Cortez2010 - Your request turned into an epilogue! lol Enjoy!
Next request I'm working on is from DefyingGravity10. Its ThiefQueen so if you're a fan, keep a look out for it :)
Epilogue - One Year Later
Though it's been weeks, Archie words still lingered in the back of her mind as Regina walked towards the diner that morning. Her sessions with Archie had been quite challenging but at the same time helpful. She had only agreed to them again because Henry and Snow thought it would be a good idea to continue them. She refused at first but then after a lot of arguing and doubt she reluctantly agreed. It's been a year since her reconciliation with Snow and she still hadn't been able to tell Snow she forgave her. She knew it really wasn't her fault but still… Snow was the reason her mother had caught her and Daniel all those years ago. She loved Snow dearly which was why she was so angry at herself for not being able to forgive her.
"Why can't I forgive her?" her voice was small and had sounded so far away. Archie looked up from his notes, his eyes meeting hers. She had just told him about the argument she and Snow had that morning and the words she had yelled.
"I love you Snow…you know I do but I just can't forgive you yet! I admit Daniel's death wasn't your fault but it was your actions that led to it!" She hadn't meant to say that out loud but she was just so frustrated and before she knew it the words had spilled out of her mouth. Snow's face was full of hurt and Regina had never felt so guilty before. Snow didn't even say a word and had walked away before she can stop her. That was when she found herself in Archie's office an hour later.
"You can Regina but right now, you're just not ready. You had blamed her for years and even though you aren't angry with her anymore, it's still going to take time."
"How will I know… How will I know I'll be ready to tell her? What if I'm never able to forgive her?"
"You'll know and you will," was all he said.
This was their conversation a few weeks ago and since then Regina had been trying her best to forgive the girl she had used to hate so much… the girl she now loved as a daughter. Unfortunately she hasn't genuinely felt that she was ready to forgive her and she can only hope that Archie was right… that one day she will. She walked into the diner, right away relishing in the warm air. It was freezing outside and right now a warm cup of coffee sounded good.
"Miss Lucas, one coffee please," Regina told the young waitress. Ruby nodded and as Regina waited she noticed the customers giving her dirty looks. She couldn't bring herself to care. She was used to it by now. During the year there had been a few attempts of the townspeople trying to get their own "revenge" on the former Queen but after one critical foolish move of throwing an egg at the windshield of her car, she crashed and both Regina and Henry ended up in the hospital with minor injuries. Having enough, Snow put a stop to it and as their Queen, of course they listened but that didn't mean they had stopped with the angry glares, the whispering, or kids being told by their parents to stay away from her. She didn't care. She deserved it. As long as they didn't hurt her or her family then she'll leave them alone. Once Regina had gotten her coffee she turned to leave but stopped when she noticed Snow reading in the corner of the diner.
"Hey," Regina greeted her with a small smile as she sat across from her in the booth. Snow smiled and Regina was well aware that the air between them was still tense from that argument a few weeks ago. Things had been a little rocky and Regina had yet to apologize.
"Hey, I'm reading the book you referred to me."
"I can see that. Do you like it?" Snow nodded and they were suddenly stuck in an awkward silence until Regina finally spoke up.
"Do you want to come with me? To the stables I mean," Regina clarified when Snow looked up at her in confusion. She thought this was strange. Besides that time with Henry, Regina never went to the stables since Daniel was brought back. She never even went before the curse was broken. So why now all of a sudden and why with her? She couldn't even think of what to say and Regina seemed to realize this.
"I know I never go but Archie mentioned something about me never getting closure and that's why I'm so… Well that's where Daniel was… I mean… He said I never got closure and it would be a good idea to go there for it." Regina helplessly stumbled on her words, not at all sounding like the Mayor she now was. After a few months in a Mayorless town, Snow and David decided to rehire Regina as Mayor since she was the only one who was fit for the job. Snow smiled, getting the hint at what she was trying to say but it still didn't answer the question as to why Regina wanted her to go with her. She didn't question her though. She knew in time, Regina would tell her.
"Yeah, I'd love to."
Later that day Regina and Snow were at the stables. Snow had gone to check them in as Regina went to greet the horse she would be riding. It was a beautiful black stallion with a white patch on its forehead that almost looked like a heart. She patted the horse and it neighed happily at the affection. She was kind of nervous not that she'll ever admit it to Snow. Besides from riding with Henry that one time last year, it's been years since she's ridden and even more since she's ridden just for fun. Still, walking into these stables made her heart clench with hurt and heartbreak as the memories of Daniel came flooding back to her… memories of happier times and memories of her having no choice but to take his life.
"Archie says I'll get closure by riding but I just feel so much worse by coming here. I don't know what I was thinking," she told the horse as she looked at its name plate. "Huh… Black Heart. I guess we have something in common." She looked into the horse's eyes only to see the warmth and trust it had for someone it didn't even know.
