's face, waiting to tear the woman to shreds "What do I owe the pleasure, Sheriff?"

"Henry's gone. He's missing."

"What do you mean he's gone missing? He should be in school!" Regina removed her glasses, wiping a hand over her tired face. The harshness in her voice did not quite meet her dark brown eyes. She knew her son did not like her, but that did not warrant truancy from school; this was rather unlike him.

"Well, apparently he's not. Turns out he never turned up this morning." Emma's smile was weak, her feet shuffling on the floor, clearly desperate to get out looking for him.

"Have you checked his 'castle'?" Regina spoke, her voice dripping with disdain, she hated that place. It reminded her painfully of home, and ever more so of the child she knew she should never have been allowed to have.

"I thought I should notify you first, you being his mother and all" The blonde glanced worriedly up to the Mayor, green eyes searching brown for any hint of a fight coming on. She never meant the comment to be harsh, it was true. She was certainly not fit to be Henry's mother, yet she knew Regina would find offense in her remark. The only emotion she found in Regina's eyes was that of regret, and a heavy sorrow that Emma had never seen before. Regina was usually so guarded, so private, yet it was like emotion was leaking through.

"Why are we standing here, when our son could be in danger, or hurt, or lost?" Regina noticed the slip of her tongue, Henry was certainly not their son, and they were certainly not a family, not even a highly dysfunctional one. She was well aware the blonde had noticed the word, and she certainly did not wish to have any conversation about family with Emma Swan. She knew they both knew nothing of family.

The sound of her heels clicking on the marble floor was the only sound between the two, an unsaid agreement that they would both look for him.. Both were slightly worried, the idea of Henry being hurt scaring them both. Regina was grateful that the Sheriff had brought the station car, rather than that awful yellow bug; she had absolutely no want to enter that death trap.

"Do you want to press the siren button?" Emma murmured, a small smile on her face. Regina looked at her squarely, the smile barely concealing the worry covering the blonde's face.

"I am not a child, Miss Swan." Although Regina held the power within Storybrooke, a certain thrill crept through her as the siren sounded; the little cars that were on the road pulled vigilantly out the way.

The car drew to a stop as they neared the park; both were acutely aware that it all seemed just too quiet. The castle stood still and alone against the backdrop of the rolling sea, Regina being reminded of another certain castle she knew. A silence engulfed the pair; the place Henry usually sat was empty, except for a lone shoe – Henry's trainer.

"I checked Granny's and with David- Dad on the way to your place - no-one's seen him." Emma looked down, her hair obscuring her face. It had been 6 hours since anyone had last saw him.

"It was my fault…" Regina looked rather vulnerable standing in the cold breeze, her arms bare and prickling with goose-bumps, her thin grey dress being the only thing keeping her from the harsh weather. She held the solitary shoe in her hand, her grip weak as she glanced at the blonde. Emma shrugged off her leather jacket, resting it over the brunette's shoulders. That was when the panic set in for Regina. It took her out of that trance, the trance that told her all of this wasn't real, and that her little boy was safely in school. The trainer, however, proved that otherwise.

"Get off me, Swan." Regina muttered, pushing the jacket off her shoulders, ignoring the loss of heat she had so enjoyed for a second. Her body felt unsteady on the muddy bank, her heels digging unevenly into the ground. She huffed as she slipped off her heels, not caring that her tight clad feet got covered in mud. She had to find her son.

"Regina, where are you going?" Emma raced after the older woman, her brown boots giving her much more grip on the slippery ground as she picked up Regina's discarded heels, throwing them into the backseat of her car before driving after the woman.

"I'm going to find my son, Saviour. Something you should have already started doing by now. Have you got Ruby out looking?" Regina's harsh voice was under-toned with quivers, the scare of losing someone else wrecked havoc on her usual steely countenance. She was having flashbacks to her mother and father, her descent to evil, her hate for Snow and everyone in Storybrooke. Her eyes flashed over to the rolling car next to her and the blonde leaning over the passenger seat, the window rolled down.

"Well, no, but-"

"I suggest you get her out looking. All the usual spots: library, mines, and check Granny's again." Regina's eyes were blank, her eyes settling straight on the pavement ahead of her. She knew she looked a wreck, the trainer still held limply in her hand, her flat feet caked in mud. She was acutely aware of the soft, cold rain bouncing off her shoulders, feeling heavier for a second.

Emma waited until the rain started obscuring her vision of Regina; the brunette's hair hanging limply on her shoulders, the mascara running down her face. Regardless of all this, she still had the stern, stubborn expression of her face. She rushed out of the car, grabbing Regina's arms and pulling her into the waiting warmth of the car. Regardless of Regina being the Mayor, she was still human, and she knew she would crumble eventually.

Regina wasn't really concentrating, the shoe in her hands being her only link to this physical world, her mind was clouded with worry.

"Yes. Hi Dad. No, we still haven't found him. Yeah. I need you to get a search party together. We found his trainer. Yes. Regina's with me now. No. I'm taking her home, she's exhausted. Find a search party." She glanced over to the woman beside her, seeing her expression crumble. She was well aware that Henry was really the only person Regina had in her life, and she knew the woman had a heart, even if it was slightly blackened.

"What did you mean? How was it your fault?" Emma murmured, parking the car in her spot in front of the apartment she now shared with her parents. Neither made a move to get out the car, the window wipers still moving rhythmically back and forth.

"I don't want to talk about it, Swan" Regina's eyes looked haunted, her mind still filled with pictures of her previous life; all the pain she'd caused. Clearly someone had been over, putting out a duvet and pillow on the couch and making the apartment look reasonably inviting. As the brunette moved towards the couch, Emma's hand laid on her shoulder, a furrowed brow heavy on the Saviour's face.

"You can have my bed. I've spent plenty of time getting used to couches." Emma motioned towards a plainly designed room, the only personal touch being a few pictures of her and her mother, and one of her and Henry. The latter picture caused Regina to well up at the thought of her son. She was so exhausted. She just wanted to sleep, even though there was a nagging voice at the back of head saying she needed to find Henry.

Emma paused at her bedroom door, watching the brunette fall under the covers, a very weary expression on her face. She knew her parents and the others would be out looking in every nook and cranny for her son; Regina's son. The blonde saw the fragility of the brunette, the half her that was just a single parent trying to do the best for a child who hated her, for a town who hated her.

"We'll find him, Regina."

Little did they know, a small boy was currently sitting in the castle of a land; a land that none of them had seen for 28 years.

"So, Henry. What are we going to do with you?"