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what you thought you had to do

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Emma watches. The way Regina's hand fits in Robin's, so delicate and soft, and she feels something in her stomach clench. Something in the back of her mind whispers, "We could have been happy." Something reminds her that the slope of Regina's shoulders hadn't always been so soft. That he made them that way.


Emma watches as a boy, who can't be more than six, wiggles and climbs his way up onto one of the counter stools, so he can peer up at his father and Regina with impish adoration. Regina reaches out with her free hand to push the boy's hair away from his eyes and she smiles full and bright.


Something in Emma's mind wails. Something in Emma's mind says "what about Henry." Emma's whole face scrunches because why is this so important. Why does everything feel too tight and too warm.


The three of them are picturesque, enjoying a Sunday morning like any other family. Because that's what they are. No, no they aren't. They aren't that at all.


Because the bell above the door rings and Henry rushes in, cheeks pink from the cold wind of not quite spring. And Regina's smile falters when she sees Emma's sweet boy. Her smile falters and her hand slips free of Robin's and her eyes are inexplicably sad. And Emma wishes she hadn’t seen. Because now when Regina looks at the little boy, her smile can’t quite make it all the way to her eyes. 


And god, those eyes. Her eyes meet Emma's across the diner and Emma has never wanted to curl in on herself more. She has never wanted to disappear more. Because Regina isn't angry, Regina is sad. Regina's deep brown eyes are pleading, begging, in the most desperate sort of way. The sort of desperation that claws and holds and clutches. The kind that breaks and gives way to a never-ending, ever-growing chasm, a free fall into the endless dark.


And her boy, her sweet sweet gift, he looks across the diner too. "Why is the mayor looking over here?"


Emma can't find the right words, the wrong words, so she shrugs. Because she could barely explain, not when Regina's eyes tell a story she can't bear to feel. She shrugs and looks at her petit prince, (she doesn't speak French.) "The mayor likes you, Henry."


"Maybe I should go say hi."


So she watches as he slides out of their booth and makes his way to the little group of three. He smiles up at a woman that is still a stranger to him, and he doesn't flinch when her eyes are bright like the moon and when her smile could crack through whatever world they've found themselves in. He only smiles and says hello. Tells the mayor how much he enjoys her sleepy little town. And when he turns to walk away, he doesn't see the way her shoulders fall, or the way her smile has become grotesque and frightening. The way it stretches across that beautiful face like a deep and jagged scar.


Emma has to look away, so she busies herself with her cocoa, the lint on her sweater, anything but Regina. But when she looks up and meets Regina's eyes again, she shrinks. Her shoulders hunch forward and her stomach twists and twists until Emma can't breathe. Because Regina is angry. She is so angry that Emma suddenly understands what could force a curse and magic and destruction and nowhere is safe. Regina's eyes are blazing and Emma can't breathe.


Henry sits down again and wraps his hands around a hot cup of cocoa. "Who are they?"


Emma wants to say something something about family. But the words get caught in her throat. Robin and Roland Hood aren't family. Not to Regina. Emma wants to be sick.


"Are they her family?"


Emma knows this is her chance. But she shrinks back, curls her own hands around a steaming mug. "I think so. Something like that." She shrugs and the stab of guilt in her gut isn't as bad as she thought it would be. It's just her heart that twists in agony. She wishes Regina would smile again. Even if it's for Roland and not Henry. Even if it comes at the price of her heart, if it feels like being ripped in two.




And Emma wishes it were so simple.




Neal is dead.


He's dead and he said to go find Tallahassee. And now, Tallahassee is wherever Henry is. But it's not. Because when Emma closes her eyes, Tallahassee is a happy Henry. A Henry with his mother and his grandparents and a family. And Regina with eyes as bright as the moon and smiles that make Emma’s heart swell and swell. But Regina doesn’t smile, not at Emma, not at Henry, not like she used to. And Emma knows, but she can’t really, because she had eight and a half months, Regina had eight years.


And Henry, Henry doesn’t know.


"Are you going to tell him? About Neal?" Mary Margaret has one hand on her belly and one tangled up in both of David’s. And David’s brows are furrowed but his eyes are open and bright.


"I mean, don't I have to?"


Somewhere behind her, Regina snorts. Loudly.




Henry is quiet the whole time but he slinks further and further down his chair, his hands shoved into the pockets of his hoodie, and Emma can almost hear Regina's voice in the back of her mind. He should know. He should know everything. 


