Life after that day seemed to fly by faster than the blonde had seemed to anticipate. Her fun summer of freedom was slipping through her fingers as she progressed further into adulthood. And it hadn't helped that she spent those weeks packing up the life that had slowly blossomed so that she could bloom in a larger garden as she set out to create a new one.

She would flourish with Regina by her side, acting as her miracle grow.

That woman was her rock, sticking by her through the ups and downs of her roller coaster life. Even the awkward middle when Emma had admitted to David's knowledge of them with a blurted, "David found out about us."

Regina had turned almost as pale as Emma when the words had registered. The blonde hadn't known if she were going to vomit or faint; but neither had happened. Instead, the brunette had ended up taking a seat on the bed, eyes wide.

"Did you tell him?" She had finally mumbled, voice strained.

"He saw us, and there was no getting around. He knows everything, now." Emma elaborated as she had joined the brunette, sitting both literally and metaphorically on the edge of her seat.

It had taken quite a while for Regina to process this just as David had when Emma had spoken to him. The older woman sat there, leaving the bedroom void of all noises aside from their unsteady breaths. She had absolutely no idea of how the brunette teacher would even come to terms with this new information, or how she would react toward it.

But then the silence was eventually broken as Regina had grown enough courage to inquire further about the discussion. Emma had warily answered each question, reassuring every so often that David was a trustworthy man and would keep their secret to himself. Regina still hadn't seemed convinced, but she had calmed enough to accept the words for the moment.

Over time, she had become comfortable with David's knowledge and had even embraced it when it came to certain things; things that Emma had suggested such as David being help when it came to Cora. Though, that had aroused panic within the brunette teacher as she had nearly bit her young lover's head off about telling David.

"He doesn't know!" Emma had flung her hands in the air, eyes wide at the scary vein that popped angrily out of Regina's forehead. "I wasn't going to say anything until I talked to you. I know how he can be and he'd probably hunt her ass down, wherever the hell she is."

"Good." Regina had merely nodded and that had ended the conversation.

Emma had forgotten about it, weeks later as the final day of June turned up on their calendar. Her mind was occupied otherwise and the thought of Cora or David had escaped her mind as both she and Regina had prepared for their move to Boston. The house was mostly packed up by then, filled with boxes in empty rooms and the furniture that lay amongst them.

But, throughout the distractions and procrastinations, they had managed to get everything done and ready for the move. Regina had rented a moving truck to be picked up on the first of July, which would mark the first official day of their moving.

The tears in her eyes now would not succeed in breaking through tomorrow. She would spend all today, alone, ridding herself of those pesky emotions, the blonde thought of that triumphantly as she rolled over, crystalline streams leaking down her cheeks. Thankfully, Regina was currently in the bathroom taking her morning shower. Emma had decided to sleep in longer, though she was unable to. Everything seemed to have struck her at once when the brunette disappeared into the other room.

"Fuck!" Emma hissed, slamming a fist into the pillow.

Why was this getting to her?

Why was it so hard moving when she had bounced from home to home before?

It was different this time, she thought. This was her home.

She knew that she would have had to leave this place eventually.

Coughing slightly, the blonde sniffled and curled into herself, bringing a pillow into her arms.

"Honey, are you alright?" The familiar melody of her lover's voice lilted before the blonde. Green eyes lifted to see the brunette standing on her own side of the bed, looking down at the small ball of a human, hidden within blankets and pillows.

"Yeah." Her voice cracked.

Regina was on the bed before she could say another word and was soon engulfed in warm, loving arms. The brunette lay next to her, replacing the pillow as she curled against the blonde with a concerned face. "What's wrong?"

"Nothing…" Emma sighed, arms wrapping around the brunette as if she were a life preserver. "Everything. Moving. Leaving."

"Oh…" Regina frowned, tawny fingers curling through blonde tangles. The fresh smell of crisp apples permeated the blonde's senses, along with the sweet honeyed scent of the older woman's body wash. Wet droplets of water pelted her every so often from dark locks, hitting her pale skin with cool drips. "Are you stressed over it, my love?"

The blonde shifted, wiping her face on the brunette's terrycloth robe. "No… It's… It's just leaving. You know?" Emma sighed, breathing through the next wave of emotion that threatened to draw from her eyes. After making sure she had swallowed it back down her constricting throat, she had spoken again, voice hoarse. "I've left so many times in my life and this must be the hardest. It's like… It's like a regular, normal kid leaving their parents for the first time in their life."

Regina nodded silently, the hand that had been in Emma's hair moved to rub her cheek. "Hey, I know. Perhaps not to the extent that you do, but I know enough. And remember that I am here, Emma, if you need me. Don't be afraid to show your emotions."

There was a pause in her speech as those chestnut eyes disappeared. She leaned forward to press a kiss to Emma's forehead, a sigh soon following. "Bottling them up isn't good. You will merely harm yourself in the process, and possibly others. Longer fumes, bigger explosions."

"I know, Gina bear." The blonde nuzzled into the brunette, face pressing into the older woman's neck. She stayed there quietly, enjoying the tender familiarity of Regina as she held her. The emotion that had stirred up within her had quickly dissipated with the new affection – a new emotion replacing it. Her heart swelled in her chest.

