Jack didn't know what to do. He was afraid, yes, but not of Regina – never of Regina. He was afraid of what she was going to do, how she was going to deal with whatever it was that had come flooding back to her. He barely registered the glow of her hands as she'd held them up to him; having no idea what was going on, all he'd wanted to do was reach out to her, but she'd disappeared before he could.
He dashed after her; knowing the only place she was likely to go he gave her a few seconds head-start before he headed for the stairs. The night had grown cold and damp, steam puffed out from his mouth as he ran and he knew as soon as he stopped, he was going to feel the chill, but he didn't care.
He made it to the top of the hill, Rosy's diner stood just a few feet away and he slowed his pace, heading towards the stairs knowing it was the only place she could be. He stopped suddenly, in the middle of the carpark when he saw the door standing open. There was a woman with her back to him, standing in the doorway with her hands in her pockets and beyond it; he saw something that completely surprised him.
Regina was down on her knees with her arms wrapped around a little boy. "Henry," He'd heard her gasp and he'd felt his own heart soar at the idea that she'd found someone she remembered.
He considered turning away, giving her space and letting her think about everything that had happened, but then he remembered the fear in her eyes, the self-doubt. He didn't want her to go another moment thinking there was anything in her past that could scare him away.
"Regina," He breathed, stepping up to the door. The woman in the way stepped to the side and he noticed her eyes widen and switch between the two of them. The little boy turned around quickly, just as Regina noticed him standing there and he tried to smile, stuffing his hands in his pockets as he started to feel the cold.
"What's going on?" He tried to keep his tone light; worried he'd frighten her away.
"This," She hesitated, gripping the little boy's shoulders as he stood in front of her. "This is Henry," She met Jack's eyes, almost nervously. "My son."
Jack tentatively took a few steps forward, holding his hand out with a kind smile. Henry took it, shaking it vigorously with a bright grin. "It's nice to meet you, Jack." He beamed up at him and Jack couldn't help but smile in return.
"Likewise, kid." He looked back up at Regina, trying to convey everything he felt in just that look. "So you came looking for your Mom, did you?" He questioned, not taking his eyes off her face.
"Yeah, we kinda need her." The woman behind him cut in and he noticed Regina's eyes widen in surprise, before he looked over his shoulder at her. "Sorry, I'm Emma, just a -" He noticed her share a look with Regina. "- friend."
"You need her?"
"It's a long story."
"Literally," Henry chuckled and Jack noticed Regina squeeze his shoulder just slightly. He looked between the three of them, from Emma behind him, to Henry and back to Regina. He noticed that Rosy had made herself scarce behind the counter, for which he was grateful as he tried to wrap his head around what was going on.
"Jack," Regina started, ushering Henry towards Emma as she stepped up to meet him. He hadn't been so conscious of their difference in height until that moment, when she looked so small staring up at him, hoping he was going to understand whatever terrible truths she had to share. "Do you believe in magic?"
"Up until today, I'd have probably said no."
The corner of his mouth tipped upward slightly. "I don't really know. That was a pretty neat trick you pulled before you ran out of my workshop."
Regina blushed, remembering the deep purple glow that had emanated from her hands as she'd fought against forcing him back with her magic. "I stopped myself," She stated quietly and Jack frowned.
"No," He leaned down closer to her, lowering his voice. "I mean that bright light when we kissed."
"True love's kiss!" Henry beamed and Jack turned around quickly, finding himself grinning as he pointed at Regina.
"That's what she said when it happened."
"Henry," Regina shushed him and the boy was smart enough to take a step back against Emma, closing his mouth and letting them speak. "Oh, but wait, that's how I remembered. It was the kiss." Regina looked up at him, her eyes wide in realization.
"So you did forget." Henry chimed in again and Regina found herself nodding dumbly, staring up at Jack with new eyes. "You saved her. You broke the curse."
"I'm sorry," Jack frowned. "I don't understand."
"She's a fairytale character." Emma stated flatly and Jack just blinked.
"What? Like a princess?"
"Actually," He turned around at the sound of Henry's voice, his mouth hanging open in surprise. Henry just looked proud – Regina never thought she'd ever see that look on Henry's face when talking about what and who she was, but the surprise of the change was pleasant – maybe things could be different. "She's a Queen."
"Have you ever read the story of Snow White?" Regina spoke softly, hesitant to meet his eyes so she kept them on Henry.
"Yeah," Jack breathed as she slowly turned to him. The world narrowed to just the two of them and he could feel his heart-rate quicken.
