A portal, of course during one of their millions of good vs evil battles she would have to eventually be unlucky enough to fall into one. Honestly, Regina was surprised it hadn’t happened sooner with her luck.
But that didn’t really matter anymore, no, what mattered was figuring out where it had taken her and how she was to get home (and hope the heroes could handle themselves well enough without her firepower backing them up).
Opening her eyes it didn’t take her long to register her surroundings and not because they were something grand but because they were just familiar, I mean, she did design them after all, which meant... She was still in Storybrooke?
She sat up, rubbing at her temples as she tried to think, it definitely felt like the portal took her farther than the woods. She could feel the magic still tingling on her skin, could smell it in the air around her, not familiar at all which worried her because by now she was very familiar with the magic of their recent nuisance.
“Great,” she groaned, pushing up to her feet and feeling the world sway for a moment. “Of course the one time I fall through a random portal there’s not one but two powerful magic users in my town…”
She dusted her hands off on her pants, carefully looking around her again, although familiar there was something almost off about her surroundings but she didn’t have time to fuss over that right now, right now she needed to get out of these woods and find her family…and the two idiots.
With a huff, Regina waved her arms in front of herself and as soon as her magic wrapped around her she knew something was very off indeed. Her magic didn’t feel like it did in Storybrooke, no, in fact, it felt like it had back in the Enchanted Forest, a powerful almost intoxicating feeling really, the way it burst forth, the power, how it took less effort to conjure it up…it seems as she had initially suspected, she wasn’t in her Storybrooke anymore.
When the purple smoke cleared she found herself standing on Main Street but immediately she could tell things were a little different here, Granny’s still stood tall with its bright neon sign but there were trees around it, large and small scattered about, shops within large trunks and the once cement sidewalks were made of brick. Horse trots were outside along with cars, people passing were dressed like they would back in her land but besides that it looked like the two worlds collided there, like they had merged into one.
She turned her head to the sounds of whistling in time to see the 7 dwarves passing by without a care in the world, it wasn’t much different really…until a sparkling light buzzed passed her causing her to spin around to see a fairy flying up to a little house carved into one of the large trees.
“I need a drink…a stiff drink…or five…” she muttered to herself, pinching the bridge of her nose in frustration before turning toward Granny’s because she knew even in this Storybrooke that it was still the best place to get information.
There was a light chime as she pushed open the door instead of the usual bell and she paused in the doorway just a second to glance up at it. This place was Storybrooke but at the same time it wasn’t, she’s starting to wonder if she even exists in this realm, if she’s the one to have cast it into existence and if she was, then where was the version of her who did it? And if so what would they do with her?
“Hiya, Regina! Your usual?”
She turned towards the chipper voice and smiled at Ruby, at least she was still here, an oh so familiar face in an oddly unfamiliar town. “Do you think you can spare something stronger?”
“You can say that…” she mumbled, pushing herself up onto her stool at the bar and it instantly calmed her, because at least Granny’s felt the same.
“What’s got you down? Madam stick up her ass riding your ass again?” Regina arched a brow and Ruby barked out a laugh, pouring golden liquid into a mug. “You’re dressed like you were just at a meeting with her so I figured…”
“This is how I normally dress?” she asked with an uncertain raise of an eyebrow.
Regina looked behind her for Emma or Graham, anyone else really but all she heard was Ruby laughing more and now she thinks she needs at least 10 drinks and a therapist. “If a scarecrow walks in that door I’m gonna need you to commit me, Miss Lucas.”
“‘ Miss Lucas ’ oh you so did see her again, you always get grumpy when you do…I’ll be back in 3 drinks, that’s usually when you start getting chatty.”
Regina pursed her lips, wondering how Ruby knew this and how close this weird version of herself and the waitress were. Maybe drinking wasn’t wise…she needed to keep her bearings…but then three fairies walked in wearing their frilly little outfits and she really needed a drink to stop herself from rolling her eyes at them, or worse.
And sure enough, exactly 3 drinks later Ruby was leaning on the counter in front of her and smirking. “What?”
“The love of your life just walked in.”
“What?” She gasped and turned her head to see Emma Swan in her classic jeans and leather jacket, she would have been relieved, but there was clearly something different about her. This wasn’t her Emma.
“Hey Emma, how was your day?” Asked Ruby.
Emma turned towards them and sighed, “Tommy Johnson put gum in Susie Bruno’s hair during nap time and so I spent about an hour trying to get it out…her parents are pissed about having to cut off her “beautiful hair”.” Regina slid over the bottle and turned away just as she caught the other woman glancing down at it. “Isn’t it a little early to be drinking, Sheriff?”
“My day off.”
“Right…” Emma said in an almost humorous yet equally disbelieving tone as she moved to take the stool next to hers, Emma’s arm brushing hers as she sat down and reached for the bottle, pouring a shot in the mug Ruby had just placed in front of her. Taking a sip she glanced over at Regina who was trying to pretend she wasn’t studying her through the corner of her eye. “Mayor being a royal bitch again?” Regina glanced over at her and shrugged and Emma chuckled. “You can’t let her get to you, you know what she’s like. You just gotta fight the urge to break her face on her desk.”
“Zelena isn’t that bad.” Ruby chuckled and Regina gaped up at her in shock and maybe horror.
“Yes? You know, the Mayor, Wicked Witch of the West, your half-sister, cast the curse to get revenge over you? You know, that Zelena.”
“Zelena cast the curse?”
“Yes? I think you’ve had enough, Mills.”
“Sheriff! I’ve been trying to reach you!”
Her heart stopped in her chest, she knew that voice, and as she turned she couldn’t stop herself from gaping at the man standing before her. “D-Daniel?”
“The dwarves are going at it again with the fairies and I could really use a hand!”
“Uh…” she felt the tears burning her eyes as she looked the man over, the full-grown man, not the young boy she had once loved, but he had to be in his 40s now, and her deputy it seems? She needed a minute. “Deputy Colter, it is my day off.”
“Oh…” He rubbed nervously at the back of his neck as he glanced over at Emma then back to her. “But Sheriff Mills I could really use some help.”
“Daniel!” They all looked towards whoever had rushed through the door and Regina was shocked to find Snow in a deputy uniform as well coming to a halt before them. “Sheriff. Uh, they stopped fighting, it seems word got back to them about you dressed for a meeting with Zelena and they’d decided they’d rather not piss you off.”
She turned to look at Emma who was now sipping a mug of cocoa. “There’s no place like home…there’s no place like home…” she whispered to herself, hoping that maybe the universe would whisk her home out of sympathy.
“You need to click your heels together for that to work, you know?”
She snapped her head towards Emma when her breath brushed over her ear with each word, mouth gaping open at the woman. “I’m sorry?”
“You okay, Regina? You don’t seem like your usual self.”
“Rough day. My sister is mayor, and apparently lives to torture me; Daniel is—wait, you don't need to know that." She shook her head, glancing over at Emma with a vacant expression. "And you are...You're—" She stopped herself there, swallowing back her sentence.
“But should I be more chipper? Sing a little song for the birds maybe? Would that make you feel better, Miss Swan?”
“Damn, she really did a number on you today.”
Regina growled and grabbed the mug she had in front of her, throwing the liquid back and enjoying the burn as the scotch went down. “Another.”
