It’s a cold, bitter day in Storybrooke but even with Pan defeated, Emma couldn’t relax. It’s only been a few days since they’ve all been home, but the blonde has been doing everything she can think of to avoid her parents.
After Neverland had her admit she is an orphan, Emma could barely look in her mothers eyes. Snow continuously said that it was alright, but Emma could see the pain behind her eyes. It also didn’t help that she was still haunted by her past, one that she feels creeping up on her once again.
She releases a shaky breathe, sitting on a bench by the park. Finally opening the bottle of vodka she’s been clutching since buying it 30 minutes ago. She gulps down as much vodka she can stomach in one go, squeezing her eyes shut as she tries to block out unwanted memories.
Taking a deep breathe, she curses quietly at the tears welling up in her eyes, taking another big gulp. She’s barely eaten today, having lost her appetite, so she’s already feeling the affects of the alcohol. I mean almost half the bottle was gone already.
“Really swan? Drinking in a public park before 7?” Came a familiar voice.
“Go away Regina.” Emma responds, without her usual bite.
Regina goes to respond, before noticing the tear marks down the blonde cheeks. Instead she sighs, sitting down next to silently.
“Don’t. I don’t need your pity.” Emma responds tiredly, wiping away her tears roughly.
“Good. I wasn’t going to give you any.” Regina responds.
“Then what are you doing here?”
“Making sure you don’t waste away. You’re the Saviour swan. Henry’s mother. You have two parents who love you, what the hell are you doing?” Regina asks in annoyance.
“Stop talking to me like you know me!” Emma yells, standing in shaky legs.
“Oh please, you’re so predictable.” Regina responds, standing as well.
“You know nothing about me! Nothing that happened! And you never will!” Emma says tearily, not noticing her hands have started glowing.
“Swan you need to calm down.” Regina says carefully, eyes on the blondes hands.
“No! You need to stop pretending that you know my life! You don’t!” Emma yelled, waving her hands about.
The earth began to shake and bend around them, world almost crumbling. The last thing the pair sees is a scorching bright light before everything fades to black.
The next thing the pair know is they’re standing in a small room, full of beds and not much else. As Emma glances around, her eyes widen almost comically. Regina turns to see a small child, not older than 4 walk into the room they’re in, scared eyes glancing around.
She continues to walk, straight towards the two woman, and to both of their surprise, walks right through them. Emma turns slowly to watch to girl, eyes wide in horror. Regina, finally being able to see the Saviour face, studies her with mild concern.
“Do you know that child?” Regina asks softly.
“It’s me.” Emma responds in a small voice.
Regina’s eyes widen as she turns back to watch the young girl- Emma. Little Emma was shaking slightly, eyes wide as she looked around the room. Just then an older woman walks in, and both Emma’s tense.
“Are you stupid or something? I told you to find an empty bed kid. It’s not that fucking hard.” She speaks coldly, glaring at the little girl.
“I-I they all look taken.” Little Emma responds, eyes full of tears.
“You stupid girl.” The woman responds, grabbing little Emma’s arm tightly and dragging her towards a bed.
She ignores the little girls cries of pain, dragging her over and grabbing her hair.
“Does this look taken to you?” She asks coldly, basically shoving the girls face into the mattress.
“N-no miss.” Was little Emma’s tears response.
The woman let the child go instantly, standing straight and walking towards the door without a word. Before leaving, she turns her head towards the weeping child.
“No wonder your parents left you.”
With that she left, leaving the child alone. Little Emma climbs into bed, curling in on herself while she sobs. Regina looks away from the child, blinking away tears desperate to fall at this encounter. How could someone say that to a child?
The brunette looks towards the older blonde in the room, who has been facing away from the encounter the entire time. The blondes shaking shoulders are the only thing giving her away.
“Emma. What-why are we here?” Regina asks softly.
Emma sniffles before storming out through the door that the horrible woman had walked out of moments before. Regina followed quickly before realising they where standing in darkness, the doorway behind her disappearing.
“I don’t know why okay! I didn’t ask for you to see my memories! No one knows anything about my past, I wanted it that way!” Emma says shakily.
“Your mind, or your magic, definitely thought otherwise.” Regina responds softly.
“Why you? You hate me, you don’t even care about me.” Emma responds, voice full of emotion as she wipes her tears.
“I don’t hate you swan. It appears we have to go through these memories in order to leave.” Regina responds.
Emma only sighs, squeezing her eyes shut before turning to look around again. She sees a door that was never there before, and takes a deep breathe before heading towards it. Regina follows closely behind, itching to find out what it reveals.
*Emma swan, 5 years old*
As they walk into the room, the light adjusted to their eyes and they realize they’re now in a kitchen somewhere. Regina doesn’t take her eyes off of emmas face, watching as she slowly realises where she is. It’s only when a young blonde child walks in that she seems to remember.
Older Emma turns away once again from her memories, while Regina watches on. Only a year later and Emma looks completely different. She’s gotten taller, but Regina also notes she’s a lot skinnier and paler than before.
