Title: A Safe Place

Author: RebelByrdie

Rating: Hard T for language (In my head canon Emma has a potty-mouth)

Fandom: Once Upon A Time

Pairing: Regina/Emma

Spoilers: If you haven't seen "Second Star to the Right" don't read this.

Disclaimer: Storybrooke, its population and its drama belong to its creators. This is a work of not-for-profit fiction.

Summary: A scene that should have taken place somewhere between "Second Star To The Right" and "Strait on 'Till Morning". Regina centric, but SwanQueen all the way!

A Safe Place

Regina Mills awoke to a myriad of unfamiliar sensations. She was warm, comfortable, and soft fingers were running through her hair. There was no pain, no fear and she didn't smell sardines and salt. She couldn't hear Owen's angry voice screaming at her. She was not strapped down. She smelled fresh linen, roses and leather oil: familiar smells, childhood smells. Her eyes opened slowly, it took effort because she was so very weary and her eyelids were so unbelievably heavy. She saw silver stars and a silver crescent moon. They weren't real, they were painted on indigo hued velvet. She knew this pattern, recognized it as easily as she would the ceiling above the bed in her mansion on Mifflin Street. Her father had craftsmen paint the sky over her bed as a child. That, however, made no sense. Her childhood home was in another land and she hadn't returned to it since she'd left in Leopold's royal carriage so many years before.

She opened her mouth to speak, but only an undignified squeak came out.


Cool hands touched her face and Regina found herself staring into her mother's eyes. This was not, Regina realized, the Cora Mills she had grown up with. Her dark brown eyes were too soft, too tender, and too full of emotion. She looked young, carefree and happy. This was the woman her mother had been before she had ripped out her own heart. This was the mother that she had only had for a minute. This was the mother she was supposed to have had all along.


Her voice was a whisper.

A smile, full and bright, very much like the one she'd had for a moment in Gold's Shop, spread across Cora's face. "Yes, Darling."

"You're finally awake."

Another voice, an achingly familiar one, sounded and Regina turned her head. It was a monumental effort, because she was exhausted and limp from what seemed like hours of torture. When she saw her father, whole and healthy, young and smiling, she knew that her effort, and maybe even the torture, had been worth it.


He hadn't looked like this, trim, slim and with hair as dark and thick as her own, since she had been little more than a toddler.

"Hello, Baby Girl."

Tears sprang to her eyes, her Daddy hadn't called her that in years and years.

Her parents sat on either side of her bed, her head was in her Mommy's lap and her Daddy held both of her hands in his. She had never felt so safe or loved as she did nestled in her childhood bed with her parents soothing her.

"Am I dead?"

Her mother and her father were dead, both by her own hand, and she had just gone through the most horrendous pain in her life so logic dictated that she was, in fact, also dead.

A gentle kiss landed on her forehead, "Oh no, Regina. No, sweetheart, this is not death." Her Mommy's voice had never been so soft or so full of love.

"You just needed" her Daddy paused, "to rest a little."

"Oh." Regina didn't understand, but couldn't seem to care very much. "Can I stay here?"

Her Daddy's hands squeezed her own, "For a little while, but then you must go back."

Tears gathered in her eyes, "Why?" Why did she have to go back to her cursed existence? Why did she have to go back to a place where everything hurt and no one loved her? Hadn't she suffered enough? Why couldn't she just stay with her parents and be at peace? Why couldn't the Evil Queen have just a little bit of happiness, even if her happiness was death?

"Because it is not your time yet, my sweet daughter."

Her Mommy pushed her hair from her face and smiled down at her. "You still have a long life ahead of you, Regina."

Tears spilled out of her eyes, "I can't." She really simply could not go on. She had lost everything, her parents, Daniel, Henry. No one believed in her and no one cared. She had no Prince Charming to find and rescue her. There was just more torture. Maybe from Owen and Tamara. Maybe from Snow and David. Maybe from Emma Swan and Henry. It didn't matter anymore, she was too tired, and too damn weak to fight back. Oh she could make acidic remarks and witty quips, but she had no magic and no physical strength left in her battered body. She was going to die strapped to a gurney, twitching and bucking against the electricity flowing through her body.