Ruby did as instructed, giving her a kind smile that only irritated her all the more. She sensed the absence as soon as Emma slipped off the stool, her eyes moved to look around and she caught sight of Emma and Daniel talking in a booth with Snow. She felt a longing deep in her bones, there was something so odd yet beautiful about getting to see Daniel all grown up. He was greying, she noticed with a fond smile, he had a few wrinkles and his face was darkened with a 5 o’clock shadow he never really fully grew into back when she knew him, this is what he’d have looked like if they had grown old together, raised kids in that tiny cottage on a hill like they had always dreamed of. Although she still felt that love for him, and the loss, a bone-crushing loss she will never fully recover from, she also realized that her love for him wasn’t what it had been, it’s changed over the years, since the day he told her to love again.
She turned away looking into the amber liquid at the bottom of her mug before she took a long last sip, letting out a deep sigh as she tried to figure out just how she’d get home.
She groaned, waving the newest friendly citizen along as she stared into her empty glass and once again questioned her life choices, she’d wonder what she had done to deserve something as cruel as this but well, she knew exactly what that was.
“And this is why I don’t get out of the house much…”
Ruby chuckled, looking toward the jukebox where Maleficent was currently flirting with some random pretty little thing, someone with a thing for villains surely or was it dragons? Hopefully she’ll never know. “What are the odds that all your exes would be here all at the same time…”
“I’m assuming it’s the universe’s idea of a twisted joke…or my sister’s, I suppose we’ll figure that out eventually.”
“I assume you want another drink?”
“Good girl. You should get yourself a treat, you deserve it.”
Ruby rolled her eyes and poured Regina another shot before she leaned on the counter and continued to stare at everyone Regina has ever loved. “I’ll get you one too.” And then Ruby was gone with a slight squeeze of her arm and Regina felt like maybe she had died and this was actually hell.
Emma was now alone in her booth, papers strew about and a planner opened up on top of the mess, apparently, she’s a teacher here, Daniel was standing off to the side talking with Snow about something official she’s assuming.
Her gaze floated back to Emma, towards her loose curls pulled back in a messy bun and a tank top with random spots of ink, dirt, and food, the dangers of teaching kindergarten she’d assume but it was oddly fitting for her, she seemed relaxed, it suited this Emma nicely she supposed though she does miss her in that badge of hers.
She turned to look at the burger placed on the counter in front of her then back to Emma, a smile curling on her lips as she watched her. “She looks happy…”
“She looks tired to me.”
Regina glanced over at Ruby, a faint smile on her lips, “they all do…”
“Oh yeah, they’re all so happy knowing they have no chance with you cause you’re so hung up on Emma…and then there’s Emma who is just too stupid to realize that.”
“Excuse you. I am certainly not infatuated with Miss Swan.”
“Yeah and I didn’t make out with you under the high school bleachers during a football game during the curse.”
“Very,” Ruby chuckled, “now eat, Regina or I’ll tell Whale you got a thing for him.”
“You wouldn’t dare!”
“I could kill you, you know.”
Regina turned in her seat to get a better look at her as she arched a brow, “and why is that?”
“You’d miss me too much.” And then Ruby was gone to take orders and Regina’s eyes moved over the diner again, pausing after Mal who maybe could know a way for her to get home, to Daniel where the urge to go up to him and ask him if he was happy and what life was like for him…and then back to Emma with her empty mug of cocoa and mess of papers, Emma who was always there when she needed a hand, maybe she could help her search for a way home…
She groaned turning back towards the counter and holding her head in her hands as she stared down at the plate before her, it’s not like anyone from this universe will tell the others about this so…she picked up the burger and took a large bite, feeling the sauce drip down her hands and chin, but who cares? She’s not mayor or queen, she’s the sheriff, dammit, she can do whatever she wants.
She felt eyes burning into her back and she turned around just in time to find Emma’s eyes snapping away, which caused Regina to smile. Turning on her stool she once again surveyed her surroundings. Bouncing over each person, noticing everything that differed from her curse and Zelena’s she couldn’t quite figure out how Emma had become a kindergarten teacher though, how did she even get caught up in the curse?
This universe was so odd, and yet so fascinating, she wanted to learn everything about it, about the people, but she also just wanted to go home and hug her son.
As if on cue, she felt a profound pang in her chest, longing, sadness, grief almost, what if she never saw Henry again? She felt something tug at her, making her get up and move, maybe it was the alcohol still humming through her veins or just the need to be home, but she suddenly needed to move, and so she headed across the diner, swaying slightly.
She looked around, seeing the two people she had once loved. Mal was flirting, cocky, every bit the woman she knew, her old teacher who would be sure to know of a way to get her home. And then there was Daniel, who was always so sweet and loving, who once could make her feel safe the minute he wrapped his arms around her, she even found herself moving towards him until something stopped her, be it the pain of his loss, that changed love for him, maybe the image of him dying over and over in her head. She swayed in spot and then she caught movement in the corner of her eye and there Emma was, rising from the booth and it was like lights from the heavens shone down on her because Regina realized at that moment all she needed was Emma, her Emma maybe more, but this one would certainly do.
“Emma,” she slurred as soon as her body brought her toward the other woman.
Emma looked over at her, hands instantly moving to steady her while her eyes studied the obvious tears in her eyes. “Hey, is everything okay?”
“I want to go home.” She pouted, gripping Emma’s shoulders. “And I don’t know how.”
“I can give you a ride.”
“It’s not that easy, Miss Swan. I don’t belong here.”
Emma frowned, looking her over again, “yes you do, what did Zelena say to you today?”
“I didn’t see her today.”
“Then why are you dressed like that?”
Regina huffed, “I always dress like this!”
“No, usually you wear jeans and your Sheriff uniform shirt and tie.”
Regina’s nose scrunched up is disgust. “I would never be caught dead in that.”
“I mean you’ve definitely been caught alive in it…”
“I need you to help me get home, Emma.”
“Of course, my car is parked out front.”
“That’s not what I mean!” She threw up her arms, swaying in spot before Emma’s grip tightened and she found herself staring into Emma’s worried eyes, her tears falling down her cheeks.
“Hey, Regina, what's going on?”
“I miss my son, he needs me, I need to get back to him.”
“You don’t have a son, Regina.”
Something in Regina snapped, she had already suspected Henry didn’t exist here, but the definitive knowledge that he didn’t….that she may never see her sweet little prince again, it snapped her heart in two and she felt the colour from her drain away, loss, it was loss.
“Regina?” A sob burst out of her and then suddenly she was wrapped up in Emma’s arms and everything felt safe again, she could see the light at the end of the tunnel, she could believe that maybe it’d work out in the end, because Emma was here and they always found a way. “Let me take you home, please?”
Regina nodded against her shoulder and was shocked when she felt Emma’s magic wrap around hers, familiar but stronger, it set her veins on fire and put her at peace, sure that in large doses she’d be putty in Emma’s hands, a lovesick puppy really…which would explain Ruby’s description of this other self’s infatuation with Emma.
She lifted her head from Emma’s shoulder a bit to look around her, spotting her horse statue on a mantle in a home that wasn’t in any other way familiar, she just wanted to weep all over again, and she did, she hugged onto Emma tighter and wished for home, her home, with her Emma and Henry, in their Storybrooke with, yeah, no Daniel but seeing him was almost torturous now…because it turns out she did love again, she loved a stupid sheriff with blonde princess curls that believed her, believed in her…they were partners and she missed that.
