Title: Last Thing You'll Do
Disclaimer: I do not own Once. All characters in this story sadly do not belong to me; they're simply being borrowed for a little while, and then will be returned. This story was not written for profit and no copyright infringements are intended.
Storyline: Regina could say her life was perfect… and then it got turned upside down.
Author's Note:This is the final chapter.
Beta: Scarlet-Marauder awesomely encouraged me to write this, and then was my beta. So any mistakes she's missed and any feelings of distress are her fault ;)
As the tingling remained Regina left the master bedroom at a fast sprint. Relief flooded her veins as the feeling persisted despite not being in their room any longer. She wasn't ready to not consider it theirs. It would always be "theirs". She tried her hardest not to trip as her feet carried her down the stairs as fast as they could. Mindlessly she took opposite staircase to one she'd taken on the way up.
Entering her study, Regina kicked off her uncomfortable shoes and poured herself a glass of cider. It was much too early to be drinking but Regina felt she needed artificial courage as she ran her fingers across the small book's cover before she sat down. She felt she had to sit down for this. Whatever this was going to be. She placed her tumbler down after she took a much too healthy chug of the liquid within. Emma had promised Regina would one day read what this book contained, was it too soon? Looking at the small book she could see it held more than simple written pages. Certain pages seemed thicker than the others. Regina resisted the urge to open the small diary at those pages. She was going to do this right.
Regina felt her eyes moistening at the prospect of what she was about to do. She was about read Emma's thoughts… Emma's life for the last four months. She knew the basics. She knew that much but these pages they held her last chance to have an insight. Her last chance to understand and live Emma's last days with her. Part of her couldn't wait and yet the part…the bigger part felt apprehension. What if reading it made Regina feel worse? She had felt during Emma's explanations Emma had sugar-coated some things. What if what she read made her feel worse about letting her walk away all those months ago? She doubted it was possible but the small book clutched in her hands had the power to do it. To destroy her.
She had to do this. She was going to do it! Regina took another large gulp from her glass. She could still feel the familiar prickle down her spine and across her skin that only Emma brought. Whether she believed in such things, she felt as if Emma was in the room with her. Sitting just out of sight, making sure she wasn't alone. She took comfort in her fantasy. Maybe it wasn't healthy to think such things. She didn't care. Right now it was a fantasy that allowed her to keep breathing. A fantasy that allowed her to finally open the first page.
She was greeted by Emma's neat handwriting. It had improved greatly since her first days as Sheriff. With the amount of paperwork Regina and Snow had made her fill out as they played out their terms as Mayor it was hardly a surprise the blonde's writing had improved dramatically. Regina felt her tears fall at she took in Emma's instruction. It was there in black and white; that if anything should happen to her the book should be mailed to Regina at their address.
It was something Emma had clearly added once she left for Boston. It was agonisingly clear that had Emma passed away while she was in Boston that the person responsible for her things had to make sure Regina got this small book. Regina didn't know if knowing such information made it easier or not. They hadn't been together and yet Emma sort to even after she'd left this world for Regina to understand. Understand she still loved her. Turning the page she saw the book was more of a notebook. It had no dates but the one inscribed in Emma's hand at the top of the page. What surprised her more was the line that followed; the one that read "Dear Regina".
19th March 2014
I don't write diaries. I don't really know where to start. Before my life in Storybrooke, my life wasn't interesting enough to write down to read in years to come. I don't know how long I'll keep this up or how long I'll have to. I thought maybe it might make it easier if I write my entries to you rather than "Dear diary". We'll see how it goes. All other diaries I've written have barely made it to January 14th so wish me luck!
I don't know where to start. Why do these things have to be so damn hard? I just wanted to say sorry for being such a bitch lately. I don't even know why it keeps happening. One minute I'm fine and then the next we're having a full blown argument. But I do have a confession to make. One I really wish I could just tell you in person. I've been seeing Whale. As in as a patient nothing creepy! Last Friday I passed out I guess you could say. It couldn't have been for long because Ruby rang from the diner to ask if I wanted anything and then the next thing I knew she was standing over me. She took me to see him and Whale said it was probably Anaemia or stress related ulcer. Anaemia is more likely and can be treated with iron supplements and eating more green foods. Yes I can hear your sweet and beautiful voice already telling me "I told you so" … so don't!
I didn't tell you because I didn't want to worry you. The tests haven't come back yet but Whale says as soon as they do, I'll know. You'd think for small town blood tests would be quicker not slower than the outside world. But I do have another confession – one that possibly scares me a little bit more, and is the reason I'm writing this "diary". Whale suggested I could use it to document my mood and behaviour which I guess doesn't do either of us any harm. It might show triggers or patterns.
