Disclaimer:I don't own these characters, this encarnation of them or the plots that are considered canon. Please don't sue, for this is only harmless fun.

A/N: Should I be posting another story when I have two in the works in other fandoms? Maybe not. But, really, ONCE is inspirting me like crazy (I have three fics in the works, already) and I wanted to post this before next epi.

SPOILERS for "Think Lovely Thoughts" (3x08). Didn't watch, don't read. You've been warned.

The rest is AU, most likely. And Outlaw Queen. ;D



There was a heart in her hand again, pulsing with life and hope and regret.

There was a heart in her hand, a life she now controlled and she felt none of the thrill from before. The control, the power… it was all meaningless now. Nothing remained but a sliver of hope that this heart she now gripped could turn the tables and bring her son back to life. It wasn't the heart Pan had manipulated Henry into giving so carelessly away. It wasn't a pure heart, or a big heart. But it was a heart freely given.

There was a heart in her hand and it was her own.

Dark spots had all but covered the red life it contained and if she was to go through with this, it wouldn't be to let her son be consumed by the same darkness that had seduced long ago. A wave of a hand and the black slowly started to recede, being reabsorbed by her body. This darkness found no heart to envelope, so it went in deeper, seeking out her very soul.

It felt so much worst than it had when around her heart.

In the distance, she could hear Emma and Snow and a recently released Rumplestiltskin scream at her to stop. It took no genius, after all, to figure her plan out. Magic always came with a price, her mentor kept telling her. Death would be hers for daring to cross such powerful laws of nature.

Nothing would be able to stop her, though. Not now.

Another wave of her hand and Regina constructed a barrier between her and the others attempting to stop her. Carefully, she willed the heart she held with all the hope and love she had within her and placed the organ over her son's still, plaid covered chest.

"Henry…" There were tears in her eyes - and how could there not have been -, but Regina refused to let them fall. There was no time for this, no time for tears when she had so much to say to a boy that she would never see again. Her precious son. Her wonderful little prince. "I…"

Swallowing hard, she tried again. "I know that what I did to you can never be forgiven." She brushed his hair away from his forehead. "I know you felt alone and angry and maybe even scared and that makes me really sad, because I never wanted that for you."

Maybe the tears wouldn't obey her after all.

"I know that you doubted my love and that my actions only served to crush the love you felt for me. I don't even know how to tell you how devastating that is to me. Because I do love you, Henry, even if you don't love me the same way." Regina breathed in deeply and leaned forward to drop a kiss on his cheek. "I will always love you, no matter what, and I only want you to be happy, okay? Whatever that is, I want you to be happy."

The moment was short and long and muffled with the sound of cries and scuffle. She ignored the sound from without and focused only on the sound of her beating heart, which was now no longer hers. Pushing it in, she felt the resistance of a body that didn't recognize the heart begging entrance into it and the pain in her chest at having its life force taken away. These things didn't matter, though… In went the heart.

A single millisecond was all the time she had left and Regina used that single snapshot of time to take in Henry's face and rising chest. It was a smile that briefly tried to overcome her face before darkness closed in, making her body fall backwards with a thud.

Regina didn't see Henry open his eyes, didn't hear Emma rushing to her side, crying out her name, didn't feel Rumple's calloused hand on her eyes, gently closing them one final time. One moment there was Henry and the sound of his seven year old self laughing and the next there was nothing.

Mommy, mommy! Again! Do that again!

More, soon...