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. ii.




iv.


Emma's hand was shaking and her palm sweaty. Regina held her hand anyway. She didn't think she could let go even if she had wanted. They were being announced, by Leroy of all people. He seemed to do all the announcing in this town. "Mrs. Regina Swan-Mills and Mrs. Emma Swan-Mills."



There were people on both sides of the aisle throwing birdseed - and Regina had firmly instructed Snow that this would not be done. She refused to feed Snow's little woodland friends as part of her wedding ceremony. In a way, it was only fitting that Snow hadn't listened. Some things never changed. Regina squeezed Emma's hand harder, hard enough that Emma looked away from all the cheers and congratulations, and Ruby swooping in to hug her, while David clapped her on the back. Archie and Kathryn were both dancing around Regina doing the same, but it was clear she wasn't paying attention to them. In the general din of good cheer and shouted congratulations, they didn't seem to mind. There was something about the set of her mouth and the distant look in her eye that worried Emma.



"Hey," Emma said, stepping back to put some space between her and Ruby. "I think I need a minute to catch my breath, guys. We'll be right back." With that, she tugged once on Regina's hand and then started pushing her way through the crowd until they were free of milling, touching, crowding people. Emma pulled them into a side room down the hall, pausing just long enough to check that it was empty, before she shut the door behind them and locked it. She let go of Regina's hand as soon as they were inside the room, stepping back until she was pressed up against the door. "Hey," Emma said again. She looked serious and a little worried, her eyes dark as she watched Regina. "That got a little crazy in there."



"Yes." Regina agreed on autopilot.



"I can go if you want," Emma said, jerking her thumb over her shoulder toward the door. "I just thought it would be easier to get you out of there without anyone saying anything if we both bailed."



Like the others, Regina heard her words, they flowed through her mind and out the other side. Emma was babbling because she was nervous. Some things never changed. But she wasn't pushing. If anything, Emma was doing the opposite of pushing. Regina stepped forward, taking one hand to tilt Emma's chin down. "How's your head? Perhaps we should have waited after all, if you aren’t feeling well."



"No, it’s fine." Emma shrugged. "A little sore." Her shoulders slumped, but she said nothing about how tired she must be. That was Emma, Regina marveled. So very stubborn. "Regina?" Emma called softly.



"Hmm?" It occurred to Regina to wonder how long she had been standing there staring at the small bandage that had been artfully disguised in Emma's hair. It had precluded an elaborate hairstyle, but it was still small enough that no one would notice in the photos.



"Are you okay?" Emma asked.



"I'm married, dear." Regina said.



"Yeah," Emma agreed. "We both are." She pressed her hands back against the door, but otherwise didn't move. "Do you want a divorce?" She wasn't nervous or joking, but matter-of-fact.



"We just got married. I think that would be a bit sudden. Henry would be devastated," Regina noted.



"No, he wouldn't," Emma said. "He would understand. And so would I. I don't ever want you to feel trapped with me."



"I bought you the ring, dear," Regina reminded her. "I asked you."



"Okay," Emma said. "But that doesn't mean you can't change your mind - or that there isn't a difference between buying a ring and actually being married again."



"There is," Regina agreed, and there had been a moment out there that had felt wrong. A crowd of people cheering and happy, Regina lost in it while her heart raced in her chest, nameless, faceless, nothing but the bride. The difference had come with Emma noticing, Emma pulling her away to give her a quiet moment to recover. Leopold had never noticed, never cared, never given her a choice. It was just one of the things that made a difference. "What about you?" Regina asked.



"Terrified," Emma said with a laugh. "I know I shouldn't be. Nothing's really changed, right? We'll still go home together tonight, just like we have for years, but..."



"But hearing it declared before all the people that we know and love and declaring that it's permanent is different," Regina supplied.



"And it's not that I'm having cold feet," Emma jumped back in quickly. "It's just...huge. You know I don't do huge well."



Regina smiled. "You do it better than you think, dear." She let her thumb trail down the line of Emma's jaw and then fall to her shoulder. She laid her head on Emma's shoulder and let herself sag against Emma, her other hand clutching at Emma's waist. "Thank you," Regina said into the quiet.



Emma's hands dropped to her hips, waiting to see if Regina was okay before she slipped her arms around her waist. Regina blinked, holding back tears, not of sorrow but of relief. Pure, sweet relief that they had both made it, survived and they were here together. She held Emma a little more tightly. "How long do you think we can stay here before they come looking for us?" Regina murmured into Emma's shoulder.