The thing that worries me is my concentration and forgetfulness. Again stop rolling your eyes and your knowing grin. I know I have a terrible concentration span and I forget pretty much everything but I mean it. I know you aren't really talking to me at the moment and I understand why, I do. I should have been at Henry's Spelling Bee and I didn't forget it or miss on purpose. I wish you'd believe me. It just… I dunno fell out of my head? I had a stack of paperwork that needed to be done and I did it and I was happy. But then I got home and you were so angry at me I didn't understand why.
It wasn't until you said about his Spelling Bee that I even remembered. I mean how shit it that?! I forgot our kid's Spelling Bee. We've been quizzing him for weeks now on words that are so unlikely to come up but we had to make sure he was prepared for anything. How did I forget? I didn't mean to! I'm glad Henry understands… or at least he seems to. He's talking to me and looking at me which is more than I can say for you. I wish you'd just tell me how to make it better. I wish I could tell you about all this stuff but every time I do it just doesn't come out. Or another argument starts and I don't want that to be how I tell you.
I've looked into Anaemia. On the whole it fits. Tiredness, headaches, dizziness, difficulty concentrating etc. It fits. Just waiting on these test results so Whale can start treating me. Just wish they'd hurry up. My headaches are getting worse. It feels like I could just scoop the headache out of my head. They're always in the same place. I just wish they'd stop. I suppose taking iron supplements and eating healthier won't kill me even if it's not Anaemia.
I love you Regina. I might be a complete bitch most of the time and we might fight like cat and dog, but please remember that I love you. I will ALWAYS love you. X
Regina read the words twice. Taking in every word. Every tear that fell she wiped away forcefully in fear it might smudge Emma's precious words. It hurt deep within her chest to read Emma's description of events. To know what she knew now and see and feel what Emma had felt so many months ago. Emma had written this just two days after Henry's Spelling Bee. Regina had hardly spoken to her in the days that followed. When Emma had explained that her cancer made her forget things, it was this event that had come to the forefront of her mind because she knew just how unlike Emma it had been. How had she not realised that at the time? Her feud with Snow, that's how. She had believed Emma was pulling away and Snow was the cause. Regina hadn't been wrong. Emma was pulling away but the cause was something entirely different. It was something she couldn't control. She wished more than anything that Emma had confided in her. If only she'd told her. Just maybe they wouldn't have had to put her in the ground today.
21st March 2014
It's not Anaemia. I don't know what to do. We had another fight tonight and I took off. It wasn't smart and I know it was running away but I couldn't just…I couldn't just stand there and have you shouting at me and not tell you. I know it's not your fault. It's mine. I provoked you…somehow. I can't remember what I said, but whatever it was I am so sorry. You have to believe me. Whatever it was, I didn't mean it. I wouldn't hurt you. Not knowingly. I know we fight and we say things we don't mean but you looked so angry and upset with me. I haven't seen you look so upset at me in well over a year, Regina. God damn it I just wish I knew what the hell it was I said. It's like this blank…nothing inside my head. We were talking and then you were throwing a cup or something at the wall.
I don't know what to do. Whale got back to me. I'm sitting on the bug right now. I've just seen him. There's some level in my blood that's high. Like scarily…dangerously high. I can't even remember what letter it started with to even try and spell it. He's took more blood. I hate having blood taken. It makes me feel sick. The last lot of blood tests were to rule out the different types of Anaemia – I wasn't even aware there was more than one! I just thought it was you know…Anaemia.
But these ones…god. Regina I really wish you were talking to me. I don't…I can't. I just don't know what to do! I know I keep saying that but I just truly don't know what to do. Whale took more blood to rule other things out. Some stuff I recognised; other stuff I probably shouldn't look up because it'll only terrify me more. Regina he's also looking for cancer markers. If I'm honest I don't totally understand what that means but I know what cancer is. I can't have cancer right? I'm 30 years old! It can't be cancer – that's just stupid. I've fought dragons and giants and creepy teenage old men. I fought fricking Peter Pan and survived….it can't be cancer can it?
Whale says he'll get these tests done quicker. I'm guessing possible cancer trumps Anaemia. I wish you were here and you weren't mad at me. Can I proof you here and you just not be mad? You can go back and be angry at me I don't mind just…god I wish you were holding me right now. I know to write that now and you might end up reading this I don't know…I don't want you to feel guilty. Whatever happens and if my self-confidence lets you read this crap I'm just scribbling away, please know I don't blame you. It's all on me. I'm the idiot that can't keep my mouth shut.
I'm on patrol tonight. It's cold and my head really hurts. Sometimes I wish my mother wasn't Mayor. I also wish that sentence still didn't freak me out. My mother is Mayor…and I'm her Sheriff. Sometimes I really wish I wasn't. Right now I'd much rather be curled up in bed next to you – and yes it's only seven…nearly. Just wish I wasn't in this dam car, alone. I wish I hadn't upset you. I'll see you later.
