Title: Come Into Being
Fandom: Once Upon a Time
Characters: Regina Mills, Emma Swan, Henry Mills, Prince Charming, Snow White
Category: Fluff, Angst, Season 3 Fix-It Fic
Rating: PG-13
Word count: 33,608 (Total)
Summary: Regina Mills wakes up alone on one of the most important - and terrifying - days of her life. But it isn't all bad. Not until things take a turn for the worse. It was a long journey to get to where she and Emma Swan are now. Will it all have been for naught?
Spoilers/Timeline: Post Season 3/ 10 years down the road
Author’s Note: Aw, man. Writing's been something I haven't done much if any of the past few years. So how did I dive back in? With the Swan Queen Big Bang: Banging All Summer, of course. And it was a total blast. Many thank yous to the organizers. They did a wonderful job.
Many, many thanks to ohthesefeelingz for betaing this monstrosity for me, and to ludivinelaurel for her encouragement and support throughout writing this thing. I was feeling pretty jammed with this fic when I got her note cheering me on.
Warnings: Non-graphic mention and reference to the non consensual nature of Leopold's relationship with Regina.

i. iv. ii.


Henry slammed the front door behind him, toeing off his shoes and bounding up the short flight of stairs to the main floor. “Mom?” He bellowed. “Is everything okay? Ma’s car is out front.”

“No yelling in the house, young man,” Regina said, stepping out of her study. “And, no, everything is fine.”

“But Ma is here?” Henry continued. He didn’t mean to be worried. He wasn’t worried. It was just his Mom had been plenty pissed about that whole Emma bringing Marian back to Storybrooke and ruining her chance at True Love with Robin thing. She hadn’t told him. Lying to him was something she never did now, but sometimes, on rare occasions, she would refuse to discuss something with him. The first time she had done it, it had hurt. It had taken him awhile to realize it was because he was surprised by the refusal more than anything else. He had gotten used to his Mom being an open book to him - even if she was still as opaque as ever to the rest of the town. His hurt hadn’t last long, however. It hadn’t taken him that long to realize that she deserved secrets and thoughts of her own. Just because she was willing to tell him everything to gain his trust again, didn’t mean he always had to know.

“She is,” Regina confirmed. “We’re in the study. Why don’t you come in before you start on your homework?”

“Okay,” Henry agreed. He slipped his arm around Regina’s waist and tucked his head against her side. Instead of calming his nerves, it only increased them. Regina was tense against him and when she laid her arm across his shoulders in return, she was as stiff as a board. She gave him a smile that was meant to be reassuring, but he could see the faint lines at the corner of her eyes. They only appeared when she was tense and nervous about something. “Mom,” he started.

She pulled him close into her, holding him tight, and kissed the top of his forehead. “We just want to talk to you, Henry. It’s nothing to be worried about.”

“Yeah? It’s just you guys don’t really talk any more. Not, you know, to me - together.” A horrible, horrible thought occurred to him. “This isn’t The Talk, right, Mom? I swear, I don’t need it. Emma did it while we were in New York City and we had that sex ed class.”

Regina’s eyes narrowed as she looked down at him. “Nice try, young man. But there’s no way that Emma had that conversation while you were away.” Her eyes darted over to where Emma sat on the couch as they stepped into the room. “She would have put it off as long as possible until there was some chance of you getting a girl-” Her nose wrinkled. “-knocked up.”

“Would not,” Emma said, standing up to greet them as they came in, pulling Henry into her to wrap him into another hard hug. Both of his Moms were being extra touchy-feely today and that was worrying Henry too. Not the easy affection. That was pretty much normal these days, but the intensity of the hugs and the way that they held him a second too long, like they were worried that he would slip away from them. That had mostly faded in the months after Zelena was defeated and his memories returned. “I’m too young to be a grandmother.” Emma smirked at Regina. “You on the other hand…”

“Not a word, Miss Swan,” Regina cut in, pinning her with a glare that would have left a mere mortal shaking in their boots. Emma didn’t seem phased and the faint hint of amusement in Regina’s smile meant she wasn’t really angry with Emma. For the first time, Henry felt like he could relax, like maybe things would be okay.