And when Henry is angry because "He was my dad? I have -- had a dad?" Emma knows she fucked up. She fucked up and she’s going to fuck up even more if he ever finds out about everything else. But they’ll leave before he can, they’ll be gone. Back to Manhattan, maybe Portland, California, anywhere but Maine. And it will be the two of them. Two, not three, because Regina has a new family and a new sweet smiling boy. Emma can forget about the way her stomach churns when she sees Regina now.


“You lied, Mom,” he almost knocks over his chair in his haste to stand up, to get away, and he’s looking at her like he used to look at Regina. Emma feels her stomach drop and her ribs start to funnel in and god, it hurts.


And she almost worries when he runs off because there's a curse and a witch and an evil queen. But no need, they’re family. Or maybe they would have been.




The funeral is on a Friday. They're all there. Minus Robin and Roland Hood.


"That wouldn't really be right, would it?" Regina says as she adjusts the royal blue fur around her neck. Always a queen. Even in the almost springtime drizzle.


No, Emma supposes not.


Henry is tense with rage to her right and her parents -- but they're just David and Mary Margaret, they're behind her. Together. Just a few steps behind.


And Regina is next to Granny, and if Henry thinks it's strange, he doesn't say. He just stands, his hands clenched into fists. "Because you lied, Mom."




"He'll forgive you eventually," Regina's voice is welcome and warm to Emma's left. She wonders when the sound of Regina's voice became sweet instead of cold.


"Am I making a mistake?"






They're kissing, Regina and Robin, over the kid's head, as they wait for the light to change over on Main Street. Little Roland Hood stands between them, each of his hands holding one of theirs, and he bounces happily in the crisp spring air. Regina smiles into that kiss and Emma's fist clenches so hard around her keys that the metal punctures the soft leather of her gloves. Fuck.


She catches Regina's eye as the two of them separate and she tries not to cringe. Regina glares at her and doesn't stop until the light changes and Robin nudges them all forward. And she lets him, because Roland tugs on her hand and says something that Emma can’t hear. Something that makes Regina smile again. And it’s beautiful.


Emma watches, and she knows Regina knows she’s watching, but she can’t look away. Not when Regina looks so light and not when she reaches out with a free hand to ruffle Roland’s hair, not when she lets go of his hand to let him run up ahead and he tells a joke just for her so that her laugh rings out into the evening quiet. Not when Emma’s stomach churns and just the sound of Regina laughing, of Regina happy, does things to her heart that she can’t explain. Not when it hurts and feels so fucking full all at once.




“Maybe you could take him for ice cream sometime,” Emma’s got her hands shoved into the pockets of her jeans and she’s walking alongside Regina. 


“Maybe you could tell him the truth,” Regina shoots back, half engrossed in a few emails on her phone. “Then maybe that wouldn’t feel like such a pathetic display of guilt.”


Emma stops walking, Regina doesn’t.


“I’m not doing this out of guilt.”


“Of course you are,” Regina sighs and pockets her phone. “You wouldn’t be offering that pathetic excuse for an olive branch if this wasn’t keeping you awake at night.” She finally stops walking and turns to face Emma. “After Neverland, I’d assumed we’d come to some sort of agreement about what it means to co-parent. About what it means to trust each other.”


“We did, we do but --”


“No, Emma. There is no agreement here. I’d assumed I would never see either of you again, and I hoped and held onto some sort of dream that maybe someday I’d be -- You gave him up once too and you were just as deep as I was on that island of Lost Boys. You must understand some of what I’m trying to say. You must understand. What could possibly be worse than him knowing the truth?”


“You’ve withheld before.”


“I’ll see you tomorrow, Miss Swan. I’m late enough as it is. I promised Roland a trip to the park.”




It almost comes out over breakfast one morning. Because Regina and Robin are smiling at each other over their coffees and Roland is running after Ruby and the tiny little thing has the nerve to giggle.


Robin’s hand is resting on Regina’s hip and he’s leaning against the counter with the elbow of his other arm. Regina’s got one hand firmly on his chest and she almost looks like she’s blushing. Emma’s stomach churns for too many reasons. Regina leans in to kiss him and Emma has to look away.


Henry is watching her, but he only smiles and cuts into his short stack of banana pancakes.


“What are we gonna do today, Henry?” she leans back in her side of the booth and clasps her hands around her coffee cup.


