Note: While I know it's been weeks since an update, I hope this SQ mush filled chapter will make up for it. ;D I gave this chapter the title of "Small Words" because when I was having writer's block for so long, what gave me inspiration was a song sung by Gavin Creel called "Small Words". It's very Swan Queen to me. Looke it up, listen and enjoy it. ;) Reviews are loved and welcome, just like my readers are loved and new readers welcomed. *mwah* Love to all! :D
"Regina? I… I remember."
Panic came rushing toward Regina and it took all she could to stay calm. She remembers. But what exactly? The brunette steeled herself as she tried to speak. "So you... know who I am now." Her jaw tightened as she wished to rip out her own heart in that moment so as not to face the crushing blow she feared was on the horizon. "I remember Storybrooke, all of it. All the visions I've been having, the dreams… they all make sense now. They weren't just dreams, but memories." Emma stated with a haze of certainty. "They started that first day after we met you in the park." Regina remained motionless with no words spoken; she merely stood there looking back into the other woman's eyes searching for the hatred she was certain to find in them. She remembers all that I did. All that… Regina froze in her thoughts as she saw Emma reaching out toward her. She couldn't help flinching away as her eyes closed, expecting a slap to the face. What are you doing? Queens don't flinch, she berated herself. Regina was startled by the soft touch that came instead. Emma had continued her motion and touched the brunette's cheek softly to see if she was truly real, caressing it with her thumb as the woman's eyes slowly opened up to her.
Emma smiled softly when Regina's eyes meet hers. "It really is you." She whispered as she took in the features of the woman's face as though it were the first time. "I don't really understand. If you remember all of it… then why are you acting like this?" Regina spoke as a lump formed in her throat. "Like what? Like I still care about you?" Emma asked as she creased her brow and paused for an answer, but when no reply came she sighed in resignation. "Because I do." She stated quietly and waited for it to sink in before continuing. "I won't lie. There is a part of me, maybe that from the past, that would love nothing more than to slap you. But there is also a larger part that wants nothing more than to grab and kiss you again." The brunette stood there perplexed, not expecting that type of reaction from the other woman; Emma, seeing the confusion upon her face, blushed as she realized what she had just admitted about kissing her. "So um yes, while I remember many of the other bad things you did, so many I think I would lose count..." Emma started to ramble as she became flustered, but regretted the words that came the moment they left her lips. Of all the things I had to start with, really? Sooo not making this better, Swan. Regina creased her brow and took a step back as the words stung, bumping against the counter when there was no where else to move.
The blonde noticed the fear and hurt in Regina's eyes, and in that moment, there were no traces of the queen she had once been made to be. Rather, what Emma saw in front of her was a woman who was vulnerable, though she would never admit it, and who feared one more denying blow at a chance of happiness would be the final one she would likely never come back from. Was this what young Regina was like, prior to being queen? Emma softened her voice as she tried to fix her mistaken words. "Look, I also remember your sacrifices you made when you didn't have to. I know none of us were very good at thanking you, and for that I am truly sorry. But over and over you were willing to sacrifice your life for Henry, your son." Regina looked into understanding hazel eyes. "And you." She added to the blonde's statement. A small smile twitched at the corner of Emma's mouth with those two words spoken. "So you didn't want to really get rid of me after all?" She tried to tease and lighten the mood but Regina remained wary.
"When I attempted to rid the town of you that first time, it was because I thought you would take Henry away from me. The curse was already unraveling because of you; I couldn't lose him, he was all I had." Regina stated in an even, placid tone. "But in my desperation to do such, I almost lost him anyway." Her eyes began to glisten once again with unshed tears. "I wouldn't have been able to live with myself if we had lost him completely that day. I would have ripped my own heart out and given it to you freely to destroy, what was left of it then." A tear ran down Emma's cheek as she listened to the brunette's words. She had not realized back then how much Regina had been hurting. She knew she was desperate, but now she regretted not fighting harder to understand the woman more back then, however hard she had made it for her.