"Hey, I love you," Regina rumbled, the words vibrating in her throat which had seemed to tickle the blonde's nose. She made a soft noise and shifted to consider those dark, adoring eyes.

"Hey, I love you, too," she responded, a sheepish smile spread across her thin, pink lips.

Regina looked as if she had melted. The grin on her face lilted her lips far enough to reach her eyes, soft and bright. "We should do something. Take our minds off everything. Relax before the big day."

"Do you wanna eat out?" Emma's grinned innocently, head tilting slightly.

"You know that we cannot, Emma." Regina quirked a brow at the young woman. "Why are you looking at me like-…? Emma Swan!"

The blonde burst into a fit of laughter at the dark pink that had tinted her lover's cheeks, soon turning her entire face red. That little vein popped out once again, both of mortification and slight irritation. "Ooh, now you understand."

"Is that what you want, darling?" The brunette flopped onto her back and pushed herself up to lean against the headboard. "To make love?"

The blonde suddenly turned shy, shrugging as she kept eyes on the brunette through her lashes, a small curve on her lips. "Maybe."

"Then let us start our day off perfectly." Regina hummed, grabbing Emma's face to pull her up for a sweet kiss. The blonde melted into it, pressing herself into the kiss with a delicious moan.

"Okay," she breathed, allowing the brunette to fall on top of her.

By three in the afternoon, the two of them had drug themselves out of bed to get ready and clobber down the stairs to continue with their day, whatever that entailed.

"What are we doing?" Emma had asked once they hit the bottom landing, a brow quirked.

Regina paused and turned around, a smile on her face. "You know what? I forgot."

"You… forgot?"

"I seem to have, yes." The older woman chuckled softly, a hand sliding through her hair. "I cannot seem to think straight after that last round."

"I told you I was talented." Emma's brows waggled playfully as she sidled up to the brunette woman, quite enjoying the sudden memories that flooded her face. "Now, tell me, how many times did you come?"

"Shh!" Regina turned away from the blonde, flustered as she moved toward the front door to grab her purse and the keys. "Can we not talk about that?"

"You can be such a prude, sometimes." The blonde joked, following behind her. "Sorry, Gina."

"It's alright." Regina turned to grab her young lover's hand, tugging her close as they exited the manor. "I was merely kidding."

"Mmmmhm." She wrinkled her nose cutely, giving her a look that told otherwise. "Where are we going, anyways, Ms. Prude?"

"Well, if you're going to continue calling me prude, you will be heading to your parents' house."

"Shutting up." The blonde pursed her lips together, eyes wide.

"That's my good girl." Regina smirked, giving her hand a tight squeeze. "And we shall see where the car takes us."

With those words, Emma rushed toward the vehicle leaving Regina in her wake. She pressed the palms of her hand to the passenger side door, pushing against it. "O Mighty Mercedes Benz, do show us the enlightened path of our agenda today."

"Emma," Regina laughed, coming up behind her. "You are a –and this is quoting you- 'dork.'"

"Proudly bred and born." The blonde gave her a cheesy smile which earned a firm smack to her ass. She squeaked, smirking when the brunette rounded the car. "Ooh, you're doing that again? Smack me some more, baby."

"Emma," Regina reprimanded, but the playful roll of her eyes gave her away.

"I ain't done nothin'." The blonde lifted her hands up, smirking as she opened the door to pop in.

"There are so many things wrong with that sentence, Emma. Have I failed as a teacher?"

"No, I'd say you've done rather well." Emma leaned towards the older woman, giving her an innocent look. "Of course."

"Of course." Regina echoed, sticking the key into the ignition.

"Now, can you tell me what we're doing?"

"I was planning on heading to the store to pick something up for lunch. Though, I do suppose it will be dinner soon enough." The brunette quirked a brow at the younger woman next to her. Emma blinked slightly, returning the look with a nod as she absently confirmed her words. "Would you like to drive to the grocery store?"

"… hell yeah!" The blonde squealed at the sudden inquiry, jumping almost literally into Regina's lap. This earned a soft chuckle as the older woman attempted to exit the vehicle to allow for the blonde to get into her former seat.

Emma was ready in the driver's seat, belt on and foot on peddle by the time Regina had entered the passenger's seat. She chuckled at her young lover's excitement. The two of them had done this often when they explored around town, and even just as something to pass the time, as Regina helped her refine her driving skill.

"Getting a license is on my bucket list." Emma mumbled to the brunette, putting the Benz in reverse to exit the driveway. "It would be nice to drive. Legally, anyways."

"Oh, yes!" Regina nodded, eyes in the rear-view mirror. "You do have the documents, correct?"

"…documents?" Emma blinked slightly, stopping just before the street as a motorcycle zoomed down the pavement.

"Your birth certificate and social security card. You do have those, correct?" The brunette frowned slightly, eyes no longer on the mirror, instead they were pinned to her blonde counterpart.

"I might. You know… I got tossed around a lot. I'm not sure if I physically ever had them." Sudden panic bubbled up in the blonde. "Mary Margaret and David never said anything about it when I mentioned a license. So, either they do have them or they assume that I do."

"You might have to ask them before we leave, dear." The brunette turned slightly, watching the scenery go by. "Perhaps we could pop over there?"

"Aw, I don't wanna." The blonde pouted childishly. "Can I ask my dad tomorrow? He's coming over to help us, anyways."