I love you, please don't forget that x
Regina knew her tears were falling freely now. When she had turned the page she could already see the ink had been smudged by the last person who looked at this page. Emma had been crying when she wrote it. She remembered the night. It was first of a few nights Emma had left straight after dinner. Henry had been in his room when the argument started. It had been about him and she couldn't even remember what Emma had said. But Emma had been right; it was a mug that had met its violent end that night as it smashed off the wall. Emma had been crying and worried about her results, with a fucking tumour growing in her skull. The other woman had told her not to feel guilty but she found she could be little else as she took in particular phrases. God why hadn't Emma told her! Why hadn't she given into the impulse and transported herself to Regina…or simple rang her and she'd have gone to Emma. She knew how angry she had been that night but part of it was because of Emma's lack of concern. Lack of caring for what she'd said and for the situation they found themselves.
Emma had stormed off without a second glance. It was only because she had a call from Ruby checking it was Emma who was taking that night's patrol she knew not to expect the blonde until late. If only Emma had called she would have gone to her. She would have put her anger aside upon seeing Emma was clearly upset. They could have talked. Even if they hadn't…even if Emma still couldn't tell her, Regina still could have been what Emma needed her to be. Emma had been so scared and yet she carried that burden alone. Regina had seen what was happening. What the stress of what she now knew to be worry on top of her illness was doing to Emma and while she worried, god she had worried it hadn't been enough. She had pushed enough. She hadn't loved Emma enough to make her see, she could tell her…tell her anything. She knew Emma hadn't told her to protect her, but it wasn't Regina who needed protecting. It was Emma.
26th March 2014
It is cancer. What…where…we don't know. First we need to know where it originated, what type…how bad. I got a call from Whale today telling me to go to his office – I'm really starting to hate that place. Managed to lie to Ruby I guess you'd say. I was honest and said Whale had requested I go see him. I think she thought I was on Sheriff's business. If she thought anything else she didn't let on.
Whale took an MRI and CT scan. I wasn't even aware they were that different and I'm rather glad I'm not too claustrophobia because fuck those things are small. Having Whale explain it's almost over and whatever you do, don't move…not massively comforting. He's looking over the results and planning the next course of action. He's calling me tomorrow when he's available to see me. He's put under a different name so people don't know – makes me feel like the president or something. Or it would if I was…so damn scared.
Glioblastoma Multiforme. That's what he thinks it is. Yes I had to Google that spelling! I haven't really looking into it. But I'm scared Regina. Whale says untreated I could have like 4 months…from when it started growing. He doesn't know how far along it is. How can I have not known I had fucking tumour growing in my brain? 4 months? It's not enough. He has to be wrong right?
Please don't hate me. I really need you not to do that. I didn't know what else to do. I went to Gold, and I know if I was telling you this in person you'd be screaming at me by now. I didn't make a deal with him. I would have. I know you'd be furious me with me, but if this is as bad as it can be…I don't want to leave you and Henry. I won't… I can't. So I went to him, but there wasn't anything he could do. Sucks right. The mysterious and powerful Dark One can't help me. I'm truly fucked, aren't I?
He tried and failed. I don't know what to do. I was sitting across from you at dinner tonight and it was all I could do but not burst into tears. I know things haven't been great but I've been trying. Trying so damn hard. You looked genuinely surprised when I kissed you goodbye. My kisses…my love for you should never be a surprise. You say you know I love you and yet you looked so shocked. Why Regina? Because I love you more than I know how to say. It took all my willpower to come on the patrol tonight, because kissing you…knowing, god knowing it might not be for long. How could I stop? How could ever stop kissing you? Ever stop loving you? Because I do.
I love you and I love Henry more than I ever thought was possible and it hurts Regina. It hurts just thinking about losing you both. I can't do that. Gold might not be able to help me but I'm not giving up. I'll jump through all the damn hoops Whale says. I will get better. I have to stop hurting you. I can't keep doing this. I can't have you look at me the way you have been recently. You used to look at me with love… that sickly over the top but damn amazing kind, like I was the only person in the room. As if I was special. But now… now you don't. You look scared and unsure. You never have to be scared of me Regina, not ever. Don't you dare doubt me not for a second. No matter what happens I will love you for the rest of time. To the end of this world and any other. I'm yours and yours alone and I wouldn't have it any other way.
Regina closed the book, one finger keeping her place as not even her hand could contain her sobs. She could feel the tears spill across the back of her hand clutched to her mouth. How had Emma done this? All of this on her own. It wasn't right and it wasn't fair. Part of her wanted to throw the book across the room and never look at it again. Except she couldn't. It had been cancer and now finally the Emma upon the pages knew. Regina should have been there to hold her hand through the news and been there to tell her, the scans were almost over and how amazing she was being.
