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Never Too Late

Chapter Text

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.

Chapter Text

Every time we lie awake

After every hit we take

Every feeling that I get

But I haven't missed you yet

Emma dried her eyes and splashed water on her face in the bathroom, surprised at her own emotions. Where was the anger she'd felt the night before? Where was it? She reached for the fury, but only found the pain. When she woke Henry, she struggled to fight back tears.

"I love you, sweetie," she whispered in his ear, brushing some hair away from his forehead.

"Me, too, Emma," he muttered, rolling towards her onto his side.

"Time to get up, buddy."

"Nuh-uh."

"Nice try, little man. Time to get ready. I have to bring you back to Regina's."

"Why did you stop calling her mom?"

"I'm sorry, kiddo. You're right. She's your mom. Let's go, though, okay? She's gonna want you back early."

"Okay," he sighed, swinging his feet out of the bed and stumbling around the room towards his dresser, "but I don't get why I have to go back so soon."

When he'd picked out his clothes, he made his way to the bathroom and finished getting ready for the day. Once he was doing this, Emma waited in the kitchen drinking coffee, hoping it would clear her head. Unfortunately, her anxiety grew with the caffeine she consumed.

"What's the matter, Emma?" her mother asked as she joined the woman in the kitchen, but the blonde didn't respond, instead shrugging her shoulders.

She had no interest in addressing the issue.

Every roommate kept awake

By every sigh and scream we make

All the feelings that I get

But I still don't miss you yet

Regina slammed her fist against the wall in her bedroom until it bled. Lack of control wasn't like her, but she couldn't hold it back.

"This isn't me," she told herself. "This person isn't me."

When the doorbell rang - somehow, it didn't seem right to Emma to walk in anymore - Regina felt her heart stop.

"I'm coming!" she called down the stairs, running down to the foyer and opening the door. "Hi."

Henry smiled at his mother and hugged her tightly, which earned a smile from Regina.

"Go on upstairs, Henry," Regina told her son, then turned to Emma.

"All right," the blonde mumbled. "I'm gonna go to work. I'll be back tonight to get my stuff, if that's what you want."

"That's what I want."

"Do you care when I'm gone at all? Do you miss me?"

"No."

Emma swallowed hard but only said, "Okay."

She left shattered.

I hate everything about you

Why do I love you?

I hate everything about you

Why do I love you?

She came back that night looking defeated and drained from the day at work. Regina assumed it was from work, but didn't care. She didn't pick up on the emotional aspect of Emma's exhaustion.

"Hey," Emma said. "Sorry. I'll be quick. Can I just run upstairs and get my stuff?"

"Yeah. Fine."

Emma literally ran up the stairs and packed her clothes like the room was on fire, hating the walls surrounding her. Just as she was about to leave house, she turned to Regina. When she opened her mouth to speak, Regina cut her off.

"I hate you," she said under her breath, glaring at Emma.

Emma swallowed her anger and managed to respond with, "I love you."

When Regina said nothing, the woman's lover left, broken.

Back at her mother's apartment, as soon as she was alone, she threw her phone across the room and broke down in tears.

 

Chapter Text

"What did you do to her?" Snow spat into the phone.

She waited anxiously for Regina to respond.

"Well?" she snapped.

"I don't know what you're talking about," Regina retorted as a lie.

"I want to know what the Hell you did to my daughter."

"Your daughter, Snow," the mayor began, "is a manipulative bitch."

"You disgusting, filthy liar! I won't listen to this! You're going to regret the day you were born, Regina. I will crush your black, evil heart in my hands if it's the last thing I do."

The laugh on the other end of the receiver brought goosebumps to Snow's arms, and both went silent, neither knowing which insult to spout off next. Eventually, Regina decided that it was her turn to speak.

"You are almost as weak as your daughter, Snow."

"Say one more word about my daughter, and you'll never say another word again."

As little as this imitated her, Regina had no desire to respond. Instead, unamused, she hung up the phone and went back to her previous activity of planning how to get the rest of Emma's things out of the house. She wanted to throw them out on the street corner - not that there were that many to begin with. Emma didn't have much, just a small wardrobe and some bathroom products. She could probably fit them all in her little yellow bug, which Regina was grateful for. Now, just to get her back there without exploding on the woman again and wringing her neck.

I know how you're operating

Only come around when you know that I need it

Cut out my heart and you leave me bleeding

But you're the only one that brings out the demon

"You coming to get the rest of your stuff?" Regina asked over the phone.

Voice choking, Emma said, "Yeah," and hung up, driving over to the house more slowly than usual.

