“Why won’t you guys just believe me? Regina had nothing to do with Archie’s death,” Emma insisted as she followed her parents into Rumplestiltskin’s office.
Snow looked patronizingly at Emma, “Emma, your superpower has been wrong before. I get it though. You need proof. That’s why we’re going to see Mr. Gold.”
“How is he going to help us? Does he have some magical time travel ability that I don’t know about?” Emma argued while the bell on the door to the pawn shop dinged to signal their entry.
Meanwhile, Rumplestiltskin was polishing some silver, looking mildly interested in the three Charmings coming to him for assistance. He’d heard about the bug’s death and their idiotic beliefs that Regina was responsible. How could he not—they were shouting across the entire town? He inquired, “Is there something I can help you with dearie?”
Of the three, David was the one who spoke up, “Gold, I don’t know if you’re aware, but we’re investigating the death of Archie Hopper. We have a lead, but we need your help.”
“If you’ll pardon me, I don’t see what such bright detectives need my help for. You already have a lead. Go find evidence, or whatever it is you are calling it these days,” Rumple scoffed.
Snow piped up, “See, the problem is that our lead suspect has magic, and we believe the evidence may have been magically tampered with.”
“Ah, of course, you need a way to make sure Regina is responsible,” Rumple started mentally going through his inventory.
“No!” Emma interrupted. “We need a way to prove she’s innocent beyond the shadow of a doubt. Henry would be heartbroken if he thought his mother killed Archie.”
“The fact that she locked my Belle up for decades in a mental asylumwasn’t heartbreaking enough for the lad?” Rumple shot back. “Still, if it is the truth you seek, I may have a way.”
Emma asked, “You do?”
“For a price,” Rumple continued.
“You’ll do this for free, or I’ll tell Belle this new leaf you’ve turned over is just for show,” Emma threatened. She didn’t want to play any more of his silly games.
“I like the way you think, but no, this time, the price is not one you will be able to pay to me,” Rumple said as he rummaged through the back. He pulled out a tiny vial and held it out to her. “This, my dear, is a truth serum. Whoever you give this to—yes, including a magic user—is bound to tell the truth for a minimum of one hour after taking the potion. The price is the answers you receive. Be careful what you wish for, dearie.”
Less than an hour later, the three Charmings were knocking on Regina’s door. Emma wasn’t sure how she was going to explain the need for the truth serum or how she was going to get Regina to agree to it, but she was going to try just the same.
Regina opened the door, the light leaving her eyes when she saw Emma had brought company, “Well, hello, Sheriff, have you come to harass me in my own home? Or is something wrong with Henry?”
“Ashley is babysitting Henry right now, so you don’t have to worry. We’ve been keeping him out of this as much as possible,” Emma offered. “I’m afraid we do have a few more questions though.”
“Ask away,” Regina started tapping her fingers against the door.
“May we come in?” Not waiting for an answer, Emma breezed past Regina into the foyer, followed quickly by her parents.
“Fine. You may go in the living room and have a seat. I’ll be right in with some drinks,” Regina gritted her teeth—just the nerve of these people inviting themselves into her home.
When everyone was seated, Emma started, “Look, Regina, you know I believe you. I know you are changing for Henry’s sake. But everyone in this town doesn’t see that yet. They need proof that you didn’t kill Archie, or we’re going to have another mob on our hands.”
“I assume that if you are telling me this, you have an idea of how to get this proof,” Regina relaxed slightly, but didn’t fully let her guard down.
“Gold gave me this potion. It’s a truth serum. If you told us you didn’t do it while under its effects, my parents would be witnesses, and the town would have to go along with it,” Emma explained, silently pleading for Regina to go along with it.
“Very well. On one condition. You are the only one allowed to ask me any questions. Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum over here are witnesses, and that’s it,” Regina negotiated.
Emma nodded, looking at Snow and David for confirmation, “That sounds fair.”
“Well then, what are you waiting for?” Regina asked impatiently, just wanting the idiocy over with. She trusted Emma, but truth serums tended to be more trouble than they were worth.