She remembered the night Emma had gone out to do a patrol but not before kissing her goodbye. Emma had been right she had been surprised by the kiss Emma placed upon her lips. It had been the only physical contact they'd had in over a week. Emma hadn't spoken through dinner and Regina assumed she wouldn't even say goodbye before she left. Except now she knew why. Emma hadn't spoken for fear of breaking down. Emma never needed to be strong for her. She understood the need to be strong for Henry even now, but her? Never. It was Regina who was Emma's forever. Emma had told her that one day she'd move on and that was okay as long as she was happy. But she wouldn't. She'd never be happy in someone else's arms. Another sob racked through the brunette's chest as she realised perhaps foolishly late that she would never feel Emma's arms around her again.
28th March 2014
I'm so sorry. I am so so so damn sorry. I love you. I love you so fucking much. You weren't supposed to come and see me. Why didn't you go to work? Why did you come with you beautiful smile and have to ruin everything? Because it wasn't hard enough! Regina why? Why did you do it? Why do you have to be so damn perfect? I'm so sorry. I really I am. I didn't mean it. I can still see you face. God I'm so sorry. I love you, you have to believe me. I love you so much.
I couldn't do it. I couldn't keep hurting you. You looked so happy last night. In the office today. You looked so happy. I know what I've said hurt you and I am so sorry but in the long run…maybe it's better. I don't know. Please don't hate me. God please don't. I saw the ring. I know I shouldn't have been going through your things but I wanted a pair of your socks, you know the thick ones. But then I saw it and I couldn't.
I can't believe it Regina. You wanna marry me? Well not anymore I guess. Shit! You brought a ring. It's beautiful. I couldn't let you ask. I don't know what's going to happen to me. Marriage … its forever. At least with you, I'd want it be for … forever. I don't know if I have that. I couldn't promise you it when I don't know if I have it to give. I would have said yes, god Regina I would have. I would have said in a heartbeat, if you'd asked. I want to marry you. From the moment I realised I loved you, I knew I was hooked. Before then probably. I was never able to resist you.
You looked so broken. I couldn't stay. I couldn't explain. How could I? How do you explain this to someone? Someone you love. I couldn't stay and not tell you. I couldn't lie anymore. I've been lying for too long. I wish you here and I know it's my fault you're not. It my fault. But I'm glad you're not too. I need you to look after Henry. God Henry. He's 13 and I could be losing him all over again. I'm his Ma, I'm meant to look out for him. Look after him and shield him from all this. I need you to look after him, I need to know if…I just need to know.
I know you deserve to know, but you don't deserve this. You deserve the best, and I wish I could give you it. You don't deserve to be my nurse and to hold my hand. I don't deserve you. I never did. I did something brilliant and I got lucky but I guess my luck ran out. I'm not giving up. I know you hate me right now, I don't blame you. But I'm not giving up – not on you or Henry. I'm fighting and I'm fighting for you. You might never read this, and part of me hopes you never do. But if you do, please know I never meant to hurt you or him. I left to protect you. I hate myself right now and I wish I was with you both, but I'd rather come back whole. Come back healthy, for you.
Regina had believed Emma had left her and Storybrooke behind without a care in the world. She had doubted Emma had even given them a thought as she crossed the town line. Except she had. She had cared. She cared so much it broke the woman reading. Part of her had hated Emma, had hated her the moment she walked out of that office up until the day she turned up on her doorstep. But part of her never had. Never would. It hadn't let her, and it was the part that had questioned Emma's words that day. Why hadn't it been louder? Why hadn't it screamed at her until she listened? Emma had loved her, she knew that now. Thinking back she had seen the pain it caused her to say she no longer did, only Regina's pain and upset had been too great to realise it. To see it for what it truly was.
Regina would have done it all. Held her hand and pulled her hair out of the way as she vomited. She would have held her close and soothed any fever. She would have done and been everything to the woman she loved if only she had known. Emma had wished she had stayed, even on the day she left. She had this idea that she was doing Regina a favour. That somehow by pushing the brunette away she was making it easier on both women except hadn't. She made it harder. Emma had gone through all of this on her own, and she hadn't have needed to. She would have done anything she could to make Emma feel better and she could have done it at her side.
Despite Emma's open conversation about marriage she had doubted Regina wanted to marry her. Of course Regina had. She loved her. She wanted Emma. Both had fought and struggled for a family and acceptance their entire lives and she had found that in Emma. She'd found her happy ending. Except as she sat sipping on cider in her empty house she found it almost difficult to believe. She had found her. Had loved and cherished her. Their love had been real, but now she was gone.
