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i don’t wanna love you (if you’re only gonna be mine to lose)

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It's been two days since they came back to Storybrooke — after Regina unified the realms. It's a mess yet, but with time everyone will be settled and everything will be fine. For the first time in a long, long time.

Regina was sitting in the passenger’s seat, wearing a ball dress and with no idea of what the hell was going on. Zelena refused to tell her anything and it wasn't different with Henry — or Ry, as he liked to be called. They talked about everything but what was happening and Regina felt the anxiety growing in her stomach. 

When they finally arrived, Regina quickly recognized the place, Charming's Castle — one of the things that came with the realms unification —, and she frowned.

"What are we doing here?" She asked, knowing very well that no one would tell her a single thing and her sister laughed, knowing it would make Regina even more curious.

They walked silently and she sighed, following them. She didn’t have a choice, did she? And then they stopped in front of a door that Regina remembered very well; in her Evil Queen’s days, she entered through that same door to threaten Snow White and all her beloved ones. It looked like forever now.

“Ok, it’s time.” Zelena said, looking at her sister with a big smile on her face and her eyes shining wickedly.

“Time for what?” Again, they smiled and Regina felt the frustration growing inside her. She disliked not knowing what was happening around her; it is a reminder of her traumatic and controlled childhood and adolescence.

“You’ll see.” Ry said, trying to comfort her as he offered his arm. Then Zelena opened the door and Regina’s breath caught in her throat. Everyone — including new citizens of Storybrooke who barely knew her aside from what is told in the story — was there and they were smiling at her while Ry guided his mother down the aisle. The Charmings were in the center, smiling brightly at her and she was so nervous not knowing what was coming next.

Ry left her side and the brunette glanced at Zelena, who signaled for her to continue walking to the Charmings. She took a deep breath and did what she was told, even though her whole body was shaking.

“What is going on?” She asked them and hoped that for the first time, someone would finally tell her.

“What is going on?” Charming repeated what she said, like it was the most obvious thing in the world.

“You know that the realms have been unified.” Snow said, looking at Regina, her green eyes shining with excitement. “And now we need someone to lead us. The people have decided, Your Majesty- ” Snow said, smirking at her former enemy.

“They want it to be you, Regina.” David completed his wife's words, smiling widely at the brunette. “Are you ready?” Regina turned to face the people — her people. Cora had prepared her for this moment her whole life and now that it was really happening and in the right way, she felt so proud of herself. She knows how far she came, how hard she worked to change; but it still felt unreal that once  feared the Evil Queen could become someone they really wanted to lead them. She looked through everyone: Henry, Jacinda and Lucy, Zelena and Robin with her fiancé, Alice, Ruby and Dorothy… Faces she remembered too well. Everyone was there because of her. Everyone except for one person, and turned to Snow again.

“Is everyone here?” She didn’t need to say who she was looking for;Snow knew it too well, so she smiled awkwardly.

“Oh. She’ll come, I think the baby was fussy.” The baby . Regina suddenly felt uncomfortable. She almost forgot how the things had changed.

“Oh, okay, okay.” She exhaled, feeling her cheeks burning and turned her eyes away ashamed.

“Shall we begin?” Snow said, raising her eyebrows and Regina positioned herself in front of her, taking a deep breath and closing her eyes for a second. “Do you, Regina Mills, accept the role of the first elected ruler of the newly united realms?”

“I do.” Regina said, with no hint of doubt.

“Excellent.” Snow took the crown from a box settled next to her. “I now crown you-” And she got interrupted by the door opening suddenly and Regina’s heart started to beat like crazy, she didn’t need to turn to see who it was.

“Sorry,” The blonde woman said, out of breath. “I’m late.” And Regina turned to see Emma for the first times in years, at least for her.

“Emma.” She sighed, and even if she could remember where she was, she couldn’t stop the radiant smile from spreading across her face.

“You didn’t think I was going to miss this, did you?” Emma said, walking through the aisle, Regina’s heart beating faster with every step she took closer. But then she noticed; behind Emma was Hook, holding a baby. Their baby. And Regina felt herself freeze inside.

“If we're all here,” Snow cleared her throat, Regina was still looking at Emma but forced herself to concentrate on Snow. “can I please continue?” After a few seconds of silence, Snow smiled again. “Regina Mills, I now crown you The Good Queen.” She put the crown on top of Regina’s head. “Long may she reign!” She said with teary eyes, looking at Regina with so much pride that she thought she might explode.

And Regina turned to face her people, cheering for her, smiling at her, and she resisted the urge to cry. She is a queen now. And not the evil one, but the good queen. She greeted a few that were next while she walked to Emma.

Henry was holding his sister, smiling at his mom and Regina looked at the baby for the very first time, her brown eyes were wide open curiously and Regina glanced quickly to Emma, frowning. She looked at the baby again, and couldn’t help but play with her and the infant gave her a giggle, instantly warming her heart.

“Hey.” She said to Emma and her world stopped for a while when the blonde hugged her without a warning. They don’t do hugs. But her heart stopped when she felt Emma inhaling and holding her even closer.

“Hello, Madam Mayor.” Emma said when she let her go, green eyes finding brown eyes so close after a long time.

“Uh, I think you’ll find it’s ‘Your Majesty’ now.” Hook said, and Regina glanced at him, greeting him with a polished smile. She had forgotten that the pirate was there.

“Well, she’ll always be Madam Mayor to me.” Emma was smiling at Regina, as if she was ignoring his presence altogether. “So this is it. Your happy ending.” Regina felt butterflies in her stomach when she thought about it, but then she remembered it was just beginning.

“Mm, no, Miss Swan .” Regina exhaled, the miss not passing unnoticed by Killian and he rolled his eyes. “Not even close. This isn’t an ending, I hate endings because then your story is done. And everyone here, well, their story is far from ending.”

“Well, a happy beginning then.” Emma said and Regina automatically remembered Emma's marriage. What a disgusting memory, she didn’t want to compare that day with this when she was feeling really happy.

“I like to call it a second chance .” She said, looking into Emma's eyes and Emma sighed. Killian breathed with impatience and Regina decided it was time to get away from them for a while before he did something stupid enough to ruin her day.

So, she said a few words to the people. She expressed how happy she was that they’re trusting her and she promised to do anything in her power to ensure the happiness and prosperity of her people Following her speech, they began to party, and it was beyond midnight when she finally got home. Henry was already there in the guest room with Lucy and Jacinda, and Ry was settled in his room.

Regina took a shower and fell in her bed, a smile in her face while she thought about how complete she was now. She’s a grandma of a wonderful girl and she even has Ry — the version of Henry from the Wish Realm. It was like the universe was conspiring to make her happy for the first time in forever. Until she remembered Emma's baby. Something about the child felt wrong, but it wasn’t the time for that. It was a happy day and she wanted it to end this way. She was almost asleep when someone knocked on the front door. Frowning, she stood up to answer it.

“You.” She heard and she closed her robe. “Why are you even here?” Hook said, she could smell the rum exhaling from his skin. “Haven’t you done enough already? Did you think I didn't notice?” his words filled with fury and venom.

“What the hell are you even talking about, Pirate?” She sighed impatiently. “You shouldn't even be here, it's late and you're drunk. Go back to your house.” She said, firmly.

“She looks like you.” He said, laughing, like he didn’t hear a thing. “It's a daily reminder of what you're always taking away from me.”

“I don't know what you're talking about.” Regina wasn’t going to give him any credit, after all, he’s still drunk.

“She is yours .” He said, furiously, taking a step forward, stopping really close to her that she could feel his breath. “Hope.”

“You're talking insanities.” Regina tried to keep her voice calm but she was shaking. It was impossible.

“You couldn't handle her marrying me, could you? That was why you left in first place. You've never accepted that I am her true love.” He took another step, his eyes focused on her. “You might have been a one-night thing and I don't even wanna know how you did what you did, but she's mine now and this time, you won’t take her from me again.”

She laughed, closing her arms around her and looking at him like he was the most entertaining thing. Time has passed but he is still the same. Regina would never understand what Emma found interesting about him.

“So you think you can come to my house late in the night and threaten me?” She looked deeply into his eyes and he would never admit it but he felt his body shaking inside. “You should schedule a meeting with Archie. Go back to your house, Pirate, we’re done.” She didn’t turn away, she learned from her former queen’s days that you should never turn your back toward your adversary. So she stood regally, watching the pirate make a fool of himself.

