“I wish I didn’t have to marry him,” Regina whispered quietly, it was obvious from her body language and the sound of her voice that she was worried about admitting to that fact out loud where someone may overhear her.
Emma nodded, “I know,” she replied softly as she continued to gently brush the woman’s hair whilst standing behind her.
Regina looked up at the mirror in front of her and tilted her head as she looked at her personal maid, “I wish things could be different.”
“Different?” Came the question from her blonde maid.
The dark-haired woman nodded, “Yes… different.” She said as she looked down a little to the right with her eyes closed briefly.
“Different how?” Emma asked her softly, wanting to know what she meant.
Regina smiled slightly before she looked back up in the direction of the mirror, “Happy… I wish I could be happy. To find my happy ending, of which I know it could not possibly be with the King for he does not make me feel that way in the slightest.”
“I wish that too,” Emma revealed.
“You wish for my happiness? Or you wish for yours?” Regina asked in return.
Emma smiled, that huge bright smile that she always did, “Both.”
Regina smiled in return and nodded.
“Maybe we should run away to a little cottage in the forest like we used to talk about when we were younger?” Emma suggested with a smile as she started to style the woman’s hair.
A sad smile came across Regina’s face and she shook her head, “I’m afraid that it is too late for that and I believe that we have grown since then. I think you were only eight when you first came to the castle and became my maid,” again she shook her head, “I still can not believe how young you were when my mother decided that you would be my new maid.”
“It is all I remember now, I barely remember anything from before I came here,” Emma admitted, “Everything before seems like a strange dream, I am not sure that my memories are even real. One moment I was on a mattress in a dark room and crying then I appeared in front of the castle. I’m not sure what happened to me to make me hallucinate to such an extent.”
“One day we will understand,” Regina promised her before placing her hand gently on top of Emma’s which was resting on her shoulder, “But for now, you are where you belong, I believe.”
Emma nodded as she finished doing Regina’s hair and began to thread flowers through her dark, soft locks.
“What will your first act as Queen be?” Emma asked her, changing the topic from herself back to the Queen-to-be.
Regina sighed heavily, “I am not sure that I will have such freedoms when I become Queen of the Kingdom.”
“Whyever not?” The blonde asked her with confusion on her face.
Regina smiled sadly, “I believe that the King is looking for a wife to simply give him a male heir so that he can pass the crown down to a son like he so wishes to do so.”
“What?!” Emma exclaimed in shock, “That’s insane!”
“Shh!” Regina said in an attempt to quieten her maid so that the guards outside would not hear her, “They’ll hear you.”
Emma’s eyes were wide but Regina’s hand was now over her mouth preventing her from talking.
“You have to be quiet, I don’t want them telling the King anything and I definitely do not want them charging in here as they did before,” Regina highlighted quietly as she stood in front of her young maid with her hand over her mouth still, “If I move my hand, will you promise to be quieter?”
Emma nodded again, agreeing to be quieter for the sake of the woman in front of her as she did not want the King coming and nor did she want the guards to come into Regina’s quarters. She remembered the last time that the guards had burst into the room unannounced and uninvited. It had been only a couple of weeks previously and she had been trying to make Regina smile and laugh but she had tickled the woman and made her screech as well. The sound of the woman made the guards burst through the large double doors and into her chambers which put a rather abrupt stop to it and resulted in a rather annoyed King although Emma was unsure as to why exactly the King was in such a foul mood about it and Regina would not tell her exactly what had been said about it. She had a suspicion that the woman was attempting to protect her from something but it was still unclear as to what exactly that something was.
Gradually, Regina moved her hand away from the woman’s mouth, she moved it so slowly as if expecting to have to put it back in its previous place rather soon. However, the maid remained quiet so she withdrew her hand completely and smiled sadly at her, “Unfortunately, I have no choice.”
“What do you mean? Of course, you have a choice,” Emma whisper yelled at her, “The idea of not having a choice in your own body is ridiculous and you know it. What did you tell me when the King’s stable boy tried to kiss me?”
“I told you that you have a choice and that nobody can take control of your body with your consent,” Regina replied with a sigh.
“Exactly,” Emma stated as if she had won the argument.
“But Emma… this is different. This is the King and the King?” Regina sighed heavily and shook her head, “He does not take no for an answer and I do not have the power to overrule him nor the power to say no. I don’t even have the power to marry for love instead of this… arrangement.”
“This is ridiculous,” Emma pointed out with annoyance in her voice, “How dare they dictate who you marry and what you do with your body. I still think the running away idea is a good one by the way.”
Regina shook her head with a smile, “I wish running away would be as simple as you make it sound,” she said softly before turning back to the mirror and sitting back down, “And as you know from experience, my mother has been dictating exactly that since before you came to the castle, my dear.”
Regina was ready, prepared in her dress and it would not be long before she was escorted from her chambers towards the great hall where she would be marrying the King. Growing up she never imagined marrying a King, despite what her mother continuously told her and she definitely never imagined marrying a man who was so much older than her. Especially a man of which she knew that her mother had previously been courted by. The man had been courting a number of different women before Regina was even born and one of them was Cora but eventually, he had chosen another woman to marry and so Cora was tossed to the side. The idea of ruling the Kingdom and having a title within it, however, never left her and as soon as she had a daughter she decided that she would marry her off to royalty so that she too could gain more status than that of which she already had.