He shrugs and looks over at Regina and Robin again. “Regina invited us to dinner.”


Emma stutters for a minute because hearing Henry call Regina by name still doesn’t really sit right. And because dinner. So she nods and slides out of the booth.




“Yes?” Robin’s hand drops from her hip and Regina’s smile is anything but genuine.


“Henry says we’re coming to dinner?”


“Yes,” she nods, and allows Robin to grasp one of her hands in his. “Six sharp, please, Emma. Do be punctual, Roland has an early bedtime.”




Robin answers the door, Roland running along behind him, and Henry smiles. The entire house smells warm and spicy and garlic, and this place shouldn’t feel like home. Emma’s stomach rumbles and Robin laughs and claps her on the shoulder. Roland smiles up shyly and extends a hand for shaking and when he says, “Hi Emma, I’m Roland Hood. But you can just call me Roland.” Emma melts right then and there.


Regina makes it to the kitchen doorway, just as Emma is taking Roland’s hand in her own.


“It’s nice to meet you, Roland. Thanks for inviting us to dinner.”


He smiles, dimples and all, and gives Emma’s hand a firm shake. Emma catches Regina’s eye and Regina smiles.


“Hi Henry!” Roland waves and bounds toward the older boy. “Can I show you my room?”


“Sure,” Henry nods and waves at Regina. “Hey Regina.”


The two boys begin climbing the stairs and then it’s the three of them. Robin extends an arm and offers to take Emma’s jacket while Regina heads back into the kitchen. Emma follows and takes a seat at the counter. It’s quiet and awkward and Emma doesn’t know what to do with her hands.


“He’s cute,” Emma says.


“He is,” Regina nods and rolls up the sleeves of her crisp white blouse. And then it’s quiet again, save for the sounds of Regina cooking. Robin joins them, offers Emma a glass of wine, and it’s disgustingly domestic. He works on chopping vegetables while Regina works on a delicious smelling roast, and when they pass each other, they’re gentle and Robin’s hand will rest against the small of Regina’s back. The way Regina accepts his touch should make Emma sick, but she’s sure there will be time for that later. Because Regina seems happy. Almost.


Robin is the conversational one, asks Emma about New York, about Henry, and there’s no malice or disgust in his tone when he asks her if it’s hard to be back in Storybrooke again. Regina is quiet, absorbed in her cooking, but she listens and some of the tension leaves her spine the longer they all exist together.


When Robin calls up to Roland and Henry, the sound of footfalls on the stairs, one set heavier and measured, and the sound of Roland, stepping down with one foot, then the other to meet the first on each step, makes Emma’s heart swell. This should be theirs, their boys in their house, and for a minute she’s jealous all over again. But then Henry smiles at her, cheeky and toothy in all the right places, and she reaches out to ruffle his hair. She doesn’t dare look over at Regina, so she follows Roland and Robin into the dining room.




“It’s hard for her,” Robin says.


They’re walking back into the kitchen, clearing plates and cleaning up.


Dinner was fine, enjoyable even. Roland spent the meal telling stories, wanting to make Henry and Regina laugh. He is big smiles and sweet dimples and light. Light like Emma’s never seen.


“What is?” Emma is balancing dessert plates and wine glasses in her arms.


“All of this,” he nods toward Emma and into the dining room where Regina and Henry are listening to Roland tell a story about Pongo and Snow. “She warmed up to Roland first,” he sets the dinner plates in the sink and turns on the hot water. “She was lonely, she missed her boy, and although she wouldn’t ever admit it, she missed you.”


“That’s,” Emma pauses, lowers her plates to the counter. “That can’t be true. That’s not Regina.”


“It was, it is,” he rolls up his sleeves and sets to work with the dishes. “I think you know better than anyone how fiercely Regina loves. How tightly she holds. How it makes her feel small.”


Emma nods dumbly.


“We’re not replacements, Emma. But this is her life now. She’s chosen this life.”


“I don’t understand why you’re telling me this,” Emma shakes her head and turns to look back into the dining room. Henry and Regina are both focused on Roland, but Regina looks up every so often to watch Henry. She’s guarded and her fingers twitch as if she wants to reach out to him and Emma knows Regina’s not going to be able to pretend much longer.