The young girl was carrying what looked like about 8 heavy looking plates in her small dainty arms. Regina could tell she was struggling, and if she could, she would take the plates from her. Just before the poor girl reached the sink, her arms gave way, all the plates hurdling for the ground and smashing at her feet.
The little girls face morphed into one of horror and fear, so powerful it made Regina’s skin crawl. Heavy footsteps could be heard thumping towards them, and soon a gruff looking man came into view. He took in the sight before him before whirling in on the now cowering child.
“What did I say about breaking the rules?” The man asked evenly.
“I-I didn’t break the rules only the pl-“ Emma’s voice was cut off by the man grabbing her throat.
He lifts her high, before walking towards the wall behind Emma and pushing her roughly against it. Easing on her throat, he grabs the collar of her shirt instead.
“The rules are that you wash up the dishes, are you able to do that now?” He yells.
“N-n-no” is the frightened response.
“So now you must be punished.”
“No! Please I- they where too heavy I didn’t mean-“ she was cut off by the man, who promptly through her to the ground.
Regina closed her eyes, willing the bile in her throat to go back down as she’s forced to watch the man kick the young child hard in her stomach. Forced to hear her pained cries. Turning away, she squeezes her eyes shut, before glancing at Emma.
The woman has her eyes screwed shut, shaking her head while mumbling to herself as her memory plays out before her eyes. Regina reaches out to gently touch the woman’s shoulder, only for Emma to flinch away violently.
“I’m sorry. Let’s try leave?” Regina coos gently.
Emma only nods, turning around to see her younger self passed out on the floor, foster dad nowhere to be seen. The pair desperately tried to ignore the sick feeling in their stomach as they had to stand over her outstretched body in order to get to the door.
Once out, they plummet into the darkness once again. Regina had to words to say to the blonde, while Emma’s eyes where glazed over, a haunted look on her face. Suddenly the blonde turns to the woman.
“I- I think I know why I’m here” Emma says quietly.
“Ever since neverland I, I’ve felt memories- these memories- creep back up in my mind. It’s why I was drinking in the park, why I was ignoring my parents.” Emma starts.
“But why am I here?” Regina asks in confusion.
“I told you, I’ve never told anyone these stories, maybe, maybe in a weird way I wanted to. Or maybe, it’s a cruel joke for you to revel in my pain.” Emma says with a frown.
“Trust me Emma, I would never revel. Not over this.” Regina’s words where strong and kind, Emma had to swallow hard to keep her tears at bay.
Just then another door opens, and both women dread to see what’s on the other side.
*emma swan, 8 years old*
As they step out, they realize they’re outside, what’s worse is it’s raining. Regina huffs as she looks around. It looks like someone’s back garden. The only thing out here was a small shed, as well as a large enough dog run, which looked muddy and contained a barely standing dog house.
“I know where we are. What happens next.” Emma says shakily.
The pair are already soaked to the bone when the back door slams open. Regina sees an older Emma, taller yet again and still far too skinny to be normal, be dragged out by her hair by an older woman.
Young emmas shouts where muffled by the apparent storm, and the woman looked extremely angry. She drags her right passed the older pair, towards the dog run. Regina’s eyes widen comically at the sight. They are basically in the middle of a hurricane, is this woman serious?
“If you are going to act like a dog then you’ll be treated as such!” The woman screams, throwing the child into the run.
Little Emma stays silent, spitting out the face full of dirt she had gotten from the fall. Turning around she glares at the woman. The older woman practically spits on the girl, before turning around to trudge back into the warmth of the house.
“You can’t leave me here! I could die!” Emma shouts after her.
“I don’t care if you do! No one does!” The woman responds, slamming the door.
Regina walks right over to the young child, covered completely in mud and shivering. As she got closer she could tell the young girl was desperately trying to hold her tears back. Young Emma stands suddenly, slamming her body into the fence of the run, desperately trying to break it.
She even tries climbing, but the mud and rain mixed together caused her to slip and land heavily into the ground. The young girl finally let her tears fall, slapping the fenced wall weakly before trudging towards the wooden dog house, climbing in and curling into herself.
When Regina finally stood and walked back towards the door, it was already opened, Emma having already left her memory. Just as Regina walks through it, she’s suddenly dry. So is Emma, who’s standing rather impatiently looking at her.
“I guess being trapped in your memories have perks.” Regina says playfully, and is happier than she’ll ever admit to see a small smile grace Emma’s lips.
“Let’s go, we’re near the end.” Emma says after a beat.
“How do you know?”
“Because the worst thing that’s happened to me hasn’t been shown yet, but it’s close.” Is emmas response.
She’s been through worse than this? Is Regina’s only thought.
*emma swan, 10 years old*
As they step through the door Regina is left to a sight that has her blood run cold. Emma stiffens next to her, unable to turn away this time.
Young Emma is lying in bed, eyes vacant of all expression. Regina would think she was dead if it wasn’t for the odd blink of the girls eyes or the steady flow of tears spilling from them. A blanket was thrown over the girls torso, but the worst sight of all was a man hovering over her, fastening his belt.