"Emma, you have a bad habit of procrastination." Regina clucked. "Just so long as it's before we leave."

"Yeah, yeah. I'll talk to him when we get up, so if he does have it, he can bring it over." Emma sighed slightly, pulling into the grocery store parking lot.

"Emma," the brunette sighed, unbuckling her belt.

Frowning, the blonde set the car into park and turned toward the older woman. "I'm sorry. I just… don't want to worry about that right now. I mean, I know I should but… Ugh! I feel too fucking stressed. There's too much going on right now."

"I know, Emma. How do you think I feel?" Regina attempted to give her a reassuring look, a hand gently massaging her shoulder. "Life isn't at its best, but it will get better, I promise you."

"Nothing's bad. It's just… stressful with the move. Life is pretty good, but I want to relax. I don't want to worry about anything."

"But that's the life of an adult, Emma. It isn't all fun and games. You have stress and things to worry about every day." The brunette brought the back of her knuckles up to caress the blonde's cheek, a curve lilting her lips. "But when you do, it's magical."

"I know…" The blonde sighed, head turning into the touch. "I apologize for being a… baby."

"Do not apologize. You are fine. It's alright." Regina smiled, leaning in to replace her knuckles with her lips. "Now, I'll be right back, alright? I'm going to grab something for us to eat tonight."

"Mm, like what?" Emma tilted her head, watching as the other party shifted to get out.

"Sandwiches? Perhaps some chips. Some other things that don't require using things that we've packed?" The brunette chuckled, popping open the passenger's door.

"Can we get ice cream?" Emma beamed, bouncing slightly. "We have plastic spoons. We can eat it out of the container."

"… good point. Ice cream is on the list. What kind?" Regina smiled, pausing with one leg out of the car. "Quick before I get mutilated here."

"I can still fuck you if you have one leg."

"Emma."

"Cherry nut. I always loved that flavor." The blonde smiled.

"Mm, it's become my favorite as well." The brunette leaned over to give a quick kiss to Emma's cheek before popping out of the car. "I'll be right back."

"Okie dokie!" Emma gave her a sweet grin and watched on as the brunette woman headed into the store. Her eyes absently remained on the entrance as she had waited, her hand reaching to turn on the stereo.

Soon enough that magical brunette woman slipped out the automatic doors to the grocery store with brown, paper bags bundled in her arms. She wore a smile upon coming into eye contact with the blonde who watched every step until she opened the passenger's door.

"I have returned!" She set the bags down on the seat between them before ducking in. "With all the essentials that we will be needing tonight. Prepare for a lazy day, my dear Emma, full of Netflix, snuggling, and a feast."

"Mm! I can't wait!" Emma squeaked, starting the Benz back up so they could do just that.

"Then hurry and get us home." Regina chuckled as the blonde backed out of the parking lot and onto the street. "But not too fast, of course…"

"Yeah." She nodded, pulling up to the stop sign. "I don't think we want that."

Emma tried her best to make haste back to the house, remaining chicken as she drove relatively slow down the streets. She still wasn't too comfortable with driving fast. She didn't want to get them pulled over, or there was also that undying fear of getting into a fatal accident.

Regina merely giggled the entire way as she watched Emma, holding onto the steering wheel like an elderly woman who could barely see what was in front of her.

"You're adorable when you drive, Emma." Regina couldn't help but to make the comment that had been on the tip of her tongue.

"Oh, ha-ha." Emma huffed, turning onto their street. "I bet you were like this when you were first learning."

"Alright, alright. You're right." The brunette turned her eyes on Emma. "But we are all wary of driving the first time. It's something we are not used to, but you'll eventually-"

Regina paused in the middle of her sentence as soon as they had pulled into the driveway of their soon-to-be former home, and directly behind a car that hadn't been there when they had left earlier that day.

"Who's that?" Emma was first to speak, breaking the silence that had grown by the time she had turned the engine off.

The older woman merely shrugged, her mocha eyes glued to the deep crimson corvette that harbored the unknown visitor. The teacher was out of the car before her blonde lover could make a remark. She hastily made her way to the expensive vehicle, intent on her confrontation until she had found the driver's seat to be empty. The entire car was desolate; it even appeared to be devoid of any personal affects and looked pristine as if a car lot had just dropped it off in front of her house.

But that was the least of Regina's concerns. She wanted to know who this car's owner was – and more importantly, where they were. She did a quick once-over of her property by the time Emma popped out of the Benz to join her with the groceries, a frown creasing her face.

"I hope they didn't break into the house." The blonde voiced Regina's worries, her emerald eyes shifting toward the estate as if it were on fire. "We'd have to open a hefty can of whoop-ass on the intruder. I'm sure we can take him down… unless there's more than just one."

"Do not say that…" Regina's voice suddenly dropped to a mere whisper, her person slowly gravitating closer to Emma, a motion of both wanting to protect and be protected.

"There's no one in-" But the brunette's words were cut short when the front door to the manor opened with a small form behind it. Immediately, Regina could feel her blood run cold.

Because that was her mother standing there, giving her a disappointed look.

The older woman was surrounded by an aura of cool. Sinister was the smile on her face as Cora made her way out of the house as if she landed no fault in being there. The lawyer glided like a queen to her daughter, head held high and dark eyes burning.

