Emma moves closer to the bathroom, source of the only light that shines in the house. She finds Regina there, standing in front of the mirror, transfixed. She sees Regina is wearing the same clothes as earlier, down to her blouse. There are spots of blood on the satin. The shirt is unbuttoned all the way, slightly parted, revealing the edge of two black cups and the swell of breast.
Regina’s look is drifting beyond the mirror, beyond the here and now, if Emma really thinks of it. The woman’s hands are slightly extended in front of her, flexed outward. It’s as if she’s keeping them at bay.
Concern grows in her chest, regret as well. Regina looks like a wounded animal. An eerie feeling crawls over the nape of Emma’s neck. She’s looking at a woman pushed to her last strand of sanity. A woman forced to her last bit of resilience. It hurts. It hurts to look upon this Regina. She wants the one she knows back. Even if it gets her a punch in the face.
Taking a couple of measured and cautious steps to the threshold, her heart is thundering in her chest. But nothing explodes. She stops, looking her over. Regina’s beauty is breathtaking, and Emma is holding hers. The grain of her skin, the curve of her collarbone draw her gaze. She can see the beat of Regina’s heart on the skin of her throat. Her eyes follow it to the teardrop of softer skin birthing her chest, cradling the fiercest of hearts. Emma swallows, and blinks, aware of the specs of blood she can see here and there with the shine of glass, caught in light and skin.
She is responsible for that, she knows. She threw Regina in the glass display at Gold’s pawn shop. There are a few deeper gashes, where it doesn’t seem she can reach them, her blouse is ripped and blood stained on the side and back. A flashback of holding a knife to Regina’s throat rushes to her mind and she looks up at the woman’s neck to find a thin fiery and reddish line. Brown hair falls undisciplined. Dark eyes are bloodshot.
Regina doesn’t bat an eyelash. Emma wonders if she’s even there. She takes another step into the bathroom. Her mouth opens to speak Regina’s name, but she stops.
Emma feels her eyes widen as recognition paints horror on her features. Regina revolves swiftly accompanied by an outward movement of her right arm and hand. As if to push her away from a distance, the arm thrown creates a spray of destruction in its path. The side of the sink breaks free. Water geysers from the faucet. The large mirror shatters in an array of large and small pieces. Shards fly everywhere, including to Regina’s face and upper body. Tile rips from the wall as Regina turns to face her. The glass door of the shower fractures with a loud crack, but Emma can’t register it fumbling on itself. She thinks of telling Regina to stop. She thinks of tackling her to the floor to avoid porcelain and glass from reaching her.
Words and movement are forgotten as Emma realizes she’s being lifted. She feels the aspiration of the magic blow. Then, along with porcelain, mirror shards, metal scraps, tile and suspended water, Emma crashes through the plaster and wood of the wall supporting the bathroom door frame. She lands hard on her side and rolls flat to her back in the master bedroom. The wind is knocked out of her lungs. Pressure fills her head, and a weird whistle stuffs her ears. It feels slightly like cabin pressurisation when a plane climbs in altitude, but much worse.
The pain hits finally. Emma sees spots and tries to blink them away. Just as slow as she saw her blow, Regina is on her in a blitz. She straddles her, hysterically pounding her with tight fists. The bounty hunter in her shifts into defense mode. She pushes Regina hard on her chest, destabilizing her backward as she grabs a wrist in each hand. Charging back, Regina pulls and yanks to no avail. She’s rolled over onto her back by Emma who tries to immobilize her long enough to figure out a way to stop this madness.
“Regina!” she grunts, struggling against Regina’s surprising strength. “Regina, stop! I am not here to hurt you.”
As she says it, it dawns on her that she is the one being attacked.
She tries again desperately looking for something to hold on to in Regina’s pitch dark eyes.
“What Snow did to your mother—“ It’s the wrong choice, Regina struggles all the more. Emma pushes back hard on her arms, bruising her, but immobilizing her once again. “Regina, please… Everything is completely fucked up, it has to stop!” Eloquence is not in Emma’s repertoire. Not often, not now.
