True Love's Kiss
Emma jumped out of the wagon, refusing to pay attention to her weakened legs. She had been stemming them into the side of the wagon for the better part nine hours and she knew that if it wasn’t for the adrenalin, they would probably already have given out on her. But there wasn’t any time for that. She looked at her watch before she carefully pulled Regina’s unconscious body from the wagon and carried her up the stairs to the castle. They had minutes to save her.
During the last few hours she had felt Regina’s pulse weaken, her heartbeat slowing until it was barely detectable. She had thought of CPR but was positive that whatever kind of poison Regina had been infected with was one of those magical concoctions immune to rational medical methods of keeping someone alive. Her world didn’t register in the Enchanted Forest, you had to believe to save a life, she had to believe that Henry could save her.
And that’s why she called his name as she entered the castle, carrying Regina in her arms.
“Henry!!” There was only silence thrown back at her. Then there was the noise of running feet, but they belonged to servants. “Get our son. Get Henry,” she told them. “Henry!” she screamed at the top of her lungs. Then she looked around herself. The door to the library stood ajar. “Bring him into the library,” she called after the retreating maid who had was just now hurrying up the stairs.
Emma pushed Regina up further into her arms which wanted to give out on her. But she couldn’t let them. She made herself carry her love into the library where she put her down on an ottoman. She knelled beside her.
“Stay with me Regina, please, we’re here. You’re gonna be alright,” she said and wanted to call for her son once more when she saw something move out of the corner of her eyes. Someone had gotten out of an armchair facing a lighted fire in the fireplace.
“Ma?” he asked drowsily.
“Henry, come here. You have to save her. You have to kiss your mom!”
“What?!” He rushed over and knelled on the other side of the ottoman. He leaned over Regina. “What happened?”
“We don’t have time, Henry. You have to kiss her. You’re her true love, baby. Please!” she told him.
“But...” Henry looked up at Emma. She was distraught, she had tears in her eyes, she looked drawn, heart-broken. “You do it!” he said.
“Hen... what! I...”
“You have to kiss her. You love her, don’t you?”
“Henry,” she warned him. “We don’t have time for this. You have to save her.”
“No, you have to save her, you have to kiss her. I know it, ma. Just do it,” he argued.
Emma’s tears came in earnest now, she didn’t know what to do. She had thought of kissing her, of making this real. But she knew better. Regina didn’t love her.
“She doesn’t love me, kid,” she said and looked up pleadingly at their son.
“She does,” he said. “Please, do it. You can save her.”
Emma looked deeply into Henry’s eyes. He believed in this, he believed that his mothers were in love. And maybe if she believed, too...
Emma wiped her tears from her cheeks and lowered her head over Regina’s. She pressed her lips to hers...
A ripple went through the room, ripping Emma’s reality apart. There was sunlight, a blue sky and her heart was filled with happiness. She could feel a notion of what life would be with Regina, the love that would fill them up for the rest of their lives.
It only lasted the fragment of a second but it had filled Emma with a sense of what life with Regina would feel like. She opened her eyes as she lifted her head and saw Regina slowly come back to life.
“Henry.” It was a quiet plea coming from Regina.
“Mom, I’m here. You’re all right,” he said, his words choking on his own tears that were now coming.
Emma felt herself shaking. Regina would be okay, she was waking up.
“Henry,” stronger this time. Regina lifted her arm and grabbed onto Henry’s shirt. She pulled herself up and him into her arms.
“You’re okay, you’re okay,” she said.
Regina looked at her, but she didn’t look happy, she looked frightened.
“It’s okay,” Emma said, rubbing Regina’s arm to reassure her.
“I’m tired. I need some rest,” Regina said.
Henry pulled back a little but didn’t let go of her. He looked from her to Emma and back, not quite understanding what was going on.
“Would you help your mom up to her room, Henry? She needs rest,” Emma said, looking at him pleadingly. “I’m a little tired out.”
“It’s okay. Regina needs some time to rest. She’s been through a lot, okay?”
Henry thought for a moment then he nodded. “Sure, I’ll help her.”
“Thank you, Henry. I’ll have to talk to David... or Snow. Do you know where they are?”
Henry shook his head. “Snow was playing with the boys before I came in here, in Killian’s room,” he then remembered as he helped Regina to stand. She was leaning heavily on him and he held onto her carefully. Regina seemed weaker, more fragile even than when she was unconscious and possibly dying. And she wouldn’t look at Emma while Emma couldn’t take her eyes off her.
Emma could see that he was confused, that he didn’t understand how true love’s kiss could not be what everyone had always told him it was. Emma hardly understood herself, but she understood that Regina needed time. And Emma would give her all the time she needed.
“Take care of your mom, Henry,” Emma said.
Henry nodded. He led Regina slowly out of the room. At the foot of the stairs, a male servant offered to carry her up the stairs. Henry nodded. Regina didn’t seem strong enough to ascend the three flights of stairs with only his help.
Emma collapsed into an armchair and pulled her knees to her chest. She felt numb and yet everything hurt.
She knew that Regina loved her, and she knew that Regina was too afraid to face this love. She had seen it clearly in her eyes. She couldn’t... wouldn’t confess to it. And all that Emma had felt, what she was sure Regina had felt as well, meant nothing. It was a possibility, it wasn’t the promise of eternal happiness she’d always thought it would be. With Henry it had been different. Of course, it had been different, it was a different kind of love when she woke him from the sleeping curse. And they had both wanted a mother-son relationship; they had been ready for it, open to it.
But that wasn’t the way Regina felt. She had seemed shell-shocked, she hadn’t known at all.
“Oh, God,” Emma breathed and buried her face in her hands.
“Emma! Emma, are you alright?” a voice from the door asked. It was Snow and she rushed into the room to her side.
“I’m...,” but the word ‘fine’ wouldn’t come and how ironic was that? The mantra of everybody who wasn’t fine but was constantly asked and she couldn’t even form it. She just felt too ‘unfine.’ And there were those tears that just wouldn’t stop falling. She brushed at them as her mother knelled before her, trying to look into her eyes.
“What happened?” Snow asked.
“Regina almost died,” Emma said. “But she’s going to be all right. Henry... it was Henry,” she added, not quite ready to reveal that her love had saved the woman her parents hated... or feared, possibly both.
“How are you? You look...” Snow seemed unsure of what to say, but settled on, “Tired.”
Emma pulled her face into what she hoped was a smile. “I’m tired but... where’s dad? We found them, the men who terrorized those villages. They were Regina’s guards from her castle. They thought, she’d do what she did then, become evil again. She refused and one of them cut her. She’s gonna be all right, now, but she almost died,” Emma repeated as her mind ran in that circle of despair of almost having lost her.
“I’s okay, honey. She’ll be all right. I’m going to send for Doc and he’s going to have a look at her, make sure she’s all right. Okay?”
Emma nodded, her eyes glassy.
“And you should... I’ll have someone help you to your room,” she said before she hugged Emma hard.
Emma clung to her in return. “We almost lost her, mom,” she sobbed because she couldn’t keep it in. “What would we have done without her? What would Henry... Henry...” But no more words would come, she couldn’t get them through her pain, her anguish.