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What I Did For Love

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Opening her eyes, Regina looked around to find herself in an auditorium.  She was at the back of the room, laid out on the floor. There were rows of seats with tables in semi-circles around them. Although she had never attended college, she had seen enough films to understand that she was in a large lecture-style classroom.  It was cold and she was frightened. This was not where she had been when her eyes had closed.  She struggled to force her mind back to the last thing she could remember.

Smoke rose from the buildings of Storybrooke’s wharf as the battle continued to rage.  Already so much of the town Regina had created was destroyed.  She limped toward the dock where her mother and Rumplestiltskin stood waiting for her.  The rest of the town had retreated to the relative safety inland.  Regina had convinced them that this was her battle to fight alone and she would see it through.

Just moments before she had said goodbye to Henry and Emma as they went to gather with Snow and Charming at Granny’s, the appointed meeting place for the battle-weary citizens.  Henry had squeezed her tightly and whispered, “I love you, Mom” before standing to the side, allowing his mothers to regard each other warily.  Emma had said nothing for several moments.   When she spoke, it was with quiet desperation, “You don’t have to do this alone.”

“I do.  This battle is beyond you, Emma.   And I need you to be the savior to our son now.  Keep him safe.  If anything happens to me…”

Emma stared at her a long moment before lunging forward and pressing their lips together with a desperate fervor.  She fisted her hands in Regina’s hair as her tongue sought entrance in this spontaneous yet long-awaited joining.  Regina was stunned for several moments before she responded, returning Emma’s passion with her own even as the tears began to trickle down her cheeks.  She felt full of regret that after months of clashing, of secretly longing for this very moment, it was only now that she had the courage to wrap her arms around the blonde and pull their bodies flush against one another.  Their first kiss was sure to be their last.

Emma broke the kiss and stepped back saying, “Please come back.”  Pale, bloodied fingers brushed tenderly across her cheeks, wiping away tears that were rapidly replaced on olive skin.  With a significant look but no further words, Emma turned and took Henry’s hand, walking toward town without looking back. 

Regina watched them go and resolved that she would not allow anything to happen to them.  Perhaps she would return from this encounter, but she expected that she would not.  But regardless of her own safety, her own survival, this battle would end today.  With her courage renewed, she squared her shoulders and walked toward the dock. 

They smiled as she approached.  They were supremely confident of the outcome of this encounter.  Regina would join them in fulfilling their quest for power at any cost or she would die. 

Regina forced an arrogant smirk onto plump lips as she swaggered across the dock. It would not do to show her fear.  She felt her heart beating wildly in her chest as if it knew that it would soon beat no more.  She pushed her hands down in her pockets to hide their trembling and curled her fingers around the gem.  It had taken all of the magic of the fairies and most of her own combined to temper the failsafe from a device that would destroy Storybrooke to one that would cause a magical implosion.  It would destroy any magical beings within its blast radius.  It would rob them of their magic so entirely that it would destroy their very souls, but it would neutralize what threatened everything she loved.  It would allow her the chance to be the hero in the end.

“You’re late, Dearie.”

“My apologies, dear Rumple.  I had matters to attend to.”

Cora’s eyes flashed at the casual tone in her daughter’s voice, “Enough.  Have you made your decision, Regina?  Do you embrace power or do you embrace death?”

“Oh Mother.  You’re barely a shell of the woman I knew.  Where are your manners?  Straight to business without the usual pleasantries?  What has this world done to you?”

Cora’s smile grew vicious, “What use are pleasantries, now?  We are amongst barbarians.  You must choose, Regina.  You once said that you loved me.  I crossed realms to come to you so that we may be a family as we always should have been.”   She twined her fingers through Rumplestiltskin’s and he looked at her adoringly.  “The three of us have power none in this world can harness.  Storybrooke is just the beginning, darling.  Together, we will be unstoppable.  Our power will expand until we hold the world in our hands.”

Despite her determination, Regina felt a moment’s hesitation.  She had always longed for her mother’s love.  The idea that her mother truly cared for her and had sought her out after all this time was intoxicating.  She took a step toward them and Cora’s smile grew. 

“That’s right, my darling.  There is power to be had.  What use is love other than to gain more power?  We are your family.”

With that one word Regina sobered, her mind whirling with images.  Family.  She saw Henry taking his first steps and hugging her in triumph.  She saw the first time he managed to ride his bike and the tears that filled his eyes after he scraped his knee falling off.  She felt his arms as they had wrapped around her waist just minutes ago.  And unbidden, she felt the warmth that had spread through her body when the savior pressed their lips together.  Her steps never faltered and her smile never faded as she gave a practiced performance despite a surging of strength within her.