She tries to put her weight on Regina’s chest, forcing her to listen. “I’m sorry, she was your mom and I’m sorry, okay?”
She thinks that maybe she got through, but is reminded that, no she didn’t, when a knee collides violently with her crotch.
Emma cries out in pain. Regina pulls free. She tumbles over Emma, laying her flat on her back and getting her hard in the stomach with an elbow. Emma recoils on herself, bringing her knees to her chest.
As she recovers, turning around slowly, she breathes out painfully. “Regina, I am not like them. We have to—“
Emma catches the flash of a mirror shard in Regina’s right hand. She’s bleeding profusely, as she lifts it toward Emma’s chest. Emma interrupts the attack with her bare hand, cutting herself on the sharp triangle of tinted glass. She struggles to hold her arm still. She manages to grab her other hand in hers and twists it.
The cry Emma hears from Regina is feral, of pain and rage. She loses her grip at Regina’s renewed fury. The back of her head hits the floor as Regina gets her solidly in the cheekbone.
The power of the blow resounds with a crack of bone and the dull thud of skull on wooden floor. She feels grateful, shortly, that her tongue wasn’t between her teeth when she notices a sliver of hesitation in Regina’s charge. She encloses her in her arms, Regina’s hands flat on her chest. Emma feels the tip of the glass slice at her skin but break off from the pressure.
Warm blood dampens her shirt and she knows Regina is bleeding, too. She has her pinned to her chest, her legs wrapped around hers. Still, Regina struggles and groans like a wild animal.
“Regina, listen to me!”
Muffled screams are hot against her breast.
“Stop, you have to stop.” She grunts against the strain of the effort. “I am not like them,” she repeats as gently as possible. “We can make it different. I won’t hurt you, I promise.” There’s all the care she can muster in her voice.
Regina thrashes and scratches fingernails in her skin through her ripped shirt. She bites her hard. Emma releases her instantly with a scream. Regina straddles Emma again. The shard of glass in her right hand plunges toward her belly.
Emma grabs at the hand with both of hers, but in her position, her hold is more than weak. It’s useless.
“Regina, please,” she begs. Her voice cracks. She searches for Regina’s eyes, but she’s looking down at her hands. She sees the shard reflecting the white skin of her abdomen.
“Regina, don’t do this!”
She can taste real fear now. She feels the cold of the glass and the pressure of it against her skin. She knows she is only slowing it down. She can’t push with her legs or she will stab herself. Regina won’t have to do it for her.
“Regina,” she whispers. Her skin rips and more blood pools. Regina is pushing, inexorably, against her hands. She’s oblivious to her own blood flowing down, her hands cut and mangled. The pain is blazing. The adrenaline is leaving Emma; it has been a long fight.
But the blankness in those eyes tells her Regina is no more. Only her suffering and rage. There’s no reason, no heart, nothing to hear her last pleas for life. Emma Swan falters. The glass enters her flesh swiftly, deeply.
“Henry…” Emma breathes it out, yielding. She wants to close her eyes. She wants it to be over. She realizes it might be.
Regina’s head snaps up. Emma meets her aghast eyes.
A gargling sound escapes her throat. The nauseating taste of copper hits her taste buds before the disgusting texture fills her mouth. Blood bubbles and spills out of her mouth, overflowing both corners. It runs down her neck, stains her blonde hair.
Regina’s frozen. Maybe it’s the contrast of red on gold. Maybe it’s the pain and tears fogging her eyes. Most likely it’s Henry.
Of all things, she should have known. She should have started with Henry. It might not have avoided the first blow, but it might have have avoided her dying.
Regina looks at Emma intently. She takes in the blood, the cuts, the shard of glass sticking out obscenely from the belly of her son’s birth-mother. She takes in Emma’s life as it’s fading away. Water blurs her vision. She focuses back to her green gaze. Emma offers her a soft smile of crimson teeth.
“Emma!” Regina gasps. She knows what the blood in her mouth means.
She’s killed the Savior.
“No.” Her hands fly to her mouth before she inspects them in surprise at the gutting pain. She is made aware of her own state. She is made aware of how far she’s gone.