Her dress was beautiful but it was not her, it was not a dress that Regina had chosen herself but instead, it had been chosen for her. It was far too big for her liking and far too fluffy too, but she remained silent and said nothing about the dress as she knew that she did not have a choice in the matter. She knew that she would have to bide her time and behave until the King died because let's face it, at his age? That wouldn’t be too long away. Especially considering his lifestyle and diet as he hardly took care of himself. A fact that was highlighted by the size of his waist.
“There’s still time,” Emma whispered to her softly.
“Time for what, my dear?” Regina asked her quietly, she only ever called her that when in private as she had been informed by her mother that it was not appropriate so she made sure not to say it ever again in the woman’s presence or in the presence of anyone else either. Just in case.
“Time to run away,” Emma answered with a small smile, “We can find a cottage in the woods just like we dreamed off when we were younger.”
Regina smiled sadly and cupped the younger woman’s cheek, “You do not know how much I wish we could,” she admitted quietly, “But it is too late… I am to marry the King and I am to carry his heir.”
“But you don’t want to,” Emma pointed out with a shake of her head.
The dark-haired woman turned away and sighed heavily, “Of course I don’t want to,” she revealed.
“You have magic, can’t you use it to stop it?” Emma questioned as she watched the other woman through the mirror that was on the wall in front of them.
“So does my mother, remember?” Regina reminded her as she looked up at her through the mirror.
Emma groaned, “Is there nothing that you could do to save yourself?” She asked as she knew that there was nothing that she herself could do as a simple maid to save Regina from this manufactured fate.
Regina shook her head, “No… it’s too late.”
“I refuse to believe that, I refuse to believe that there is absolutely nothing that can be done to stop this from happening,” Emma said, standing her ground firmly, “There has to be something that will stop you from having to marry that disgusting man or something that would stop you having to carry his precious heir… anything Regina… think… please!”
The dark-haired woman turned around at the passionate plea from her younger maid and took that moment to fully look at her and take her in. She observed the woman’s body language and facial expressions before she sighed heavily. Regina turned her head to the side to look downwards for a moment and then she saw it. A magic book that had belonged to her mother, the book of which she had been made to study recently, “There may be something…” she said softly before she rushed over to the book that was sat on the wooden chest at the bottom of her bed.
“What?” Emma asked her straight away as she followed her over to it and watched over her shoulder as the woman flicked through the pages of the old, worn book.
“There it is!” Regina exclaimed, although a little quieter than she usually would do if she had the freedom of making as much noise as she wanted to whenever she wanted to.
Emma tried to get closer so that she could see it, Regina had been secretly teaching the young maid how to read ever since she had arrived at the castle but attempting to read the book was another matter because it was not the language that she had been taught. Not yet anyway. “What does it say?” She asked her impatiently.
“I can prevent the pregnancy,” Regina revealed as she looked up at Emma with a smile, “I won’t ever have to carry the King’s heir no matter what.”
“Oh,” Emma said with a little disappointment, “I thought you’d found a spell to stop the wedding completely.”
Regina smiled sadly, “I wish I could stop it but it’s too late for that now, all I can do is prevent myself from being able to carry his heir and maybe he’ll let me free when he realises that I’m of no use to him.”
Emma sighed and nodded.
The dark-haired woman smiled softly and cupped the other woman’s cheek before speaking softly, “Then we can run away, just like we dreamed about… a cute little cottage in the middle of the forest where we can be whatever we want to be and do whatever we want to do.”
The young maid smiled in return, “What do you need me to do to help?”
Regina grinned and soon they were both busy creating the spell that they needed from the ingredients that she had in her closet.
It had been a week since the wedding of Regina Mills and King White. The Queen had looked absolutely stunning and Emma had to stand in the back of the room, using all the strength that she could not to follow her instincts and sweep the woman away from all of it to the cottage that they had dreamed up when they were younger.
There was a moment during the ceremony where she was watching Regina and the dark-haired woman looked over at her with a look of pure sadness that made her heart clench. She wanted to scream out. She wanted to tell Regina that she loved her and that they could run away together and be happy but she knew that she could not do that in that moment because all it would do would cause many more issues for the both of them and possibly risk both of their lives if she was to do such a thing in front of the whole of the royal court.
Not only had it been a week since the wedding but it had also been a week since she had seen the Queen at all. Following the ceremony, there was a party of which she and the other servants were not allowed access to.
The last glimpse of Regina had been when she was dragged by guards into the room of the King that night. Emma could not get that picture out of her mind. The look on her face as she turned and looked in Emma’s direction broke her heart in a way that she did not know was possible. She wanted to protect her but she couldn’t. She knew that she couldn’t do it alone. The problem was that she had nobody on her side in the fight to protect Regina, there hadn’t been anyone there since Henry had died years previously. Henry had been the one that had insisted that Regina not be married off but within weeks of his death, Cora was looking for the suitor for her daughter that would result in her having a title and riches.
Emma had cried herself to sleep that night, worried about Regina and she had expected to see her the following day, however, she didn’t see her the next day at all. Regina remained in the King’s chambers for the entire week. A fact that worried Emma even more with each passing day.
When she finally saw Regina leaving the King’s chambers, she wanted to run up to her and embrace her tightly as she felt so relieved at the sight of her, however, that was put aside due to the fact that she was being ‘escorted’ to her chambers by guards. In actual fact, she was being dragged by the guards and she was half asleep. She had bruising to her face and she was in her nightwear.
Silently, Emma moved forward and opened the door so that the guards could get her inside, however, they simply dumped her on the bed and left her there.
