"I can't do this any more, Emma. I can't live here any longer, surrounded by people who want my head on a platter." Regina said as the two sat on a bench by the docks.
Emma barely heard the other woman over the crashing of the waves on what seemed to be Storybrooke's windiest day. The brunette had politely asked Emma to meet her so they could talk. "What… are you trying to tell me you're leaving? Leaving town?"
The ex-Mayor just nodded in reply.
"Wh-why?! Why the hell would you do something like that, just when we're getting to be good! How can you take him from me?!"
Regina turned her head and looked at Emma with an incredulous look. "Did I ever say I would be taking Henry with me? Him staying here and me staying away is what's best for all of us right now." She laughed dryly. "And at least I can take solace in the fact that for five shining seconds you could understand how I felt when you first showed up. That you'd have taken him from me."
"Why are you leaving?"
"Because I hate it here. I hate this town, I hate 72.3% of everyone in it and I do not want to be here. At least I'm not a bitch any more, because if I was then Henry would be coming with me."
"Where will you go?" Emma couldn't help the feeling of her heart sinking. Not even to her stomach, it dropped all the way to her foot. "Will we at least be able to contact you?"
"I can't tell you where I'm going. I have already made lots of arrangements. And yes, but only in emergencies." Regina dug into the inside of her overcoat and pulled out two identical, cheap phones. "The only numbers on these are for the other phone." She held one out to Emma. "For use in emergencies only, like if Henry is terminally ill, or if I am and I need to see him before I go."
The blonde stared at the phone, eyes filling with tears. Fortunately for her, her hair hung over her face and hid the tears from the brunette. "If I don't take it, will you still leave?" She also managed to even out her voice so it sounded like this wasn't affecting her so horribly.
"Yes." Regina, unfortunately, was incapable of the same. Her voice quivered with sadness and tears freely fell, both at knowing she won't see Henry again, and knowing she won't see the Sheriff again. Her Sheriff. "The phones are pay as you go. I've put ten bucks credit on both."
Emma took the phone reluctantly, shoving it unceremoniously into her own coat pocket. "He'll never forgive you for leaving."
"He will. Because he has what he wants. He has his birth mother, his grandparents, and the 'Evil Queen' is finally out of his life. Everyone can be happy… without me."
The Sheriff opened her mouth to protest that she wouldn't be, but promptly closed it again. 'This is what Regina needs to do.' She told herself.
"Besides, I ran into August today. He said Neal's coming to town. You can be a happy little family."
"I don't want Neal. He's an ass. If he's coming to town then Henry and I are leaving too." Emma said determinedly, finally looking up and thankful that her tears had cleared.
"Fine. But don't follow me. Henry doesn't need me right now, he needs you."
Emma nodded. "Wherever you're going… I hope you find happiness." She didn't voice what she was thinking. 'Even though you could have it with me.'
"Me too." 'Even though I only want it with you.' "Tell Henry I love him."
"You're leaving now?! Without even saying goodbye to him in person?!"
"Goodbye, Emma Swan. Have a good life."
Without another word, Regina stood and walked over to her car, driving away. Emma sat in silence and, unbeknownst to the other woman, broke out in heaving sobs as she lay down in the space the other woman had just vacated, despite the oncoming rain.
The brunette stopped her car not a mile out of Storybrooke and rested her head on the steering wheel, sobbing.
Miami, Florida, 2015.
"You okay? Eva?" Serena called, waving her hand about in front of the brunette doctor's face.
She looked up, wiping her eyes. "Yeah. Fine. Old memories resurfacing, sorry."
"Hey, it's fine. I know what that's like. Thinking about your mom?"
"Yeah." She lied easily.
Lying had become quite the skill for Eva ever since leaving Storybrooke. As she drove from the town, she'd manipulated the curse to fill her with all the knowledge she needed to be a doctor. Her mission? To save more lives than she'd ever taken. It wasn't all easy, however. She spent a week before starting work at Miami Trauma unit thinking up 'Eva Zambrano's life story.
Her mother had died of illness at age six, and her father had brought her from Cuba over to Florida on a tiny boat to give them both a better life. She'd gone to Tammy Ammy high school and lost the basketball championship because of the bent hoop in the gym.
She got her ticket out with a letter of recommendation for a better school. From there, she'd gone onto med school and graduated top of her class (papers and memories that she'd had to fake incredibly convincingly with her magic). She was now the number one Trauma surgeon in America and had been for nearly two years.
Naturally, of course, the mortals in this realm subconsciously sensed her royalty - not that she didn't ooze Queenliness, of course, because she definitely did - and so most people did her bidding without question.
The only thing she couldn't control, however, were her memories flooding her as the two year anniversary of leaving Storybrooke crept closer and closer. Henry would be thirteen now, and she'd missed two birthdays - which tore a gaping hole in her 'never missed one' record. She'd not received a single call on the cheap phone that she kept slotted into a holster on her hip constantly, right next to her pager.