Her greatest fear was spending less time with Henry. She knew there would be a war over the boy, and she dreaded it. She also feared facing her suddenly-ex-lover when she gathered her things. When she arrived at the house, she had to swallow hard to muster all the courage she had. The mix of anger and remorse made her nauseous.

"Hey," she greeted the brunette at the door, pushing a hand through her hair.

"You look like shit," Regina commented, gesturing up and down at Emma's body, which felt heavy and weak under the weight of disappointment.

Emma's eyes were dark with lack of sleep, and the rings around them gave away her weariness. Her palms were slick with sweat as she waited for Regina to speak, and when the words finally came, she was more than relieved.

"Are you okay?"

The woman's jaw threatened to drop as she looked at Regina. What the fuck is she doing? Why was she suddenly pretending to be concerned? The blonde looked into Regina's eyes. Considering her options, the sheriff hesitated a moment before speaking

"I'm not," she said, deciding on honesty.

Regina deserved at least that much.

Like pills you make me righteous

Like I can rise above it all

Like pills you leave me lifeless

Shaken in a bathroom stall

"I'm so angry with you," Emma started, "but I don't know what to do without you."

"I don't either," the mayor replied, but after a pause continued with, "Why are you angry with me? This is all your fault. You're the one being a bitch."

"You think I'm being a bitch?"

"Yeah, I do."

"Why?"

"Because your words..."

What? Regina asked herself. Hurt? No. Don't say hurt.

"...are horrible."

"MY words? What about yours?"

"You're the one who thinks I'm evil."

Emma sighed. Why had she said that? She felt some of the anger begin to boil over in her, but stifled it down.

"I didn't mean it, 'Gina."

"Well, you said it, and it's too late to take it back now."

"You said you hated me."

"I do."

"Then why were you with me?"

"You're an okay fuck. What can I say? I get bored easily, and you were ready and begging for it."

"Are you serious?" Emma screamed. "Fuck you!"

Regina bit her tongue until it bled, unsure of whether to be silent or to speak out. Did I mean that? she wondered. No. Of course I didn't.

"Look, I'm sor-" the mayor started, but couldn't finish the sentence. "No. I'm not serious. I said that to hurt you. I want you to burn like I burn."

"Oh, I'm burning all right. You're destroying me. You're a fucking bitch."

Chapter Text

Why you wanna do this?

Don't want to see you in my phone

Leave me alone

"Just get your stuff and leave, Emma," Regina sighed, reaching up and rubbing her eyes. "I'm tired of this."

"Me too."

So Emma went upstairs and grabbed the rest of her things, but on her way out the door, Regina grabbed her arm just a little too hard.

"Hold on," she said. "Henry's going to lose his mind if I make you move out."

"What are you doing, Regina?" Emma gasped, nearly dropping her wrinkled pile of clothes on the floor..

"I'm just saying. He's going to be broken."

"And what do you propose we do about that?"

"Maybe we should just fake it just a little bit longer, you know?"

"Fake it?" Emma breathed. "Just leave me alone, Regina. Stop fucking with me. Leave. Me. Alone. Don't call me. Don't text me. Don't even look at me if I'm around."

"You don't think we should do this for Henry?"

"I think it's going to mess him up more if we fight all the time."

"At least we're not fighting in front of him."

"What does he think is the reason for me moving back to Snow's?"

"I told him you stopped loving me."

"What the Hell!" Emma screamed. "Why would you lie to him like that?"

"Shh! He's upstairs, Emma! He's going to hear you!"

"Why? Why would you do that?"

"Because I'm tired of people thinking I'm the bad guy."

"You are the bad guy. You're as evil as they come. Don't you get that? You'll never be anything else. You're cruel. You're wicked."

"You don't know me," Regina retorted.

"I know you enough."

I know how you're operating

Only come around when you know that I need it

Cut out my heart and you leave me bleeding

You're the only one that brings out the demon

"Why don't we just ease him into this? We should tell him we're just taking a break first. It won't hurt him as much."

"You really think we should draw this out?" Emma asked, sighing and clutching her pile of clothes to her chest.

"I think we should try to hurt him as little as possible."

"I don't think this is the right way to do it."

"And what about you?"

"Huh?"

"You need me," Regina mused. "Don't you want to be eased into this, too?"

"Shut up. You have no idea what this is like for me."

"Do I care?"

"I don't know. Do you?"

Regina paused, feeling her heart start to throb for a reason she couldn't understand.

"I don't know," she said honestly. "I don't know."

Like pills you grab a hold of me

One hit just makes me want you more

Until we're in a motel room

Locked up behind closed doors

"So you're going to pretend to love me?" Emma asked, looking deeply into Regina's eyes for the answer.

