AN:: It's been a while since I've been on here, but I've been having considerable amounts of writers block, so I took requests from tumblr (which you may also submit requests to me - eponine-faye), and I was asked to do something that was going back to the bench scene after episode 18 or 19? From what I took of it, they wanted it to be a bit more drabble-eee... so that's what I did :)
Hurt/Comfort... maybe a little romance, and of course Swan Queen!
I still love you all and am trying to come up with more/endings for each one of my multi-chapter stories. I have not disappeared!
Thank you so much, and please enjoy! R&R, if ya feel like it, too!
Life is this mysterious, undulating thread that ties each moment of our lives together. From one moment to the next we group blindly at the thread hoping it leads you somewhere you want to go, or at the very least, somewhere that's not completely undesirable. If it is, we keep following the thread - we have no other choice than to keep to our thread, or cut it before it unravels in it's own time, or someone cuts it for us - granted it's not severed by another.
But there are those rare occasions where our thread intertwines with that of anothers, creating a special kind of bond that strings both stories along in the same direction. Some are forged purposefully, and others are chance entanglements that come time strange and usually unimagined circumstances that follow.
Regina knew all too well the thread that she held to and it's tarnished, frail nature. Trauma tore her story from that of others that she cared for. From betrayal to abandonment and back again, she understood that her life line was very thin. Weaving lies and poor decisions laced with good intentions didn't help the only bond she cared for most, but pushed him further and further away until she could hardly remember the little boy's laugh she fell in love with, or the first time she was called 'Mama.' The difficulties and pain every relationship she'd entered into gave her little reason to hold onto hope for anything. And yet the possibility of giving up hope for her son to - one day - come back and show even the smallest shred of affection or appreciation made her chest feel as though it could cave in, crushing what was left of her heart along with it.
What the brunette remained unaware of for the past hour was why she came to the docks in the first place.
There were very few instances she would ever chance being so willing to be out in public, subject to rueful glances and heckling in multiple directions, and even prior to the curse being broken Regina only visited the docks as acting Mayor for business and financial reasons. Why her early morning stroll to 'clear her head' led her to a bench by the side of the marina with crude and illegible graffiti etched into the seat, she hadn't the slightest clue.
She let her fingernail scrape across the tarnished wood along the markings that had been made. All she was able to make out was the 'F,' rather large at the beginning of the word. And her dark eyebrows furrowed at the realization - profanity and vandalism. Not the most lethal combination, but certainly not the most becoming either.
With a huff her hand was tucked delicately back in her pea coat pocket, seeking solace from the frigid air. Her eyes were met with less comforting surroundings than her silk-lined pockets however, meeting only overcast skies and black water, unkempt boats and sailing vessels littering the edge of the concrete at their separate docks. It seemed the weather nearly mirrored her inner forecast, what with the gloomy undertones and blank surface value.
Regina closed her eyes, almost praying for something to take her away - to pull her thread in a new direction, or help it find it's way. A breeze washed over her skin, sweeping under her chin and rustling her feathered hair to tickle the back of her neck gently. She inhaled until she found her lungs reached capacity before letting out a long, heavy breath. For a moment there was almost peace.
The brunette whipped around, finding none other than the savior herself, clad in her classic heroic boots and douche-bag, leather jacket.
Yet there was no reaction today. No wind left in her evil, black sails to come back with a cutting comment, or even acknowledge the princess this morning. Regina turned her head forward again, feeling the serenity flee her soul, allowing her to settle back into the despair that had taken over her life.
Subtle thud noises steadily punctuated the few moments of silence that elapsed between Regina's symbolic retreat and Emma staking claim on the opposite side of the bench.
Though Regina's eyes stayed fixated on the ripples of water peeling away from the boats as they bobbed eagerly in the water.
A huff of air came from her left at the same time she felt eyes on her.
"So... this is fairly awkward? And more than a little strange seeing you here." Emma tried to joke.
Regina shook her head. "Two people happening upon the same place at the same time, when both live in the same, very small, town? I'd say that's hardly strange."
"Well, not when it's the second time in a week - it's a little weird."
"Last time I was looking for you."
The brunette offered a perturbed, sideways glace at the other woman. "I had questions about my son I wanted answered. Who better to query than the very person trailing trouble wherever she steps foot?"
"That was mildly rude..."
