don’t let me forget you again
“What do you mean, ma?”
You look away from your son, because dammit, this isn’t going to be easy. Your heart is in your throat, your palms are sweating, and if your stomach falls into further into your ass, you’re gonna die. “Kid, your mom is… She’s…”
“She’s not going to remember you at all, mate.”
You turn and backhand Killian across the stomach. “What the hell?” You hiss, because seriously, what the hell?!
“What does he mean, ma?”
You turn towards Henry and put your hands on his shoulders. He’s so much taller than he was a year ago and he’s so much more mature, but dammit, he’s still a kid. “She has amnesia. She was protecting Elsa and…” Henry looks into your eyes and you can see the tears and it is breaking your heart. “She doesn’t remember anyone right now.”
“Not even me?” He chokes out the question and you almost lose it yourself.
“No, not even you, kid.” You place your hand on his cheek and wipe away a tear that has escaped. “She’s at home now, though. And we are going to have to stay there, because she’s very uncomfortable and Dr. Whale thinks she might wander.”
“Wander where?” Henry asks.
“You’re staying with the Queen, love?” Killian asks over Henry’s question.
You glare over your shoulder at Killian and then look back at Henry. “Well, she doesn’t really know where she’s at…”
“Does she think she’s the queen again? Ma? You have to tell me. Does she think she’s the evil queen again?” Henry’s rapidly deepening voice cracks at the words evil and again and you almost can’t respond.
“Henry, calm down.” You smooth your hands over his shoulders again. “No, she doesn’t think she’s evil again. It’s okay. She’s just confused and scared and I think we can help her.”
“So, go grab my bag out of my room,” you instruct Henry with a calm voice and smile. When he’s out of earshot you spin around and smack Killian on the arm. He winces, but you don’t care. “You cannot do that!”
“Do what?” he hisses rubbing his arm with his good hand.
“That!” You gesture to him.
“You just gestured to all of me!”
“Exactly!” You storm away from him and walk into the kitchenette in your apartment. “I cannot have you questioning everything I’m doing. My mom and dad suggested this. I am not going to go against their wishes. They think it would be a good idea to stay with Regina, because…” You place both hands on the countertop and take a deep breath. “Well, I mean, she has no one right now. Just Henry. And I guess me? And I don’t want her to hurt herself.”
“Where would you like me to stay?” He asks.
“Wherever you want,” you respond and it comes off kind of bitchy, but really? Is this the most important question he could ask right now? Does it really fucking matter where he stays? Regina almost dies and he wants to know where you want him to stay. It’s ridiculous and you have no patience for his neediness right now.
“Okay, milady,” he says softly, walking towards you, his boots scraping against the wood floor.
You keep your head down but raise your eyes to look at him and he’s clearly upset, but God, you don’t want to deal with this right now. “Killian,” you half whine, half whisper, but you honestly can’t even begin to describe how much you do not want to deal right now.
“Just don’t… Okay? Just let us leave and I’ll let you know how things are going. Okay?”
“Can I come visit you?”
“No, not now. I’ll let you know.” You push off the counter and fold your arms across your chest. “It’s going to be confusing enough… I’m not sure… yeah.”
“That a pirate will help things?”
You shrug your shoulders and then scrunch your face. “I’m really sorry,” you say quietly.
“Okay, ma, I’m ready.”
You watch Henry come into the kitchenette and bob on his toes a little. “Let’s go then, kid.”
“Emma?” Killian says as you walk by and he latches onto the crook of your arm, at your elbow, and squeezes. “Don’t… don’t do anything stupid.”
You narrow your eyes at him and shake your head slightly. “You’re being ridiculous.”
You lean in and place a kiss on his cheek. “Yes. Text me where you land.”
“You know I can’t text very well,” he says, raising his hand and hook in the air.
“Use Siri,” you say, a smirk on your lips and a playful tone in your voice. You say your goodbye and then put an arm around Henry as the two of you exit the apartment.
“She’s okay, right?” Henry asks as you two trot down the steps to the street.
“She will be, kid.” You give him a small smile as you walk onto the street and towards the bug. She better be…
You open the door to 108 Mifflin and you feel the air in your lungs tighten. You saw her in the hospital and it wasn’t awful, but it wasn’t good by any stretch of the imagination. And now Henry…
“Kid?” You say as you close the door behind you. He turns around and faces you, holding his pillow and backpack in front of his body. “So, during the battle…”
“I know,” Henry responds before you say anything.
“I saw it happen, ma. I saw… I saw those men try and break through her forcefield. And how she stopped them.”