31st March 2014
I miss you. I've listened to all your voicemails. Several times. Pretty sure I'm torturing myself by even keeping my cell on. Every time it rings…every time I hear your ringtone I feel butterflies. All I have to do is answer. Press one button and you'd be there. I know that. I do; but I can't talk to you. I couldn't hear you talk and not tell you. I know you. You'd say you'd come straight to Boston. Don't lie and say you wouldn't. I couldn't have you and Henry uprooting your lives for me.
I wish you were here. I got an apartment yesterday. It's a few blocks away from the apartment I had before Storybrooke. Its owned by the same guy and he offered me one in the same building. I couldn't do it. I'm moving forward not back. It's only a few months lease. I won't be here long. If I have to be operated on then it'll be a while before I can drive but I'm only staying for as long as I need. I'm coming back. I promise you that.
Today though … ergh today I had my hair cut. It's needed for my biopsy. It's either that or they shave this huge chunk out of hair – was not going to do that so I cut it. The style is quite nice – you'll like it. Might attach a picture if I can find my camera. If they need to operate shorter hair is better too as it's easier to manage. That said I did sit in the chair and cry. I mean like disgusting, snotty, ugly crying. I kinder feel bad for the hairdresser. I might send her something. It just became real you know. I have brain cancer.
Also saw the specialist Whale contacted for me. No idea how magical fairy tale characters have contacts in the outside world – and today I found I cared very little. Guess what he did? Go on guess. He took more blood. I feel like pin cushion. Know what's worse? I fricking passed out! Because of the blood not the tumour. Nothing quite puts your mind at ease as you lay on gurney and try not to throw your guts up I'm telling you. He seemed nice enough. A little … stuck up and a little too clever. But I guess if the worst I can say about the guy who's gonna cut into my head is he's too clever, I'll be in safe hands. He did another CT scan and a chest X-ray to see if it had spread to my lungs. He also checked my vision and hearing as well as blood pressure etc. I swear I feel like a lab rat.
He agrees with Whale and says he thinks it's a type called Glioblastoma Multiforme. I mean Whale told me some stuff and I've Googled it. I hope it's not, but the symptoms fit; and I mean they fit. Seizure, vomiting, headaches, memory loss, personality changes etc. I think they're just covering their backs before they start cutting away parts of my brain, because damn it sounds like it.
I feel like I'm autopilot. I know what I have to do and I'm just doing it. I can't think of anything else. My biopsy is scheduled for the 2nd – so Wednesday. I have an appointment tomorrow to sort my will out. A will. I'm 30 years old…how can I be going through my will now? I guess if you were here you'd tell me as soon as you adopted Henry you did yours? Or did you not need to – fairytale curses and all?
I'm going to bed. I haven't really been able to sleep since left Storybrooke, but I'm just so damn tired all the time. I wish you were here. I could really use you right now. I love you.
Another letter down and all Regina could do was sit and stare at the words upon the page; open mouthed. Stapled to the top of the page was a photo Emma had clearly taken in the bathroom mirror of her new apartment. The blonde hadn't been wrong when she said it had been similar to Regina's during Emma's first year in Storybrooke. It was practically identical. Emma had fainted when this specialist had drawn blood? She hadn't told her that. The brunette gently traced the words "Glioblastoma Multiforme". Emma's hand did not pause. The letters were smooth and uninterrupted…because Emma had known exactly how to spell them. She knew Emma. Emma had said she had Googled the type of tumour, Regina knew she had obsessively done so. Not that she blamed her.
"Emma" Regina breathed at the unseen presence in the room. How could the blonde have been so stupid and hard-headed? She had listened to each of Regina's messages. Each of them begged for Emma to do whatever she needed to get the blonde back. All Emma had had to do was pick up the phone. The other woman had wrote just as much. She knew. She had stopped Regina from being able to help. She wanted Regina…. She had written that she needed her and yet hadn't picked up the damn phone. Emma had been right. Had Emma told her, she would have arranged for Henry to spend time at his grandparents' and she would have broken every speed limit from here to Boston.
Regina couldn't help the furrow of her brow when she took in the next date. It was a week after the previous.
7th April 2014
I'm scared. I'm terrified. I'm sorry I woke you up. I'm sorry I woke you up and didn't speak. I didn't know what to do. I caved. I heard your voice…you sounded so relieved to hear from me I couldn't tell you. The words wouldn't come out. I want you here so badly. I'm selfish and self-centred but I need you here.
You sounded so happy and all I could think was at least she's not mad at me. I couldn't take that happiness away from you. I love you Regina so much. I love Henry more than I ever thought I could love another person. You have to keep being happy okay? That's all I ask. Please keep being happy. I need you to be happy.