“Mother, I’ve told you.  This world has no magic.  If it is magic you desire, we shall find a way to return to a realm with magic.  But there is no need to bring the peasants along.  Let’s open a portal and leave them all behind.”

Cora laughed, “But darling, don’t you understand?  We will retain our magic even within this realm.  None of the fools will be able to stop us.  This is the opportunity we’ve spent lifetimes waiting for.  With this power, we will rule over all within this realm.”

“No, Mother.  I did love you once.  I love you still.  But we will not retain our magic.  We will not rule over this realm or any other.  This ends today.”

Without any further speech, without any warning, Regina pulled the gem from her pocket, recited the words to activate it and tossed it toward Cora and Rumplestiltskin.  It stopped mid-air and hung in the middle of the three of them, shaking before it burst into a flash of white light that knocked Regina back and she knew no more.

Returning herself to the present as she heard a throat being cleared below her she realized abruptly what had happened.  She had died.  She was as relieved as she was astonished to be conscious of this process.  Although she had condemned others to death, she had never considered any life beyond, assuming it to be an overwhelming darkness.  She stood to her feet and became aware of her body for the first time.  She was dressed in the riding clothes of her youth.  The contrast with the clearly modern setting was jarring, but not nearly as much as the recognition of those sharing the room with her as she began to descend the steps.

Standing on the dais at the front of the room were Rumplestiltskin and her mother, which was unsettling enough.  But they were flanked by a woman she did not know and her father.  Her heart leapt into her throat at the sight of the man who had stood by her despite her descent into evil.  A tear trailed down his face as he looked at her with such sadness and love.  He opened his mouth as though to speak before closing it and looking down instead.  As she reached the bottom of the stairs he lifted his head to meet her eye again before turning his gaze to a man seated in the front row she had not noticed previously.  She too turned to look at this new person only to stop abruptly, her eyes widening and a choked sob escaping.  It was Daniel.  Her Daniel.  And he was smiling at her but his eyes were so sad.

“Daniel,” she whispered as she approached him.  She reached out a hand to touch his cheek – to verify that he was real.  His grin widened as he grasped her wrist and said softly, “Regina”.

For several long moments they stared at one another, the rest of the room and circumstance fading away.  It was her mother’s exclamation that broke the intense silence.

“Oh for Heaven’s sake.  After all this time, Regina?  What is this boy doing here?  What have you done?”

Regina’s eyes hardened as she turned to face the two people who had twisted her to become what she was.  This room seemed to be divided between those who had harmed her and those she had caused the most harm, which the exception of the woman standing stonily next to Rumplestiltskin.

“Well for a moment I thought perhaps I had died and gone to Heaven, but obviously that’s not possible with the two of you here,” her eyes shot daggers at both her mother and mentor.  “As to what we are all doing here, I’m afraid your guess is as good as mine.”

“We’re waiting,” came the hushed response from her first love.

“Waiting for what?”

“Not what.  For who,” the brunette at Rumple’s side corrected.

Regina sighed, “Fine then, for who?”

“For me.”  In unison, the six denizens of the room turned at the sound of a new voice.   Descending the steps was a woman with flaming red hair that was scattered over her shoulders carelessly.  Her dress and hygiene suggested that she was from their former world but the most shocking of all were her eyes, which had been crudely sewn shut.

“You,” Rumplestiltskin growled.

“As you know, Rumplestiltskin, all magic comes with a price.  The three of you are here as a result of your choices in life – your use and abuse of the powers bestowed upon you.  Here your deeds will be weighed, evaluated, and the price of your actions set.”

Regina’s heart sank.  Any hope that had filled her at the knowledge that not only was there life after death but that she might share it with Daniel had faded at the blind woman’s words.  She supposed that it was fitting after her misdeeds that the consequences finally be decided.  She felt she should have expected that just as it had at every other moment of her life, the spontaneous joy she had felt in seeing her first love could only be torn away.  Tears began to form in her eyes once more but she willed them not to fall.  She cleared her throat and flicked her hair before asking, “What must we do?”

“We will consider your cases one at a time.  First I will hear from Rumplestiltskin and his one-time wife.  The rest of you may have a seat.”