Emma expected Regina to relax and stop her odd behaviour once they arrived in the safety of her house, but upon seeing the exact opposite reaction, she finally came to the realization that Regina wasn’t just drunk, or lying. Regina wasn’t... Well, Regina.
“You’re not her are you?” Regina shook her head from where it was burrowed in her neck and Emma held her tighter. “I’ll get you back home…I promise.”
“Th-thank you, Miss Swan.” Emma rubbed her back and then Regina felt the faintest smile against her neck and something hit her. “You’re not an idiot are you?”
“Ruby said you were too clueless to realize but…you’re not because you’re…of course you are,” she pulled back, staring at Emma’s stupid confused puppy dog face. “neither of you could ignore the intoxicating nature of this strong a magical connection, the emotions would be too powerful for you both to ignore, the magnetism alone…”
“It’s new…” Emma blushed and then glanced around, “come, sit, let’s figure this out, but you need to tell me everything.”
“That’s a rather long story since I have no idea where our timelines differentiate.”
“Okay fine, you can tell me in the morning then. You need sleep.”
“You’re drunk and upset, sleep, we’ll figure it out in the morning.”
“I’m not a child.” Regina denied while she leaned the slightest bit closer to Emma as they sunk into the couch.
“No, you’re not. But you’ve had a long day, I’m sure so you should sleep so we can better handle the problem later. My Regina always says good sleep is important for a clear mind, and it is particularly important before doing anything crazy serious with magic.”
“She probably says that because you’re unable to focus for more than two seconds when you’re tired or excited.”
“That’s not true!”
Regina turned to look at her with a raised brow, “You’re literally a puppy, Miss Swan. I once bribed my Emma with a Bearclaw to do a simple summoning spell.”
“That’s your Emma.” Regina glared. “My Regina used her prized apple turnover.”
“Of course she did.”
Emma let out a sigh, something longing in the sound as she slumped slightly, looking at her closely, reading her like an open book it seemed. “You’re tired, you really should get some sleep.”
Emma smiled at her, placing a comforting hand on her leg, “I can hold you until you fall asleep if you like, my Regina likes that…”
“Whatever.” Regina huffed with a pout, looking away from Emma to hide how good that actually sounded.
Emma giggled and magic wrapped around them again, changing them into PJs and depositing them on a large and comfortable bed and then Emma was wrapping her arms around her and instantly she felt safe. “You’re more guarded than her, but you’re still just as touch starved…”
Regina sighed, covering Emma’s hands with hers as tears continued to fall from her eyes. “She’s lucky to have you.”
“I’m the lucky one…now go to sleep, Regina.”
“Goodnight, Miss Swan.”
When she woke up a few hours later it took her a while to realize where she was, the room smelt a bit like home but different and the bed, well the mattress was comfortable enough but the bedding was different, and when she opened her eyes everything was different as well. Within seconds she was wide awake, the feeling in her chest was as if she had woken up while falling off a cliff, fear burning up from the inside and she found herself curling up to keep the world from spinning, to keep whatever was in her stomach down.
She missed Henry with everything she had, every piece of her missed him and was worried about him, she couldn’t stop from wondering if he was okay, if he was worried, if he had eaten dinner? And the others, did they know what had happened to her? Everything was spiralling and she just wanted to get home to a world where her other self wasn’t cursed by Zelena, the place where she wasn’t secretly dating Emma, who was Sheriff, and out of this world where there was a Daniel, there and alive and happy and grown up .
This whole thing was like a cruel joke, what had her other self done so that Daniel lived? Had she not cast the curse? Where did their paths verge? She was always so sure her fate had been written in stone, that she was always meant to be the evil queen and that Daniel had always been destined to die, because he made the mistake to love her but now, now there was this universe, this world where none of that was true and it was a fucked up joke that she had ended up here of all places.
She heard a sob and for a second she was certain it had come from her, who else could it have been? But then she remembered an Emma from this world who loved her and held her until she fell asleep, who promised to help her get home. She listened closer and at once she knew the sound had come from another room, that Regina’s throat didn’t hurt from the pained noise but from keeping her own sobs silent.
Regina sat up, staring across the room at the door open a crack and the sliver of light shining through, that small sob ringing in her ears calling her out of bed and down the hallways, catching sight of a picture on the wall that was too tempting for her to pay attention to so she pushed on until she was standing in the entryway of the living room, as spotting the small trembling form of Emma on the couch.
The floor squeaked under her step and Emma’s head shot up as their eyes locked, Emma’s desperate with longing, with loss and Regina understood who she was mourning right away.
“D-did I wake you?”
“No, my own demons did.”
Emma nodded sadly, readjusting herself on the couch to make more room and Regina took the hint and slowly moved across the small space to sit on the worn, old grey couch. “Do you think she’s okay?”
“I’m sure she is just fine…”
“D-do you know where she is? Why isn’t she here too?”
“I’m sorry, Emma, but I don’t know.”
Emma nodded and moved one arm around her middle to wipe at her face which is when Regina spotted the picture clutched to Emma’s chest like it was the most valuable and precious thing in all the worlds.
“I don’t know what I’d do if she doesn’t come back…”
Regina reached out, placing a soothing hand on Emma’s back, silently offering comfort when all words of reassurance left her because, she wasn’t 100% sure she would be back since she doesn’t understand what brought her here to begin with.
A gasp escaped her mouth when Emma fell against her, curled into her like Henry would when he was scared and something in Regina broke, melted away as she wrapped her arm tighter around Emma and rested her head against the wild blonde curls cascading over her chest. “I got you, we’ll figure this out, Emma…I promise you that much.”
“She’s my everything…”
Regina looked down and saw the picture as Emma stared down at it, a selfie of all things, but it was printed and framed in a beautiful golden frame, but the thing that struck Regina was the obvious sight of a mirror image of herself in a flannel top and hair falling in wild untamed curls, a wild loving and oh so free smile on her face, a bare knee just in the frame and then a pale arm wrapped around her chest, hugging her back against Emma’s body, and both of Regina’s hands holding onto her forearms, and Emma’s chin resting on Regina’s shoulder, laughter crinkling up her eyes as she looked up at the camera that was taking the picture.
“I’ll bring her back to you…”
“And I’ll get you home to your family.” Emma promised, and Regina hugged her a little tighter.
Regina cradled the mug of hot cocoa to her chest as she sat on the couch, legs tucked under her as she watched Emma fuss with a few things.
“So where do we start?”
“I don’t suppose I have my vault here do I?”
Emma turned away from the bookshelf to look at her with a frown. “Your what?”
“Vault? In my universe it’s where I keep all magical items.”
“Uh, I think you have a few books in a trunk…is that your vault?”
“No, no, it’s under my family’s crypt.” Emma’s head tilted to the side in confusion. “Never mind…”
“Most of my Regina’s knowledge was just…kinda in her head? She was like a walking magical encyclopedia.” Regina arched a brow at her and Emma rolled her eyes. “Shut up, you know what I mean.”
Regina hummed, taking a long sip of her cocoa. “I suppose it’ll be easier to figure out if I know where our paths diverged.”
“Um I can try and help…but I feel like Regina would know more about that than I do…”
“You should know enough.” Regina leaned back against the cushion, watching Emma fidgeting for a few long moments. “Would you sit down, Miss Swan, all your anxiety is putting me on edge.”
