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the missing year

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There it is again. That crippling feeling of loss. Emma curls up in her bed and sobs. “Why?” she screams to nothing. When the feeling passes, she sits up and wipes at her face. What are these feelings? Why do they keep happening? She doesn’t remember losing anyone recently. No friends have passed, she and Henry have a strong relationship just like always, she’s even seeing a guy she kind of likes who is great with Henry. But it feels like something-some one -is missing.

I don’t wanna say goodbye, someone tell me why

Her heart seizes up, who could she be missing so intensely? Who in her life could be so important that they left a hole like this in her heart. The only person she can think of is Henry. He’s the only person she could imagine missing this much, but he’s only at school, she saw him this morning.

Don’t wanna lose control

The next time it happens, Henry’s home. He’s playing one of his video games when he his a scream from his mom’s room. He rushes in to find her curled into the fetal position, sobbing. “Mom?!” he asks, worrying lacing her voice. “What happened?” He jumps on her bed and hold her as she screams. His own eyes fill with tears as he waits for the emotion to pass. 

When it does his mom rolls onto her back, wrapping an arm around her son, “I’m so sorry Henry,” she whispers against the top of his head.

“You feel it too, don’t you?” he asks, shifting to look at his mother.

“Feel what?” she asks.

He raises an eyebrow at her, as if to say, are you serious right now? “You know what,” he tells her, “There’s something missing, isn’t there?”

“Someone, I think,” Emma corrects him softly.

“I knew it,” Henry whispers, “But who?” he asks, staring at his mom’s ceiling.

“I wish I knew, Henry,” she tells him honestly.

They both lose themselves in thought as they try to remember whoever it is that they’re missing so deeply.

The pain, it’s determined and demanding to ache. But I’m okay.

It happens to Henry when he’s at school. It starts in his stomach, a twist that takes his breath away. Then, it moves into his chest, seizing his heart, before moving into his throat. He thinks he’s going to be sick. He puts a hand over his mouth and bolts out of the room. Unfortunately, on his way to the bathroom, tears running down his face, as he holds in his sick, he runs straight into the school guidance counselor. With a wave of his hand as an apology, he rushes into the bathroom. He does his best to compose himself, rinsing out his mouth and washing his face with cold water to hide the tear tracks. He pats his face dry and with a paper towel and, with one final deep breath, he decides he can head back to class.

“Henry,” a voice calls him.

Shit , he thinks to himself as he turns around, “Miss Normandy,” he greets the counselor.

“Why don’t we take a walk?” she offers, leaving no room for argument.

“My books,” he tries anyway, pointing toward the classroom.

She shakes her head, “A student already walked them to the office,” she explains. “Mr. Dunlap figured you’d be going home sick.”

He shakes his head, “I’m fine,” he tries to tell her.

She gives him a look that proves she doesn’t believe him for a second.

He drops his head, defeated, and walks with her toward her office.

“Can you tell me what just happened?” she asks.

He shrugs, “I just was feeling a lot I guess.”

“Who did you lose?” she asks knowingly.

His eyes rise to look at her in surprise.

She offers a small smile, “I know what grief looks like,” she explains.

“That’s the problem, Ms. Normandy! I haven’t lost anyone. Not that I know of anyway,” he adds, looking away, unsure. 

She places a gentle hand against his shoulder, “It’s alright, Henry. The loss doesn’t have to be recent for it to still hurt.”

“No, you don’t get it,” he tries to tell her. “It’s just me and my mom. We don’t have any family, we don’t have a ton of really close friends, and no one has died. But it just feels like someone is missing, someone we love very much. And then it just hits and the worst times,” he says with frown lines creasing his forehead. 

“We don’t get to pick when we grieve, Henry. But, if you like, we can talk about some ways to help you work through all this grief.”

“That sounds great and all Ms. Normandy, but I’m just really tired right now. Do you think we could call my mom so she can come get me?”

She nods, “Of course, Henry,” she tells him as she leads him into the office.

Don’t wanna let this go, don’t wanna lose control

Emma and Henry hop in the bug and leave for the weekend. She tells his school that they’re taking a camping trip and that he won’t be back until Monday. They drive and drive until they get hungry or need gas. Then, they keep driving. They make it up to Maine. “Why Maine?” Henry had asked her. She had shrugged and told him it just felt right. And he felt it too. But neither of them wanted to talk about it, they didn’t know how. So they kept driving.