Regina stood still for a moment until Daniel’s warm hand curled around hers and led her to a seat, keeping their hands intertwined as he sat beside her.  Cora began to approach them looking thunderous, but Henry took her arm with a stony face and led her to seats on the opposite side of the aisle.  Cora obeyed but glared at him as she sat.

The seer guided Rumplestiltskin and his wife forward to stand on either side of her.  The screen behind them lit with the scene of a young couple during the Ogre Wars.  Fearful of the loss the war could bring them, the couple shared dinner.  The screen froze and Regina gasped to recognize a young Rumplestiltskin looking as she had never seen him before.  Certainly he resembled Mr. Gold but this man was so young and appeared so warm.  The woman beside him, in contrast, had changed very little.  Regina wondered at this but figured that she must also have preceded him in death as her father and Daniel had proceeded her mother and her. 

The seer spoke, “Rumplestiltskin.  You were a young man with a beautiful wife and a child on the way.  You had every opportunity to honor your family and make them proud and you chose cowardice,” the scene on the screen had changed to depict Rumple injuring himself to escape the war. “You chose dishonor and self-interest.”

“Over death,” he spoke calmly, “As I would if I faced the choice again.”

“Of that, there seems little doubt.  When you returned home, your wife, Milah expressed her displeasure that you had chosen to desert the army.”

“My wife, Milah, who prior to me leaving expressed a wish for me not to die.”

“And such was my wish, Rumple.  But for Bae to grow up in a land where he would be forever held back by the reputation of a cowardly gimp of a father was not my wish.”

“No, you would have preferred him to be raised with no father.  Or doubtless with that pig of a pirate you whored yourself to after me.  Tell me Milah, did you feel it would be better for his reputation to be the motherless child of a pirate’s slut?”

Milah’s eyes blazed, “Better certainly that the son of the Dark One.”

At these words silence fell once again.  Rumplestiltskin said nothing but pursed his lips as he leaned on his cane.  The seer stepped forward once more.

“And now we arrive at a choice that would shape your life for centuries Rumplestiltskin.  By assuming the mantle of Dark One, you chose power over love.  When your son,” Bae’s face, so full of hope appeared on the screen, “Begged you to choose his love over power, you denied him this.”

“I chose to protect my son.  I gathered power so that I might prevent him from being harmed.”

“But in that choice, you harmed him more than any other.” A scene played now of Bae opening a portal to a land without magic, to him reaching for his father, to Rumple choosing to let go.

“I tried to follow.” Rumple’s voice held a note of panic now, of pain. “I tried for centuries to find my boy.  Everything I did was for him.”

“No, Rumple,” Milah said, “Everything you did was for you.”  Rather than condemnation, her voice held a resigned sadness.  “Every choice you made from that day forward was to maintain power, not to seek out love.  You even chose to push others down the path of choosing power over love.”

Moving rapidly through his timeline now, the screen flashed images of Rumple training Cora when she was young, their lust for power eclipsing even their lust for one another.  It showed him taking Cora’s heart, enabling her to sacrifice her capacity for love and compassion for the sake of power. 

When Regina saw her mother hand over her heart to Rumplestiltskin she gave a broken wail.  Suddenly the fact that her mother had always been unable to accept her, to be proud of her, to love her came into sharp focus.  Her cry was echoed by her father, who looked about to go over to her but was stopped by Cora’s hand on his arm and a sharp look.  Regina felt her heart swell even as it broke.  All she had done to try to make her mother proud had been in vain because her mother had never had the capacity to love her.  It was not her fault.

Her attention returned to the screen as it showed Regina as a young woman being broken down slowly by his promise of her eventual happiness even as he prodded her to sacrifice her soul piece by piece to the darkness.  She wondered whether the seer intended watching this to be a part of her own punishment, especially with Daniel beside her.  Whether or not he’d known of her actions after his death before now, Regina was filled with immense shame at witnessing her descent into darkness beside him.

Rumple interrupted her thoughts, “Those choices were not mine.  Both Cora and Regina chose to pursue power as surely as I did.”

“This is not a competition, Rumple.  Each of you will be judged by your own merits, not in comparison to others.”

He seethed and glared at the seer, his normally condescending smirk taking on an ugly maniacal twist.  “Not comparison, no.  But you are handing me the blame for their actions.”

“I am giving a depiction of your choices.  And your choices included manipulating a grieving young girl who wished to return her beloved to life to become the wielder of dark magic for the purpose of enacting a curse.”