"I can try."

"What's wrong with you?"

"What's wrong with you?"

"You tell me."

But Emma didn't want to know.

"Well, for starters -"

"Nevermind. Just don't. I'm leaving, okay? I'm not going to pretend to be your lover and lie to my son. You're the liar, not me."

"You're pathetic. Don't you want to make this easier on him?"

With a sigh, Emma fought the urge to scream and embraced her feelings of disappointment instead.

"Yes. All right. I'll do it."

"Good. You're not a complete imbecile."

"Please just stop."

Before Regina could come up with a rebuttal, their son descended the stairs.

"Mom, what's going on?" he asked curiously, wondering why their expressions were so harsh.

"Nothing, sweetie," Regina told him, faking a smile. "We're just talking."

With that, she leaned in and kissed Emma's cheek, slowly, as to be convincing. When Henry kept staring awkwardly, Regina moved closer to her former lover and pressed their lips together in a slow, tender kiss, and didn't pull away.

"Gross!" Henry exclaimed, stomping into the living room.

Once they were alone, Emma whispered, "Why are you doing this?"

"Maybe I'm having fun."

"I'm not a toy."

"Sure you are."

"This is ridiculous."

"Do you really want me to stop?"

Emma was tongue-tied.

Chapter Text

We had fire in our eyes

In the beginning I

Never felt so alive

In the beginning you

You blame me but

It's not fair when you say that I didn't try

I just don't want to hear it anymore

That night, Emma sat on the bed upstairs. She turned away from Regina as the woman stripped down nearly nothing and put on her nightgown.

"You can turn around," the mayor laughed. "It's not like you've never seen me naked."

"It's different now," Emma said softly, still facing the opposite wall. "Why did we stop having sex?"

"Mostly because it was horrible."

"You lie so much that I can never tell when you're telling the truth."

"I'm not telling the truth," Regina told her with a shrug. "I guess we just stopped connecting. It wasn't bad, but it stopped being fun."

"It was fun before?"

"Yeah. Once upon a time."

"Oh."

When Regina turned off the lights, Emma could barely see her, and she was almost glad for it. She didn't want to see the hardened expression on her face, the emptiness in her eyes, the lack of compassion.

"I never thought this would happen to us. We used to be so happy," Emma said. "At least, I thought we were."

"I think we were."

"What happened?"

"You happened. You changed."

"I changed?"

"You changed."

"You know what? You're right. I've changed, and you haven't. You're exactly the same as you were when I met you. A cold, evil tyrant."

"I'm glad we're on the same page."

I swear I never meant to let it die

I just don't care about you anymore

It's not fair when you say that I didn't try

I just don't care about you anymore

"I think I should sleep on the couch," Emma offered, standing up from the bed.

"I don't want Henry to suspect anything."

With a sigh, the sheriff said, "All right. Where do you want me to sleep? On the floor?"

"No. It's okay. You can sleep in the bed. Just don't think this-"

"I know. It doesn't change anything."

The two lay beside each other, both staring at the ceiling.

"This used to be home to me. Now, I feel like a stranger here."

"And I feel like you don't belong here anymore."

"Maybe I don't."

"Maybe you do."

"Stop fucking with me!"

"Shh! Henry's going to hear you."

In the darkness, Emma scowled at her, her eyes growing dark. As shadows danced along the walls, she found herself not knowing what to say. As the chill of the night air splashed at the small amount of exposed skin on her arms, she tugged her shirt down to cover more of herself and started to shiver. Feeling this, Regina rolled onto her side.

"Should I get another blanket?" the woman asked, with sincerity in her eyes that Emma couldn't see.

"I don't understand you," the blonde sighed, pushing some of her hair out of her own face. "Why are you acting like this?"

"Acting like what? You're obviously cold. I just asked if you wanted another blanket is all. Do you or not?"

"Yes, please," Emma finally replied, biting her lip. "That would be great."

We had time on our side

In the beginning we

We had nothing to hide

In the beginning you

You blame me but

It's not fair when you say that I didn't try

I just don't want to hear it anymore

Instead of passing the blanket to Emma and letting her unfold it, Regina spread it out herself and draped it over the woman in her bed, gently tucking it into Emma's sides.

"There," she said softly. "Better?"

Shivering at her touch (and this time not the cold), Emma nodded her head and closed her eyes as Regina climbed back into bed beside her. Another nightmare woke her, and again, she was crying.

"What? What?" Regina asked anxiously, jerked awake by the sound of her own name.

