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Who Are You: A Wake Up Call

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One minute I'm happily prepping to close the bar early, like I do every Sunday night, and the next has my entire world spinning unevenly on its axis. I feel… I don't even know what I feel right now.

"Oh come on, Regina, you know I had no choice in the matter. In fact, wasn't it you who taught me to go for what I wanted?"

"Get out," I growl, fingers gripping tighter around the glass in my hand.

"Excuse me? You don't call the--"

"Get the fuck out of my bar before I kill you with my bare hands! And if you ever step foot in this place again, I have a bat with your name on it that's just itching to get a shiny new coat of brains added to it."

<<*fifteen minutes earlier*>>

Sunday night closes are always my favorites. Sometimes I hate the loss of income during baseball and football seasons, especially when the Seahawks or Mariners win, because happy sports fans make happier drunks who like to spend their money on the good shit to celebrate. But Sunday night and Monday are my only guaranteed time away from the bar. I get Danny for the day and, if they're not busy, Mal and Rob, too. It's our time as a family, and I won't let anything stand in the way of my family, as unorthodox as it might be.

The regulars know the routine, easily settling their tabs and clearing out without much fuss. The 'Hawks are on a bye week anyway and the Mariners were never close enough to contention for the pennant, so it's not like I'd be losing any money tonight anyway. Syl and Mari finish up what they need to early, so I cut them loose rather than make them stick around while I finish my work. The jukebox is off, replaced with the classic rock playlist that the three of us created one night when we realized we individually had similar ones.

The Who's "Who Are You?" starts playing as I settle at the bar to look over the day's receipts with the last of a whisky rocks, a smile playing at my lips over the song. I'm not even sure why I used the ice; I can explain away the glass as just not wanting to get up for constant shots or get too drunk before I head upstairs for family night. Danny's home tonight and we're hitting the zoo tomorrow to belatedly celebrate his birthday, thanks to all the recent rain, so no one's going to be drinking much.

Taking a moment from the receipts, I pull out the picture from my back pocket. Next week is our third anniversary as a family. I managed to finagle time off for myself and Rob, Mal is already in one of her down periods of creation, and Danny's got two days off school for teacher inservice or something. So I booked us one of the Roosevelt Fireplace Cabins at the Crescent Lake Lodge for the full four day weekend we'll have. And that's just the beginning of what I have planned for my loves and our boy.

Before I know it, the sound of heels clicking on the floor alerts me to a new presence in the bar. It's not Mal. She hates wearing heels unless she absolutely must. And then expensive perfume invades my nostrils, making me sneer. "Victoria, you'd better have a damned good reason for breaking into my bar after closing."

"Oh, you have the wrong Belfry."

That startles me and I turn to stare at Ivy as she saunters over and around behind the bar. "Here to do Mommy Dearest's dirty work?"

"Not exactly. I guess you could call it more of a freelance side job." She shrugs and picks up my empty glass. "Guess I should top up yours if I'm going to pour myself one, hmm?"

"Why are you here, Ivy? The bar's closed and I have absolutely no patience for your attempts at mind games tonight. I have places to be and--"

"And people to do," she says, cutting in smoothly as she turns her back to grab liquor. "I know all about your dirty little secrets upstairs, Roni. You don't mind that I'm going for the top shelf liquor, do you? I know you tend to drink anything, but I guess I'm only a top shelf kind of girl."

I snort at that. "You Belfreys always thinking you're royalty and more refined than the rest of us."

Her cackle of laughter echoes in the office. "Oh, those are rich words coming from you. And soon enough, you'll understand why they're so funny. Or, maybe you won't. Either way, I don't really care."

"Get to the fucking point, Ivy. I don't have all night for this shit."

She sets my glass in front of me, barely a finger's worth of whisky mingles with the ice. "Let's make a toast, shall we?"

"To what? Your newest Mercedes?"

"Also funnier than you realize, but no." She lifts up her glass. "I would like to toast the idea that I'm going to get everything I ever wanted," she says as I raise my glass reluctantly before taking a healthy swallow. Oh, it's definitely the good stuff, too. "And it's all thanks to you."

"To me? What makes you think--" My words stop as the world tilts ever so slightly on its axis. "What the hell?"

"Have another drink, Roni, and just let it come to you."

It's almost like a compulsion as the glass is raised to my lips and I take another mouthful, draining the glass. It burns going down this time, and my vision goes the slightest bit blurry, as if I've lost both of my contacts suddenly.