“Sorry…” Emma blushed and moved back to drop onto the couch and picked at the hem of her boxers nervously.
“First, what year is it?”
“So you’re ahead of me…”
“What year is it for you?”
“Whoa! So you’re in the future!”
Regina chuckled, “Another universe that happens to be a few years ahead of mine, actually.”
“How do you know this is another universe though? And not your future?”
Regina looked over at her, a slight frown on her lips, “To put it simply, Daniel is alive, my son isn’t here, my father is alive?” Emma nodded slowly. “And well, Zelena didn’t cast the curse in my universe.”
“Who cast it then?”
“I did.” She stated bluntly, and almost proudly, and Emma only blinked at her, slowly processing that information.
“Okay, yeah, we need to figure out where things changed, because the Regina I know…”
“How did Daniel live?”
Emma blinked again. “Um, they broke up? They ended things when the king proposed, they had plans later to one day maybe meet up again, get that life they always dreamed of with the kids and the farm but…it just didn’t play out that way.”
“So she married the king?”
“No, she pushed her mom through that mirror and then ran away.”
“She got away?”
Emma softened instantly, reaching out she placed a hand on Regina’s knee, offering her a kind smile. “She did, she was on the run for years, having to avoid the king’s guard, she studied magic from Cora’s old spell book and from other witches she met in her journey…and eventually that brought her to Mal who became her mentor and well…”
“They had a relationship.”
“That happened in your universe too?”
“I had a fling with Mal throughout my reign as Queen but it was nothing too serious.”
“So you married the king?”
“I guess that’s where they diverted?”
“I suppose so…” Regina looked down at her mug, tapping her finger against it as she thought, if only she and Daniel hadn’t tried and run away together, if only she had never married the king…never stayed to learn from Rumple to find a way to bring Daniel back maybe she would’ve saved herself years of abuse and neglect…maybe she wouldn’t have darkened her heart so much.
“The things you had to do to survive a horrific ordeal are just that, your ways to survive and that’s okay.”
Regina looked up from the thumb soothingly brushing over her knee to Emma who was looking at her with such understanding. “You have no idea what I did or what I went through.”
“No, but I can imagine it was enough for it to have changed you…I can see the differences between you two, you have much more baggage weighing down your shoulders, something always hidden just out of sight behind your eyes, pain, loss, longing…”
“You don’t know me…”
“I know her…you were raised the same, your mother was just as horrible I assume.”
“My mother loved me…”
Emma squeezed her knee and tears shimmered in her eyes as she stared into Emma’s eyes that seemed to be able to read her so very well. “That isn’t love.”
Regina pulled her knees up to her chest, staring out across the room at the blank TV and dozens of books, movies, and pictures, her cocoa once warm and comforting now chilled and just a reminder that she was all alone.
“What brought you here?”
“We were fighting a villain, well you, your parents, and I...we chased them to the beach. The witch threw your mother, you and David went to her aid, and I went after the witch, then suddenly I was falling, and when I awoke I was in the woods in this universe.”
“Who was the witch?”
“We’re not sure, she just showed up causing havoc, her magic didn’t seem that strong, definitely not stronger than our joined magic…she could never have opened a portal to another universe, or at least not on her own…”
“So you’re thinking she must belong to a coven?”
Regina turned to look at her, suddenly back to business as usual, the shift eerily impressive to anyone who didn’t know her. “Yes, it must be.”
“Huh…” Regina’s face scrunched up in thought as Emma prattled on as if she hadn’t heard her.
“We have a coven here…maybe they know something.”
“You have a coven of hedge witches in Storybrooke?”
“Yes?” Regina’s eyes lit up and she shot to her feet, heading towards the bedroom. “Where are you going?!”
“To get changed! We have some witches to talk to!”
“Regina!” Emma called after her, footsteps heavy as she followed down the hallway, “It’s 5 am!”
“They will wake up for me if they know what’s best for them!”
“You’re not the queen here!”
Regina threw open the door, a proud yet oddly frightening smirk on her features. “No, but I am the sheriff.”
Emma rolled her eyes as the door was slammed in her face, Regina started digging through her double’s wardrobe for something to wear and throwing on that familiar flannel from the picture and a pair of jeans, unable to find the badge she hoped just her face would be enough…and if not, a fireball always did the trick.
“You can’t use magic on innocent civilians!”
“I would never!”
Emma let out a disbelieving sigh and Regina flung open the door, throwing a jacket at Emma and she slipped on her sheriff station windbreaker as she slipped past her.
“She will kill me if I let you hurt anyone.”
Regina cackled. “I’m sure she would, Miss Swan.”
“Regina…” Emma whined but still followed after her out the door, “Slow down!” She called as she locked up and awkwardly threw on her coat when chasing after her down the hall. “You don’t even know where you’re going.”
“No but you’re going to take me...but first, I need to make a quick stop…”
Emma stopped and frowned slightly at the mysterious look on her face. “Where?”
Regina looked at her and Emma recognized that look almost instantly, her Regina got it too, it was just the slightest bit different but Emma knew its meaning and where she wanted to go.
They sat in the cruiser in front of a quaint little two story house, seemingly untouched by the foliage except for an apple tree that grew strong out front.
Regina stared out at it, at the darkened windows and the little mailbox that read ‘Mills’ in large letters. It was surreal, just as much as seeing Daniel had been, and this was just a house, and sure she knew that if she went up to the door and knocked her father would open the door… the father whom in her timeline she had murdered… did she even deserve to see him again after what she had done?
“Are you okay?”
She startled looking back at Emma who was watching her closely, longingly, like it hurt not to be able to do everything she would for the other version of her. “I’m fine.”
“Regina…” she looked down at the hand placed on her thigh, the touch gentle and so obviously a second nature that she wondered how they had fooled anyone. “You can talk to me.”
“I am not her, Miss Swan. I’ve done things far worse than you can ever imagine.”
“I don’t care what you did, I just want to be there for you. I can tell this is hard for you, seeing your parent after so long can be hard…”
Regina turned to look at her, instantly deflating, “You would know…”
“I would. I know it’s not the same as losing a parent you loved and seeing them again but…”
Regina covered Emma’s hand with her own and stared out at the house, “I’m sorry, Emma.”
Regina sighed, tearing her hand through her hair as she stared at the mailbox. “This is so stupid.”
“No, it’s not.”
“I’m just punishing myself by seeing him, I’ll never see him again after today but…”
“I think that means you should do it, maybe it’s something you need, closure? I don’t know what went down Regina but I can see how much it’s hurting you and maybe...maybe this could help you in the long run.”
“I miss him so much.”
Emma turned her hand over in Regina’s, locking their fingers together and the feeling was just so natural that Regina was struck by it for a second. “I know. I can come with you if you’d like…”
She looked up at Emma, her vision blurry as tears clouded her vision and finally fell free as Emma looked on with a supportive smile. “Thank you, but I think this is something I need to do by myself.”
“Okay, I’ll be right here.”
“Thank you,” She smiled and Emma quickly returned it. Regina could see why this other version had fallen for her, this Emma was...actually she wasn’t that much different from her own Emma and that maybe should frighten her for how easy it was for her to collapse in her arms, to cling to her reassurances and kind smiles. She squeezed Emma’s hand in hers before she let it slip free as she opened up the passenger door and stepped out of the car, Emma giving her that crooked smile she knew so well from her own Emma back home.