"And not only am I met with vaguely, barely implied answers to questions, but more secrets."
"Not everything is your business."
"Oh, surely not - however anything about 'losing him for good' should be my business. Also, his biological father showing up OR the fact that the same biological father is related to and in fact IS himself a fairytale character... that should be my business."
"Regina, I would have told you-"
"When?" Regina cut her off. "When you burst down my door accusing me of crimes? Or when we're caught in some unfortunate circumstance that your blundering parents find a way to circumnavigate all the way back to me and my misgivings?"
"I only do what I think is best, and-"
"What's best?" Regina glared at the other woman with all the fire she had left in her. "Taking a boy away from the only mother he's ever known - THAT'S what's best?"
Emma put her hands out to either side, prepared to field all the anger thrown her way. "He came to me, Regina - He was tired of being lied to! What am I supposed to do? Send him back to what he wants and probably needs a break from? And you know, I wouldn't mind giving you some time with him if you ACTED like a MOTHER."
"And you're the best judge of parenting? All three days you've been present to witness the beautiful, special, wonderful, boy he is?" She swiveled around toward the other woman. "Do you know how he likes his eggs? Do you know how to calm him down from his nightmares, or how to get him to go to sleep during a thunder storm?"
The blonde reeled back as Regina's voice rose higher and higher. "I'm getting there, ok?"
"Getting there isn't good enough!"
"It is for him!"
There was a stillness that hung around them for a few lingering seconds, both glaring at one another, and all Regina could think was that she was being robbed by a woman who hadn't a clue of what she was doing.
She blinked tears away before they could surface all the way. Vulnerability was one thing, however the obvious show of emotion where the opponent could take the upper hand was not even close to being a possibility. She pushed her hair back away from her face, calming herself both mentally and physically, focusing on breathing regularly.
Emma lowered her volume, leaning so her elbows rested on her knees, sighing heavily and seeming to search for words she wasn't sure existed. "Regina, you have to face the fact that I love him just as much as you do."
Regina started to interrupt, but Emma held her hand up, stopping the words before they started.
"I love him, and so does Neal. I don't personally like the guy that much, but he is giving everything to Henry - he's being a dad, which is something Henry's never had before."
"Yes, now he has his real mother and his real father, so he can forget all about me, when I've loved him and given him e-evry-" She turned away as her lip started quivering. Thinking about losing her son... then talking to the person who was taking him away was more than she thought she would ever have to handle.
Emma started to reach a hand over, but as soon as it made contact Regina was up and moved to the neighboring bench.
"Do not touch me, Miss Swan." She barked.
Regina wiped her eyes just as tears spilled from her water line and Emma settled back into the bench.
The blonde waited for the other woman to calm down before letting out a long breath written in the chilled air around them.
"You know sitting in jail, pregnant and eighteen wasn't that scary. Being alone... that was a little scarier, but it wasn't what I was most worried about. All I could think the entire nine months I was carrying Henry was that I hoped he didn't grow up like I did. For the first month or so I knew I thought we'd be fine. I thought I'd be able to take care of him when I got out and nothing would go wrong. But the more my belly grew the more I figured out that this was a kid growing inside of me. It was going to walk and talk and have feelings and thoughts... memories. Then I thought... 'Am I worth remembering? Can I really give this thing everything it needs?' And some of the other women talking about their kids outside having to move in with their parents or their father's parents while they were inside - I didn't have anybody. I didn't have anything."
Regina saw her look over at her from the corner of her eye, where she'd been looking at Emma's boots rather than her face.
"I knew I couldn't keep him if I wanted better for him. I'd never made an honest dollar in my life up to that point. So I filled out the paperwork and told myself he wasn't mine for another six months. I told myself he was somebody else's prayer, and he would have more love and happiness than I could ever give him, and a better roof over his head with clean sheets and pillows that didn't smell like damp basement. And everything was fine until I held him.
"The first time I looked at him my heart dropped into my stomach and I cried for the first time in over four years. I cried and I touched his face, tracing all of the little details before I had to give him up. They gave me two days, because even if I wanted to keep him, he'd be in foster care until I got out and was able to win him back.
"I cannot tell you how many times I told him I loved him in those two days. I looked at him because I knew I'd never see him again. And from the moment the-"
Her voice cracked, so she waited before swallowing a bit.