The man sighs gently before sitting on the bed, right near emmas chest. He reaches out, stroking her cheek softly. The girl in question doesn’t move, doesn’t even look at him.
“Emma, I didn’t want to have to do that sweetie. But you have to learn. You where just too much trouble, I had to set you straight. You understand right?” The mans disgustingly gentle voice said.
Emma didn’t react at all.
“Good. Look at you, how obedient you are. You’re perfect, if you stay like this, stay a good girl, I want have to do this again. Okay?” He says, once again not receiving a response.
“I’ll take that as a yes. Now remember, once you’re feeling up to it, please bring your sheets straight to me. Okay?” The man says, not waiting for a response before standing and leaving.
Adult Emma follows shortly after, except the door wouldn’t open, she keeps trying, desperate to get out of this memory. Regina watches the younger version with tears in her eyes, tears that fall the second the younger girl tugs the blanket off of her bare legs.
Her thighs where almost black with bruises, but was really caused her tears was the blood stains on the bed sheets, spreading out from her crotch. As young Emma pulls herself up with a painful yelp, Regina can see bruises around her wrists and neck.
She feels sick.
Regina bolts for the door, opening it easily and practically running out, taking deep breathes. Emma follows closely behind, eyes anywhere but the former evil queen. Regina turns to Emma, having wiped her tears.
“No. Please, please don’t.” Emma responds, desperately trying to keep herself together.
Regina can only swallow hard.
*emma swan, 13*
As they walk through the next room, Emma exhales angrily. She must’ve assumed this would be it. They’re in a dark room, one Regina realises is a basement. A quiet “oh shit” is released from Emma before a younger version, looking much closer to the Emma she now knows, comes into view.
Her top is stripped, and she’s left in her training bra and jeans. Her hands are tied to her front, and she’s on her knees, face without emotion as a different man stands behind her. He’s holding a belt, a large leather one with a huge buckle, and is staring at Emma’s back almost with a look of predatory lust.
Then he strikes, smacking hard against the girls back. To Regina’s surprise the young teen didn’t scream, didn’t move. Instead she stared forward, as if she wasn’t really here. Regina moves to the side of the man, and gasps in shock at what she sees.
Emma’s back is covered in the fresh marks, skin slashed open from the mans strikes. But what’s worse is slightly older, pinkish scars on her back. There where also older whiter ones, meaning this man was definitely not the first to take a belt to the child.
Regina’s feels sick, and walks back over to a trembling Saviour. She takes her hand slowly and gently, feeling emmas fingers grip desperately back. She squeezes reassuringly, and the pair walk to the door hand in hand.
As they walk through the door, emma doesn’t drop her hand. Hell, the queen even feels relief rolling off her at the action. She doesn’t want her to let go. Not yet.
*emma swan, 15*
They walk through the door hand in hand, however immediately realising where they are, Emma drops her hand and turns to the brunette with desperation in her eyes.
“Please don’t look, let’s leave I- I don’t know why this is part of anything.” Emma says desperately.
Regina looks around the decent size bedroom, it had 3 bunk beds in it, but was nicer than passed rooms. Maybe that’s why Emma recognized it so quickly. There was also a bathroom attached, and the sound of sobbing could be heard inside. Regina quickly walks towards the noise, shaking emmas hand off of her wrist.
As she peers in, she sees an older Emma sitting on the floor, gripping something between her hand tightly. She was crying, sobbing actually. Regina gets closer, looking back to see her Emma at the doorway, watching her with scared eyes.
Well not her Emma, I mean- she’s- you know she’s the- oh whatever.
Realising the teenager is speaking, Regina turns back.
“No one loves me. No one will miss me. I-I don’t deserve anything good I-.” She cut herself off with her sobs, finally revealing what was in her hand.
Regina gasps as she watches the young teen slice both of her wrists. Eyes wide at what she was seeing she turned to look at current day Emma, making sure she was still here. She was, looking at Regina with impossibly sad eyes.
Just then someone ran through Emma, and in turn her, shouting for help after seeing Emma on the ground. Regina quickly exited the bathroom, almost crashing into Emma with the speed she left. They both race to the door, praying this was it.
It took a few moments to realize they where back in the park, and when they did they both cheered. It was short lived, and regina turned to Emma, trying to process everything.
“I didn’t know you tried-“
“Yeah. No one does. Did.” Emma corrects with a sad smile.
Emma hesitates before stepping closer to the brunette. Lifting both her sleeves up and presenting them to Regina. This action makes Regina step closer, gently taking both hands in hers and examining her wrists.
It’s subtle, but she does make out two the faint white lines across both her wrists. Looking up and at Emma, Regina searches deep into her eyes, before crashing her body into the woman’s in a tight embrace.
“I’m so sorry Emma.”
“It’s okay I- I’m sorta glad you know.” Emma responds wrapping her arms around her too.
“Over your parents?”
“There was a reason it was you Regina, you’re smart I’m sure you can figure it out.” Emma says slightly teasingly as they pull apart.
A minute goes by,
But Regina gets it, oh does she get it. So she does the only logical thing she can think of.
She kisses her.