“She’s complicated, this is complicated. She fought this, she fought tooth and nail because she had Henry, she had you, she had this thing that she couldn’t ever talk about. Because she thought it made her small and weak. Sometimes she understands that it makes her so radiant and so beautiful, but that scares her. It’s the beauty they all sought to destroy, Emma.”


“I don’t understand.”


“Earn her trust again. The thing she’s been the most fully is a mother. Don’t take that away from her.”


“I’m not,” she shakes her head again, grips the edge of the counter. “I don’t want him to get confused. I don’t want to confuse him. I don’t know how to reconcile all of the different versions of her I’ve known with -- He’s been through so much.”


“So has she.”


This time, when Emma looks out into the dining room, Regina’s looking straight at her. Almost as if she’s heard every word. Emma fights the urge to cringe, fights the urge to run, so she stares back, unwavering.




“Does it feel like a lie?”


They’re sitting on a park bench while Roland shows Henry the castle. Henry’s castle. Regina’s got both of her hands wrapped around a latte and she turns to look at Emma. “Which part?”


“The part where you have this new family and this new life.” Emma tries to sound nonchalant but she just sounds sort of accusatory.


Regina’s cup stops halfway to her lips and her eyes flash. She is getting better at restraint. “What are you asking.”


“Exactly what I said; does it feel like a lie?” Emma brings her cup to her lips and hisses when her cocoa is still too hot.


“I’ve come too far to live a life that isn’t mine, Emma.” Regina sighs and she just looks so tired today. “Why would I spend all this time living in another lie?”


Emma shrugs, “I don’t know.”


“I love my son, Emma. I love him every day, every moment. Do you understand what that’s like? To have him so close, close enough to hold, but I can’t,” her voice cracks and she’s quiet, so quiet, when she speaks again that Emma has to lean closer. “He’s still my world, he’ll always be my world. And my sun and my stars. But he doesn’t even know it.”


Roland looks up, sensing something is wrong, and even though Henry and Roland are too far away to hear, they can see.


Regina has one gloved hand covering her mouth and her shoulders curve forward and in. Her shoulders are shaking and fuck, Emma is an asshole. She reaches out with one hand, awkward and tentative, until it’s flat against Regina’s back. It stays there until Regina can breathe again, even if she hiccups with each inhale. Even if Roland’s tiny brow is furrowed and scared.


“They make me happy,” she whispers. “They make me so happy.”


Emma wants to die.


“They fight with me, for me, not against me.” She’s so open and her eyes are so clear and so dark and she smiles at Roland, to reassure him, to steady him, and he smiles back. “Just before we found Henry, in Neverland, I thought that’s maybe what we could have. That there was a family there for all of us. It felt like a promise, like a gift, and then it was gone as soon as it was there. I gave that to you when the curse, when -- I needed that for you, for him. But then, what about me?”


“I didn’t know,” Emma’s crying then too, and Henry looks up at her and she shakes her head. She watches him lead Roland further away and she can’t say it. She won’t. “I didn’t know you felt it too. I didn’t think you understood.”


“Oh, Emma,” the way she breathes Emma’s name, the way it sounds like drowning and coming home all at once. “Of course I understood.”




It’s three in the morning and Emma can’t sleep. She hasn’t slept. Not at all. Not since three days ago in the park. Not since family and understanding and together. Not since we could have fit together, ill-fitting pieces and all. She has her phone in her hands and she’s padding out into the hall, bare legs and a Gators sweatshirt. She dials without thinking and smashes the phone to her cheek as she paces.


“Is Henry alright?” Regina’s voice is heavy with sleep and Emma can hear Robin grumble in the background. But she doesn’t care, she can’t care.


“Can we talk?” she’s tugging at the drawstrings of her sweatshirt and she the wood floor creaks beneath her bare feet.


“Emma, it’s three in the morning.”


“I haven’t slept since Wednesday.” She takes a deep breath, tries not to let it hitch before she exhales long and slow, “I need, I just -- please.”


There is a pause, a rustling of sheets, and then Regina’s voice, “Fine. Bring coffee.”




Regina slips into the car, all warm wool and cashmere, and Emma feels underdressed in her sweats. She holds up a hand before Emma can open her mouth. “Coffee first.”


So Emma hands over a steaming styrofoam cup and brings both hands to the steering wheel. The drive is quiet and she can feel Regina’s eyes on her the whole way. She keeps her eyes front, ready and alert because there are fucking wolves in this town. Not because she can’t look at Regina, with no makeup and messy hair and soft lines of worry on her brow. Not because all she wants to do is tell Regina she loves her, not because she wants to run.


