Caught in the Grey (13/?)
Some main plot spoilers for season 2 up to episode 3 or 4, but if you're watching the show, you won't be surprised.
"What can I do to help?" the soft lilt of a hesitant voice broke the stifling silence that had pervaded the large study for the last several hours.
Dark brown eyes snapped to find concerned green staring back from the middle of the room and Regina bit back the initial vitriolic response that had been lying in wait on the very edge of her lips like a coiled snake waiting for the first unsuspecting victim to cross its path. She refused to release anymore of her frustration and fear, though she was loath to ever admit to possessing such a weakness, on the blameless younger woman.
The uncertainty and confusion of her situation had been wearing her nerves down to the point that if anyone even dared breathe heavily within hearing distance, the furious castigation they received would send them running from the room in tears. Most had been mere servants and, while she realized they had not deserved such a damning rebuke, she was still their Queen and would not apologize for her actions.
To her great shame, however, Emma and Henry had also been on the wrong end of her incensed diatribes on more than one occasion. While Emma had been immensely patient and forgiving, after a readily offered, extremely heartfelt apology, Henry had not been so tolerant and had required a fair amount of pleading and an explanation for her recent behavior before finally relenting.
They had discussed how much to tell him, if the need to do so ever arose, after Regina had been able to pull herself together the night she'd confessed everything to Emma. Their son was old enough to understand the complexities and consequences she was facing, but both mothers were reluctant to worry the young man more than necessary. They wouldn't and couldn't lie to him, especially since he had inherited his blonde mother's 'super power', so they'd come up with a vague summation of facts that would stress the seriousness of the situation without delving too deep into the particulars. The look they'd received when speaking with him left no doubt in either's mind that Henry didn't fully buy their explanation, but wasn't going to push it… for now.
Confronted once again with the distressed look that had taken near-permanent residence on the younger woman's pale features, Regina felt the last burning wisps of her anger flicker out of existence only to be replaced by an overwhelming sense of failure.
"I don't believe there is anything you can do, Emma," she sighed in defeat. "I have searched this study high and low for answers and none are to be found within these walls. The only hope I have left is if one of the mages or sorcerers in the other realms possess the answer I seek. Though, with all I put them through in the past, it is highly unlikely that they will even read any of my correspondence let alone answer it."
"Regina," Emma breathed in clear exasperation as she stepped forward.
Raising a delicate hand to halt the younger woman before she could begin, Regina interrupted, "I know, my dear. Believe me; I am no more pleased by my querulous tone than you. I apologize; I am just… very tired." She admitted, wearily rubbing her stinging eyes with her thumb and forefinger.
"Hey, come here," a smooth hand enveloped hers in a firm, but tender, grip before leading her from behind the desk and over to a low settee situated in front of a roaring fire.
Warmth infused every fiber of her being from the blaze before her and the lithe body behind. Settling into the welcoming embrace of the strong arms wrapped around her middle, Regina felt the last tendrils of tension melt away as she laced dexterous fingers with in her own.
"Okay, 'Gina. Now talk to me," the low voice whispered calmly in her ear. "I understand why you've been tense, but it seems that it just gets worse every day. I thought you said the reality hopping had stopped."
Though not phrased as a question, Regina knew Emma was still seeking confirmation and hummed out her answer, "Yes. It's been nearly a week now."
"Shouldn't we take that as a good sign that maybe the curse or whatever it is has finally ended?"
"I'd like to believe that were true," she answered honestly
"But?" the blonde prompted after a few moments of silence.
"But… there's still the fact of my missing memories. One part of the curse may have ended," taking Cameron with it. Wrapped in the arms of her lover, she resolutely refused to even remotely contemplate her feelings on that. "However, the second half seems to grow worse with each passing day."
"So nothing has returned then?"
Long, raven locks swayed as she simply shook her head in response.
"Have you found more?"
Despite Emma's brave front, Regina could still detect the faint wavering in her seemingly calm voice and could only nod in reply.
The body behind her tensed as she heard the blonde's breathing hitch and she squeezed the fingers in her grasp tightly, trying to reassure the younger woman that everything was fine, even if her confidence was severely dwindling as well.
Several silent minutes passed as each woman stared absently into the flickering flames, lost in her own thoughts. Regina could feel the unasked question hanging heavily in the air between them, but knew that Emma would be reluctant to push for more after her erratic behavior this previous week.
"Tell me a story," the brunette requested quietly.
"Umm… o-okay," Emma stuttered in confusion at the non-sequitur. "Uh, what would you like to hear?"