Emma reached out and took Regina's hand and held it with her own. "Well we didn't lose him. And I think your heart is bigger than you, or anyone else gives you credit for." She lifted her hand to wipe away a fresh tear that had begun to find it's way down the brunette's cheek with her thumb. "I not only have the memories of Storybrooke but now those of here as well. I've gotten to know the real Regina, without the fighting and preconceived notions that clouded everything back in Storybrooke." She paused, cupping the woman's face, as she carefully chose the next words she wished to say. "Here... you're not a villain or the mayor; you're just Regina… like you wanted." She added, remembering the brunette's words to her in the mine. "You're the one who bought "the best" Christmas tree for my son this year. You're the woman who always seemed to put Henry first though I didn't know why. You were simply Regina to us. But now that I have my memories back, I know." She caressed her soft skin with feather light movement of her thumb. "You are our Regina. You're Henry's mother, and that is who I see now; nothing else matters." Emma leaned in to kiss her once again with gentle tenderness; a tear marked a trail down the brunette's face as she closed her eyes to the kiss.
Feeling Regina's trepidation slowly begin to slip away, Emma gradually moved closer as she deepened the kiss. She relished in the taste and touch of Regina's soft lips, wishing to delicately pour all the love she could into the kiss to reassure the woman of her true feelings. Regina carefully lifted her hand to glide her fingers through blonde hair before hesitantly pulling away. "But what about Henry?" She asked with that hint of sadness still in her eyes. Emma gave her a soft smile as she brushed her thumb across the woman's bottom lip. "He loves you, both the Regina he knew from Storybrooke and the one he knows now. Why are you worried about that?" The brunette shook her head when the blonde did not understand her question. "No. Your memories have returned, but what about his?" She questioned as she looked in the direction of the sleeping boy. "I don't know if can do this if he doesn't remember." Emma hadn't really thought of the possibility of her son not remembering. To be honest, she had been too busy keeping herself stable with all the memories now returned to her. "I don't know." She answered truthfully but took the brunette's hand again and gave it a reassuring squeeze. "But I do know, if he doesn't have them, we'll figure something out. I promise. Do you trust me?" Emma asked as she coaxed the other woman to look at her. Regina met her gaze when she turned to her and found nothing but warmth and love emanating from hazel eyes.
In that same moment, across the room, Henry was waking and looked over to find the empty couch where he knew his mom had been before he had gone to sleep that night. "Mom?" He called out as he sat up and rubbed the sleep from his eyes. Regina's own eyes widened slightly in alarm when she heard the boy's voice but Emma held her hand tight as she tried to keep the brunette's fear in check. "I'm over here Henry." The blonde called back, her eyes remaining fixed on the other woman, wondering if the broken spell had released the boy's memories as well; she silently prayed it had. She feared what it would do to Regina if it were untrue. Both women looked over when they saw movement from their peripheral vision as the boy got up off the floor. Stretching out the last of his sleep, his face lit up when his eyes met Regina's. "Mom!" He smiled and ran over to her, wrapping his arms tightly around her. The brunette stood there in shock, almost forgetting to breathe. It only took a split moment however, before her own arms were enveloped around him as well, holding him as close as she could while kissing his head before resting her own against his. "You found us." He stated as he pulled back from the embrace. She held his face in her hands and smiled with tears in her eyes. "Yes." Was the only word she could say as she choked out a light laugh through her tears and leaned in to kiss him upon the forehead. "I found you, and I'm never letting you go again. I promise." She stroked his hair and cheek before pulling him back into her as she looked up at Emma.
The blonde smiled back at her, her own tears glistening in her eyes. True love is the most powerful magic of all; the words filled her memories as her smile grew a bit more. She moved to touch her son's head as he continued to hold on to Regina. When he finally moved away he looked between the two of them. "So does this mean we get to be a real family now?" Regina gave him a half halfhearted smile, unsure herself, before glancing over to the other woman for the answer. Emma kept her gaze fixed on the brunette as she answered. "If Regina will have us. We're... kind of a package deal." She gave one of her signature innocent shrugs with a small crooked smile that caused the brunette to chuckle lightly. Regina took a step closer to the blonde and leaned in to place a tender kiss upon her lips as her answer. "Eww moms, kid in the room!" Henry stated, making a mock face of disgust. Both women laughed softly as Regina pulled back from the kiss but moved her hand to rest on the small of Emma's back while the blonde reached out and pulled him over to them, draping an arm over his shoulder as she brought Henry into a hug causing him to chuckle.