The blonde maid waited for them to leave and shut the door before she made her way over and checked the woman’s pulse.
“I’m alive…” came the small whisper from the woman who still had her eyes closed.
Emma very carefully helped Regina onto the bed properly so that she was laying in the middle of the bed. She then went draw a bath for the Queen. She used lavender in the bath to make sure that it would be relaxing and she lit more candles in the room to give more of an ambience.
Once she had completed her task, she returned to Regina’s side.
“Where did you go?” Regina mumbled as she opened her eyes a little.
“To draw a bath,” Emma answered with a soft smile, “I thought it might be good for you and to help you relax a little.”
Regina nodded, “I thought you’d left me…” she revealed in a whisper.
Emma shook her head, “I’d never do that.” She said with confidence as she reached out and very softly touched the other woman’s cheek, “I would never leave you, I promise you that.”
Regina smiled softly.
“Okay, are you ready?” Emma questioned, “Would you like help with your clothing?”
She knew that Emma knew that she was not in any fit state to be removing her own clothing but she also knew that the blonde maid was giving her autonomy over her own body with that question. A small smile came over her face and she nodded, “Please.”
Emma nodded and she started to very carefully undress the Queen, “Would you like me to carry you?”
Regina simply nodded, knowing that the question was simply to give her a say in the matter but she knew that she was not strong enough to stand in that very moment.
Carefully, the blonde maid leaned over and lifted Regina from the bed in order to carry her from the bed towards the bathroom off of the side of her chambers.
The bath was a huge tiled bath that was built into the floor and the to empty the water at the end there was a small plug made from leather that would be pulled out so that the water ran out into the moat. However, it still took a while to boil the water and fill it up with the lack of running water in the land.
As Emma approached the bath, she realised that the woman would most likely be unable to hold herself up in the water without help. Instead of helping her into the water and stepping back, Emma decided to step into the water herself with Queen Regina in her arms.
“What are you doing?” Regina gasped as she looked at the water before she looked up at Emma.
“You won’t be able to hold yourself up so I’m getting in too so that you don’t drown,” Emma answered quietly.
“You’ll ruin your dress,” Regina highlighted with widened eyes.
Emma rolled her eyes and very carefully she carried the woman over to gently place her on the chair, “Fine,” she replied before stripping her clothes off rather quickly.
“What on Earth are you doing?” Regina questioned.
“You didn’t want me to ruin my dress, so now that isn’t an issue,” Emma answered simply before returning to her side and carefully lifting her.
Regina was speechless as the woman lifted her up, both in the nude.
Emma carefully carried Regina over to the bath and walked down the set of steps into the warm lavender bath with her in her arms.
Queen Regina felt herself relax at the feeling of the warm water surrounding her and the scent of lavender invading her senses whilst she was safely held in the arms of her younger blonde maid. It was what she did not realise that she needed at that moment.
The blonde woman held her safely in her arms in the water and sat down with her in her arms. It was then that it fully hit her what she had just done.
She was naked.
In the bath.
With a very naked Queen in her arms.
She looked down at the woman in her arms and then she smiled because she remembered, that it’s just Regina. Her Regina.
The King had left Regina alone for a while after that, although the choice was not quite by his design but simply because of the fact that he was required to visit another kingdom on royal duty and opted not to take Regina with him. He had left her behind with the idea that she would take care of his precious daughter; Snow.
Snow, however, already had a caretaker in the form of her governess, so she rarely bothered the Queen although she did seem to rather like spending time with the woman.
Over time, Regina was starting to learn that if she was spending time with Snow White then the King would leave her alone as he did not want to upset his daughter by taking the woman away from her.
Over time she learned that taking Snow on walks with her, although the child was rather annoying, meant that the King would not send guards to find her and bring her to him. They would leave her alone and that meant that she could spend more time with her maid.
Each and every moment that she managed to have alone with Emma became more and more precious to her although she could not explain, even to herself, as to why it was that those moments were becoming so special to her. She seemed to crave them. Every moment that she could get, she grabbed with both hands.
There had been many changes that had happened since the wedding. The King now summoned Regina on occasion to his personal quarters, however, she usually slept in her own bed in her own quarters. She spent only the time that she had to with him and every other moment she made sure that she was as far away from the man as she could possibly get. She hated the man and ever since she had been made to marry him, she seemed to find that hatred grew. Each and every day that she had to look at his face she hated him even more than she did the day before. Each and every day that she was summoned to his chambers, she detested him even more.
One of the bigger changes was Emma’s move. Regina had had her moved to the room that was attached her own chambers so that she could have her closer to her, claiming that it would be much easier to carry out her royal duties if she was to have her maid at hand at all times rather than ringing down for her in the servant’s quarters. The King had agreed, although that was mostly due to the fact that he did not, in actual fact, care at all about where Regina kept her maid. He even pointed out that he could keep her in the stable for all he cared. Something that amused Regina, not that she openly admitted it, because she wondered if he would allow her to keep her maid in her bed with her for even easier… access. Of course, she did not dare to suggest such an inappropriate concept.
Another change was the fact that Regina now spent much more time with Snow White in the grounds of the castle, especially in the maze that was located in the back of the property or beneath the long archway full of flowers that Regina found to be rather calming. She could pretend to herself that she was away from the castle and in the forest just like the two women had dreamed about. Of course in the dream, Snow would not be there but if she had to be there so that the King would leave her alone then so be it.
Nights were Regina’s favourites or at least nights where she was not summoned to the King’s chambers because this was a time that she was able to be free of what was expected of her and free of the control of the King.
