(This is a Regina and family centered story that takes place shortly after they find out Regina's innocence, and find her about to do the unthinkable. May seem OOC, but with all she's lost, I think it's relatively in character. If there's one thing Regina needs it's a legit, utter break down.
Anyway, enjoy. This is supposed to be an angsty one shot, but who knows, I might continue it.)
There is a plethora of questions ringing through Emma's head over this new development, but there's too many to answer and not enough time to answer them all at the moment. The only thing that matters to Emma is finding Regina before Cora manages to.
The blonde throws open the car door, as her parents follow suit in the back seat and leap from the yellow bug. Henry attempts to crawl out of his seat, but Emma gently and firmly pushes the boy back.
"Kid, you can't come in. If there's a possibility Cora is in that mansion, then I don't want you anywhere near it." That and Emma has a feeling this conversation will be far from pleasant. If she had been accused of a murder she didn't commit, she certainly wouldn't want to see the ones that prosecuted her.
"But I know she'll want to see me," Henry rushes out, desperation in his young eyes. "And I want to see her."
"And you will," Emma promises. "First we need to make sure she's alone." After everything they have speared Regina with, letting her see her son is the least they can do for her.
Snow and Charming are already at the door to the mansion and slamming their hands against it to try and alert the ex-queen inside.
"What makes you so sure Regina is going to be here?" Charming asks.
"Nothing," is Emma's immediate answer. "But I'd rather start by checking the most obvious place then scour every inch of Storybrooke just to find out she's been here this whole time."
Timidly, Snow knocks her fist against the door, but Regina doesn't answer it. The door stays shut and not a sound arises from inside the house. Snow knocks again, but still there is no answer. Something compels Emma to look through the window, and when she does, it feels as if she has been submerged in frigid waters as she freezes on the spot. She can see Regina hunched over in a chair, holding something in her hand that glows an earthly pink.
"She's reverting," Emma realizes with horror, wondering whose heart is in the woman's hand.
"No she isn't," Snow says, and she slams her foot against the door to open it. Regina stands immediately, but she doesn't look alarmed. No, she's standing there and staring at the two with a nonchalant gaze for someone who is holding a human heart.
Whose heart is it, Emma wonders. Has she somehow get a hold of Snow's heart? Is it Charming's? Did she just grab a random heart from her vault to vent out her anger?
The broken woman gazes down at the heart with a serene look, as if what she's about to do is going to bring her peace. Suddenly it's clear whose heart it is.
"Regina, don't do this," Emma gasps softly. She begins to advance toward the woman, in a way a negotiator would a suicide bomber: cautious and carefully. "Archie is alive and we know you're innocent."
Snow can only stand there for a moment, taking in the sight before her. The witch that has tried to destroy her, the witch that couldn't be destroyed, now stands as a broken shell of what she was with her own heart in her hand.
"Leave me alone, Ms. Swan," the former queen orders coldly, her face wiped of almost all emotion, insanity creeping up on her mind. "I don't need an audience for what I'm about to do."
"No," Emma says thickly, shaking her head. "You're not going to do it."
The laugh that rises from Regina sends chills up every spine. It isn't the laugh of an Evil Queen; it's the laugh of someone who has lost every ounce of their sanity. "Really, Emma? You think I've never done this before? I'm quite experienced, I assure you."
"No, don't throw it all away-"
"There is nothing left to throw away!" Regina snarls, and she holds up the glimmering organ threateningly, her nails hovering over it and about to dig in. "I have nothing left."
"Yes you do," Snow protests, tears in her eyes. "You still have a chance. I gave you one long ago and you never took it, so please take it now. Please don't give up. We know you're trying to change-"
"I'm not given the chance!" the ex-queen snarls. She begins shaking with grief, self hatred, and hatred for the world. She steps back as the savior and her step daughter advance, their expressions pleading. Charming remains at the door, but for once he isn't looking at her with indifference.
"Please, Henry needs you," Emma whispers. Her voice is cracking because she can't bear watching someone that could have a chance at life die right in front of her.
"No he doesn't. He needs you, he needs his mother." The former queen backs up like a cornered and wounded animal, still gripping the heart in her hand.
"You're his mother too," Emma whispers, needing the woman to believe it.
"No I'm not," Regina hisses quietly. "You said so yourself. He's your son, not mine. I can never see him again."
"Yes you can," the blonde promises, now fighting the tears and trying to remain strong. "You can see him. He wants to see you, he wants to see you right now."
"He'd never want to see me," Regina snarls, her voice beginning to tremble and inhale tearless sobs. "He never used to before, why would he want to see the Evil Queen now?"
"Stop calling yourself that," Snow pleads, feeling the pain tighten in her heart. It's beginning to dawn on the family what they have done. "You don't have to be that anymore."
"Yes I do!" the brunette practically screams. "I will never change!"
Emma shuts her eyes and knows that whatever they say, Regina will hurl back in their face with the reminder of the horrific things they said to her earlier. They aren't doing anything but hastening the woman's want to crush her own heart.
"Regina, do something you've never let yourself do," Snow tells the woman, in a soft and almost soothing tone. "Accept help for once. Let us help you."
There's a flicker of hope in the woman's face, and for a moment Snow sees her step mother, lost and anguished. After a moment her face glazes over with malice and hate again, and she begins to squeeze the heart.
Both woman scream at once; one screams 'Regina!', while the other one screams 'Mother!', and Charming fires his gun, intentionally missing but startling the woman into stumbling and releasing the heart.
Emma scrambles for the heart while Snow catches her step mother, who is nothing but a broken mess by this point.
The woman only half-heartedly struggles, and finally lets herself go limp in her step daughter's arms. The tears don't come, although she is as broken as a person can be. Snow holds her in a half embrace and a half restraining manner.
Regina can't cry and she wonders why. After all this, her eyes are dry, although her body shakes with suppressed sobs. She wants to fall to pieces in her step daughter's arms and finally let someone take care of her, but she's still too afraid to let anyone in.
The Charming family looks down at the woman who is nothing but a shattered, hollow mess, and despite all she has done to break them, they can't find pleasure in her suffering. There is only a grim look of pity in each sets of eyes.
Emma approaches Regina with the heart and prays to God that she doesn't screw this up and end up shoving the damn thing in her lungs or something. Regina tries to fight her to keep the organ away from her, but she doesn't have the strength to fight anymore and only releases a shaking gasp as her heart goes back into her chest.
Snow stares down at the woman and can tell she's holding back on her emotions. She helps her into a sitting position beside her, and every family member has no idea what to do now.
The door bursts open before they can say anything else, and Henry races into his mother's arms. He practically tackles her to the ground from the sheer force of the hug, but Regina remains upright and wraps him up in her arms, clinging as if her life depends on it.
Regina hasn't shed a tear since the family has come in, and not even when she collapsed against Snow. Here in the security of her son and holding her little boy, the woman finally loses it and lets every brick of her emotional wall come tumbling down as she bursts into heaving sobs.
Henry is crying too and murmuring apologies left and right into her hair as he tries to console his broken mother.
It's an emotional moment that cleaves the hearts of everyone in the room as they gaze down at both mother and son and realize things are changing, and here in the privacy of the mansion and unity, it feels like a family.
And that's what they are. The former queen is a part of their wayward, family tree, and it's time to build from the ground up and at last help to pick up the pieces.