"Don't care," Emma said, just as matter-of-factly as she had before. "We don't have to let any of 'em in."



"Except Henry," Regina amended. Always Henry.



"Okay, Henry can come in," Emma agreed. "But the rest of them can just wait. This is our day."



Regina snorted, pulling back a little to stand straighter. Her back was starting to twinge. She was aging and she didn't particularly like it. "Tell that to your mother."



"God, don't remind me," Emma whined. "She had gotten so much better."



"Perhaps we should have eloped," Regina suggested, a smile twitching at the corners of her mouth. It was a nice thought, but not one she would have ever suggested in truth. She knew how much having family there mattered to Emma.



"Henry," Emma said, with a little frown. "But if we'd brought him then Snow would have been pissed." She wrinkled her nose. "So I guess it's better we did it this way after all."



"If you say so, dear," Regina said, but it was without any real dissension. A thought occurred to her, one that hadn't yet that evening. "I am happy to be married to you."



"Oh yeah?" Emma's smile was like the sun bursting through the clouds.



"Yes," Regina said firmly, reaching up to stroke her hand down Emma's cheek. She wanted to... Emma had put her foot down when they were discussing the ceremony and despite Snow's protestations, Granny's insistence that that was the way it was always done and even Henry's surprise, had insisted that there would be no kiss between the two brides. Nothing could persuade her otherwise, and it seemed like Regina was the only one who hadn't tried to convince her that it was necessary. It was the spectacle, Emma had told her. She didn’t want everyone gawking at “the Savior and the Evil Queen,” making it tawdry. But now Regina found herself very much wanting to kiss Emma. "May I kiss you?"



"Um, yes," Emma said, with a very definitive nod that made Regina laugh and shake her head at Emma's antics. She was still smiling when she pressed her lips to Emma's. It began with the barest brush of lips and then deepened. The taste and feel of Emma was as intoxicating as it had always been. She kissed Emma until it was enough, until the yearning ache in her heart was eased. Emma was here. She wasn't going anywhere and she was safe in Emma's arms.



"I suppose we should rejoin the others," Regina said, a moment after she had pulled away.



"Do we have to?" Emma groaned. "I like this. This is nice."



"It is very nice," Regina agreed. "But I believe you promised me dancing, Miss Swan."



Emma's head snapped up so quickly that she almost hit Regina. She was grinning broadly. "That's Mrs. Swan-Mills to you, Madame Mayor."



And Regina laughed.



*** *** ***



David was an excellent dancer. It shouldn’t have surprised Emma. Her dad was Prince Freaking Charming, after all. Being an awesome dancer was practically part of the job description. But it had, and she was left hanging on for dear life as he twirled them both around the rented ballroom, managing to make even her look graceful.



“Okay. Okay, David,” Emma repeated, squeezing harder on his shoulder. “Less twirling.” They were the only words she could force past her lips as she focused on pushing down the nauseous feeling that had only grown with every whirl around the dance floor. Her head was still tender and felt odd. Dancing with David was fine, but Emma was tired. What she wanted most of all was to be back in Regina’s arms, safe and calm with absolutely no twirling.



“Sorry,” he said with a grin, sweeping them into one last sharp turn that killed their momentum, and eased them out of the main path on the dance floor. “I got carried away.”



David almost always seemed happy, with a broad smile at the ready and eagerness to undertake whatever befell him. It was easy to see why Snow had called him her “Charming”. This evening, though he seemed even more cheerful and energetic than usual. It stood in contrast to Snow who was being overly emotional about everything, weeping at the slightest provocation and trying to infuse even the small things with the most profound meaning. It was a wonder there hadn’t been a homicide yet.



“That’s okay,” Emma said. “My head’s pretty hard, but I don’t think my stomach got the memo yet.”



“I’ll keep that in mind,” David said with a grin, dropping out of the formal dancing form with his head held high to look down at her. He didn’t say anything and Emma started to feel uncomfortable under his gaze. The urge to shift and squirm was growing rapidly.



“David…” she whined. “Just spit it out.” She couldn’t take any more of those long emotional looks, the yearning and the deep puppy dog eyes. Snow had that covered for everyone.