But, overall, she missed it. She missed walking down the street amidst sneers and threats. She missed Henry. She missed watching clumsy Snow White trip up on the ice in the winters and fall face first. She missed Emma.
She loved smiling, though. She loved joking with the other doctors. She loved being waved at by old patients or old colleagues around the city. She tried to love Dr Chris Deleo, wanting so desperately for her heart to come to life again, but that was a failed attempt. He still pined after her, of course. Who wouldn't? Dr Matthew Proctor always pushed off the younger man's advances, acting like an older brother to Eva.
As she sat in the break room at around midday with Serena, nibbling on a cookie after a long, long shift of saving more lives, she had some sort of epiphany:
She couldn't give her heart to Chris, because she didn't have it.
It wasn't that someone had removed it, like her mother and then she used to do to people. It was that it was still in Storybrooke. She'd left it on a bench, in the hands of an upset blonde. She could only hope that the other woman felt the same. That she'd left her heart in Regina's coat pocket and the older woman had left town with it.
Another of her hopes was that Emma wasn't back with Neal. Or Baelfire, or Peter Pan or whatever he was going by now. That she wasn't happy, just as Regina wasn't.
Waycross, Georgia, Same Day, 2015.
Thirty-year-old Emma Swan was curled up in bed for the seven hundred and twenty third day since Regina Mills had left. Granted, it was a different bed than seven hundred and twenty days ago, since she'd also left with Henry just days after Neal showed up - a day after the woman she loved left.
Back then, she explained nearly everything to Henry. That they couldn't have a family with Neal because Emma didn't love him. She didn't want him. Her heart lay with someone else. He'd asked who, but she shrugged off his question. He hadn't thought anything of it. He had barely even reacted at knowing the woman who raised him had left him, merely had a sniffle before going off to play with grandpa.
The ex-Sheriff could see it, though. The sadness in her son's eyes. The emptiness. He loved Regina, she could tell, and he was devastated that he hadn't seen her in two years.
Her mother called once a week. She hadn't disclosed her location to the woman, knowing that if she did then she'd end up married off without choice to her ex-boyfriend. Only one of them would be happy about it.
She hadn't told Henry about the emergency phone - which she kept fully charged and in her bra for easy retrieval - knowing that he'd want to be on it almost constantly.
With a soft smile and a lightbulb popping up over her head (figuratively speaking) as she swept out of bed at twelve midday and into the living room, where she knew her son would be sat doing his homework, as it was a Saturday.
"You wanna talk to your mom?" She asked. Neither of them had started to think of Emma as his mother. Regina stayed 'mom' every time they spoke about her (which was a rare occurrence, so they could spare themselves the pain).
He looked up with wide eyes. "What? Mom? What about her?"
"Do you want to talk to her?" Emma asked again. "When she left, she gave me a phone to call her in emergencies."
"Why didn't you tell me this before?!"
"Because you'd rake up a huge freaking bill, that's why." She pulled the phone from her bra and held it out to him. "S'the only number."
He stared at the device in awe and wonder, taking it in his hands as if it were the most precious crystal in the world. He opened up the contacts and saw a precious name imprinted in the screen. 'Regina'. He gulped as he dialled the number and held the phone to his ear.
Both Charming children stood nervously, hoping against all hope that the older woman still had the phone.
'Eva' looked around in confusion, hearing a phone ringing. "Who's is that?"
"Eva, it's you." Serena said as if it was the most obvious thing, gesturing to the phone on her hip that had lit up with 'Emma' and was buzzing.
The brunette stood up instantly, her chair falling back as she hastily grabbed the phone, nearly slamming the device against her ear, the worst scenarios flowing through her mind after everything she'd seen as a doctor.
"What happened? Is Henry okay? Are you okay?" She said, voice shaking.
"Mommy?" Henry's quiet voice crackled through.
Tears filled brown eyes as she clutched her blonde friend for support. "Yeah baby? Are you sick?"
"I'm fine but… Wh-where are you? Why did you go? Are you coming back?"
"Oh, my baby…" She took a deep breath, throat closing as her - as of yet, imaginary - heart lurched into it. "I had to leave. To make everyone happy."
"I'm not happy! Emma's not happy! We haven't been happy for two years!" He yelled through the phone.
Serena didn't question her friend's tears or the voice coming from the out-dated device, she just knew Eva needed someone to hold onto.
"I've missed you, baby.." She mumbled, and was greeted with a long silence before her little boy's voice sounded again.
"We've missed you too. Can we see you? Please? I need.. I need my mommy." She heard him break out crying and began sobbing too.
He was clinging to Emma's chest, who had knelt by his chair at the table.