"Regina, darling, it's lovely to see you again."

The former teacher didn't respond, instead she remained silent, watching her mother through careful eyes. Emma tensed in her spot, her own emerald orbs burning.

"Have you not anything to say? That is no way to greet the woman that had given you life." Cora tsked, head shaking when she finally closed the distance between the three of them.

"What are you doing here, Mother? I thought you disowned me, or is that just another one of your games?" The hesitant brunette finally spoke, her arms crossing coolly over her chest.

"Oh, but darling, you will always be my daughter. You are the fruit of my womb, are you not?"

"You have no business being here, Mother. Leave." Regina snarled, lip curling as she moved toward the front door. Emma followed soon behind her, paper bags in her arms.

"I am hurt, my daughter. Why would you say such cruel things to me?" Cora didn't relent as she merely trailed behind the two of them into the house, and straight to the kitchen.

Regina turned behind Emma to stop her mother, growling her words. "Have I not told you to leave? What is it that you want? Haven't you destroyed everything already?"

"Clearly not if you still plan to move." Cora eyed the boxes stacked up in the corners of the kitchen, a perfect brow arched. "You have done quite a bit with the place since the last time I was here, dear."

"What do you want, Mother?" Regina sighed, repeating the question as she turned to help Emma put the groceries away. "I haven't any time for this."

"Regina Mills, look at me when I am speaking to you." Cora frowned with disappointment, merely standing there with her threat clinging in the air. Regina shot her a rebellious look before going back to what she had been doing.

"I am a grown woman." She shooed Emma from the fridge. "Why don't you go see if we have missed anything, dear?"

"But I did that last-"

"Please." Regina gave her a stern look that held no further argument. Emma nodded quickly and scurried from the kitchen, leaving mother and daughter alone.

Relaxing slightly now that Emma had left them alone, Regina turned to look at her mother. "Answer me, Mother. Stop dancing around the subject."

"I thought to stop by before you make the big move, Regina."

"No, you didn't." Regina leaned back against the counter, hands gripping the edges.

"Oh, but I did. Life is too short to hold petty grudges and leave loose ends dancing around. It is much, much simpler to tie them up." Cora stepped toward her daughter, standing dangerously close to the woman. "I am dying, my daughter. Wouldn't you prefer to spend the last of my days happily? I know I would. I only have one daughter, after all, and that daughter is you."

"What about Zelena, Mother?" Regina hissed, trying so hard not to let those words get to her. She pushed the woman away from her to head across the room. "I know of you two and your schemes. Zelena came here herself to tell me."

"Oh, dear. Had she now?" Cora frowned slightly, though it was all too fake as if she had expected it. "I always knew that girl was weak. That was why I got rid of her."

"Bullshit, Cora. Just leave my house."

"Need I remind you, this is my house." The older brunette trailed behind her daughter, roughly grabbing her arm to force the younger brunette to turn around.

Regina jerked her arm away, taking a step back. "Then keep your house, Mother. I don't give a damn, frankly. I'm leaving."

"I do not care about the house, darling." She sighed, the upside-down curve of her lips merely deepened at the younger woman's reaction.

"You sure as hell are making a big deal over it, now, aren't you?" The former teacher narrowed her eyes, warily watching her mother take a step toward her.

"I want you, Regina. That is why I made the endeavor to come here. I wanted to see you… Make it all up to you." Cora frowned, a soft sigh falling from her lips. "I know that I haven't been the best mother, my love. But I do try my hardest to be all that I can for you."

Regina's brows furrowed at her mother's words.

"Darling, do not be hesitant. You know mommy means best." Cora extended a hand, reaching to caress her daughter's cheek.

But Regina rejected it this time, dodging away from the hand that tried to feed her. She flinched when it came back, readying herself for the slap to come, but it never did.

"How dare you turn your back on me, Regina? I have done nothing but love you and this is how you repay me?" The lawyer hissed, grabbing her daughter's jaw before the brunette could escape the room.

"This, Mother. This is why I reject you and should have so long ago. Why I had survived this long putting up with the torture you put me through, I will never know." Regina latched onto her mother's wrist, attempting to pull it from its painful grip.

Cora's head tilted, eyes sparkling with hurt. "Is that what you really think?"

"You abuse me, Mother. You abuse me and I am tired of it."

"Bullshit!" The profanity left her mother's mouth with a painful jerk of the olive woman's chin, a hand drawing once again to her cheek.

And that's when a third party's voice shouted angrily from the doorway saving the slap for another day, which had left Regina's heart to fall into the pits of her stomach.

"Stop!" Emma was on Cora before Regina could mutter out a protest.

But when the shock had released the brunette teacher back into reality, she was screaming at the two who wrestled around her to stop. It was a futile attempt as they merely continued, Emma knocking Cora back against the counter, only to be reciprocated against the fridge as the brunette pinned her down.

"You have no business butting into our conversation, Emma." Cora hissed, tightening her grip on the blonde's upper arms to swing the two of them away from the refrigerator.

"I may not have any business with your conversation, but I won't stand by and let you abuse Regina like that, either." Emma's voice was nothing but a deep growl. She attempted to shake the brunette lawyer off her to no avail as she merely swung the duo around the kitchen with Regina still squawking at the two, attempting to follow them around so she could pry her mother away.