Eventually, the sun disappears behind the trees and Emma pulls over to the side of the road. She and Henry climb out of the car and onto its hood. They lean back against the windshield and look up at the sky, watching the first of the stars appear. “Wanna talk about it?” Emma asks, not taking her eyes off the sky.

Henry turns to look at her. “About what?”

“That emptiness you’re feeling in your gut,” she tells him. “And in your heart,” she adds softly.

“What’s it from?” he whispers, not taking his eyes off of her.

“I’m not sure, kid, but it’s started affecting your studies, and that’s not okay. So, we gotta figure out how to move on from it.”

He sits up, “And what if I don’t wanna move on ?” he spits. “What if I want to know who’s missing. Who left this hole in my heart. What if I want to find them and hug them and let them fill that hole again.”

“Henry,” Emma starts.

“Don’t patronize me,” he warns her, “I know you feel it too. I know you are just trying to pretend it doesn’t affect you the same. But you’re lying. You miss this person too. I know I’m not the only one.”

She sighs, rubbing at her forehead, “Hen, there’s no one to miss.”

“And yet, we both missed out on a goodbye, didn’t we,” he challenges, causing Emma to fall silent.

She stares up at the sky until Henry does the same, finally relaxing against the windshield once again.

I just wanna see the stars with you

Someone is missing. They just have to figure out who. Then they can bring them home.

***

Regina wakes to an empty room. Again.

She rolls out of bed and she clutches at her chest, landing on her knees. She can’t catch her breathe.

Was she really here?

The dream was so vivid, so lifelike, so real. Her heart breaks that Emma and Henry are still a world away. She’s alone.

She suffers in silence, everyone keeps their distance here. Everyone except Snow, who wants to constantly talk about their ‘shared pain’. Which makes Regina want to throw something, particularly at Snow’s head.

“We both lost a child,” Snow keeps telling her, as if their pain is at all similar.

Regina wants to scream at her, she gave up her daughter to save strangers. She gave up her son to protect him from this hellhole. Their motives are different. But Snow will never see that. So, she sits in silence as Snow attempts to grieve with her.

Mornings are the hardest time. Regina refuses to get out of bed in the morning because it’s too hard to stand.

She keeps telling herself they’re better off in the other world. They wouldn’t know what to do here. They both grew up in that world, that’s where they’re safest. But Regina isn’t there to protect them. So, instead of facing the day and getting back to her life here in the forest, she wallows in self-pity and regret until someone pulls her out of bed and forces her to eat something. 

Could you stay my love? Will you wake up by my side?

These mornings waking from such vivid dreams are getting to be too much. She can’t take it much longer. In her dreams, she’s enveloped in warm, strong arms, surrounded by love.

When she wakes, she’s alone in a damp and dark room.

She’s gone. She repeats this to herself until she begins to believe it herself. 

The dreams happen less, she adventures out of her room a bit more. And then she realizes, she misses them. She misses the dreams of strong arms surrounding her, of her son smiling up at her as he grows taller and taller. How tall is he now? She smiles softly, imagining how much her son has grown and changed since she last saw him. 

She spends more time outdoors. She finds where her garden used to stand, before everything changed, when she was merely a new queen trying to find her footing. She used to spend hours on end in the garden, tending to her flowers. With a bit of magic, and a lot of time gardening on her hands and knees, she’s brought some flowers back to life. She cuts a few, finding a vase and placing them beside her bed. She also brings some into the kitchen, a silent thank you to Granny for keeping food in her room and in her gardens and attempting to keep Snow occupied for much of the day so Regina can be alone.

Do I have to fall asleep with roses in my hand? Would you get them if I did?

Regina finds herself more exhausted at the end of each day now, spending her time outside under the sun, hidden from view from everyone else in the castle, she works on her garden, keeping the flowers alive and attempts to bring others back.

She lays her head down at night, she’s almost immediately asleep.

When you’re dreaming with a broken heart. The waking up is the hardest part. 

Sleeping is easy. It’s necessary. When she’s exhausted, her eyes close, and she’s blissfully sent away to another world. A world where she’s happy, with her two favorite people. They’re together, which is all that matters.

But waking up brings back the harsh reality. Her favorite people are gone, and she’ll never see them again.

***

Emma still doesn’t know why she’s feeling what she’s feeling. 

Make me feel again .

She tries everything. She rearranges the entire apartment. She finds a new coffee shop to try. She takes time off of work. She spends more time at work. Nothing works. She still feels like something is missing. She’s about ready to buy Henry a freaking dog to see if that will help. He’s sullen, she’s heartbroken, and there’s nothing they can do to break through these feelings. 