"So what do you want to tell me?" Henry asked, curiosity and nerves still getting the best of him. It wasn't good when people wanted to talk. Most of the time it meant something bad or something he really wasn't going to like had happened, but the way his Mom had looked at Emma. Maybe things between them were finally okay again.

"Uh..." Emma looked petrified. "You see, kid..." She glanced over at Regina for support. To Henry's surprise she looked just as nervous as Emma, her face blank and her lips pursed together. "Your mom and I...we made this decision." Emma was still looking at Regina but addressing him. Henry wished he could figure out where this was going because he didn't get it yet. The sinking feeling in his stomach wasn't getting any better though. "We thought you deserved to know first before we told anyone else."

It was settling in now - the reason they were talking to him like this. The pained smiles, the outward agreement undermined by his moms clear tension with one another, the way they had both held onto him too tightly, it all made sense now. He remembered why this felt familiar and reacted like a cornered animal. Henry wouldn't let either of them do this again. He whirled to look at Regina. "You promised! You said you'd never let me go away again."

"Henry," Regina drew back, looking as if she had been slapped. "I'm not letting you go. I'm not going anywhere."

He shifted his attention to Emma. "So it's you? I can't believe you're leaving. You said you wouldn't, that this was home now." He glanced back and forth between both of them. "I know things suck right now, but you can't make me choose. Please don't, Mom." He wasn't sure which one of them he was asking maybe both of them.

"No, Henry," Regina said, dropping down to her knees in front of him and taking his hands. "We're not leaving and we're not making you choose. Emma and I won't do that to you again." She looked up at Emma and Henry followed her gaze. Emma squatted down beside them and put a hand on both of their shoulders. Her grip was as firm and warm and comforting as the way his mom ran her thumbs over the back of his hand.

"She's right, kid. We're working stuff out now. We won't put you in the middle anymore. We promised." Emma pressed her lips to the top of his head. "I'm sorry we ever did that to you."

“Henry, why did you think one of us was leaving?” Regina asked.

Henry sniffed and wished he didn't feel like crying. He was almost thirteen. He was supposed to be strong, a prince and almost a man. Not crying like a baby. He wasn't even sure why he felt this way. Everything was so messed up. “The way you looked just now was the same way you looked that day, at the line. When the curse was coming.”

“Oh, Henry,” Regina murmured in a low voice, reaching up to cup her cheek in his hand. “No.”

Emma shrugged. “It kinda makes sense actually. That’s when it started. Or…” His Mom was looking at Emma again and Emma seemed to wither a little under her gaze. “Not when it started, but when I noticed it, I guess.”

Regina let go of his hand and reached up behind her to lay her hand over the one Emma had on her shoulder. Henry expected her to brush it away but she didn't. Instead Emma flipped her hand over and laced their fingers together. Regina smiled and it broke Henry's heart. It was sweet, wistful and tentative and Henry couldn't figure out what it meant. "Mom?" He needed to know now what they were going to say, what they were so worried about, if they weren't trying to tell him they were all going to be ripped apart again.

Regina looked back at him, that smile never leaving her face. "You know your mother's been trying to apologize to me?"

Henry swallowed and nodded. It had been hard to miss. Emma had even tried baking once. That attempt hadn’t made it to Regina. The sodden, burnt mess wouldn’t exactly have sent the right message. That and Henry was pretty sure it would have given her food poisoning if she’d tried to eat it.

“I told her to stop,” Regina said, glancing back at Emma, who still looked pained.

“Why?” Henry asked, drawn out of his worry by curiosity.

“Because it was pointless.” Regina answered. Henry winced. It wasn’t what he had been hoping for. He knew why his Mom was mad. He got it. He did. He had even been a little mad too. He had liked the way his Mom looked when she was with Robin. He made her smile and look happy, almost carefree. She had been happy with Henry too, when it had just been the two of them. They had been happy together before he had found out that he was adopted, but she had so rarely been carefree. It felt good to see her like that. He had hoped that someday, she might forgive Emma though. It had been really nice when they were getting along - safe and warm and comfortable like nothing else.