"Yes, you can."

Her Daddy leaned over her. "You're strong, Regina. Stronger then you or anyone else has ever given you credit for." He lifted her hand to his lips and kissed her knuckles, "You are the only one that can save our grandson."

Their grandson? Henry.

She tried to sit up but was gently pushed back down by two sets of hands.

Henry was in danger. Her little boy was in danger? Panic settled into her chest, a mother's true and pure panic. Then she remembered. He didn't call her Mom anymore, that role had been whole-heartedly given over to Emma Swan. The savior would save Henry, yet again. Henry didn't need an Evil Queen, not when he had his birth mother and Savior. She had become inconsequential in his life.

"He doesn't need me. He has his real mother now. I'm just the Evil Queen."

Her words were dull, flat and unappealing to her own ears. They were, though, the truth.

"And I'm so tired. I'm just so tired."

Tired of being the villain, tired of losing everything and everyone she loved. She was tired of being the Evil Queen, and the Mayor and everything else she was supposed to be. She was tired and here, in this bed with her parents beside her, she felt safe and knew that she could finally sleep without nightmares. She could just drift away into a deep and peaceful sleep and never ever wake up.

"I thought", Emma sighed for the fourth time since arriving home to find a pale and motionless Regina tucked into her parent's bed, "that you said Mother Superior said she would wake up soon." They had, and that had been at least four hours ago.

Snow leaned over the prone form of the former Evil Queen and wiped the woman's forehead with a cool clothe. "She needs her rest, Emma. I only felt it for a moment and I'm still shaking. What they were doing to her, it was barbaric. It was the worst pain I've ever felt and she was with him for, well we're not even sure how long." She shuddered. "Regina has done terrible, despicable things, but no one deserves that. No one. Blue just said she needed to build her magic back up and she should be fine."

Emma bit her lip. She'd had just about enough magical bullshit today. Portals and fairies and spells: Henry was right, all it did was fuck things up. "Well forgive me for not putting all my faith in a freaking fake nun. David said they were electrocuting her, she should be in the hospital getting medical help."

David, who had been staring out of the window, turned, "Whale? You want to call Frankenstein? He likes to play with electricity and holds a grudge. It would be like handing her back to Mendelson."

Emma shoved her hands through her blonde hair. She had forgotten that. The only doctor in Storybrooke was the Doctor Frankenstein. As in Igor and sewn together corpses and the windmill burnt down Frankenstein. She blew out a sigh, and of course he held some crazy grudge against Regina. Who hadn't the woman pissed off?

"Still, though, she could need medical help. I already have to tell Henry that Neal is gone. I don't know how I'm going to tell him that his Mom is down for the count too."

"You're his Mother."

Both of her charming parents spoke at once and she wanted to scream in frustration. They had way more important things to think about then Henry's family tree. Things that she needed Regina's help with. Things like mysterious organizations and crazy magic killing bullshit.

She took the rag from her mother's hands, and ignored her previous statement. "I've got her for now."

She got no reaction when she touched the cool clothe to Regina's smooth forehead, not a flinch, twitch or shudder. Emma pushed an errant strand of dark hair off of her still face. "You've got to wake up, Regina."

She jerked her hand away when the apartment's door opened.

"Mom!" Henry ran into the room and made a bee-line for her. "You found her!"

Archie, along with Pongo, stepped into the room quietly. "How is she?"

Archie's quiet question caught Henry's attention and he looked down at his brunette mother.

"Is she okay?"

For some reason Emma had thought, hoped, that Henry's arrival would snap Regina out of her Aurora impersonation. It hadn't.

"She's sleeping."

Well, it looked like she was sleeping.

Pongo let out a long whine and tugged Archie closer. The Dalmatian, completely oblivious to his master's commands, put both paws on the bed and nuzzled against Regina's inert form.

"Pongo knows something's wrong with my Mom."

Henry sat down on the bed beside Regina and patted the covers. Pongo took that as a signal to climb onto the bed and lay across Regina's legs.