Henry’s at school and Emma can’t figure out why she feels so shitty. She’s pissed and how upset she is today. And she can’t figure out what’s missing!

She looks around, surveying her destroyed room. Feathers from her pillows, a mess on her floor, but she still feels empty inside. She groans, knowing she has to pick this up before Henry gets home.

Instead, she lays on the pile of feathers and clothes on her bed, creating a little cocoon for her as she wallows in a sadness she can’t place.

So what should I do? All that’s left is molecules of you

Emma can’t place what’s causing these feelings, but something is missing. And continuing to ignore it and pretend it’s not there isn’t going to help anything. Putting on a brave face isn’t going to get her through this feeling. And it certainly isn’t helping Henry work through his own feelings. She’s not sure if what he’s feeling is because of her, because he’s a teenager, or what is going on in that head of his. He was always so much smarter than her. She’s not sure how, because both she and Neal were high school dropouts, and he’s a freaking genius in her eyes.

She smiles thinking about the boy she raised. Then it hits her again. The feeling of not right . Something is missing. No some one is missing. And they should be here with her.

Who? And why would they need to be here? She’s the only one who raised Henry. She worked her ass off trying to provide for him, and her hard work paid off. She got her GED and even took some college classes before she got this gig as a bounty hunter. She and her work partner are a great team. She focuses more on the tech side, hunting people down is what she’s good at. And Steve does the grunt work. Well, most of it. She still gets the itch to be out and about hunting the criminals. But she’s got Henry to worry about, so she does her best to stay behind her computer. 

It’s raining out. Pouring actually as she attempts to work on her computer. She rubs at the back of her neck for the third time in as many minutes. She decides she needs to stand up and stretch. Wiping at her face, she notices tear tracks. When had she been crying? Why had she been crying?

She feels it, like the caress of a hand against her neck and she shivers at the cold it leaves behind in her bones.

Make me feel again

She lays in bed, trying to sleep. But she can’t. Every cell in her body feels awake, alive with a sense of urgency she doesn’t understand. She stands and makes her way to the kitchen, peaking in on Henry to see that he is still soundly asleep. How he can do that while she’s never been able to sleep, she’ll never understand. Her restlessness causes her to tap her fingers against the fridge as she fills a glass with water. She gulps down the water in less time than it took to fill it and sighs, now what? 

She stands at the island, wondering what she can do to help her sleep. Medication. Melatonin. Massage. Nothing. She’d go for a run, but it’s still too early for even that. She sighs, deciding to try and play a video game. Maybe the mindlessness will lull her to sleep. 

Does it really matter at all?  

***

Regina doesn’t know what to do with all these feelings she has. So she decides to try something she hasn’t done since she was young. She writes things down.

First, to Henry, telling him how much she loves him, how much she misses him. That she hopes he’s doing well in school and that he isn’t giving Emma too much trouble by being a teenager. Which she knows he’s not because he’s nothing but an angel. She smiles as she writes to him, telling him about this land he’s never seen, and never will because he’s trapped in another realm. Well, he’s not trapped, she is. 

Her letter to Henry is simple, it’s easy to share her feelings with him. When the letter is done she waves her hand over it, making a duplicate. She folds the original, putting it away, taking the duplicate and placing its corner over the flame. The letter goes up in smoke as she closes her eyes, hoping her love can transcend the realms and surround Henry.

When the letter is gone and all that remains is ash, she pushes the candle away and turns to the piece of blank paper before her. These words are hard. What does she say? How does she convey her feelings? What does she want to tell Emma?

I love the way you laugh

The carefree laugh she lets loose when she knows she can trust the people around her. Hair back, falling freely across her shoulders, eyes shut, mouth upturned, chest shaking like it can barely contain the laughter bursting free.

I wanna hold you high and steal your pain away

But how can she do that from another realm. She crumples up the piece of paper. Stupid she tells herself as she throws the ball in the air, setting it on fire before it can fall back to her. It evaporates into the air, dissipating into nothing but smoke.

She heads downstairs, knowing Granny is waiting to make her something to eat. Snow is there. Shit. She hugs Regina, causing Regina to stiffen and hold her breath, waiting for it to end.

She keeps telling Regina, “The worst is over,” and all she wants to do is punch that pity smile right off her face. But she doesn’t. Instead, she just walks away, leaving Granny to send Ruby up with her food later. 

