I do not own Once Upon a Time, but I'm really sick of everybody screwing with Regina so here's my contribution. Spoilers for episodes through Miller's Daughter. I also have a small fascination with Regina's eyes, thus the title and content.

For one moment as she muttered her threat at Snow White Regina's eyes gleamed bright, but as Emma ran through the doorway she saw the flame die like a candle snuffed out. She had heard the curse and rushed in to defend her mother only to find Snow sobbing and Regina clutching Cora, her eyes as dry as the desert and dead as the woman in her arms.

"What the hell is going on here?" Emma's eyes met Gold's sad but healthy visage. A shiver went up her spine.

"It's all my fault I should never have said her name." Snow's words were nonsensical to everybody besides Gold.

David led Emma to the side of the room, away from the crowd around Cora. "Snow cursed Cora's heart to give her life to Gold and convinced Regina to put it back in Cora's chest. She told Regina to find out if her mother really loved her. We tried to get back in time to stop her when Snow realized how wrong it was."

"Oh, God…" Emma looked back to the broken woman on the ground, a woman who had only ever wanted love had lost yet another loved one. And again it was because of Snow. Grief had been a powerful motivator the first time around, but this woman she saw now was broken.

Emma fell to her knees opposite Cora, trying to get Regina's attention. The dark haired woman just looked through her. Emma felt her heart fall to the pit of her stomach; any hope for Regina was quickly fading. "Leave us."

The words were loud in the tomblike silence of the shop and the grating shuffles and dwindling sobs from Snow were creating a pounding in her head. Finally silence fell again as the click of the latch faded. Emma reached forward to brush the stray hairs out of the former Mayor's face. The dull brown eyes that stared past her made Emma choke down a sob. She wanted to see the smooth chocolate fire that normally came from Regina.

She placed a hand on Regina's cheek and called her name.

Emma's voice was distant, an echo of a life where Regina had almost been happy, but her mind was lost in the dark recesses of the far past. She couldn't feel her body, a floating sensation had carried her consciousness far from her physical discomforts. All she knew was that she was cold.

The first time her mother had hit her Regina was five. She remembered something about trying to chase a rabbit…the memory was hazy, indistinct in the sea of psychological torture and physical pain that her mother had always told her was to make her a good girl. She always remembered the restraints though, they always meant that daddy would have to bring her meals in bed until her body was healed enough to bear clothing. There were never marks from the whip or cane, just the pain, but the restraints always left marks.

That was the reason she couldn't stand being trapped to this day. No playful sexual encounters with silk ties, no small confined spaces, no unexpected hugs. Perhaps that was the reason why the fire had scared her so much. It wasn't the thought of her death she had accepted the inevitability of that long ago. The beam that trapped her had her nearly bleating with terror and the only person who could have helped was the mother of her son, the breaker of her curse. It would have been a fitting end.

Emma Swan had surprised her that day and almost every day since. Maybe if Emma had known Cora was back right away things would have turned out differently. The cricket's murder would never have been blamed on her and her son wouldn't have been turned away from her. If…if…Cora was right there was no point looking for the could have beens of the past. It was better to move forward.

Forward…what was forward for her? A life where her one true love was dead my her mother's hand because of some spoiled princess, where her father's heart had been ripped out be her own hand to bring her pain and suffering to the masses, where Gold fulfilled her dream of having a child only to have him stolen away, where her love's body had been revived only to have her crush his heart in her hand, where Snow had given her the hope of a loving mother only to trick her into killing her.

It was fate. Everyone she loved was dead by her hand. An overwhelming sadness rose up to drown her as she thought, will I kill Henry?

Emma just watched Regina's face for a moment mulling over the possible ways to wake her up out of her daze when their son's name whispered its way out of Regina's full lips. The light of the shop glinted off a tear streaking its way down Regina's face. Her eyes still lacked the vibrancy that Emma was used to but she took this as a step in the right direction.

Emma wiped the single tear from Regina's face and spoke, "Regina do you want me to bring Henry here? Would that help you?" She took the former mayor's hand in hers passing the warmth to the cold flesh. "Regina I need you to snap out of it and tell me what you need. I don't know what to do to help you."

The normally strong woman was starting to freak Emma out with the distant stare and cold flesh. If not for her normal breathing and strong pulse Emma would swear that Regina was in shock. For a moment she thought about slapping her to get a reaction but dismissed the thought almost as quickly as it had come. Regina didn't need more abuse.

As she leaned her forehead against the brunette's a whisper caught her completely by surprise, "I'm enough, mommy." Emma felt her own tears begin to slip slowly down her cheeks.

"You've always been enough Regina. You don't make it easy on people but they love you anyway. Henry loves you, your mother loved you, I…" Emma stopped, pulling away to kiss Regina's forehead. "I love you."