Emma’s eyes flutter shut.
“No, no, no, no. No!”
She looks down between her thighs, for what to do, how to stop it. She extends a bloody, trembling hand and pulls the shard of glass out of Emma’s abdomen. Emma lifts off the floor with a cry of wrenching pain. Her hands fly to Regina’s chest, reaching for contact before she falls back with a dull thud.
She gently takes her hand in her left one, resting it atop her heart.
She finds her eyes once more, willing softness to pass between them. She needs Emma to understand. She needs her to allow what she’s about to do. She needs her to absorb it. She doesn’t really know how she’s going to manage. She has never done it on someone so close to the edge. This type of magic cannot come from anger or need. It has to be genuine. It has to mean something else.
Regina extends her right hand above Emma’s abdomen. She feels her own blood dripping down her palm. She knows it’s falling off in Emma’s wound. She thinks of it as an exchange. She’s giving Emme life, her life. Regina’s eyes are closed. She conjures Henry’s face in her mind. She lets him fill her with his smile, the softness of his hair, the adoration in his eyes when, she thinks, he used to love her still. She allows herself to find the similarities between the son she adores above all else and his infuriating mother.
Regina’s hand settles delicately on Emma’s torn flesh. She feels the warmth and the sickening wetness. The scent of blood is strong in the air. It’s attached to her palate. In her mind she sees Henry and Emma together. The love the Savior fiercely harbors for the Evil Queen’s child. She sees the delighted smile on Henry’s lips. She has seen the same smile on Emma’s lips.
The glow and warmth she feels tell her that she is healing Emma. It’s weak. It’s too slow. She focuses harder. She sees Henry asking her to protect his birth-mother. She sees Emma pushing her out of the wraith’s path. She sees Emma thanking her after climbing out of the well, and running after her when she left the welcome back party. She frowns when her mother enters her thoughts. Snow telling her Mother couldn’t love her without her heart.
Regina struggles against the undermining thoughts. She hears Mother telling her that she would have been enough. Her eyes are burning and she thinks she might lose all focus. She shakes her head.
Emma’s hand moves in her own. Regina’s eyes fly open in an unvoiced gasp as she feels that hand spread and press gently at her heart. Regina’s eyes lock onto Emma’s, incapable of escaping the palette of feelings clawing at her.
Emma’s other hand lifts shakily to the one on her belly and covers it. Magic links them. It vibrates through them finding its way inside, transparent conduit feeding off of the emotions they share, regardless of what they do or could ever mean. Regina feels Emma inside of her. She feels the strength of the essence of Emma Swan. She feels the fire of Emma’s light course through her. It washes over her, filling every gap, every sore and crevice. She feels herself recoil from the sheer ache and desire for what Emma pours into her with so much ease. It swirls and coats, it envelops her as it searches for that place where Regina knows she doesn’t hate Emma. She never has.
It’s relinquished, and she is conquered without a word.
Emma’s magic flows inside of her and Regina guides it. She articulates it into healing, but the magic is so strong, there is no reining it in or sparing her any unnecessary effort. She knows Emma’s wounds are healed. She can tell hers are being healed as well, and maybe it isn’t abundance. Maybe it’s Emma’s will.
She opens her eyes slowly. She takes in the magic between them, the shredded clothes, their hands intertwined on her heart and between her legs. She looks at Emma. Emma doesn’t move. She doesn’t blink. She hopes.
The magic flow wanes, leaving a wake of prickling explosions inside both of them, the dying sparks of fireworks falling back from their high.
Regina feels the intensity of the magic leave her. All that remains is a dreadfully cold emptiness. Suddenly, as aflame as she had been while healing the Savior, she can only feel the deadly blow of the aftershock. Silence washes over her. Then the thud of her beating heart. Then everything throbs and spasms attack her.
She can’t decide if she is going to heave or faint. She’s being trampled by another horde of hurt. She can’t do anything. She doesn’t know how much more she can contain. She crumbles all at once. She’s not sure how, but she falls. All she can see are Emma’s eyes looking at her. Time catches up to her and she feels skin against hers, arms around her. Regina hears words being whispered.