"You're just a child, Emma, darling. You do not understand what we adults are doing."

"Like hell I do! I may be young, but I'm not stupid. It's bullshit that you keep doing this to her. I am sick of it. She is a grown fucking woman!" The blonde's words had earned a sharp gasp from Regina's mother, who had immediately pushed the younger woman to the ground.

Emma stared, dazed, up at the oldest woman who merely tsked at her.

"How clumsy you are, blonde. Both physically and mentally." A wicked look ghosted across her features, but had been quickly replaced when her daughter had grabbed a hold of her.

"Stop this, Mother."

"Why on earth should I? This insolent blonde has gotten in the way of our relationship more than once, my dear daughter. She is better off… gone." Cora's wicked gaze returned, threatening the blonde in her spot. "Isn't that right?"

"You can take that nice car of yours and drive off a bridge for all I care." Emma muttered, shifting to stand only to be pushed back down by a violent heel. This had caused her to hit the ground hard, face smacking unpleasantly against the tiled floors. "Ah, fuck!"

"Such profanity." Cora smirked her victory at the warm, crimson drops that fell from the young woman's nose.

"That is enough, Mother! I want you out of my house and out of my life." Regina hissed the familiar words. She had said them so many times, she didn't know whether they had any effect anymore.

Her question was answered when Cora turned to look up at her, a simple smile on her face. "Oh, darling, you don't mean that." She cooed, reaching up to caress her daughter's cheek, heated with rage.

"Don't touch me!" She shooed her mother's hand away, taking a step back with dark eyes on the blonde who held her nose on the floor, watching the scene as if she were prepared to strike at any given moment.

"Don't be that way, darling. You reject me because of her." Again, Cora's gaze fell to the blonde, her lip curling in disgust. "She's the reason why you have picked up and changed your mundane lifestyle. Things were perfect the way they were before this… brat came along."

"Excuse the fuck out of me?" Emma angrily queried from her spot, eyes like molten lava. "You're only pissed because you don't have control over her. You're realizing that she's a person who can make her own decisions and doesn't need her mother's help anymore. News flash, you crazy old bat."

"Oh, you believe that you can get away with playing that game, Emma?" That voice was cold, and deadly so.

Emma would have shit herself if she didn't feel so constipated with the terrified anger consuming her. Cora squat down next to the blonde, who still resided on the floor with her bruising and bloodied nose.

A smirk that could have resembled an evil witch's spread wide across her lips. "You see, I wasn't going to resort to this… final plan, here. Shall I call it plan D? Oh, does it honestly matter?"

"What… What plan are you talking about?" Emma swallowed thickly, pressing herself up against the counter.

"Mother… Get away from her." Regina's warning voice sounded, but went ignored by the eldest woman as she merely continued to stare soullessly into Emma's eyes.

"Not now, my love. I am having a conversation with your… lover." Her gaze never broke, even as she had addressed her daughter. "Now, where was I? Oh, yes. My last resort. You see, you couldn't have just merrily played along and left us alone, now, could you? I was truly hoping that you would not be so insolent, but alas…"

Clucking, the older woman stood, leaving a terrified blonde on the floor. "I must do this. For the sake of us all."

"D-Do what? Cora?"

"Mother, what are you doing?" Regina frowned, eyes widening as the brunette lawyer fished for something in her small handbag. The younger brunette took a step back, eyes widening as she noticed a black metallic object in the shape of a dangerous weapon get plucked from the bag.

Emma squeaked on the floor, scrambling to get away from Cora until that very object was pointed at her, freezing the blonde as if it had controlled the young woman.

"Don't do anything stupid, Cora." Her shell-shocked voice echoed in the tiled room.

"Oh, I would never be as absent-minded as you are, my young friend." The grin that curled on her lips was almost insane, but remained griped with reality.

"Gina..." Emma warily chanced a glance to her partner, eyes grasping desperately onto her soul.

Oh, God, please call David. She pleaded silently, hoping that Regina was reading the terrified plea.

She must have known. She had to have known.

Regina slipped from the room after an intense moment, though Emma could still see here right outside. Though, that had left Emma with Cora. Cora who had a gun. And that gun was pointing at her face.

The blonde could see images of her life flash before her. It was strange, the feeling of it happening as she was so close to death. Her life could be gone at any moment and she had a lot to do with it. She was only eighteen and she still had a full life ahead of her. But that was looking grim with the way the crazed woman in front of her swung that gun around with every threatening word.

Emma's heart pounded heavily in her chest. Her breath was running low. The perspiration on her forehead seemed to slide greedily down her face. This wasn't how she had imagined the end to be. Her girlfriend's psycho mother coming in to take her life because she was selfish and wanted her daughter all to herself. This was some fucked-up television shit happening. Since when did her boring, mundane life become so intense and interesting?

She would laugh right now if that piece of metal wasn't so close to her face.

"I have dreamed of doing this since the very first day that I ever found out about you." Cora hissed, pressing the front of the weapon to her forehead. "Now you wish you would have just left her when I suggested, don't you? You wouldn't be in this situation. You could be happy. Be with your little diseased flock of homosexual people instead of keeping my daughter on your hell-bound side."

"You're fucked up; you know that?" Emma retorted. Why the hell did she do that? This woman had a gun. And the butt of that gun was used to smack her across the face with a painful crack.