"Shit," Emma cursed. "I'm sorry. I don't know. I was dreaming."

"About me?"

With a gulp, Emma nodded.

"What did you dream?"

"I dreamed you were dying, and that I couldn't save you."

"What would you care anyway?"

"I'd care a lot."

"Why?"

"Because I still love you, and I'd never want anything bad to happen to you."

Ignoring the tender comment, Regina rolled onto her other side and faced away.

Chapter Text

Don't know what's going on

Don't know what went wrong

Feels like a hundred years I

Still can't believe you're gone

So I'll stay up all night

With these bloodshot eyes

While these walls surround me with the story of our life

Once Regina had left in the morning, Emma broke into sobs, squeezing her pillow and using it to cover her face, trying to suffocate the noise. This went on for thirty to forty minutes before Emma was able to drag herself out of bed and into the shower, but the tears didn't stop. The soap and water washed them away, but more and more poured from her eyes. Unable to stop them, she choked down the noise.

All day at work, she fought them back, battling the urge to break down in the office, until the phone rang.

"Hello?"

"Henry got into a fight at school today," Regina said into the receiver. "You need to go get him. I can't leave work."

"They called you and not me?"

"Does it matter?" the mayor snapped, wanting to slam the phone down in rage and hang up on her former lover.

"No, I guess not. I'll go get him."

"Emma."

"What?"

"I can't wait until you're gone."

They both hung up, and Emma sped all the way to the school. When she reached the principal's office, she instantly heard Henry's side of the story.

"Some kid made fun of me for having two moms!" Henry cried as soon as Emma walked in the door.

"So you hit him?"

"He deserved it!"

"You know better!"

Henry looked dismayed, but Emma felt no sympathy. She stayed stern as she stood staring down at him.

"Get up. We're going home, and you're going to be really, really sorry you did this," she told him, then turned to the principal. "I'm really sorry. I'll deal with this, I assure you."

"I certainly hope you do. If it happens again, we'll have to suspend him."

"I understand."

"I'm sorry," Emma said to Henry as soon as they got in the car. "I know how hard this must be for you."

"You mean you're not mad?"

"No, kiddo. Of course not. It wasn't your fault. It was his. It was harassment. They should be suspending him. I'm going to call them tomorrow. I just wanted to get you out of there first so you wouldn't have to hear me explode on them."

Henry laughed and smiled at his mother.

"I would have liked to see that."

"I bet."

With a grin, Emma pulled into the driveway of the Mills residence and walked her son inside.

I feel so much better

Now that you're gone forever

I tell myself that I don't miss you at all

I'm not lying, denying that I feel so much better now

That you're gone forever

"Why don't you just let me leave?" Emma asked Regina later that night.

"I told you this. I want to make this as easy on Henry as I can."

"He's going to hate us."

"I know. There's nothing we can do, though."

"Of course there is."

"Oh, yeah? Like what?"

"Work it out, maybe?"

"Yeah, right."

"Don't you even want to try?"

Emma couldn't hide the hopefulness in her eyes, and she cursed herself for it. She wanted to keep her feelings from her former lover, but it seemed impossible.

"No," Regina responded, following her statement with a short pause. "The fight was your fault, you know. I always taught him to keep his hands to himself."

"Bullshit! I never taught him otherwise!"

"Of course you did."

"What the Hell! How? Besides, you're the one massacring hundreds of people."

"Not anymore. Not since my son."

"He's our son, Regina."

"Maybe so."

"Definitely so."

"Look, whatever, Emma. Just shut up. Can't you shut your mouth for once?"

"I just want to understand this, and I can't."

"That's not my problem."

"It's not because I'm dense," Emma countered. "It's because it doesn't make sense. What made you stop loving me?"

"You did."

"What, specifically?"

"Let it go!" Regina screamed, throwing her coat across the room. "I'm not going to go around and around about this anymore. I just can't wait until you're gone."

"Then don't."

Chapter Text

Now things are coming clear

And I don't need you here

And in this world around me

I'm glad you disappeared

So I'll stay out all night

Get drunk and fuckin' fight

Until the morning comes I'll

Forget about our life

At her mother's house, Emma let her tears fall on her mother's shoulder.

"I'm so tired of crying," she told Snow.

"Just try to relax, honey. Try to breathe. Everything's going to be okay."

"How do you know that?"

The uncertainty in Emma's eyes burned right through Snow's heart, making her ache for her daughter. The two had developed a stronger bond than they'd had before Neverland, but Emma still found it hard to explain her feelings for Regina. It was something her mother could never understand.

"Because things always work themselves out."

"I just want to forget. I just want to go out and break things and destroy myself."