Emma catches Regina around her waist mid-way as she falls into her chest. The sobs explode from the small body, shaking her uncontrollably. She presses Regina’s face to her chest gently. Fingers grab at the remnants of her shirt. She delicately wraps her arms around her. She allows their bodies to lie down, cautiously. Regina lets her.
“I’ve got you now.” Emma whispers against the skin and hair she is caressing.
She presses soft kisses to Regina’s temple and forehead. It should be strange and awkward, she thinks. All it is, instead, is right. There is a relief to holding Regina that she would never have suspected.
There is possessiveness in Emma’s left arm encircling her waist. There is a fierceness as she pulls Regina, still straddling her, firmly into her body.
Emma waits patiently. She consoles and comforts. Regina sobs a long time. It’s heartbreaking. It’s much more than she’d ever thought her capable of. Then sobs turn to crying. Silent tears dampen Emma’s skin. She feels her eyelashes graze her skin sometimes when she breathes deeper. Regina’s ear is on her heart, so Emma tries to keep it steady. She strokes her hair. She enjoys the delicate softness and the taste of her skin where her lips are touching Regina’s forehead.
“No more.” Emma whispers into her ear. “No more blood between us.”
Emma wraps her arms completely around Regina once again. She adjusts Regina in her arms and Regina’s legs relax along and between hers. Emma soothes circles on her back. She closes her eyes, seeking calm in the warmth of the woman resting into her. Regina breathes softly now. Emma can feel her breath hitch at times in between a sigh and a shudder. She remembers that’s how it’s like sometimes, when you’ve cried all you have. The heart is still heavy, you just can’t spare one more tear.
“I won’t allow you to be hurt this way ever again. I promise.”
Emma says it with a calm determination. She means it.
She feels Regina hoist herself above her chest. Emma unfolds her arms to allow it smoothly. Regina’s hair is falling on both sides of her face as she looks into her eyes intently. Emma, still laying down, lifts both her hands to gently tuck the hair in at Regina’s ears, much like she would do herself. With her thumb, she catches a lingering tear trapped in the dried salty path of all the others Regina has shed.
She’s quiet. She allows Regina to look at her as she tries to identify the conflicting emotions battling on the brown canvas. She thinks for a moment that she shouldn’t have made a promise she might not be prepared to pay the price for. She’s been stabbed to death, or nearly death, if not for magic. Magic that lingers as an aftertaste in her mouth. She feels Regina’s essence within herself. She feels a warm buzz coursing through her veins, tingling in her fingers, her lips, even her eyelids, and gathering in her chest under Regina’s hands.
It’s not clear. It’s not simple. It’s not even a relief.
Emma has no idea how to begin helping Regina. How to go about it. It didn’t really start off so well anyway. She would sigh, but she’s still holding the most incredibly beautiful and shattered woman she’s ever laid eyes upon in her arms.
It’s Regina who Emma needs to save. It makes sense. She just needs for the rest of Storybrooke to get it. And the Evil Queen too. Preferably before anyone else dies.
Maybe it’s the Savior inside of her. Maybe it’s Emma being Emma. She feels the need to move, to go and fix. She needs to start with Mar—Snow, and David, too. She must talk to Henry, for as much as she dreads it.
Emma gently sits upright. She feels Regina kneeling against her legs as she still has her arms around her waist. Emma doesn’t let go, gathering her legs underneath herself. She lifts both of them to stand. Regina trembles; she presses her hands flat to Emma’s chest, trying to gain her bearings. Emma waits for her to steady against her.
“Come,” she says softly, “let’s sit you down for a minute.”
Emma motions to guide Regina toward her bed, but as she initiates movement she feels Regina’s resistance.
Her voice is hoarse and raspy when she protests, “I do not need to sit, Miss Swan.” Regina pushes against Emma to free herself from her embrace.
She releases the stubborn woman only to catch her again as Regina sways dangerously. She wants to tell her that when you kill someone, it creates a sort of intimacy. At least enough for her to be called something else than ‘Miss Swan.’