"We're all set," Snow's voice suddenly sounded from a few feet behind her. She quickly turned and wondered if Snow had just heard what she said to the horse about her heart being black. She tried reading her face but it was as if Snow didn't hear anything. She looked away with relief. She wasn't in the mood for a heart to heart right now. She only brought Snow for support and to make sure she didn't back down from coming. It wasn't long till the horses were ready and they soon found themselves leading the horses outside. Regina led Black Heart while Snow lead out a beautiful chestnut mare, Cinnamon. She stood there, the cool afternoon breeze blowing through her hair as she watched Snow climb onto Cinnamon. For some reason she couldn't move. For some reason she just couldn't bear the thought of riding. Snow seemed to notice her inner conflict because she looked down at her stepmother with concern.
"Hey, if you're not ready we can always come back another time." The concern and understanding in Snow's voice quickly snapped her back to why she came here in the first place… to why Archie suggested riding again. She needed closure first before she can forgive Snow White.
"No… I'm fine," she said as she took a breath and mounted Black Heart. Her heart fluttered in her chest at the familiarity of the saddle. She quickly got used to it as if she had never stopped riding. She couldn't stop the small smile from forming on her lips. Sitting on this horse felt like closure to her. Riding was something she'd always done for fun and since Daniel died she never rode unless she had to as Queen. Her chest felt lighter than it had in years and suddenly she couldn't wait to race through those fields like she had done with Henry. It was different then with Henry because she was different. A piece of her heart was still missing and now that she was here with her daughter, her heart felt complete. It was as if she could finally move on and have that closure. If Snow noticed she didn't comment and together they trotted down the trail.
They rode in a comfortable silence for a good while until Snow decided to bring up what she had heard earlier in the stables. She knew Regina's heart wasn't black because if it were she would have killed Snow a long time ago and plus her redemption and the progress they had made on reconciling their relationship would have never been possible. She needed Regina to know that. "What you told Black Heart in the stables… it's not true you know."
Regina didn't even look at Snow. "You heard me," she stated.
"It's true dear. My heart is black."
"If it's true… if your heart is as black as you say than you would have killed me long before you cast the curse. If it's true Henry wouldn't have turned out into the great kid that he is and we wouldn't be here. We wouldn't even be trying to fix our relationship and I know you haven't forgiven me yet but you wouldn't be trying."
"But the things I've done…"
"… doesn't mean that your heart is black," Snow finished for her. "Maybe it once was but now it's healing." Those words Snow had said really got through to her. She was right. Her heart wasn't as black as it was in the past because if it was they wouldn't be here together. She wouldn't even know where she'll be if it wasn't for her children. In a way Snow saved her life. Regina kept her gaze on the road but Snow could see the silent acceptance in her brown eyes. Nothing else about the topic was said. They kept the conversation light and as they made it out of the woods and into the clearing, Snow noticed the mischievous gleam in her stepmother's eyes.
"Regina…" Snow started to say right when Regina had Black Heart run at full speed through the fields. She can see her gaining speed and Snow knew that this was some kind of turning point in their relationship. With a small laugh, she raced after the black stallion and its rider. It wasn't till she was halfway behind her that she noticed something was wrong. Regina was slouching and to Snow's horror she can see Regina trying to grab the reins. All she felt was the icy cold grip of fear on her heart as she immediately sped towards her stepmother. She didn't make it in time and she watched as Regina fell from the horse.
"Regina!" she cried in panic as she raced towards her and practically jumped off of Cinnamon. She ran to Regina who was lying on her side, facing away from her. It wasn't until she was kneeling beside her that she realized Regina was laughing.
"Regina! Are you ok? Are you hurt… why are you laughing?" she asked that last question with annoyance. Regina sat up and Snow could see her cradling her arm.
"Because I thought I was going to die and I…"
"You're laughing because you thought you were going to die?" she asked, appalled at her stepmother's behavior before taking her arm. "You're hurt," she grumbled as she examined her arm. It was only bruised and didn't seem to be broken.
"Of course not," Regina snapped in frustration. "You didn't let me finish. I was laughing because I thought I was going to die before I was able to tell you I forgive you." Those words diminished Snow's obvious anger and her heart warmed. Regina just said she forgives her. She was so shocked and happy and mad all at the same time that she didn't even know what to say.
"Snow?" Regina said, trying to get her attention. Snow snapped out of it and met her stepmother's eyes.
"I still don't get how that's funny."
"It's not," Regina said as they helped each other up. They can see the horses grazing in the distance.
"But you were laughing…"
"Snow…" Regina interrupted her as she took both of her hands in hers. "I forgive you." Regina barely had the chance to register the look on her face before Snow had embraced her in a quick hug. She couldn't explain it. The life and death moment had made her realize what was really important. Archie was right. Once she had found her closure by getting on that horse with Snow beside her she realized she was ready to forgive her and not knowing if she were going to live made her realize that even faster. She wrapped her arms around her stepdaughter, realizing she was crying.
"It's ok… we're ok," she whispered and for the first time those words meant so much more to both of them. They were finally ok.
If anyone is confuse the italics is a flashback from a few weeks ago and the bold italics is a flashback within a flashback.