Regina was able to call Emma into her chamber from the small room off of her own and spend some time with her. She often pulled back the covers and allowed the woman to lay with her as they talked about their day or about something random to take their mind off of everything. They could talk about their dream and about the cottage in the forest. Sometimes, Regina would even wander into her maid’s room and climb in with her during the night, especially if she suffered from one of her nightmares that night and did not want to be alone. Going to the King with a nightmare was definitely not an option and the only one that she could go to or even confide in was her blonde maid.
One night, approximately six months after Regina had been forced to marry King White, Emma was laying in the Queen’s bed with her. The two women were entwined with each other whilst Regina’s head softly rest on Emma’s chest. It was purely platonic, or at least they thought it was at the time when they started to curl up like that together. It had originally been to help soothe Regina’s nightmares and it always helped to stop them or to calm them. If they curled up together early on in the night then the nightmares would never appear, but if they ever did appear then curling up like that would help to soothe them. It helped her to have her blonde maid close to her.
To the rest of the land, Emma was just Regina’s maid but to Regina, Emma had become so much more to her. She meant the world to her. Each day that she stayed at the King’s castle and each time that she sought the comfort of Emma, the blonde woman became that bit more important to her and that bit more special.
Emma lay awake that night, running her fingers lightly through Regina’s dark locks as she held her close to her and watched the stars out of the window of Regina’s bedroom. She subconsciously held the woman a little closer to her as she sighed heavily, deep in thought about everything that was happening and trying to arrange her thoughts in her mind to make sense, especially when it came to her feelings for the woman in her arms. The married woman in her arms. The woman that was married to someone that was not her.
“What’s wrong?” Regina questioned as she lay still in the other woman’s arms, listening to the calming sound of her heartbeat.
“Nothing,” came the quick, too quick, response, from her blonde maid as she shook her head.
Regina carefully sat up slightly, leaning on her elbow but still laying over Emma in her bed, “What’s wrong? We tell each other everything, remember?”
Emma glanced away from the beauty leaning over her to look at the night’s sky for a moment before returning her attention to the woman in front of her, “I’m not sure I should say.” She reluctantly admitted to Regina.
The Queen frowned, “Don’t be ridiculous, there isn’t anything that you can’t tell me.”
Emma bit her lip and a stray tear made it’s way to the edge of her eye.
“Emma? You’re worrying me… please… just tell me what’s wrong,” Regina pleaded with her as she leaned over her more and cupped the blonde’s cheek with her free hand, “Please… tell me.”
“If I tell you… it will change everything and probably not for the better,” Emma revealed.
“Tell me,” The Queen repeated impatiently but in a caring manner.
Emma looked up towards the beautiful dark-haired woman in her arms, “I think that I’ve fallen in love with someone.”
Regina looked as if someone had just stolen her kitten or kicked her puppy, she looked downwards and sighed, “You think?” She questioned, “You aren’t sure?”
“Okay… I know I am… it’s just that it’s taken me this long to… I don’t know… be okay with it I suppose?” Emma said with a slight shrug, “And to come to terms with the fact that we won’t be able to be together.”
“Whyever not?” Regina asked her in return, “Tell me who it is and I will simply command them to spend time with you, that should work. I am the Queen after all.”
Emma laughed and shook her head, “I’m not sure it works that way, you can’t tell someone to spend time with me just because you’re the Queen.”
Regina raised her eyebrow in a challenge, “You want to bet on that?”
The blonde maid rolled her eyes at her and shook her head, “And if they do not love me the way that I love them?”
“Then I will banish them from the kingdom,” Regina replied simply with a slight shrug of her shoulders as if it were the most simple proposition that she had ever come up with and that it was the most obvious answer that she could give.
Emma looked at her for a moment, taking in each and every aspect of Regina’s face then the position that they were in, attempting to commit it all to memory.
“So… tell me,” Regina repeated, interrupting the woman’s thoughts.
“I do not think that commanding them to spend time with me would work as it is not quite that simple and I… am not sure that you could banish…” Emma paused, building up the courage, to tell the truth, “Yourself.”
Regina’s jaw dropped, “You love… me?” She questioned in disbelief.
Emma nodded, “I have loved you for so long.”
“How long?” Regina questioned.
“I’m not sure about the exact time but I know that I loved you when we were teenagers,” Emma admitted.
Regina hit Emma’s arm with her free hand.
“Owe!” Emma exclaimed with a frown on her face, “Why did you hit me?”
“You have known for all of these years and you wait until now? When I am trapped in a castle and married to the King to tell me?” Regina replied with annoyance.
“I didn’t understand my feelings back then and what does it matter? You’re married to the King and I’m not lucky enough for you to love me in that way,” Emma said with a sigh and a shake of her head before she ran her hand through her blonde locks.
“You idiot,” Regina replied, “ My idiot.” She shook her head and sighed, “It matters because I have loved you for a long time too, at first it was platonic but as we both got older, I fell in love with you.”
Emma found herself grinning happily before she pulled the woman in for a hug, “What do we do now?”
“We carry on as normal for now and one day we can have that cottage in the forest that you always wanted so much,” Regina said with a smile before she leaned up and pressed a small but loving kiss to the other woman’s lips.