Even if she was only almost killed.
Wordlessly, she walks them both to her bed. Emma sits by Regina in silence. She surveys her, trying to assess if she still suffers any injuries. There’s no more fresh blood that she can see. Regina’s skin is fiery red in most places. Lines in flesh looking like freshly healed scars appear on certain spots, like the woman’s hands where her cuts must have been the most severe. Emma tears herself from her inspection to follow Regina’s gaze around the room.
The neat and fashionably decorated bedroom reminds her of a war zone. It looks ravaged, as if a grenade detonated in the bathroom and tore the place apart. Half the wall separating the two rooms is crumbling. She can hear water running and see it invade the bedroom in waves.
“I should find your water shut-off valve.” Emma stands, looking at Regina for directions.
Regina shakes her head lightly. “There is no need.” She looks up at her. “The damage is done.”
“Yeah,” she’s aware of the double meaning to Regina’s words, “but we should still try to fix it.”
Regina gives a turn of her wrist, efficiently silencing the running water.
“Fixed.” Regina throws it coldly. She seems exasperated, Emma decides on the term, feeling somewhat disappointed and very tired.
Emma gives herself a quick once-over and realizes she looks like she has gone through a paper shredder. She sees the same fiery lines and patches on her pale skin. Regina is studying her.
Suddenly, Regina’s fingertips lightly brush the skin of her abdomen. She lingers then caresses the reminder of where she stabbed her with the back of her fingers.
Emma is holding her breath. Her stomach flutters at Regina’s soft and gentle touch. She can’t help but shiver. Her mouth waters, assailed by Regina’s unique flavor. Emma swallows. Regina lays her hand flat against Emma’s abdomen, while her left one tightens in a fist, punching her thigh. She closes her eyes. A deep frown of pain contorts her features as she casts her head down.
Worry floods Emma with the need to comfort her. She places her hand above Regina’s on her belly.
“It’ll get better,” Emma says.
It’s a bit lame, she scolds herself. She was never good at comforting people. She has never been good at people. Except for finding them. Except for figuring out when they’re lying.
Regina bites her lower lip. She is fighting to regain composure. Any sort of composure really.
“Henry,” she swallows a dry sob, “Henry will never forgive me for what I have done to you.”
Emma’s mind races in all directions. She tries to think of the right words to explain to Regina that the kid will come around. She wishes for Regina to trust her, but she has no illusions. You’d think her still standing here comforting her would be self-explanatory.
“Henry loves you. You’re his mother. We’ll find a way to fix it.” Emma tries to sound convincing.
There is a lot of things to be fixed going around. A lot of faith to be had. She knows enough of Regina to know faith isn’t her forte. It isn’t hers, either.
Regina removes her hand from Emma’s abdomen. She balls it like her other one and rests it on her other thigh. She turns her head from her, backing away from the proximity. Emma knows that Regina wants to be alone; she’s just not certain if she should be.
She ponders that for a moment, feeling the loss of Regina’s hand on her skin. That and the intense tingling their magic creates inside of her. She knows she wants to keep an eye on Regina, but she’s also wary of the idea of facing her parents. Of facing Henry. There is another world of trouble waiting for her outside of the mayoral mansion. It’s not that the mess laying at her feet and sitting in front of her feels that much more welcoming. The connection Emma feels to Regina has taken on a whole new sense, a new dimension.
It’s a lot to take in and she needs to clear her head. She also needs to keep at bay her desire to run away from it all.
“I should go,” she says, immobile.
Regina doesn’t move. She only nods. Emma’s entire body vibrates with the need to touch her and the hesitancy to do so. She finally walks to the bedroom door, her steps crunching on the debris. She feels Regina’s eyes on her back. She turns around swiftly and catches her gaze.
“Be gentle to yourself, please?” she asks almost shyly. “I’ll be back.”
With that, she walks out and down the stairs, then to the front door. The air is brisk and salty, but it feels good to her lungs. Emma inhales a deep breath and takes off in the cold.