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. iii.




iii.


Emma was running late. Ruby had just called from the venue to let her know. Despite what Emma had promised, Regina wasn't surprised. She knew the woman she was marrying after all. It didn't make her any more patient however.



She slapped her phone into Henry's palm and instructed, "Call your grandmother and find out where your mother is. Tell her if she's gotten cold feet-" The dire threat should have followed was lost in a quick, sharp inhale. "Tell her she doesn't dare. I will never forgive her."



Henry's fingers curled over hers, warm and reassuring. Regina hadn't realized how cold her hands were until he did. "Right, yeah, not gonna tell her that," he muttered. "But I will find out where she is. She'll be here, Mom."



Regina nodded curtly and turned away. It was all she could do. The thought of Emma not making it to their wedding, choosing not to be there, was one she couldn’t bear. She drifted out of the room and up the stairs into the room she and Emma shared. It seemed strange now to think of the way it had been for almost three decades. There was clutter. Emma’s things were everywhere. Her necklace hung from the top post of the mirror in the corner of the room and her red leather jacket was tossed over the corner of the bed. One dirty sock lay limply over the edge of the laundry hamper and empty hangers stuck out at odd angles around Regina’s neatly hung suits and perfectly pressed slacks.



There was a picture of the three of them - taken at Henry’s high school graduation - jammed into the mirror frame. In the picture, Emma had her arms around both of them, draped around their shoulders and pulling them close. Henry’s arm faded into nothingness in the foreground as he held the camera. Emma had a goofy expression on her face and an adoring look in her eyes for their son. When Emma had first shoved the picture in there, Regina had refused to allow it. Pictures were for frames, not crammed into other furnishings. Every time Regina went to take it down, she had been struck by the happiness that shown out of the Henry’s eyes and the contentment on her own features. There was no tightness around her eyes, no strained political smile, just a moment of ease and happiness with the two people she loved the most. She had never gotten around to taking it down and despite what she might say to Emma, Regina knew she never would. It was here to stay.



“Mom.” Henry pushed the door open a few inches, then hesitated, waiting for her response before he entered.



Unbidden a smile slid over Regina’s lips. Henry had learned the habit of knocking when he was fifteen and had spilled into the bedroom without doing so one afternoon after school, excitedly chattering to her about some activity. To his horror, he had found his mothers frozen, but still mostly unclothed and wrapped around each other. He hadn’t been able to look her in the eye for a week. Every time he had looked at Emma, he had blushed and then blanched so hard his skin turned a sickly, grey color.



“Come in, dear,” Regina said, patting the spot beside her on the chaise lounge where she had sunk down moments before. She wrapped her arm through Henry’s, pulling him close, when he sat. “What did your grandmother say?”



Henry sighed and rubbed the bridge of his nose. “She said Emma got a call. It seemed like no big deal but she was looking for an excuse to bail.” He tensed the moment the words were out of his mouth. “God, Mom. On the primping, and you know, the girly stuff and Grandma being all crazy about True Love and happiness and stuff. Not the day.”



“I know that, Henry,” Regina said, covering his arm reassuringly with her hand. “I do,” she repeated, when he shot her a glance out of the corner of his eyes. “There was a time when Emma might have run from anything that resembled seriousness or commitment, but now she would at least do me the courtesy of telling me first. No, I suspect something’s happened to your mother.”



Henry snorted. “You realize you only call her ‘your mother’ when you think she’s done something stupid, right?”



Regina let out a startled laugh, her nails digging into his arm for an instant. “I suppose I do. A habit from when she...irritated me far more than she does now. Reminding myself of who she was to you was not pleasant, but I knew that hurting her would hurt you and that was the last thing I wanted to do.”



“I know, Mom,” Henry said, covering her hand with his for a moment. “So we’re going to go find her?”



“Knowing your mother, she’ll have already rescued herself by the time we get there,” Regina said it deliberately this time, with a mixture of fondness and irritation.



