This time, Regina didn't mind the cell. She imagined it was like losing your sense of smell, and subsequently your appetite for foods you once loved. Without smell, an apple may taste no different from a raw potato; without Henry, it didn't matter where she survived each day, as she was no longer really alive.
The pain, the anger, it was all so much worse than with Daniel. This time, there was no target of her fury, except herself. This was the price of her anger. It had been close to a year since they had been sent back and eleven months since Regina was imprisoned with nothing but her memories and her regret.
"Regina?" Snow's warm voice pricked every hair on the back of her neck. Her eyes fell on Snow turning the corner to her cell. Regina had begged her months ago to just kill her, but the Charmings had refused. Instead, Snow was the one who brought her meals and sat with her while she ate.
Snow was pregnant with her second child and her impending maternity, or perhaps the second loss of her firstborn, had seemingly left her longing for a relationship with her step-mother. If the end of the curse and the loss of her family was not enough, having Snow's attention certainly should have pushed her over the edge.
"I have your dinner." She gently pushed the tray between the bars, the soup sloshing over the sides of the wooden bowl and onto the dirt floor anyway. Regina sighed but reached forward to the cup of tea she was being offered.
She sipped at it immediately, though it burned her tongue and the roof of her mouth. Snow, oblivious to her discomfort and dissatisfaction, sat down in the small wooden chair on the other side of the bars, smiling.
Her eyes fell to the abandoned soup and bread on the ground. "While you are eating, I was hoping we c--"
"I'm not hungry," she interrupted. "You may go."
"You haven't eaten in days, Regina."
"Really, days? It is so considerate of you to keep track of my dining habits. You and Charming really go above and beyond for your prisoners." Regina kicked the edge of the tray with her toe, knocking the rest of the soup from the bowl and coating the bread with dust. She raised her eyes to Snow's, sneering. "Is there something more, dear?"
"No, I guess not."
"Then get out of my sight."
Snow sat in the chair, silently reading. Regina lay still on her mattress of straw, stared at the wall and pretended to not know she was there.
"Will you tell me about Emma?"
Regina was lying on her back. She had counted the stones in the ceiling four times over since Snow had started to come and sit by her cell. Today was the first time she'd spoken to Regina since Regina stopped eating. Today was the first time Regina acknowledged her presence by looking at her. A darkness washed over her face at Snow's hopeful expression.
"She's my daughter. If you really have a son, you should understand."
She sat up, gingerly. The head rush was immediate and she reached for the tea Snow had brought in and left on the floor beside her. It had long gone cold, but it was something she could hold in her hands.
"What do you want to know?"
"Everything," Snow gushed. "What does she look like? What is her life like? Is she happy? Does she remember me? Does she know that I love her?"
Regina's heart clenched. She knew she would ask the same questions about Henry if the roles were reversed. In retrospect, she hadn't needed to curse an entire population to hurt Snow; she had only had to take her daughter away and leave her wondering what could have been.
She put the teacup back on the floor and stood, walking slowly over to the bars that separated them. She gripped the metal in fists and sneered. She opened her mouth to tell her that Snow didn't exist for Emma and never would. But the cuff on her wrist reminded her why she was there and why Snow was asking such questions.
Instead, she lowered her eyes, turned, and walked until she was swallowed by the shadows of her cell. She could feel Snow's eyes boring into the back of her head, hopeful for anything.
Regina didn't move until she heard the soft footfalls of Snow walking away.