"Wh-What the fuck did you put in my dr--"

The images start to play out in my mind's eye, slowly at first, then faster, each image bringing its attendant emotions in a maelstrom of sensation:

Daniel kissing me out in the meadow. Snow catching us in the barn. Tink showing me where my soulmate was. Days spent in the Forbidden Fortress, learning magic and other things from Maleficent. Mother getting someone to fake being my soulmate in order to get a grandchild she could mold into her ideal puppet for the life she wanted. Fighting with Mal over the return of the curse I'd traded to her. Taking Daddy's heart to enact the Dark Curse. Confining Mal to a magical form in a subterranean cavern in a land without magic for nearly thirty years. Walking the streets of Storybrooke in the early days when everything was new and still exciting, when I was so sure this was my happy ending. Adopting Henry and learning what True Love really meant. Emma killing Mal in order to save Henry's life. Sacrificing Emma and Henry to save them from Pan's curse. Meeting Robin and Roland in the Enchanted Forest and finding happiness with my soulmate. Breaking Snow's curse by giving Henry True Love's Kiss. Ursula and Cruella raising Mal from the dead. Reuniting Mal with Lily. Losing Robin, first to Zelena, then to Hades and that fucking crystal. Seeing Henry off on his adventures through the portal.

I feel dizzy with the memories as they begin to filter in and jostle for position with the memories I now know were cursed. Tears prick hotly in my eyes at the realization of what's happened, but it's still all a hazy blur.

"Welcome back, Regina."

"Drizella." That fucking bitch!

"Did you miss me?" The smug, triumphant look on her face reminds me far too much of the person I can never be again, and I lunge forward to choke the life out of her with my magic.

But nothing happens. Memories of my curse breaking, of the lack of magic when Frankenstein and his mob came to kill me, come flooding back now, and I feel every bit as much terror now as I did then. But I'll be damned if I let her see it any more than I'd let them.

"Oh, sorry. Land without magic. Well, just enough to wake you up."

Just then, my phone buzzes and I glance over to see it's Henry calling. "Henry." My baby boy. I remember now.

"I wouldn't answer that if I were you. Henry can't know about this. None of them can."

The sneer curls up my lip as I fight down the urge to launch across the bar and strangle her with my bare hands. "Then why the hell did you wake me up?"

She steps back to lean against the back counter of the bar. "Your mind might be a little foggy from your nap. Just give it a minute."

The words are no more than out of her mouth and it settles into place. The details of how and why the curse was cast. The reason this curse can never be broken. Reasons. Now the tears fill my eyes, blurring my vision at the horror that awaits me if…

"There it is. It's all coming back."

Nothing else she says for the next few moments even filters in as I fall deeper and deeper into the chasm of despair at the reality of my life now. The life I've known and the life that truly was are two completely different animals. How will I ever survive this?

"Leave me alone," I growl, cutting off whatever gloating villainous monologue she's on.

"Oh, come now, Regina. Surely you're not angry that the student surpa--"

"I have every right to be angry, Drizella. You've destroyed my life and everything good in it with your fucking curse. Do you have any idea the hell you're in for because of this? Is anyone else awake yet? No, never mind. I'll figure that out on my own. Get the fuck out of my bar."

She tsks lightly and takes another sip of her whisky. "Oh, Regina, didn't anyone ever tell you it's bad manners not to thank someone for giving you a gift?"

"What gift? The gift of knowing that if this curse breaks, I'll lose three of the most important people in my life to death? That I've no idea what will happen to the fourth and will likely lose him, too? No, I will never thank you for this, you heartless, selfish little bitch. Now get the fuck out of my bar before I drag you out by your throat."

<<*present*>>

"Oh come on, Regina, you know I had no choice in the matter. In fact, wasn't it you who taught me to go for what I wanted?"

"Get out," I growl, fingers gripping tighter around the glass in my hand.

"Excuse me? You don't call the--"

"Get the fuck out of my bar before I kill you with my bare hands! And if you ever step foot in this place again, I have a bat with your name on it that's just itching to get a shiny new coat of brains added to it."

There's a brief sensation of pride when she flinches, but it's not enough to assuage the morbid depression seeping into every pore and every cell in my body. I don't know when she leaves, but I take the bottle she'd used and both glasses, breaking them into a trash bag that goes straight out into the dumpster, liquid and all. I don't even care anymore, but I won't have whatever poison she used anywhere near me or my loved ones.