"Henry I don't think this is a good ide-"

She stopped speaking when Henry leaned over and kissed Regina's forehead. It was the exact same thing she had done to Henry when he had been under the sleeping cure. This time, though, there was no magic. No pulse of power and no miraculous recovery. Regina remained still.

"I don't get it."

Henry's voice cracked and he kissed Regina again.

"But True Love's Kiss always works."

Her son turned to her, tears in his eyes, "Does this mean she doesn't love me?"

Emma's reaction was automatic, she pulled Henry into her arms and held him tight. "Kid, your mom loves you more than anything in this or any other. Never ever doubt that. She has a weird way of showing it, but she does love you."

She felt Henry go still and her arms and she relaxed a little. He was going to be okay.

"So it's my fault."

She jerked her head down to look at Henry and was horrified to see his face crumple. "I don't love her enough. I called her evil over and over again and now I can't wake her up. I'm a bad son."

God Damn it, Regina! She mentally berated the unconscious woman.

"No, Henry, it's not like that. She knows that you love her too. Your Mom understands that you're mad at her but she knows you love her. This isn't a curse that you can wake her up from. Some very bad people hurt her and she is resting now. She just needs some time to get better."


Archie came to stand in front of him, "Sometimes when really bad things happen to people they go away in their heads." Archie knelt down so he and Henry were eye-to-eye. Emma looked at the red headed and bespeckled head shrinker and was suddenly very thankful for his presence.

"They make a safe place" Archie continued softly, "Where no one can hurt them and they hide there until it's safe to come back. That's why your mom isn't waking up right now. She just needs to feel safe again and that might take a little while."

Emma understood that. She had seen it a thousand times or more when she'd bounced back and forth between foster homes, lock down facilities and group homes. After a bad placement, some kids just shut down. They took vacations in their own heads and sometimes they didn't come back for days. One girl had stayed gone, curled up on her bunk and staring blankly out the window, so long that by the time she'd started talking again the bruises on her face had been all but gone. It was frightening to think of Regina that way because being able to slip away wasn't a novice skill. It didn't happen immediately or without practice. How many times had Regina, the take shit from no one Evil Queen, been forced to retreat into her own head for safety?

Soft, comfortable, and surrounded by love: Regina had never felt as safe as she did right now. She had retreated before, hidden away in her head, to escape her mother's punishment, her husband's lecherous touch, or the guilt from her own dark deeds, but it had never been so tempting to stay. She didn't want to go back to her life, to Storybrooke. She wanted to stay with her Mommy and Daddy. She basked in the glow of their love.

"She can't stay."

She had closed her eyes, but could still hear her parents' voices.

"I know."

Her Mommy's lap was a comfort she'd never known as a child, but now she couldn't imagine being anywhere else.

"You can't keep coddling her, Cora."

It was such an odd role reversal. How many times had her mother hissed the exact same thing at Daddy?

"This is the only time I've ever coddled her." Her voice was full of regret. Cora had never sounded like that, not in any of Regina's memories. "She deserved so much more than me. Our daughter deserved more than a heartless mother."

"And a spineless father." Her Daddy sighed, a deep and sad sound, "She is a better parent then both of us."

A small stab of pain invaded her safe place. Her? A good parent? Her parents obviously didn't realize that her son hated her and no one considered her his mother.

"I never met him. I spent all that time in her town and never met our grandson."

No, Regina hadn't wanted Henry to meet Cora. Her mother was cruel and manipulative and Henry already had an Evil Queen in his life, he didn't need two. Had her Mommy been there, this soft woman who smelled like straw and roses, it would have been different.

"He's a sweet boy and Regina loves him more than anything else in the world. Her Little Monkey, she called him."

How did Daddy know that?


She opened her eyes again and stared at her Daddy. She could very clearly remember telling her father Henry's nickname, she told her Daddy everything. Only when she spoke to him, she was really speaking to a grave covered with white rose petals.

He kissed her knuckles again, "I always hear you, Baby Girl. Always."

"You call my grandson a monkey?"