She turned her head away, staring at the door illuminated by a small porch light and the early morning sun as it rose, bathing the white home in an orange glow.
Regina took a steadying breath and stepped forward, and again, repeating the action until she was standing on the porch. Another breath she raised her hand, her fist hovering a few inches from the door, although unsteady she took another breath, it trembled as she let it free but then her knuckles hit the wood and it was like the sound echoed through her heart. She knocked two more times and let her hand fall, her eyes moving to her feet as her hand pressed against her stomach, steadying her, focused on each breath that she almost missed the door swing open. The light from inside the house bathed over her feet and she slowly glanced up, a sob tearing through her as soon as she laid eyes on her father standing in the doorway in a robe and a confused frown.
“D-daddy…” a sob tore through her again, lip trembling as she hugged herself a little tighter. “I’m sorry...I’m so sorry.”
“Hey, hey…” He stepped forward, hands gripping her shoulders then her face before he wrapped his arms around her and her body trembled, “It’s okay…”
“I’m so sorry…” She sobbed again, her arms wrapping around him and she clung to the man, her whole body trembling and she lost control of herself.
“What’s wrong? Did something happen with Emma?”
“N-no...sh-she’s fine.” She hiccupped, burrowing her face in his neck and she was like a small child as his hold tightened. “I missed you.”
“You just saw me a couple of days ago…”
Regina sobbed, this was cruel to him, he was worried for his daughter but she wasn’t her...she was another version of his daughter, a version who had murdered him to get revenge on a person that hadn’t deserved her anger. “I’m so sorry...I-I should g-go.”
“Regina, what is wrong?” His hands moved to cup her face as she stepped back but her eyes refused to meet his eyes because if she did she was sure she’d crumble to her knees. “Did Zelena say something to you?”
She shook her head but something in her filled with rage, at this other version of her sister who was punishing someone so unworthy of such a treatment. “I shouldn’t have come here...this is wrong.”
There was a long pause as Henry wiped away her tears and studied her, “I see…”
His voice sounded so knowing that she couldn’t stop herself from glancing up. “What?
“You’re not my Regina, are you? I can see a sorrow in your eyes she does not have. You are not from here are you?”
She shook her head, eyes falling to her feet again in shame. “I’m so sorry, I just needed to see you one more time...I’m so sorry...I’ll go…” She took a step back, shaking her head at herself. “I’m so sorry.”
“Regina,” he reached out and caught her hand and she stared down at it, tears still pouring down her face. “I love you.”
“I know, but I love you. You’re my daughter, even if you’re not the one I raised, you are still my daughter, and I love you.”
“I don’t deserve your love.”
He cupped her face again and Regina’s found his eyes, caring and curious and filled with so much love that another sob tore out of her. “There’s nothing you could do that would stop me loving you.”
“I killed you.” She sobbed, her knees giving out and suddenly she was in his embrace again. “I killed my father… I lost so much of myself that I only saw one way out and to do that I had to… I had to kill him.”
“You cast the curse?” She nodded as he held tighter. “Regina, I know that your father forgives you, because he is me and I could never blame you… I’ve always just wanted you to be happy and I would never want you to beat yourself up for something you cannot change.”
“I’m so sorry.”
“It’s okay, dear, it’s okay.”
She clung to him again, crying into his shoulder as he soothingly rubbed her back and slowly something in her heart started to meld at just the feeling of being in his arms again. “I love you, daddy.”
“I love you too, Regina.” He pulled back, smiling up at her as he reached out, brushing tears from her cheeks, examining her face again like he was looking for the differences in her just like Emma had been.
“I have a son,” his eyes lit up with joy, and Regina laughed through her tears. “I named him after you. You would love him, he’s so much like you.”
He brushed his thumb over her cheek, “I’m glad you have someone looking out for you.”
“I think I have more people than I realized.”
He smiled brightly at her, glancing over her shoulder at something. “That’s what my Regina said when she realized her feelings for Emma.”
Regina turned her head and saw Emma leaning against the cruiser outside the house watching them, looking like it was killing her not to be there for her. “She’s lucky.”
“So are you, my dear, you just have to be willing to see the good things you do have.”
“I’m starting to.”
He smiled brightly at her, “I’m proud of you, Regina, and I know your father would be as well.”
He wiped away her tears again and then leaned forward, placing a kiss to her cheek and more tears fell from her eyes at the simple touch. “I love you, Regina.”
“I love you too, daddy.”
“I’d invite you in to talk longer but I have a feeling you should be trying to get home to your son.”
He smiled gleefully at her, “I always knew you’d be a fantastic mother.”
She returned his smile and leaned down, placing a kiss to his stubbly cheek before she took a step back and he did the same and then another until she was at the edge of the porch and she had to turn away, but she felt his eyes on her the whole way.
“Hey,” Emma husked and Regina met her eyes before she looked back once more to see him smiling widely at them and waving and when the door shut she found herself crumbling again and this time it was Emma’s arms she found herself in. “I got you…”
Once she calmed back down they both climbed into the cruiser, Emma started driving towards the first witch’s house when Regina turned to look at her. “I have one more stop I'd like to make before leaving this place, and you’re going to take me.” Emma eyed her unsurely, she actually almost looked scared for a second which made Regina chuckle as she looked out at the cobblestone streets and tall canopy of trees. “I’m not going to murder anyone, dear, so you can relax.”
“Right…” Emma bit her bottom lip as she turned the car to the left, “First we deal with the first witch on our list and then we can do whatever it is you wanna do.”
It didn’t take them long to realize the first witch wasn’t home so although begrudgingly Emma took Regina to the Townhall where they were sure to find Zelena.
“I don’t think this is a great idea, Regina.”
“Then stay in the car.” Regina deadpanned as she threw open her door and stepped out of the car.
“Like hell I’m letting you go in alone to do god knows what! Regina would kick my ass if anything bad happened to you.”
“Then come with, either way I’m not stopping you, dear.”
“Oh...I’m so never gonna hear the end of this…”
“Oh most definitely.” Regina chuckled and Emma stomped her feet as she dutifully followed behind her.
She threw open the door of the mayor's office, face twisted in a sneer as her eyes locked on Zelena behind a desk that looked almost identical to the one from her universe, though the rest of the office had green accents, it wasn’t horrible, granted, her office was much nicer, but still, it was no bird painting.
“Gina! Emmy! What can I do for you two so early in the morning?”
Regina growled at the nickname but that was the most annoyance she showed as she strut into the office, picking up a green apple from the bowl on the conference table, tossing it up in her hand a few times. “I’d say I like what you did with the place but I’d be lying.”
Zelena straightened up, “Excuse me?” her trademark red curls were pulled up in a tight bun and she was wearing a fitted black suit with an emerald green blouse under it. She certainly looked like a mayor, Regina would be impressed if she wasn’t such a knock off.
“The whole town, really. Zelena did you even put any work into the curse? Do you truly lack so much imagination you couldn’t think passed our old world?”
“You are awfully brave for such a worthless girl.”
Regina cackled, gripping the apple tight enough in her fist it made a slight crunch noise. “Those tactics won't work on me, Zelena, I’ve heard way worse, been through way worse, and I’m not scared of the likes of you.”