“Henry,” you whisper. You can hardly breathe, because you saw it, too, and you know how Regina looked and you saw the way she collapsed afterwards and it literally makes your entire body ache to imagine him seeing what you saw.
“I saw it. She’s a hero and I saw it… Again.” Henry looks down at the ground and then back up at you. “I know how to handle it, ma. I promise.”
He’s such a good kid. He really is. But in this moment? He might be the best kid that you’ve ever known or will ever know and it makes your heart hurt with emotion. “Okay,” you whisper. “Let’s go see her then.”
You follow him up the stairs to the bedrooms. He stops at his room first and deposits his pillow and backpack inside the door and then continues on towards Regina’s. The door is cracked open and you can see Snow sitting on the edge of the bed. She’s saying something… something about it’s not your fault and I know you don’t remember, but we’ll help you, I promise.
Henry stops at the door, places his hand on the wood to push it open but then looks back at you, seeking your approval. You smile, nod and then he pushes lightly, the door swinging open. Your mom looks up at you both, offers a smile and then looks at Regina before saying, “It’s Henry and Emma.”
Regina sits a little more upright in bed and then looks over at Henry first. Her eyes fill with tears and she places a hand over her mouth when he approaches her. “Hi, mom,” he says softly when he reaches the bed, stretching a hand out to lay on her free hand and then smiling. “You look good,” he lies.
Because she looks awful. Dark circles, a bruise along her jawline, her hair is pulled back into a ponytail and she looks so not like Regina that it’s a wonder you aren’t losing your mind right now. Regardless of what has happened between the two of you, you could always count on her red lips and her dark eyes and the way her make-up was flawless and her hair was never messy.
“Henry?” Regina asks. And he nods, taking her other hand in his. “I’m sorry that I don’t remember you,” she explains. “I’m so sorry.”
He sits down on the bed in the spot where your mom was sitting and chuckles. “It’s okay, mom. It just means you don’t remember that I forgot to clean my room last weekend.”
She smiles at him. A smile that fills her whole face and her eyes and for the briefest of moments it feels like she’s back. “Don’t tattle on yourself, kid. Didn’t I teach you anything?” You comment, chuckling after your question, pushing your hands into the back pocket of your jeans and leaning against the doorframe. Regina looks over at you, your eyes locking, and it is so familiar it gives you hope that she’s a lot closer to the surface than expected.
“Emma?” Regina asks, a smile ticking at the corner of her mouth. “I don’t know how I could have ever forgotten either of you,” she whispers. Your heart lodges itself into your throat and… wow… that was a lot nicer than anything Regina has ever said to you.
Your mom looks at you from her standing position next to the bed. No, it’s not just a glance. It’s a look. Her eyes are knowing and she tilts her head in that same Snow White tilt to which you have grown so accustomed. She senses it, too.
“Hi,” you finally say, and there’s no way you could hide the smile that’s playing on your lips because wow, if this is how it’s going to be then damn, this might kind of be nice. You’re kind of ashamed to admit that a memoryless Regina might be an okay thing… “I’m sure you’ll end up remembering soon enough why you can’t stan-”
“Emma,” your mom cuts you off. “I think you should just keep those comments to yourself.”
Henry raises his eyebrows and glances between you and your mom and before you know it, he’s launching into a story about Regina and him and when he was smaller and how she used to get so upset with him for climbing into the empty cabinet in the linen closet because what if she couldn’t find him? Regina is smiling, her eyes look so happy, and for the first time since you accidentally brought back Elsa and Anna and Kristoff and that damn Olaf, you feel like maybe she’ll start liking you again.
Even if the main reason she was angry with you was because you ruined her relationship with Robin.
Who can blame you for not being all that upset about it, though? He was a thief. And a horrible marksman, and not even that cute. You’ll never understand why she was so angry with you.
Besides the fact that it broke her heart.
But whatever. You fixed it, right? Didn’t you?
And she said… She said it wasn’t Marian that ruined things. She told you that… Or at least started the story that day in the park for the Storybrooke Spring Fling. She never finished that story, of course, and now you might never know, which frustrates you to no end.
You look up at your mom who is now standing next to you, her hand on you arm. “Let’s go make some tea for Regina.”
You catch Henry’s eyes and then depart, leaving him with Regina, hearing him talking and Regina laughing the entire way to the kitchen.
When you wake up on the couch around 2 am, your back is hurting and your head is killing you and your entire body feels like it’s been beat up. A stretch and a yawn later you're raising to your feet and you hear a gentle throat clearing. You snap your head toward the sound and grab at your chest. "Jesus," you hiss, seeing Regina wrapped in a blanket on the chair.