She sits down in front of her desk again, there’s so much left to learn she writes. She tells Emma that there’s no one left to fight. No one that can challenge her the way she did. 

Cause I’m broken, when I’m open, and I don’t feel like I am strong enough.  

She hates feeling like this. Despises it. Feeling like she’s not enough. At least with Emma, she had a worthy opponent to spar with. Now, she’s walking on eggshells in case the townspeople decide to throw her back in a cage for looking at them the wrong way. She can’t be herself. She’s not even sure who that is anymore.

I don’t feel right, when you’re gone away.

***

Emma has a hammer. Who entrusted her with these minor renovations again? Oh yeah, she did. What the hell was she thinking? She was just supposed to hang a few pictures, maybe even put up new curtain rods. Instead she wants to break all of the clocks and mirrors. 

Can she go back in time? A time where she felt whole? Like there wasn’t something missing from her heart and soul? 

That’s what she wants. She wants to feel whole again. She can’t remember the last time that happened. Maybe before this last move? She doesn’t know. 

How does she get back to that feeling?

How can I free my mind?

Emma takes a deep breath. She tries to collect herself. She’s standing on a ladder for heaven’s sake. She doesn’t feel like herself. Her thoughts don’t belong to her anymore. But how does she go about talking about this?

How can I be alright?

Who does she talk about this with? There’s no one she can reach out to. And Henry already has enough on his plate with his own feelings and school and just, everything. She’d never push this off on him. He needs to know his mother is strong, that she can get through everything, right? That’s what moms are supposed to do, put themselves behind their kids, always, yeah? She never had that growing up, she doesn’t know what moms are supposed to do. She’s always been winging this whole mom thing. And now it’s starting to show.

I can’t breathe

She’s gotta talk about this with someone. Anyone. But how? And when?

***

She’s asleep. Where am I? She can’t see anything. Has she been here before?

 I know that you’re here, cause I can hear you breathing

She doesn’t know who’s with her. But she knows that she is safe. She tries to reach for them but she can’t find them. She can’t explain it, but she wants to hold them. Hold them close and never let go.

I know that I know you

She’s reaching out again, where are they? Everything is hazy, floating away from her. She’s trying to find something to tether herself to. She’s floating away and she needs something to hold onto.

She feels safe. They’re near her and she is safe. She feels their breath ghost over her skin, making her smile as she finds her footing. She can feel them near her.

The vastness of her dream makes her feel oh so small, but the warmth of the person next to her washes a calm over her. She’s content in her smallness. 

Where do we go now?

She feels sleep falling from her, pushing toward the awake world. She’s not ready. She just wants to sleep and feel this calm forever. She hasn’t felt this content in...well, she can’t remember when. 

I know that you’re near cause I can hear you breathing

But it’s getting fainter, the warmth from the body beside her is fading, the breath no longer crossing her flesh, no more goosebumps of anticipation. No touch, no longer feeling safe.

I know that I know you

And I know that you’re here

And just like that, her eyes open and it’s back to reality. However depressing and aggravating that may be.

She closes her eyes, hoping for one last moment of calm, for one last chance at feeling whole-even if it’s only for a moment.

But the real world comes calling, just like it does every morning. And she can’t avoid it any longer.

***

Regina’s still writing a letter to Emma. Never able to find the right words. 

She has so many things to tell her. But they’re things she wants to say face-to-face. 

We’ve come a long way from where we began

She thinks back to when she first met Emma. She was so threatened by her, she could hardly look at the woman without wanting to punch her or throw her into a wall. Who knew those feelings would change all that much, just the reason for throwing her into a wall would be different. She blushes as she scratches that part out of her letter. 

Crumbling the paper, she tosses it in the air to light it on fire. Time to try again.

God, if only Emma were here in front of her, maybe that would make it easier to talk to her. 

Probably not, but still, it’s a nice thing to think about. 

She’d certainly feel better if Emma and Henry were here. 

I don’t really know how to tell ya, that I’m feeling much worse

No, that doesn’t sound right. It’s true, but if Emma were to actually read this-not that she will, but Regina’s going to write it anyways-she can’t say something so negative.

Sure, it’s true. She’s been miserable being back in the Enchanted Forest. She misses her son. She misses her...Emma. She misses Emma. She doesn’t belong to her, but damn, sometimes she wished she did.

Give me all the strength I need to carry on

She prays to whatever god is listening to give her the strength to keep on getting up. To continue her gardening, her mind needs the escape. Give her the strength to continue to put up with Snow’s asininity. 

