(I've decided to continue with this, simple because this site needs more Regina/Charming family fics. After all, she's a stepmother, a step grandmother, and an adoptive mother to three people of that family. It's obviously AU since we know what happens after the "Cricket Game", but I don't think I had to mention that anyway. The fic is divided around everyone in the Charming family, but my biggest focus will be Henry, Regina, and Snow.)
It's around seven when Snow comes back in to see Regina. She has been alone for the past hour as Henry splits his time in between his two mothers and watches Madagascar with Emma. Regina wants to join, but she can't get herself out of the bed.
"Emma wants her room back tonight," Snow tells her step mother. There is a slight smile on her face, like she's trying to have a friendly conversation with the woman. "She's slept on the couch for two days now."
"Why didn't you just put me on the couch?" Regina isn't picky with where she slept, as long as it's clean. Snow White lives in this apartment; she probably enslaves all the animals around her to clean it every day.
"We would have, but Henry wanted to stay with you." Snow watches Regina's eyes fill with hope and affection. "You scared him." She pauses, and then decides to add, "You scared all of us. Your heart...Regina, why?"
The ex-queen falls utterly silent and turns her head, pain in her eyes. She's still wondering that very question herself.
Snow knows that she's taking a long shot asking Regina something so personal. If there's anyone Regina wants to talk to it certainly isn't her, but the gentle woman wants to know. The pain in her step mother's eyes is almost too much to bear.
Regina, as expected, doesn't answer at first, and Snow is about to leave when her mother speaks. It's not the voice of the Evil Queen.
"I'm reminded I'll never change, I'm forbidden to see my son, I'm a hated pariah...tell me, Snow, what would you do?" There's no hate and condescending in her tone, but only quiet honesty.
Snow can't answer this, because she really has no idea what she would do, and knowing she's half the reason Regina was almost pushed to suicide is too agonizing to think about. Clearing her throat and trying to be strong, Snow stands up from the bed.
"Emma and Henry are watching a movie." She watches the woman, but she makes no response. "The living room couch is more spacious than this bedroom—which, by the way, Emma is going to kick you out of soon."
Regina doesn't want to look at her. The cool look of bitter glass settles on her face again. "Then I'll wait until she does kick me out to leave."
Snow rolls her eyes. This is Regina, the most stubborn woman she's ever met. If Regina won't leave the bedroom on her own she'll have to just wait for Emma to forcibly drag her off the mattress. Frankly, that would be a funny sight to witness.
There's a knock at the door, and the moment Charming answers it, something large and furry bounds into the apartment, pouncing on Emma's bed, and, inadvertently, Regina's face.
Even Snow has to gape and fight off the welling laughter at the startled yelp that rises from the brunette's mouth as she furiously shoves the rather large dog to the floor, muddy paw prints now adorning her cheeks.
Snow leaves before she can burst into laughter, already feeling Regina's acid glare on her back, and hearing Charming chortle from the kitchen. Pongo gives Regina a large, obnoxious lick up the center of the face, and that's enough to make laughter break out in the kitchen.
"My...sincere apologies, Regina. Pongo thought Henry would be in here." A smile crosses Archie's face as he watches the dog affectionately snuffle the woman's cheeks, and he's not blind to the subtle inch Regina's mouth turns up. "He seems happy to see you anyway."
Regina doesn't answer. She's too busy staring at the cricket in front of her and swallowing the annoying lumps of emotion in her throat. She shouldn't be reacting like this. It was a stupid bug, and one she'd probably, thoughtlessly crush under her boot in the Enchanted Forest.
Yet it is this very same bug that had given her the chance when no one else would. It was that bug that hadn't regarded her as her dubbed title as the Evil Queen. And it was that same bug, her only friend that she'd thought she'd never see again.
"Hello, Bug," Regina greets with a nod. She's trying to show indifference, but the rim of her eyelids are wet and red. "What are you doing here?"
The cricket shrugs with a wayward smile, smoothing his hand through his dalmatian's fur, and letting him run out into the living room to find Henry. "I thought I'd come and visit-"
"House call?" Regina sneers, unsure whether or not to feel touched or angered at the fact he thought she was too weak and needed someone right now. Then again, that assumption was correct.
"They told me." That silences things between the two, and Archie doesn't come out with the big 'Regina, why?' Archie knows the unfathomable pain she's gone through. He was there through every session, and especially the night Daniel returned, where he almost found himself embracing the sobbing ex-queen as she practically crumbled the moment she stepped through the door.
"I figured they would," is the Queen's cold response. "No one would be able to resist blabbing out how the Evil Queen finally lost it and was ready to end it all."
Archie shakes his head, finding it sad how the woman can't just accept a little kindness. "They were worried."
"No they weren't."
"They brought you here, didn't they?"
"They brought me here because Henry wished it."
Was that what the woman was told, Archie wonders. Certainly Henry wished to be with his adoptive mother, but judging by the conversation on the phone where a broken Snow White had let herself cry on the phone, alone in her bedroom, Henry wasn't the only one.
"Tell me, what was going through your head when you were about to do it."
"You want me to list everything I was thinking? That could take hours." She sits there and realizes he's waiting for an answer. "I was thinking about my son." Truthfully in the scattered abyss of questions and regrets, Henry was the only thing that mattered. "I was thinking about how I lost him forever and how nothing I did would ever be good enough."
"I'm sorry I wasn't there that night. I know you needed someone."
That's true. Selfish anger wells in the former queen's chest, because she was alone that night. He had let her be alone. He wasn't there when she needed him the most. He's the only person in this world Regina can come close to ever calling a friend.
"I'm not in the mood for therapy right now, Bug," she tells him coldly. "Leave me alone."
He gets the message and stands up with a heavy heart. As he moves to the door, he glances briefly into the living room, where he can see the heads of Emma and Henry watching their movie, and he looks back at the woman.
"You shouldn't seclude yourself in here, Regina. You've been taken back here for a reason, I'm sure. I think you should join them." A scoff is his only response, and he goes to leave. Before he does, Regina clears her throat, her voice broken and cracked.
"I'm glad you're alive, Doctor Hopper." There are tears in the corner of her eyes, that sparkle with pain and relief.
The doctor smiles and gives her a nod, leaving the room with a dalmatian in tow.
It's just Regina in the room now, still wrapped up tightly in Emma's blankets, and thinking on everything the cricket said.
She's in the apartment of her enemies, and she can even see two of them in the kitchen, sipping coffee and probably pretending she doesn't even exist. She should stay in the bedroom, concealed under the blankets and away from prying eyes. She should escape out the window. She should be out with Henry. There is so much she should and shouldn't be doing, but she doesn't even know what's right and what's wrong.
In the end, it's the need to see those young, beautiful green eyes of her son, and her hated of being alone that finally pushes her up from the bed for the first time in two days. Her limbs feel weak and malnourished, even though Snow has been pumping enough food in her to fatten her up to eat (which she probably is).
Regina's bedraggled state probably surprises Snow and Charming (and anyone who isn't used to seeing the pristine mayor of Storybrooke in such a state), but no one says anything, nor gives her more than a glance as she walks out into the living room.
Henry beams up at her when he sees her, and she immediately smiles back. Surprisingly, even Emma gives a cautious, but still sincere smile.
"Hey Regina." She blinks. "What the hell happened to your face?"