"Regina!" Emma yelled as she pushed the brunette out of the way of the descending wraith. Both women tumbled to the floor, Emma landing protectively over the newly exposed Evil Queen as the wraith swirled in the purple vortex, the force so strong and pulled it in.
By the time everyone in the room looked up, the hat had stopped spinning, and any traces of a soul-sucking creature were gone.
"Is it –" David began, looking over from the smoking banister.
"Yes," Regina answered, breathing out a sigh of relief as she scurried to move to a standing position.
The brunette wasn't aware her hands were shaking until she felt Emma take them in her grasp, helping her steady herself. It was then the two women caught each other's gaze and stilled thoroughly confused.
Emma released Regina abruptly and stared down at her hands as if expecting something to be created within them. Regina didn't miss the blonde's actions and shivered at the intense feeling that coursed through her body only a few minutes prior.
Regina was sure she wouldn't be able to open the portal. Deep down inside the usually put together woman, panic and fear settled deep into the pit of her stomach.
Until she felt it.
Magic bubbled up in her forearm before it exploded and filled every crevice of her body. It was so overwhelming she still possessed a fair amount after opening the portal, but what made Regina shake was the source of her magic.
The blonde standing a foot away from her, staring at her hands dumbly.
"Emma?" Snow ran to her daughter and grasped the blonde's face between her palms. "Are you hurt?"
Emma immediately dropped her hands, subtly throwing a quick glance to the woman she vowed to save, before nodding at her roommate/mother. "Yeah, Mary- Sn-. Yeah. I'm fine."
David hopped over the extinguished banister and joined his family. He engulfed his two girls in his arms before putting them behind him in order to face Regina.
"You're welcome." He said pointedly with a glare and turned to lead his family out.
Regina sneered. The remaining magic within her itched to be used. Instinctively, she created a fireball in her palm behind her back and was ready to throw it.
"Wait," Emma said and halted her parents. The fireball diminished. "We're just gonna leave her here?"
Everyone looked at her confused.
"The wraith is gone, Emma." David said and took his daughter's forearm. "You don't need to protect her anymore."
"Yeah, well what about the angry mob of people that tried to string her up this afternoon?" Emma challenged.
"They won't harm her," Snow promised.
"You don't know that." The blonde remained persistent.
David spared a warning glare at Regina, silently telling her to remain there before he ushered his wife and daughter to the other side of the room where they spoke in hushed whispers.
Regina stood there and glared at the family that had taken away her happily ever after. A faint line of purple electricity crackled from her fingers as the magic slowly dwindled from her possession. Looking down at her palm, she inhaled sharply wondering what the hell had happened between her and the blonde. Her head snapped up when the blonde herself approached her, watching her steps uncomfortably. The token couple of True Love looked back before they exited the court room, glaring intently at Regina.
"Here to exact your own personal torture?" Regina asked with an air of indifference.
"I saved your life. I think you should be nicer." Emma responded.
The brunette made a sound of acknowledgement before moving past the blonde to pick up the hat. "What do the Charmings have in store for little old me then?"
"House arrest," Emma said pointedly. She moved to grab the brunette's arm but thought better of it and just waited for her to face her. "With me."
Regina looked dumbfounded. "You cannot be serious."
"It's either that or the angry mob. Pick your poison, your majesty," Emma said. "And I did make a promise, so I hope you choose the former."
Regina automatically softened at the memory of hearing that Henry had asked the Savior to protect her. Her voice was softer and strained when she spoke. "What about Henry?"
"He's staying with my parents," Emma answered making a face at the realization of her relationship between the two adults she had considered friends only yesterday.
Regina didn't hide her look of disappointment well, and it was not the first time Emma caught the look on the former Mayor every time their son chose Emma over her. She instinctively grasped the older woman's arm in reassurance since her words failed her. They both looked at their connection and wondered what would happen next.
Emma held on for a second longer than necessary before squeezing her arm in a way she hoped showed comfort before dropping her hand, staring at her palm again.