"You can't do that, Emma. I know you want to, but you can't. You mean too much to me."

Emma forced a, "Thank you," but it was insincere.

"I love you, Emma."

"You too," the woman muttered back, straightening up and grabbing a small pile of tissues to wipe her eyes. "I just want to forget."

But unfortunately for Emma, all the moments they had shared were seared into her brain, frozen in time and burned into her heart. The strange mix of anger and sorrow overwhelmed and drowned her. That night, sleeping her bed, she woke crying Regina's name again.

I feel so much better

Now that you're gone forever

I tell myself that I don't miss you at all

I'm not lying, denying that I feel so much better now

That you're gone forever

Off duty the next day, she finally made her way back to the Mills house and sat upstairs on the bed for what seemed like days, but was actually only about an hour. After that, she laid down and shut her eyes, trying to catch up on the sleep that she had missed, but it escaped her. No matter how hard she tried, she couldn't bring herself to dream. When she gave up, she wanted to scream from frustration.

"I'm glad you're fucking done with me," she cried, throwing one of their photograph's across the room, letting it shatter and fall to the floor.

But of course, the painful curse had been a lie. Eventually, she was no longer able to stand still. Instead, she found herself in the car, driving to Granny's. Once there, she subconsciously ordered two coffees - one for herself, and one for her former lover. When she realized what she'd done - which didn't happen until she reached the car - she wanted to cry again, but fought off the sorrow. Instead, she resolved to be the bigger person and simply bring the coffee to the mayor as a peace offering.

"Hi," Emma said, poking her head into the office.

Regina's head lifted instantly, as she was more than startled.

"What do you want?" she snapped, looking surprised.

"I just wanted to bring you this. I figured you'd probably need it. I know you work long hours."

"What are you doing, Emma?" the brunette asked as she accepted the coffee.

"I just care about you," the sheriff confessed.

"I know," the mayor sighed, putting the cup down on the desk. "You should go."

"Is there anything I can get you? Can I bring you lunch?"

"Just go, Emma."

"No, seriously. Are you hungry?" When Regina hesitated, Emma added, "I'll be right back."

When she returned with lunch, the mayor was surprised to find that she was actually flattered by the gesture, and that her heart had seemed to thaw, just a little bit.

First time you screamed at me

I should have made you leave

I should have known it could be so much better

I hope you're missing me

I hope I've made you see

That I'm gone forever

That night in bed, Emma went to bed angry and bitter, cursing the mayor for breaking her heart, but feeling a mixture of pain and relief from the prospect of leaving her. More than anything, she hoped the woman would regret her decision to leave her and eventually become full of self-hatred and remorse. Somehow, Emma doubted this would happen. The queen was too cold for regret, to hard for remorse.

Despite her anger, however, she was unable to fight her deeper desires once she was asleep. When she woke up, she was clinging to Regina, and sobbing into her shoulder. As soon as she woke and realized this, she jerked away, hoping the woman wouldn't wake, but Regina's eyes shot open.

"What the Hell are you doing?"

"N-Nothing!" Emma gasped. "I'm sorry. I was... I had a... I'm sorry."

"Just get off of me."

When Emma rolled over, she felt the most alone she ever had.

Chapter Text

I've been cursed

I've been crossed

I've been beaten by the ones that get me off

I've been cut

I've been opened up

I've been shattered by the ones I thought I loved

The next day was no better than the last.

"I hope you regret this," Emma said harshly, staring into Regina's cold eyes. "I hope you can't sleep at night when you think of me."

Regina laughed and tossed her plate into the kitchen sink.

"Don't flatter yourself. Just because you're desperate for me doesn't mean I'm desperate for you."

This caught Emma off guard, so she said nothing. Instead, she turned her back on the mayor and started to storm into the other room. When she did, Regina caught her arm and jerked her back.

"Don't turn your back on me," she said. "We're not done here."

"What else did you want to say?"

"That I hope you rot inside. I hope you dream of me every night."

"I will," Emma admitted sadly. "You know I will."

This earned a smile from the queen as she wiped her cleanly washed hands on a kitchen towel and said, "Good."

You left me here like a chalk outline

On the sidewalk waiting for the rain

To wash away

You keep coming back to the scene of the crime

But the dead can't speak and there's nothing left to say anyway

All you left behind

Is a chalk outline

Emma left the house anticipating a fit of crying once she reached the car, but it didn't come. Numbness froze the tears in her eyes. When she turned the key, the car just barely started, which seemed odd to her, but she pulled out of the driveway thinking nothing else of it. It was only when she got a few miles down the road - just far enough away from town for anyone to notice - that she heard the sputtering and choking of the engine.