Emma winced again. “I’m still sorry though.”

“I know, dear," Regina said, like it was habit. Henry didn’t miss the fondness that lay beneath it. "It was pointless," Regina continued. "Because it didn't change anything. But eventually I discovered that I wasn't as upset about those changes as I had been."

"Oh?" That was news to Henry. He hadn't missed the hurt look on his Mom's face the last time she had seen Robin and Marian together at Granny's. Robin had doted on Marian and refused to meet Regina's eyes. It had been Marian who spoke as they walked past Henry and Regina's table on their way out.

"Yes. Tinkerbell told me once that Robin was my soulmate and perhaps he would have been. But I'm no longer that woman."

"Okay. So what does that mean?" Henry asked.

"I'm not certain, dear. But I'm trying to figure that out." Regina glanced over at Emma and then back to Henry. "With your mother."

"So she's helping you?" Henry clarified. It was great, his moms working together again. It was more than he could have asked for.

"More like it's something we're exploring together." Regina said.

"Together-" A possibility was beginning to take shape in Henry's mind, but surely she couldn't mean that. Not after all the fights, the tug-of-Henry, Cora's death, Neverland, the year in New York City and hurting the thing she'd had with Robin. But he had to ask. "Together?" His voice cracked over the last word and Henry flushed.

This time, it was Emma who answered. "Yeah, kid. Together-together."

Henry's cheeks burned as he glanced between the two of them. He didn't know what to say. Actually... "I thought you were with Hook."

Emma shook her head. "Not really. It turns out he was pretty jealous of all the time I was spending thinking about your Mom and trying to make up for what I'd done."

"So he broke up with you," Henry concluded.

"No, actually I broke up with him," Emma corrected him. "He was right."

The annoyed look on Regina's face slipped, to be replaced with surprise. "I didn't know that."

Emma shrugged, like it was nothing. "You were pretty pissed at me - rightly so. Bringing her back without knowing who she was or the consequences for keeping her alive... Hell, for all I knew that day, her destiny might have meant being rescued by someone else before she was executed. Just because Robin thought she was dead at the time, there were a lot of possibilities he might not have known about. A thousand other things could have happened. It’s impossible to know the past. What I could have done to the future…” She looked at Henry and shuddered. “I shouldn't have messed with that." She gave Regina a nod of acknowledgement. "And after everything I'd done to you, it didn't seem fair to put my feelings on you too."

"Thank you," Regina said. "I’m glad you’re terrible at hiding your feelings, dear.”

Emma grinned back. "Never been happier about it myself.”

"Henry?" His silence hadn't gone unnoticed by Regina, despite her momentary distraction with Emma.

“Yeah,” he croaked, staring at a spot on the floor in front of him like he had never seen it before. He wasn’t ready to look up and meet either of his moms’ gazes.

“Are you okay?” Regina’s thumb was still moving back and forth over the back of his hand. Henry had the sudden urge to jerk it away. Only the memory of all the times he had done it before and the look on her face afterwards stopped him. It made him sick just remembering it. He shook his head and took a step back.

“I don’t get it,” he said, still shaking his head, as if the act alone would clear his thinking.

“We didn’t either, kid,” Emma tried. “Not for a long time. But,” she shared another glance with Regina and tried to smile at him. It came out more tentative than she had probably intended. “Your mom makes me happy and I think maybe I make her happy too. It’s good.”

“So you just decided to stop fighting and love each other like that?” Henry demanded. He had wanted them to get along but not this. This was weird and he wasn’t sure how he was supposed to feel about it.

“Whoa!” Emma exclaimed. “Nobody said anything about love, kid. Not that there’s anything wrong with that,” she backpedaled. “It’s just-” She shot Regina a terrified look. "A little help here?"