Maddie had been sitting there patiently watching the interactions between her humans, wagging her tail as she barked her own approval. She eventually padded over to them and pawed her way in, wanting attention. Henry bent down and rubbed her head with a grin. "Did you hear that girl?" Maddie barked in affirmation and licked his face. "Guess I won't have to get him a dog after all." Emma commented to Regina as they both watched Henry with the dog. "So it would seem." The brunette responded as she moved a little closer and wrapped her arm loosely around Emma's waist, the blonde doing likewise in return, wanting to keep each other close. Maddie barked once more before heading over toward the door and looked back at them. "I've usually taken her for her morning walk by now." Regina stated as she went to move. "I'll take her out!" Henry chimed in as he stood up and turned to look at them. "Pleeeease? Can I?" He looked to Emma as she shrugged. "It's up to your mom." Regina arched her brow slightly and looked over at the blonde when she heard the word 'mom' come from her. "What? You're just as much his mom now as I am." Regina regarded the woman before her a moment before finally turning her attention to the boy and nodding. "As long as you're careful; don't go too far. The leash is on a hanger by the door. Maddie knows her routine" Henry grinned and gave her a quick hug before running off toward the door, securing the dog on her leash as they headed out.
As the door closed a quietness fell over Regina once again; a distant reality was catching up with her in her thoughts. She gently removed herself from Emma's grasp and returned to working on breakfast. The blonde sensed the change and furrowed her brow, at a loss for what just occurred within the other woman to cause the sudden distance. "Regina? What's wrong?" She asked as she followed her. The brunette remained distant as she grabbed the milk and a few eggs from the refrigerator. "Talk to me, please?" Emma pleaded. Regina grabbed a bowl and began cracking the eggs over it and beating in the milk. "Regina." The blonde moved over to her and placed her hand over hers, causing the woman to pause her work. "What just happened?" Emma asked, coaxing the woman to turn to her. "Remember, I know who you are now. I know when you feel something is threatening your happiness, you close yourself off. Don't do this." She grabbed the woman's hands and held them in her own. "Tell me what is in that crazy mind of yours."
"Now that you and Henry have your memories back I can only assume you'll want to go back to Storybrooke." Regina's tone remained calm and even, a clear contrast from what she was feeling within. She knew she only ever had five seconds of happiness at a time before something happened to tear her world apart. "So Storybrooke does still exist." Emma commented back, slowly piecing things together as the brunette lowered her gaze, saying nothing and turned back to cook. "Wait, how are you here but still have your memories?" She had been so happy to see her, Emma had forgotten the whole rule of leaving Storybrooke. Plus, last thing she remembered the town was going to cease its existence. "The curse never affected me. I was the one who activated it; I always knew who I was. That was how I was able to get Henry the first time." Emma nodded but stayed quiet in thought for a brief time. "So… the whole reason why you turned into cold, upset Regina mode just now is because you think Henry and I will want to go back to Storybrooke?"
Regina said nothing at first as she continued fluffing the eggs in the pan. Emma knew if she continued to push she would only close herself off and they would get no where, so she waited her out. "I find it an obvious choice. Your family is back there, I would think you'd wish to see them. Anyway, I know how you Charmings are. Always needing to 'find' one another." The brunette stated, like those last words were bitter tasting. Emma couldn't help but laugh lightly as she came to lean backwards on the counter so she could partially face the other woman. "It seems you have your own way of 'finding' those you care about too." Regina stopped stirring and looked up at the blonde; Emma could swear she saw the tiniest hint of a blush upon the woman's cheek before she had turned back away. She grabbed a nearby fork and stuck it in the pan to get a bite of egg, annoying Regina, which in turn only made Emma's smile grow. "Besides,..." The blonde went to say but stopped to blow on her bite of egg, cooling it before popping it in her mouth. "That's part of the reason why I would want to stay here a little longer." Regina furrowed her brow in confusion as she looked over to her. "What reason? And well, now we can see where Henry get's his manners from when it comes to talking with his mouth full of food." She commented, causing Emma to give her a sheepish grin.
"My family." The blonde answered the woman's question before stealing another bite of egg. "Would you stop that?" Regina hit her hand lightly with the spatula when she went in for one more. "Continue explaining yourself." Regina added as she removed the eggs from the stove and began dividing them on to each plate, making sure to give Henry a slightly bigger helping. "Here I'm not a 'Charming'. I don't have those expectations to try to live up to, to be the saviour, be known all the time as Snow and Charming's daughter. I get to just be me." She stated as she helped grab the plates and set everything on the table. "And maybe I kind of want to explore this, us." She continued softly as she looked over to Regina. "You know as well as I, that couldn't happen in Storybrooke. We'd go back and…" She didn't finish her thought as she moved around the table to stand in front of the brunette. "I actually just want to stay here awhile longer. I doubt they are in any mortal danger they can't handle, and we can be Emma and Regina. Let Henry have a normal life a little longer."