What if I die on the table Regina? What if they cut open my head and realise there's nothing they can do? Whale said four months. He doesn't know when it started to grow.
What happens if it's soon? There is so much I didn't get to do. I thought I had more time you know. I wanted to wear your ring and take your last name. I finally found my family. You and Henry. We were happy and had such plans…
Remember Christmas? How was that only three months ago? I meant what I said. Our family…we're meant to be building memories that no one else can touch. Just us three … or more, later down the line. Regina I want you. Forever. What if I don't make it off the table? What if this is all we get? The most amazing 19 months of my life?
I want you to know I love you. I love you with every fibre of my being. Thank you Regina for everything. Thank you for adopting Henry and raising him better than I ever could. Thank you for loving me and accepting me warts and all. Thank you for letting me in and letting me love you; because believe me when I say I have no idea what I did to get so lucky.
I love you, see you on the other side xx
Regina let her tears spill freely as her body shook so violently she felt the couch beneath her move. She remembered clearly the night in the question and had indeed been overjoyed and giddy upon seeing Emma's name flash up on her cell. A feeling that only intensified as she pressed the connect button. The sensation only dwindle each passing second Emma ignored her pleas to talk before hanging up.
Being completely clueless Regina tried to stay awake in case her absent love called back. An hour passed before she finally lost her battle against sleep, her cell still clutched in her head. She'd cursed Emma's name the next day. She'd woke her for no apparent reason and didn't even have the decency to talk to her when she did.
Except Emma had every reason to call her. Emma was terrified. Of course she was. She could have died on the operating table. She was glad that had that have happened the last words Emma had heard were not ones of angry or distain; but it did not make her feel better. She may not have vocalised her frustrations directly but she carried them around with her the next day as her love went under the knife.
Regina left her fingertips glide across the indentations made by the pen. There was something about these pages. This entry that made it hard to turn the page. Emma had believed that she might die and her parting words had been those to ensure Regina knew that she was loved. Regina had still believed Emma's words in which she had denied her love for the older woman and yet here in black and white, in what could have been her final words with Regina; Emma had said she loved her.
Turning the page Regina felt her stomach lurch despite knowing the outcome of Emma's operation. The blue handwriting on the following page was not Emma's.
8th April 2014
My name is Rose, I'm one of the nurses in charge of Emma's care at the moment. She asked me to write an update in this book for you. I've just finished my shift so I am happy to do so, though I will be honest there isn't much to tell at the moment.
She is still rather groggy which is perfectly common and not anything to worry about. She's also still in ICU and if she keeps progressing at the rate she is, she'll be out and be taken to the neurosurgical acute care unit in the next few days.
In terms of the surgery it was what we would consider a success. Due to the position of the tumour complete resection sadly was not likely. The surgeon managed to get 60% out, which believe me is a tick in the plus column for us. Once Emma is up on her feet her options of where to go from here will be discussed.
I just would like to add no confidentiality has been broken – Emma is reading this and telling me what to write … and not to write. Once Emma is feeling better she will update you herself.
17th April 2014
It's me again – just in case you can't tell. Just kinder wanted to say hey and that I'm alive. Tracy died last night. I know you don't know who she is but she came in the same day as me. Just reminded me I'm really not out of the woods yet.
But I'm feeling better. Ten days post op and I'm feeling much better. I kinder feel like I need to update you on everything but some bit are a blur – due to medication nothing else.
Straight after my operation everything … and I mean everything hurt. My head, jaw, throat from the tubes. My eyes because they kept checking my pupils by shining a light in my eye which guess what HURT! I woke up with more IVs than I know I had when I went to sleep. Most came out in the first few days. When they took out my arterial line I have this huge bruise on my hand/wrist/thumb area. I'll attach the photo I took it'll be easier than explaining. First day they had me on a heat pad because I was freezing - common thing, nothing bad. Then the second day Rose gave me earplugs because I was extremely sensitive to sound. Wasn't helped by the weird noise I could hear from inside my own head. Yeah! Something I wasn't told and scared me beyond the telling. I could hear the air in my head moving around. Gross right? Remind me to tell Henry, he's weird and will probably love it.
Also had huge bruises around my eyes. Seriously I am not attractive right now. More so because the bruising is turning yellow.
The headaches I had in the days afterwards were nothing to the ones I had when I was at home. Not hugely suprising considering I had had my head opened up and my brain prodded and poked. They kept coming in and asking questions to check they hadn't fucked anything up and taking my temperature and heart rate that kind of thing. They're also very interested in my toilet habits … it's not pleasant.
