In this beginning, a war is waged.
People fall either side, as they must: with or against. There can be no in between. Those who linger get caught in the crossfire. They are the ones who burn the fastest.
It’s hard to predict who will follow Emma, prophecy or no prophecy. Regina is a useful ally—her power is the closest they’ve got to matching Rumpelstiltskin’s—but her crimes are too fresh in everyone’s memory, and she proves just as much a burden as a service.
“Perhaps it would be wise to distance ourselves from her,” James suggests to the Council when they still meet at the Town Hall, speaking as he and Snow always do: as though Regina is not there.
Regina’s gaze has been fixed steadily on her own lap. It’s not a nervous gesture, but one of disinterest. She knows as well as Emma does: “That was never an option.”
She raises her chin, peers down her nose at Emma with heavy lids when she hears her speak, lips pressed tightly together. Emma’s eyes meet hers. She can never be her father’s daughter, can never ignore the woman who has shaped her life, from the rickety cradle of her nineteen-eighties children’s home to the grave that this war will most likely lead her.
Since all beginnings, they have been bound.