A/N: I was hoping to get this out a bit sooner but this works. Unfortunately, I've been spending some of my time grieving over the loss of my little kitten. It was unexpected and broke my heart, if we're being honest. Anyway, I hope you enjoy this new chapter! Leave a review and tell me what you think.
Disclaimer: I don't own OUAT! And all mistakes are mine, as I don't have a beta.
Before Emma breaks the door down, she turns quickly to Regina, attempting to keep a level head. She needs to get her kids— she blinks suddenly, only one kid is hers, she berates herself— out of the burning house.
"Regina, put the fire out with magic. I need you to stay outside so you can watch for the kids. We don't need anymore people in the house than necessary." Regina gives her an incredulous look.
"Emma Swan, if you think I'm going to let you go into that house alone, to save my children, you're more of an idiot than I thought you were." Her emotions running high, she doesn't register what she's said. Her eyes remain trained on the door, ready to race through it.
Emma grasps Regina by the shoulders, trying to look her dead in the eye. "Regina, listen to me. I need your focus right now. You have to stop this fire. Right now. I'm going in, but I need you to stop the fire and watch for the kids. Please." Regina briefly catches her eye, seeing the seriousness in Emma's eyes, the need for her to listen.
"Fine, but I swear to you, if you don't get them out safely, I will kill you." She growls. Emma nods once before breaking the door down, and rushing in, pulling the bottom of her shirt over her mouth and nose. Squinting to attempt blocking out the stinging in her eyes, she surges forward, calling out the children's names while simultaneously dropping the shirt protecting her breathing.
"Henry!" She coughs, crouching lower to the floor yet managing to move swiftly. "Lizzy Grace!" She's having a harder time seeing the closer she gets to the kitchen, she realizes, and, while this causes her minor panic, she moves towards it. Wanting to make sure the children aren't in there, she sweeps her eyes briefly around the area of the fire. Noticing the fire starting to dim, she knows that Regina is doing her job. The smoke, however, continues to pour violently from the room, causing coughs to jerk her body one way and another.
Swiftly, she turns and makes toward the study. She slams the doors open, hoping to find the children in there.
"Henry? Lizzy Grace?" She calls roughly, the smoke already effecting her breathing. She hardly notices her breaths beginning to shallow.
She turns again, not finding the two kids anywhere in the study, and heads towards the stairs. Running up them as fast as she can,— which, she notices, is much slower than normal— she runs to Henry's room. Throwing the door open, she notices that neither child is there.
Fuck, she thinks, where the fuck could they be? Panic begins to assault her, causing her breathing to continuously shorten. She couldn't have actually lost them. She's looked everywhere that a child would normally hide.
Black spots start to dance in her eyes, but she puts it up to her panicking. Trying to take deeper breaths— but finding it near impossible because of the smoke around her— she begins to head downstairs, just to double check all of the places that she already checked and to check any places that she didn't check. Reasoning that she should start with the most unsafe places, she slowly begins to make her way down the stairs, hand grasping the railing tightly. Her eyes slowly start to blur, though she's noticed that the smoke has definitely dimmed down. She tries to concentrate on each step that she's taking, noticing much too late that she should have kept her shirt around her nose and mouth.
I have to find them, she thinks, right before her knee touches the stair she was supposed to be stepping on. Regina's going to kill me. Regina.
Darkness consumes her.
Once Regina watches the blonde enter her burning home, she tries to calm her nerves enough to extinguish the fire, yet she finds that worry consumes her. Lizzy Grace and Henry are in there, somewhere, and now Emma is in there as well. And, while she's not sure how she's supposed to be feeling about the blonde woman that seems to always invade her life without prompting, she knows that she's worried for her.
And that's definitely something she doesn't expect. Not at all, in fact, and she's not sure she really wants to except it.
Yet the "new" Regina is always one to accept the feelings that she can interpret,— though she knows she hardly ever actually does— so, begrudgingly, she accepts that she's worried for Emma being in that fire… even if it's only because she wants to see the children coming out of that house alive.
When they come out, she muses, someone's going to have Hell to pay.
She makes sure to repeat when they come out and not if. She refuses to even entertain the idea that they might not make it. They being the children, of course.
And then, she again must admit that Emma not making it would make her feel something negative, though she really can't be sure what it is. Sadness, anger, and something else, something that she doesn't quite understand.
She finds that, while she's been pondering these insane thoughts, she's spent absolutely zero amounts of time on fixing the fire that is burning her home. She tries to make sure that her anger doesn't arise at that fact.
She focuses on the fire, trying to block out anything and everything around her. Watching the fire burn, making it smaller, extinguishing it. And then she pictures Henry and the love that she has for him. Her family.
But when family comes to mind, the little blonde girl with shocking brown eyes and the blonde older woman with sea green eyes aren't supposed to be in the picture. Her eyes snap open. She's barely even known the girl for that long, not even a full day, and Emma is only apart of her family because she gave birth to Henry. She sighs loudly, trying again to focus.
That is, at least, until she hears yelling.
"Mom!" Henry, she thinks with a sigh. A sob goes unnoticed, leaving her now opened mouth.
"Oh God, Henry!" She cries, delighting in the way his body crashes into her. She pulls him back reluctantly. Panicked, she quickly asks, "Henry, where's Elizabeth?" Henry tilts his head and gives a questioning look.
"Lizzy Grace is fine, she's right—" A smaller body collides into Regina, the head barely reaching her hip. "There." Henry mutters, an eyebrow raised in Regina's direction. She breathes a sigh of relief; both children are fine and, mysteriously, not covered in any soot or smoke remains. Regina bends down and hugs the little girl and brunette boy properly, making sure to squeeze them tightly. Misty eyed, Regina stands up again, looking directly at Henry.