"Shit." The blonde moaned, grabbing her jaw.

"You could have had a… happy life, little girl. But you ruined it for yourself. You ruined it for Regina, as well. You ruined it for me." Cora inspected the gun, making a click of disgust at something she had spotted on it. She shoved the object in Emma's face to point out a small spot of blood that the blonde could barely make out through her blurry gaze. "See what you do, you stupd girl? You ruin everything good."

"You do that for yourself. You didn't have to hit me with your toy." The blonde braved, dropping her crimson-covered hand into her lap. "Like you didn't have to do anything to Regina."

"Oh, but dear, you simply do not understand." The brunette spoke as if she were talking to a small child, each word enunciated. "But, that does not seem to matter any longer. With you out of the picture, I have nothing else to worry about. Isn't that right, my dear daughter?"

But when Cora had looked back to hear a response from her daughter, she was met with silence and an empty room. "Regina?"

"What?" Regina entered the kitchen, looking satisfied with herself. "Are you done playing your games with Emma? Are you going to release my girlfriend, now?"

"What makes you think that I would do something like that, now?" Cora quirked a brow, arms crossing over her chest.

"I don't, Mother. Honestly." Regina stepped toward her, eyes focused on the weapon that she had held. But that weapon had moved and pointed right at Emma's face once again, freezing the brunette teacher in her spot. "Mother. Don't you dare."

"Oh, but why not?" Cora quirked a brow, not relenting as she continued to watch her daughter's wary gaze. "With her gone, we could finally be together and I could find you a proper man."

"If you… if you… do that, I would sooner take a bullet in my brain before living under your control, Cora." Regina stumbled over her words, tears gathering quickly in her eyes.

"Is… Is it really that bad, my love? You would rather be dead than have your own mother?" Cora frowned at this, faltering her threatening arm for a moment as she contemplated her daughter's words.

"Yes! Why would I ever want to live with the abuse and the manipulation that you feed me?" Regina dared a few steps toward her mother, eyes falling to the blonde who remained on the floor with a bruised and bloodied face. Her heart fell at the sight, and in that moment, she was ready to pounce on her mother.

If not for the gun that was aimed steadily at Emma once again. "Make one more step and I paint the kitchen with your dyke's brains."

"Mother-"

"Cora Mills, drop the gun." A masculine voice demanded from the doorway.

Emma couldn't have been any more relieved to hear her father's voice. She drew her attention away from Cora to look to the savior of the evening, who stood with his own gun steadied at the lawyer.

"I really wished I wasn't forced to do this." Cora seemed to sigh as she cocked the gun in her hand.

A deafening ring sounded in the room as a gunshot fired.

Regina's heart seemed to collapse, her vision becoming dark as everything played in slow motion. Panicked eyes flew between the three in the room, two standing, the third still on the ground. David stood, blanched, as he realized what the hell just happened. The gun in his hand clattered to the ground as he rushed forward toward the blonde still propped up against the counter.

The brunette's eyes wandered toward her mother who stood there with a devious smirk, the weapon in her hand falling to the ground as well.

"I certainly do hope that you enjoy your new life, my love. There is no going back."

Regina watched as the finality of the words left her mother's mouth before the woman dropped to her knees. A look of terror bloomed in her eyes as she crumpled against the ground with labored breaths.

The brunette teacher's eyes welled as she dove forward to join her mother on the floor, holding the woman in her arms and attempted to add pressure to the wound on her torso.

"Regina, darling." She stared up the woman who held her, frowning slightly at the way the tears seemed to slide easily down her cheeks. "Why do you cry for me?"

"Because you're my mother." Regina's voice cracked.

The brunette had always imagined rejoicing in her mother's death. She had dreamed of it time and time again, jovial of each time that it had flittered through her mind. But the reality of it was quite gripping. She hadn't thought losing her mother would be this painful. Not when it was real.

Because when it was in her fantasy, her mother would always still be there. She would be there, living and breathing, smiling and laughing. Nice or not. She was still there.

But the reality was different now. She wasn't a fantasy. She wasn't dying for the tenth time in one day, no, not anymore. She was dying in real life, and it was terrifying.

Regina could see the life start to diminish from her mother as the blood that once gave her life drained from her body and onto the kitchen floor. It smelled sickening, like copper and death. Her once lively body was growing colder and pale, devoid of the life it had.

"Oh, Mother. Why did you do this to yourself?" Regina closed her eyes, holding the smaller brunette closer to her.

"Because I love you, Regina. Everything that I do… I do because I love you." Cora breathed, the words seeming to strain the older woman. "I-I'm sorry that I was never the mother that you wanted me to be."

"Please… don't talk." The younger brunette sniffed, trying to preserve her mother's fading life. "You need your energy."

"No. I don't. I-I'm dying, Regina. And I would rather tell you… what I have on my… mind rather than… leave this world without confessing." Cora tried to offer a smile to her daughter, though it was hard to keep on her face as she brought an unsteady hand to her face instead. "I have tried so hard to change you, Regina. And it was wrong of me. A-As your mother, I should have accepted who you were, but for some reason I thought you were sick…. A-And I had this image of who you should have been in my mind.