Regina felt tears cascading rapidly as she watched herself deceived by the Mad Hatter and Frankenstein into believing that Daniel could return.  She watched as she laid her head on his chest and felt him beside her putting an arm around her shoulder.  She gave a sob and trembled as she continued to watch the scene unfold.

“The curse was meant to return me to the same land as Bae so that I may find him.  Nothing more.”

Milah spoke up, “It was centuries after Bae had left.  You had no way of knowing whether he was alive.  And even if he was, do you think he would have applauded your creating a dark curse that harmed others in his name?  You thought only of yourself, Rumple, as you always have.”

“That is untrue.  I have shown love to others.  Others who she,” he pointed at Regina “Convinced me were dead and abandoned to live in an institution for decades.”

“Then we’ve arrived at Belle,” the seer said.  The pretty young brunette’s relationship with Rumple flashed across the screen including their mutual affection, his release of her, her return and triumph in breaking his curse.

“Once more, you were faced with a choice, Rumplestiltskin.  Belle’s kiss weakened the darkness in you, gave you a chance to embrace your humanity and true love.  But as you had in the past, you chose power.”

For the first time, Rumple looked genuinely grieved rather than indignant even as he protested, “I tried to make it right but she was gone.  Regina separated us – this was her fault.”

“Just as it was with Bae, though, your choice came too late.  You valued nothing as much as your power.  The regret over losing them is not the same as remorse for the pain that you caused them.  With both, you had the choice to keep them and you let them go,” Milah ended her speech shaking her head sadly.

The seer picked up the thread.  “And if you were truly remorseful for you actions, if you truly regretted the separation, why would you choose to continue to use dark magic once you were reunited with Belle?  Decades later in Storybrooke, you chose to bring magic to the realm to enable your own power.  Once again she asked you to refrain and you ignored her.”

“Well isn’t this just precious.  A convention of those who were little more than my puppets acting as though they have any right to judge.  You forget, seer, I am the Dark One.  My power eclipses that of any in this room.”

“It did, yes.  But the magic that Regina summoned to bring you here has destroyed any and all magic you previously held.  As she did so without using the dagger, the power of the Dark One has gone.”

Rumple’s face registered only fear at her words.  For a moment he shook with the effort he exerted to bring forth some portion of his previous power.  When his attempts failed, his eyes darted around the room as though he might find a means of escape.

“It’s no use. I told you centuries ago – you cannot escape your destiny.”

“What is to become of me?”

“Life after death is a different experience for all people.  For those who have lived their lives displaying love for their fellow man, they are allowed to spend eternity in the company of those they love.  But all love in this life after death must be mutual.”

“Just what does that mean?”

The seer held up both hands, her eyes blinking open to look at him.

“That after your many opportunities for redemption which you scorned, the opportunities for penitent remorse which you neglected, and the opportunities for love that you rejected, your fate will not be that.  You have chosen to live in darkness rather than in love.  And your fate in eternity will be to be surrounded by the darkness you have embraced.  In solitude.”

“But surely that cannot be my fate.  I have been loved.  Milah, you loved me once.  And you, Cora.  And Belle.  All of the things I did, I did for Bae, Milah.  For our son. Please.”

“I’m sorry, Rumple,” Milah murmured.

The seer extended her hand toward the floor before Rumplestiltskin and a portal opened beneath him, swirling rapidly.

“This cannot be the end of the story.”

“It may not be.  Your soul will continue, but you must leave this realm.”

Rumplestiltskin stepped forward, for the first time in his life determined not to look a coward.  He shared significant looks with both Cora and Regina before giggling, recalling his former life.  “See you soon, dearies.”  And without another word, walked over the edge into the portal, which closed above him.  Milah ascended the steps to the back of the room and turned to face the others before fading into nothing.

Despite her own distaste for her mentor, Regina felt a trickle of fear shiver down her spine at the thought of his fate.  Once more Emma came to her mind as she recalled herself telling the blonde that not having someone was the worst curse imaginable.  She could not suppress the sheer terror that filled her imagining that perhaps her fate would be just that – darkness and solitude.  And Rumple’s parting words had certainly not added comfort. 

“Cora Mills.”

 Regina’s mother stood proudly and walked with her chin high to the front of the room, her father trailing behind her as was his typical habit in life.  She turned and said, “Well that was very dramatic, dear.  I do trust that this won’t take as long for me.  After all, it was clearly shown that the imp’s manipulation caused me to become what I am.”

“That’s not quite true, Cora.  You chose to withdraw your own heart.”

“That was my own choice to make and it harmed no one but myself.”