“Just in time for you to yell at her for doing something stupid,” Henry agreed. “Today of all days.”



Regina smirked. “Of course.” She rose and held her hand out to him. He took it without hesitation but didn’t put any pressure on her as he rose to his feet. The older he had become, the more protective of her Henry had grown. Regina suspected it was another thing he had picked up from Emma. It could be irritating at times, but she never said anything to him, the small gestures of caring worth more to her than all the gold or power in the world. “Henry,” Regina brushed the tips of her fingers over his elbow to stop him.



He tilted his head up to her in question, looking so much like Emma with his arched brows and quizzical expression that it made her heart ache. “Yeah, Mom?”



“Have I ever thanked you?” Regina asked him, her words stretching out as she became lost in thought for a moment.



“Sure, earlier this morning, when I convinced Grandma it wasn’t necessary to come over and check on you,” Henry teased.



Regina tapped him on the elbow, and shook her head. “Not what I meant, young man.”



He grinned, sheepish and unrepentant. “Sorry. Go on.”



Regina drew in a deep breath and squeezed his hand. “Thank you for going to find Emma. I’m sorry that I hurt you so badly that you needed to, but I can’t imagine our lives without her now.”



Without a word, Henry flung his arms around her. He was taller than her now, taller than all of his parents, but he was no longer skinny. Somehow he had inherited Charming’s broad shoulders instead of Baelfire’s compact build and when he engulfed her in a hug, it was with nothing held back. He clung to her as fiercely as he had as a small boy, neither ashamed nor frightened of who she was. Regina treasured every moment. “My little prince, all grown up,” she murmured, stroking the hair at the nape of his neck.



“Not so little anymore,” Henry agreed. “But always your prince,” he added as he let her go. “Now let’s go find Ma.”



*** *** ***



The Storybrooke General Hospital Emergency Room was quiet. Late afternoon sun drifted in through the windows, warming Emma’s room and giving the whole thing a hazy, golden air that made her want to drift off to sleep. The way her head was throbbing seemed to counter that for the most part. It didn’t seem to be having the same soothing effect on Regina though. She sat, back straight and head raised, motionless as she stared out the window, in a chair by Emma’s bed.



“Hey,” Emma said, keeping her voice quiet as she held out her arm and waggled her fingers at Regina.



Startled, Regina glanced over at her, worry clouding her features and tightening the lines around her eyes, as she rose from her seat and stepped toward Emma. She took Emma's hand without any further prompting but her grip was loose.



"You're quiet," Emma said, turning her hand over in Regina's until she could drag her closer and pull her down on the bed beside her.



"What do you want me to say, dear?" Regina asked, sounding tired.



"I'm sorry," Emma said.



Regina's head shot up. "What have I done to apologize for?"



"What?" Emma blurted, then realized how her comments had been misinterpreted. "No, nothing. I meant, I'm sorry. For ruining today for you. I fucked up. I shouldn't have gone out on that call. I wasn't trying to, you know, bail or anything. I just couldn't take another minute of Snow and veils and rainbows and unicorns."



"Yes, well." Regina cleared her throat, but didn't say anything else.



"I didn’t intend to get knocked out by some kid just coming into his magic for the first time and trying to show off for a bunch of teenage girls. I want to marry you," Emma said. “More than anything.” It felt as if something undefinable was slipping through her fingers but she couldn't find the words to say or even figure out where this was all going wrong. The feeling that she was in danger of losing one of the most important people in her life wouldn't go away though.



"I should go," Regina said, easing her hand out of Emma's grip and standing. "If we aren't...there are arrangements to be made. Things to be cancelled. I'm sure Snow has already begun but she shouldn't have to take care of it all herself."



"Since when are you-" Emma started.



"Since the moment I decided I valued my son more than my desire for anger and vengeance and chose to become a good person," Regina said, pinning Emma with a glare that dared Emma to continue.



