Regina was charging forward on her horse, needing to get away from the mess that was her palace and her kingdom and the insanity of everything that was going on in the Enchanted Forest.
It was all coming down on her. Everyone that was out for her blood was closing in on her. Perhaps if she hadn't listened to her late father and had cast the Dark Curse, she wouldn't have been in this position now, she figured. But it was too late to think like that.
The Charmings had ganged up on her by creating an army right under her nose, without her ever realising what they were up to. Before she knew it, they had her cornered and chased her out of the Dark Palace, giving her no chance to fight back.
Now, here she was... On her horse and running for dear life. She kept on going until she could no longer see the Dark Palace, or anything else of her or the White Kingdom. Her vision was blurring slowly as tears of anger filled her eyes. As she tried to wipe her tears away, she suddenly was whipped off her horse by a thick branch, effectively hitting her head and leaving her unconscious between the autumn leafs on the forest soil.
Emma was just making her rounds through the forest, deciding to make a slight detour from her usual path; when she suddenly saw a horse coming to her.
"Wow... Hey, easy there." She tried to calm the horse down as it was clearly distressed. She climbed down her own horse and moved over to try and calm the other down by rubbing his nose and neck. "What is it? Where is your master?" She asked and the horse started moving, looking over its shoulder to where it first came from. Emma got up on the horse and took the reigns of her own horse as well. "Show me." She said and they took off in the direction of where the Queen lay.
Once the blonde got to the body, she didn't immediately recognise her. Emma could tell it was a woman and probably from a noble family if her attire was anything to go by, but her face was covered in blood, hair and leafs. She jumped off the horse and checked if the woman was still alive. She was breathing, slowly, but still breathing. She then check the wound on the woman's head and sighed. It was terribly swollen with a small enough cut, but it just bled terribly like most head wounds do. She then lifted the lady in her arms and put her on top of the horse unceremoniously before getting on as well.
Emma's first priority was to get her to a safe place and out of the cold.
Emma took the unconscious brunette to her cabin. The blonde might be royalty, but she liked the peace and quiet of the forest. She didn't want anything to do with the White Kingdom, not after raising hell to get rid of the Evil Queen. She agreed that the Evil Queen wasn't the most benevolent ruler and that her ways weren't right most of the time, but that didn't mean she agreed to trying to gang up on the woman with thousands and to have her killed at the same time. Emma believed in diplomacy and she believed that the Queen could be reasoned with if someone were to just actually listen to her.
After all, the Evil Queen's reign was perhaps with a firm hand and plenty of fear, but aside from all that, her subjects were well fed, had a roof over their head and a job. The economy wasn't doing bad either, so from that standpoint, her parents were absolutely wrong about the Queen. It's not like she didn't care about anyone but herself, it's that she held onto a grudge pointed at, back then, a teenager with an awfully big mouth.
Emma quickly carried the woman inside and put her on the bed before getting some water to clean the wound on her head. The blonde sat on the edge of the bed as she cleaned the blood off the woman's face. As she was wiping at the blood, she slowly realised she knew this person.
"Regina...?" She frowned as she looked at the woman's blank face. Her eyes were closed as she was still unconscious.
Emma got up and slid her hands over her face as she contemplated what to do.
"The Evil Queen is lying on my bed... Unconscious." She said and then looked back at the woman. She groaned and then sighed in defeat. "Evil or not... You're no threat to me now." She said softly as she reasoned with herself and sat back down again before tending to the cut on the woman's head. She bandaged it up as best as she could, bundeling her up in some blankets to warm her up and let her rest since she didn't really have any other choice. Instead, the blonde went to get some food. She would be needing more supplies if she were to feed two mouths instead of just one. And so, Emma set out to go hunting. It didn't take her long to find a rabbit. It would do for tonight at least, she figured. After obtaining said rabbit she returned to the cabin, where to her surprise, the woman was sitting up on the bed, grabbing her head.
"I doubt you should be moving, your Majesty..." Emma said and the woman slowly looked at her.
"Who are you calling 'your Majesty'?" She asked and Emma frowned a little. She put the rabbit aside and pulled a chair closer to the bed before sitting down.
"You mean to say you don't remember who you are?" The blonde asked softly and the woman looked around a bit before looking back at the blonde.
"No... But I have a feeling you do." The brunette said and looked down at herself and more importantly, the attire that she was wearing.
"What is this... Did you put me in this?" She picked at the black clothes and tried to get comfortable in the corset, which was impossible as it was laced so tightly.