In response, David straightened, falling back into formal prince mode, and lifted his head again. He guided them back out into the main crush of dancers but at a slower pace this time. His eyes focused on some point just over her shoulder, he spoke. “When your mother found out she was pregnant with you, there were so many things I dreamed about doing with you. So many firsts that we would have as a family. Your first smile. The first time you crawled and walked. The first time I took you riding or gave you a sword when you were far too young and Snow was furious. When we knew that the curse was coming and the plan was to send you away with Snow before you were born, I thought I would never get to see you, much less have any of those moments with you. And here we are, dancing together at your wedding.” He shrugged. His choked voice and the tears welling in his eyes giving away the feelings all that cheerful energy had attempted to mask.



Emma stopped short, taking a deep breath and closing her eyes before she shifted them toward the center of the dance floor and out of the way of the oncoming dancers. She didn’t say anything just stepped forward and slipped her arms around him, laying her head on his shoulder. Discovering her parents at the age of 28 - and finding out that they were technically younger than she was - had led to some very odd moments. It was a dissonance that Emma preferred to ignore, for the most part. David and Mary Margaret had felt like family almost from the beginning, even before she had discovered who they were. It was less often that they felt like her parents. David, more so than Mary Margaret, who was always there with motherly concern and ready advice. This moment, though, felt like all the times Emma had wished for a Dad to do cool things with, to have her back, to do all the things with her that cool TV sitcom dads had done with their children and she had only been able to imagine. “Thanks,” Emma whispered into his chest, unwilling to look up at him or explain further.



David responded by wrapping his arms around her and squeezing her back in a fierce hug that left her breathless. It was too tight and it didn’t help the way her head was pounding, but Emma loved every second of it.



*** *** ***



Emma leaned back against the wall and crossed her arms over her chest. A poof of air escaped as the gesture pushed down on the fabric of her dress. It wasn’t the monstrosity that she had feared when Snow had first started going on about how gorgeous her wedding dress would be and how she simply had to go with traditional. Emma, suspecting that traditional meant both gigantic and poofy, full of ruffles and frills, had retaliated by threatening to wear her favorite pair of skinny jeans and red leather jacket. It had almost worked until Regina had heard her threat. It was always worrisome when Mary Margaret and Regina agreed on something. In the end, the dress hadn’t been so bad. It was sleek, with clean lines and intricate detailing. Despite her best efforts, it made Emma feel like a princess, and all of it paled in front of the way Regina made her feel, wonderfully cherished and loved. Maybe a little bit like an idiot for getting knocked unconscious on her wedding day. If she wasn’t likely to black out from the pain, she would have banged her head against the wall for ruining this day for Regina.



They were married now though, something Emma had never thought they would have after Regina had turned her down. In a way it felt no different than the way they had been living before. They were a family with bonds that couldn’t be strengthened or broken by any piece of paper or legal declaration. Then, Emma would stop and think about it, really think about what they had promised and it would seem big, so huge that it was daunting. Yet she wanted it still. The only running she would be doing this time would be toward it.



“Deep thoughts, Mom?” Henry questioned, sliding into place next to her against the wall and nudging her shoulder with his own.



“Hey, kid,” Emma said, lighting up at the sight of her son. Her thoughts and the exhaustion of the day had begun to weigh on her and he was just what she needed for a little pick me up. “Not so much. Just thinking about how crazy this day is.”



“Pretty crazy,” Henry agreed, slouching a little so they were about eye level. “I think Grams has had too much to drink.”



“Oh, God,” Emma groaned. “Please tell me you’re joking.”



Henry snorted and just shook his head. “I think Gramps is on it. It’s pretty funny though.”



“Not if she corners Regina and starts slurring at her, it won’t be,” Emma muttered. “My head hurts too much for this.”



“Mom?” Henry demanded, shooting off the wall and into a standing position.



Emma waved a dismissive hand at him. “It’s fine. Fine,” Emma repeated at his skeptical look. She held his gaze until he glanced down and started to raise the bottle of beer, label damp and peeling, to his lips. Emma snagged it mid-way and took a long pull on it before she held it back out to him. “Nothing a little drink won’t cure.”



“Yup,” Henry said, with a nod, slouching back against the wall once more. “It goes great with a head injury.”



“One little slug won’t-” Emma began.



“Tell that to Mom when you pass out again,” Henry cut her off, showing off his ruthless streak. It was his turn to cross his arms over his chest again. “I’m sure it won’t freak her out at all.”



“Hmph. You play dirty, Henry Mills,” Emma said with a scowl. This time when she reached over it was to tousle his hair.