Zelena studied her, almost impressed and Regina walked towards her desk, pressing her hands against the surface as she leaned on it, glaring down at Zelena. “You’re sloppy, I could’ve done a better job than this in my sleep.”
Zelena growled, obviously instigated, “Who the hell are you?”
“I’m the Evil Queen, I am the version of your sister that if pushed too hard will snap, a version that will tear you and your tiny town to pieces if you even look at her wrong.”
“And I’m supposed to be scared of you? So you’re bolder than the brat,” Zelena stood to her full height and Regina stood tall, spine straight and head held high, a queen, exuding a presence way larger than she actually was, and the small gasp from Emma across the room definitely proved she still had it. “I can still squash you under my boot.”
“Oh darling,” Regina breathed in a tone that was all their mother and Regina noticed the effect it had on this version of her sister. “You have no idea what I am capable of.”
Zelena pursed her lips, stepping closer she reached out, curling her fingers under Regina’s chin and tipping it up even more but Regina didn’t falter, didn’t bend, her gaze remained steady, threatening, and Zelena’s lips curled into an impressed smile. “Aren’t you adorable? You would’ve been so much more fun to break.”
Regina sneered, ripping her face away from Zelena’s touch. “You haven’t broken her, you’re just slowly pushing her to her breaking point and I’d be wary of that.”
“Any why should I?”
“Because you may think she’s small and weak and alone, but she’s got more people behind her than you can imagine, she’s stronger than you’ll ever believe, and that big heart of hers that you’re so envious of makes her more powerful than you’ll ever believe.” Regina reached up, finger brushing over the large green pendant Zelena wore, letting the light magic flow through her and against the gem, a twisted look of pride lighting up her face as Zelena stumbled away from her.
“I’ve defeated you before.”
“Maybe you have but she never will.”
“No, she won’t.”
Zelena frowned, “What?”
“She won’t defeat you because this Regina, the one you hate so much for something she had no control over, she is filled with so much love that if you just let her, if you for a second put aside your hatred for what mother did, you’ll see that maybe you can be a family, sisters like you always wanted, because trust me, she always wished for a big sister to protect her. She’s always wished for you.”
“She hates me.”
Regina’s eyes softened, “No, she doesn’t.”
“How do you know?”
“Because I’d give anything to have a second chance with my sister.”
Zelena stared at her in shock and Regina offered her a kind smile, “What?”
Regina stepped forwards and took Zelena’s hands in hers, “I’m not good at these things, at affection, I know that’s hard for you too, but it’s not for her, give her a chance, an olive branch because if Snow White could forgive me for everything I put her through for three decades, then Regina will forgive you as well…”
“You should try it too.”
Zelena squeezed her hands, “With me, the other me, it’s never too late.”
“She hates me,” Regina looked away and Zelena tucked her fingers under Regina’s chin, tilting it up so their eyes met.
“No, she doesn’t. When I first found out I had a little sister all I wanted was to go to her and be a family but I was twisted and manipulated, until I was so jealous of the life she got to have with our mother and all the opportunities I never got that something inside of me broke.”
Regina straightened up her shoulders, eyes sparkling with a challenge, “I tell you what, I’ll give her a chance if you promise to try to, to be nice to her, you’ll find you have a lot more in common than you’d think.”
Zelena smirked. “You’ve got a deal, baby sis.”
“And if you do anything to hurt her I’ll come back here and show you what a real villain is.” Her eyes were twinkling and dangerous and Zelena smiled widely at her, maybe she could have a relationship with her sister after all…
“Regina…” she turned to look at Emma who was looking a little uneasy. “We should go.”
“Right,” She smiled and stepped away, “Miss Swan will make sure you keep to your word.”
Zelena nodded her head and leaned against her desk as she watched them leave. “Wait!” Regina stopped and turned to look at her with a raised brow. “Do you really think my curse was lazy?”
“No, it’s beautiful here.” And with that Regina and Emma slipped out of the office and headed down to the cruiser and to the second witch’s house.
“Why a teacher?” Regina asked at some point as they drove to the third house to find nobody home, needing something to distract her.
“I don’t know, I always liked kids growing up I guess…”
“What?” Emma asked, glancing over at Regina’s thoughtful expression. “What am I in your universe?”
“Sheriff…although, to be fair, the election was rigged.”
Emma barked out a laugh, “That’s what your sister says about yours.”
“Does she? I guess we do have some things in common…”
“You’re the mayor aren’t you? That would totally explain your clothes earlier! And why you keep calling me Miss Swan!”
“Do I not call you that here?”
“She used to when we first met, it was totally flirtatious though…also I think she just had fun quoting that couple from Holes…”
“Did she fix your roof?”
“ She handled some mischievous kids and gave me a ride home once when my car broke down… I fixed her windows and her sink, and saved her from the rain…”
“Please don’t tell me you kissed in the rain? That is too cheesy, even for me.”
“Almost kissed…” Regina shook her head, looking out the window at the Storybrooke that was nothing like home. “What am I like in your universe?”
“An idiotic pain in my ass…” Emma chuckled and Regina flashed her a smile, “she believed in me when nobody else did and…she is the only one in that town who really truly understands me…understands what it’s like to be rejected and…” Regina shook her head at herself, an affectionate smile curling on her lips. “And misunderstood. She is brave and strong and she is a great mother most of the time…when she’s not being a pain in my ass and going against my wishes, and I don’t know what I’d do without her in my life.”
“She sounds nothing like me.”
Regina rolled her eyes as Emma pulled to a stop outside a little house with a tree growing from the roof. “You’re very much like her.”
“So, we share a son then?”
“Yes, Henry, I adopted him when he was a few weeks old after you gave him up when you were 18.”
“I had a kid at 18?”
“In prison.” Regina supplied with a grin although all the mocking that used to go behind that information had long since vanished.
“No wonder I gave him up…there was no way I was ready to raise a kid…”
“Indeed.” Regina smiled and threw open the door of the cruiser, wondering vaguely about Emma’s yellow monstrosity. “Where is your bug?”
“My what?” Emma asked as she slipped out of the driver’s side.
“Your car. That hideous yellow Volkswagen Bug.”
“I don’t have a bug.”
Regina stood frozen for a few long moments, honestly, she was a little bit in shock, that and Emma’s jacket have become just a complete staple of who she was in Regina’s mind, and finding out that there was an Emma who didn’t have one just felt wrong. “Get one.”
“Okay…” Emma eyed her funny as they stopped in front of the wooden door, a light on from inside making them share a curious and rather victorious expression. “I guess someone is home…”
“I’m going to assume from the magic radiating from this place they’re all home,” Regina stated just before she rose her hand and banged on the door.
“You think they did this?”
“Only one way to find out…” Regina said just as the door was flung open and a little old lady was staring up at them from the other side in what could only be described as shock.
“Sheriff?!” She glanced behind her then back up at Regina, “You’re h-here? How are you here?!”
Regina frowned while something in Emma snapped and she growled, “What the hell is that supposed to mean?!” And then what seemed to be totally unlike this world’s Emma, she pushed past the little old lady and started through the house.
“Miss Swan! You can’t just go rushing into things like this!” Regina called after, pushing past the old woman too, fireball at the ready as she entered the room behind Emma to see the group of women gathered around a portal. “What in the–”
“Fuck?” Emma eyed her, then turned to glare at the woman who took her spot back in the circle. “What the hell is going on here?! Where is Regina?!”
