I got all I need
When you came after me
Fire meet gasoline
I'm burning alive
And I can barely breathe
When you're here loving me
Fire meet gasoline
Burn with me tonight
The darkness whirls around her like a tornado.
It's foreign, an entity in its own right, and she feels the first tendrils of it slide under her skin and into that dark part of her heart that she works so hard to fight against every day.
She welcomes it in, like greeting an old friend. Not because she wants to, but because she knows there's no other way. It's worth it. To protect the ones she cares about.
But nothing ever goes to plan, does it?
Because there's Emma, running towards her. She doesn't need to say anything, Regina knows exactly what she's going to do.
"EMMA, NO! There has to be another way."
The scream is wrenched from her gut even though she knows it's futile, knows that it won't stop Emma. Knows it because if their positions were reversed she would do exactly the same thing.
"There isn't. You've worked too hard to have your happiness destroyed!"
There's nothing she can do but watch as Emma thrusts the dagger into the void and begins to draw it to her.
And as those clawing tendrils of darkness slide out of her heart and towards their new host, it feels like they drag out with them the truth that had been hiding in there, and lay it in front of her face like a final mocking taunt.
Because in that moment, that beautiful, terrible, moment, she suddenly sees with perfect clarity.
All this time and she never noticed, never realised, never understood.
Every word, every look, every touch.
It has always been, and will always be, Emma.
She loves Emma.
She's in love with Emma.
The last of the darkness leaves her body and she pitches forward. There are arms around her waist holding her upright. Holding her back. They're probably meant to be comforting but they feel more like a cage than the darkness that surrounded her only moments ago ever did.
She struggles, and screams, and cries, and fights, she claws at those arms hard enough to draw blood, but they don't let her go. Won't let her go.
And then it's over.
The dagger drops to the floor, the tinkling sound it makes as the blade hits the tarmac feels as deafening as a bomb to her ears.
The darkness is gone.
Emma is gone.
The arms finally release her and she falls forward, crawling desperately to the blade.
She can barely see through her tears, can hear nothing but the pounding of her heart and the ragged sobs pouring from her throat.
She doesn't even care how weak she looks right now. She can't care about anything.
Nothing but Emma.
Emma who is gone because of her.
Emma who worked so tirelessly to give Regina her happy ending.
Emma who is her happy ending.
She picks the dagger up, traces the name carved into the blade with the pad of her finger.
Strong hands grip her shoulders and she clutches the blade to her chest, fearing that they might try to take it from her.
She won't let them.
She won't let anyone control Emma, no matter their intentions.
She raises a hand and disappears in a swirl of purple smoke.
She waits and she waits and she waits.
Surely Emma will come to her soon?
Her limbs function on autopilot. Her mind never able to think of anything but Emma, Emma, Emma.
She's in the garden when it happens, three weeks after that night that feels like yesterday and years ago all at the same time.
There's a ripple in the air and there she is. Her skin is golden and scaled and she looks so terrible and so beautiful.
"Hi," she says, her mouth quirking in a lopsided little grin.
Regina falls to her knees, unable to stand, because she's here, she came, she's still Emma.
In an instant Emma is kneeling in front of her.
"Regina," she whispers, "It's okay, I'm okay, it's okay."
Regina chokes on a sob because it's not okay, it's far from okay, but she can't even begin to put into words what she's feeling.
"I just want you to be happy, Regina. I need you to be happy."
And she can't breathe because how is she supposed to be happy without Emma?
She's shaking her head, no, no no, and Emma looks so utterly defeated.
Regina doesn't stop to think, doesn't question, just leans up and presses her lips to Emma's.
It's like a match is striking inside her. Everything burns so brightly. Every glance, every insult, every moment since the day they met burning deep within her, urging her forward.
She kisses and she kisses and she kisses and she tastes the salt of her tears and the tang of Emma's magic and the smoke of the bonfire raging in her heart.
Emma kisses back.
They kiss and they kiss and they kiss, and neither of them notice the gold receding from Emma's skin and the dagger crumbling to ash on the floor.