A/N: As always, I apologize for my imperfect English. This is a spur-of-the-moment kind of thing based on the new cover of Let Her Go by Within Temptation.


Staring at the bottom of your glass
Hoping one day you'll make a dream last
Dreams come slow and you go so fast

What would her mother say if she saw you like this? What would you from an hour ago say if you could split into two and see Emma's blonde tresses painting a golden brook on your shoulder? If you had magic, you could make it happen. You could walk away from yourself and cover the smudge of emotion that has just now begun to taint your conscience with murder and scotch. However, your power is gone and all that remains is for you to look back and figure out where you made that one fatal mistake.

You are Regina Mills. You punish, you deliver, and you pay your bills when it's required. You organize. You twist humanity for your own goals as you've been taught. You lay roses on your father's grave every Wednesday. You survive. You value vengeance above all else. You do not cry for just anyone. As remorseful as you are, you can recall several occasions that have reduced you to tears in the past months: Daniel, your mother, and Henry. None of them concerned Emma. As you rest your head on hers, you wonder what – and when – made it so that your eyes glisten with unshed tears.

You see her when you close your eyes
Maybe one day you'll understand why
Everything you touch, all it dies

"Maybe that's because everyone – everyone who tries to understand you dies!"

That definitely wasn't the moment. That was Emma Swan answering a question you never asked towering a good seven steps behind you on her moral high horse. A sharp gust of wind cut through both of you at that comment and passed by like your exchange didn't matter. It did. Something shifted.

"You will shut your whore mouth or so help me—"

"Or what? You'll kill me? You'll drown me in the sea? You will destroy my happiness? I'm not afraid of you, Regina. I never was. Everyone else might be but not me." She walked to you. "Thanks to how skillfully you've asserted your dominance here, everybody's still afraid to stand up to you. They're worried you'd kill them. That's what you do when people refuse to fall to Your Highness' knees and bend to your will, isn't it? It's always easier to smite your enemies than to admit there's someone – multiple someones – who disagree with you. The sad truth is you're just a scared little girl stuck in the mind of a spoiled, stubborn brat who throws a tantrum every time you don't have it your way. You're a baby who believes all that exists at any given moment is what you see. Well, guess what? We don't live in a sandbox. Your actions have consequences. Nobody will ever love the murderous you because we can all see what you do, and we all know we're next on the list." Her voice dropped from its furious heights to a pitying whisper. She looked you straight in the eye and didn't blink once. "You hypocrite are terrified of hate when it's the only thing you've got."

But you only need the light when it's burning low
Only miss the sun when it starts to snow
Only know you love her when you let her go

Your features hardened, but you remained essentially passive. "And you are clearly an expert on the issue."

"Stop trying to please everyone. You'll never get what you need that way."

She deliberately bumped into your arm as she passed by you, arms crossed over her chest, pretending to be any less juvenile than you. For a split second, you felt the urge to turn around and punch her in the back. You changed your mind. Your face had to be the last thing she'd ever see.

Only know you've been high when you're feeling low
Only hate the road when you're missing home
Only know you love her when you let her go
And you let her go.

Your opinion didn't change later that day when you sat on your couch and conjured the best wine you could visualize, either. The mansion was empty. The kitchen was empty. Your bedroom was empty. Henry's room was empty too. Only your head was occupied with the image of eyes like the clouds hiding the illusion of the moon from you. Those eyes bore into your skull with incessant determination, and you let them. Because you are Regina Mills. You don't hide. You don't apologize and you don't beg. You don't send your son off to school unprepared and you don't run from just anyone.

Perfectly smooth legs crossed one over the other, you listened to the woman on the radio sing about her lost opportunities. The wine felt unnaturally cold on your lips just as the music did in the darkened room.

Staring at the ceiling in the dark
Same old empty feeling in your heart
'Cause love comes slow and it goes so fast

Something dug into your palm for a long time, but you were slow to notice. When you finally winced and looked down, you saw shards of glass practically embedded in your hand. Wine and blood dripped over your skin. The two mingled into a less dense, more crimson liquid that you watched trickle down to your elbow and from there onto your crimson lap in morbid fascination. You couldn't understand how two things that were so different could come and fit together so perfectly. But you wanted to. You silly, confused little girl.

When you awoke from your daze, you healed yourself mumbling every English curse word known to man. The alcohol in your veins was doing its work rather rapidly. The woman was still singing and you wanted to slice her throat. You stood up – sweet life ran down your leg – and you flung the radio across the room with a single wave of your hand.

It didn't help one bit. Your brain kept singing in the woman's place even as you laid your head to rest, drunk and still clothed. It knew every verse.

Well you see her when you fall asleep
But never to touch and never to keep
'Cause you loved her too much and you dive too deep

You tried to distract yourself from the torturous echo that wouldn't allow you to sleep. You, drunken little stranger, hiked up your dress and touched yourself between your legs. You were more than ready, wet and warm and inviting. Your hips rose from the mattress and you pushed two fingers inside with a disproportionately loud groan. Flashes of red and yellow raced through you as you squeezed your breast and desperately tried to pretend you weren't pretending – but then there stood the woman in black, singing of her misery in your ears. She sang, sang, sang. You couldn't focus, focus, focus. In the end you growled like the insatiable carnivore you were and punched the sheets.

You fell asleep on a wet pillow, hell-bent on loathing Emma Swan till the end of your days.

