The Eyes of a Broken Angel - Henry Sr POV
I still remember the first time that she opened her eyes and looked up at me. My breath literally caught in my chest. Her newborn eyes were still brilliant baby blue at that point and were so innocent and pure. One look in her eyes, and I was changed forever. I never thought I could love someone so much as I loved that precious bundle in my arms. That day, I made a promise to myself and to her that I would shield her from the darkness that had consumed my wife. I had so much hope for the angel in my arms. She was going to be happy. She was going to have the true love that I never did. She was not going to become her mother...not my little princess. Little did I know that my fight for her innocence was futile.
For years, I was able to keep my promise. Even with Cora's controlling presence and her scolding me for 'coddling' her all the time, I enveloped her in love because I refused to let her beautiful spirit be broken. Her eyes darkened in color, but the light in them only seemed to become more vivid as she grew into a lovely, free spirited young lady. Her eyes were always more expressive than any that I'd ever seen. Back then, she was able to hide nothing from me. It was her eyes that reassured me that she was still free from the darkness.
It was never a secret that my daughter is beautiful, but it was her eyes more than anything else that began to turn heads when she was older. They captivated everyone who looked into them. For me, her eyes were the gateway to her soul. But for her mother, they were the gateway to enchanting a prince or king and getting what Cora wanted most...the throne.
Regina was so carefree and happy back then. I know what people say about her now, but if they'd only have known her then they would love her as I do. She was the polar opposite of her mother and of the woman that I was powerless to stop her from becoming. She was so loving, tender and gentle. Regina was full of hope and faith. She believed in love and didn't give a second thought about power, status or revenge. She still believed that true love was the most important thing in the world. And she still believed that it was the most powerful magic of all, instead of seeing it as weakness like her mother did.
It was obvious when Regina first fell in love. The sparkle in her eyes was bright enough to make the stars jealous. I had never seen her happier. But, that sparkle was all too quickly snuffed out. When she lost Daniel, the pain in her eyes ripped my soul apart. But ever the obedient daughter, she tried to hide it from Cora. She tried to keep what was left of her heart alive. She tried to fight the pain and darkness that threatened to consume her. Most wouldn't have noticed the gradual fall into darkness because her face nor voice gave away a single hint of the turmoil she was battling inside. But her eyes...as always...told the story. The eyes that not long before had been full of hope and love were now full of fear and desperation. She could feel the darkness creeping in, but despite her pleas for help...I did nothing to stop it.
In the beginning, Regina tried to be a devoted wife and a loving stepmother. She tried to make the best out of the hand that she had been dealt. But each day, her eyes dulled a little more. Things that used to light them up no longer did. Even riding failed to bring her the glee and excitement that it used to. Each day, she started to look more and more like her mother. I watched helplessly as my little princess lost the battle and disappeared, transforming into the woman that would become known as "the Evil Queen". Yet at even her darkest moments, there were times when I could still see a glimpse of goodness in her eyes. Unlike her mother, Regina still had a heart. So I hoped that if I stayed by her side, I'd eventually be able to save her from herself. So I pacified her just as I had done with her mother. I obeyed her every whim, too afraid to step up to her. I fooled myself into believing that I was doing what was best for her. And that fighting against her would only push her away and eventually she would break free of the darkness and come back to me. I told myself that, one day, I would look in her eyes and see my baby girl again. But no amount of love or support could get through to her now. She was too lost in the darkness.
My precious angel, who used to be so full of generosity, now only cared about herself, power and revenge. She had been seduced by the darkness and no longer wanted to fight against it. She now took lives without even flinching. She was no longer 'Regina' to me. She insisted on 'your majesty'. I can only guess it made it easier for her to keep the walls in place. She now hid her breathtaking eyes behind elaborate makeup to make them appear less vulnerable. The warmth in them was gone. Now they're cold, just like her darkened soul. If it weren't so heartbreaking, I'd find it intriguing that the young girl that used to beg her mother to just let her be herself believed that she was free. But she was now no more herself now than she was then. The real Regina was disappearing faster and faster each day. I tried so hard to talk her back from the path she was so desperate to travel. But instead, I hammered the last nail in place. For the second time, I sent her to him. When she came back, it took just one look in her eyes and I knew I had run out of time to save her. I begged her. But I wasn't begging for my life, I was begging for her to not destroy her future. Briefly, I saw a glimpse of my baby girl. Her eyes pleaded with me to protect her just like they ha d done when she was a child, desperate to be protected from her mother. For a moment, I thought I had a chance. For a moment, I thought there was hope to get my princess back. But just as quickly, her eyes hardened.
And now, as I feel her hand rip my heart out of my chest, I search those eyes for any sight of my innocent baby girl and I recognize the eyes that are looking back at me. But they're not hers, they're Cora's. I know that I failed her. I broke my promise. If only I'd have done more to protect her from Cora. If only I'd have fought with her for her freedom instead of bowing to Cora's wishes for her to marry the King. If only I'd have listened to her and not ignored the fear and desperation in her pleading eyes. If only I wouldn't have told her about the imp that would introduce her to the magic that has now consumed her. But I was too weak to keep her safe. The tiny bit of sparkle that was left in her eyes dissipates right in front of me along with my life. The captivating eyes that used to be full of love, hope, happiness and so full of life are now dull, broken, lifeless and full of pain and hate. The death that I regret is not my own, but hers. I'm sorry, my Angel.