“You like to pretend, don't you?” He smiled. “Aye, love, but I know who you really are. I know what you can do to get what you want, no matter who you will hurt.”

“You heard her.” Regina opened her lips, but before she could reply, Emma was standing behind Hook, holding her baby close and looking furious. The same way she used to look at anyone who tried to hurt Regina for all these years. “ We’re done. Go back to your house.”

“Love, I was-”

“I don't wanna know.” She snapped, her eyes still focused on him.

Hook didn't move, he looked at Regina with furious eyes and then sighed, passed through Emma, probably hoping that she would follow him. But she did not. 

“You're not coming?” He asked, trying to appear calm now.

“No.” She said without hesitation. And that was what he needed to lose control again.

“You'll stay here? With her ?” His voice was furious again. “I can’t believe that!” He screamed.

“This is my son's house as well, Killian. I'm tired, Hope is tired. And I wouldn't be out of my house if you weren't a fucking child.” She said harshly. “I'm not going back today, so, get yourself out of here.” She said firmly. Killian sighed and did what he was told, but gave one last furious glance at Regina. “Are you okay?” Emma asked suddenly soft, taking a few steps forward. “I'm so sorry.”

“That's fine.” Regina smiled at her, like nothing had happened. “Come in, it's cold and she shouldn't be out there.”

“I can go to my mom’s if there is a problem, I don't wanna disturb you even more.” Emma said, feeling ashamed of what her husband did.

“Do not worry,” Regina smiled, stepping aside and waiting for Emma. After she closed the door, she turned to see her guest again. “Henry is in the guest room with Jacinda and our granddaughter, Ry is in his room. So you'll sleep in mine with her and I get the couch.” She pointed.

“I'm not letting you sleep on the couch in your own house, Regina.” Emma said, firmly, following Regina upstairs.

“I didn't ask for your permission.” Now she was talking like a queen she was, but Emma still rolled her eyes.

“We can sleep together.” Emma said and Regina barely stopped, butterflies flying in her stomach and she couldn’t formulate a response. “I-I mean, it's a big bed and- and we already did it before.” Emma was so nervous, she could see she was making a fool of herself.

“You didn't have a baby before, Miss Swan. She needs space.” Regina cleared her throat and tried to stay calm when they reached her bedroom door.

“You sleep with her and I get the couch, then.” Regina forgot how to breathe and looked at Emma. Suddenly she was afraid to stay close to a little baby.

“We're not discussing it. I'm your queen and you will do as you're told.” She tried not to focus on the way Emma's eyes darkened and her lips parted. She really tried, but by the telling smirk on Emma's face, she knew she failed.

“As you wish, my Majesty.” Regina opened her mouth but closed it quickly, shaking her head.

“I'll just take a few things and I'll be downstairs if you need anything.” She said, entering her room and Emma closed the door.

“Actually,” Emma said, and Regina stopped but didn’t turn around. “I was wondering if we could talk?”

“Right now? It’s late, Emma, you should rest. I remember how it is when we have an infant, you’ll need all the rest you can get.” She smiled, turning to see Emma sat at the end of her bed.

“Yeah, but you know,” Emma breathed, looking at her baby, passing a finger on her hair. “It has been so long since we last talked. There’s so much I wanna say and I’m sure you might have a lot as well.”

“You’re right, of course. But it’s been a long day and we’re all tired.” She smiled, trying to convince the other woman. “Would it kill you if you wait until tomorrow?” Emma giggled and Regina lost trackof time, feeling her heart burst in her chest.

“I don’t know, maybe.” She shrugged. “What if I sleep and when I wake up, you won’t be here? It won’t be the first time, though.”

Regina stood looking at Emma, she didn’t have an answer. Not for that. Emma was staring at her and Regina was starting to feel uncomfortable.

“Okay, Miss Stubborn,” Regina sighed. “you won.” Emma lifted her face, a bright smile on her lips. “So go change yourself and get to bed.”

“Do you still have my clothes in your closet?” Emma asked, positioning her sleepy baby in the bed.

“Of course. Make yourself home.” Regina said, memories of a forbidden time coming back to her mind. It was not the first time that Emma was staying at her house, but Regina was feeling so nervous like they’re doing something really wrong.

“Okay, just a minute.” Emma danced in the room like it was her own, entering the suite and Regina stayed with the baby. She stepped close enough to see her face again, her eyes now closed peacefully and little golden curls falling on her pretty face. “She’s beautiful, isn’t she?” Emma said, making Regina jump with her sudden presence.

“Yes, she is.” Regina breathed, looking at the baby again. “Actually, the last baby I saw that pretty was Henry.”

“I do a really good job, don’t you think?” Emma laughed and Regina couldn’t stop herself from accompanying her.

“You’re so convinced.” But she wasn’t telling lies anyway.

 They lied on the bed and the silence was uncomfortable. The last time they did something like that, they were drunk and crossed a line they should not. And Regina ran away the next morning, before being forced to cast a curse and spent her last 7 years in a city she didn’t know, with a life she didn’t choose. It’s how people used to say, “the spell turned against the sorcerer” and she lived a life in the same way she forced the Enchanted Forest folk years ago to live in Storybrooke. 

“So...” Emma began to say, trying to break the deadly silence.

“So...” Regina repeated. Hope was lying too next to her and she was trying not to freak out but the infant was, unconsciously, moving even closer.

“Is that true that seven years has passed for you?” Emma tried again.

“Somehow, it is.” Regina breathed, remembering those years.

“Crazy.” Emma was still processing how that was even possible. “One day Henry was telling us he was going to college and the next year, he has a baby and we are grandmothers to a girl.” Emma spilled. Regina knows her well enough to know how her mind was spinning around those things.

“I know, right? One day I was here and the next, I was attending a bar in a big city I had never been to before.” She coughed.

“You were a bartender?” Emma asked and Regina felt her eyes on her skin, she could swear that Emma had that forbidden glow in her eyes once again.

“Can you believe that?” She laughed.

“I can’t believe I missed that! I mean, why did I have to stay here? Damn. ” She was mad at the universe.

“Oh, I promise that you wouldn’t like to be cursed.” Regina said, seriously. “It’s so weird when you notice you have lost a big part of your life. We didn’t get to see Lucy’s birth, we didn’t even know Henry was in love with someone!” Regina gasped. “I would do anything to get that time we lost back.”

“Yeah...” Emma was feeling ashamed. “You know, it’s weird for me too. Especially because, for me, only a year and a half passed... My kiddo has a kiddo now.” Emma laughed and Regina could help not to laugh herself.

“I am not used to this yet.” Regina said. “But he’s still our little boy. And we got Ry too...” They shared a smile. It was almost impossible not to do when they used to talk about their family. 

“Crazy, right?” Emma laughed. “Yesterday I was meeting my son and now we’re mothers of three!” The words left her mouth before she could avoid and she froze. Regina didn’t say a thing, and the silence was so uncomfortable that it was difficult to breathe. “I-I mean-“

“That’s ok, Emma.” Regina said, pretending that those words hadn’t affected her as she tried to comfort the other woman. “It gets confusing sometimes, I know.” But she couldn’t forget what Killian had said to her less than a hour ago. “She’s yours. Hope.” Regina shook her head, trying to get away from that memory. That was impossible. 

After that, they even tried to keep a conversation, but the mood had changed, Regina didn’t have success in trying to pretend that those things weren't confusing her. And she fell asleep before she could hear Emma saying that it was the real truth. Hope is their daughter, the same way Henry and Ry are too. 

Emma said those words with a courage she didn’t know she had. And she didn’t even know what she was expecting Regina to do with that information. She just needed to say it, and that felt like the right time. 

Regina didn’t say anything and Emma felt her heart breaking. Regina, the mother of her children, didn’t say anything when she knew about Hope. And Emma suddenly wanted to run away with her baby, run away from Regina. 

The queen didn’t even move, and Emma thought that if Regina was pretending to be asleep, then she is a really good actress. But that thought didn’t avoid the tears from running down her face. And she looked at her baby, sleeping softly next to Regina like she was used to doing it every night. Emma hated herself for that. She hated herself for thinking that Hope, even being so young, was so comfortable sleeping next to Regina like she knew her.