She looked back to Regina's face and almost cried out in relief, there was an ember, a spark within the depths of her muddy eyes, one that hadn't been there just a moment ago. "Emma?"

Henry had been her saving grace, her last chance at love. As a child he had always wanted to be around her, have her tuck him into bed, or read him a comic. He hadn't even wanted to go to school without her at first. She didn't know when everything had gone wrong, when he'd started to pull away from her. And then he had found Emma.

The blonde woman had been a force to be reckoned with. A force that Regina had though for a moment she might be able to control and finally one that she'd sought to weather without breaking. It hadn't helped-now she was broken.

Her mother had finally succeeded in breaking her. She was sure that was what her mother had been after, not the family reunion she claimed. Regina was aware that her mother was a self-serving, power hungry creature and always had been, but she had always wanted to believe there was some good in her. It was the child she used to be yearning to have her mother love her, to tell her that she was good, to tell her that she was enough.

Warmth spread from her limbs, her fingers tingling with a new sensation. A warm breeze brushed against her face. That last ditch effort for her mother's love had been a godsend and a hell at the same time. She could have been enough for her mother. "Emma?" Regina looked at the blonde in confusion. "I killed my mommy…" The weakness in her voice made Regina flinch and with a start she realized that the words that had sounded so far away moments ago had been her own voice. How much had she said?

"Regina," Emma squeezed the hands between hers tighter "Do you want me to bring Henry to you? You said his name and I can have him here in just a minute." She watched the hope flare in Regina's eyes before the brunette's head bowed to look down at her mother.

Before Regina could gather her thoughts enough to decline the offer Emma's hand had left hers to text Ruby. Regina pulled her hands out of the blonde's grasp and caressed her mother's cheek. It was already cold. "Why did she do it?"


"NO!" the venom was back in Regina's voice, but her eyes didn't burn with that anger Emma was used to seeing. "Snow."

Emma's head tilted to the side as she studied the woman holding Cora. "I'm not sure. I think she wanted revenge for Cora killing her mother, but she never wanted you dead for killing her father so I don't know what changed."

"I want to kill her." There was no inflection in her voice.

"I know." Emma placed a finger under Regina's chin to make their eyes meet. "But you want to be a mother to Henry too and if you kill her there's no going back."

"Henry has you. He has you as a mother he knows I'm the evil queen and he wants nothing to do with me. He was the only reason for me to try to redeem myself."

"Henry loves you, or were you not paying attention to what I was saying before. He loves you and he needs you because I don't know how to be a mother and I'm stumbling through this trying to live up to what you were and it's just not working. He won't speak to me because he knows I lied about his father being dead and he won't listen.

"And you, I trusted you and I messed that up too. I should never have let Snow and David convince me to go to Gold. I knew you didn't kill Archie and I didn't stick by your side and I should have. Will you stop looking at me like that!" She didn't know when Regina's problems had turned into her own until the words wouldn't stop coming.

Regina regarded the frustrated blonde with raised brows, her pursed lips making her scar stand out. After a moment a small smirk graced her lips. "Like what?"

"Like I'm some insect you're studying, something you're trying to figure out." Emma crossed her arms over her chest defensively.

"I don't think I could ever do that, dear. Your thoughts are much to scattered to follow, but some of that sounded like the beginnings of an apology." It scared her to think how much Emma's accusations had hurt her, and what a healing balm her apology could be.

"I am sorry that I didn't trust you, Regina. I never got the chance to tell you how very wrong I was."

"You weren't wrong about me, Miss Swan," The return to Emma's formal name felt like ashes on her tongue. "I have killed many people; just because I didn't kill the cricket doesn't mean I'm innocent. I killed my own parents, doesn't that say something about me?" Regina looked back to her lap. Purple mist gathered around the dead woman and as the front bell on the door rang the body disappeared.

The sound of running feet grew louder as Henry raced toward the back room of Mr. Gold's shop. Regina looked up in time to see Henry launch himself at her and moved fast enough to stumble to her feet and away from him.

"Mom?" Henry didn't understand why his mother had scampered away from him so quickly.

As Emma met Regina's eyes she could see the silent desperation in them. "What did you do?" It was a plea and accusation in one. "I kill everyone I love, can't you see that. Keep him away from me." Emma watched as Henry tried one more time to hug Regina. The brunette pushed him away wincing as he stumbled back.

Regina tried to convey the importance of her words to Emma through one of their shared looks, but Emma just smiled her enigmatic smile distracting Regina long enough to allow the living projectile that was her son to hurl himself at her.

Henry wrapped his arms around his unsuspecting mother and held on for dear life. She tried to squirm away from him but he was like her mother's old trees- trapping her. A shiver of fear worked its way up her spine, threatening to become all out terror when his words reached her.

"You would never hurt me." He felt her still and relinquished his hold on her to tug her down to one knee. "Mom, I'm sorry Snow tricked you."