Once inside again, I try to get back to the receipts, but I can't concentrate on them. Bundling them up, they go into the safe with the deposit that I thankfully already did before the little bitch came in and ruined my imperfectly idyllic life as Roni Manzana. Grabbing another bottle of whisky, but forgoing a glass, I return to my barstool to break the seal and take several swallows before coming up for air again.

How in the hell do I stop Lucy from trying to bring her parents back together to break the curse with True Love's Kiss? How do I break my granddaughter's heart now, so that mine doesn't get broken any further? How fucking selfish am I to want this curse to never end now, no matter what she or anyone else may want?

Taking another couple of swallows, I look up toward the ceiling without truly seeing anything. They're up there, my family, Roni's family, waiting for me to join them for a night of popcorn, Disney movies, and cuddling. How can I go up there now and act like my entire world hasn't just burst into flames before my eyes? If this curse breaks… Not only do I lose Henry to that fucking poison Drizella forced into him, making Jacind-- Ella a widow and Lucy… Oh, sweet Lucy who takes after her father in that whole Heart of the Truest Believer kind of way. She can't lose her father. And Dan-- Roland can't lose his again.

The thought of that little boy's face crumpling with the loss of his father again is enough to make the rage build in me to go find Drizella and fucking kill her. But I don't. No, instead I sit here and swallow down half the bottle of whisky.

If this curse breaks… Mal can't leave Storybrooke. She was dead and resurrected with magic. Hell, magic shouldn't have even been able to revive her after those three years of being dead, but I can admit to not knowing all the intricate little details of Dragon lore and magic. If the magic binding us here in the curse is gone, she'll return to that dust pile that was in the cavern. And then I'll have Lily hunting me down to destroy me.

And Robin… My sweet, stubborn soulmate. I don't even know how he's here in the first place. Hades and that fucking crystal obliterated him entirely. He shouldn't exist. And this can't be Queenie's Robin. I would know the difference. Wouldn't I?

Another couple swigs of whisky make an attempt to distract my mind, but it's just not working. Tears burn in my eyes, but still won't fall. I don't want this knowledge, I don't want this life. Let me go back to being Roni Manzana, whose worst fear is losing this bar to Victoria Belfry.

"Roni? Love, are you all right?"

Robin.

Just looking at him now makes my heart bleed. I quickly take another mouthful, then set the bottle down, noting it's nearly empty, and scrub at my face. He can't see my tears. He can't know what's going on. No one can know. And I can't call any of them by the wrong names. That will make it worse, raising too many questions about the sudden changes.

"Roni?"

I don't want to lose you, too.

He comes closer and frowns, brows furrowing as his eyes land on the bottle. "Love, what's happened? Are you all right?" It takes a moment before I can speak. "Roni, did something happen? Did someone show up on Orvilleson's behalf?"

"N-No, nothing like that. Ivy Belfry came by and" -- and threatened to take away everything that matters to me in all the lands -- "uh, and threatened the bar again."

"She hasn't a leg to stand on, not if she's coming in after closing on a Sunday evening. You and I both know that. Come on, love, we'll go upstairs and I'll make dinner, then we can watch our movies with Mal and Danny."

I let him guide me to my feet, lurching unsteadily into his chest. The steady thu-dump of his heartbeat finally gets those tears to fall, and I sob heavily at the horror my life has become. He rubs my back for a moment, murmuring something I don't even recognize, and then suddenly picks me up in his arms.

"R-Rob?"

"Shh, it's all right, love. Just relax, I've got you now."

He walks toward the staircase, pausing long enough to check that the door's locked and set the alarm before continuing upstairs. All I can do is bury my face in the crook of his neck and continue crying. The happy sound of Danny's voice only makes me cry harder, and I hear Mal saying something to him as Rob carries me into the bedroom. Settling me on the bed, he smiles and presses a gentle kiss to my lips.

"You rest here for a bit while I get dinner going. Do you want me to send in Mal or Danny?"

"Both?" The word startles me, because I never want Danny to see me this upset, and I hate to lie to any of my family, but I guess I don't have a choice, do I? Thanks again, Drizella, you fucking bitch, for ruining my life.

"All right. They'll be here in a moment or two." He kisses me again and heads for the door.

"Rob?" I ask, just before he grabs the doorknob.

"Yes, love?"

"I love you. You know that, right? You, Mal, and Danny are my entire world."

"We know, Roni, and we all love you, too."

And then he's gone, leaving me to the devastation that plagues my mind and my heart. The emotional upheaval, assisted by the whisky and whatever it was that Drizella put in my drink, overwhelms me and I pass out into nightmares of losing my loves and my son over and over again.

This is Hell.