She tried to fall asleep but it was so hard. Regina was here and ignoring one of the most important things in the world. After all that time, Regina was finally here. But who was Emma trying to fool? She was sad but also afraid that if she slept, Regina would be gone in the morning again.

The blonde laughed at herself, feeling like she was about to lose Regina again after doing something she should never have done. But that night was so magical, it felt so right. Well, at least for her. She didn’t want to lose Regina again, even if Regina wasn’t hers in the first place. So she was going to refuse to sleep as long as she was able to. 

 

***

 

Next morning, Regina woke up first. And that fact wasn’t surprising at all. The brunette was scared when she saw that she was hugging Hope, and Emma was so close that she wrapped her hand around her body. It was like her heart stopped beating and she blamed herself for feeling that way. Emma is a married woman and even if her husband didn’t deserve her, she couldn’t do anything but respect Emma’s life.

“Good morning.” Emma said and Regina jumped, awakening Hope unintentionally and Emma gave her a smile. Regina felt her cheeks burning because she got caught.

“Good morning, Emma.” She said and got up off the bed quickly, looking at the baby that wasn’t crying but looking at her as well. “I guess someone’s hungry.” Regina tried to change the subject and Emma smiled internally, briefly forgetting what had happened last night.

“Of course she is. It’s my daughter, huh? She inherited mommy’s appetite.” Emma joked and Regina laughed.

“Oh, no. So now I’m going down to make breakfast for my 5 lions.” She raised her eyebrows. 

“Five?” Emma looked confused. She’s not a morning person, her brain takes a while to start processing things.

“Henry, Ry, Lucy, Hope and you.” Regina said, teasing. And Emma’s face lit up when she realized.

“My fault, then. Poor you.” She got up too, pulling Hope into her arms. “I’m going to help you in a minute, I just need to clean up this girl because hungry isn’t the only thing she is now.” Emma said, frowning her nose.

“Oh, the wonderful world of babies.” Regina teased, smiling. “But you don’t need to worry. The others are still sleeping and your only obligation is to feed this princess.” Regina said, playing with the infant and gaining a smile. Emma felt her eyes watering with the moment. That was the first time Regina used a nickname for Hope and seeing her play with her, Hope being soto Regina, was too much for her. 

Suddenly, she remembered that Regina wasn’t really interested in her daughter and cleaned her throat before speaking.

“Yeah. We’ll be down there in a few minutes.” Regina looked confused with the tone of Emma’s voice, but didn’t say anything as she hung her head accordingly and went to the bathroom.

Regina went downstairs and started to prepare breakfast. She was happy to be in Storybrooke again, with her family and friends. Only she knows how she missed those things but now she was there and cooking for the ones she loved.

They used to share almost every meal together, Emma would go home later or spend the night and in the morning, Regina would wake them up to their favorite breakfast: french toast, pancakes with syrup and milk. She tried to make them eat something healthier, she even put fruits in the pancake dough. But they were so stubborn that the only thing she got was one healthy breakfast a week. 

She was inspired that morning, so she lost the track of time while cooking and the table was very full. It had juices — orange and strawberry, Ry’s favorite, coffee and peach tea, milk, pancakes, breads, eggs and bacon, french toast and grilled cheese… Everything they like to eat and more. She didn’t forget the fruits, even knowing that she and Jacinda would be the only ones eating them.

“Good morning, Grandma!” Lucy took her out of the trance she was in and ran to meet her, giving her a tight hug.

“Good morning, little princess!” Regina smiled at her granddaughter. “Did you sleep well?”

“Like an angel.” Lucy said, finding a place to sit at the table.

“Like a rock I would say.” Jacinda entered the kitchen, smiling. “Good morning, Regina.” She followed her daughter, sitting next to her. “This girl sleeps like a rock, nothing can disturb her sleep.”

“Henry is the same. Did you really think that the apple would fall far from the tree?” Regina said teasingly while Henry was giving her a kiss.

“Like mother like son.” He defended himself.

“So we all agree that is all Emma’s fault?” Regina said, making them all laugh.

“Woah, when the cat's out, the mice make the party!” Emma was standing in the door, Hope in her arms.

“We’re just telling the truth, Ma.” Henry shrugged.

“Telling the truth.” She said, mimicking him and rolling her eyes. And she took a look around the table and then glanced at Regina. “Regina, uh… Do you still have a baby chair?” She asked, blushing. 

“I think so.” Regina said, thinking for a while.

“I’ll look in the basement!” Henry said, standing up.

“No need to, dear.” Regina said, preventing him from leaving the kitchen. And with a snap of fingers, a vintage blue chair was there. “I missed that.” Regina breathed, feeling the magic running through her body.

“Thank you.” Emma suspired, smiling shyly at Regina and putting Hope in the chair.

“Sorry, I’m late!” Ry entered the kitchen almost running, his hair fussy.

“Everything in this household is a family thing, I guess.” Henry commented.

And they’re finally there. Every single of them. Regina’s heart was almost jumping out her chest.

They talked like time has never passed, like they knew each other for forever. Lucy told Emma and Ry how she found Henry and how she knew since the beginning that Regina was part of her family. Emma remembered that Henry was just the same when a child, and again, the family thing was there. 

There’s something else that they share, about the way they love their family. Nothing would stop them from making anything in their power to make them happy. Henry and Lucy had faced a dark curse to reunite them. And they would do everything again in a blink of an eye if they need to.

Now they’re together and Regina is living a life she never had imagined that she would deserve. Things were so difficult — Henry hated her and that was the hardest part of all. No doubts that she did everything to change because of him. And he brought Emma to her life too. Who would imagine that the daughter of her enemy would be her best friend, her family? 

That’s why Regina ran away after that night when they crossed the line. She was messing everything up. But then Henry was in danger and she had to cast that curse again. She swore to Henry, when he was ten that she would never do that again, no matter what. But there’s nothing in the world that Regina wouldn’t do for him.

Of course, Emma didn’t know anything about that. For her, almost a year and a half has passed but all she knew was that Henry and Regina had left for a trip. She tried to contact them everyday in the first several months, but after no success, she gave up. She thought about looking for them, but then her belly was showing and she was needy and Killian was always there… If they left without talking to her — if Regina left after what happened — who would blame her for accepting love and attention from someone that was available? Of someone that was her husband after all?

Emma felt deep inside of her that Killian knew the truth, but he never said anything about it— until last night. And she never confirmed, but Hope wasn’t comfortable when he was around; it was like she didn’t want him to be. Hope is a sweet child, but she cries a lot when Killian is around.

They had their breakfast together and talked about a lot of things. And one by one, they were leaving. Henry was going to show the town to Lucy and Jacinda, Ry was going to Mary’s — he used to love his grandmother when he was in the Wish Realm and apparently, loves her now too. And again, was just Emma and Regina.

When the others weren't around, Emma was uncomfortable again. What happened between them was spinning around in her head and she was heartbroken.

“Emma?” Regina called, looking worried at her. “Is everything ok?”

“Yep!” Emma said, standing up. “I guess I should go.”

“Wait, why?” Regina raised her eyebrows.

“I-“ She took a deep breath. “Do you remember what happened?” Emma asked, staring at the brunette. And Regina froze, looking away.

“I’m sorry.” She said after a few seconds. “I shouldn’t have run like that but-“

“Wait.” Emma interrupted her, looking incredulous. “What are you talking about?”

“Uh… About what happened between us? Years ago?” Regina answered, confused.

“You mean, last year.” Emma said. “But you know what? Never mind. I need to go home now and solve things with-“

“The pirate.” Regina completed, suddenly feeling cheated despite knowing that she wasn’t in that place. “Ok, as you wish.”

Emma took the toddler into her arms and walked out the kitchen. 

“By the way, thank you.” And left. Regina stayed looking at the spot that the blonde had been and felt her heart growing sad and lonely for the first time since she came back home. 

Regina took a deep breath and couldn’t help her mind from reflecting on the last few years. Of course she didn’t remember everything, but even in those days, this feeling lived inside her. She can remember the feeling of emptiness, she had everything but yet something was missing. 

Back in San Francisco she had a totally different life. In that curse, she was Roni, a single bartender with only a sister as family. Roni lived alone in an apartment building next to the bar and Zelena, who was named Kelly, was married to a man that used to work a lot and leave her sister and daughter alone most of the time. 

Henry used to go to the bar and he was always so sad, always searching for something without even knowing what it was. Regina used to feel the urge to make him feel better, even though he was only a customer, like a lot of them. She didn’t know what he was to her, but her heart never forgot.