“Hey!” He yelped, raising his arms protectively. “Not the hair! Anything but the hair. I have a girlfriend, Emma.”



“Aren’t you cute?” Emma drawled, earning a scowl from Henry this time. “But if you spill that beer on this dress, kid, it won’t be me you have to answer to.”



“No,” he said, but he was grinning again. “It won’t be.” He glanced back down at the bottle in his hand. “So, hey, you’re gonna be a Mills now too.”



Emma shrugged as if it weren’t a huge deal. “Swan-Mills.”



“Yeah,” Henry said. “Mom too.” He glanced over at her slyly, out of the corner of his eye. “Maybe I should change my name too.”



“Kid…” Emma said, and then trailed off out of words. She ducked her head and slipped one arm behind his back, pulling him to her for an awkward side hug. Then, deciding it wasn’t good enough, Emma tugged him closer until he had both of his arms wrapped around her too. Her chin dug into his shoulder. It wasn’t the other way around anymore. Her baby was all grown up. “Talk to your mom about it, kid,” Emma said. “But I would love it.”



“Yeah?” Henry asked, sounding young and hesitant.



“Oh, yeah,” Emma whispered, pulling him as tight as she could. She didn’t let go until they heard a loud protest from somewhere across the ballroom. Both of their heads shot up and Emma stepped forward, acting on instinct to put Henry behind her and out of harm’s way.

“What was that?” Emma asked, not seeing anything as she scanned the crowd. If someone with an axe to grind had come to settle an old score with Regina today of all days...but what worried Emma more was that she couldn’t find Regina in the crowd. Not yet.



“There she is,” Henry said. “Near the banquet table.”



“Right,” Emma said, relief flooding her as she found Regina. “She’s…” the ‘fine’ that had been about to tumble out of Emma’s mouth, was cut off by her hand clapping her mouth shut. “Oh, no.”



“Oh, no is right,” Henry agreed. “I’ve never seen Grams that drunk,” he added as the woman in question tried to take another step toward Regina, but stumbled instead. She would have fallen, except she managed to get an arm around Regina’s neck at the last moment and ended up draped all over Regina. Snow hung from her like a limpet, as Emma’s horror grew with every passing instant.



“Go give her an assist,” Emma said, thumping Henry’s shoulder lightly with the back of her hand. He would be able to make his way through the crowd faster than she could right now. The jolt of adrenaline that shot through her body at the disturbance had shot her blood pressure up and left her feeling lightheaded. The last thing she needed was to distract from the commotion Snow was causing by fainting as she tried to hurry over there. It was so very un-Sheriff-y.



"...so happy!" Snow's slurring words drifted over to her, managing to penetrate the crowd noise now and then. "...a family again...always meant to be...my favorite daughter-in-law..."



"Oh, shit," Emma breathed the word out, astounded that even drunk Snow could think this was a good idea. About to faint or not, Emma started shoving her way through the crowd, making her way over to Regina, Snow and Henry as fast as she could. She was almost there when Henry finally made it, slipping between Regina and Snow and coming up under Snow’s arm, deftly sliding it off Regina’s shoulder and freeing her at the same time.



“Hey, Grams,” Henry said cheerfully. His full attention seemed focused on the woman now leaning heavily on him, but Emma knew better. He was paying just as close, if not more attention to his mother. Regina had stepped gracefully away the moment Henry had taken Snow’s weight, as if it was a move they had choreographed. Emma knew it wasn’t, but it was a thing of beauty to watch Henry and Regina work together. They had years of playing off each other to know how the other would respond and react accordingly.



“Henry!” Snow was just as delighted to see Henry as she had been to see Regina a few moments before. “Isn’t this the best day? It’s just wonderful. I never thought I’d get to see your mom look this happy…” She trailed off, her eyes glazing over before she snapped them back into focus. “And Emma! Doesn’t she look so beautiful, Henry? Like a real princess,” she cooed dreamily. “It’s everything I ever wanted for both of them.”



An unexpected pang struck Emma’s heart at Snow’s words. They were ridiculous, of course. One stupid dress wouldn’t make her any more or less of a princess - or erase any of the shitty foster homes and years of loneliness she’d had - the same way that one wedding couldn’t erase years of wrongs, miseries and abuse that had been done to Regina. It was foolish for Snow to even think it, but so very like Snow. Sweet in her own way, completely thoughtless and insensitive, and a desperate attempt to ignore everything that had come before to focus on the positive. That, at least, was one thing Emma was grateful Henry hadn’t inherited from his grandmother. He might be the truest believer, but it was tempered by memory and knowledge. Forgetting, pretending something had never happened wasn’t the answer. Only by acknowledging and remembering could they ever move forward.