I have pretty much slept a lot and struggled to sleep a lot too. Been on these steroids to reduce swelling in my brain. I can't wait to get out of here. Oh I can do Sudoku puzzles now. Well I think I can. I'll attach the one I did earlier … just lie and say it's right if it's not hehe. They get me to do little tasks like word searches, cross words etc to "exercise" my brain. It's a little quirky but if it makes me smarter I'm all for it.
Talk later, love you xx
Regina couldn't help but smile once she'd turned the page to see Emma's writing again. It looked a little messy but it was still legible. However before reading her attention had been caught by the images of Emma's hand and her incision which looked rather fresh. In the image of her incision Regina could also one of Emma's eyes. It looked as if she'd been punched by a sumo wrestler. She felt her stomach flip and bite her tongue to stop the cider from reappearing. Drinking on an empty stomach hadn't been wise. She hadn't been able to stomach anything at the wake which had been held at Granny's of course.
The bruise on her hand was quite a considerable size. How was medication designed to help you also able to make you suffer just as much as the aliment it was meant to help?
Reading the message she was glad to see Emma's usual flare and personality was returning, though diluted. She felt for the lady's family who'd passed away. It could have been so easily Emma, though obviously Regina didn't know anything about the other woman's condition, Emma was right she supposed. It had served as a reminder that things aren't always as good as they seem. As the turned the page she couldn't help but smile at the second page of writing which as promised had a completed Sudoku puzzle attached but also an extra photo of a smiling Emma looking out at her. The blonde was indeed right the bruises were yellowing and fading, but she had been wrong in questioning her attractiveness. She looked just as pretty as she always did. Regina couldn't help but smile at the woman smiling up at her. While it wasn't quite her full blown smile, it was close. Almost perfect.
29th April 2014
I am back in my apartment. I made it out! I was discharged last night. I was going to ring you last night but wanted to check with Mary Margaret how things were in Storybrooke. We may have talked a little longer than expected. It's weird if I think of her as the woman I shared an apartment with it's a lot easier to talk to her…you know if I don't think of her as my mother.
Anyway after talking to her I managed to have my first bath in 3 weeks unsupervised! How awesome is that? Okay I am aware it's a stupid thing to get excited over but god it felt amazing not to have a nurse giving me a sponge bath or watching from the doorway to make you don't drown by accident. I feel ridiculously clean, even now. But only I'd done that I was so tired and my head was aching. Not like a headache … it's hard to explain. Basically I over did it. So I went to bed. Our photo is back in its rightful place beside my bed. I took it into hospital with me. It makes me feel like your watching over me.
I'm going to call you later. Actually kinder scared but I know I have to. You deserve to know. I want you to know. I'm not completely fixed, but I'm getting there! I don't know what will happen once you know. Okay that isn't true. Knowing you, you'll come here. For the first time in a long time that idea doesn't scare me. I guess just knowing what to expect with my symptoms and most of them have finally gone *dances* … yes I know I am a child; just makes it easier. You won't be my carer or nurse. For now, I no longer need one.
Just go easy on me okay? Got an appointment today at the clinic to check my battle wound and talk through my diet and all that. So I will probably write another … Letter? Later.
All my love, your vastly improving Emma xx
Regina couldn't help the large smile upon her face as she read Emma's words. They were almost playful. But it was with a heavy heart she remembered the call had never come. Emma had only rang the night…or morning of the operation and when she was driving home. Emma was right though, she would have driven the miles between them if only Emma had rung her with her news.
Turning the page she saw more writing only this wasn't dated. Writing was blue instead of the usual black. In parts it smudge so badly it was illegible. What on earth had happened at the clinic…in the hours since Emma wrote the last entry? She read on with still ever present tears falling down her face as she tried to ignore the fast approaching headache she knew was coming. She had to finish…she wouldn't stop reading until she did.
Regina? I don't know what to do to make any of this better. I've fucked up again. Things were getting better and I fucked up again haven't I. I just got your voicemail. I fell asleep again. The pain meds they have me on at the moment do that. Seriously my arms and legs go all wobbly, make me feel a little dizzy and everything feels tingly. But I should have rung you. I'm sorry Regina.
I wasn't picking Mary Margaret over you. I was trying to gauge how you'd react to me if I rung and then time got away from me. Please don't hate me. You still love me right? I can't do this without you. I know I ran away, but you're still here with me. Every moment of every day, you're here.
I saw I had voicemails from you but I was going to call you. You have to believe me. You do right? It's late and I don't know what to do. I want to call you back but you sounded so angry with me. You said you didn't care if I was dead or not. Regina…that's…fuck. You deserve the world Regina and I'd give you it if I could. I left because you didn't deserve this. I know you wouldn't believe me.
I'm going to wait. Please ring me back. Tell me you didn't mean it. I want to come home. Just over two months and I could be back. Please ring me so I can tell you. I'm getting better Regina. I've done all of this for you and Henry. I need you.