Even when the car is parked and they’re looking out at the harbor, she still can’t look. And she wishes she had the sense to bring something stronger than coffee.


“Why are we here, Emma?” Regina is looking out at the water, something like longing in her eyes.


Emma fidgets with the gear shift and the headlights before she finally speaks. “Do you ever feel what I feel?” Her jaw is tight and tense, and she’s not entirely sure if Regina is even listening. 


Regina sighs, half exasperation, half something like affection. “How could I even begin to know what you feel?”


Emma’s hands are still curled around the steering wheel, and it’s painful really when she meets Regina’s eyes. She looks away because those eyes, they burn and burn, and they see right through her.


“Did you love me too?”


She can’t stop the words, they’ve been at the tip of her tongue for three long days. They taste sweet but acrid, and feel like pins and needles on her tongue. She closes her eyes and her hands clench into fists against her thighs. Her heart is hammering in her ears and in her chest and she wishes for once Regina would reach inside and take it, force Emma to sit and stay down, to stay so far down. But she realizes she’s spoken aloud and it’s Regina’s turn to run.


“Little girls who play with fire get burned,” Regina whispers and she sounds so much like her mother that Emma shivers. “Little girls who play with fire get burned,” she says louder. And then she’s opening the door, stumbling out into the cold salty air. 


Emma follows, trips over herself, and the untied laces of her running shoes whip around her ankles. She follows until she’s close enough to reach out, to wrap her fingers around Regina’s wrist, to feel her pulse heavy and quick beneath her fingertips. And she holds on.


Please,” Regina looks as if she’s going to fall to her knees and weep. The wind whips her hair around her face, in her eyes, against her cheeks, and she tries to pull free.


“Stop,” Emma pleads, drops Regina’s wrist in favor of her face. Claps both hands against Regina’s cheeks and holds, “Stop.”


She surges forward and Regina stumbles backward, but their lips meet. Their lips meet and Regina’s hands grasp fistfuls of Emma’s sweatshirt, because she’s falling, stumbling forward, and Emma is solid and hard against her. Emma can’t breathe, can’t think, all she can do is kiss Regina. Again and again. Until they’re breathless and cold. Until Regina’s hands slip into the front pocket of Emma’s sweatshirt, and until Emma can wrap her arms around Regina’s shoulders. Until Regina’s face is flush against Emma’s neck and until everything is still and dizzy all at once.


“Of course I loved you, of course I do.”




The ride back is silent, they don’t talk about Henry, and they don’t talk about how many kisses Emma pressed to warm wet lips and how desperately Regina kissed back. The bedroom light is on when Emma pulls up to the house. Regina’s fingers have stayed clasped around the pendant against her chest and she’s biting her lip so hard Emma’s afraid the skin might break. 


“Wait,” she reaches out when Regina starts to move.


“Please don’t kiss me again,” her voice is small, pinched. “Please.” She’s breathless and beautiful in the moonlight. “I won’t put my family at risk. I can’t put myself at risk. I can’t. I can’t.


“But aren’t we your family too?” Emma can feel the pinching between her brows, the sharp sting of tears, and she grasps Regina’s hand in hers like a lifeline, like it’s the only thing she’s ever needed.


Regina pauses and the silence could stretch on for days.




“I don’t know, Emma. Sweet Emma, I don’t know.”


And then she’s wrenching her hand from Emma’s grip and slipping into the shadows. Emma doesn’t wait to watch, she drives. She drives and drives until she can see the town line, until she can stumble out of her car and into the cold crisp air. Until she can look out at the open road and feel something other than regret.




“We’re leaving.”


It’s been a week since she kissed Regina. Their bags are shoved into the back of the bug and this is their last stop. Their only stop.


Henry is slouching in the front seat, brooding and angry, and he gives a small smile through the window when he sees Regina. He lifts one hand in a half wave and Regina mirrors his action before turning to Emma.


Regina’s brow furrows in confusion, anger, and her voice comes out pinched, “You can’t just leave.”


“You know, I think we overstayed our welcome, Madam Mayor. We’re heading back home. Back to a place my kid remembers.” Emma’s hands are on her hips and she kicks at the curb. “We’re happier there.”