“On the contrary.  There are three people in this room with you who suffered as a result of your inability to feel or show compassion.  Not to mention dozens of others in both the Enchanted Forest and Wonderland who were killed as a result of your choice to value power more than love.”

Henry spoke for the first time, “Cora, I was too weak in life to tell you but your actions destroyed our daughter.  She was so beautiful and so good and you broke her to fit her into the image you wished her to fill.  Regina expanded the emptiness inside of herself, Rumple twisted it to his advantage, but you created it.  Any and all blood on Regina’s hands is on yours as well.”

“Nonsense.  Regina benefitted from my guidance.  If it were up to you she’d have married some peasant stable boy and lived in obscurity barefoot and pregnant.  I made her royalty.  I gave her power beyond the lowly upbringing you could offer.  Weak?   Yes, you were weak, Henry.  If you had been able to offer her a decent life, I’d not have been forced to take matters into hand.”

“Our daughter has been unhappy for decades, Cora.  She has been lonely and without love until recently.  Power never made her happy.”

Cora came face to face with him and hissed, “That is because she has the same foolish weakness as you, you stupid man.  She is your weak, incompetent daughter who values mythology over reality.  She is a child.  Love is weakness.”

Regina had passed beyond tears now to stunned silence.  Her eyes were wide as she listened to her mother’s continued rants about her, recalling the many times as a child she had heard these same words lobbed at her like grenades exploding every shred of self-esteem she had.  Once more she wondered whether it was intentional to make her wait to learn her fate last.  Surely the added torture of listening to this was not a hopeful sign for her impending judgment.

“A weakness that you circumvented by removing your own heart, Cora,” said the seer, “But did you not think that there may someday be a price to pay for that magic?”

“I would pay that price ten times over not to end up like the sniveling weakling beside me.”

“Your fate is more complicated than Rumplestiltskin’s.  His choice of love over power was made consciously while yours was tempered by your lacking a heart.  In order to decide your fate, I shall need to perform a test.”

“What sort of a test?”

Without a word, the seer approached Cora.  When she was within reach, she turned her palm upward and a heart appeared within her hand.  Just before she thrust it forward Cora’s eyes widened and she screamed, “No!” but it was too late.  Her heart back within her chest, Cora gasped and clutched her hands to her breast eager to tear it back out but lacking the magic to complete the task.

“The pain…” she clenched her eyes and teeth closed harshly, “It’s unbearable, please.”

The seer raised her hands again with her palms outward prepared now to deliver judgment.

“That is the pain of remorse, Cora.  And it has decided your fate.  If you are able to sustain the pain of remorse, you are capable to atone for your sins.”

Cora’s eyes opened again, filled with tears but also with light, the inky darkness that had swirled within their depths erased.  She nodded, “What must I do?”

“You must leave this realm, too.  You must travel to Neverland and work to redeem the lost souls there as you yourself have been redeemed.  Know this, Cora.  This is your last and only opportunity for redemption.  If you are able to show yourself changed with your heart restored, you will sustain life.”

She nodded again as the seer extended her hand and opened another portal.  Cora carefully walked around the portal to kneel before her daughter.  “I’m so sorry, Regina.” She put a shaking hand to her daughter’s cheek and smiled saying, “This would have been enough”.  Without another word she turned and leapt into the portal, which closed above her.

Regina called hoarsely, “Mother!”

To finally have had her mother look at her that way – as though she were truly proud was like the sun coming out from behind a cloud.  But before she could share another moment with the woman she had desperately sought to please her entire life, they were separated once more.  She doubled over in her seat weeping for the opportunity she had lost.

Strong arms encircled her and she thrust herself forward into the embrace.  Her father combed his fingers through her hair and softly cooed to her that everything would be ok.  Despite her anger that he had never stood up to her mother, her father had been the only one to soothe her as a child and she had missed him desperately.  She clung to him until her tears slowed and he pulled back to gaze at her, his face wet with his own tears.  “I love you, my precious girl.”

As he finished speaking he gave a watery smile and faded away, leaving Regina alone with the seer and her stable boy.

“Come Regina,” Daniel stood and extended his hand to help her up.  They went to stand before the seer, but Daniel refused to leave, twining their fingers together and standing resolutely beside her.

“Please let me say something before we begin this.”  The seer inclined her head urging Regina to continue, but instead of addressing her, Regina turned to Daniel, “Before you see the many unforgivable things I have done in my life, I need to apologize to you.  I have done so many unspeakable things and I truly do regret them, but I regret nothing so much as doing them in your name.” She reached her hand up to stroke his cheek, “You are the kindest, most peace-loving person I’ve ever known and after watching my mother and my teacher attempt to justify their actions in the name of others who never would have wished them, I know that you will feel the same.  Please forgive me.”