Her Mommy sounded scandalized and despite the tears in her eyes, she laughed. "When he was learning to read he loved a certain book about a very curious monkey." She smiled a little before she remembered that her son, the little boy who loved Curious George and Wolverine, wanted absolutely nothing to do with her.

"He's with Miss Swan now, he doesn't want me anymore." She turned her head away and squeezed her eyes shut again. She didn't want to think about Henry right now. It was too painful and this was her safe place. She didn't want to hurt here. Her thoughts would not leave her to her happiness, though.

Emma Swan, the Savior. The infuriating blonde that had invaded her life and her town and brought chaos with her. The woman that had stolen her son. The woman who had forced emotions back into her life. She had brought feelings and urges that Regina had never imagined she would experience again. The woman had challenged her, argued with her, punched her, and occasionally she had been just a little bit charming. Emma Swan had made her feel again. Mostly anger, but it had been so different, so exhilarating, after so many years that she could admit, if only to herself, that she had sought the woman out just to get her riled up. Just to make her rival pay attention to her. She had pushed Emma's buttons just to make her react, because when Emma was focused on her, Regina didn't feel so alone. Then the curse had shattered and what she had thought would be her happy ending withered, turned to dust and had blown away. Emma Swan had taken everything from her, and yet Regina still felt herself drawn to the daughter of her greatest enemy. Insanity, she thought wryly, thy name is Regina Mills.

Night fell and Regina was still out cold. Emma almost wished she could join her. It had been a hellish day. She was wrung out, completely exhausted and desperate for some kind of normalcy. Henry had cried over his mother and no sooner than his tears had dried, he asked about Neal. She hadn't imagined there would be anything harder than watching Henry beg Regina to wake up. She had been immediately proven wrong. Holding her son while he sobbed for a second time in less than an hour was more painful than having Cora's hand in her chest. There was simply no comparison. She stroked his hair and whispered that everything would be okay in his ear. Even though it was not, nor would it ever be okay.

She kept sneaking glances at Regina. Wake up, she wanted to scream. My son, your son, our son needs you. Regina would know how to comfort Henry. She was his mother. She would know what lullaby to sing to him or what comforting things to say or do. She wanted to shake her because as much as Emma wished she could, she could not do this alone.

"Is this my fault?"

Emma jerked at Henry's question.

"No. Henry, no."

If anybody was to blame, it was her. She had known that Tamara was up to something. She had felt that Mendelson was lying, but she had done nothing. Some Savior, some Sheriff she was. She had let Storybrooke go to Hell in a hand basket. She'd had one job and she'd let everyone down.

"But if I hadn't have found you, the curse would have never been broken and my Dad would still be alive and my Mom wouldn't have been hurt." Another batch of tears flowed out of Henry's eyes, "What if she never wakes up? I don't want her to die too. I know she was the Evil Queen, but she's my Mom and I don't want her to die." His chin, a perfect replica of both hers and Snow's, started to quiver. "I thought breaking the curse would make everything better, but this isn't the Happy Ending it was supposed to be."

Wake up! She wanted to slap Regina until she came to. Henry needed his Mom. Despite what anyone else thought, Henry would never be happy without Regina in his life. Neither would she.

"Listen to me, Kid." She tilted his head back so she could look into his eyes, Neal's eyes. "Your Mom is going to wake up, she and I are going to go kick asses, take names and save the day. Then the three of us: you, me and her are all going to sit down and work everything out. You're gonna get a Happy Ending, Kid. That's all me and your Mom really want. You to be happy." She wiped a last tear off his cheek with her thumb.

He would be happy, she just needed Regina to wake up.

When Snow and David offered to take Henry to Granny's for a late dinner, she only nodded. They coaxed Henry away from Regina's still form with promises of hamburgers, milkshakes and a quick stop by the school's garden to pick Regina some get-well-soon flowers.

She waited until they were out the door before she sat on the bed beside Regina.