The glimmer began to return in Regina's eyes as she softly smiled. Reaching up, she cupped Emma's face and caressed her cheek. "I never would have thought those years ago, that my happy ending would be quite like this." Emma cocked her head slightly in Regina's hands. "What, me?" Regina moved a small strand of hair behind the blonde's ear. "Well you are Snow's daughter after all." Emma laughed lightly. "Yes, your arch nemesis. But as I said before, here… I'm just Emma. And you, well with my memories from here, you're just the woman who seems to have stolen my heart." Regina smirked at the blonde's choice of wording as she leaned in and captured her lips in a kiss.
"We're back!" Henry announced as he burst through the door with Maddie. Emma stepped back from the kiss as she placed a hand over the brunette's heart with a smile. "I love you." She whispered, touching Regina's cheek before turning her attentions to her son. "Hey kiddo, ready for some breakfast?" Regina stood there taken aback and staring at the back of the blonde's head, trying to soak in those three small words. I love you. "Definitely." Henry answered back as he released the dog from her leash and placed it back on the hanger before removing his coat. "Mom? You okay?" He asked as he came walking over and saw the distant look Regina had. "Hmm?" She snapped out of it and raised her brow. "Uh, yes. Sorry, I was just thinking if I forgot anything." She brushed off his question and went to grab the juice from the refrigerator. "Looks good to me. I'm starved." Henry stated as he sat down and grabbed a bagel. Regina regarded him as she poured the juice in his glass. "How can you be starved? You ate almost an entire pizza yourself last night." The boy just looked up and shrugged as he took a big bite out of his bagel. She shook her head as she continued around the table, filling the rest of the glasses before sitting down.
"So now that you found us and we have our memories, does this mean we're going back to Storybrooke?" Henry blurted out once he finished another bite of his bagel and grabbed his drink. Emma noticed Regina stiffen at the mention of the town and she reached over and placed her hand over hers to reassure her everything would be fine before turning to answer him. "Actually Henry, I was thinking maybe we would just stay here, at least until your school is done for the year. Is that alright?" The boy thought a second or two before nodding his agreement. "Cool." Was all he remarked, content with the plan as he dug into his eggs on his plate. Emma gave the brunette's hand a light squeeze before going about eating her own breakfast.
When the meal was almost over, a song came blaring from across the room. "Sorry, that would be my phone." Emma wiped her mouth quick and got up from the table to go check it. Seeing that the call was from her boss she swiped to answer it. "Hello?... Yeah… Really? Today?" She furrowed her brow as she turned to look over at the table where the other two were gathering dishes. "Yeah, yeah. No, I want the job. I'll be over shortly." After she ended the call she sighed and walked over to help finish cleaning up breakfast. "It looks like I'm going to have to cut my morning short. There's a job that opened up and they're giving me first grabs. I gotta go meet them in the office." She explained as she helped put the dishes in the dishwasher. "Can I stay with you then?" Henry asked as he closed the door once the last dish was in and glanced over to Regina. "If it's alright with Emma, I'd love for you to stay." She answered him with a warm smile.
"If that's what you want kiddo." Emma hugged Henry tight and gave him a kiss on the head. "I'll drop back by on my way with a pair of clothes for you. You need anything else?" She moved back and brushed his hair down. "Can you bring my charger for my Vita? I forgot it on the counter at home." Emma nodded and gave him a kiss on the cheek. "Is that all?" She asked as she walked over to the door and grabbed her jacket from the hanger and was about to walk out the door, but as her hand touched the doorknob she stopped. Turning around she walked back over to where Regina stood and placed another soft kiss upon her lips. "Sorry I have to leave." The brunette shook her head. "It's alright, gives me time to spend with just Henry." Emma gave her a soft smile. "Shall we wait for you for dinner? I mean.. if you'd like to stay, for dinner." Emma nodded. "That sounds nice." She gave her one last chaste kiss before turning to leave. Regina walked up next to Henry and placed a hand on his shoulder as they watched her leave. "I'll give you a call if I find out it will take longer." Emma called out before walking out, shutting the door behind her.