"Oh, shit," she said as the vehicle slowed to a stop.

She'd just barely managed to steer it off the road before it died. More anger filled her as she felt the resentment build. The "Why me?"s and "Why is this happening?"s rattled against the cage of her mind as she slammed her fists against the steering wheel. She was just far enough away that no one would hear if she honked the horn. When she checked her phone, she had one bar of service.

"Thank God."

She thought about dialing her mother's number, but realized the woman would have been at school, so she called David instead.

"Hey, David. Um, the bug broke down, and I kinda need a ride. Think you can come get me?"

Emma paused while David answered.

"Oh... Yeah... Okay. Sure. I'll call... Um... I'll take care of it. Thanks."

She hung up and audibly cursed her luck. Ruby was working, as was just about everyone else. At least it wasn't dark out, Emma noted gratefully. She sat like that, weighing her options, until she finally picked up the phone again. Knowing the woman was home, she dialed the last number on her list of people to call in an emergency.

"Hey, listen... Um... The bug broke down. Can you come get me?"

"Call a cab."

"Come on, Regina. Please?"

The woman on the other end of the line sighed heavily and hung up the phone, grabbing her jacket and making her way out the door.

I've been cold

In the crypt

But not as the cold as the words across your lips

You'll be sorry, baby

Some day

When you reach across the bed where my body used to lay

"You'd better be grateful for this."

"Why?" Emma retorted. "It's not like you were doing anything."

"How the Hell do you know?"

"Because I just left the house."

"Whatever, Emma. Just shut up and get in the car," Regina spat back. "Where do you want me to take you?"

"Anywhere you want."

"Do you have anything to do?"

"Not really."

Another sigh escaped the mayor's lips as she leaned back in the driver's seat.

"I'll just take you back to the house, if that's fine."

Emma swallowed hard as she desperately tried to think of somewhere else to go. This proved unsuccessful. Everyone else was busy, and it wasn't like she wanted to keep talking about the situation with her mother when she got back to the apartment after work.

"Yeah. Um... That's fine."

So the two went back to the house in silence, each of them wondering what the other was thinking.

Chapter Text

I am in control

I haven't lost my mind

I am picking up the pieces

Of the past you left behind

"You know what?" Emma asked rhetorically. "I'm glad you're doing this. I'm glad you ruined us."

"Me? I ruined us? You're going to play this game again?"

"Yes, Regina. This is your fault. You have a stick so far up your ass you'll never be able to pull it out, and that's why we'll never be together."

"Because of the supposed stick up my ass?"

"Among other things."

"Like what?"

"Like the fact that you're a terrible parent," Emma started, "and the fact that you're corrupting our son."

"Are you kidding me, Emma? I fucking dare you to say that again, you fucking slob. You are a pathetic excuse for a mother. Where were you when he fell and cried, when he broke his leg, when he lost his first tooth, when he cried because he doesn't have a father?"

Emma paused, taking in Regina's argument. When she thought of all the things she'd missed, the weight on her heart told her that Regina was at least partially right.

"I'm sorry," she said without thinking.

"What are you apologizing to me for? Apologize to your son. I'm surprised he doesn't hate you for everything you've done to him."

"I'm not one who tried to bribe him with magic."

"Unlike you, I would do anything to keep my son, as any good mother would."

"You're not a good mother, Regina."

"And you're not a good lover."

"Maybe not, but what's making you say that?" Emma asked. "And are you talking sexually or otherwise?"

"Not sexually."

Emma blushed, unable to explain why she was so relieved at the woman's comment.

"Oh, don't," Regina spat, noticing the redness that rose to the sheriff's cheeks. "This is ridiculous."

Quickly changing the subject, Emma asked, "So what makes me such a terrible lover?"

I don't know, Regina answered silently. Nothing. But the answer she actually gave was different.

"Everything."

I don't need your condescending

Words about me looking lonely

I don't need your arms to hold me

Cause misery is waiting on me

Regina wanted to confess, to tell Emma that she honestly had no idea what was going on between them, or why they were both suddenly so angry. What had happened? Did either of them even know? The anger and resentment had escalated to swears, screaming, and dramatically throwing things across the room. But the words stuck in her throat. How could she even begin to explain?

Before Regina could try, Emma had ascended the stairs and closed herself in the bedroom. This time, she wasn't crying. Instead, she was slamming her fists into a pillow until she was gasping for air, exhausted from the outburst.

I'm so lonely, her mind whispered, lulling her to sleep with pain.