"They took him away from me and I stopped crying. I told myself he wasn't mine again, and that he was never supposed to be mine. And then he comes and finds me... because he wanted to know me - he knew something for certain and he went made what needed to happen, actually happen. He is more brave than I have ever been or have ever hoped to be, and I love him more every time I see him, or every time I think about him, and the fact he thinks of nothing but what's right, or what will help people in the long run.
"And Neal must be feeling a lot of those same emotions, not only learning he has a son, but one that's courageous, and strong. He's still a little boy, but he's better than he or I have ever hoped to be."
Regina chanced looking up into Emma's eyes, but looked away just as quickly as her gaze ventured there in the first place. She'd given up on holding her tears back before Emma had finished speaking. She hated everything about what was happening, losing her son and having the world she thought would be perfect crash down around her, but going through Emma's emotions with her didn't hurt any less no matter what kind of mother she was... no matter what kind of mother Regina had been as well.
"But I'm his mother too..." She whimpered. "I looked at that same face, and I studied him because he was magic to me. He was a magic I could never create - I wasn't strong enough by myself to do that. I looked at him like the miracle he was and is.. and I fell in love. I watched him grow up and paint pictures and get his room disgustingly dirty with anything and everything. I was the one he ran to when he needed something, or when he just wanted to be held."
She scooted toward the other bench, nearly pleading with the other woman. "You imagine giving all of your love to him. Imagine that love you felt holding him for the first time just growing every moment as you raised him, and saw that little, crooked smile, and broken gibberish.. imagine teaching him to walk, and reading nursery rhymes before bed. And those turned into comic books and the training wheels come off of his bike. Imagine a home with him... all ripped away because of a book. In a moment his back is turned and he despises you, because he has a side of the story in his hand that you are the antagonist. Now that little boy who you love so much and has loved you can't stand you, and feels he needs to play a part in your undoing."
"He doesn't think that about you."
She nodded, hiding her face and the tears that decorated it in her hands. "But he does..." It was all she could do to keep herself from sobbing.
Emma leaned just a little bit closer, chancing a hand on her shoulder and this time she didn't pull away. "He believes you can change... if you want to change. He just doesn't see you changing. It makes him think that he isn't enough to make you want to change, and that hurts him."
Hearing that was the last straw. Regina collapsed in on herself, wracking with sobs, and Emma didn't miss a beat in wrapping the other woman in her arms and shhing her for some kind of comfort as one hand ran up and down her back. "It's not the end of the world, Regina... you can still show him it's not too late to change, ya know?"
The brunette just shook her head. "I don't know how in the world I would do that." She continued sobbing.
"Maybe you don't know how just yet, but you'll find a way.."
Regina lifted her head, looking into the big blue eyes belonging to the woman she was so sure she loathed. "How can you believe something like that about me?"
She searched Emma's face for what she might say before she'd say it. But there was a confused, almost scared look furrowing the blonde's brows and twisting her mouth into a frown. She looked away, the blue orbs Regina had took refuge in only moments before scoured the gray shaded clouds above them.
Regina pulled away. "Unless you don't mean any of that at all..." She said, regarding herself after feeling suddenly naked. Fear crept up and over chest, tightening and telling her not to breathe.
But Emma shook her head vigorously, gripping Regina's wool clad arms as to reassure her she was telling the truth. "No, no-no... Regina-" She stared back into the chocolate, leaving Regina's heart to beat a little faster. "I believe you can change."
The brunette's mouth hung open for a moment, reeling in the revelation that the savior thought there could be new beginnings for her; that the she wasn't against the Evil Queen.
"How?" She asked simply, wanting to tear herself away from Emma's grasp, but not convincing herself to actually do it.
Emma smiled, "You... You're too strong and you love him too much to let yourself be carried away by something like this."
"No, Regina..." She absentmindedly pushed a wisp of hair out of Regina's face, not realizing the affect. "Pride. I don't think you'd be so blind as to put yourself in front of what's best for Henry. I think sooner or later you'll know that all he wants is for you to love him and not hate everyone else so much."
"I don't hate you." Regina blurted suddenly.
The blonde laughed. "Thank you... but I wasn't targeting myself specifically."
Regina realized her short bit of transparency and looked away, drawing back into her shell again. "Oh..." She nodded, "..right."