When Henry was cursed, the night before Regina cast the curse, she felt like she was dying. Her son, her baby, was passing away in her arms and she would have given her life to him if that was possible. And she never thought that Fiona would be capable of hurting him, Henry was part of her family after all. But she underestimated Fiona after she lost her powers. And Fiona had access to Mr. Gold potions, which she used to poison Henry’s heart. Fiona was capable of doing everything to get her powers back. Everything, even if that meant that they would be sent to another land and almost all magic in town would be available for her to use. And she knew very well the only person who could cast that curse, the only one who wouldn’t fail: Regina.

She remembered what Maleficent had said when she stole the dark curse: ‘this will make a hole in your heart that you’ll never be able to fulfill again.’ And at the time, Regina couldn’t care less. All she could see was revenge and she would pay the price. Whatever it took. 

But then she found Henry. And when Regina held him for the first time, she felt her heart being filled once again. She fell in love with that little baby with green eyes even when he seemed to already hate her. Of course that was totally impossible, Henry was only six months old when she adopted him — same age as Hope now. He was just a baby, his heart didn’t know hatred yet. But she felt like that and she tried to make things better, she read a lot of books about babies’ behavior, about first time mothers and even tried some spells on herself to make him love her. Nothing worked. 

Henry grew up hating her, doing everything in his power to be distant from her. Things only worsened when he found out that he was adopted and had wanted to know his biological mother. Of course he didn’t believe Regina when she said she didn’t know where his biological mother lived. And of course he ran away to search for her. That almost killed Regina — coming home to find that her little boy had run away from home in search of someone he didn’t know yet and all she knew about this woman was that she had given him up. After all, he was coming for her, for the woman who didn’t want him in first place.

After a few days, Henry came back witha blonde woman whom Regina didn’t even have to ask to know who she was. Her green eyes said everything. Henry had found his biological mother. The woman turned out to be Emma. Emma Swan. Sheapparentlydidn’t want any confusion, making it clear that she was only in town to get the boy home safe and sound. Emma knew she didn’t have any rights to him, and no matter how much he wanted to, they couldn’t change the past. 

But Regina would do anything for Henry. What if that woman was the key to make him like her? Or better yet, love her? He wanted to keep his biological mother in his life and even if that hurt her a little, she would do anything to make him happy. So she talked to Emma, said she was doing that for Henry, that he wanted to have Emma in his life.

Oh, if only she knew how that event would change her whole life… Her plans went wrong — until Henry questioned her about the curse and she knew she couldn’t lie anymore. Regina told him everything, knowing very well that he would never understand her and probably would never forgive her for doing such things. But he surprised her with a kiss. The first time he kissed her cheeks and she felt his compassion running through them. Henry broke the curse because he already loved her, but he needed to know that she had changed.

Regina took another deep breath and returned to reality. There’s a lot of things to do now that she’s a queen. There’s a lot of people still needing to get settled. Storybrooke used to be a small town, but now with more than six realms, it would take a while to get everything done.

She changed her clothes, choosing a red dress that came until her bare legs with a little fend. She applieda little makeup and her red lipstick as always. And after getting ready, she went to the Town’s Hall. She’s a queen but has no wish to make a castle or something similar, she thinks it’s better if she kept everything in the Town’s Hall. She will need more employees though.

 

***

 

The morning passed too quickly as she almost lost lunch time, but Zelena was already waiting for her.

“I cannot believe he went to your house and said those things.” The redhead said, while they were having lunch in Regina’s office.

“Neither can I.” Regina sighed. “And then Emma showed up with Hope.”

“Woah, sis! You’re barely back and already are destroying marriages!” Zelena teased and Regina rolled her eyes.

“I am not destroying anything, she came there because of him. But he was drunk and if she didn’t say that she wouldn’t be coming back with him, I would have said something.” She sighed. “You know, isn’t good for a baby to be around drunk people.”

“That’s everything?” Zelena raised her eyebrows, her blue eyes glowing in a way that Regina knew she was seeing into her soul.

“Yes.” Regina said, Zelena waited and the brunette sighed. “No.”

“What are you afraid of, sis?” The redhead asked, eating her french fries. 

“I don’t know… Maybe everything?” Regina gasped. “Everything changed. The Regina that Emma knew doesn't exist anymore. And she’s living her life, her marriage. They even have a child now!”

“And she doesn’t look anything like him.” Zelena pointed, like she was saying the most logical thing in the world.

“That’s not how things work, you know. It can be genetic from his family or something like that.” Regina shrugged.

“Sis, she has your eyes. I don’t blame him for hating you after seeing his daughter looking like the woman who is in love with Emma.” Regina stayed quiet and Zelena knew that she was right.

“I am not in love with her.” She tried to sound firm, but she couldn’t deceive anyone, not even herself.

“Then why did you run?” Zelena asked, already knowing the answer.

“It’s difficult.” The brunette breathed.

You make it difficult.” Zelena pointed.

“This is how it is. She’s married and doesn't say she’s only married because we aren’t together.” Regina said, preventing her sister from insinuating that this is the reason why Emma married Killian, and got up to collect the remains of their lunch.

“Ok, sis.” Zelena got up, knowing very well that it wouldn’t be any use entering that discussion with Regina. They had this conversation several times. “I gotta go now, Robin is waiting for me.”

“Okay, sis. I’ll text you later, give Robin a kiss for me.” Regina said, hugging her sister before she left.

She tried to keep herself occupied, so she wouldn’t think about what she talked about with Zelena. But her head kept bringing back not only the conversation, but the whole situation with Emma.

Suddenly, she remembered what had happened in the morning. If Emma wasn’t talking about the day that Regina ran away, then she was talking about what? That didn’t make any sense. So she decided that when she left work, she would look for the blonde and solve what was festering. Regina felt that there was something very strange happening and needed to clear things up.

But Emma didn’t seem to be interested in resolvingsolve it. When Regina arrived at the blonde’s apartment, Killian made a point of welcoming her, inviting her in, just to tell her that Emma was not at home. She was sure that this little moment had been satisfying to the pirate, especially after the event that occured yesterday.

She returned home feeling extremely tired, had read and signed a lot of paperwork. All Regina wanted was a bath and a generous glass of wine.

After getting out of the bath and putting on only her robe, Regina served a wine glass and her phone notified Henry’s message, saying that they would stay for dinner with Mary Margaret and later return with Ry. She sighed and decided to take the whole bottle to the couch.

It was depressing to be alone at home. Regina had nothing against drinking alone, on the contrary; she loved to appreciate her own company. But nothing from that day  felt right. She was so confused. 

Regina called Emma, but was sent straight to hervoicemail. She sighed, deciding to put some Jazz on to listen and relax a little. When she was about to finish her bottle of wine, another notification arrived on her phone, and this time is Emma.

“Hey, saw you called. Something wrong?” Regina stared at the profile picture for a while. Hope was sleeping serenely, her blonde curls falling in her face. She sighed.

“I wanted to talk to you.” She answered and saw Emma coming online in the same instant.

“About what?”

“Everything, I guess.” She texted back and Emma typed, typed and typed.

“It’s kinda late right now, Hope has a medical appointment tomorrow.” Emma never refused to talk to Regina before. If she had any doubts that something was really wrong, she doesn’t have anymore.

“May I come with you?” She texted and bit her lips nervously.

“I don’t know.” Emma was quick and Regina frowned.

“Why? Is everything okay?”

“Yes. Maybe we can talk later.”

“So, that’s a ‘no’?” She asked and felt stupid with the obvious question. Emma read, but did not reply to the message. Regina waited a few minutes, maybe she was busy or something. But the answer didn’t come. “Oh, shit.”

She sighed, leaning back against the couch and closing her eyes. Regina had no idea what could have happened to make Emma  suddenly treat her this way, and for things to have changed so drastically.

Regina was so tired that she fell asleep on the couch. Henry came home and saw his mother sleeping so deeply in the living room that he felt sorry to wake her up, but he wouldn’t leave her there. He took her in his arms and carried her upstairs into her bedroom, placing her on the bed and pulling the blanket over her. 

“Emma…” Regina sighed sleepily, without opening her eyes. “Stay…”

Henry froze, but a smile soon formed on his face. Hearing his mother’s words was all the confirmation he needed;, With that, and the looks his mothers’ often shared was enough to o to conclude that she was deeply in love with his other mother.