"I tried to force something that you didn't want on you, my daughter, and I cannot express how apologetic I am… If I could go back, I would embrace you instead of throw you out. I would accept that you love this fine, young woman instead of… o-of trying to break you two apart. Sh-she really does make you happy, doesn't she?"

"As anyone could have, mama. I love her more than I could have ever fathomed. I wished you would have given her a chance… B-But why are you saying this now?" The brunette fretted, many more questions rising to the forefront of her mind. Was she telling the truth? Or was this just another bait piece to reel Regina in onto her good side before she passed on?

"I should have, my darling." Cora frowned, her eyes batting slightly as she battled to stay conscious. "I can see it; you know?"

"What?" Regina panicked slightly, tapping her mother's cheek to keep her from slipping.

"I can see the way you look at her. That's something special." The lawyer reached up, hand shaking as she attempted to stroke her daughter's cheek. "I was jealous. I-I was jealous of you. I have always dreamed of a true, strong love like you have. I-I'm glad that you found it."

"Me too…" Regina smiled softly, gazing up to the blonde. Emma returned the smile as she leaned heavily into her father.

"Re-Regina, darling," the eldest brunette spoke from her spot, her voice becoming alarmingly weak. "In my purse is everything. The keys to my condo in New York City and to the corvette. A-and the other cars. I want you to have them."

"Mama…"

"You're the only one in my will, my love. It's all yours…" She smiled weakly, leaning up to kiss her daughter's cheek. "Just remember that I love you, and I always have."

"I love you, too, mama…" Regina squeaked softly, holding her mother a little tighter. But she was fading, her body becoming heavy as it lay in her daughter's arms. The brunette teacher frowned when her mother gave her one last smile, the sparkling light in her eyes seeming to fade out into a dark void.

And then she was still. The last breath escaped her as happy as it could have been. Regina's eyes widened as the reality sunk in further. Her mother was dead.

Dead.

"Mama?" Regina futilely tried to shake that woman awake, even though she knew that she was already gone. But she couldn't dare believe this woman, who had both loved and tortured her, was gone. Life without the worried thoughts of Cora would seem almost strange. It was a hole in her life at this point.

What would she do?

"Regina, she's gone." David kindly whispered, even though he knew that she knew it. But that hadn't stopped her from holding that damned woman closer to her, shedding tears that should have never been dealt.

"Gina…" Emma attempted to move to comfort the older woman over her loss, but David had held her back.

"You killed her! You killed my mother!" Regina didn't give a hesitant thought as she gently urged her mother from her lap and launched toward David who had quickly dodged her attempted attack. "You murderer!"

"Regina!" David picked himself up with his hands up in surrender. "Regina, calm down."

"Don't you tell me to calm down!" The brunette was furious as she screamed her pain at the man with wide eye.

Emma didn't know whether to stop her girlfriend from beating the shit out of her father or just stay out of it. She wouldn't do anything crazy, would she? Oh, gods, she hoped not. Because there was a dead body on the floor in front of her with a large puddle of blood that was slowly moving toward her and she felt as if she couldn't move. She was in a state of shock as she watched Regina scream profanities at David, most of them seeming to be in another language.

Spanish? Since when did Regina speak Spanish?

"Please, Regina." The sheriff's deep voice echoed as he allowed the former teacher to back him up against the far kitchen wall. "Don't do anything you might regret."

"What the hell could I do?" Regina hissed with her hands balled up in fists as if she were ready to strike, but the expression on her face told otherwise. Aside from the extreme anger burning holes in her eyes, she had a deep sorrow welling on the surface. That hadn't stopped the beating of her fists striking weakly against his chest to vent whatever emotion she had built up.

"Regina, listen to me. I had no choice." David seized the brunette's wrists, forcing her to cease her futile attempts. She struggled for but a moment before giving in, too exhausted to fight for her freedom.

"You didn't have to shoot her." Her voice had weakened.

"Listen to me, Regina." He repeated. "If I didn't do that, it would be Emma dead on that floor. Would you have rather had her be dead?"

Regina remained silent, blurry gaze on the ground while she battled her emotions to keep from crying. But it didn't happen as she thought of what he said, because it was true. If he hadn't shot her mother, Cora would have killed Emma. That sweet, blonde girl who sat helpless on the floor in a situation she should have never been in.

"Regina?"

"No!" She sobbed, her entire body shaking as it racked over her.

But she didn't have to think about that because Emma was alive. She was breathing. She was still here.

That hadn't stopped the tears from coming. They were tears for her mother and the pain that she had enforced to her throughout her life, and they were tears of anger and all that the woman had put her through. The arms around her weren't familiar and felt far too odd, too strong and masculine. But she didn't reject them. They were something comforting. They kept her in place when all she wanted to do was run away.

"Regina… I know that you may never forgive me for this and I expect that…." David began, a hand rubbing her back in soothing circles. "I-I didn't want to do this. I really didn't… I haven't…" He choked, and when he did, it hit Regina like a brick. He had taken someone's life. He was only trying to save his own daughter's life. Cora was in the way. She was the risk. And now she was dead by his hand.

There was a third pair of arms that wrapped around the two of them, warm and familiar to Regina as she recognized it to be Emma. The blonde still smelled of her sweet bath soap, yet contained the metallic scent of blood that had her stomach churning.

"I'm so sorry…" Emma's words were strained. "It's all my fault, isn't it?"