Emma raised her hands in surrender. "I'm sorry. That was out of line. I didn't mean it like...." She stared down at her folded hands, itching to get up and out of this room, out of the stupid hospital gown that the nurse had forced her to put on when Regina had brought her in. "You'll let me know how David and Henry are doing with the kid?" There was no doubt in Emma's mind that Regina would check in on Henry as soon as she was out of the hospital. Henry, who had wanted to stay with him until his parents came when they had realized that was all he was, a teenager scared by all the power that was suddenly at his fingertips. His attack on Emma hadn’t been intentional, and as it hadn’t left Emma more than a little battered, they had decided to release him to his parents custody. On the provision - Regina’s provision - that he come to her and no one else to learn how to control his magic. The lessons would continue until Regina was satisfied that he could control himself and his magic. It would have been more terrifying to Emma than the jail time, but the boy had seemed relieved.



"Of course, dear," Regina said, already turning away to leave.



"Regina?" Emma called just as she was about to step out of the room. Worry gnawed at her. Her stomach roiled with it.



Regina hesitated and turned, arching her brows at Emma in question.



"We don't have to cancel it. The wedding, I mean. We could still do it today. I was only out of it for a second. I feel fine." Regina's eyes narrowed and her lips pursed into a thin line in disbelief. "Okay, okay," Emma admitted. "This headache sucks, but it's not that bad. I can't deliver on that crazy, sexy wedding night but I can promise you some quality slow dancing. If you want."



“Emma,” Regina sighed and sagged against the doorframe, leaning her forehead against it. She let her eyes close for a moment and Emma started struggling to kick the blankets off her feet. If Regina was letting herself be this vulnerable in public then something was very wrong. Regina straightened while Emma was still fighting to get the epic heaps of blankets off her. How many damn layers were there? “You’re sweet, but we should wait, dear. There’s no need to settle.”



“Are you kidding?” Emma said, ignoring her current nemesis for the moment. “Marrying you? That could never be settling.” Finally, Emma managed to tug herself free and swing her legs over the side of the bed. She took a moment, planting her hands on either side of her on the bed to push herself up. Everything swayed worryingly before Emma caught herself, but she thought she covered it pretty well, lurching into motion to hide the way she wobbled. She leaned - okay, fell in a controlled manner - against the door beside Regina and summoned a lopsided smile, crossing her arms over her chest. “You and Henry are the best thing that ever happened to me.”



Regina smiled, but it was faint. “I feel the same. So perhaps we should stay with what works. Weren’t we happy enough before?”



Emma couldn’t help the way she flinched at Regina’s words. She tried to cover it with bravado. “Hey, you’re the one that asked me. What changed your mind?”



Regina let out a small huff that might have been a laugh. “Temporary insanity?”



“Nah,” Emma shook her head. “I don’t believe that. I know you too well. You never do anything without a plan.”



“I do. Sometimes,” Regina qualified, her expression distant, lost in thought of some other place and time. “I can be very impulsive.”



“Oh yeah?” Emma said, trying to sound casual. She wasn’t really following what Regina was saying. The way her head was throbbing was making any kind of serious thinking difficult, but something told her this wasn’t a discussion she wanted to table for later. It might not happen at all then.



“Yes,” Regina agreed, her voice dropping even softer. “When my mother…” Regina shook her head and started again. “When I was to marry the king, I decided to run, Daniel and I together. There’s was no plan, no map for the future, no knowledge of where we might go or how we would hide from my mother - or the king. We just went.”



“And your mother…” Emma couldn’t make herself finish the sentence. She didn’t want to see the look on Regina’s face at yet another reminder of Daniel’s death. Not out of jealousy, but that kind of pain left Regina flayed open and vulnerable in a way Emma never wanted to be responsible for inflicting. Not again.



“Yes.” Regina agreed, holding herself very still.



“This is different,” Emma said, before she could stop herself.



“Of course it is,” Regina snapped, pushing back from the door and straightening. “Don’t you think I know that?”



