She Promised Me Love

Snow and Charming's Castle

Henry checked left and right before entering his mother’s bedroom. He didn’t mean to snoop around, he just wanted to be here for a moment because he had nothing else to do - and because he was worried. A wagon had arrived late the night before with two injured soldiers and some prisoners. It also brought two messages, one for David from Robin and one for himself from his moms, though it was obvious that Regina had written it.

She had apologized in it for not having helped the soldiers. She wrote that they didn’t want her help. It was a plea to believe her, that she had wanted to help but couldn’t. There was something in her words and the urgency in her usually impeccable handwriting that tore at him. His mom was on edge, he could feel it through her words. Only when she signed with ‘we love you,’ she seemed to relax into herself again, her writing strong, a little playful.

Interpreting a written text had always been Henry’s kind of magic. Maybe that was why the fairy tale book Mary Margaret had given him, had stirred such strong convictions in him. But ever since he seemed to be able to look behind the text and feel the writer’s emotions, memories, things that had been edited from the text. It was strange but it was also real.

Henry sat down on the bed, looking for any personal items on Regina’s nightstand but there weren’t any. He grinned. Regina didn’t trust anyone in Snow White’s castle and since the doors could only be locked from inside, and maids entered at least once a day, she had put her belongings away. Henry opened the bottom drawer of her nightstand and reached into the back. Sure enough, there was the book she was reading: The Hobbit. They were both reading it and Henry opened it on a bookmark, seeing how far she already was. She was far ahead of him as usual. His mom was a fast reader, he on the other hand liked to take his time, feel what the writer had felt, build the world in his own mind. It sometimes seemed to Henry that his mom only read these fantasy stories, stories about other worlds, because she was afraid she would somehow end up in one and not know where she was. It was her way of controlling that fear, to gather knowledge about all places, real and imaginary.

Henry closed the book and wanted to put it back when he felt something else in that space. He pulled it out and looked down at a photograph. It was the one that stood by his own bed in Storybrooke. It also stood on Emma’s mantle but he hadn’t even known that Regina owned a copy. It showed the three of them, Henry and his moms, smiling at the camera close-up. Ruby had taken it at the diner just a few weeks ago at his birthday and they all seemed happy.

Henry settled back on Regina’s bed, the photo in his hands. He thought about that day... they had met for breakfast at the diner where Ruby took the picture, they had had breakfast. Then he had to go to school and his moms to work but they all met at Emma’s that night – it had been her week with him – and they had cooked dinner together. Regina had brought a cake she had baked. They’d had a fun evening, he’d never seen Emma and Regina so relaxed with each other. At midnight, Emma had sent him to bed since he had to go to school the next day. He hadn’t really wanted to go but she’d said they would just clean up and unless he wanted to help clean her kitchen... he’d trotted up the stairs to his bedroom. Then he had thought better of it and had wanted to help clean because it really beat going to bed, spending more time with his moms. But they hadn’t moved from the couch yet, they had been talking.

Henry didn’t know how they had started the conversation, it seemed far from anything they had talked about when he’d gone to bed but he heard his mom say:

“... education wasn’t something of high value where I come from. You just have to look at the curse to know that. I honestly thought that cursing everyone to a life without happy endings would make me happy. But what did it really mean? I cursed myself to live with the very people I hated the most. Now I wonder how I could have been so stupid.”

“Rumple had talked you into it,” Emma had argued.

“Yes, but it didn’t take him much. I was just full of hate and vengeance. I didn’t think. Nobody much did back there. I think the only people I know who educated themselves much were Rumple and Belle. Rumple so he could manipulate people and for his own magic’s sake, and Belle... she just wanted knowledge for its own sake.”

“And to read about adventures,” Emma had said. They’d talked about the Enchanted Forest that night, and Henry had listened from the stairs. Yes, he knew that it was wrong to eavesdrop but he had learned some things about his mom that he would never have known otherwise. Some of the things she’d done, and how she regretted them, how she woke every morning feeling guilty, and how hard it was to make up for her past mistakes when sometimes she wanted to just use her magic to forget. And how Henry was the reason for her not to do that.

Things had changed between them all after that night. Regina had asked Henry if he wanted to invite Emma over for dinner or a movie night, something she hadn’t done before. And two weeks ago, he had just called Emma up and invited her over because he knew Regina wouldn’t mind. There was something else... the looks. Regina was sometimes looking at Emma when she didn’t realize it. And Emma looked at Regina, too. That one time, Henry had caught his ma totally checking Regina out. It had made him a little uncomfortable and he hadn’t said anything, but it had happened.

“Henry?” He was roused out of his thoughts by a voice at the door. It was Snow, she was standing in the doorway, looking at him. “I was looking for you. Isn’t this Regina’s room?” She asked, already knowing the answer. He suspected she would have already come in if she hadn’t known. She seemed reluctant to enter.

“Yeah, it is. I just wanted...,” he shrugged his shoulders, unable to explain what had brought him here.

Snow smiled. She made herself step into the room and came over to him while he moved from his relaxed position against the hardboard to sit on the edge again. Snow sat down beside him and looked at the picture he was holding. “That’s a nice photo,” she said.

“Ruby took it on my birthday.”

“You seem very happy.”

He nodded, thoughtfully. Then he looked up and into Snow’s dark eyes, they were full of love, compassion, and they seemed knowing, too. And maybe she did know what had just occurred to him.

“We all were,” he said. “We’re happy when we’re together. Do you think... do you think they.... love each other?” he asked.

Snow’s eyes widened in surprise but it was far from the shock he thought this question, the insinuation would give her. Had she thought about this, too?

“I... I don’t know, Henry. I really don’t know.”

“But you think it’s possible?” he asked.

Snow took a deep breath. “From what you told me the other day, from what I’ve seen I can’t say for sure. There’s something going on but I don’t know what it is.”

“They look at each other when they think nobody’s watching. Ma... she...,” but he only blushed because he didn’t know how to say that Emma had stared at Regina’s assets.

“You think Emma likes Regina?”

Henry nodded.

“And do you think Regina feels the same?”

“Mom’s very private. Sneaky, too. But she looks at Emma. And sometimes they look into each others’ eyes without realizing it, I think. And then they look away. It’s weird but they seem... almost giddy when we’re all together,” he voiced what he just realized. Of course, they had always been happy to spend time with him, usually individually. But lately, yes, there was much more laughter, more banter between his moms. Their annoyance with each other had turned into good-natured teasing, and he couldn’t even say when it had begun. The change had occurred gradually.

“Do you want this, Henry? Your mothers together, as a couple?” Snow asked.

Henry could tell it took her some effort. “If it makes them happy, yeah. They deserve that, Snow. I think they’re happier together.”

Snow nodded.

“You don’t like it, though, do you?” Henry asked.

Snow looked at him and then reached over to grab his hand. “I want Emma to be happy. I want her to have a family. Do I wish, she would have chosen... fallen for someone else? Yes. Regina isn’t the easiest person to love. But that’s not for me to decide. Love is random, with a will of its own. I wouldn’t have thought that I would fall for Charming when I first met him but it happened. True love is the greatest power there is, I’m not going to mess with it.”

Henry smiled and then hugged his grandma.

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