“It’s me, mom. Henry.” He said after Regina held him tightly, almost causing him to fall on the bed. But she didn’t wake up and he managed to get himself out of her arms.

Henry left the room, some ideas bubbling up in his head.

“Is she okay?” Ry asked when his brother went downstairs. 

“Yes, she is.” Henry giggled. “What do you think about an operation?” He suggested and Ry frowned his head.

“For what?”

“Well… I don’t know if you have noticed, but our moms are in love with each other.” Henry explained and Ry looked confused.

“No… I didn’t.” He sighed, trying to figure out how things work in Storybrooke. “In the Wish Realm, Ma was a widow, our father died in combat. And mom… Well, she was the Evil Queen and spent her life trying to kill Ma.” He told his story. “That’s why I tried to kill her when she came there to break the last curse.”

“It is really weird how things go in another reality.” Henry stated. “They used to hate each other when I was a kid, but I think that they fell in love still back then. But I don’t think they’re brave enough to admit it, so that’s why Ma married Killian in the first place. Mom was dating a forest guy named Robin — he was dating our aunt at the same time though. And he was married.” Henry laughed. “I never liked him and everyone thought that I was teasing him. But then they found out everything and I was like “aha! I told you!’” Ry laughed and Henry shrugged, enjoying his memories. “Sadly, it was too late — Auntie Zee was pregnant and now we have a cousin.”

They were sitting on the couch and Jacinda wasn’t there, probably was putting Lucy to sleep since they used to read some stories to her every night.

“I can’t imagine how this ended.” Ry said.

“Well, he left town after his wife asked for divorce.” Henry shrugged.

“Only that? No one punched him?”

“His dream! Do you really think that Ma would let him do this to mom and leave unharmed?!” They giggled and Ry denied, shaking his head.

“So, what are you planning to do?”

“I think it is time to bring these two hearts together. And they may need a little push from us.”

“What name will we give?”

“I don’t know…” Henry thought for a while. “Operation Hope?” He suggested.

“Our sister’s name?” Ry questioned, frowning.

“I think it makes sense. There’s something going on here, I can feel it. And I think Hope can be the key.” Henry explained.

“How?”

“I don’t know, we have to find out.”

“What shall we do first?” Ry asked and Henry smiled, his eyes shining maliciously.

“We will meet Ma, we need to see how she is feeling now that mom’s back.”

“Well, I think now I’m finally going to meet the famous Granny’s.” Ry speculated and Henry laughed.

“Granny’s is a great idea, Ma loves there.”

“Ok, so tomorrow we start. I’m going to go to the bedroom and play some video game. That’s what it’s called, right?” Henry laughed and stood up. 

“Yes, that’s right. And I love to play, too. We can make an appointment to play together sometime, what do you think?”

“Awesome! Good night.”

Ry went upstairs and Henry stayed in the room, several childhood memories flashing in his head, weekends with his mothers, trips, even the Friday nights when Regina gave them permission to stuff themselves with pizza.

“I always knew that we would arrive at that moment.  Perhaps it is the gifts of being the Author, but I always knew that we would enter this impasse.  It would be easier if they realized what they felt, without needing anybody's interference.” Henry sighed. “But even the strongest love, sometimes, needs some help to finally grow.”

“Speaking to yourself, my love?” Jacinda appeared, hugging him from behind.

“I was thinking of one of the most beautiful love stories I have ever heard.” He turned, giving her a serene kiss.

“Hmm, was that ours?” Jacinda asked, kissing him again.

“Not really.” Henry frowned for a moment. “However, a very similar one.”

“What do you think about telling me?” Jacinda proposed.

“Well, long story short: when I was a kid, I showed up at Emma’s apartment in Boston and brought her to Storybrooke. Just like Lucy did to me when you were in San Francisco. And,” He kissed her. “just as we fell in love, my mothers also fell in love in the past. But I think things were more complicated for them, they just need to understand now.”

“And what are you planning to do?” She asked, knowing her husband very well.

“I’m going to help them. With Ry.”

 

***

 

Next morning, before Regina woke up, Henry and Ry were already downstairs, preparing breakfast.

“So, what is your plan for today?” Ry questioned, while trying to use the toaster.

“I’m having lunch with Ma.” Henry said, setting the table. “And if I still know her very well, it will be easy to find out if something is wrong.”

“Right. I’ll check with Mom if-“

“If what, darling?” Regina interrupted him, smiling and she was ready for work, wearing a black suit with a white shirt, her hair falling perfectly on her shoulders.

“I-“ Ry tried to say but he had been taken by surprise and had not recovered yet. He took a deep breath, Regina was staring at him with questioning eyes. “I want to know if you want to have lunch with me today?” He formulated the first thing that came into his mind.

“Of course, sweetheart. Why not?” And with that, the first part of the plan was done and Henry and Ry shared a knowing smile.

At noon, Henry was already waiting for Emma. But she was late. 

“Definitely a family thing.” He checked out the clock and sighed, talking with himself. As some kind of magic, the bell rang in the door and Emma entered, guiding Hope’s stroller. 

“Sorry, I’m late, kiddo.” She kissed his head.

“That’s ok, Ma.” Henry smiled, playing with his little sister while Emma took her seat. “You know, I was cursed but I have missed you so much, Ma.” He said, staring at his mother and Emma felt her eyes watering.

“Of course you have, I’m your coolest mom.” She teased and Henry shrugged.

“Don’t let mom listen to you saying that.” Emma laughed.

“But anyways, I have missed you a lot. More than you can imagine.” She said, avoiding the “Regina topic” and hoping Henry hadn't noticed anything. But he did.

“Well, I can’t say I’m your coolest son now that Ry is here and we are, you know, something like twins but I’m older.” He explained. “Well, it’s confusing when we say it out loud.”

“Nothing new, kiddo. I’m Snow White’s daughter. After that, nothing can surprise me anymore.” She shrugged, making him laugh. “But tell me, how is it going? With Ry?”

“At first, I thought it would be hard.” Henry sighed, he would always be honest with Emma, no matter what. “But then I realized that I was kind of jealous because I used to be singleton and now there’s a younger version of me, raised in such a different place… I thought you and Mom were going to forget about me.”

He looked away, it was the first time he was talking about it. Not even Jacinda knew how he felt. Emma took his hands in hers.

“Hey, kiddo. I-“ She sighed. “You’re Regina’s dream come true, you know that? She loves you more than anything in the world. And I can promise you that, even with Ry here, there’s nothing in the universe capable of making her love you less.” He gave her a little smile. “And the same about me. You’re my boy, my kiddo. I love you and I will always do. It doesn’t matter if now weren’t just the three of us anymore, our family grew up in a fantastic way, don’t you think?” She smiled, trying to make him feel better.

“Yes, our family is bigger now and it’s amazing.”

“Good afternoon, babies.” Ruby showed at their table, ready to take their orders. “How time flies, Henry, yesterday you were a little boy trying to escape the diet that Regina made you follow and get some hot chocolate, and now you’re a grown man.” She said, pinching his cheeks, even after saying he had grown up.

“And you’re still the same Ruby.” He said, smiling at her.

"Ow, cute."  She said, pouting and pulling the cardenette.  "What will you want?"

"The usual, kiddo?" Emma asked, staring at Henry and he nodded in agreement.

“Ok, burgers and fries, a chocolate milkshake for Henry and Coke for you.” She said as she wrote it down. “Anything for that little princess?” Ruby asked, looking at Hope and playing with her, making the infant laugh.

"Sliced fruits, please."  Emma replied, looking at Hope who was babbling her toys in the stroller. 

"At least one of you follows a healthy diet."  Ruby mocked.  “Not that I'm complaining, of course.” She played with Hope again before heading to the kitchen.

“So tell me. How are things going with my daughter-in-law? Is my granddaughter enjoying Storybrooke?” Emma asked, looking at her son curiously and a smile broke across Henry’s lips. He loved to talk about Jacinda and Lucy. And he felt like he could spend hours on end doing it.

He told Emma everything in a resumed way. But she was really curious and Henry was slightly afraid that he might not be able to complete the first part of the operation. But after telling once again about how he had found Jacinda in another land and how Lucy had been just like him when he was a child, Emma herself took charge of bringing up the main subject. Regina Mills.

