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Never Too Late

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I could be mean

I could be angry

You know I could be just like you

I could be fake

I could be stupid

You know I could be just like you

"What makes you think I'm anything like you?" Emma spat.

"What makes you think you're so much better than me?"

"Because I've never killed anyone. I've never tortured anyone. I've never tried to hold my son hostage!"

"No. You're right. You haven't. You just gave him up."

"Shut up. You have no idea what I went through. You have no idea how hard it was for me to let him go!"

"Oh, yes. So hard for you that you didn't even try to keep him. He's lucky he was raised by me. God knows what he'd be like if he'd lived with you! He'd be a slob, just like you."

"Fuck you."

Throwing her plate into the sink, Emma turned and grabbed her jacket, storming out the front door. Her car became a tiny, yellow sanctuary, and escape from the swearing and fighting that awaited her at the house that had once seemed like her home. The elegant building had once seemed like her refuge from life, her gateway to the love she'd never felt before she'd met her lover. Now it had become a place of pain and harshness where she felt out of place and filled with a bitterness she could barely swallow.

You thought you were standing beside me

You were only in my way

You're wrong if you think that I'll be just like you

"What are you doing here?" Regina spat, crossing her arms as she blocked the doorway.

"I fucking live here."

"Get your shit and get out."

"Go get my son. We're going to Snow's."

"Not on your life." Regina's eyes filled with hate as she took a threatening step forward and continued, "Get out of my house, and I hope I never see you again."

"You're so full of shit, Regina. You wanted me here. You asked me to move in with you. When did you change your mind?"

Suddenly, Emma's eyes broke open the gate to sorrow as she stared at her lover, freezing her in her place. Her muscles tightened as she squeezed the keys in her hand until it hurt. Something the about the moment made her stomach churn, made her want to puke, made her want to hurt something, but she held back.

"When you stopped loving me."

I could be cold

I could be ruthless

You know I could be just like you

I could be weak

I could be senseless

You know I could be just like you

"Do you even know how pathetic you are?" Regina hissed.

"I have an idea," Emma muttered back, shoving her hands in her pockets. "I still want my son, and I'll fight you for him."

The mayor laughed and shook her head.

"Oh, really? You think you'd win?"

"Yeah. I do. I love him more than you ever could, and I'd never abandon him."

Regina shoved her back and sent her stumbling backwards down the stairs.

"Get out. You're not taking my son," Regina screamed. "Can't you just back off? Don't you get it? I don't want you here."

"You used to."

Emma's head dropped for a moment, but she gathered the strength to lift it quickly, refusing to back down as she bravely stepped forward.

"Just let me see my son. I'll bring him back in the morning. I just need to see my son."

Regina sighed and shoved a hand through her smooth brown locks.

"All right. I'll get him and pack you a bag. Stay here. I don't want you inside."

Regina disappeared, rushing up the stairs to collect Emma's essential things for the night. She knew Emma would be back in the morning, so she didn't bother to pack multiple outfits. In fact, she thought about forgetting her toothbrush, or her underwear, but fought her desire and allowed herself to pack everything the woman would have needed. Of course, she also packed a bag for Henry. When she took his hand and walked him down to the bottom of the stairs, she muttered in his ear - just loud enough for Emma to hear - "Just remember who's been here for you, Henry. Remember who truly loves you."

Emma wanted to curse, to slap her, to scream, to grab her son and leave forever, but she knew the consequences were too great. Instead of embracing this plan, she simply took the boy's hand without another word to Regina and led him out to the car, carrying both of their bags.

"Ready, kid?" she asked as they both climbed into the car.

When he nodded, she pulled out of the driveway, resenting the woman's words.

On my own, cause I can't take living with you

I'm alone, so I won't turn out like you

Want me to

Emma went to bed early, as soon as Henry had fallen asleep, but couldn't shut her eyes. They were anything but heavy. In fact, they felt like they were held open by string, unable to close and give her peace.

"Come on," she muttered. "Just let me sleep. I can't deal with this."

But sleep didn't come until the early, early hours of the morning, and she was only given about forty minutes of fitful rest.

"Regina," she muttered, squeezing her eyes shut tightly in her sleep. "'Gina."

When she woke from her slumber as the alarm blasted in her ear, she felt tears streaming down her cheeks.