"Wake up. That little boy needs you. I can't do this on my own. What do I know about raising a kid? If you don't wake up I swear to God I will fuck Henry up really good. I mean Pop Tarts for breakfast every morning. Not even the fake fruit ones, the chocolaty ones with frosting and sprinkles. Granny's for lunch every day, greasy burgers and fries and a shake. Then for dinner." She paused, "I don't know maybe pizza or candy, or candy pizza." She brushed her hand over Regina's hair and winced when she saw the red burns on her temple. "And I'll let him play the goriest, cursing-est, hooker killing-est games I can find, and let him watch Showgirls, the uncut version. I mean it, Regina. I will teach him to pick pockets and lift locks. I'll let him get a mohawk and drop out of school. A tattoo. I will let him get a tattoo of the Disney Evil Queen and label it Mom."

Regina didn't move. She kept waiting for the woman to jerk up and tell her not only no but hell no. There was nothing, though, not a smirk or an eyebrow twitch.

"Damn it."

Archie had said that Regina needed to feel safe. Yelling at her about how much she was going to screw up their son probably didn't make her feel anything but annoyed.

"Okay, we'll do this your way."

She scooted up to the top of the bed, her back to the white wrought iron bars. She leaned over Regina and smiled down at her. "C'mere." She put a gentle hand on each of Regina's shoulders and tugged the limp ex-mayor close. She pulled the woman's back flush against her front. She wrapped her arms around Regina's waist and smiled when the brunette's head lolled against her shoulder.

"You need to feel safe. I understand that. I didn't have a safe place for a long long time. Everyone needs a safe place. Only you can't hide away, Regina. You can't abandon us. I know you went through some crazy shit. Some painful stuff. I'm not even talking about today. I know you lost your first love, that your mother killed him. Then Snow made you-well you remember. Then fucking Greg and Tamara. No wonder you need a safe place. It's a miracle you haven't gone bonkers. You don't have to run away in your head, though. Not anymore. Let me be your safe place."

She tightened her arms around the woman. "I won't let anyone hurt you again, Regina. I will protect you. Have you ever had anyone protect you before?" She sighed, "I don't know much about you. Your story wasn't in Henry's book." She doubted that the story would be suitable for children. "Someday you're going to feel safe enough to tell me your story. Especially the part about Rumple-freaking-stiltskin having your tears." She shuddered at that thought. "I don't like him. He may be Henry's grandfather, but that doesn't mean he's not a twisted bastard."

She sighed and looked at Regina, her face was still and peaceful. Her breathes were deep and even. She was beautiful when slept, but it couldn't last. She had to wake up.

"I think he's hurt you. I think he and Cora were both twisting you around." Emma didn't have much experience with mothers. Foster mothers didn't count. She had been their paycheck and little more. What had Regina been to Cora? Had she been loved or simply used? What was Regina to Gold, and why did he enjoy hurting her so much?

"I mean it. I won't let anyone hurt you. When you wake up we are going to go bust some heads. Greg and Tamara and Hook will be toast. Then you and me and Henry are going to have a long talk. We're going to work this out. This whole parenting thing, we're going to figure it out. No more your son or my son bullshit. I gave birth to him and you raised him and he's our son. You and me. Not The Evil Queen and the Savior, or even the Mayor and the Sheriff. Just Emma and Regina raising their son together. You can check his homework and remind him to brush his teeth, and I will teach him that punching a bully is wrong. I will teach him to drive, because you would be so nervous and over-protective that you would probably have a stroke the second his foot touches the gas pedal."

She let her head rest against Regina's for a moment. "And no matter what happens, no matter what comes next, I will be there for you. I won't manipulate you, or make you feel like you have to wear some ridiculous mask. You can just be you and if anyone has a problem with that I will kick their ass."

She pressed a light kiss to the vicious burn on Regina's temple and wasn't sure why.

"I am going to beat Greg until he begs for mercy. That fucking prick."

Threats, though satisfying to her inner rage, did little to create a safe place for Regina.

"So just wake up, Regina. You're safe now. Safe with me. I know we haven't always had the best relationship." That was an understatement to say the least, "But you can trust me. Please trust me. You're safe now, right here in my arms. I've got you and I know you'll argue with me about it, but you and I both know that this feels to damn right."