"I'm sorry," she says softly, holding her hand out towards you. "I didn't mean to startle you."
You plop back onto the couch and take a deep breath. "It's okay," you mumble. "I just didn't realize you were down here."
"I couldn't sleep," she says with a sigh. "I can't shut my brain off, which is strange considering I cannot really remember much."
You look over at Regina, her dark hair has fallen out of the ponytail and even though it's obvious that she's tired, she looks much calmer than she did earlier. "Do you remember anything?"
Regina sighs, closes her eyes as she leans her head back against the chair. "I remember nothing of this place. I remember the forest... Rumplestiltskin... My mother... Snow White...."
You feel your breath catch. "So you want to kill her still?"
Regina opens her eyes, raises her eyebrows, and says, "No... Actually."
"That is weird," you comment. You run your fingers through your hair and look at the floor. "Are you, y’know..."
You look up at her through the veil of your hair. "Yeah," you whisper.
"I'm happy, Emma," she says with a smile that you aren't sure if you've ever seen from her. "And when I was evil?" She pauses and leans forward, pulls a deep breath into her lungs and then exhales slowly. "Let's just say I was never happy."
You feel your hands stop shaking and it makes you wonder what happened to her and why did it happen and when and was this just her path? "I'm glad you're happy now," you manage to say even though your mind is running so fast you aren't really sure how to keep up.
It's still so weird when she calls you Emma that it sort of, just a little, makes you nervous - in that holy shit kind ofway. "What's up?" You ask, clasping your hands together to stop them from fidgeting.
"Did we hate each other?"
You laugh. Yes. You actually laugh. Because it's so blunt and so Regina that it is crazy to know she doesn't remember anything.
"What's so funny?" She asks, her brow furrowed.
"Nothing," you finally say, after composing yourself. "Nothing at all. I just," you stop and lean back, rub your temples and then glance over at her. "Yeah, I think we did. At one time."
"Well, Henry he was taken..."
You smile. "He told you?"
"We had a very nice conversation upstairs. He told me more than I imagined he would." Regina stands up, unsteady on her feet and makes her way over to you. When she sits down, she slumps against the back of the couch and lets out a ragged breath. "He told me he thinks you are in love with a pirate. Is this true?"
Another small laugh escapes your throat and you look over at her. The way she's leaning makes her face a lot closer than you've ever been to her in this type of setting and really? It's so very comfortable. "I'm not in love. I don’t know… I mean, he’s good company some times. Especially because… I don’t know. You know, you said once that I was yearning for him... And that I had doe eyes."
"I'm sure I wasn't sugar coating anything even then," Regina says so softly. "Was I in love?
"Yeah, I guess so," you answer. "Robin Hood.”
“Of course,” Regina whispers. “Couldn’t love someone normal, could I?”
“You loved Daniel.”
“That is true.”
“You love Henry.”
Regina smiles and looks away from you. She’s looking at the TV and even though the sound is so low, it’s almost as if she’s actually enjoying the rerun of The Golden Girls. “I think I was in love with someone else.”
“Well, if you did, I didn’t know who it was,” you explain, still watching her as she watches the TV show. Blanche is talking to Rose at the dinner table and you love this episode, but it’s not the right time to interrupt with a sidesplitting episode of a sit-com. She looks over at you, her dark eyes sad. “We didn’t talk all that much about love… or life… or anything really.”
“I feel like I know that,” she whispers. “But I think…” She pauses and a small smile displays on her lips. “I don’t know. It must just be a fleeting memory.”
“I’m sure you’re tired,” you say, leaning forward and grabbing the remote control for the TV. “Let’s go to bed.” You stand and hold out your hand for her. She examines you hand at first before she takes it, but as her skin touches yours, that familiar feeling of her magic mixing with yours sparks and her eyes light up. “You okay?” You ask, because her face looks like she has just seen a ghost.
“Is that… Is that our magic?”
You let out a puff of air and laugh. “Yeah, that’s… yeah, you’ll get used to it.”
“That happens every time we touch.”
Regina squeezes your hand. “No, that wasn’t a question. That happens every time we touch. I remember that.”
You pull gently on her hand and she stands up. “Regina, really? You remember that?”
When she smiles at you, it’s so genuine that you aren’t sure if you should hug her or kiss her or just pat her on the arm. How do you handle this kind of revelation?
“Emma, thank you,” she whispers, squeezing your hand again.