'Cause you only need the light when it's burning low
Only miss the sun when it starts to snow
Only know you love her when you let her go

Maybe you're not going back far enough in time. Perhaps it was before on the bench. Emma Swan had asked to meet you there. You figured nothing she could say would do you any harm. If only you'd known how wrong you were then.

You found her with the storybook in your lap. You didn't know why you expected a picture of you to be painted on the page in dim colors, but your jaw clenched when you saw a stationary figure of a brown-haired boy in your place.

The Savior brought you no new information. She didn't come to let you have Henry, either. Whatever she said held no value to you, especially matters regarding Henry's father. Still, the conversation flowed surprisingly peacefully between the two of you. She was tired. You were tired. She let it show. You didn't.

"I sincerely hope you're not expecting me to put up a white flag," you said with mocking derision.

"Of course not. I know who I'm dealing with here."

"You don't know the first thing about me, Miss Swan. None of you ever did. You'd best realize that before you throw more accusations and pleas my way."

You were about to storm off.

"Maybe that's because everyone – everyone who tries to understand you dies!"

Only know you've been high when you're feeling low
Only hate the road when you're missing home
Only know you love her when you let her go
And you let her go.

You think of what led you here – physically led you here. That was when you changed, wasn't it? You were stripped of your magic, skinned alive like a hare. You were being hunted like one as well. To be fair, you had always been hunted, but back in the day you had means of defending yourself. Moreover, you could strike back in all their weaknesses. You could always hit them where it hurt.

This time it was just you, Emma, and Killian's brand new crew. As always, his motives were quite simple and self-serving. Maleficent wanted you. Therefore, Hook wanted you to give to Maleficent. And as always, Emma's Charming genes got in the way. Literally.

"Run!" she called out after you, dodging a fist that would have otherwise hit her left eye socket. Your legs refused to comply.

"You shouldn't have picked her over me," tutted Hook. "You really, really shouldn't have."

You froze in horror and watched as the tip of his hook disappeared in Emma's belly and came out of her back. There came the end of heroism. Emma screamed. For some reason her voice reminded you of the woman you'd heard on the radio that night. It tore through the day and split the world into a distinct before and after. A flock of birds flew out of the crowns of trees like bees from a knocked over beehive, eager to get as far away from the scene as possible. Emma was still screaming when their wings flickered in the sky over Storybrooke, never to be seen again.

You, you helpless little girl, fell to your knees beside her crumbled, bleeding form and instinctively pressed your palm to the wound. Emma wasn't so pleased by that. Now it was her blood coating your fingers. Her blood was sanguine – the color of the night. Before Hook could finish you both off, you channeled a tiny speck of magic you found inside you – where did it come from? – and sent him and his men flying. Oblivious to Emma's protests ("What the fuck do you think you're doing, are you trying to get yourself killed, excuse me but I just took a hell of a jab for you!"), you lifted her up the way she had the night of the fire. Interesting how the two of you would always become even sooner or later. With your combined efforts, you managed to pass through the entrance of the old mine. Then you quickly laid her on the ground, turned around, and willed the mouth of the cave to collapse knowing that there was absolutely nothing in the whole wide world you could do to make it happen.

It did.

Oh no
Will you let her go?
Oh no
Will you let her go?
Oh no

"My guts are being held in place by a handkerchief. If that's not fucking peachy, I don't know what is," Emma replied to your attempts to calm her down through gritted teeth.

"Stop whining. It's just a scratch. Your parents will come rescue us in no time. Sometimes it looks like the three of you are a conjoint living organism," you said, trying to pry her hands away from the bloody blotch that used to be her side. Emma brought her forearm to her mouth to bite on to keep herself from screaming. You swatted it away and gave her your glove for that purpose instead. She said nothing – probably would have mentioned where that glove must have been if she'd had the necessary supply of oxygen and sass at the moment – but she was definitely grateful when tears stung her eyes.

"Yeah, because everybody knows I'm here with you and because everybody loves you so much," she said after you ripped off your sleeves and secured the wound as best as you could – which, granted, was not much.

Not everybody knew, but Maleficent did. She trapped you. She got you exactly where she wanted you to be. The corner of Emma's mouth curled into a crooked, pained smile. She was looking at you, you frightened little girl, with a mixture of pity and acceptance. You looked away. You sat down by her side and let her head fall on your shoulder.

But you only need the light when it's burning low
Only miss the sun when it starts to snow
Only know you love her when you let her go

"Told you – everyone – who tries to understand you – dies," she choked through ragged breaths. Each was shorter than the last.

"This is no time for your crass attempts at humoring me, Miss Swan. Miss Swan?

Emma?"

Your face froze like a statue made of ice, your mouth hanging open in a silent 'a' and your breath caught in your throat.

Emma couldn't hear you anymore.

Only know you've been high when you're feeling low
Only hate the road when you're missing home
Only know you love her when you let her go
And you let her go
Oh no
And you let her go

You've been sitting here wondering what made you, the infallible Queen, press your cheek to her hair and run your fingers through her locks. If you dared move, you would see how all pride has left her previously wild emerald eyes. She's staring into the dark, numb and heavy in your arms. You reach for her forehead with a quivering hand and close her eyelids with your thumb and index finger. Maybe, if you're lucky, you'll get to pretend you're not pretending for just a little while longer. You'll get to pretend the shapes in your blurred vision are somehow hiding another complete Emma Swan.

You are Regina Mills. You live. You love. You sob brokenly over dead waterfowls until your ribcage aches and your sanity can't support you anymore.

Oh no
Will you let her go?