“I believe she is right behind you, dear.”
“Not that Regina my Regina.”
All women suddenly eyed Regina, studying her, taking in her posture and the fireball still at the ready, staring deep into her soul. “Curious…”
“What the hell is that supposed to mean?” Regina snapped, snarling at the group of women.
“It seems when we helped the Sheriff find her way back, it brought you instead…”
“Back from where?”
“I assume your universe, one of our trainees got in over her head, ended up falling through a ripple in time. Regina and one of our more trained witches went after her.”
“The person you were chasing? You think that was…could it have been Regina, my Regina?”
“No, but I believe it was this coven’s trainee, they must have been on their way to the portal to bring them home and instead of attaching to your Regina’s energy it locked onto mine and brought me to this universe.”
“So my Regina is…in your universe?”
“Yes…” Regina extinguished her fireball, a smile stretching on her face, “I believe she is…”
“So we can get her back?”
“I believe we can, Miss Swan…” She looked down at the little old lady who was definitely the head of the coven. “Isn’t that right?”
“Yes, but you will have to move fast, get her back to the portal and everything will be right as rain.”
“Why didn’t she just head back?”
Regina winced, “My family is very protective…”
“You mean I am very protective?”
“She would be worried about me, and your Regina is the best clue they have…”
“And she’s Sheriff.”
“Yes…with an insanely impressive lie detector and a distrust for anyone who she knows isn’t me…” Emma eyed her funny. “My mother used a glamour and pretended to be me to set me up for murder and Emma fell for it and she’s kind of blamed herself about what happened after that.”
“Right…” Emma nodded before looking down at the old witch. “Can the portal handle both of us going through?”
“Yes, but she probably didn’t head back because we lost the connection for a bit I assume when this Regina fell through. The portal should hold this time with all of us here but you must be fast. If it is not up when you get to the correct area, well, let’s not entertain that quite yet. We should be able to get it back up at high noon.”
“We will make it in time.” Emma said and then grabbed Regina’s hand, tugging her towards the circle of women. “See you shortly, ladies!”
“Emma!” Regina called out in shock as the woman pulled her into the circle and then right into the swirling green portal.
“You’re just as idiotically bullheaded as your other self!” Regina yelled as soon as she landed in the cold sand with the early morning sun shining on them.
“She said time was of the essence!”
Regina rolled her eyes, pushing off her feet, eyes searching the nearby area for anyone or anything. “Yes, but I’d have liked a little more information.”
“I’m sure Regina knows everything you’d ask.”
“I will never understand the Charming’s need to jump in blind after the people you love…”
“You are the person I love!” Emma called after her as she started down the beach, scrambling up from the sand and running after the woman. “Where do you think they’re keeping her?”
“Knowing Henry and Emma, probably my house.”
“Not the Sheriff Station?”
“No, I don’t think so…anyways my house is the most secure place in this town next to my vault.”
Regina turned to look at Emma, finally heading towards the main part of town and she remembered just how different it was from the other one, and Regina was reminded of that as she watched Emma’s expression of shock and amazement spread across her face. “Pretty crazy, isn’t it?”
Emma breathed out a laugh, eyes taking in everything she could. “Yeah, you could say that…”
“Come on, we don’t have much time…” Regina placed her hand on Emma’s shoulders and their eyes instantly locked in understanding, they’d were going to find the other Regina and get those two back home to their lives. “I could teleport us to my house but I’d rather not experiment with any protection spells the heroes must have put up.”
“Heroes…” Emma giggled and Regina rolled her eyes, and a second later purple smoke surrounded them and when it vanished they were in front of her mansion. “Whoa…that felt differe– that’s your house?!”
Regina smirked before she walked towards the front door and raised a hesitant hand, feeling the magic shimmer under her fingertips. “You should try.”
“I assume they wanted to keep me in but you…”
“I’m her so it should allow me in…”
“Maybe you’re not so much of an idiot after all.”
Emma rolled her eyes and stepped onto the porch, reaching a hesitant hand just like Regina did but there was nothing stopping her, her hand slipped right through the protection spell. “I’m in.”
“They must have used blood magic.”
Regina rolled her eyes, “Knock, Miss Swan.”
“Right…this is a little weird…”
“Imagine how I felt seeing the man I witness my mother murder in front of me alive and well?”
“Fair.” Emma stated before she rose her hand and quickly rapped on the door. “How long do you think it’ll ta–”
“Ma?” Regina peeked out from around Emma while the other woman seemed to be gaping at Henry in shock. “Mom?!” Henry called out as soon as their eyes caught and the next second he was barreling towards her, all lanky limbs and no grace.
“Henry…” She sighed, one hand cupping the back of his head and the other wrapping around his back as she tucked her head against his that was burrowed into her neck. “I missed you…”
“Mama…I was so worried…”
“I’m fine, Henry, I’m back.”
Henry pulled back and looked at Regina, “I take it that’s not Ma with you?”
“It is not your mother, no.”
“I am so screwed.”
“What in the ever-loving shit?”
“Language, Miss Swan.” Regina teased as she turned to face the stunned sheriff in the doorway, staring down at her doppelganger, but once her words registered, Emma’s eyes quickly found her and her face lit up at the same time it looked like the weight of the world was lifted from her shoulders.
“Regina? Is that really you?”
“Yes, dear, it is me.”
“I’ve been so worried!” Emma took a step forward before she thought otherwise, shifting awkwardly in place.
“Um, I don’t mean to intrude on this little family reunion but…”
“Right! Emma, do let down the barrier and lead Miss Swan to her Regina.”
Regina rolled her eyes and stepped toward the barrier, arm wrapped around Henry’s waist as he stayed tucked into her side. “We do not have all day, Sheriff.”
Emma rolled her eyes, raising her hands above her head they started glowing a bright white before she slowly began lowering them until they were at her side again. “Right this way, your Majesty.”
“You better not have hurt her,” the other Emma growled as she pushed inside the house and Regina couldn’t help but smirk as this world’s Emma eyed her funny.
“She’s in the study going over some books…”
“And that is where?”
Regina rolled her eyes and pulled Henry with her, “right this way–”
“That could also work…”
“It’s me, baby!”
“Baby?” Emma questioned while Regina made a face, seconds later a Regina in a sheriff uniform, top unbuttoned to show off a white tank top underneath, skinny jeans with a badge attached to the belt, and shoulder-length hair pulled back in a French braid, came skidding to a halt in front of them.
“Emma!” She cried as they both rushed forwards, Emma gathering her up into her arms and picking her up off the floor for a second as she hugged her tightly.
“I was so worried, Regina! You should’ve told me where you were going! I could’ve gone with you!”
“I know, I know…I’m so sorry it was just supposed to be a quick trip.”
Emma pulled away, frowning down at her, “A quick trip to another universe?”
“I wasn’t thinking, I’m sorry but I’m fine, darling,” the other Regina offered her a reassuring smile, cupping Emma’s cheeks in her hands. “I’m okay, Emma…”
“Uhhh are they…?”
Regina smirked as the couple leaned in for a kiss, “Together? Yes, dear, they are. You have a problem with that?”
“No,” Emma’s voice cracked as she watched the couple in a loving embrace. “So, how did you get back?”