A couple of weeks after their first kiss and everything was going rather well, the Queen spent most of her day studying magic in the library or in the gardens with her maid and the Princess. The evenings she preferred to spend in her rooms but on some nights she had no choice but to go to the King’s chambers. Sometimes, however, she managed to completely avoid him by hiding in other parts of the castle where the guards could not find her and so could not request her presence nor could they drag her with them like they tended to do when she said no. She may be Queen but she was not permitted to say no to the King and the guards only obeyed him, unfortunately.
On those precious evenings that were not stolen by the King, Queen Regina rather liked spending quality time with her beautiful blonde maid. Each day she seemed to fall deeper and deeper in love with the younger woman but thankfully the feeling was very much mutual.
Emma had started to discreetly place wildflowers in Regina’s room as a way of giving the woman a gift of sorts. Whilst Regina would ensure that Emma was dressed very well (much better than the majority of maids ever were) and she would ensure that she was fed to a high standard too (even to the point that whatever Regina ate, so did Emma).
When the King questioned the maid’s clothing, accusing her of stealing the clothes, Regina highlighted that her maid was always at her side and she needed to look good as it reflected upon her and on him if she was to look dirty and unkempt.
Then when he questioned the food, Regina insisted that it was because she wanted someone to test her food first in case it was poisoned and when the food increased she pointed out that a malnourished maid would be of no use to her.
The King took those reasons as gospel and did not question them, truly he did not care but he did not appreciate his money and food going to a servant, that much was very clear.
Regina also continued to help Emma learn, as she had always done ever since she had come to the castle all those years previously. She gave Emma time to read and helped to choose out new books that she thought might interest the young blonde woman. She also helped the woman to learn how to ride and to take care of the horses. In addition to that, she would try and teach her random things that she knew or send her to someone to learn something new.
Some of these Emma rather enjoyed, such as the lessons with the cook that Regina had brought with her when she moved to the King’s castle. Eugenia or ‘Granny’ as she was affectionately nicknamed taught her how to make a number of things in the kitchen such as bread, cake, and stew but Emma’s favourite part was when she got to taste what she had made. Then there were others that she enjoyed substantially less than that such as the horse riding and anything to do with the horse. Riding was not too bad, especially when she found herself sharing a horse with the beautiful dark-haired Queen but clearing out the stables with the stable boy was far from pleasant.
It was mid-summer and the flowers around the grounds of the castle were in full bloom, Regina was sat on a blanket on the floor in the middle of the large maze that resided in the back section of the garden. The sun was shining down and making her hair shine even more than it already did. There was a small selection of food on the blanket in front of her and two goblets of water beside them. Her long dress flowed around her and covered her legs and feet, of which were bare as her shoes were left beside her.
Next to her on the blanket was Emma. Emma smiled brightly at the woman beside her, “You’re beautiful,” she whispered softly to her.
Regina blushed slightly, “So are you,” she replied just as quietly before she reached over and cupped the woman’s cheek gently.
Emma leaned in and kissed her softly.
“We can’t do that here, someone might see us,” Regina protested quietly as she pulled away.
“Who will see us? The King is away on business and the Princess is with her governess,” Emma pointed out in a whisper.
Regina glanced around the empty maze, checking if anyone was there despite knowing that there was not anyone near them as the guards never followed her into the maze. She wasn’t even sure if they would know there way through the maze or manage to get themselves out of it without assistance. The young Queen leaned in and kissed Emma again with a smile on her face, “That is very true, my dear.”
Emma smiled brightly and leaned in to kiss her again, and again, and again.
“I love you,” Regina said softly to her as she held her close and gently stroked her cheek.
Emma grinned and tucked a stray curl behind Regina’s ear before she responded, “I love you too, Regina.”
Then they heard it.
The sound that they did not wish to hear at that moment.
Regina looked up to see Snow White standing there, not far from them at the entrance to their section of the maze.
“Shit!” Emma whispered before covering her mouth.
Snow’s eyes were wide and she turned, running away from the scene, giving Regina no choice but to chase her.
Leaving Emma behind in the maze, alone on the picnic blanket, worried and with tear-filled eyes.
Regina chased Snow White through the pathways of the maze, it did not take her long to catch up to her and grab hold of her arm to stop her leaving the maze, “Stop, please,” she pleaded softly.
Snow sniffled with tears in her eyes as she looked up at her step-mother.
“What did you see?” Regina asked her whilst still firmly, but gently holding onto the child’s arm.
“You were kissing Emma,” Snow said softly, “Why were you kissing your maid?”
Regina knelt down in front of the young girl whilst keeping hold of her so that she would not run away from her, “What did you hear?” She asked, ignoring the question for a moment.
“I heard her say that she loves you and I heard you tell her that you love her,” Snow revealed quietly.
The dark-haired Queen nodded, “Remember when I told you about secrets?”
The young Princess nodded but did not say anything in return.
“Well, I need you to keep this a secret,” Regina said softly.
“But you shouldn’t be kissing your maid,” Snow started to argue in return.
Regina sighed heavily, “I love Emma more than I ever thought it was possible to love another person and I’m lucky because she loves me too.”
“Don’t you love my daddy?” Snow asked her with a slightly tilted head and a look of confusion on her face.
Regina looked down and bit her lip with tear-filled eyes before she looked back up at her step-daughter, “It’s very complicated with your father, I…”
“You didn’t want to marry him did you?” Snow questioned as a tear slid down her pale cheek.
The Queen looked at her with an expression of surprise, “Where did you hear that?”
“I heard Ella telling one of the other servants that your mother had an arrangement with my father and that is why you had to marry him,” Snow revealed, “Is it true?”.