“It’s weird, don’t you think?” She asked, truly impressed. “Your love story started just as mine.” The words left her mouth before she could avoid. “I-I mean.” She tried to explain and Henry had to hold his urge to laugh.

“That’s ok, Ma.” He reassured her and saw Emma’s cheeks flush and her green eyes change direction, as if suddenly there was something more interesting at Granny’s door. “Actually, I wanted to talk to you about that.” Emma looked at him, confused.

“About what?” She asked, as if she didn’t know the answer.

“You and Mom.” He replied, being direct. “Isn’t weird for you that my story with Jacinda is like yours with Mom, but we’re together and you both are not?” Emma opened her mouth, but closed quickly. She didn’t have an answer to that.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” She decided to act on the defensive, as Henry expected. He looked at his mother, giving another slice of strawberry to Hope and pretending that that conversation didn’t bother her.

“Ok. But if we are true love, why are you married to a man who isn’t your true love? And don’t even try to deny it, Ma. I see more than you think and the author’s gift is never wrong, anyways.” He said, mentioning the gift he received when he was only a teenager. Henry already knew, back then, that his mothers were supposed to stay together but something was wrong.

“It’s not that simple, kiddo.” Emma finally sighed, tired of trying to deny what she feels about Regina. “Your mom is so different from me and we aren’t together because, believe you or not, we don’t work together.” He snorted, knowing it was a lie. “And don’t look at me like that.” She scolded him. “And we shouldn’t even be having this conversation because, regardless of how grown up you think you are, for me you’re still a child.” She teased, hoping that that was enough for him to let the subject die.

“You can lie to yourself but you can’t lie to me.” He raised an eyebrow and she snorted, thinking about how he and Regina were so similar.

“Why are you even bringing this back, kiddo? I’m married now. Yes, we’re fairytale characters — well, at least part of us are —, but real life is not that simple. Sometimes, your happy ending is not what you hope it would be.” She said, looking at Hope and stroking the infant’s face that already showed signs of sleep.

“But you aren’t happy, are you, Ma?” He asked and Emma took a few seconds to formulate an answer. That was what Henry was looking for. “You don’t have to answer that, I know you and your silence is louder than your lies.” Emma sighed and that conversation was over. “I’ll pay the bill, Hope is sleepy and she should rest. What about having dinner with us tomorrow? Lucy wants to spend some time with you.” He appealed to Lucy, knowing that Emma would not refuse.

“Of course, Kiddo.” She answered, without thinking twice.

 

***

 

Later that night, after dinner, Henry stayed with Ry to clean up the kitchen and he took the opportunity to tell how it had been with Emma, excluding the part about how he felt about his brother.  Unfortunately, Ry was not so successful since Regina changed the subject every time he tried to talk about Emma.

But at least, they already had another part of the plan working properly since Emma was coming to dinner tomorrow.

Regina was too tired to focus on what her sons were planning to do and didn’t even suspect when Henry announced that he had invited Emma to have dinner with them.

She went to sleep completely exhausted, a dreamless sleep, unaware that a few blocks away from her house, Emma couldn't sleep either as she restlessly  tried to find the point where everything went wrong between them and with the conversation with Henry hammering in her head.

 

Emma was on her way to Regina’s, already tired because she had a fight with Killian. He doesn’t want her to keep going to Regina’s nor even talk to each other. And no matter how Emma tries to explain that that is not going to happen, that Regina is Henry’s mother and they’re all family.

Deep down, Emma knew that there was nothing she could do to ease the situation with Killian, or at least, insert him into the family.

So she sighed and decided that her relationship with her sons should be more important.  She would deal with her marriage problems later.

Emma took a deep breath when she stood in front of Regina’s door. She wasn't angry with Regina, actually she was heartbroken. Hope, on the other hand, was a little excited. And Emma shook her head to expel the thought that Hope knew Regina was her mother too. She was too young to know that, it was impossible.

Regina opened the door and Emma’s heart skipped a beat. She was so beautiful, even wearing casual clothes.

“Emma, hi.” The brunette said, opening a chaste smile. “Come in, please.” And she led the way, reaching for Emma’s coat. But the blonde was frozen, her mouth half open. 

“C-course.” She said, cleaning her throat and pushing the stroller inside.

“Hi, sweetie!” Regina bent down to Hope’s weight in the stroller. “You are so beautiful!” And she offered her arms when Hope opened hers, babbling indecipherable sounds. “Do you want to come with me, baby?” She said and then looked at Emma, asking for permission. And when Emma nodded in agreement, Regina unlocked the seat and took Hope in her arms.

"Ma!” Hope babbled, laughing as she put her hand on Regina’s face and the brunette felt her body freeze.

But she remembered that at this age children are learning their first sounds and this may be a reflection of what Hope used to try to talk to Emma. She looked at the blonde and Emma went pale as if she saw a ghost.

“I’m here, darling.” Emma tried to get Hope’s attention, but the infant was caught up in Regina’s hair, curling a small strand while she had yet another of her indecipherable monologues.

Regina looked at the little hands in her hair, mesmerized by every little movement and she forgot how to breathe. For a moment, it looked like it was only her and that little girl she barely knew, but it seemed like she had known her forever.

“Where’s Henry?” Emma asked, suddenly feeling nervous about the situation. But Regina didn’t hear her, still looking at Hope. “Regina?” She called and Regina was startled slightly, staring at Emma in confusion.

“I’m sorry, I-“ She said but couldn’t find the right words. “What were you saying?”

“Where’s Henry?” Emma repeated, following Regina into the living room.

“Oh, they’re at your mom’s, actually. Henry invited Mary, but apparently she asked him for help with something that broke into her house. And Ry is always there, you know. But they'll be here soon. Hope that isn’t a problem for you.” Regina spoke, feeling slightly uncomfortable because of the last interaction shared between the two of them.

"Oh, okay." Emma said, feeling her hands start to sweat.

“In the meantime, would you like to have a drink? A water, a juice...?” Regina offered, but without paying much attention, as she played with the infant sitting on her lap.

"No, no. I am fine." Emma replied, not wanting to disturb.

And they sat there for just over half an hour.

“Henry isn’t answering the phone.  Neither my mom nor Ry.” Emma said to Regina, worried. "Did something happen?" Emma asked, but before Regina could answer, Hope started to cry. 

"I think someone is hungry." Regina said, getting up to rock the child, trying to calm her down. 

“Not just her." Emma murmured. 

“Well, then, I think they won't mind if we dine without them. It is for a greater cause.” Regina winked, making Emma blush.

They had dinner without much conversation but it wasn’t an uncomfortable silence at all. Regina made her typical dish: lasagna. It was what she used to do when she would have a lot of people to dine, as expected. There was usually nothing left of her lasagna. But that was not the case that night. And Hope excitedly ate the pieces of vegetables that Regina prepared especially for her. 

"I wish Henry had been like her when he was a baby."  She commented, making Emma smile sincerely for the first time. "It was a nightmare getting him to eat broccoli."  Regina laughed, remembering the times she had to make Henry eat healthy. 

"She pulled at-" Emma bit her tongue before she spoke "she pulled at her mother" and Regina frowned, confused.

“What?” She asked.

“Oh!” Emma jumped in her seat when her phone received a new message. “It’s Henry.” She announced. “He said that their phone died and the power just returned now, they managed to fix Mary's generator and are going to dinner now. He is apologizing and said that they might spend the night there.” Emma read the message, thanking it for the interruption that came at the right time, but getting nervous because she knew that only she and Regina would now remain indefinitely.

She needed an excuse to leave. And as if the universe conspired in her favor, her cell phone notified her again and now it was Killian. He was freaking out about how late it had gottens and threatening to go to Regina’s to pick them up if they didn't leave soon. Emma didn't want to give in to that kind of behavior, but at the moment, it was the best option she had. 

"Well, we need to go." 

"Now?!" Regina asked, confused.

“Yes, Killian has arrived and-" She started to explain. "We planned something."  She lied, and Regina watched her, picking up on the lie but chose not to comment. 

“Hope just ate, why don't you stay a while?" She insisted. 

“We will end up being late." Emma replied, already getting up and lifting Hope out of the baby chair. 

“Oh, fine." Regina agreed, feeling inevitably sad and jealous of a life that was not hers.

“Well, thank you for having us.” Emma said while she locked Hope in the stroller.

