This feels a little OOC - if you agree, let me know! I'm also considering another chapter, so if you would read it, please comment!


"I just don't want my whole life to be like this."

Emma sighed and held her hand a few inches from Regina's back, hesitating for a while before gently rubbing Regina's back.

She had been doing her daily check of the town line when she noticed someone standing just inches from the line, dressed in black. It had only taken her a moment to realize it was Regina. It had been 2 weeks since Robin left. Emma got out of the yellow bug, walked over to Regina, and whispered, "Hi."

Regina had glanced at Emma and then made the most vulnerable confession Emma had ever heard come from her lips. When Emma touched her back, Regina didn't even flinch.

"I don't know why I feel the need to tell you this, Miss Swan, but you do know a lot about loss," Regina said quietly.

"You don't want your life to be like what?," Emma asked, taking her hand off of Regina's back. She stared into the misty woods, not daring to look at Regina.

"Full of pain," Regina said, biting her lip. "Constantly feeling like I'll never find happiness. I want to be a better person for Henry, I really do. But my heart just stays dark, and every time I lose my chance at a happy ending, I lose another chance to heal it."

"Sometimes, sadness just is," Emma stated. "Your heart hurts like hell, and nothing seems worth it, and getting out of bed is the hardest thing you'll try to do. But just because you're sad doesn't mean you're stuck in the villain column forever."

"You've only known me for a few years, Swan," Regina said quietly. "You don't understand how strong my inclinations towards darkness are."

"No, but I know what it's like to feel abandoned over and over," Emma responded. "And I can relate to feeling like crap because someone left you in the dust."

Regina sighed and nodded. "That's right, you do."

Emma looked at Regina, and was surprised to see that she was making eye contact. Emma smiled a soft, sympathetic smile.

"How about we go have some tea and talk?"

Regina nodded and they started walking to the car.

"One condition," she said, sliding into the bug. "Instead of tea, I make some hard cider. Tea is too benign for this kind of conversation."

Emma smiled and started to drive. "Deal."

xxx

Regina and Emma sat in front of the fireplace in Regina's office at her mansion, both holding goblets of Regina's signature cocktail.

"So," Emma said, leaning her back against the couch. "Where do you want to start?"

Regina took a sip and started off cautiously. "When Neal left you…"

"I got arrested," Emma said. She seemed almost indifferent to the fact. "I got busted for watches that he had stolen, and spent a year in jail. A few weeks into my stay, I had a routine checkup. The doctor told me I was pregnant, and I swear my blood froze. I thought it was a cruel joke. I even tried to pretend it wasn't real, but when my stomach started to grow… I knew it was true. I'd run from a lot of things in my life, but I knew I couldn't run from this."

"Wow," Regina said softly. "And you were 18?"

"Yep," Emma nodded. "I grew up a lot in prison. But in some ways, I never fully grew up until Henry found me."

Regina considered this for a moment. "I didn't know you before, but I have noticed a difference in your personality since you arrived in Storybrooke."

"Sometimes, you need someone to help you realize that it's time to make a change," Emma said. "Even though Robin is gone, your time with him has changed you, and I want you to know that you owe it to yourself to continue being the person he helped you become."

"It's hard to feel like I can be happy without him," Regina admitted. "Which is foolish, because no woman needs a man. But when I was happy, I didn't feel the need to lash out at others."

"That's fair," Emma said. "Love is what you've wanted all your life, and having it made you extremely happy. But Henry loves you too."

"That should be enough," Regina sighed. She took another sip of her drink. "Am I a horrible person?"

"No," Emma said softly. "The love you get from family is different than romance. It's okay to feel like after all the pain you've been through, you're entitled to any kind of love you can get. All kinds."

"I just feel awful about wanting Robin to stay with me," Regina said. "He's an honorable, incredible man. It's one of the reasons I love him. But I wish he would've stayed. That he loved me so much, he couldn't bear to leave."

"Because you feel like no one has ever loved you enough to stay?," Emma asked quietly. Regina looked her in the eyes and nodded.

"Yes… yes, that's it."

"I've been there. Until Henry came and found me, no one had ever wanted me for anything. For the first time in my life, someone chose to be around me."

"Daniel loved me enough," Regina whispered, wiping a tear from the corner of her eye. "We had dreams of having a family, of teaching our children to ride horses together. I know it's been decades, but sometimes, I still can't stop thinking about how much we loved each other."

"I never forgot about Neal," Emma said. "First love is the truest, I've learned that. I thought about him everyday before Henry came into my life, and even more as I watched Henry grow. He has the best parts of Neal in him, Regina. You brought them out, and for millionth time, thank you."

Regina smiled. "You're welcome, Miss Swan."

"Emma," she said, squeezing Regina's hand. "You can call me Emma. Friends are usually on a first name basis. Unless we're buddy cops."

Regina laughed. "What is a buddy cop?"

"Oh my god," Emma sighed. "You really should've put a movie theater in Storybrooke when you created it."

Regina raised her eyebrow. "I was hoping to make the residents miserable, remember?"

Emma saw the look in Regina's eye and burst out laughing. Regina was pleased, and smiled with content as she polished off her drink.

After a few moments, Emma cleared her throat and recovered from her laughing fit.

"So, are you doing better?"

Regina nodded very slowly. "Yes. But it will take some time to get over all this. I may need some…"

"Girl talk? Therapeutic shooting lessons? Alcohol?"

Regina winked. "Yes to all of that."

Emma put her empty glass on the coffee table and sighed.

"Am I gonna be able to drive?"

Regina shook her head, looking amused. "No. You are welcome to stay and have dinner with Henry and I. I'm making lasagna."

"Well, you sold me," Emma said with a grin. "How can I help?"

Regina stood up and smoothed her dress. "You can set the table," she said with a smile. Emma got up and followed her downstairs.

The first time she had a drink with Regina, she spent the night in jail. Tonight, she was invited for dinner. What a change.