Oh, she definitely needs to tell Emma how insane her mother is. Of course she already knows her mother is crazy. But this is a whole new level.

If Emma were here right now, she’d laugh at the stories Regina has to tell.

Regina wishes she were here right now. God, to be able to talk to someone again, to be able to be herself without the worry of being attacked for it. That would be nice. Being able to be herself again, how low has she set this bar?

Hold every memory as you go

She’s the only one that remembers. The only one who knows about them. Henry and Emma are back in the Land Without Magic living their life without this hurt and emptiness. She did her best to make sure of that when she cast this final “curse”.

They’re just in New York, or wherever Emma has moved them, living their lives like they think they always have. Together. 

Regina’s heart breaks just a little more every time she thinks about them forgetting her; leaving the organ battered and bruised, barely recognizable. 

It’s been a long day, without you my friend

She smiles, friend. It doesn’t really describe their relationship. But it’s a start.

She waves a hand over the letter, duplicating it. The original is folded and tucked away with Henry’s and the duplicate is placed over her candle, burning low as the sun begins to rise from the depths. She spent all night writing this letter? Well, damn, hopefully Emma likes it , she thinks as she places a corner of the letter into the flame, watching it climb across the paper, moving slowing towards Regina’s hand. She drops the final corner when the flames begin to dance across her fingertips, leaving nothing but smoke and ash in its wake.

“Today is a new day,” she whispers to herself before changing and sneaking out to her garden, hoping for a whole day of peace and solitude. 

***

The dream is back. She’s wrapped in someone’s arms, and she’s feeling safer than ever. They’re swaying together, or at least it feels like they’re supposed to be swaying together. 

Can’t seem to hold you like I want to

She can’t feel them in their her arms, but she knows they’re there. She feels all warm even though she knows she’s doomed to wake up cold and alone in her bed. 

She knows exactly who this person is, the one she’s always dreamed of, the one she’s always imagined. The only light I ever saw

The heat making her feel warm starts getting hotter, uncomfortably so. 

We’re slow dancing in a burning room

The room gets hotter, but they never stop dancing. They continue to spin and twirl, knowing the room is on fire, but not doing anything about it.

Don’t you think we oughta know by now? Don’t you think we shoulda learned somehow?

But they keep dancing. To hell with everything around them. Let it burn. They’re content in each other’s arms. 

***

Another dream. A better dream. A place where the sun never goes away, the sky's the bluest of blue and her person is here. Only now she can see this person. A gorgeous brunette. “Oh my god, Regina!” Emma shouts. “How? You’re- We’re-”

“Words, Emma,” Regina teases, studying the blonde closely. Her hair seems longer now. Maybe this isn’t just a tormenting dream, meant to punish her for her misdeeds. 

“I’m not supposed to remember you,” Emma tells her. “But- how could I have forgotten you?” 

Regina smiles sadly, “You had to. It was part of the curse.”

“But it wasn’t a curse!” Emma shouts, “I’ve never been happier. Having Henry the way you gave him to me,” she sighs fondly. “It’s something I never thought I’d get to do.” 

“My curse,” Regina tells her quietly. “It was a curse for me, Emma. Not for you.”

“Oh, Regina,” she sighs, reaching out and squeezing the woman’s shoulder, “I’m so sorry you had to give up Henry for the curse. But I’m honored you entrusted me with him.”

Regina smiles and nods, not trusting her voice. 

“Regina?” Emma asks, watching the brunette’s face fall.

“Hmm?” she responds, attempting to look at the blonde.

Shed our skin, let the sunshine in

“Is there something you’re not telling me? Was I not supposed to go with Henry?”

“Of course you were supposed to go with Henry,” Regina scoffs, as if it’s the most outrageous thing she’s ever heard.

“Then what’s wrong?” Emma asks, confused.

“Nothing,” Regina tells her, “Everything is great. I’m just, so surprised to see you, that’s all.” She turns her attention to the view before them.

At the edge of the ocean, we can start over again

“If you say so,” Emma says, still unsure. No, we’re in dreamland, I’m not playing our back and forth like before. She turns to face Regina completely. Regina looks at her, squinting in confusion. “It’s not nothing,” she tells the brunette.

“It’s not?” Regina asks.

“No, and I want you to be honest with me Regina. I thought we were getting to a better place before this all happened. Maybe even a place where you could trust me. Trust me now, tell me what’s really going on,” she pleads.