Regina did mental calculations, her mathematics skills having advanced in her time as a doctor. She counted up the deaths she'd caused both directly and indirectly - including her son's. She counted up the lives she'd saved in just two years. She counted up the lives she'd tried so hard to save but had lost. She smiled softly at the living finally outweighing the dead.
"Mommy?" Henry's voice crackled again.
"Yes baby. Yes, you can see me. Are you still in Storybrooke?"
As she spoke about the fictional town, the rest of her team entered the break room and rushed to comfort her. Chris placed a hand on her behind and she angrily slapped him, Matt pushing him aside for her to curl into his chest. She smiled a little.
"What was that noise?"
"It's okay, honey, I just slapped someone for inappropriate touching of my derrière." This brought a laugh from the other side of the connection and drew a smile from her. "So are you still…?"
"No. We're in Georgia."
"That's close, I guess. By a state."
Henry looked up at his birth mother with hope in his eyes. "What state?"
"I'm in Florida. Miami, Florida."
He grinned brightly and whispered, "She's in Miami! Please can we go see her, Emma?"
"Emma's there?" A once-cold heart fluttered with hope and love. It was true what they said - absence really did make the heart grow fonder. "C-can I speak to her?"
"Yeah, one sec." There was some muffled sounds and she could hear a quiet argument before Henry must have shoved the phone against Emma's ear.
"Hi…" Came the second voice the brunette had missed so much. The blonde's heart leapt from her foot back into her chest as she waited to hear the silky smooth voice of the ex-Mayor.
"Hey…" Regina said shakily, wiping her eyes on Matt's scrub shirt.
"It's so good to hear your voice." Emma sighed in relief.
Apparently, however, fate was against them. Five pagers started beeping rapidly.
"We've got incoming. Car pileup." Chris said. He, Matt, Serena and Tuck ran from the room. Matt waited by the door.
"Eva. Come on. We need you."
"Emma, I'm so sorry, I have to go."
"What are you doing that you're needed in a pile up?"
"I'll call you back later, tell Henry I love him. Bye." She slotted the phone back into it's holster and ran after Matt, heading off to do the job she loved most - more than being Mayor, more than being Queen. She loved being a Doctor more than she loved riding horses.
Daytona Beach, Florida, three hours later.
"Kid, answer the phone?" Emma said, tossing the device into Henry's lap with a smile as she drove.
"Hey!" He answered cheerfully.
"Hey baby!" Came his mother's voice from the other end. "My shift's over now, so we can talk all we want. Are you… Are you in the car? Did I call at a bad time?" She frowned.
"No, it's fine! We're just passing through Daytona Beach!"
"We're coming to visit you, of course! Hang on a sec…" He was quiet for a moment and Regina could only just hear Emma's voice, but not quite what she was saying. "Emma wants to know if you're in Miami, or Miami Beach."
There was another pause. "Okay, we'll be there in like three hours. Where do you want to meet us?"
"You got a pen?"
"Yeeaah…" He said, unzipping his backpack and taking out his drawing pad and pen. "Shoot."
"There's this little place called Chicken Kitchen right by the hospital, on NW 14th Street. Text me when you get there and I can make it in about twenty minutes."
"North West fourteenth.. Got it."
"Now, I don't wanna talk to you about everything we've missed over the phone. I'm gonna go, okay? I have some paperwork to do."
"Okay mom. I love you."
"I love you too."
"Soooo…" Serena asked, grinning over at her friend. "Whooo's the lucky guy who's earned the love of the woman of steel?"
Eva grinned back, quite happy to share herself with the young woman she'd taken under her wing. "My thirteen year old son."
"Holy shit, you have a son?" A pale jaw dropped.
"Yeah. It's a long story, but I haven't seen him in two years." She sat down and took a soft hand in her own. "Don't ask."
"Then I won't. But you said he was in the car? If he's thirteen, he probably shouldn't be driving."
"His birth mother is driving. Again, long story."
"I'm guessing that's Emma?" Serena's question was greeted with a nod. "Got it."
Miami, three hours later.
"Eva! We need you! We've got incoming!" Chris called. The brunette had been sat in the break room for three hours catching up on her papers. "Car crash on North West fourteen, right on our doorstep!"
Her chest flooded with fear, once again assuming the worst as she followed the man she'd once - once - had a fling with. "We got any details?"
"One blonde adult female, one brunette adolescent male. Fifteen year old Beetle stalled and they were rear-ended, pushing them into a delivery truck."
Tears filled Regina's eyes. Only one pair of people could fit that description. "Condition?"
"Blonde has a concussion, skull fracture and broken ribs, kid's got a broken leg and arm and had to be resussed on the scene."
"If they weren't would we be getting them?"
She gulped as the guerneys were wheeled in side by side, recognising the cut and bruised faces of her son and the woman she loved. She took a deep breath - Serena was right. She was the woman of steel and like hell if she was going to let either of these two die on her.