Emma put the serum in Regina’s drink and waited a few minutes. She said, “Regina, I’m going to ask you a few questions to make sure the serum has taken effect. Are you ok with that?”
Regina nodded, “Yes.”
Emma asked, “Who was in charge back in the Enchanted Forest?”
“That depends who you ask. It varied on a daily basis. Snow made a deal with Rumple that meant I couldn’t harm her in that world and banished me, but I still had my magic and my guards were helping me to invade when I was casting the curse,” Regina admitted. “I guess you could say Rumplestiltskin was in charge because he had his hand in everything.”
Satisfied, Emma continued, “How did you decide to name our son, Henry?”
“Henry is named after my father. My father was a kind man, if a bit of a coward, and he always believed in me. My biggest regret is that I had to sacrifice him to cast the curse,” Regina said. “The more powerful the magic, the greater the sacrifice.”
Emma started, “When you say sacrifice, you mean…”
“Yes. I was a different person back then. As Queen, I had the power overlife and death. I had suffered greatly and responded to that suffering by lashing out and making everyone else suffer around me. I saw Rumple’s curse as the only way to ever break free and find true happiness.”
Emma couldn’t help but wonder at what Regina had gone through to make her hate the world so much, but that wasn’t the intent of the investigation, and she could ask those questions later, in private, “Did you argue with Archie Hopper the night he was killed?”
“Yes. The doctor had said some things to you that I had told him in confidence. If I had been my old self, the doctor would not have survived that encounter, but I have Henry to think about,” Regina said clearly.
Emma asked, “Did you kill Archie Hopper or were you in any way responsible for his death?”
“No,” Regina said softly. “I have no idea who killed him or why he died.”
“That’s good enough for me. Snow, David, would you two mind going back to the station? I’d like to talk to Regina alone for a while,” Emma said. This was a rare opportunity to get a glimpse into the psyche ofRegina Mills, and she didn’t want to pass it up.
Nodding, Snow and David said their goodbyes, and finally, Emma and Regina were alone in the room together. Emma continued, “Thank you for agreeing to this. It means a lot that you trust me.”
“Henry trusts you, and I trust Henry,” Regina smiled.
“Could I ask you one thing though? If the curse hadn’t worked, would you have killed me when I was a baby?” Emma asked. She wasn’t sure why, but it was important to her to know.
“No. I would have taken you away from your parents, and either raised you myself or given you to my ladies-in-waiting to raise, but I wouldn’t have killed you.”
Breathing a sigh of relief, Emma asked her next question, “When we first met, I asked you ‘how did you get like this?’”
“I remember. You looked so pretty with all that righteous indignation and that white see-through top you had on,” Regina’s eyes twinkled at the memory.
“Can you answer the question now?”
“The Enchanted Forest had certain expectations for girls of noble birth. Your grandfather proposed to me, and my mother accepted. I tried to run, but my mother set up a spell that forced me to stay within the kingdom. I didn’t want to marry him. He was three times my age, and…” Regina answered honestly, tears starting to form in her eyes.
Emma cut her off, “Stop right there. I can figure the rest out. For all that Snow likes to romanticize the Enchanted Forest, it sounds like she was one of the few lucky ones. I have one last question: is Henry the only reason you started to change?”
“No, not the only reason. The biggest reason though. I like being able to look in the mirror and be proud of who I see.”
“Yeah,” Regina grinned. “But the only reason I have been able to stick to it is you. You kept me honest and believed in me when no one else did.”
Emma blushed, “Thank you.”
Regina confessed, “Sometimes I fantasize about the future with you, me and Henry all living happily together in the mansion as a family. I make dinner, and you make Henry do his homework, and it’s just so peaceful and normal.”
“You fantasize about me?”
Now, it was Regina’s turn to blush, “Yes.”
Emma grinned, “We’re going to spend the remainder of this hour with you telling me every single fantasy you’ve had about me, and then, we’re going to recreate a few of them together.”