"No. No…" Regina frowned at the blonde's words, her hoarse voice was a whisper. She reached up to gently stroke her partner's pale cheek after turning slightly away from David, awkwardly since she was sandwiched between the two. "None of this is your fault, my swan. If it's anyone's, it's mine. I should have never let her in my house."

But the blonde's eyes welled with fresh tears, her head shaking. "It's mine…"

"Emma, honey, no it isn't." That was David reassuring his daughter, a gentle hand sliding through her blonde locks. "None of this is anyone's fault. Everything happened through a fault in the system and didn't end out the way we expected."

"What system?" Emma's brows narrowed, but Regina shook her head.

"There is no system. Cora brought this upon herself." The brunette woman stepped away from the two and turned toward the deceased lawyer on the floor, cringing at the sight. Inhaling deeply, Regina made her way to her mother with a shaky breath. "We need to… to call someone. An ambulance. Please…."

"Uh, yes, of course. I was going to do that." David nodded from his corner and pulled his phone out to do just that.

Emma, on the other hand, stood next to him with her eyes on Regina and Cora. No matter how hard she tried, she just couldn't bring herself to look away. She had seen some crazy shit in her day, but she'd have to say this was her first time seeing a dead body.

It wasn't like anything she had ever seen before. Cora looked the same, save for the blood and being a bit paler than usual. Okay, she was a lot paler. Shuddering, the blonde quickly averted her gaze. It seemed surreal, but too real at the same time.

"Alright, an ambulance is on the way. I explained the situation somewhat. Since I'm the police, I'll be filling out a report on…" But he trailed off, realizing his words were just a futile filler.

"Can I be alone until they come, please?" Regina quietly asked, not lifting her head from the spot in which she remained. She was sitting on her legs, her mother on the floor in front of her, rearranged into a more peaceful position. The younger brunette was mostly covered in blood by now, though she didn't seem to mind. She looked completely numb.

"Will you be alright, Gina?" Emma quietly asked once her father left, pausing in the doorway.

Regina remained silence, leaving Emma to take that as a part of the older woman's desire to be left alone. Out of respect, she turned to leave only to be stopped by the soft voice of her lover.

"I'm not alright currently, but I will be." When the blonde turned back around, she was met with the brunette's dull, brown eyes. "You know, Emma?"

"Hm, yes?"

"I…" She trailed off, frowning slightly before merely shaking her head and dropping it back down. "Never mind."

"O-Oh, alright…" The blonde frowned herself, not pressing for an answer as she took a step back. "I'll leave you alone, okay?"

"Before you go, Emma," Regina spoke up once again, pushing herself up from the floor. When the blonde turned around this time, she felt an uneasiness settle in the pit of her stomach. Dear Gods that was a lot of blood.

"Yes?"

"I… uh…" She slowly walked toward the blonde, eyes slightly to the ground. "I want to apologize that you had to witness all of this. Baby, I am so sorry that you had to… Th-that you-" But the words got lost when the tears choked them from her, freezing the older woman in her spot.

"Regina…" Emma frowned at the conflicted woman, rushing toward her to engulf the older woman in her arms. "It's okay…"

"You shouldn't have had to go through this… You never signed up for this bull-"

"Maybe not, but I got you, didn't I? It's worth it." Emma reassured, squeezing the older woman tighter in her arms. Her body shuddered through the blonde's own. "And we'll survive through this. I'll be right here for you, and you here for me."

"Emma…" The brunette inhaled, breath shaky as she lay her head against her lover's shoulder. "You're too sweet."

The blonde shrugged slightly, resting her chin atop the older woman's head. The two of them stood there, holding each other close as if they were the last two people on earth. What else was there to hold onto when everything else had fallen so long ago?

And the blonde had, and greedily so. Regina was her sturdy rock on the unstable cliff. She was reliable. She would save her. Emma hoped that she would be able to be the same for the brunette, because if not, what was she worth?

"Hey, the ambulance is here." David interrupted the two of them, stopping in the doorway with a grim expression.

"Thank you, David." Regina lifted her gaze to the man in the doorway, giving him a slight nod before pulling away from Emma. "Could you let them in, please?"

"Of course." He quickly nodded before heading back off once again, leaving the two alone.

"Regina?" Emma paused before the brunette woman could head off, the reality of the situation still on the surface of her mind.

"Yes, dear?" She tilted her head with a frown, or had that frown been there?

Emma frowned herself, hesitant on her next words. "Do… Do you want to stay here for a while longer?"

"What do you mean, dear?" Regina quirked a brow, moving toward the island. "Are you speaking of tonight, or?"

"Do you still want to go ahead and move to Boston tomorrow? After what happened tonight." She looked to her hands for a moment, the words awkwardly spilling from her mouth.

"Honestly, Emma?"

"Yeah?"

"I want to get the hell out of here. I would leave tonight, but… I've got cleaning up to do." The brunette sighed softly, eyes faltering. "And… damned if I don't need a drink."

"Your special apple cider?" Emma tilted her head, reaching out to gather up one of the older woman's hands. She nodded quietly in response, olive fingers lacing with the ivory ones.

"These next few days are going to be long." Regina finally responded, eyes on the paramedics as they rushed in to gather her mother up on the gurney.

Long, stressful, and painful days they would be.