“The hedge witches opened another portal and we took it back to get her…”
“Speaking of…” Regina cleared her throat and the couple separated, the other Emma blushing faintly.
“We should get going.” Other Regina said like she was reading her mind and they shared a smile before her other self’s eyes ran over her body. “Are you wearing my clothes?”
“I changed her into your PJs to sleep off the booze.” The other Regina arched a brow and Emma looked about ready to die of embarrassment. “With magic! I changed her with magic!”
“I see…well, I am awfully fond of that shirt…”
“Right,” Regina blushed before she waved her hands in front of her and changed into one of her pristine suits, the borrowed clothes then appearing folded in her arms. “Here you go. Now you two should get going, I can teleport you both there if you like.”
“That would be wonderful, the magic here is so different and I find myself unable to fully channel it.”
“I had the same problem at first, it is much more different than it is in your universe.”
“Indeed.” The other Regina nodded then looked around, slipping her hand into Emma’s. “You have a lovely home, and a wonderful family.”
“Thank you, you have a wonderful circle around you as well.”
They shared an understanding smile before the other Regina’s eyes moved to Henry and she smiled fondly at him. “It was great meeting you, Henry, if we ever have a child I hope they’re half as amazing as you.”
“It was nice meeting you too, Regina,” Henry said with the slightest crinkle of his nose like it was weird to call someone who looked like his mom anything but her title.
“Thank you for your assistance, Sheriff.”
“And yours, Sheriff,” Emma smirked and both Regina’s rolled their eyes.
“C’mon, we better get going.”
Regina nodded in agreement and held out her hand towards the couple, shocked when both Emma’s grabbed hold of a hand.
“I am not letting you out of my sight again,” Emma stated just before Regina felt Emma’s magic seep into her skin, kick-starting the teleportation spell rather impulsively.
The portal was open and swirling again when they arrived, all four of them staring into the green vortex thoughtfully.
“Take care,” the other Emma said and then pulled Regina into her arms and Regina found herself melting into the embrace once again. “Take a chance on her, okay?”
“Maybe…” Emma pulled back and did her best attempt at a threatening glare. “Fine, make sure they behave okay?” Emma nodded and Regina offered her an affectionate smile before she reached out, gently cupping Emma’s cheek and placed a kiss to her cheek. “Thank you, for everything you did for me.”
“It was my honour, Your Majesty.” Regina rolled her eyes and stepped back just as the other Regina stepped forward grabbed onto Emma’s hand and tugged her towards the portal.
Regina stepped back toward Emma and stood arm to arm as they watched the couple rush towards the portal, and then vanish from sight, back to their lives.
“You aren’t the one that ended up in an alternate universe where the enchanted forest and this world looked like they had merged.”
“Don’t forget you being Sheriff.”
“And my sister was the mayor!”
Emma turned to look at her, “I still can’t believe she cast the curse!”
“I still have no idea how their curse worked.”
“You don’t want to know…”
“I imagine it’s as confusing as this.”
“Well, what do you expect from Zelena? She’s never been ordinary.”
Emma let out a bark of laughter, “I missed you…”
“What? Other me didn’t do it for you?”
“She was fun but she wasn’t you…”
“Is that your way of saying you missed me too?”
“Maybe, but that’s all you’re getting.”
Emma chuckled, nudging her slightly, “But you two seemed so chummy!”
“She had a way of getting under my skin.”
“Does that mean I do too?” Regina rolled her eyes and started walking away, Emma rushed to follow after her. “What did she do to get under it?”
“Miss Swan, I will teleport you into the ocean if you keep it up.” Emma’s smile was massive when Regina glanced back, slowing to a stop as her eyes searched her, trying to figure out what that was about. “What?”
“You really scared me, Regina.”
Emma took a hesitant step forward, digging her toes into the crack of the sidewalk. “Don’t go running off alone like that again…I don’t know what Henry and I would do without you.”
“I’m sure you’d manage.” She looked off somewhere over Emma’s head to try and keep her emotions from showing.
“No, we wouldn’t.” Emma stated and Regina’s eyes locked on hers as Emma took another step forward. “We wouldn’t survive if we lost you… I wouldn’t survive if I lost you…”
“ Emma …”
“I was so scared, Regina,” Regina saw the sincerity in her eyes and closed the distance between them, wrapping Emma up in a comforting hug and Emma clung to her, as if she might lose her again, and Regina burrowed her face in Emma’s neck, finally feeling at home. Being in the other Emma’s arms had been soothing but this, this felt right, like coming home, like she found the missing piece to a puzzle.
“I just wanted you…”
“I was drunk, everyone I ever loved was in that diner, and even with Daniel right there, I just wanted you, to be back here with you and Henry and your parents…and I just…I wanted this.”
Emma hugged her tighter. “Me too…well not the other stuff but wanting you back home and to just…hug you.”
Regina pulled back, tears shimmering in her eyes as she met Emma’s also filled with tears, relieved tears. “I realized something while in that universe.”
Regina took a deep breath, every emotion shining through in her eyes, she was scared as all hell but she had to do this, she had to be brave. “When I looked at all the people I loved, when I looked at Daniel, alive and well, I realized something changed since I saw him last, I didn’t love him the way I once did not that long ago…and I think it’s because I moved on, like he wanted me to…”
Emma’s lips pulled down in a confused frown, “What do you mean?”
“Emma,” Regina took a deep breath, hands moving up to cup Emma’s face in her hands like the other Regina had done earlier, her thumb brushing thoughtfully over Emma’s cheekbone before she plowed on. “While there, I realized I am in love with you.”
Emma’s mouth fell open in shock, eyes snapping all over her face, trying to read her, to see if she was being honest or not and Regina waited, because Emma didn’t pull back, didn’t look disgusted at the idea just, shocked. “You love me?”
Regina chuckled. “Yes, dear, I love you.”
Emma’s mouth quickly stretched into a smile and her eyes met Regina’s again, her hands squeezing Regina’s hips as Regina’s smile slowly started to grow. “I love you too…and I’d like to kiss you now, if that’s o–” Emma didn’t get to finish though because Regina pulled her in for a kiss that Emma happily melted into, lips moving together in slow motion, Regina’s hands slipping into Emma’s hair while Emma’s arms wrapped around her waist, pulling her closer to her body.
The kiss was as perfect as a first kiss could be, it stayed simple, loving for a long while but then Regina nipped Emma’s lip and it quickly picked up, getting lost in the kiss for a few long minutes until they pulled back. Regina pressed their foreheads together, breaths panting and mingling until Emma let out a small disbelieving giggle which caused Regina to do the same, their smiles wide as they met each other’s eyes.
“Let’s go home, I’m exhausted.”
“Home?” Regina smirked and Emma rolled her eyes. “Only if you promise to hold me.” Regina finished and Emma’s annoyance melted away at Regina’s show of vulnerability and this time Emma closed the space between them in a tight loving hug.
“I’ll never let you go again.”
Emma ignored her quip though and hugged her tighter, burrowing her face in Regina’s neck and breathing in her scent, and Regina did the same even as her hand moved up to cradle the back of Emma’s head. “I love you.”
“I love you too…” Regina sighed against her skin and then a few seconds later magic wrapped around them and took them home to their son, and finally, with both of them wrapped up in her arms Regina felt whole again, she was finally, home.