"Hey..." Emma put a delicate hand on the other woman's knee, feeling that same anxiety group at her lungs. "For what it's worth, I don't hate you either."
Shifty brown eyes glanced curiously at the blonde, daring her to make some resounding mistake - to crack the facade. "You don't?" She asked quietly.
She shook her head. "You raised my kid... It's hard to hate someone who did that, and did it well."
"He's good on his own." She shrugged. "Honestly, I'm surprised I didn't ruin him."
"How would you do that?"
"I'm the Evil Queen remember?" She sighed, feeling that despair she came here with leak back into the pours of her soul, weighing down the lightness she had inexplicably felt moments before. "It's a wonder how some of that didn't rub off on him - poison him in some way."
"You're not poison... I have a hard time of thinking of you as Evil most of the time-"
"You're the only one who has trouble with it."
"But I'm not." She tried to regain eye contact with a gentle smile. "Henry believes in you, too."
Regina put her mouth in a tight frown, exploring Emma's face carefully for some sort of ruse. "Why?" She said sternly, the first thing she'd put resonance in her voice to say since they'd been fighting.
Emma's face dropped, confusion drooping with the edges of her mouth. "Well... Henry loves you? You're still his mom-"
"Not Henry - you." Regina got up quickly and paced the pavement in front of the benches for a moment. "Why do you have such faith in me suddenly? Why has all this support and encouragement come up out of absolutely nowhere?"
"Why the vote of confidence now? Are you planning something? Get me alone while I'm vulnerable and toss me into the flames of my own demise by way of false hope?"
"What the hell are you-"
"You don't believe any of what you're saying an-"
Emma got up and got in her face. "Oh yeah, not the fact you were bawling a minute and a half ago and I was trying to comfort you?! Definitely not because I respect you for being a single parent when I didn't believe I could? Because I'm plotting against you! Because the whole friggin' WORLD is against you, Regina!"
"You-you were just-"
"Just what?" Emma threw her arms out to her sides, signaling for the other woman to throw everything at her. "Just being a decent person?"
Regina stood motionless, not knowing how to deal with the confidence, but more so the implied positivity she was being shown... not to mention she could feel Emma breathing from their proximity.
But Emma took a few steps back, rubbing her temples under the gray beanie she was so fond of and closing her eyes for a second. "You have to stop thinking that everyone is out to get you." She crossed her arms and faced the boats once again, refusing to look at the other woman. "There are a few of us that would be more than happy to give you another chance if you wanted it... if you asked for it."
In an instant of pure insanity, as Regina saw it, she took the few steps over and into Emma's personal space, almost waiting to be shot down.
"I want another chance."
Near silence hung around them as the boats sloshed in the water, docks creaked with familiar age and a soft, brisk wind tousled their hair and they searched each other's eyes for an honesty they hadn't found yet. Hope may have been too much of a leap for either of the women, however both were expecting something - anything to renew what had been pinning them against one another for so long. Maybe even a small understanding, or a deal that wouldn't be crooked and could be void of the disgusting personal gain that had plagued so many other interactions they'd had before.
Emma made the quarter turn to face the other woman, arms hanging at her side showing the same openness she felt within her. "Show me." She said simply.
Her mouth fell open as she tried to calculate what had just been asked of her. But before her mind could process, her body threw her forward as her hands steadied Emma's face before crashing her lips on to the blonde's. Her eyes shut tightly, somehow praying it would have a positive ending, seeing as how everything she'd planned for ended terribly, maybe what she'd done on a whim could have a different outcome. It didn't stop her heart from beating in her throat and her mind racing six hundred miles an hour, wondering if this is what it felt like to be where you were supposed to - like sparks were going off in her lungs and butterflies were traded for elephants in her stomach, and at the same time there was a pleasant dizziness wrapping itself around her head, making her brain feel as though it was swelling and shrinking at the same time.
And all of the internal confusion couldn't stop her from analyzing the fact Emma remained frozen. After the initial excitement and bewilderment, Regina's heart stopped and tears rushed themselves to her eyes as some awful terror stung her torso, reaching out into her fingertips and making her entire body ache.
She pulled back, opening her eyes just enough to see the shock on Emma's face. Everything seemed as though it were shattering inside her body seeing her arms still hanging limply at her sides and her eyes wide, mouth still hanging open just enough to show her slack jaw confusion.