"Tell me the one about how the White Knight managed to break the Evil Queen's wicked curse, not only freeing all those she had trapped, but saving said Queen's soul and mending her shattered heart in one fell swoop."
Regina knew the instant Emma realized exactly why she was asking when a chocked sob broke free from the blonde and powerful arms clutched her tighter. A light kiss was placed at the corner of her jaw as the crushing embrace loosened with a shaky exhalation that breezed across her neck.
"Wh-where should I start?" Emma asked in voice husky with repressed emotion.
"Start with the most important thing first-us and how we got together. Then you can fill me in on how we returned here."
"Well… our love for each other and our return to Fairytale Land are actually the same story. The first two years after I arrived in Storybrooke were pretty rough. You pretty much hated me on the spot and I wasn't your biggest fan either, honestly. It was a rollercoaster of emotions and it all centered on Henry. I guess you saw me as a threat to your relationship with him and I can see why you thought that now. Our biggest fights were about him, but he's also the thing that brought us together."
"Whenever you were especially cruel, I'd think back on the mine incident and how afraid you were for him and how relieved you were when we got him out safely. I think that was the day I started looking at you differently. Not in a sexual way, though even then I was stunned by how beautiful you are, but I finally saw you as… human, I guess is the best word for it. I saw the woman behind the mask that had fears and insecurities just like the rest of us, but I also saw the mom that was scared to death for her son."
"Then there was that whole you-tried-to-poison-me-with-an-apple-tur
The last sentence was spoken almost as an aside but it caught Regina's attention nonetheless.
"What do you mean?" she asked puzzled, turning slightly to look into shimmering jade eyes. "When did we use 'true love' to fix anything?"
"Is none of this really not ringing a bell for you?"
The brunette shook her head with a simple, "No."
"Well, that's part of the 'how we got here' story. After the curse broke, people were not real happy with you." Regina snorted at this, because she knew that had to be the understatement of the century. "The short version is that while trying to protect you from a wraith, Snow and I ended up in Fairytale Land. We spent a few hellish weeks trapped here with your psychotic mother before youwere able to find a way to bring us back. You know, meeting her actually explained a lot…"
Emma's voice faded as Regina fought against the encroaching darkness that always threatened when something even remotely related to her mother was mentioned. To have it practically thrown in her face so unexpectedly in such a casual manner had her in a near full-blown panic attack within seconds. Blood roared in her ears as a cold sweat broke out all over her body. The once comforting arms felt confining and she all but jumped off the sofa in her haste to break free.
"Regina?" Emma asked baffled at her abrupt change in behavior.
"You said my m-mother was here? In Fairytale Land? And you saw her?"
Emma nodded in confirmation as a deep frown marred her pink lips.
"That… that's not poss… it's impossible. I-I… I…" killed her. She couldn't say it. She'd never said it out-loud, as far as she could remember, and wasn't about to now. It would only lead to more questions and probing into a painful past at the hands of her mother that she'd rather forget.
Figures, my memories are fading and those are the ones that still remain crystal clear, she scoffed as she began a restless pacing in front of the fire. Maybe this is some form of punishment for all my transgressions. Maybe… maybe it's her! She has more than enough power and the motive. But, I killed her! I held her heart in my hand and watched it crumble to dust with my own eyes.
The startling shout snapped her from the frantic thoughts racing through her head as the solid hands grasping her shoulders ceased her agitated strides.
"Why didn't you tell me before?!" the brunette raged. "We-we have to leave. It's not safe here or anywhere if she's still alive."
"Regina, listen to me," Emma implored in a soothing tone. "She's gone. We- Snow and I- took care of her before we returned. She can't hurt us, I swear."
"I have never lied to you and I'm not now. I promise; she is gone."
"Alright," Regina breathed out as the adrenalin flooding her system gradually worked its way out, manifesting itself in shaking hands and unsteady footsteps.
Emma once again guided her to the settee and sat beside her, silently waiting for the brunette to regain her equilibrium. Regina was sure the blonde had a thousand questions about what just happened, but, thankfully, refrained from asking any of them.
"I believe," the brunette started after several minutes had passed, "that you were in the middle of a story."
"Oh… Right. Well, once we returned to Storybrooke, things just kinda grew from there. You'd made an impressive turn around and were actually quite civil to me on several occasions. You seemed sincere enough and since you were Henry's other mother, I figured it wouldn't hurt if we were at least friends. It took a while," Emma chuckled softly at this and Regina wished she could remember everything the blonde was telling her, "but we got there. There were movie nights and weekly dinners with Henry, you'd let him stay over every few nights after he'd moved back into the mansion with you. It was all felt so normal and I didn't realize my feelings for you were changing until about a year later. Out of all the times you'd insulted my lack of perceptive abilities, that was the one instance where I completely agreed."