Regina takes one look at those puppy dog eyes and caves. Henry perfected that look before age two and she’s been a sucker for it ever since. She sighs, “The curse required that both you and Henry be sent away.”

“Wha-?” Emma stops, eyebrows drawing downward in her confusion. “Why?” she asks innocently.

She’s really going to make Regina spell it out. She takes a deep breath and looks away from Emma, out toward the ocean, allowing the sea breeze to brush softly at her cheeks, pushing her hair away from her face. “Because I care about you both,” she says quietly.

Emma’s silent. “But- The curse said the thing you love most. Singular. Henry,” she attempts to reason.

Regina shakes her head softly, “My family. The family I had created- was creating,” she corrects herself. “That’s the thing I love most.”

“And-” Emma starts, “and that includes me?” she whispers.

She nods, still refusing to look at Emma. If it weren’t for the salty sea breeze she’s positive her eyes wouldn’t be watering.

“Regina,” Emma whispers, trying to get her attention. She avoids looking at her so Emma moves to stand directly in front of her. She places her hands against Regina’s jaw bone, fingers extending to the back of her neck as her thumbs caress her cheeks, “Yeah?” she asks for permission.

Regina says nothing, but nods, lifting her own hands to clasp at Emma’s elbows.

At the edge of the ocean, we can start over again

Emma leans forward and brushes her lips against Regina’s, softer than anything she’s ever done before. A power shoots forward from her chest with such force that her lips are separated from Regina’s. She manages to hang on to the brunette’s cheeks and watches as the world around them dissipates and they’re standing in Emma’s bedroom in New York. 

“Did we just-” Emma asks.

“I think we did,” Regina responds, looking around the room.

At that moment Henry comes barreling into his mother’s room, “Ma!” he shouts before he skids to a halt. “Mom,” he breathes before he leaps into her arms.

“Henry,” she cries as she wraps him tightly in her arms. “I missed you,” she tells him over and over.

“I missed you too, Mom,” Henry tells her. “Even when I didn’t know that I was missing you , I was missing you.”

She smiles, brushing his hair from his eyes, “You’ve gotten so big,” she tells him in awe. “I never went a day without missing you. I wrote you letters,” she tells him.

“You did? Can I read them?” he asks.

She chuckles at his enthusiasm, “If they were brought back, sure dear.”

“Oh yeah, where did everyone else go?” he asks.

“I would assume back to Storybrooke,” Regina surmises.

“Why did you come here?” he asks, tilting his head. He then turns to his other mother, “Oh my god I KNEW IT!” he shouts, throwing his fists in the air.

“Knew what?” Emma asks, flabbergasted.

“True Love, right? I’m totally right,” he tells them. “It makes total sense! Oh my god, of course!”

“What?” both of his mothers ask him.

“Not important,” he says with a wave of his hand. “Can we call them? Make sure they’re alright? And then I have so much to tell you Mom.”

Regina nods, “Why don’t you go get the phone and call your grandparents,” she tells him.

He rushes out of the room and suddenly the room seems smaller. Both women are nervous, unsure of what to do here. Emma makes the first move, stepping into Regina’s personal space and wrapping her arms around her waist, “Congratulations on breaking the curse, Madame Mayor,” she whispers into Regina’s ear.

She chuckles, wrapping her arms around Emma’s neck, “I didn’t know it was possible,” she tells her.

“True Love can break any curse,” Emma recites, as if this is something Regina should know. She is the one from the Enchanted Forest after all.

“I didn’t know it was possible for me ,” she explains.

“I’m glad I got to share this with you,” Emma tells her.

Regina smiles, hugging Emma to her.

“Ma! Mom! Come out here! Everybody’s back to Storybrooke, we gotta get back there!” he yells, running frantically around the living room.

“We better hurry, he’ll tell your parents,” Regina whispers.

Emma pulls back to look Regina in the eye, “If he doesn’t, I will. I’m in this Regina. I don’t want to pressure you, but know that I’m all in. For whatever you want.”

Regina tilts her head, studying the blonde, “Yeah?” she asks.

“Yeah,” Emma promises. She leans forward, allowing Regina to close the last of the distance. When she does, she melts into the kiss, a promise of a future.

Henry stops in front of the door, looking at his moms and smiling, “Oh Gram, you owe Gramps twenty bucks,” he says with a laugh.

His grandmother is confused, but his moms laugh, hugging each other tightly.

At the edge of the ocean, we can start over again