A/N: Not much might happen in this chapter, but in truth, something big will be happening next, and this chapter prepares you to it. ;)
6. Third dawn
Dropping Henry at the bus stop the following morning was strangely weird. As if something as banal as going to school was not allowed in Storybrooke anymore.
While her son's presence helped her with the hole that had formed in her chest, Regina was relieved to see him hop onto the bus, going to sit by Grace at once, engaging the girl in a conversation as soon as he was sat. He was with people his age, he would not be concerned about her for a few hours.
As much as he had grown up, he was still a boy, not a man. He needed his childhood moments.
As she headed towards the Town Hall, Regina was surprised once more to see so many citizens greet her politely, almost fondly, if Granny's almost smile and Marco's handshake were any indications.
But it still felt out of place.
The office was empty and cold when she entered, the desk still baring the traces of her latest search with Emma to confront Zelena.
With an ample movement of her hand, the ruins of a vial crashed onto the floor evaporated, a book closed and flew back to its shelf, dust disappeared from the furniture.
As she had notice the slight chill in the room, Regina even lit a fire. Then she served herself a cup of coffee from the machine beside her desk and sat down, sighing.
What the hell would she do as Mayor now that the curse was broken?
But as she was swallowed in those thoughts, there was a knock on her door, and David entered, Emma in tow, a man she didn't think she had ever seen following.
Charming walked to her with a small smile. "Good morning, Regina."
She bowed the head slightly. "David. Miss Swan. I see you have brought me one of our newest additions..."
The man smiled too, albeit a little shyer, and outstretched a hand for her to shake. "Name's Sebastian Salvador, Madam Mayor. I'm the high-school's principal."
Regina's brow furrowed. "You've opened the school when we were in Neverland, am I right?" She detailed him up and down. "And yet I don't recall seeing you anywhere before..."
The man fiddled with his scarf for a moment, clearly uneasy. "Yes, well... I was a crab for the best part of twenty-eight years, so..."
She would have smirked under other circumstances. But she wasn't in the mood. So she gestured him forward to sit, the other two joining. "Nice meeting you then, Mister Salvador." She turned her gaze to David. "I thought we had some matters to discuss, Sheriff."
For the best of three hours, David exposed her things to repair – the hospital wing blow off by her dear sister – to upgrade – the elementary school's classes – or to outright rebuilt – the library.
Everytime, Regina would note things down, thinking that she would need many a financial help to do all that. Fortunately for her, Rumpelstiltskin was still basically a gold digger. Quite literally.
It quickly appeared that Mister Salvador had questions of his own concerning his own school. As by then, he had three teachers: Princess Merida, a red-haired fury teaching History and English; Dr Hopper, teaching maths; and Prince Naveen, teaching Geography and Science. But they were only taking care of one class, since not many pupils were old enough for high-school.
His questions were more of future matters, and she spent many a moment thinking about who to hire and how to do things properly. The children that had be frozen during the curse were ageing, fast, and soon, elementary school would be empty while high-school would be full. This was indeed an important factor.
So when the man talked of a woman that could possibly serve as school nurse and the name Hood was pronounced, Regina didn't even notice.
Thankfully for everyone.
Emma herself had gone from pale – she was visibly trying to become invisible – to white.
But the Queen didn't see, and wouldn't have cared. About Miss Swan, that is. About Marian...not so sure.
The day passed rather quickly after that meeting.
While David and Emma went back to the station – she dared not think of whom was waiting there behind a desk, his crossbow surely placed against the chair – and Mister Salvador left her for his school, Regina headed to Granny's, quickly asking the customers there if they had noticed anything that needed fixing in town.
And while Leroy obviously talked about stupid things like the jukebox at the Rabbit Hole or the wood path that needed to be clearly marked, others seemed to be quite surprised at the Mayor's antics.
Apparently, they didn't think her able to be genuinely interested in her citizens' well-being.
But, to be fair, she hadn't been during the curse.
When Henry went back from school, he was angry. Really angry.
And as she could not for the life of her pry it off him, Regina didn't ask.
He didn't want to tell anyway.
Except that when he broke his plate, so strongly he pushed his knife onto the ceramic, Regina put a soothing hand on his and asked, quietly, what it was about.
"You don't need to be worried, Mom, it's nothing, really."
"It isn't nothing if you start breaking things. Tell me..."
He sighed, his grey eyes meeting her almost sorrily. "He came to me at lunch."
She didn't need to ask whom. Her blood froze in her veins, all colour leaving her face, her fingers squeezing his almost too strongly.
Henry sighed again, his free hand going above his mother's. "I told him to leave me alone, but he wanted to know how you were. He asked me to ask you to give him a chance to explain himself."
Her question came as a whisper. "What did you say?"
He shrugged. "That he could go to hell."
Regina closed her eyes, her mind going back to the last time she had seen Robin. His lips on hers, his arms around her...
And her choice came determined, although weak.
"I will speak with him."