Disclaimer: I do not own Once Upon a Time or any recognizable characters
AN: This was a prompt from livelovelearneq on Tumblr. Prompt: Swan Queen to A Thousand Years by Christina Perri. That song definitely gives me Swan Queen feels. This also shifts from past to present, but I think it shouldn't be too confusing. I'll fix it if it is. I hope you like it!
It was the day Regina had waited for ever since she was a little girl. She had dreamed of white dresses, an arch covered in intricate vines and flowers, her true love waiting for her under the arch, ready to marry her.
The months leading up to this day had been a mixture of excitement, stress, and undeniable joy, but now, staring at her reflection in one of the small yet lavish tents set up in the mayoral mansion's backyard, she felt the doubt begin to creep into her skin.
Everything was perfect. The weather was agreeable, a sky so magnificent it looked too good to be true, the small disaster of the misplaced flower arrangements was sorted well before it became a real problem, and everyone was in their place, ready for the ceremony to start.
To get here, standing in her wedding dress ready to marry an unlikely love in Emma Swan, hadn't been easy. It had been difficult with external forces questioning the validity of their relationship, and internal struggles between herself and the blonde with Emma being her usual aggravating and stubborn self, running when emotions became too real, and Regina keeping her innermost thoughts to herself, shutting Emma out on an almost daily basis. Their relationship was rocky at first, the couple arguing and breaking up weekly and making up just as fast.
But they had made it.
They learned quickly that to be apart hurt far too much than their constant bickering when they were together, so Regina and Emma had worked hard to understand one another, to be each other's support system. It took over a year for either of them to say 'I love you', another nine months before Emma officially moved into the mansion, and then after three years of being together during a fight neither could remember what it was that had started it, Emma had blurted out a proposal of a sort. In reality, the blonde had yelled at Regina that she would be in her life forever whether she liked it or not, and the brunette had faltered at the word.
Regina bit her lip remembering that fateful night just over a year ago. Emma was promising her forever, but then again, so had her mother, her father, and Daniel. Her palms sweat as she tightened her hold on her bouquet, clinging to the flowers in order to remind herself that this time was different. This time no one could take this away from her.
The presence of Henry interrupted her thoughts as she grinned at the fourteen year old growing much too fast for her liking. He looked charming in his tuxedo, and the beaming toothy smile he gave just for her reminded her of their precious times when it was just him and her.
"Ready?" His deep voice asked as he offered his arm to his brunette mother.
She nodded minutely before loping her arm through his, still amazed that she didn't need to bend anymore to take his hand.
"Hey," he kissed her cheek. "Relax. She's just as nervous as you."
"That's supposed to relax me?" She teased.
He walked her to a small pathway hidden by a cleverly placed pillar where she could hear the band play as Ruby and Katherine walked down the aisle accompanied by Archie and Frederick respectively. She noted that Henry kept her out of sight before the wedding march began. Her heart beat erratically as she envisioned Emma walking down the aisle, whether in a suit or a dress she still had no idea, and accompanied by her father. A different version of the wedding march played soon after, and it was only thanks to Henry's squeeze of her arm did Regina begin to move past the pathway that guarded her from the ceremony.
She was immediately met with beaming faces as the citizens she still wouldn't admit to liking looked happy for her. Her breath caught when she finally made it to the start of the aisle and she saw Emma, a flowing white dress encompassing her body and a thin white veil covering her face. Despite the obstruction, Regina could see the wide grin on the blonde's face. Whatever uncertainties she was feeling earlier, whatever fears or doubts that plagued her mind, seeing Emma's smiling face, smiling just for her, cleared all those doubts and replaced it with undeniable certainty.
She took one step closer towards her love.
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Eight-year old Regina giggled as she twirled around the room in her dress to the sound of a visiting quartet playing in the town square outside her family's summer manor. She skipped towards her father, pulling the aging, humble man to his feet where he had been watching her with a small smile on his face.
"Dance with me, Daddy," she insisted when he finally stood.
He laughed and swung her about before placing her feet safely on the ground again before eyeing her and motioned to his own feet. Normally, Cora would scold her for being so whimsical, but since her mother was away for the time being, Regina grinned and promptly hopped on her father's feet, allowing him to dance them around the room.
She looked up at him with light in her eyes. "My true love will be someone like you."
His eyes were sad but he offered another small smile. "Perhaps not like me."
"Why not?" She pouted petulantly.
He bent down onto one knee and held her shoulders to make sure she understood. "You will marry someone far greater than I. Someone who will love you and protect you and give you everything you don't realize you need."
She furrowed her brow in confusion. "But you do that, Daddy."