Regina only went up the stairs once, to tuck Henry into bed once he got home from school, and didn't open the bedroom door. Only when it was well past midnight did Regina enter the room to find Emma in a fitful sleep. Her agony was evident from her facial expression and scrunched brow. The darkness around her eyes visibly displayed her fatigue, as she hadn't gotten a peaceful night's sleep in over a week. Upon seeing this and noting the goosebumps on the woman's arms, she grabbed a blanket from the closet and draped it over her.

I am not alone

Not beaten down just yet

I am not afraid

Of the voices in my head

Down the darkest road

Something follows me

I am not alone

Cause misery loves my company

Misery loves my company

Emma began to groan in her sleep, and as her obvious panic grew, Regina knelt beside the bed and reached up to stroke the blonde's hair out of her face.

"Emma," she said softly. "Shh. It's okay. It's just a dream."

The woman's eyes shot open, and she sat up in bed abruptly.

"D-Don't. I'm f-"

"You're not fine. What's going on with you?"

"You die in my dreams."

Eyes wide, Regina took the woman's sweating hand and looked at her, her own expression softening.

"I'm not dead," she told Emma. "I'm right here."

Feeling unable to stop herself, Emma slid her arms around the brunette and buried her face in the woman's shoulder.

Chapter Text

I feel it everyday it's all the same

It brings me down but I'm the one to blame

I've tried everything to get away

So here I go again

Chasing you down again

Why do I do this?

Regina wasn't touchy. In fact, she was the opposite. At night, there was no "cuddling" or gentle caressing. They each slept near their respective edge of the bed, their bodies rarely touching - even in the beginning, when their love had been strong. That night, though, as she watched Emma shake in fear while she slept, she found herself rolling onto her other side and moving closer.

"Emma," she whispered. "You're dreaming again."

Her hand touched the woman's shoulder, gently shaking it. When Emma stirred awake, there were more tears in her eyes.

"Why do you care?" Regina said softly, looking into Emma's eyes as the blonde turned to face her.

Through her tears, Emma answered, "Because I still love you."

The silence that followed burned Emma like a hot iron against her skin. When Regina finally spoke, they were words Emma had never expected to hear.

Over and over, over and over

I fall for you

Over and over, over and over

I try not to

"Are you sleeping with Graham?"

"What?" Emma gasped, sitting straight up in bed as she wiped her eyes. "No! Why would you ask me that?"

"Because you kissed him."

"I told you, I didn't kiss him. He kissed me."

"I'd say that, too."

"You were the one sleeping with him, not me."

"That was a long time ago, and it was disgusting."

"Disgusting?" Emma laughed.

Regina couldn't fight the smirk as she nodded.

"Good."

"What? Why?"

"Because I think he's disgusting, too."

"But you haven't slept with him?" Regina asked eagerly, leaning in just slightly.

"No," the sheriff replied. "Of course not."

"Are you interested in him?"

"What do you care?"

"I don't know," Regina blurted out.

Shit, she scolded herself. Why did I say that?

"I don't like to share," the mayor clarified.

"You don't want me, but no one else can have me?"

"I..."

"You what?"

"I don't like to share."

"That doesn't answer my question."

"I don't intend to answer it."

"Stop playing games with me," Emma ordered her.

"I'm not playing games."

The sincerity filled Regina's eyes like a basin of water, and it caught Emma off guard.

"Then why are you acting like this?"

Regina didn't know what to say. The truth was too complicated.

"I don't know."

So many thoughts that I can't get out of my head

I try to live without you, every time I do I feel dead

I know what's best for me

But I want you instead

I'll keep on wasting all my time

"Just tell me," Emma said, sighing.

Regina looked up into her eyes.

"Emma."

"What? What is it?"

Slowly, the mayor's hand found the sheriff's. Regina rested hers on top, gently brushing Emma's warm skin. Again, the blonde was startled.

"I don't know," Regina repeated, tears joining the sincerity in her eyes. "I don't know what's happening to us."

"It scares me," Emma told her. "I'm angry, and it scares me."

"Henry doesn't want to lose you."

Emma went quiet.

"I don't want to lose you, either," Regina finally confessed.

"You don't hate me," Emma whispered, leaning down to kiss the woman's lips.

"I know."

The mayor reached up and wiped a few drops of sweat from Emma's brow, calming her slightly.

"Can I just sleep in your arms tonight? Just this once, Regina."

"It's uncomfortable."

"Just for tonight."

Regina hesitated, but she moved closer and wrapped an arm around Emma's shoulders, pulling her down gently. Emma, a little surprised, tucked her head against the woman's shoulder.