Emma bit her lip to keep from snapping back, her arms pressed to her ribs now, holding more than defiantly crossed. She didn’t drop her eyes from Regina’s. “I meant your mom isn’t here. She’s not…” Emma shook her head. “She can’t do anything, Regina.”



“And yet, you still managed to get your head split open on the very day we were to be married,” Regina said, taking an unconscious step closer to Emma. “If you had fallen just a little bit harder, been a little bit nearer when his magic exploded, you would be dead, Emma.”



“But I wasn’t,” Emma pointed out, starting to feel stubborn about it.



“The people that I love die,” Regina said, biting out the words as if they would choke her.



"Okay," Emma said, sudden certainty replacing everything else. "So we don't get married."



Regina eyed her warily. "What do you mean?"



"I mean if you don't want to do this, no way are we going to," Emma said with a shrug.



"I know how much you wanted this," Regina said, eyes narrowing. “I hurt you, when I said no. I don’t want to do that to you again.”



Emma sighed and ran a hand through her hair in frustration. “You didn’t hurt me. You said no. You had every right to.” She looked down, poking at a crack in the industrial flooring with a bare toe. “I went to see Archie after that.”



“You did?” Regina sounded surprised despite herself.



“Yeah.” Emma still didn’t look up. She wasn’t sure she could say this and look at Regina. It was embarrassing, even if it had happened years ago. “I hated it. You said no so fast. I was embarrassed. I wanted you to take me seriously and I wanted you to want me. Archie pointed out that I was confusing the issue. I was running. I took it as a ‘no’ to everything. That you didn’t really want me.” Emma grimaced. “Archie said those were my abandonment issues talking.” She made little sarcastic air quotes with her fingers. Some conversations couldn’t be had seriously. A little sarcasm and making light was necessary just to get through them. “Being pissed off with you about it was me being self-destructive, pushing you away before you could tell me you didn’t want to be in a relationship at all.”



“That’s not what I wanted,” Regina admitted.



“Yeah,” Emma conceded. “I got that eventually when you didn’t break up with me, or kick me out.”



“I wouldn’t have,” Regina said quickly. “Even then, I don’t think I could have. I was terrified of losing you. If I had thought even for a moment before I spoke, I would have answered differently.”



Emma reached out, hesitating to give Regina a chance to pull away before she took her hand, sliding their fingers together as if they were made for each other. “Then I’m glad you didn’t. I wouldn’t want you to be with me just because you were scared I’d walk away if you didn’t. That’s not how...it wouldn’t have been right. I want us to be right - to be good for each other.”



“I want that too,” Regina said, nodding her agreement through a pained smile. “How do we do that?”



Emma shrugged. "I’m not sure, really. I just know I want you to be happy. If you want me to be apart of your life - to be with you - even better. ‘Cause I love you.” Saying the words, even now, after ten years together, made Emma feel shy. Her cheeks warmed even as she tried to ignore it. She had to get it out. There were things she needed to say before she chickened out again, before she dismissed it as not being that important because it had all happened a long time ago. “For a long time I didn't care how I hurt you. I didn't even notice that I had. I was so desperate for a second chance with Henry, that I was willing to do whatever it took to be in his life. I’m so sorry for what I did, for taking him away from you. I shouldn’t have done that. It was wrong.”



“Thank you,” Regina said, her lips twisting up. “I’m not sure about that, but I appreciate you saying it.”



“I mean it,” Emma said, squeezing her hands. She leaned her forehead against Regina’s. “There’s so much I wish I’d done differently.” She took a deep breath. “But I can’t change what I did then. Now I just want you to be happy and if that means I'm not a part of your life or we never get married then that's okay."



Regina knuckles whitened. "And if I said I no longer wanted you in my life, you would just walk away?"



Emma paled and swallowed. "Yeah," she agreed roughly. "It would really suck, but I would respect what you wanted." She shrugged. "Or try to, really hard. I'm not perfect."


"Yes, I know, dear," Regina said dryly. She turned Emma’s hand over in hers and brought it to her lips. “But I think I have a better idea. I don’t want to wait anymore.”
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