“And what about me?” Regina looks so lost, so helpless, and Emma almost feels guilty.


“You’re the one that sent us there in the first place,” Emma steps up onto the curb so they’re eye to eye. Emma glances back at Henry. He’s got her iPhone out now, and he’s swiping his thumb back and forth against the lockscreen.


“The thing I love most,” her voice is almost a hiss and her eyes are red and glassy.  “You tell him, Emma Swan. You tell him right now.”


“And lose him too?”


Regina gapes at her, steps closer, too close. Her fingers twitch at her sides and Emma would be sort of scared if not for Henry less than four feet away.


And it’s Henry that makes her brave. “This is a courtesy. One I didn’t give my parents so god fucking help me, Regina, don’t make me regret it.”


But regret it she does when Regina pushes past her to open the passenger door of the bug. She regrets it when Regina crouches down and takes Henry’s hand. When she’s pulling him close and whispering things Emma can’t hear, her lips against his temple. She regrets all of it when Henry looks up at her, eyes wide and disbelieving, as lost as he was when they found him amongst the bodies on the shores of Neverland. And when Regina’s finished, when she can no longer speak because her breath is coming too quickly, because she’s running out of ways to say I love you to a boy who thinks she’s a stranger, to beg for forgiveness, to beg for remembrance, she presses a kiss to Henry’s temple, to his forehead, to his cheeks, before she runs. Before she disentangles herself from his confused and crushing embrace and runs back toward the house.




They don’t talk, not at all. Emma drives and Henry sits beside her, hands shoved deep into the pockets of his hoodie. He looks out the window, watches the trees pass by in a blur of green, and every so often he sighs.


It isn’t until they stop somewhere in Massachusetts that either of them say anything at all. They’re sitting in the bug, in the parking lot of some highway diner, and Emma can’t stand the silence. She can’t stand it, because she’s only been trying to take care of the both of them. To be fair, not really, and to be fair, not well.


“I’m sorry.”


Henry doesn’t look at her, he’s looking out the window, but he shrugs, “You did what you thought you had to do.”


He is patient and forgiving, like no child should be so early on, and Emma feels it in her gut. In her squishy insides, because this is her baby, he is her gift. He should be selfish, more selfish than any human has any right to be, but he’s not, because he’s hers and he’s Regina’s and because he has the wealth of the world in his sweet sweet eyes.


“I want us to be home,” Emma sighs and pulls the keys from the ignition.


“Who is Regina?” Henry doesn’t move to open his door yet, not yet because now he needs answers.


The silence is deafening and Emma is sure he can hear the way her heart is beating faster and faster with every breath she takes because this is too big and too much and she keeps doing everything wrong with him. “I don’t think,” she starts, stops because it’s still all wrong. “I don’t think now is the time --”


“You haven’t wanted to talk about her since we set foot in Storybrooke, since that day at the diner that didn’t make sense. Who is she?”


“She’s,” she pauses and she tries to think but the only thing she can think is no and wrong. “She’s someone we used to know. Someone I used to know. Someone who cares very much about you.”


“Why does she care so much about me?” Henry looks up and it’s the first time he’s looked at her since they drove out of Storybrooke. Away from Regina and Robin and Emma’s parents and another curse.


Emma shoves her car keys into the pocket of her red jacket. She hunches forward, tries to think. She could tell the truth, once and for all, and risk whatever happens then. She could tell a half-truth, which will still feel like a complete untruth, and come up with the rest later and risk whatever happens next. She could lie, lie and lie and lie, and then she’s no better than the rest of them.


“Do you want to go home?” Emma’s hand is still wrapped tightly around her keys. Something in her jaw twitches. It’s a simple question, but not really. 


“Where is home?”


Home is with Henry. Home is always with Henry. But now, after Storybrooke, after the potion, after the witch, after Regina, nothing feels the same. None of it was real. This life, that home, they’re painted dreams. But Home is with Henry.


“Do you love her? Did I love her?” Henry is reaching across the console, reaching for her arm. And it’s almost like he feels it too, like he knows something’s been missing this whole time.


“Something like that,” Emma nods, flexes her fingers around her keys before she pulls her hand from her pocket, empty and cold, to take Henry’s hand in hers. “Yeah, kid. Something like that.”


Henry nods slowly in solemn understanding and squeezes her hand. And when he speaks, soft and dangerous (like Regina,) it sounds something like home, “You did what you had to do.”