Henry was still smiling at his grandmother, but it didn’t reach his eyes. It was his politician’s expression - one he’d picked up from Regina. Emma didn’t think anyone else had recognized it for what it was yet. They were all so used to thinking of Henry as the truest of them all. It made him even better when he did try to slip something past people. Emma couldn’t have been prouder. “I think Gramps was looking for you earlier. Have you seen him?”



“No, not since…” Snow trailed off again, her brow furrowing as she was lost in deep thought. “Not since...I can’t remember.” She looked startled. “I have to find him,” she added, urgency filling her voice as if he had been lost to a squad of King George’s men, not a ballroom filled with revelers. “Will you help me find him, Henry? I always find him.”



“Of course, Grams,” Henry said, tightening his grip around her torso, just below her shoulders. “Let’s start over here by the tables. Maybe he stopped to get something to eat.”



“Thanks, kid,” Emma muttered beneath her breath, as Henry guided Snow past her. She kept her voice low so Snow wouldn’t hear. The last thing she wanted to be right now was noticed. Snow would stop and make another big scene and Emma might lose her temper if Snow kept on in the same vein she had been. It was best for everyone Henry just kept hustling Snow back over to Charming who would hopefully drag her home to sleep it off, with a delightful hangover ready for her the next morning. Then, in a week or so, when Regina and Snow saw one another again, they could have a delightful conversation where Snow flushed, and stammered and tried her best to apologize and Regina needled her with biting, all-too-true comments. It would make both of them happy.



“You owe me one,” Henry shot back, just as quietly. Emma broke her own rule to slap him on the back. She had the sudden urge to pull him into a hug, but pushed it back for the same reason she hadn’t spoken louder. He had turned out better than she had ever imagined, her kid.



“Love you,” Emma said, forcing the words out past the lump in her throat. She thought Henry hadn’t heard her over the din of the crowd, but then his head snapped around and he flashed her the most brilliant grin.



“You too,” he mouthed back and then turned back before Snow could notice anything had happened and continued guiding her through the crowd.



A faint touch at the small of her back almost made Emma jump. It shouldn’t have surprised her though. She knew Regina had been lurking in the crowd, but had lost track of her sometime in the effort to get Snow diverted to anywhere that was away from them.



“Feeling sentimental tonight, Miss Swan?” Regina purred. She was so close Emma could feel the warmth of her breath brushing lightly against her ear. A shiver ran down Emma’s spine. How the hell could she have been so stupid to get a concussion on today of all days?



“I guess I am,” Emma admitted, turning so she was facing Regina. “It’s all Henry’s fault. The kid’s been trying to wreck me since the ceremony was over. Do you think he and Evie have a bet going about who’s going to cry first?”



“No, not Evelyn,” Regina said, as she considered it. “But I wouldn’t put it past the other Charming heir to be involved. He has your sense of humor.”



Emma groaned. “They shouldn’t have let him spend so much time with me when he was a baby.”



Regina shrugged one shoulder, making it look classy and elegant, the opposite of Emma’s usual artless gesture. “Free babysitting is hard to turn down.”



Emma snorted. “Gee, thanks.”



“It wasn’t meant as a slight, dear. Despite your inexperience with children, you are good with them,” Regina said. The way she was smiling at Emma, bright and big, but tempered by how much it all was, was far more than the moment called for. It seemed Regina couldn’t stop thinking about what all this meant either. It had taken time for Emma to realize how deeply Regina felt everything, but when she had, it had become one of the things she loved most about her.



Emma bit her lip in a vain attempt to hold back her own growing smile as she looked into Regina’s eyes. “Yeah, well, we all know why that is.”



“Oh?” Regina said coyly as if she had no idea what Emma was talking about.



Emma slipped her arms around Regina’s waist and stepped closer to her. “Yeah,” Emma murmured. “Somebody gave me all her memories of raising our son that one time we got cursed by some little shit of an ancient teenager.”



“I would prefer it if you didn’t mention one of the worst years of my life on what is supposed to be a happy day,” Regina said, but she was leaning into Emma as she did, her arms coming up to hold Emma as well.