“Anytime, dear.” Regina answered, giving a polished smile. “Goodbye, babygirl.” She spoke to Hope, the infant glaring at her with sad eyes and a pout on her lips, like she understood what happened and didn’t want to leave.

Regina watched them go, feeling emptiness suddenly consume her.

“Well, it looks like it’s just me now.”

 

***

 

“Finally!” Emma heard as soon as she closed the door. Killian was drunk. Again. She sighed, unlocking Hope and putting the infant in the pack ‘n play.

“And you’re drunk. Again.” She said, tiredly.

“Aye, love.” He stepped closer, putting his hands into her waist.

“Killian, don’t.” She said, trying to get off from his hands.

“It’s been a long time since I made you mine.” He said, closer to her face and the smell of alcohol mixed with his words, made Emma's stomach churn.

“I’m tired.” She tried and he held her arms, pulling her closer again. “You’re hurting me.”

“You’re always tired!” He screamed and Hope started to cry. “At least if you’re doing anything for Regina. You always have time and you’re never tired when it comes to her!” He was angry, which was becoming very common since Regina had returned.

“You’re talking nonsense.” Emma hissed, pulling her arms away from Killian. She picked Hope up and rocked to calm her down. “Shh, is everything alright, baby girl. Mommy’s here.”

“I’m not done with you.” Killian said, having another drink of rum.

“But I am.” Emma answered and she was so tired that she didn’t think that she could regret what she was about to do. “You’re always drunk, too aggressive. I-“ She took a deep breath. “I think I need some space.”

“What are you talking about?” Killian asked, staring at her with angry eyes.

“You should move out. At least for a while.” Emma sighed. “I think we should have a break.”

“I am not leaving, Emma. Are you fucking crazy?” He screamed, scaring Hope again.

“Yes, you are. And can you stop screaming? You’re scaring her!” Emma tried to calm her down.

“You’re not going to raise my daughter without me.” He hissed, making Emma laugh unbelieving.

“You don’t even care for her. If you did, you won’t be around her like this.” She pointed.

“She is mine too, I have my rights.”

Emma thought for a while.

“Let’s be honest with each other, ok? She isn’t even yours. And I know you know that.” She said, feeling a weight leaving her shoulders. “Maybe we should stop playing this perfect family game.”

“So it is true, isn’t?” He whispered, but Emma didn’t say a word. He laughed at himself, as if the pieces were coming together. He turned around, picking his coat.

“Killian, wait.” Emma said but he left, slamming the door. “Well done, Emma. Well done.” She sighed.

She was so tired and convinced herself that she could solve everything tomorrow. But right now, she just wanted to sleep and forget about anyone else.

Her dinner with Regina was weird if compared to what they used to have before that night. And she was kind of upset with her sons. She knew unforeseen things would happen, but she felt like they were lying. And her superpower never failed.

So she changed her clothes and Hope’s, rocked her until her beautiful brown eyes closed in a peaceful sleep. When she met Henry and consequently Regina, she thought she was feeling the most love someone could feel. But when she saw Hope for the very first time… It was like she was being complete without even knowing something was missing.

Emma never wanted to be a mother, but she found out that she was really good at it. Her kids meant everything to her and she would do anything in her power for them. Even getting divorce if that was necessary.

Her phone started to ring, waking her up. She looked at the clock, 2 AM. Nothing good happens at dawn. And she frowned when she saw David’s name.

“Dad? What’s wrong?” She asked, yawning. “Is everything okay?”

“Sweetheart, sorry to wake you up, but Henry is here.” He said.

“I know, he said they’re probably going to sleep there.”

“No, I mean, he’s at the police station.” Emma sat up quickly, feeling her heart beating faster.

“What happened? He’s ok?! I’m on my way.” She stood up, taking the first coat she saw, the phone still on her ear.

“I don’t know how to tell you this, but Killian is here too.” He answered.

“Damn. I have an idea of what happened now. I’ll be there in a moment.” She said, turning off the phone. “I hate to do it, princess, but your brother is in trouble.” She talked with Hope, while picking her up and wrapping her in a blanket. “When you’re older, Mommy’s going to use a superpower to get you in places faster, I promise you.”

She went downstairs and closed the door, unlocked the bug and placed Hope in the baby car seat.

 

***

 

Emma arrived at the police station and saw Henry in one cell, Killian in another.  Both were sitting on the metal bed and with their heads bowed.

“What happened?" She asked, spotting David sitting at his desk. “Does Regina know?" 

“Yes, and right now, Mary is trying to calm her down, because knowing her as we do, Killian is in serious danger. All the more reason to keep him here.” David explained, all at once. “Henry is here only by protocol, since the aggression was in self-defense." 

“Aggression?" Emma asked, confused. “Kiddo, what happened?" She asked Henry and he refused to look at her, perhaps too embarrassed. 

“Grandpa can tell you." That was all he said. 

“Emma, can we talk privately?" David suggested. 

“Of course.”

“Emma, you’re my daughter.” He started, closing the door behind him. “There’s nothing you want to tell me?”

“About what?” She asked and he stared at her. “Killian told you, didn’t he?”

“Yes, he did. But I want to know your version of the story.” 

“Dad-“ She sighed, not knowing how she would say that. “I don’t know how, I didn’t know it was even possible, but-“ He stepped closer, putting a hand on her shoulder, comforting her. “Regina is Hope’s mother.” Emma let it out of her mouth without thinking twice or she was about to lie.

“Does she know?” He asked.

“Yes.” Emma said. “Well, I don’t know? I told her but she-“ Emma felt her eyes watering. “She didn’t say anything. She doesn’t want Hope, I guess.” She shrugged.

“Are we talking about the same Regina?” He gasped. “You know how she loves her sons, I’m pretty sure that she would love Hope as well.”

“Then why didn’t she say anything?” Emma whispered.

“You should talk to her, you know? We don’t know how this happened but it did, and if you do not want to do it for you, do it for Hope. She needs to be raised by her mothers.” He advised her. “And maybe this is one of the most incredible creations of true love.”

“What? True love?” Emma asked, truly confused.

“We always knew that you both were going to be together, one way or another. And Hope is magical, we all felt that when she was born.” He said. “And between us, this magic couldn’t come from Killian.” “Dad!” Emma laughed and felt terrible about that. David laughed at her and shrugged.

“Think about that. She should know. But you decide. I’m on your side, always.” He gave her a gentle smile.

“Thank you, dad. Really, it means a lot. But tell me, what happened?”

“Killian went to Regina's house to talk about Hope. You can imagine what happened, right? Henry couldn't stand it and punched him, Killian struck back and the neighbors called the police.”

“Shit. And Regina?” She asked, apprehensive.

“When we arrived, she was holding Killian against a tree, almost suffocating him.” David told her. “She almost killed him.”

“I’m not surprised. She would kill anyone who dared to touch Henry.” She shrugged. “But I’m so sorry, this wouldn’t happen if it wasn't for me.”

“Emma, look at me.” David was looking at her, his blue eyes trying to comfort her. “It wasn’t your fault. Whatever you said to him, don’t justify what he did. Don’t be too hard with yourself.”

“I will try.”

 

***

 

“I don’t want tea, Mary Margaret.” Regina snorted.

“I can’t believe it’s almost 4 AM and I’m here but not for the pirate’s funeral.” Zelena complained.

“You both need to chill.” Mary said, sweetly putting the tray with three cups of tea in the center table. “And Zelena, stop teasing your sister.”

“Fine, fine.” The redhead snorted. David asked Mary to pick up Regina at the police station so she wouldn't do anything stupid, and Mary thought it best to call the queen's sister to reassure her.

“But there’s one thing that hasn’t left my mind... Why wasn't Henry here?” Regina asked. “He told Emma they were going to sleep here. Why did they go home?”

Mary opened her mouth to answer, but closed it a few times.

“Regina, I-“ She sighed. “You know what? I am done! They are doing an operation for you and Emma.”

“What? Why?”

“Everybody is so tired of you both not being together, you know? We’ve been waiting for this for years! And since you didn’t seem to be able to realize it on your own, they’re doing it and I’m on their side.” She concluded, Regina and Zelena had to restrain themselves from laughing.

“Finally the moment I’ve been waitingfor.” Zelena said.

“Why can’t everyone accept that we can’t be together? Emma is married and has a child with that disgusting pirate.” Regina breathed. “I wish- I wish you were right.”

“Regina Mills, don’t you dare to say that!” Mary scoffed.