She looked down at the woman, really looked. She had never been one for cuddling and somehow she doubted that the Evil Queen was big on it either. Yet, here they were snuggled together. If she turned them on their sides, Emma knew that Regina would fit against her without an inch of space between them. Regina was her perfect little spoon. Despite never wanting this sort of intimacy before, she couldn't imagine letting Regina go right now. "You fit against me like a puzzle piece, Regina. Maybe that's why I'm the Savior. Not because I'm supposed to break your curse, but because I'm supposed to be the one that saves you. If only from yourself. Every Queen needs a knight, even a high school dropout knows that. You need a champion, someone to wear your colors and fight for your honor. Let that be me."

She kissed her again, this time she let her lips go exactly where they wanted-she leaned down and kissed Regina, really kissed her. It was a chaste kiss, fast and gentle, but it was something she had been thinking about doing ever since she'd laid eyes on the woman.

Regina was floating in a warm place when she started to her a familiar voice. It echoed and wobbled strangely, like she was hearing it underwater. Still, though, it was a soothing sound. Soft and melodious, warm and familiar.

She felt arms around her and a heartbeat, slow and steady, against her back. Someone was holding her. She had been held down, pinned and shoved against things. She had been trapped in her mother's mocking embraces and endured the clinginess of a stepdaughter that she had loathed. She hadn't been held, truly held, since Daniel had died in her arms. Even her father had shied away from her embrace, because she was evil and no one wanted to hold the Evil Queen in their arms. Yet someone was. Strong, but soft, arms were looped around her waist. Her head was resting against a shoulder. Soft puffs of breath were tickling her hair.

The words finally began to become clear and Regina could hardly believe what she was hearing. She had to still be in her safe space because no one would speak to her so softly, with so much care or concern. No one would volunteer to protect her. So why did she feel so safe? Why did she believe what she was hearing? Why did she want it to be true so much that her heart ached?

"Have you ever had anyone protect you before?"

No. Not even her father had protected her.

"I won't let anyone hurt you."

That was a promise that could never be kept. She had done too much wrong, upset too many people, and sewn too much bad karma, to be without pain. She deserved it.

"But you can trust me. Please trust me. You're safe now, right here in my arms. I've got you and I know you'll argue with me about it, but you and I both know that this feels to damn right."

It did feel right. So wonderfully safe and right. Better than her parents, even. She wanted this to be real, but it couldn't be. This was her mind playing tricks on her again.

Then warm lips touched her own and her eyes fluttered open. Golden hair, the first thing she saw was a soft fall of golden hair. It was beautiful and familiar. Emma Swan, she realized. She was kissing Emma Swan. The kiss broke and Regina felt as though every ounce of air had been sucked from her lungs.


"Holy fuck it worked."

She smiled despite herself, "Language, Miss Swan."

Regina was about eighty percent sure that she was back in the waking world. She hurt again, every single inch of her body ached right down to the marrow of her bones. She could feel the intense heat on her inner arms, finger-tips and temples, burns from her ordeal. She could also feel arms wrapped around her waist. She hadn't imagined that, she was wrapped in Emma's embrace.

"You're awake."

She shifted to the side, turning a little so she could see Emma's face. "I think I am."

Emma's eyes, never the same color twice, met hers. "You were out of it for a long time. We were worried. Henry was nearly beside himself. He cried when he kissed you and you didn't wake up."

Oh God No. Not Henry. Horror filled her chest, overtaking her heart. She hadn't meant to hurt Henry. She hadn't known. Why hadn't she felt her son's kiss? Why hadn't she come to for her sweet little boy?

She hid her face against Emma's shoulder, and let her tears fall onto blonde curls.

"I'm sorry."

She was truly and deeply sorry, for everything.

"Don't you dare apologize. That bastard tortured you, Regina. If I get my hands on him, so help me-"She trailed off, unable to finish that thought. "When I saw you, so still, and I thought. I didn't know what to do."

Regina didn't move her head, she was still so tired and Emma's shoulder was so comfortable.