Regina took a step back and started to turn away, taking a shaky breath in as she was sure everything she'd wanted and just now fooled herself into wanting was all an idiot's dream. Emma? And now of all times? How could she-
Then the hand on her arm...
Tears in her eyes almost blurred the sight in front of her. A half-lidded curiosity took reign of Emma's face, and a determination in her gaze that caught Regina before she could protest. She let herself be guided into the arms of the other woman as Emma drew her closer and brought her lips to the fuller ones. Regina let her arms slide around Emma's neck as Emma's hands clutched at her back, pulling the brunette flush against her. Regina was the first to sigh happily, but Emma deepened their kiss, adjusting their lips to be more connected to the others over and over again, never being satisfied.
Regina felt her head spinning faster and further than the first time, but smiled into Emma's lips all the same - feeling truly wanted for the first time in so long. She kept her eyes closed as Emma pulled back.
"What?" Emma asked.
Regina could hear the smile in the question as well. "I feel..."
Her eyes popped open, her first instinct to check if everything was alright between the two of them, but her attention was pulled to their surroundings instead.
They were no longer on the docs, but in the very room Regina had been in when the curse had been cast in the Charming's castle wrapped in Emma's arms. They pulled away slowly, still touching but taking in their surroundings - the glass that had been shattered was mended, ceiling in tact flush with pristine, ornate painting on it.
"Regina..." Emma sounded breathless.
She looked at the other woman with wonder in her eyes.
The wonder in the blue eyes grew as they raked up and down Regina's body.
The brunette looked down at herself, clad in black leather pants and one of her corseted gowns and giant heels.
"And your hair.." Emma tangled her hand in the long brown locks she'd never seen before. She laughed a little, taking in what had just happened. "Was that all it took? Really?"
Both women turned their head to the door, seeing Henry grinning in the doorway, story book in hand and laughing. "What happened?"
Regina turned to Emma at the same time the blonde's questioning eyes looked expectantly at her, mouth opening and closing like a fish.
"We... uhm..." Emma started.
"You two..." Henry pointed at Emma's hand still on Regina's waist, and Regina's opposite hand resting on Emma's shoulder. His eyes opened wider and his mouth dropped simultaneously turning into a giant smile. "Did you two kiss?!"
Both stared blankly at the little boy.
"True love's kiss!" She shouted running toward them and hugging both with all the strength of an eleven-year-old could muster.
Regina looked down, grinning at her son, letting her free arm hug the little boy back with tears in her eyes. Emma ruffled his hair and laughed somewhat breathlessly.
Henry looked up, smirking. "'Bout damn time, you guys." He said, running toward the balcony.
"Language!" Regina scolded.
Emma shook her head, pulling her a little closer. "Regina.. let's let that one slide." She smiled.
Their heads snapped to look at the door again, seeing Snow and Charming come in, head to toe in fairy-tale gear - Snow with her long hair again - and looking all around in shock.
"What's going on?" Snow said, looking almost scared.
"Would you like the long answer... or the short answer?" Henry asked from the balcony, leaning on the stone railing, crossing his legs and putting his hands behind his head looking smug as all get-out.
Snow and Charming just looked bewildered at the child, then at their daughter and Regina still clinging to each other.
"Short is fine." Charming said tentatively.
Henry laughed. "My moms finally made out and fixed everything."
Snow had every emotion wiped from her face. "What?"
"Look!" Henry pointed down out of the balcony.
All of the adults crowded out to where Henry was standing, looking out over a sea of people cheering, raising their voices in elation. Snow nearly started crying, where Charming gladly stepped in and wrapped her in a strong arm, and waving to their subjects with the other. Henry chuckled to himself and nudged his mothers.
Emma looked at Regina with a half smile. "So... I guess it's a little to late to ask you out for coffee?"
Regina laughed, finally letting a tear fall from her eye, but grinning all the more. She cupped Emma's face with care. "I don't think your mother would like that very much."
The blonde shook her head. "Fine... you can make me tea."
They leaned into the others lips again, this time without the questioning eyes, but a knowledge that everything was as it should be.
"EEEEeeewwww..." Henry, scrunched his face up.
Both couples turned their attention to the little boy.
"Henry.." Regina warned.
He raised one eyebrow defiantly. "I'm happy and all... but can you guys get a room? Celebrate your happy ending away from the eyes of your child."