“You’re welcome,” you reply, pulling on her gently as you take a few steps in the direction of the stairs. “Bed. Come on. You need your rest.”
One week later and you’re about 95% sure Regina’s memory is returning at a startling pace. She has helped Henry fill in the blanks for most of her years with him, including when she picked him up in Boston, which turned out to be a wonderful story you probably would have never heard otherwise.
Your favorite memory so far is when he climbed her apple tree when he was 6 and almost fell. He had broken three branches, though, and needless to say, Regina had not been happy.
The craziest part about hearing all of these memories, though, is when you realize that these memories? They aren’t just Regina’s and Henry’s.
They’re yours, too.
Which means that when Regina stood there in the middle of the street and gave you a good life and a happy life…
You sit on the floor of the living room watching Regina laughing with Henry, his flamboyant arm movements while he tells a story about living in New York City for the year… It’s not until Regina looks at you do you realize you’re crying.
“I’m good,” you say quickly, wiping your tears away. “I’m good. Don’t worry about it.”
“Ma, what’s going on?”
“Henry, I’m good, I promise.” You smile while you’re standing up and taking steps towards the kitchen. “I’m going to get something to drink. Do either of you need something?” You don’t hear an answer, but you hear Regina getting up from the couch and Henry’s voice asking if she’s okay and her shushing him and saying she’s fine. You walk into the kitchen and open the freezer and feel the cold air rush into your body. Your head is throbbing and your heart is beating like a bass drum and fuckshitdamn what the hell….?
“Emma?” Regina asks as she enters the kitchen. “Emma, honey, close the freezer. You’re wasting energy.”
“Don’t call me honey,” you say into the cold air. “Please.” You feel Regina’s hand land on your arm and all you can do is look down at it. The tingling is there, the flash of your pupils and the taste of apples in your mouth. “Regina.”
“Close the freezer.”
You listen to her, close the door and look at her. “You remember, don’t you?”
“I am remembering, yes.”
“You remember, though.”
“Yes,” Regina admits. “I remember… But… I don’t remember everything.”
“What is happening?”
“I remember our relationship very differently, Emma,” Regina says as she moves her hand down to intertwine her fingers with yours.
“What are you saying?” You ask, your voice trembling.
Regina smiles, looks down at your hand and then back up at you. “Do you remember the mine? The trigger? What were you going to say to me?”
You feel your throat tighten and your eyes fill immediately with tears. “Regina,” you whisper.
“Tell me. Please.”
“How do you remember that?” She raises her eyebrows at your question and you feel the tears start to fall from your eyes. “I was going to say…” you take a deep breath, let it out shakily, “Regina, I am sorry… and I’ll miss you.”
Regina closes her eyes. “I saw us together.”
“What are you talking about?”
“When I collapsed… with the spell… and Rumple and Pan and… I saw us together.”
Your breath catches in your throat and you squeeze your eyes shut. What the hell is going on? “Regina,” you squeeze out. “I am… what are you… Why?”
“I don’t know, Emma,” she breathes out and you feel her take a step closer to you. “I don’t know.”
When you open your eyes, she’s standing so close to you, her height difference so apparent when she’s not in heels and you’re not in boots. Her eyes are pleading with you. For the first time in forty forevers you feel your life start making sense and it is scaring the fucking shit out of you. “I just…”
“Henry told me… That he always wanted us together. You know that right?”
“Yes,” Regina smiles, brings her free hand up to wipe stray tears from your cheek. “And I told him you’re in love with a pirate.”
You let out a laugh and that’s when you let go of everything, lean forward and kiss her. You kiss her like you’ve wanted to do for years. You kiss her like you never thought it’d happen. You kiss her like your life depends on it. You kiss her like you’ve never kissed anyone else before.
You hear her moan into the kiss, feel her grab onto your bottom lip with her teeth and push her hands into your hair. “Emma?” she whispers against your lips before you move to kiss her chin and the fading bruise along her jawline.
“You’re the one I’m in love with,” she says so quietly that you almost don’t hear it.
You stop kissing her and pull back to look into her eyes. “Regina…”
“I’ve loved you since you saved Henry in the mine, since you saved me in the fire, since you came back for me with the trigger… I just… I didn’t know it until I forgot you.” She smiles and then takes a deep breath when you reach forward and cup her cheek with your hand. “I’m so sorry.”
“I’m not in love with a pirate, Regina,” you whisper. “I never have been…”
She tilts her head, raises an eyebrow before saying, “Then stay forever. Don’t let me forget you again.”
“You’ll never remember anything else,” you say as you lean in and place your lips on hers again. And again. And again.