"You rescued me."

Arms tightened around her. "No." The word sounded bitter. "Snow and David found you."

Snow and David? That was incomprehensible. Why would they save her?

"But I was coming, Regina. I swear to God I was coming for you. All I wanted to do was find you and bring you home, safe and sound. They brought you here and when I came in and saw you."

Regina felt Emma shudder beneath her at the thought.

For a moment I thought you were dead and my heart stopped. I lost someone I loved today and when I thought I had lost you too. I couldn't take it. I refuse to lose another person I love."

Love? Regina didn't understand, couldn't fathom it. Her own son didn't even love her, how could Emma? How could anyone?


She was pressed close enough that her lips brushed against Emma's neck when she spoke.

"Did you mean what you said?"

Emma didn't even give her a chance to clarify, "Yes. Every word."

She had to tell her.

"We have to get up, Emma. Greg and Tamara took something from me."

Why was this so hard? Why did the prospect of Emma looking at her in horror once again hurt so much?

"I created a fail-safe for the curse. It will destroy everything and they-"

Her voice broke and she felt more tears flowing down her cheeks and into Emma's sweet-smelling-hair.

"They have it now."

She steeled herself for what was to come. The hits, the screams, the accusations and humiliation. She was ready for Emma's rejection. It didn't come.

"It's okay." A hand moved from her waist to stroke her hair.

How on Earth or beyond was anything about their situation okay?

"David thinks he winged Greg and I got some good hits in on Tamara. They're off licking their wounds tonight. If they were going to start the Storybrooke-pocolypce they would have done it by now. Right now they're regrouping. We have a few more hours to rest. Tomorrow you and I will fix this."

How could she be so calm?

"I don't understand."

Emma's fingers slid through her hair, softly petting her. "You think them having this self-destruct button is your fault. Maybe it is, but it's my fault too. I should have shoved Greggy out on his ass the minute he got out of surgery. If we had all gotten off our high horses and come to you, well you probably could have abra-cadabra'ed him some new non-Storybrooke memories and he would have wandered on his merry way. As for Tamara, I knew that bitch was up to something. I should have went with my gut, but I kept letting everyone talk me out if it. I should have never let Neal bring her here."

Emma pressed her lips to the burn on her temple, light and cautious. Regina shivered, but not from pain. It didn't hurt. It felt good, it felt right, it felt like the affection she had always wanted but never been able to keep.

"Emma, I-"

The loft's front door opened and she turned her head just in time to see Henry walk through the door.


He dropped the flowers he'd been carrying and ran towards the bed. Then he did something he hadn't done since he was six years old. He jumped onto the bed and scrambled into her arms. Both of their arms, he planted himself between her and Emma.

"You're awake!"

He wrapped both arms around her and squeezed.

"I was so worried. I'm sorry I yelled at you. I'm sorry I called you evil. I'm so sorry."

His words came out in a rush, fast and jumbled together.

She wrapped one arm around her son and reached for Emma with the other hand. Slender, wonderfully strong and warm, fingers wrapped around her own.

"It's okay, Henry. I'm okay. We're okay." She laid a kiss on the crown of her son's head and rested her cheek there. She felt Emma's forehead press against her own and heard the blonde's mumbled words of comfort.

She knew that Greg and Tamara could and would reign Hell on Storybrooke as soon as the sun rose. She knew that David and Snow were standing there, staring at them, most likely horrified to see their daughter and grandson hugging The Evil Queen. She knew that she and Emma had things, a lot of things, to talk about. She knew that she had so much to make up for. So many rights to wrong, and so very much to prove. Still, though, knowing all of that, Regina smiled. She smiled because here, wrapped up in the arms of a woman she was supposed to hate, she was happy. She had her son, their son, in her arms and her heart sang. This was what she had been looking for so desperately all of her life. This was her place: her happy place, her safe place, her entire world.

Regina Mills woke up to a myriad of unfamiliar sensations. She was warm and comfortable. For a brief and shining moment there was no pain, and there was no fear. There was only hope, love, safety, family and home. She, they, were finally home.