“It is true, I didn’t want to marry him but I didn’t have a choice in the matter,” Regina revealed, “That is why you can’t tell anyone about Emma and me. She makes me happy and I love her so much.”
“Why don’t you marry Emma instead?” Snow asked her.
“It isn’t as simple as that, my little snowdrop,” Regina said with a sad voice as she cupped the little girl’s cheek, she had become rather fond of the child in the time that she had been forced to spend at the castle with her, “I do wish it was.”
“Is it because of the arrangement?” Snow questioned timidly.
Regina nodded, “Unfortunately.”
“What if I asked my father to let you marry Emma instead?” Snow suggested with excited eyes and a smile.
“No, I need you to keep it a secret,” Regina repeated with urgency as she held on to both of the young girl’s hands, “Please!”.
“I could ask for it for my birthday, my birthday is coming soon, father said so,” Snow revealed before suggesting, “I could ask for you to marry Emma to be my birthday present instead of new dresses and a new pony.”
Regina looked panicked, “No, I need you to promise me that you will not tell anyone about what you saw or heard in the maze today, please!”
Snow White sighed heavily and nodded, “Fine,” she reluctantly said before adding, “Can I join your picnic?”
The Queen nodded, “Promise me that you will keep it a secret.”
The little Princess nodded, “I promise.”
Regina smiled and hugged the little girl before standing up and leading her back to the picnic.
Emma looked up at them worried.
“Everything is okay, Emma,” Regina said softly.
The blonde maid glanced over towards the young Princess who was standing beside the Queen, “Sure?”
Regina nodded in confirmation, “Yes, everything is fine.”
Emma smiled lovingly at the woman standing in front of her before turning her attention to the little girl beside her. “Hey Little Miss, are you okay?” She asked her softly.
Snow White nodded, “I’m okay.” She said quietly.
“Then where are my hugs?” Emma asked her with her arms out to the young Princess.
Snow White grinned and launched herself into the arms of her step-mother’s personal maid before burying her face against the woman’s neck quite happily. She was a very loving child but she was not always surrounded by very loving people other than that of some of the servants and her step-mother. Unless her step-mother was in one of ‘those moods’, however.
Emma smiled up at Regina whilst she held Snow White in her arms where the little girl seemed rather happy to be sat.
The child tended to keep her distance from Emma and the other servants when her father was around as he did not appreciate her being so close to those that he did not deem to be worthy of such a thing. However, the majority of her time after her mother’s death was spent with servants of some kind as he was busy finding another wife and with his royal duties. He had no idea how to raise a child and so was quite happy to allow others to do it for him but for some reason he expected her not to grow attached to those that did raise her.
She had grown fond of Emma very quickly from Regina’s first visit to the castle, even quicker than she had with Regina. In fact, it was Emma who had helped Regina to bond with the child at the start. Little did she know at the time that Regina would end up being forced to marry the child’s father. She had originally, and rather innocently, thought that it was just a visit.
A few days later, the King had not long got back from another of his trips to carry out his royal duties. Regina was rarely ever informed as to where he was going and quite honestly she did not care as long as it was somewhere that she was not.
Regina was in the library with Emma. The sun was shining through the large open doors that led to a balcony and the sound of nature outside flowed through the air. The Queen was listening to Emma read the latest choice in books. To anyone else it was simply a maid reading to her Queen, however, in reality, she was just listening to the voice of the woman she loved and also helping her with her reading by encouraging her to read out loud to her.
The King smiled at his Princess, he did not spend a lot of time with her, however, he saw it as him doing what was best for his daughter by providing for her and getting the kingdom ready for the son that Regina would give him.
“How are your lessons going?” He asked her as she sat with him.
“Very well, father,” Snow replied politely with a smile, “I am rather enjoying my horse riding lessons.”
“And your other lessons? In the classroom?” He questioned.
Snow shrugged, “I do enjoy reading, but I am not keen on my maths lessons.”
“Why is that?” The King asked with curiosity.
“They are most boring, father,” Came the child’s reply.
The King smiled, “I am sure that they are, I always thought the same as a child but they are necessary,” he said before adding, “It is only now that I am an adult that I see how important it is to understand mathematics.”
“I guess,” Snow replied very quietly with a sigh, she had hoped her father would say that she did not have to do any more maths lessons with her tutor.
“What would you like for your birthday?” The King asked his daughter with a smile, turning the topic to something a little more cheerful for the moment.
“Oh, father!” Snow White exclaimed, “I have thought of the most perfect gift for my birthday.”
“Oh?” King White asked her with an encouraging smile, “And what is that? You must tell me so that I can arrange to have it brought here for you or made.”
“Oh, it isn’t something that you could bring here or have made,” Snow revealed with a smile.
“Then how am I to get it for you?” the King asked her.
Snow White bit her lip for a moment in a rather nervous gesture, “Well, it is… complicated.” She said, using the word that Regina had used with her previously without even realising it.
“Oh, really?” King White questioned.
“Well, if you tell me what it is then I can make sure that you can have it for your birthday but if you do not tell me then how am I supposed to get it for you?” the King asked her in return.
“For my birthday,” Snow said, pausing for a moment before stating her request, “I would like for you to let Regina marry Emma instead.”
The King looked confused, “What? What do you mean?”
“She loves her, father, she really loves her,” Snow said passionately in response, “I know that you love Regina father, but Emma loves her more and Regina loves her too.” Snow replied with passion in her voice.
King White was silent, shocked by what he was hearing but also furious.