So he already knew what had happened here. It was almost a relief to not have to tell him that his grandmother was dead. She caressed his cheek. "She would have loved you." Henry looked at her in confusion. "With her heart back she would have love both of us." She wrapped him in her arms for a moment, enjoying the smell and feel of him before she stood again.

"Take care of my son, Miss Swan." And she was gone.

"Emma we have to find her." It was nice to have her son talking to her again and it helped that he was thinking the same thing she was. They ran to her bug together, Emma trying to process everything that had just happened and Henry trying to get her to drive faster.

"Henry listen to me." She glanced over to find him watching her intently. "You need to tell her that you love her and you're not giving up on her. She needs people to tell her they care right now."

He nodded his head thoughtfully. "Are you going to tell her too?" The kid was too observant for his own good.

She didn't know when the constant bickering and plays for dominance had turned into something more, something that to Emma resembled foreplay, but one day she'd been watching the mayor purse her lips in apparent fascination at Emma's reasoning when everything had changed. Instead of wanting to reach out and strangle the beautiful brunette until she saw reason, she found herself wanting to kiss the red lips in front of her until her eyes burned with passion and not anger.

It had taken getting used to (and even more restraint) to deal with the mayor on a day to day basis. She saw herself in the woman, a person forever struggling to find peace and happiness. When the curse had broken and the truth had come out Emma used Henry as an excuse to protect the fascinating woman. Not that her anger hadn't been genuine, she was pissed as hell at her for lying and making their son think he was crazy. As she stood in front of Whale defending Regina and listening to the accusations fly Graham had come to mind. She had almost walked away in that moment of realization. Regina had killed him.

Yes the anger was real, but it didn't cancel the caring. All it did was turn her emotions into a giant mess. The trip to New York had almost been a blessing, time away to think and figure out what the hell she was going to do.


Henry had seen the difference in the way she looked at his father and the way she looked at his mother. At one time Neal had been the man she loved with all her heart, but his betrayal had burned away any love that she felt. Regina's betrayal felt different. It was something she could understand, a desperate act of a woman trying to keep her life from falling apart. When she realized that Regina's lies didn't kill her feelings she had known it was hopeless. She was in love with the Evil Queen.

As soon as the car stopped they were both out of the car and running toward the Mills mausoleum. One of the coffins was pushed out of the way revealing a staircase that led into Regina's most secret of places. They found her standing over her mother and fathers bodies.

"Regina?" Emma spoke quietly trying not to scare the other woman. "Henry and I need to talk to you. Neither of us wants you to go away. We want you to stay here with us where you can maybe find some peace.

When she turned toward them Emma was dismayed to see the lack of emotion on her face. "I won't kill her." Her words were spoken softly and without inflection. "Now leave."

"Regina that's not why we're here, Snow can fight her own battles."

"Mom, I love you. Please come home with me and Emma, we want to make you feel better. I know you've done bad things but you're my mom. I know that you didn't kill Archie and I never really believed it. Come home."

Regina bit the inside of her cheek, willing herself not to cry and not to cave. "You're better off with Emma, Henry. I only hurt the people I care about and I will not let that happen to you." She turned away from his pleading face.

Emma moved forward. "You aren't listening, Regina, we aren't going to leave you alone. Don't you see that we care about you? That we…"

"You're the one who doesn't see. It doesn't matter how you feel of how I feel, this is what has to happen."

"I don't believe that. I think you're trying to push us away because you're afraid to love again. You're afraid to see what happens when you let somebody else in."

"This is what happens!" Regina gestured to her parents as she turned to face the blonde. "Daniel is what happens!" Her eyes were alight with anger and sadness

"It won't happen this time, because Henry and I are stronger than you give us credit for. We both love you and aren't going to give up on you."

The fire in her chocolate eyes flared. "What did you say?" The anger was gone, shock was the only way to get through to her.

"I said that I love you."

"No you don't." She watched Emma glare for arguing with her.

"You don't get to tell me how I feel, Regina. You can decide how you feel but don't you dare tell me I don't love you." She was shaking her finger at the brunette and getting that analyzing expression again. "And every time you purse your lips like that it makes me want to kiss that pout right off your face."

Regina's mouth fell open. Emma surged toward her taking Regina's face in her hands and gently pressing her lips to the older woman's. Time stood still in the moment that their lips met then pitched forward as Regina's arms wrapped around Emma's body. "Why now?" She whispered taking a step back from the blonde.

"Because now we're both here together and ready to move beyond the past." Emma pulled the other woman forward into her arms as the maelstrom hit, sobs wracking Regina's body as she finally allowed her full grief to take her.

Henry moved toward the two, lending his strength to the mother who had raised him by holding both his mothers close. He knew that love, the most powerful thing in the world, would keep them safe.