A/N: Thank you for all the many people who have gone on this journey with me. I know that there were a lot of characters, and a few different storylines, but this is one of my most popular stories in a while and it was nice to see all the kudos, comments, etc.
And before anyone asks, yes, or maybe, those are the two possible answers to whether or not there will be another story to wrap up some of the dangling storylines I left. :)
The party was over, it had ended not so long after Ruby had come back with the news that they'd found a black unicorn hair on Jacq's body. Everyone in the Enchanted Forest knew what that meant.
Most of the people had gone home, or where staying over at the palace. Only Snow, David, Emma, and Regina were left in the ballroom.
It was Snow who approached Regina. They were all tired, and so Snow spoke without preamble, "You're right. Which, is probably harder for me to say than what I have to say next. You're right that at this point, what has happened in the past is in the past, that it can't help us in the here and now, it can only hurt us. And with your former… best friend… apparently still alive and holding a grudge we all need to be on the same page. So. I'm sorry. I'm sorry for getting Daniel killed. And I'm sorry for making…" She paused and after a quick nod to herself continued, "No, not making. Me. I'm sorry for killing your mother."
Regina stood there, perfectly still. And Emma, David, and Snow all stood there waiting for whatever was going to happen next. Regina took a step towards Snow and after a pause held out her hand. "This- for now, I can give you this."
Snow took Regina's hand in her own, she shook it once, then shook her head, "Nope. You're my daughter in law in everything but name, so… yep, I'm going to hug you." She pulled Regina towards her and whispered in her ear.
After a moment she let Regina go and took a hold of David's arm. "See you two tomorrow? Before you go home?"
Regina looked towards Emma, who nodded. "Sure. And early breakfast, then we'll roust the children and head home."
Both Snow and David hugged Emma, and then they left the ballroom, going towards their rooms.
When she and Regina were alone Emma frowned and asked, "What did she say to you?"
Regina stared after her for a moment, "She said that, Love, true love, is magic. Not just any magic. The most powerful magic of all. It creates happiness. I- I told her that when she was a girl, after she'd seen me and Daniel kiss."
Emma put an arm around Regina's waist and her head against Regina's. "Well, in that case, you're a very smart woman. Should we go check on all the kids?"
Regina nodded and they climbed the stairs and walked the hallways until they got to a suspiciously quiet door. Regina winced, "Do you think we want to know?"
Emma chuckled and quietly opened the door. They stepped in. Regina looked around with a smile on her face. "What are you doing smiling. You're the Evil Queen, shouldn't you be glowering?"
Regina narrowed her eyes at Emma who just laughed quietly and put an arm around Regina pulling her closer. They stood side to side watched as the children who were in their care as well as their friends slept. Even the two littlest, the twins, were on the floor, on either side of Brigid. "I-" Regina shook her head and cleared her throat a few times.
Emma pulled Regina even closer and kissed the side of her head. "I was just kidding Regina. Watching you watch them…"
Regina shook her head, "I shouldn't be smiling, here, I hate this place. This palace, and yet, I see them in there, and… it's like the palace turns into a different place."
Emma shook her head as she cut off Regina, "You're not thinking of telling me that you want to live in the palace with my parents now, are you?"
Regina swallowed a chuckle, "No, no, no, no…"
Emma blew out a breath, "Okay, good, as long as we're on the same page. So… is our room next door?"
"Of course. That's rule number one for parenting. Always be close by."
Emma held up a hand, "And me with no pencil."
Emma smiled, "That's why you keep me around right?"
They stepped into the room and Emma made a face. Regina chuckled, "No. No." She paused, "Emma. Would you marry me, if I asked?"
Emma was halfway into the room and she turned to face Regina, "I don't know, would you ask?"
Regina walked over to a dresser where the bag she had brought with her for the trip had been put. And after a pause reached into it. She walked to the center of the room and held up a ring, it was the piece of horse tack that Daniel had given her so many years ago. "When the Enchanted Forest… when Storybrooke and the Enchanted Forest… merged, or whatever happened when I diverted the big boom in Storybrooke, I found this again in my pocket, in the ten kingdoms. Daniel gave it to me when we planned to run away and be married. Honestly, I don't know if I can do this, if I can be as… good as you and everyone needs me to be. I love you. When I look at you my chest gets tight. I want to love you, protect you, raise children with you, I want to help you not be so impulsive, and I want you to help me be more impulsive. I-"
Regina paused, "Emma Swan…" She quirked an eyebrow, "Miss Swan. Will you be my wife and let me be yours?"
Emma put a hand to her chest and closed her eyes for a moment. When she opened them she had a smile on her face, "Yes… yes…" She held her left hand out, but the ring was just slightly too small for her finger. "Oh…"
Regina didn't say anything, but instead put the ring on the palm of her right hand and closed it and her eyes for a moment. She opened her eyes again, "Let's try it again."
The ring slipped on perfectly. "Regina…"
Regina closed her hand again, and when she opened it in the center of her palm was a plain gold necklace. "I know. Jewelry on your hands isn't your thing."
Emma pulled Regina to her and kissed her.
Eventually she moved her head back just a bit and met Regina's gaze. "As long as we don't have to do this."
Regina winced, "You're their Princess…" Emma groaned, "But, we will have a small wedding if it's the last thing I do. The kids, your mother and father, Ruby, some of your other friends."
Emma interrupted Regina, "And Victoria."
Regina shook her head, "Emma, I don't even know if…"
She interrupted Regina again, "Then we don't do it until we have found a way to bring her here."
For a moment it looked like Regina was going to object, but after a moment of silence instead she nodded with a smile, "Emma- just tell me that this isn't just- just a dream I'm having while the energy of the crystal destroys me from the inside out?"
Emma kissed Regina, "Did that feel real?"
"Honestly, no…" Emma gave Regina a bit of a shove and Regina laughed, "It didn't. Every kiss from you feels like a kiss from heaven."
Emma rolled her eyes, "Well, I'm still sore from our last riding lesson, so, yeah- this is all real. C'mon, let's get some sleep before we have to have an uncomfortable breakfast with my parents and then get everyone home in one piece."
Regina smiled, "Sleep?"
Fin ~ March 8th, 2014