"Your love will be even better than me."
Regina placed a single rose on top of her mother's coffin, wiping the tears spilling from her eyes before looking up at the voice.
"Hi," Emma whispered.
The brunette sighed and directed her gaze back to the coffin. Her voice was hoarse and tired. "Not now."
Emma kept her distance as she eyed Regina, noting the quivering lip and the tears slipping down her cheek. She didn't say a word as Regina paid her respects, but she slowly inched towards her, standing shoulder to shoulder offering support in the most minuscule way she could think of. Regina sniffled and unconsciously leaned against the blonde.
Emma turned her head to look up at the brunette whose porch she was currently sitting on. "Hi."
"What are you doing here?" Regina asked as she leaned against a porch column.
The blonde leaned back on her palms having no intention of moving. "Thank you."
Regina arched her eyebrow.
"We wouldn't have gotten Henry back if it wasn't for you," Emma explained.
"I'd do anything for my son," Regina said firmly.
"I know," Emma said before standing and shifting awkwardly in front of the brunette. "Do you want to have dinner?"
"With you?" Regina asked incredulously, her face surprised.
"And Henry." Emma rushed to clarify.
Regina nodded her understanding, the slight aversion of her eyes giving her away had the blonde been paying attention. "If he'd like to."
Regina offered a small smile, not realizing that one dinner would become two, which would become a weekly occurrence until it got to the point where Emma and Henry could just drop by the house unexpectedly resulting in a scolding from Regina to Emma about scheduling, but no matter how many times Regina seemed annoyed, the playful upturn of her lips let Emma know she enjoyed the spontaneity.
Family dinners would sporadically become dinners shared between the two women under the pretense of Henry staying with his grandparents. It took them two months' worth of shared evenings before Emma asked her on a date.
Regina hugged herself as she stood outside Emma's apartment, focusing on the stained wallpaper of the building's hallways instead of the yelling happening behind the closed door behind her.
They had been caught. Luckily it wasn't in a compromising position, but the two had managed to sneak around for three months before it led to this inevitable consequence. Snow and Charming had come home early and witnessed the argument she and Emma were having.
In hindsight, the argument was mundane. Regina had released fury on Emma for speculating that she may have told Ruby about their relationship. Little did she know that Snow had walked in to hear her confession and was now currently yelling Emma's ear off about the dangers of the Evil Queen.
In her rush to get out of the apartment, Regina had left her coat and purse, but she was almost willing to part with it if it meant she could escape. She didn't want to walk in there and witness Emma realizing her mistake and end whatever it was they had. Perhaps this was how it was meant to be.
Steeling her jaw, Regina took one step closer to the stairs before the sound of the door opening caught her attention. She schooled her emotions when she saw Emma holding her purse and coat before shutting the door behind her. Wordlessly, the blonde helped Regina into her jacket but kept her purse as she took the brunette's hand and walked her home.
The walk to the former Mayor's mansion was silent before Emma stopped them on the porch.
"Snow..." Emma began.
Regina held up a hand to stop her before she could break it off. "I understand. Good night, Ms. Swan."
Regina turned to enter her house, her careful mask slowly slipping when her back was to the blonde.
"Wait, Regina." Emma stepped closer tugging on the brunette's arm. "I don't think you do."
"She kind of kicked me out." The blonde interrupted.
Regina halted, whipping her head up at Emma's admission.
"I was gonna get you, and she said if I did, not to come back," the blonde explained. "She's probably not serious. She's been going through a thing ever since . . .you know."
Regina stared at Emma amazed for a long moment as the blonde continued to ramble, her arms gesturing wildly intermittently weaving them through her hair. When she finally finished, Regina inclined her head towards the door.
Doors were slammed. Their voices rose. They were having another fight about god knows what. Regina threw Emma's clothes at her, yelling at her to leave. Emma advanced, invading the brunette's space in an attempt to be the louder voice. With a huff and a dismissive wave of her hands, Emma marched out of the master suite, stormed down the stairs and slammed the front door shut.
After an hour of ruminating in her own anger, Regina began to feel the blonde's absence. She bit her lip and ran down the stairs opening the door quickly in a rush to get into her car to look for Emma. She almost tripped on the tangled limbs that sat on her porch when she realized Emma was sitting lengthwise, her eyes wide and apologetic.
Regina sighed, her relief and happiness evident on her face when she kneeled down and rested her forehead against the blonde's shoulder in apology.
Emma watched Regina from across the room, appreciating how at ease she was. After years of dating and working on her redemption, the town and Regina had grown to be civil towards each other. Emma would sometimes bring up how relaxed Regina was but the brunette would shrug it off. She'd attribute it to making nice, but Emma knew Regina liked having friends for once and didn't want to press her luck by getting excited. No matter what Regina said, Emma always knew what was going on in the brunette's mind.