"No, dear," Regina said, smiling back with the smile that wasn't one at all. "I think you're handling this magnificently. Do continue."

Emma glared and Henry laughed. It was good to see that some things hadn't changed. It made him feel better. He slapped his hand over his mouth as they both turned to look at him. "Sorry," he mumbled trying to look chastened. The last thing he needed was to end up grounded. He and Paige had been talking and maybe, maybe he had convinced her to catch a movie with him Saturday night. He couldn't drive yet without one of his moms' and he didn't want them along. But he had his bike and walking could be romantic right? He had heard that somewhere. Maybe he'd ask Emma. No Emma and his mom. Very bad thoughts. David, maybe or someone, anyone else.

"I'm okay with it," Henry blurted out. "Can I go to my room?"

For a moment, it looked as if his Mom might object but then she gave a little nod. "Very well."

Henry slung his backpack back up on his shoulder and ducked out of the room before he could get called back. He was just about to charge up the stairs when he stopped, pressing himself back up against the wall beside the door to the study.

"Regina?" He heard Emma's voice, gentler than he had ever known her to speak to Regina and a little bit nervous.

There was no verbal reply. Henry didn't move and then, when there had been no sound for a long moment, he couldn't resist any longer. Crouching down, he peaked around the corner. His mother stood with her arms wrapped around Emma's neck and her head pressed into Emma's shoulder.

"Did you believe him?" Regina asked, raising her head to look at Emma.

Emma grimaced and shook her head. "Too easy. He just wanted to get out of here." Her hands shifted from Regina's hips, running up and down her sides. "How-" She bit her lips and paused. “I know he's the most important thing in the world to you. To me too. Are you-"

Regina smiled. It looked fragile and Henry hated himself for putting it there. "I don't know. This is important to me. I wouldn't have let it happen otherwise. But if Henry... I changed to be who he needed me to be. If he can't accept this..." Something strange flickered over her face, remembrance and bitterness.

Emma ducked her head to catch Regina's eye. "You deserve to be happy too."

"And you, of course, would have no stake in that." Regina said, that strangeness slipping away to be replaced by her familiar dry tone.

"Oh, I've got stake, Lady," Emma said, tugging Regina closer. "Lots and lots of stake. I want to see you and Henry happy. Both of you," she emphasized.

His mom was smiling again, leaning toward Emma as if she were being drawn in and looking as if she couldn't believe what she was seeing before her. Henry realized she was about to kiss Emma and jerked back, slamming into the wall. He didn't wait to see if they had heard him and dove for the stairs, taking them two at a time until he was safe in his room, the door slamming shut behind him.

*** *** ***

That night, his Mom came to tuck him in. It wasn’t something that she had done in a while. His bedtime had gotten later and story time slipped away to working together at the dining room table or separately with him in his room and her in her study. It was comforting, though, the way she pulled the covers up to his chin and leaned over him to kiss his forehead, whispering that she loved him so very much.

Henry couldn’t help himself. He reached out and grabbed her hand, grinning at her. He had been thinking about the storybook tonight and thinking about them. “You know, Mom, it makes a pretty amazing story, you and Emma. Adopting me, me finding her. You guys fighting and breaking the curse and saving me. Then falling for each other."

“Oh, Henry,” Regina sighed, but it was as fond as it was weary. “You know, this isn’t a story - not anymore. It’s our lives, mine and Emma’s and yours. And Emma and I are very capable of messing this up. We aren’t guaranteed anything, let alone a-”

“A happy ending?” Henry supplied, when she couldn’t say it.

Regina nodded, pressing her lips together tightly to keep back the moisture welling in her eyes. “Yes, dear, that.”

“I know, Mom,” Henry said, confidence in what he was saying shining through in every word. “But you shouldn’t be afraid of it. You deserve it. You both do.”

Regina cupped his cheek with her hand and shook her head. “You are the best thing to have happened to me.”

Henry flushed but surged up in bed to throw his arms around her, clinging to her. “You too, Mom.”
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