“And Hope isn’t his daughter, you know. I’m pretty sure that they had a fight, which can explain him coming to your house to say that Hope is yours.” Zelena pointed. “He might be drunk half of his days, but he isn’t crazy, you know? Why would he be telling you this if he wasn’t sure?”

“I don’t know... I didn’t even know it was possible. And we-“ She looked at Mary, blushing. “Sorry, I’ll keep the details for myself.”

“We all know how babies are made, sis. We’re mothers.” Zelena teased.

“But this isn’t a conventional baby, though.” Mary shrugged. “There’s an old book, I found it on your mother’s stuff when I was a child. Magic has no limitations, I know that and I’m not even a magic user. But I remember reading about people of the same gender being able to make a baby, either females or males.”

“I know a little about that too, I can’t explain how this happens, but it’s one of the true love’s mysteries.” Zelena commented. “It’s very rare, something like five or six cases registered.”

“You should talk to Emma.” Mary said, smiling.

“I think I should.” Regina whispered.

 

***

 

After talking to her father, Emma took Henry home. Hope slept peacefully in the comfort baby. Henry was silent the entire way, looking out of the bug window.  Emma even tried to talk once or twice, but Henry was a lot like her. There were times when they both needed silence to be able to deal with what was happening. She parked the car in front of 108 Mifflin Street, Henry got out of the car and headed for the door, Emma picked up Hope and followed him.

“Ma, I’m so sorry.” He murmured while she closed the door. “I shouldn’t have-“ Henry took a deep breath. “I’m so sorry.”

“Hey, kiddo. It’s okay, huh?” She tranquilized him. “I mean, it’s bad that you have fought with him, it was my fault. I said things and- Anyway, I’m getting divorced.”

“Wait, what?” He asked, surprised.

“Why are you so surprised? He hit you. I’m not staying with anyone who doesn’t respect my son.” She said and Henry felt his eyes watering.

“I don’t know what to say.” He whispered, while hugging her. They were in the living room and apparently, no one was at home, probably with Regina.

“You do not need to say anything. I love you.” She kissed his head. “I would do anything for you.”

Before he could say anything, the front door was open and they listened to Regina's voice. Emma’s hands started to sweat.

“I promise I’m going to-“ Regina said but the words died when she saw Emma sitting by Henry’s side. “Emma.” She whispered.

“Hi.” Emma felt her cheeks flushing.

“I didn’t know you’d be here.” Regina appointed.

“See the good side, sis.” Zelena showed up, smiling teasingly with baby Robin in her arms. “You don’t have to wait.”

“Wait for what?” Emma asked, confused. But Regina didn’t say anything and Henry cleared his throat.

“Well, I’m going to have a shower and try to get some rest.” He said, getting up. “But, where’s everyone?”

“Oh, everyone.” Regina gasped. “They’re staying at your Grandma’s. But this time for real and we’re having a conversation later, young man.” She raised an eyebrow and Henry flushed. But he kissed his mothers, Hope, auntie and Robin and came upstairs.

“Well, we also need to rest.” The redhead said. “Would you mind if we share rooms today, sis? It’s too late and Robin is too young for transportation.”

“Of course not, Zelena. We can materialize another bed.” She shrugged.

“You’re my favorite sister.” Zelena teased.

“I’m the only one you have.” They laughed. “And by the way, thank you for today.”

“No need to. I’m here to clean up your mess and use all future opportunities to tease you with it.” Zelena winked and went upstairs after blowing them a kiss.

Regina remained standing at the entrance to the room and Emma stared at her own fingers, the conversation with David fresh in her head.

“Regina, I-“

“Emma, we-“

They said at the same time, and murmured an apology together too.

“You first, please.” Regina said, getting a seat on the couch, not so far but also not so close. Emma took a deep breath, gathering all the courage she had.

“I need to tell you the truth.” She started and looked at Hope. “But I need you to know that I don’t know how this happened but it did and you should be able to make your own decision about that. I know you’ve been cursed and Henry has told me everything I needed to know. You didn’t run away from me that morning, well, at least I wasn’t the only reason. And I understand and would do the same if I knew what was going on.” The words came out of her mouth as fast as the information passed through her head, the curse and the years in San Francisco that Henry shared with her. “But I made bad decisions and I’m not proud of myself for them.” She scoffed. “A lot could have been different if I had done the right thing in the beginning. But I was afraid and I thought you have left me, Hope was growing inside of me and- and Killian was here, comforting me and I thought it would work if he thought she was his daughter. But she is not. I should have looked for you more than I did, I shouldn't have left the towel and settled for what I had available.” A sob cut Emma's throat and she stopped talking, Regina came over and took her hand, squeezing lightly to encourage her to continue. “Hope is our daughter, Regina. I tried to tell you when you came back, but I don’t know if you heard and-“ She took a deep breath and looked at Regina’s eyes. “Well, the only thing I know for sure is that Hope is ours. She has your eyes, I would recognize them anywhere. She has your personality despite being so young.” Emma gave a little laugh, recalling the coincidences that both share. “She is a part of you and I’m pretty sure that she knows that. Hope was never so happy like when she’s around you, she feels safe, I know she loves you like you have always been there. I-“

Regina kissed her, completely on impulse.  As the words left Emma's mouth, Regina felt the love she had for the blonde, running through her own body and she couldn't help it.

“I’m sorry.” She whispered when they parted lips, her hands stroking Emma's face. “I shouldn’t do that, I didn’t even ask if you wanted-“ Emma kissed her again.

“I have waited for this moment for a long, long time.” Emma said, her eyes closed for fear that it would open, she would miss that moment.

“I love you, Emma.” Regina said, tired of keeping that feeling locked inside. “I don’t know how things are going to be, and I know it is wrong because you’re married but I love you with all my soul. Since I have put my eyes on that little girl, I felt something inside of me, I didn’t know what it was but then Killian said those things and I waited for you to tell me the truth.” She said. “And even knowing that it was almost impossible, I wanted it to be true, I wanted her to be mine too. You have given me everything, first was Henry, then Ry, and now Hope. I love the way that her name means what you gave to me when we first met. You gave me hope, you said that you’re going to do everything for my happy ending without knowing that you already were my happy ending. And then you” She wiped a tear that ran through Emma’s face. “made me the happiest woman in the world.”

“I’m not married anymore, well, the divorce process may take a few days, but I will not continue to be married to someone who harms my family. Nor will I give up on you.” She stoked Regina’s face. “I’m sorry that I didn’t tell you about Hope — or for not telling you when you were awake. And I’m sorry for being upset thinking that you didn’t want her and was pretending to be asleep to not face the truth. I should know better since I know you like the back of my hand.” She laughed. “I have been in love with you since the first time I saw you. I didn’t believe in fairy tales, but when we met, I hoped to live with you. And you gave me more than that. I’m too tired of pretending I am not deeply in love with you.”

“I was too afraid of losing you, Emma. We’re drunk and I thought I was going to lose you in the morning. That night I knew that you’re my happiness and I should fight for you. But I was too cowardly for that. I left because of Henry in the first place, but if he wasn’t in danger, I would have run away even if it was for a few days, until I was sure that everything would be fine between us.  I was afraid to declare my feelings, I didn't want to assume that I loved you so I wouldn't have to lose you.” Regina opened her heart, relieved for finally letting those words out.

“I would have given up everything for you, Regina. I was too afraid of losing you as well. I could force myself into an unhappy  marriage, but I couldn’t be without you, even if we’re just friends.”

“I can’t believe that the Savior was afraid of loving the Evil Queen.” Regina teased and Emma laughed, giving her a peck.

“Oh, and the terrible Evil Queen, the one everyone feared for years, was afraid of being in love with the Savior.” Emma returned the provocation, making the brunette laugh. But before Regina could respond, Hope grunted as she woke up, starting to cry. Regina looked at Emma, asking permission, and the sparkle in her green eyes was enough to make her get up and go comfort the child.

“Hi, baby” She said, picking her up. “Mommy’s here.” The words left her lips for the first time and neither she nor Emma was able to contain the emotion of that moment. Emma watched, with the biggest smile on her face, whatever problem she had, it could be solved at another time.  Now, all that mattered was this moment: the queen was holding their baby, calming down their Hope. And that was everything she ever dreamed of.

Finally their second chance was taking place and nothing in the world could separate them. Never again.