They had been together for nearly three years, and they had made so much progress. Maybe it was time to step up her game.
"If you stare hard enough, you might burn a hole in her," Ruby teased coming over to the blonde with two drinks in her hand. She was shortly followed by Mary Margaret who looked across the room to see what her daughter was staring at.
Regina and Snow's relationship was precarious. Neither woman could be left in the same room with each other, but they didn't taunt or accuse at every given opportunity anymore. Once Snow realized just how serious her daughter was about the Evil Queen, basically moving in with her after an ultimatum, the petite woman swallowed her pride and shut her mouth for the most part.
Emma continued to stare at Regina, lost in the way the brunette's lips moved as she spoke with Archie, attempting to hide her smile and laugh. As if her name was called, Regina looked up, catching the green eyed gaze of the Saviour before finally giving in to her smile and turning back to her friend.
"I'm gonna marry her."
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"And now let us listen as the brides exchange their vows," Nova said with a giddy grin.
Emma handed her bouquet over to Ruby who exchanged it with a small piece of paper which shook in Emma's hands. She glanced down at the paper briefly before dropping her hands to the side and catching shining brown orbs with her gaze.
"I never saw myself as the marrying type, not until I was with you," Emma began before reaching over and taking Regina's hand in her own. "I know we didn't have a conventional start, but I don't regret any of that because it brought us to where we are now. I love you, Regina, and I promise to love you for as long as I live, with every breath of my body and every hour that passes, I promise."
Emma reached over to wipe a tear that escaped from Regina's eye before returning a watery smile and continuing. "I've waited so long to find someone, and I found you, and I would wait a thousand years if it meant that I would find you every time. You are the strongest, most beautiful woman I've ever seen. You've raised our son, and I cannot thank you for that."
She squeezed the brunette's hand giving a watery smile. "I will protect you from any harm that may come your way. I will be there for you whenever you need me and even when you don't. I'll be your knight for the rest of time."
Emma wiped another tear from Regina's face, leaving her palm against her cheek before she took her hand again waiting for the brunette to speak.
"When I was a child, I had these grandeur dreams of fairy tales and happy endings and true love," Regina said confidently keeping her intense gaze on Emma. "For a really long time, too long, I thought it wasn't in the stars for me. I had so many doubts that I would never truly be happy, but they disappeared when you came into my life.
"We're not perfect, but you are perfect for me, and I will spend the rest of my life trying to give you at least half of the happiness you've given me. I didn't know how to love for the longest time, but you and Henry taught me how, and you two brought it out of me so effortlessly." She took the smallest of steps closer making sure the blonde heard her confidence. "I love you."
Emma grinned bringing Regina's knuckles to her lips as the brunette blushed and continue. "You always protect me, love me, and give me everything I don't realize I need. It's my turn to return that. I will love you forever, take care of you no matter the circumstance, and I will guard your heart with everything in my power."
Emma laughed happily, wanting to close the gap between them but managed to restrain herself.
They exchanged rings, drank from the marriage cup, all without breaking eye contact. Finally Nova announced what they had been waiting for. "I pronounce you joined in matrimony. You may now kiss your bride."
They took one step closer.
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"Your idea of a first date is amusing, Sheriff," Regina smirked wrapping her coat around her tighter.
Emma sat up from the picnic table top they were sitting on and wrapped an arm around the brunette's shoulder, tugging her closer to keep her warm.
"Not the gazing at the stars type of woman?" Emma asked playfully.
Regina settled deeper under the younger woman's arm before directing her gaze to the blackened sky, small white specks littering the inky canvas. "I used to."
"What happened?" The blonde asked quietly.
"It seemed the sky became too dark for me to see the stars," Regina answered just as softly.
"They're there now."
The brunette turned her head to the blonde, not surprised when their faces were only millimetres apart.
They leaned in closer.
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Their lips met for the first time as a married couple. Regina felt her heart beat rapidly, so fast it seemed it would burst, but the feeling of Emma's hold around her waist, Regina's own hand nestled just under the blonde's jaw, she knew she was grounded in the woman before her, the woman hungrily kissing her, her wife.
They parted momentarily, enough for Regina to laugh happily before she felt Emma's lips on hers again for a chaste kiss. They turned to face the cheering crowd and it was then Regina finally took note of the audience, all clapping, some crying, smiling their congratulations. She looked up bashfully at her wife before she pressed a kiss to the blonde's knuckles as they took a step down the aisle as wives.