Henry looked up from his plate, realizing with a start that he hadn’t seen the Evi—his mother at all. Fries still stuffed in his mouth he looked around the diner. Snow and Charming were down the counter, holding hands and trying to feed each slices of pie. His mom was to his other side, craning her neck to look around the area. The rest of the townspeople were in the main floor of the diner where Ruby had served them until she too joined in on the general festivities.
Gulping down the rest of his not-too-hot-anymore hot chocolate, he shrugged his shoulders. “I don’t know, mom,” he beamed up at Emma. It felt nice to call her that. “I haven’t seen her since we got to Granny’s.”
Emma bit her lip and settled uneasily back against her chair. “I thought that she would’ve been here.” Absently one of her hands came and brushed aside his bangs and Henry kicked his feet back and forth, eager for more. “I’m not sure I like this.”
“She isn’t bad anymore,” he blurted, but then paused and looked down into his plate. “Well, not as bad. She’s trying.”
He hoped that he was right and yet Regina still was the Evil Queen, even if she had changed a little, so he just wasn’t sure what to think. But looking around and seeing all the happy, relieved faces and hearing the clink and chatter of silverware and people made his comfortable meal of fries and bacon cheeseburger turn heavy.
“She wouldn’t have liked being here anyway,” he mumbled and leaned forward, poking at the leftover ketchup with his knife. “No one likes her.”
From the corner of his eye he could see his mom wince. “Henry,” Emma started, but trailed off.
They both knew that if Regina, with her history and still usable magic, joined them the night would’ve been less of the party it was and more of an awkward and tense affair for everyone. Even Gold had stopped by quickly for a drink before leaving.
“I think…I think that maybe Regina,” Henry fumbled over the name as it didn’t feel right, so with an apologetic look to Emma he continued, “mom, might want some of the pie. Maybe we can save her a piece, you know?”
With Regina trying, he could too. She did save his real mom, after all.
“Yeah. Good thinking.” Emma mulled over her plate before looking at him with a slight smile. “What do you say we surprise her?”
They had left the diner a little while after that and were met with protests that Emma deftly turned aside. Granny had made too many pies, so they had bought one still warm from the over and piled into Emma’s yellow bug. The drive over to Regina’s was a quiet one with the streets bare and everyone at the diner.
Henry shifted from the back and looked between the front two seats at the road, adjusting the pie so that it wasn’t about to slip away. Night had fallen and the half-moon shone above them.
They pulled up to the manor and Henry felt a pang at seeing the front porch dark. His mom always left the porch light on when he was out when it was dark. She told him it was so that he could always find the front door without any problems. Not that there would be problems, she told him sternly afterwards, because she was going to go pick him up. But still.
He hadn’t known how sad seeing the darkness on the porch would make him.
Henry looked up at his mom’s reassuring face. She was nervous, he could tell, but she was putting on an encouraging face for him.
“You got the pie.”
“Got it,” he lifted it slightly to demonstrate as the car turned off. “Let’s go.”
He unbuckled his seat belt and opened the door, sliding out onto the ground. Closing the door with his butt he walked around and met up with Emma. They started to the front door after she took the pie from him.
“Is her light broken?” Emma wondered out loud, and Henry could feel a slight twist in his gut as he trudged forward.
“No. It’s only on when she expects company. Or me.” He admitted.
Walking up to the door, Henry nervously shifted his weight as Emma run the doorbell. A few moments later, Henry could see a light turn on through the opaque glass panels. Soon, the click-click of his mom’s heels became audible as a dark figure approached them. The light went on and Henry shifted his weight again. Next to him, Emma was doing the same thing.
The door swung open, revealing Regina’s flat expression. “Henry, Ms. Swan. I hardly believe that dinner is over already.”
Henry wanted to say something, but looking carefully he could see hints of red at the corner of her eyes and felt ashamed. The Evil Queen was evil, but she was trying.
The least he could do was to start trying as well.
“I missed real food,” Emma said brusquely and made a vague gesture with the pie in her hands. “So, are you going to let us in or what?”
“I—,” Regina’s façade broke and she looked at the two of them, her gaze lingering on Henry. He nodded encouragingly at her. “You might as well. You’re letting the chill in.”
Closing the door, Henry smiled as his two moms interacted over the pie with Regina being more flustered than usual and the two of them bickering like usual.
Maybe it’d all work out.