"I'm referred to as the Evil Queen." Her voice was barely above a whisper, barely contained disdain dripping from the moniker. "I hurt people, because people had hurt me."
"And I'm sorry, Regina," Emma frowned, cutting in on the moment suddenly, ripping Jack's attention away from her. "I can see that something has happened for you here, and I'm actually glad, honestly." Regina found herself gripping Jack's elbows, holding onto him tightly before she even realized she was touching him at all. "But we need you to come back. We need your magic."
"No," Regina stepped closer to Jack. "No, I promised I wouldn't use magic anymore, Henry," She turned down to him. "I don't want to break that promise."
"Mom, it's okay. You're the only one that can do this, I believe in you."
"Why can't Rumple help you? Why me?" Jack watched the exchange curiously, feeling Regina's firm grip on his arms – feeling that she needed something to ground her in that moment he wrapped his arms around her waist, holding her close. "I can't." She choked.
"It's Cora." The words caught Regina by surprise and she held onto Jack so tight her knuckles went white and her expression went completely vacant.
"Who's Cora?" Jack asked.
"My mother." Regina answered. "How did she get to Storybrooke?"
"Actually," Emma cleared her throat and winced. "That'd be my fault."
Regina saw red and all thoughts of keeping her promise were lost. She suddenly let go of Jack and stormed towards Emma, she bore her teeth in her anger, and threw her arm up; she caught Emma in a tight web and threw her against the wall.
With a glow of purple around her hands she tightened the hold slowly, sinching Emma tighter as she narrowed her eyes. "You let my mother into this world; you let her close to my son."
"Regina, please." Emma gasped out between wheezes, trying to breathe but Regina squeezed her fist tighter and Emma's face started to go blue.
"Mom, stop!" Henry shouted and Regina looked to him, overwhelmed with the want to stop but unable to forgive that her mother had been allowed to pass into Storybrooke.
"Regina, don't do this." Jack's voice was calm and steady, so close behind her ear that she shuddered with the feel of his breath against her skin. "You don't have to be that woman anymore."
"You don't know my mother, Jack; you don't know what Emma's unleashed."
"No," He sighed, resting his palm against her hip and letting the tips of his fingers touch the smallest hint of bare flesh between her tank-top and her jeans. "But I know you and this isn't you."
She felt tears burn her eyes; her grip loosened but she didn't let Emma go. "It is me."
"No," He trailed his palm around to her stomach, pulling her back against his chest and kissing her hair. "It doesn't have to be."
Emma dropped to the floor with a thud and Henry ran to her, helping her stand as she clutched at her throat. "I think I can let that one slide," She narrowed her eyes at Regina. "All history considered."
Regina glared at her. "You have no idea what you've done."
"No," Emma hissed; that familiar bitterness of their banter returning at full force. "But how about instead of blaming me, you help me make it right."
Reluctantly, Regina nodded. "For Henry."
"Yeah, for Henry." Emma agreed.
"So what do we do?" Jack asked and Regina turned to him in surprise.
"What are we going to do? How do we get your Mom?"
Regina was dumbfounded; lost for words her mouth moved for a moment but no sound came out. "You," She stammered over the word. "You want to help?" He looked over to Rosy who nodded her head – the old woman knew what he was going to say and he was glad that he had her approval.
There was nothing left for him there and he'd known it for a while.
"I want to be with you."
"But I'm a monster."
Jack smiled, gesturing down to Henry. "Not to your son," She took note of Henry's reassuring nod. "Not to Emma, right?" It was harder to get an answer out of her, but eventually Emma agreed. He smiled with tears in his eyes, holding her face in his hands. "And you're definitely not a monster to me."
"There's a lot you don't know, Jack. I've done things..."
"Then tell me."
"It's not a simple story."
Leaning in, Jack touched his lips to hers lightly, pressing firmer when he realized she wasn't going to fight him. He kissed her thoroughly, pressing his forehead to hers as they parted. "I can take it." He breathed, looking into her eyes and slowly, with a smile growing on her lips, Regina nodded.
"My book's in the car." Henry beamed and Regina laughed softly.
"That'll help, sweetie, thank you." She grabbed a hold of his shoulders, pulling him towards her so that she could kiss the top of his head; she ran her fingers through his hair, tilting his head up so that she could see his face. "I love you, Henry."
"I know I said I didn't," Henry wrapped his arms around Regina's waist and Jack patted his shoulder as he did so. "But I love you too."