“Yeah, right, sorry,” Emma murmured. “Won’t happen again.” Despite her best efforts, her eyes were beginning to drift shut.



Regina’s hand moved and Emma felt a sharp pinch at her side. “Wake up, darling. It’s not time for sleep yet.”



Emma grinned and did her best to focus again. It was getting harder and harder as exhaustion slipped over her. “You going to keep me up all night?”



“Would that I could,” Regina said, sounding wistful. Her hand came up to brush over Emma’s cheek. “Whale is insisting that I wake you every few hours to check on you.”



Emma groaned. “Yeah, I know the drill.”



“I thought you might,” Regina said. “If only it were for a more pleasant reason.”



“Now I know what to get you for our first anniversary,” Emma murmured. “Do you mind?” she asked, ducking her head toward Regina’s shoulder. Regina shook her head and Emma laid her aching head down. Regina swayed them both back and forth, somehow managing to remain in time with the music that drifted through the ballroom. Fortunately it was a slow waltz.



“If you think it will take us a year to have a night like that again, you’re more badly concussed than I thought,” Regina said. There was a faint brush of lips against her neck. Emma felt the small gesture all the way down to her toes. It might also have something to do with Regina’s voice purring in her ear.



“It’s never too early to plan ahead,” Emma said. “But I sure wouldn’t turn it down.”



“I thought not,” Regina said dryly. “How’s your head?”



“S’ okay,” Emma said, too relaxed now to straighten up or force her words out without slurring. “Better now.”



“How charming,” Regina muttered and then sighed. “You had better not drool on me, dear.”



Emma’s head snapped up quickly enough that she winced. “I wouldn’t dare.”



“Oh yes,” Regina countered. “You would.” The slight pressure she put between Emma’s shoulders, urging her back down meant she did mind as much as she was pretending to. “Your family must always push it too far.”



Emma resisted Regina’s hand on her back to hold her gaze. “I’m sorry about Snow. She had no right-”



“No, she did not,” Regina said with a sigh. “But if I have gotten used to nothing else, it is the way that Snow runs roughshod over my wishes to express her happiness at my happiness. At least this time it was real happiness and not a figment of her imagination.”



“I’m sorry,” Emma repeated.



“Why?” Regina asked, drawing back to look at her. “You are not responsible for Snow’s actions.”



“Yeah, well, I kind of ruined your life there for a while, what with the kid and-” Regina put a finger over her lips, cutting Emma off.



“Are we back to that again?” Regina asked.



Emma stood and shrugged. “I guess so. I did kind of rip away your soulmate by bringing his wife back from the past.”



"If you think I haven't forgiven you for that by now..." Regina said, with a frown and a furrowed brow.



Emma shrugged. "We never talk about it."



"No, I suppose we don't. But you thought tonight would be a good moment to bring it up?" Regina said, pointedly looking around at the grand ballroom.



"Head injury," Emma reminded her, started to tap her head and decided against it. She went for the universal sign for crazy at the last moment.



"I think you're taking advantage of that,” Regina said, her eyes narrowing as she studied Emma from head to toe. “Hours ago you insisted you were just fine - not a thing wrong with you. It’s quite the different tune now.”



"Maybe." Emma said. “Maybe not.”



Regina sighed and gave in to the discussion Emma was insisting they have. "Fine. Perhaps Robin could have been my soulmate at the point in my life when Tinker Bell used her fairy dust. Perhaps he still could have been when he came to Storybrooke, but soulmate or not you are who I found and what I want. I chose to be with you and I choose it again and again every day. I chose it today when we stood before our families and made promises to one another. In my life, it was rare that I ever had a choice about anything, and it means so much to me to have a choice in this. I have no regrets, Emma."



Emma swallowed hard, relief and regret mixing into something painful and wonderful. "I want you to be happy."



Regina stroked Emma's face, brushing across her cheekbone and tracing the line of her jaw. Emma melted into her touch and her eyes fell shut. Soft lips brushed hers and Emma whimpered at the tenderness of it. They were gone again just as quickly as they had come. Emma's eyes snapped open at the loss, leaning after her until she got herself under control and snapped back up straight.



"That’s not your decision, dear," Regina said. “But I appreciate the thought.” Regina held her silence for a moment, looking away from Emma and taking in the ballroom full of people, laughing, dancing and toasting to the celebration of their marriage. “I am, dear. I am so very happy with you and our son.”





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