Neither woman said anything as Regina replaced the hat and followed the Sheriff out of Town Hall.
There was only one incident, surprisingly, as the duo walked cautiously throughout Storybrooke where an angry fairy tale character stopped them and began bad mouthing Emma's charge. Regina just stared at the insignificant woodsman with a smirk of superiority before Emma yanked him away and pinned him to a wall, threatening his lineage with a well-placed knee to the groin.
The two women entered the eerily empty, cold and dark mansion, the click of the door shutting echoing throughout the house.
It was here Emma noticed how Regina's shoulders slumped as if heavily burdened. She could see from the way the brunette was fidgeting with her fingers and walking at a deliberate pace that there was something pressing on her mind.
Emma sighed and wondered whether she would ask. If she was going to be staying here for a while, she'd have to be civil towards the woman who tried to kill her. She hung up her jacket and removed her boots, choosing comfort after two long days of emotional and physical drama.
It confused Emma to think about how hard she had fought to save the woman before her. Sure, Henry didn't exactly say the words "Emma, promise me you'll save my mom", but she could read between the lines. The kid needed his mother, evil or not.
What surprised Emma the most was the fact that saving Regina had been her first thought as soon as Archie came running and begging them for help. Henry had just confirmed her need for action, thankfully.
Still deep in their thoughts, the women made their way to the dining room where Regina poured them a generous amount of liquor in two tumblers. She set it at a seat on the table and took the one across from it, downing the amber liquid in two gulps. Her eyes flitted up when she noticed Emma sit and do the same. Glasses were refilled and a silent cheers was made before they took to their drinks, sipping it this time.
They remained quiet for a length of time, each comfortable enough to allow the other their time with their thoughts. It was only until the bottle remained half full did either one of them speak.
"You have magic," Regina said as she set her tumbler down. The choke from the blonde amused her a great deal.
"I'm not a witch or anything," Emma argued.
"Please, Ms. Swan," Regina said as she leaned forward, her palms pressing against the mahogany table, her voice laced with a darkness and seduction she was famed for during her reign as queen. "You and I are fully aware of what happened in that court room."
"What did happen?" Emma slurred her words slightly as she leaned in as well.
Regina's lips thinned. "My magic – magic here is different. I guess I needed a hand."
The brunette rolled her eyes. Sensing that the blonde was uncomfortable with the reality that she came from the Enchanted Forest and apparently possessed magical abilities, Regina switched the subject. "Will I be able to see Henry?"
The Sheriff looked up, determination in her face. "If I can help it, yes."
The answer baffled Regina. A simple 'yes' would have sufficed, but it seemed as if the blonde was making it her mission to make sure Regina and her son got adequate visiting time.
Another moment of silence passed.
"Why do you care so much?" Regina asked softly.
Emma gulped, wondering that question as well. "Because I know you love him, and he deserves a good mom."
"I'm the Evil Queen, dear." Regina said with no hint of malice or amusement.
Emma just shrugged in response.
"You were every bit the White Knight today," Regina commented quietly.
Emma glanced up at the brunette from under her lashes. The tension and uncertainty between them was thick, and neither woman knew what to make of it.
As soon as Regina saw the purple mist cloud over Storybrooke, she knew magic was returning. What she didn't anticipate was that she would be powerless. Her heart skipped a beat twice when the mob stormed her mansion earlier that day. Once when she realized she had no magic, and again when she heard Emma's yell through the mumblings of the citizens of Storybrooke and saw the Sheriff shove past them in order to aid Regina.
She couldn't comprehend why the blonde had stood up for her. She didn't understand why Emma threw her a fleeting glance when they locked her in the jail cell. She was thoroughly shocked when the blonde ran directly to her in order to help her up after the wraith attack while her own parents were nursing bruises.
Regina inhaled in acceptance. She was going to be living with the woman for who knew how long.
With trembling fingers, Regina leaned over and placed her palm over Emma's hand. A silent thank you hung in the air as the two women made eye contact.
Neither of them commented about the tingling sensation coursing through their embracing hands.