“Regina, we don’t need the screen.  I have been with you every day since your mother took my heart.  I know all that has happened and I understand it perhaps better than you do.”

Regina hung her head in shame that he had seen what she became in the wake of his death, her mother’s abuse, and Rumple’s deception.  Daniel gently lifted her chin with his finger until she met his eye.  “Regina, you have done many dark and evil deeds.  But there have been many times that you chose to act for love.”

She looked at him, confused. “Daniel, my father, I…killed him.  And many others.  There is no justification for acts of that kind.”

“You’re right, there is not.  Still, Snow White and Prince Charming have killed people, right?”

“In the cause of good.”

He gave a wry grin, “Are you truly defending them above yourself.”

She sighed, “I’m being honest.  Don’t you think I know what I’ve become?”

“No, I don’t think you do.  But I’d like to show you.”

The screen showed the image of Regina as queen ordering payment to the families of a guard, Claude, who fell in her service.  It showed her lying in a ditch with Snow White in disguise without lifting a finger to hurt her, too touched by Snow’s refusal to give up on her.  It showed her just after the curse began ensuring that David was monitored carefully in the hospital rather than simply letting him die.  It flashed a barrage of images of her reading stories to Henry as he went to sleep, helping him with his homework, and hovering endlessly when he was sick.  It showed her watching over Henry anxiously when he was in the burning room after the sleeping curse.  It showed her absorbing the curse from the well to allow Emma and Mary Margaret to pass safely through the portal.  It showed Emma pulling her close and kissing her deeply just before she went to meet her mother and her teacher.  It showed her extending her arm to toss the gem into the air, sacrificing her life to save the town she built. 

Regina was overwhelmed.  “I don’t understand.”

“Regina, all you have ever sought was love.  You have at times gone completely the wrong way in order to attempt to secure it, but every choice you have made has somehow related to your overwhelming desire for love and family.”

“But I have no family, Daniel.  It was all for nothing.  My parents are both gone.  My son has been gone from the moment he found Emma.”

“He has been distant, perhaps.  But never gone.”  The screen showed him grasping her desperately just before she went to the dock.  She heard him whisper, “I love you” and reached out her hand as though to comfort him.

“I still don’t understand.  What is to become of me?”

“You’re going back.”

“What?!”

“Regina, you have people who need you now, people who love you.  You would have sacrificed your life for theirs and there is no love more powerful than that.”

“But I…after everything I’ve done…am I not to be punished?”

“Oh my love,” Daniel said as he brushed away the tears on her cheeks, “Do you not feel that you’ve suffered enough?”

“Daniel, it’s not that simple.  I’ve caused so much suffering for others, how can I ever make that right?”

He smiled sadly at her, “I’ve already answered this question.”

“What do you mean?  When did you…Daniel, I need to make this right.”

He took her hand in his own and held them up above their shoulders together and said, “Then love again.”  He leaned forward slowly and Regina closed her eyes as he pressed his lips against hers. 

A pulse of energy burst forth around her.  Regina opened her eyes to find herself facing not Daniel, but Emma.  She only had a moment to evaluate the situation and realize she was lying on the dock with Emma holding up her torso before the blonde crashed their lips together again and Regina responded fervently wrapping her arms around the savior’s neck.  Emma moaned and then pulled Regina impossibly closer, burying her face in chocolate brown hair and desperately murmuring, “Don’t you ever do that to me again.  What the hell happened?”

“She gave me more time.  I can make this right, Emma.  I’m going to make this right.”

“Make what right?  And who is she?”

“Wait, did you feel a pulse of energy?”

Emma blushed furiously and said, “Yes.”

“So you woke me up?”

She nodded.

“So that means that you…”

Emma crashed their lips together again before pulling back and saying, “Shut up.”

“Can you not get through a single rescue without arguing with me?”

“Can you not stop complaining about the way in which I save your life?”

“Perhaps we should just stop talking.”

“I like the way you think.”

Emma pulled her close and occupied her mouth with much more pleasant activities for several breathless minutes before picking her up bridal style and saying, “What do you say we call it a day?”

The End

Kiss today goodbye

And point me toward tomorrow

We did what we had to do

Won’t forget, can’t regret what I did for love

- A Chorus Line –