Chris leant over the blonde. "I'm Dr Chris Deleo, can you tell me your name?"
She tried to speak but found she couldn't, and Regina easily butted in. "Emma Swan and Henry Mills. Thirty and thirteen."
She tried to follow them as they were pulled into operating rooms, but Matt held her back. "How do you know their names and ages?"
"They're my family." She whined as she tried to pull away from his grip. "Let me go! I have to save them!"
Her struggles just made the Englishman hold her tighter, and eventually she gave up and went practically limp, curling into him for the second time that day. "Are they blood related?" She shook her head. "What are they to you?"
"He's my adoptive son, and she's… nothing but the woman I pine for every day."
"Then we can let you treat her but not him. Is that clear? You aren't to go near Henry until he's in the clear."
Regina gulped and nodded. "I can do that."
"Don't get distracted. Think of her as just another life that it's your job to save." He finally released her from his grip, letting her run off to Emma.
One hour later.
The whine of the machine droned on and on, piercing Regina's ears. "Time of death… Seven-twenty-three pm." Chris sighed, tossing his gloves down. The beep of the heart monitor continued to drone, and 'Dr Zambrano' batted away the hands of those who attempted to comfort her.
Emma had gone into cardiac arrest not a moment after Regina had sutured a bleed inside her abdomen caused by a tiny blood tumour rupturing.
She closed her eyes, taking a deep breath and using her pent-up magic to slow time to a complete halt. Luckily, every one of her colleagues in the room was currently facing away. She stepped slowly over to the blonde - her blonde - and placed her hand on a pale one.
"Emma Swan… My beautiful blonde saviour… you've saved me so many times. It's my turn to save you - and god, do I hope I can." She whispered.
It was as if time slowed for her, too, however this was just a mental phenomenon as opposed to magical.
Her tan hand reached out and stroked blonde curls away from a pale forehead. "I love you." She whispered, plump lips pressing against cold pink ones.
She let a tear drop from her cheek onto Emma's.
With a burst of warmth and a gust of wind, time sped right back up and the long drone of the heart monitor gratefully turned into slow, steady beeps matching the pace of Emma's heart. Every doctor and nurse in the room turned in shock.
"Eva… What did you do?" Chris questioned.
She just sobbed happily as she finally got to see beautiful green eyes for the first time in what felt like centuries. "You're okay, Emma. We're gonna sedate you again so we can stitch you back up painlessly."
Emma tried to lift her head to see what they were stitching up, but Regina pushed her back down. "I'm gonna stay right here."
At that moment, Matt walked in. "The boy's fine, he's in recovery in ICU." he announced, drawing an even wider smile from the woman he knew as Eva.
The blonde was sedated and her torso closed, Regina not letting go of her hand with a huge grin on her face.
The ex-Sheriff was put in a room with a sleeping Henry after Regina had organised to pay for all of their healthcare - she of course still had mountains of savings, due to the curse taking the gold in her vaults and exchanged it for this world's currency.
The brunette stayed glued to the chair between the two beds. Within the hour, the young boy on her right was stirring and turning to face her.
"Mommy?" He said quietly, in a croaky voice.
She rushed to his side. "Hey, baby. How're you feeling?"
"I'm okay. My chest hurts…"
She nodded in understanding. "Do you know what happened?"
He nodded and curled closer to her. "The car got hit… Then it was all dark, and then someone was pressing on me and I was on the road.."
Regina kissed the top of her little boy's head. "You died for a couple of minutes out there, but you're okay. You have a broken arm and leg. Are you in pain?" He nodded and she moved over to a cart to get a small needle and filling it with fluid before going back over to him. "I'm gonna give you some more meds." She said softly, carefully injecting his arm.
"Why are you in scrubs? Are you allowed to give me that?" He frowned, wincing just a little at the needle.
The brunette cleared her throat and took a seat on the edge of his bed and explained everything that had happened since being in Storybrooke.
Unbeknownst to them both, Emma had opened her eyes at the very beginning of the story and had been listening intently.
"So you're a doctor?" She piped up, smiling softly. Regina rushed instantly to her side, just as she had with Henry.
"Are you feeling okay? Any pain?"
"Just a little, my lips hurt. Kiss me better?" she joked.
With a glance to Henry, who was simply grinning, she pressed her lips to Emma's for the second time - only this time, they were warm.
A/N: Every time there's a bold bit stating where and what time we are, I get that BUM BUM from Law and Order in my head and the text at the bottom of a black screen idek.
Anyway, please leave me some reviews and let me know what you thought of this. This is my first oneshot that is nearly 4,000 words and I'm really proud of it, I will gladly accept constructive criticism. My second longest oneshot is probably 'Say Yes' at about 2,000 so this is a big leap for me.
Thank you for reading!