"Where's Emma?" She refuses to acknowledge the slight worry in her voice. Henry, however, notices and looks up at her in confusion and concern.
"I don't know. We were just outside when the kitchen suddenly went up in flames. Why? Where do you think she is?" Regina, horrified, quickly looks back to the house and moves the children behind her. "Mom?" Henry asks quietly, fear coating his voice.
Lizzy Grace looks at Henry, and, seeing his fear, begins to cry.
Regina doesn't notice, though, too focused on extinguishing the fire. The feeling of her erratically beating heart against her ribcage, fear assaulting all of her senses, reminds her of all the times she's been afraid for Henry. She can feel the fire responding to her fear, determination , and love— for Henry because who else could it be for— and, this time the fire goes out almost immediately. She waits for a moment, hoping to see a head of blonde hair racing out of the house.
Quickly, she turns to face the two children, heart still pounding. She tries to control her emotions, not wanting to scare the children anymore than they obviously are.
"Henry, you need to stay here. I'm going in the house. Call 911 from your phone and tell them to hurry. I don't know how long Emma has been in there, but she's going to need help. Make sure you look after Lizzy Grace. I can't have either of you running into the house; it's too dangerous. Henry nods his head, as does the still crying Lizzy Grace. Regina nods back once before turning and rushing toward the house.
She's well aware that Emma wouldn't stop looking for the children in the house, even if her own life was at stake. That's just the Emma she knows, the Emma she's grown accustomed to. And, she finds, she doesn't want to berate the woman for that quality, especially when it involves the children.
When she rushes into the house, smoke is still all around it, covering the inside with a dark, thick coat of clouds that make it near impossible to breath. Though she knows she could use magic to clear it, something stops her. She wants to be the hero for once, and, while that might be selfish, the hero usually doesn't use magic.
And so, Regina does things "organically"; she refuses to use magic while saving the Savior.
So she stumbles into the darkness, eyes stinging, in search of the beautiful blonde. She mentally slaps herself; beautiful isn't the way that she wants to describe the irritating human being that likes to crash and burn any of her plans at happiness. It's funny how she now has to remind herself that she's mad at the blonde.
Well, sort of. She's still rather angry with Emma, she just doesn't know how or when it decided to start going away. She hasn't forgotten that Emma destroyed what she had for a second chance, but something has shifted in her and she thinks she might just have a third chance. If Lizzy Grace— or Elizabeth if she's upset about something, she noticed— doesn't find her family, Regina would gladly take her in. Henry is already amazing with her, and she seems to have already wiggled her way into Regina's heart. Lizzy Grace would be an incredible addition to her little family.
Right now, however, she focuses on the crumpled body she's just accidentally stepped on. Looking down, her breath catches— having nothing to do with the thick smoke surrounding the atmosphere— as she spots blonde curls and a red leather jacket clinging to pale skin. Quickly, she bends down and tries to carry the blonde, adrenaline causing her to lift Emma bridal style and swiftly make her way through the open doorway leading to outside.
Taking deep breaths, she sets the unconscious blonde down on the ground away from the house. She moves her fingers to the woman's neck, checking for a pulse and finding one. Wiping tears from her eyes— obviously from the smoke, not because she had thought for a moment that Emma Swan was dead— she clears her throat and locks eyes with the concerned kids standing at a safe distance.
She waves them over, wanting to hear what Henry has to say about this. They both quickly make their way over, longing to see the blonde yet curiously afraid.
"Is Miss Swan going to be okay, Miss Regina?" Lizzy Grace asks quietly. Regina almost wants to laugh, but hearing the emotion that the six-year-old was obviously trying to contain made the laughter die. She clears her throat again, feeling the smoke already in her lungs.
"Yes, Lizzy Grace, Miss Swan will be just fine. She just has to go to the hospital for a little while." Her voice is scratchy, but she pushes past the slight pain, making sure to address the clearly distressed girl. She watches as the little girl's chin trembles slightly, more tears gathering in the deep brown eyes. Regina reaches for the child, bringing her into an embrace.
A small sob rips from the little blonde's throat as she hides her face in brunette hair. Something about holding this little girl, Regina thinks, is incredibly fulfilling. She never wants it to end.
"It's okay, Emma's going to be perfectly fine. She just needs to be able to breath for a little while. It's going to be okay; everything is going to be perfectly fine." She soothingly whispers in the little girl's ear while rubbing her back lightly. Before she can even process what she's saying, she mutters a quick, "I promise we'll visit her until she's allowed to go home," and then suddenly the water works aren't all that bad.
"Really?" Lizzy Grace sniffles, blinking her doe eyes at her. Regina, almost wanting to take back her claim, reluctantly nods her head.
"Of course, honey, whatever you'd like." She smiles at the still slightly teary-eyed girl; Lizzy Grace gives a small, yet somewhat reserved, smile back.
Even with the sirens echoing in the background, knowing that Emma will be safe and that the children are already safe, she can't help but have the fear still running in her veins. One thought echoes unwanted in her mind:
I almost lost my third chance.
A/N: Alright! So, tell me what you think! I hope that this chapter was satisfactory. Regina is already hooked into her third chance at a happy ending, and Emma almost wants to claim the little girl as her own as well. I wonder how that will go down. Anyway, I feel like I don't have to remind people about the whole "5 reviews if you want the story to continue" thing, so, although it still stands, I won't remind you anymore. I do like setting goals for myself (even though the last goal we didn't quite meet) so I'm going to keep it at 20 reviews and see how many I can get! I hope you tell me what you like, and what you don't like. Thanks for reading! Love you all!