"Will this help you fall asleep?" Regina asked quietly.

Her muscles were tensed, but as she listened to Emma breathing deeply, they started to relax. When Emma nodded her head weakly, Regina pulled her closer and draped her other arm over the blonde's toned body.

As soon as she was sure the woman was sleeping, Regina whispered, "Goodnight, Emma," and fell asleep as well.

Chapter Text

This world will never be

What I expected

And if I don't belong

Who would have guessed it

I will not leave alone

Everything that I own

To make you feel like it's not too late

It's never too late

In her sleep, Regina had subconsciously pulled Emma nearly on top of her, both arms wrapped around her. Something about the position kept Regina asleep. Maybe it was the weight of Emma's chest as she breathed. Maybe it was the softness of her skin. Either way, she slept soundly - as did Emma. When she woke, her eyes opened slowly.

"Emma?" she mumbled, shifting her weight and pulling one of her arms away, still holding the

woman against her side but no longer draping an arm over her waist.

"Huh? Yeah. What?"

But as Emma blinked awake, the casualness in her voice dripped away.

"Shit, sorry," the blonde mumbled. "I'm sorry."

"Wait," Regina said, grabbing her arm as she started to pull away. "Don't. It's fine. Really."

"What?"

"I slept really well," she said. "And you didn't wake up once."

"Oh... Um... I guess I was... Um... Tired..."

"Or comfortable."

They looked at each other, eyes ablaze with caution, until the space between them started to close. Regina was leaning in, and Emma couldn't pull away. Still holding on to the sheriff's arm, the mayor leaned in and kissed her lips softly.

Now and again we try

To just stay alive

Maybe we'll turn it all around

'Cause it's not too late

It's never too late

"We can't do this," Emma whispered without moving away.

"Why can't we?"

"Henry... He..."

Regina kissed her again, a little slower, stopping Emma's words.

"It's not too late for us to fix this."

"How do we fix it, then?"

Emma was distraught, muscles tightened and expression hardened and confused. Regina didn't flinch, feeling a sudden wave of confidence fill her

"I don't know," the mayor said. "I don't care."

Tears in her eyes, Emma wrapped her arms around Regina and embraced her in a tight hug that she didn't release.

"I don't care, either. I just want this to work. I'm tired of being angry and saying terrible things I don't mean."

"You don't mean them?"

"Of course I don't mean them!" Emma snapped, starting to sit up.

Regina pulled her down and held her closer, letting her yell.

"You're not a bad parent, Regina. You've done some awful things, but it doesn't make you a bad person. I just said those things to hurt you."

"As did I."

No one will ever see

This side reflected

And if there's something wrong

Who would have guessed it?

And I have left alone

Everything that I own

To make you feel like

It's not too late

It's never too late

When Emma got home from work that night, Regina opened the door for her and took her jacket, hanging it up on the coat rack.

"How was work?" she asked casually, leading Emma into the kitchen.

"Um... It was fine."

Emma looked around the room as her nose caught the smell of freshly cooked food in the air.

"Did something happen?" Regina asked, looking into her eyes.

"No. I guess I'm just stressed out lately."

"I made dinner. Are you hungry?"

"Actually, I'm starving."

"Good," Regina said with a smile, grabbing plates out of the cabinet and walking around the table, putting each of them in their place.

"Where's Henry?" Emma asked.

"He's upstairs."

As Emma stood still, Regina approached her, took the woman's face in her hands, and kissed her lips.

"I'm glad you're home," she whispered. "I missed you."

The words shocked Emma. How could there have been such a sudden change? She thought back about the last few days, but couldn't find any plausible reason that would have changed Regina's mind.

"I missed you too," Emma whispered back, kissing her lover once more. After a pause, she continued, "You really think we can make this work?"

"If we both really want to. Do you?"

"Of course I do. You're the love of my life, Regina. The only person I care about as much as you is Henry."

"And... And I can say the same," Regina confessed. "No one can fill me like you do. When we kiss, I don't feel empty anymore."

"Don't give up on me, 'Gina. I can be better. I promise I can. Just tell me what I have to do."

"Just love me, Emma. I feel like you don't love me."

"I do!" the sheriff cried, throwing her arms around Regina. "I love you more than you could possibly know. That's why this hurts so much. That's why I'm so angry all the time."

"I think that's why I'm so angry, too."

"I want to make this work."

"Then we will. We'll make it work. I promise."

"How can you promise that? How do you know?"

"Because I'm not going to give up on you."

"And I'll never stop loving you."

"Good," Regina said softly, pulling her lover closer, "because I could never really hate you, and I never want to lose you."