A/N: This starts after Snow and Charming save Regina during "Second Star to the Right." Greg and Tamara do not get their hands on the trigger and are captured, so they are no longer a threat.
I don't know anything about the science behind all of this, so I apologize if I'm totally inaccurate. Title taken from the song of the same name from Next to Normal.
Regina looked up with a furrowed brow, eyes flicking from Snow to Charming and back again. There were a million questions in their brown depths, but none of them made it to Regina's cracked and dry lips. She let them help her sit up and greedily drank the offered water, still silent, ignoring her rescuers when they tried to ask how she was feeling.
It wasn't until Emma and Henry came in half an hour later that she spoke, and not immediately even then.
Emma looked almost as worn as Regina, and Henry's eyes were red from tears. "Is she okay?" she asked wearily, keeping a hand on her son's shoulder.
"She's not herself," Snow said after a pause.
"Mom!" Henry caught a glimpse of Regina's red shirt and suddenly tore away from Emma, launching himself onto the bed. She closed her arms tightly around him, resting her head against his.
"Be gentle," Snow warned, watching from a distance with Emma and Charming.
"He is," Regina said, her voice raspy after so much screaming. She reluctantly let go when Henry pulled away, watching him run up the stairs to continue grieving for the father he'd only just met. Snow and Charming followed him, leaving just Emma with Regina.
The blonde made her way over to the side of the bed, taking in the angry red blisters left by the electrodes and the bandages on Regina's wrists where she'd rubbed her skin raw against the restraints. "How are you feeling?" She shifted from one foot to the other, not sure if she should sit down beside Regina.
"Not well," Regina answered softly, studying her bandages as if she didn't know how they'd gotten there. She lifted her eyes to meet Emma's. "That boy is my son," she said, her voice going thin at the end as if she was half asking a question.
"He is," Emma conceded, resisting the urge to argue that he was her son, too.
Regina nodded, and something in her eyes seemed like permission for Emma to sit, so she did. "What's his name?"
Emma went pale at the question and the honest confusion on Regina's face. "His name is Henry," she said, forcing herself to smile as if nothing was wrong. "You don't remember?"
"No." Regina glanced around her again. "I don't remember any of this. Just that I love him."
"Do you know who you are?" Emma wanted more than anything to run, to shout for someone to help her. She had no idea what to do, and after a day full of the search for Regina, losing Neal, and having to tell Henry, all she wanted was to close her eyes and not hurt for a while.
"Regina," the brunette said, her voice much more certain than it had been. "You're Emma?"
The blonde smiled at that, tears rising in her eyes. "Yes. I'm Emma."
Regina reached forward to put her hand lightly on top of Emma's. "I remember you."
"The damage is pretty extensive," Dr. Whale said, holding up a picture of some sort of scan. Emma wasn't looking, her gaze fixed on the hospital bed on the other side of the window where Henry and Regina sat side-by-side, Henry's beloved book across their laps. "They used a dangerously high voltage, and there's no telling how much they shocked her. All we know is that she was with them for hours."
Dr. Whale didn't look at all concerned, but Dr. Hopper did. He flicked through his notes. "She's having trouble recalling much of anything that happened before she woke up in your apartment."
"So it's all just gone?" Emma asked, turning from the window.
"It may be possible for her to regain some of her memory with therapy and support at home," Archie said. "She's been through a lot, but if there's one thing we know about Regina, it's that she's certainly resilient."
There was silence for a moment, and Emma caught a glance shared between her parents. "This could be an opportunity," Snow said quietly. "If she can't remember the past, she won't be dangerous anymore. We could be selective about what we let her know."
Archie looked distinctly uncomfortable at the suggestion but said nothing. It was Emma who had to step in, joining their little circle for the first time. "You can't just change her. Not one of us has the right to pick and choose memories for her."
"But she wouldn't have to remember all the pain," Snow said, the false concern in her eyes only strengthening Emma's resolution.
"Henry already lost one parent today, and now you want to turn Regina into a different person? He deserves to have his real mother."
"You're his real mother," Snow replied softly.
Emma stalked away towards the window again. She knew that no matter what she said, they would fight her. She could say that she was in no way ready to be Henry's only parent, but Snow and Charming would only point out that they would be there to help. She leaned her forehead against the glass, emotion tangling in her throat as she watched the two together.
"It's for the best," Charming said, coming forward to place a hand on Emma's shoulder. "It's for the good of the whole town. You're the savior, Emma. You have to think about what will keep us all safe."
Emma pulled away from him roughly, glaring up at him. "I'm not your savior, and I don't give a damn about what's best for the town." She stabbed a finger at the glass. "I care about what's best for that kid in there. He is the only one I have any sort of obligation to." She strode into the room, startling both Henry and Regina. "We're leaving," she announced.
"Did they find out what's wrong with Mom?" Henry asked, stuffing his book into his backpack. Regina got up slowly, each movement ginger.
"We'll talk about it when we get home," Emma said, trying her best to smile for both her worried son and a bewildered Regina. She put one hand on the small of Regina's back and one on Henry's shoulder as they left the room, steering them quickly past the group of people calling her name. She got them both into the back seat of her car and sped away from the hospital as fast as she dared.
"Which home are we going to?" Henry asked as Emma approached an intersection.
The blonde was driving towards the apartment almost automatically, but Henry's question reminded her that she didn't want to hang around with her parents. She turned the wheel sharply, tires screeching on the pavement, and headed instead towards Regina's house.
"Glad to see the Sheriff setting such a good example," Regina said dryly as horns blared around them.
Emma couldn't help glancing over her shoulder, stunned. It was the first thing Regina had said that sounded remotely like the old her.
"Emma!" Henry yelled, and the blonde looked forward just in time to swerve out of the way of an oncoming car. She forced herself to slow down as they turned onto Mifflin Street.
"I just got out of the hospital, Miss Swan," Regina said. "I have no intention of going back."
Emma came to an abrupt stop in the driveway, turning around to look at Regina again once she'd turned off the car. "You sound like yourself again," she said. "Are you remembering things?"
The expression on the brunette's face wasn't Regina at all. There was too much uncertainty. "I was frightened," she replied. "It brought things back."
Henry scrambled out of the car and went to open the front door. Emma stayed put, and Regina stilled her hand on the door handle. "I'm sorry I scared you," the blonde said softly.
"I haven't felt anything but scared all day," Regina added with a small smile.