"Your name is Regina Mills. That's all you need to know... And as your clothes go, I'm afraid your wardrobe ranges from that to scandalously sexy dresses a lot tighter than that one." The blonde murmured the last part. The brunette looked at Emma and was a bit confused about the statement but let it go. Her head hurt too much to really think about it.
"I see... Well, can you help me out of this... Thing at least?" She pointed at the corset. "It's difficult to breathe and my back and shoulders are killing me." She sounded quite urgent, and so Emma got to work immediately. She just took a knife and cut through the lacing, effectively getting rid of the corset. She threw it on the floor and sat on the edge of the bed.
"Do you mind if I look at your back?"
"Yes, I mind..." The woman turned around and bit her lip. It was easy to tell she was insecure because of the situation.
"I just want to check if you don't have any wounds. I didn't mean anything with it." Emma held up her hands in defense. Regina looked at her a little longer and then slowly nodded her consent.
"Fine. It just feels sore though..." She said and Emma slowly peeled the dress the woman was wearing apart, just far enough to take a look at the woman's back.
"And?" Regina asked as Emma didn't move for a while.
"Sorry... Uuhm nothing is wrong. It might bruise but no chafing or other wounds." Emma said and put the dress back together while cursing herself for staring at the woman's lean body. Regina looked over her shoulder quietly, looking at Emma as she finished lacing up the dress.
"How... Do you know me?" Regina asked softly and Emma met her eyes.
"Well... I can't really say we officially met. We have passed each other a few times in the hallways between meetings, but other than that... My name is Emma by the way." Emma quickly introduced herself as she suddenly realised she hadn't even told the woman her name.
"I can tell you're avoiding to be specific, Emma." She said and turned to Emma properly. It was a bit concerning how the blonde was avoiding speaking about her in detail.
"I'm sorry... It's just that I think everyone will be better off if you don't remember. Especially you." She said softly and looked into the beautiful hazel eyes.
"But why?" The brunette asked softly.
"Because you were probably running away when you got knocked off your horse." Emma said and pointed at the cut on the woman's forehead. Regina reached up slowly and winced a little as she touched the bump covered by the bandages.
"Perhaps... It's better I forgot then." She agreed softly and closed her eyes while sighing. Emma got up and gently guided the woman to lie down.
"Your head must be hurting. Get some rest, I'll make dinner." The brunette looked at the blonde and nodded. She let her eyes close again and tried to get comfortable.
It was a couple of hours later when Regina woke up again. Her head was still hurting, but not as badly as it did before. She looked around the cabin and rubbed her eyes a little, trying to focus as she watched Emma poke around in the fire to bring it back to life. The brunette sat up and watched Emma closely as she tended to the fire and the rabbit that was being cooked over it. She started thinking about if she ever had rabbit before, only to be reminded that she couldn't remember much of anything.
"Oh, you're awake." Emma smiled brightly as she turned to look at Regina who was deep in thought. "Dinner is almost ready." She added and turned back to the rabbit, inspecting it more closely. The brunette snapped out of her trance and looked at Emma again, watching her as the fire lit up her face and how the light enhanced the golden color of the woman's curls.
"You have something to drink? I'm thirsty." Regina said and put her fingers to her throat. Emma turned to look at her and nodded.
"Sure." She got up and poured the woman some water from a jug. "I hope water is fine." She said as she handed the cup to Regina. The Queen smiled gently and took the cup, drinking from it. She didn't realize how parched she was until she actually emptied the entire cup in one go. "Want some more?" Emma asked and looked at her with a small smile. Regina nodded.
"Please." She held out the cup again for her to fill and this time sipped it more slowly, putting it aside when she was done.
"So... What am I to do now?" Regina asked softly while Emma had gone back to the fire and took the rabbit off the spit.
"Well, there isn't much we can do other than wait and see if your memory comes back."
"If it comes back at all." The brunette said.
"Well, even if you don't get it back... I suppose it's life's way of giving you a new start." The blonde said and carved up the rabbit. "Personally, I think it might be better like this. It's not like you were happy." Emma said carefully and gave the woman a plate with some of the rabbit along with a fork.
"So you've told me."
"I'm sorry... It's not for me to judge of course, but wouldn't you rather start anew than to be stuck with a life filled with death and destruction?" The blonde asked.
"It's just a lot to take in." Regina looked at the plate of meat and sighed. "I'm sorry... I'm not really hungry. I think I might try and get some more sleep." She said and handed back the plate. Emma took it and put it aside.
"Don't worry about it. We can talk about this later."
It was silent for a while and Regina slowly moved to lie down, this time with her back turned to Emma.
"Thank you... for helping me."