Regina retrieved the map pieces from her pocket and held them out. “Try again.”
The sun bathed the blonde in golden light when their hands touched and Emma took the map parchments.
Green eyes were bewildered, wary. “Regina? How? It’s still blank.”
"How did you reveal it before?"
Emma sighed. “Acknowledging I’m an orphan.”
Regina nodded but felt her heart sink. “But you have your parents.”
Emma sat down on the shore of the water, digging her fingers through the sandy loam. “I grew up without real parents. It’s not like flipping a switch. I tried to explain that to Mary Marg— Snow. I can’t make myself feel things I just don’t.”
Regina settled onto a boulder nearby. She looked at the blank parchment Emma kept turning over and over in her hands.
"Having parents isn’t the key to a perfect life either," she said, thinking about her mother, who she had always tried so hard to please, but only saw Regina as a means to her own ends. Then there had been her father, so loving only to never make a stand on her behalf.
Emma lay back onto the dirt, staring up at the sky. “Yeah.”
Regina could feel inertia trying to settle in. Reluctantly she straightened. Reaching out for the parchment laying by Emma’s hand, she ran her fingers over the pieces, smoothing them out. Tendrils of her magic coalesced at her fingertips, swirling against the surface. “I think you could repair it,” Regina said.
Rolling onto her side to face Regina, Emma reached out with a tentative hand, brow furrowing. “But I already admitted to myself that’s how I feel.”
She was captured then by Emma’s searching look. “What else are you denying about yourself, Emma?”
"Savior didn’t work before, Regina."
"Because you’ve accepted that." Regina knew her voice was melancholy. This woman was the only chance to find Henry. "You finally believed because of Henry’s faith in you." She inhaled and then exhaled slow. "Henry’s faith can make you strong enough again, Emma. You’re his mother."
Regina was entranced by the movement of Emma’s mouth. Green gaze caressed her face, and the gentlest voice caressed her ears. “So are you, Regina.”
Both their hands were on the parchment pieces when Emma spoke. Suddenly the crumpled halves glowed gold and lavender, uncurling. The edges knitted themselves together before both women’s eyes, and through the golden glow Regina saw colors appearing and assuming shapes on the parchment.
She pulled back as if stung and the paper fluttered back to the ground between them once again whole and, once again, a detailed map of Neverland.