"So how'd we actually end up together?"
"I asked," Emma replied with a negligent shrug.
"That was all?" Regina questioned incredulously. Who knew she was so easy?
"Well yeah, but I think I asked about a hundred times before you actually agreed."
That was more like it.
"We did all the normal couple stuff; dinners, movies, walks in the parks, and such. Henry was surprisingly ecstatic about it, though, I think he knew before we did. My parents… well they took a little longer. They swore up and down it had to be a trick or a spell of some kind and didn't really stop until we got everyone back here. Then, after being together for about five months or so, you," Emma faltered, "you told me you loved me. Just out of the blue and I'm sorry to say I didn't handle it well... I bolted."
Regina was truly shocked by this confession. Between the two of them, she would have thought she'd be the one doing the running at a declaration of love.
"Ironic, I know, since I was the one that pestered you to go out, but it felt like too much too soon and I couldn't handle it," a look of shame crossed Emma's face and her gaze grew distant as she relived the memory. "After so long you were finally able to open yourself up to someone else and I was a complete coward."
"I buried myself in work and ignored anyone who mentioned you. It was just too much. Henry was terrified and practically dragged me back one day about three weeks later. I'd convinced myself, somehow, that you would get over it and were probably better off without me. When I saw you though, gods, I'd never been so scared. You were so thin and pale. Henry said you hadn't gotten out of bed and had barely eaten. My heart shattered seeing you like that. I vowed then and there to never leave you again as long as it was in my power. It took some time before you'd trust me again, but eventually you did and you finally allowed yourself to love me again and I was able to accept it and my love for you. Evidently, that was the key to open the door to this realm, though Rumple never would explain it properly, but here we are either way."
"So there was no 'epic battle' of good versus evil in the middle of Storybrooke?" Regina asked clearly recalling the image of Emma walking towards her, sword in hand, as smoke and ash filled the fire lit sky around them.
It was so clear where everything else had either utterly vanished or had blurred to the point of being indecipherable, that she could have sworn it'd actually happened.
"Well I wouldn't say that," the blonde chuckled ruefully. "Several of our arguments could definitely be described as 'epic' and I'm sure the emotional war waged inside each of us wasn't exactly fun, but, no, I never had to raise a sword against you; a few villagers, maybe, but never you."
A dark eyebrow arched and the younger woman easily interpreted the unasked question.
"Apparently, not everyone was so willing to see you regain your previous position of power. It took all of my negotiating skills, several threats, and a few well placed punches to get them to back off. It was a year in September and no one has bothered us since. My parents still won't let you set foot inside their kingdom, but they don't seem so concerned anymore. I think it helped when you immediately offered to return Snow's throne to her, even if she ultimately refused. I'm not sure if that was some kind of test or if they were just worried about Henry and me being out in a foreign world with the 'Evil Queen' and all that," Emma shrugged. "Henry is set to take over both realms when you guys step down so I guess you passed if it was."
Regina really wasn't very surprised to hear of her rather hostile reception. She just considered herself lucky that Snow White and her Prince Charming hadn't tried to forcefully keep Emma or Henry away from her, as far as she knew anyways.
"You really don't remember any of this?" the blonde asked evenly, but her trepidation shown visibly as her eyes shaded to a deep emerald and the corners of her mouth drooped into the slightest frown.
Regina merely shook her head as the couple reclaimed their previous position on the sofa, content, for now, to enjoy the moment of intimacy before the real world once again intruded upon their small sanctuary.
A/N: Hey guys! There's really just not much to say on this chapter. It's pretty much filler and I apologize for that, but I have my reasons (like always) for what I put in. Plus, I thought you guys might like at least a little back story on our two favorite ladies ;) Thank you all for taking the time to read it and especially if you comment or favorite/follow. Those email alerts always make my day! Also, I will be finishing up those extra stories I keep promising you all sometime this week and will post along with the new chapter next week. Though my tweeps will get to see them sooner, so follow if you can (JadziaDax86). Luv you guys!
Oh wait! Anyone else see the new pics out of Lana and her sexy belly piercing? *headdesk* Seriously find them if you can. Now every time I see her in one of those oh-so-delicious power suits I'm going wonder if she has it in and I'll completely miss everything else that's going on. Lol. And I know I won't be alone in that.