Snow White took her father’s silence to mean that he was listening carefully to her so she pleaded with him, “Please father, I heard the other servants talking about how Regina was forced to marry you so please if you let her free then she can marry Emma. Don’t you want her to be happy?”
When King White stood up and abruptly left the room, Snow smiled happily and when her governess entered the room to collect her, the woman asked, “Why are you smiling?”
“Father is going to get me the best birthday present that I ever asked for and Regina will be happy,” Snow revealed.
The Governess looked a little unsure as she had seen how angry the man had been when he stormed up the stairs of the castle.
As King White entered the library, he slammed the doors open with force making them hit the walls either side. The doors were heavy so the force of the doors caused the handles to hit and crack the brick behind it.
Regina jumped, instinctively moving in front of Emma in a way that would protect the woman from the fierce anger of the King because who else would be storming around the castle without the guards going crazy?
“What is the meaning of this?” The King demanded.
“Whatever do you mean? I am listening to a story, I wanted to hear one but did not wish to read myself,” Regina replied calmly and politely to the King.
“I know, Regina!” The King bellowed at her.
“I don’t know what you mean,” The Queen insisted.
“I know about you and your servant girl!” The King replied angrily, “It is not acceptable, I will not have her touching my property!” He turned to the guards before pointing towards Emma, “Take her to the dungeons! I will decide what to do with her later!”
The guards moved forward and despite Regina’s attempt, they took her away, dragging her from the room by her arms.
Regina was frozen in fear as she watched the woman she loved being dragged away from her and the look in the blonde woman’s eyes stayed in her mind.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Regina insisted.
“Snow told me,” the King replied, cutting off any further excuses, “She told me that she wants you to marry Emma for her birthday.”
“Oh, it is just a child’s fantasy,” Regina said, attempting to brush it off.
“She says you're in love, where else would she get such a silly notion?” the King questioned with fury in his eyes and his face reddened with anger.
Later that day, the Queen was sitting on a lounge chair that resided near the balcony doors of her room. In her hand was a nightdress that had belonged to Emma. She sighed heavily as she missed the woman dearly.
A knock came at the door of her chambers, she did not answer them, but they did not go away either as another knock came at the door shortly later.
Regina rolled her eyes but continued to ignore the knocking at her chamber door as she knew that it was not Emma and so she had no interest in whoever it was that was knocking. If it was someone demanding that she go to the King’s chambers then she was not willing to entertain the concept.
It was not long, however, before the person changed tactics and she heard the door to the chamber opening without inviting the person in. Very rude she thought to herself as she hid the material beside her, between her and the side of the chaise lounge.
“Regina?” Came the voice from the uninvited guest to her chambers.
Regina rolled her eyes with annoyance, “Not you,” she commented with a groan, “Have you not ruined my life enough?”
Snow White looked confused as she approached the woman in front of her, “What do you mean? I thought you would be happy?”
“Happy?” Regina questioned in anger, “Why on Earth would I be happy? You have ruined everything and taken away my only happiness.”
“But Father will get me what I want for my birthday, he always does and then you can marry Emma,” Snow explained with tear-filled eyes and a worried expression on her face.
“You truly are delusional, aren’t you?” Regina asked her rhetorically.
“I don’t know what that means,” Came the child’s response.
“You told your father about Emma and me after I asked you not to... after I begged you not to,” Regina highlighted, “He has taken Emma away from me and thrown her into the dungeons to face goodness knows what fate and it is all because you could not keep your mouth shut!”
Snow White sobbed, “I didn’t realise, I didn’t know… he always gets me what I ask for. I thought he would get me this too.”
“It doesn’t work like that, I told you before it is complicated,” Regina replied.
“Isn’t there a way that you can get her out?” Snow questioned.
“Get out!” Regina demanded angrily.
Later that evening, Regina was making her way through the secret tunnels that were littering the castle walls and making her way down multiple hidden staircases until she reached near the dungeons. She knew that she could not openly visit her lover in the dungeons because the guards were sure to tell the King. As they always tended to do when she went somewhere.
The guards that were in charge of guarding the dungeons were never actually near the cells themselves and always spent their time in the hallway outside of the cells themselves so that meant that she could sneak around them through the hidden hallways and staircases.
“Emma,” Regina whispered to her as she entered the room with the cells, thankful that the majority of the cells were empty so that she could have some privacy with the blonde woman.
The woman was sitting on straw on the floor, facing the wall and leaning against the side of the cell. She was still wearing what she had left the library in but her hair was a little messier than it had been and she had a bruise appearing on her upper arm that had not been there before.
“Emma!” Regina attempted again to try and get the younger woman’s attention.
This time, the blonde maid turned around to face where the voice was coming from, it took a moment as she was so distracted by her thoughts of what had happened that day and her thoughts concerning the woman she had fallen in love with. “Regina?” Emma questioned as if she was seeing a ghost or a hallucination, “What are you doing here?”
“I came to see you, my dear,” Regina said softly in response, “I missed you.”
“I missed you too,” Emma replied with a sigh as she moved closer to the bars of the cell that she was locked in.
Regina knelt down in front of the other woman and put her hands on the bar for stability as it was rather hard in her dress and shoes.
Emma moved even closer and put her hands on top of Regina’s hands as a way of comforting them both and providing them with that physical connection that they both craved so much. “Won’t you get in trouble for being down here?” Emma asked her with worry in her voice.
Regina shook her head, “No,” she replied before adding, “Nobody knows I’m doing here, I used the servant tunnels to get down here so I did not have to pass by the guards.”
“I love you, Regina,” Emma said softly as she reached a hand through the bars of the cell door to cup the other woman’s cheek, “Remember that. No matter what happens, please remember that.”
“I love you too, Emma,” Regina said softly as she leaned her cheek more firmly against the soft skin of the other woman’s hand, “Don’t… don’t talk like that, please my dear.”
“Please, just promise me that you will remember that I love you and that I will always love you no matter what,” Emma insisted passionately.
Regina nodded, “And I you, my love.”
Emma tugged the other woman closer so that she could press a soft kiss to the woman’s lips through the bars of the dungeon cell.
“I will find a way to get you out, my dear, I promise you that,” Regina stated firmly, “I believe that I have a plan.”
Emma sighed, “The guards were talking, they were discussing the King’s demands, Regina,” she revealed quietly, “The King has demanded that I be hung at sunset tomorrow.”
Regina looked mortified, tears filled her eyes and were quickly cascading down her cheeks as she sobbed, “No, I will not let that happen.” She leaned in again and kissed Emma through the bars once more, “I will get you out and I will put a stop to this nonsense once and for all.”
Emma was unsure as to what exactly that involved but before she could ask any questions, the Queen was closing the door to the secret hallway behind her and she had left the dungeons. All she could do was hope that whatever the Queen was planning to do would not harm the woman in any way as she could not forgive herself if Regina was harmed in the attempt to save her.
That night, the King was in his chambers fast asleep when he was bitten by a poisonous snake. He awoke with a start and gasped in pain before his eyes met the sight of the snake on his bed, “Guards!” He cried out in desperation.
Two guards came bursting into the chamber in surprise as they knew that nobody else had entered the room as they had been standing outside his door as they always did each and every night.
“What is it, your majesty?” One guard asked him.
“It bit me!” He yelled as he pointed at the snake that was currently on the bed hissing like crazy.
“Call a healer!” One of the guards yelled.
Within moments, the King’s eyes were rolling backwards in his head and he was gasping for breath.
Then he stopped moving.
He stopped gasping.
He died with the venom of the snake burning through his veins, setting his body on fire with pain.
When the healer arrived, the snake had left the bed and was on the floor where it had been killed by one of the guards that dare to get close enough to the fierce-looking snake. The King, however, was beyond any help that the healer could give him. He could not revive him, even with healing powers.
The following morning, news of the King’s death spread around the castle and then soon it spread around the Kingdom. The King was dead. The Queen was now sole ruler of the Kingdom.
The Queen was in her chambers when she heard a short but frantic knock on her door before the doors to her chamber burst open and the little Princess ran through the door in a mess of tears, “Regina, father is dead!” She exclaimed in between heartbroken sobs.
Regina bit her lip, she wanted to say ‘good’ and she wanted to say that she was glad but she was looking at a child and she knew that it would not be appropriate for her to say to a young girl.
Snow White ran to Regina and wrapped her arms around the woman’s legs, clutching at her.
“I need to go,” Regina stated as she pulled herself away from the young Princess.
Snow looked confused, “Where are you going? You’re not going away, are you? Please, Regina, don’t leave me!”
Regina sighed at the sound of the Princess’ pleas, “I am not going anywhere, I am simply going down to the dungeon to get Emma out.”
Snow smiled and hugged the woman again, “Can I come too?”
“If you must,” she answered with a roll of her eyes before she started to walk towards the door to leave to go down to the dungeon.
“Oh, I must,” Snow White said with a smile as she ran after her and took hold of the woman’s hand.
Holding the Princess’ hand, reluctantly, Regina made her way down to the dungeon.
“Keys,” she demanded as soon as she was there.
“The prisoner is scheduled for execution this evening,” came the response from one of the guards.
“Not any more she isn’t,” Regina stated.
“But the King,” the guard attempted to argue.
“Is dead,” Regina stated, “And the Queen is alive.”
The guard gulped at the look that he was given by the Queen and handed her the keys, she had opted not to do magic simply because she did not want to scare the Princess at that moment, although she was unsure as to why she even cared at all.
Once they were at the cell of the dungeon, Princess Snow gripped hold of the bars looking in, “I’ve never seen the dungeons before,” she said softly, “They smell really bad, don’t they? Oh, I do wish that she wasn’t down here, it isn’t fair that she was put down here for being in love.”
Regina rolled her eyes and unlocked the cell door before rushing inside and dropping to the side of her beautiful blonde maid, “Emma!” She called out desperately, “Wake up!”
Emma opened her eyes gradually, her clothing was a little torn up and she had a bruise on her cheek that was not there the day before, “What happened to you?”
“It doesn’t matter,” Emma tried to say quietly.
“Of course it matters, was it a guard? I will have him killed if he harmed you,” Regina replied with anger.
Emma shook her head, “It was the King,” she whispered.
Snow’s eyes went wide at the sight of the bruise on Emma’s face knowing that it was her father who caused it.
Queen Regina smiled softly, “Well you do not have to worry about him any longer, he is dead.”
Emma’s eyes went wide, “Dead?”
Regina nodded, “Let’s get out of here,” she said softly before helping the woman up, “I promise you that nobody will hurt you ever again.”
The blonde woman smiled softly and wrapped her arms around Regina, kissing her softly, “Does that mean we can run away to a cottage in the forest where nobody else can bother us?”
Queen Regina smirked, “Why do we need a cottage when we have an entire kingdom?”