I love you.
Regina sat transfixed staring at the smudged words. Words of so much pain when they'd been filled with more happiness than they had in months. Emma had finally been ready to talk to her. To tell her. The other woman had told her as much, but seeing it. Seeing it in writing from over two months ago, it made it more real. What if Emma had died? She'd have died truly believing Regina hated her, and didn't care what happened to her. When in reality Regina had been waiting for Emma to call, to defy her drunken wishes; over two hundred miles away.
Emma had been getting better in her physical, emotional and mental health and Regina had all but shattered it because of an angry phone call fuelled by alcohol. She had regretted that night. She regretted it the next day, but she never thought it would make her feel like this. Rotten. Cruel. Unkind. She had broken Emma. Everything she had said that night she had known would hurt her lover and used that knowledge…that intimate knowledge to rip the woman to shreds. She'd give anything to take it back. Emma would have called her that night. She would have called and it would have been another two months they gained. Instead those months were added to the many prior to it they wasted and would never, ever get back. It was with a laboured whine, Regina turned the page once more.
7th May 2014
You really meant it didn't you. I've listened to your last message more times than I know how to count. Stupid I know but I keep feeling like maybe this time it's different. Or I've missed something. But I haven't, it never changes. You said you loved me. Past tense. I guess I shouldn't be surprised I said it too didn't I? Only I didn't mean it Regina. I only said it to get you to stay. So you wouldn't follow me. Guess it worked. You said you didn't care if I was dead. You were just angry. You didn't mean that. Right?
I just want to call you. God I wish you were here. I wish you didn't hate me. I wish I knew how to make this all better. I never gave up. I can't lie it's not been easy. Especially these last few weeks. I'm pretty much housebound – can't have a person with their brain hanging out walking the streets. Okay that's over the top, the site is healing "quite nicely" according to the nurse at the clinic. But still I'm not to be trusted outside on my own. I don't think I trust me on my own outside yet.
My neighbour has been getting me stuff. She seems nice enough. A little too friendly but she's helping me out so I can't really complain.
I never betrayed you Regina. I know you think I did, but I didn't. Or maybe I did. We promised to tell each other everything and I didn't do that. I thought I was keeping you save. Keeping Henry save. If it was something small then why worry everyone? But then it wasn't. It something huge and I couldn't force you to do that. Look after me. You already were. The morning I was throwing up in the main bathroom and you came in and you were amazing. You did and said all the right things. How could I make you do that for the rest of my life?
Well I haven't been sick since the morning of my operation so I guess that wouldn't have been a problem anymore, but the rest of it. It's still not very pretty. I'm still not out of the woods. If I do…die I wouldn't have wanted these last few weeks to be what you remember me by. Instead now I'll be the bitch that broke your heart and I'm so sorry.
I'm still fighting Regina. We were both wrong … or you were right originally I guess. I have you and Henry. That's what I have waiting for me in Storybrooke. Okay maybe not waiting. Not anymore. As soon as I can drive again I'm coming home. You can slam the door in my face for all I care but I'm coming back to you. I can't think of anything else because Regina it's so damn hard to keep fighting. I've fought all my life. In the system, in my jobs, in Storybrooke… against and with you. I'm a fighter but it's getting too hard. I feel so fucking tired all the time. All the damn time. Like that deep down in your bones kind of tired. It hurts in my head, body and heart. The kind that makes it so hard to even get out of bed.
So I'm fighting for you. The chance just to explain myself in person. What you do after that… whatever it is I won't blame you. Keep hating me if you want. It's more than I deserve. You're right Henry and you do deserve better. I've always known it, you know. In the start I kept waiting for you to realise it too. You'd realise I really am just an orphan that no one wanted. I got by and did it on my own. I wasn't someone exceptional. I wasn't anyone's Saviour. I was just me – and for whatever reason you saw something special there.
Would you Regina? Would you slam the door in my face? I wouldn't blame you. You said you didn't want me to come back. That I couldn't. Did you mean that? I hope you didn't. I don't deserve much from you, but I know you deserve an explanation.
I love you. I always have and always will.
12th May 2014
So I went to the wrong apartment today. I decided I wanted to go and get the essentials from the store. Just an in and out job. To prove I could do it. It went fine until I got back…home. The key wouldn't fit in the lock. I tried a few times, even rang Matthew (my landlord) but he was out or busy, whatever. It took me about ten minutes to realise why it didn't work. It wasn't my apartment. Not anymore. I was effectively trying to break into my old apartment before Storybrooke. Thankfully no one was home so no one saw.
When Matthew rang me back to see why I'd rung him I lied and said I was checking how to use the thermostat but I'd figured it out. I couldn't tell him. I've been kidding myself. Physically I'm getting better, my hair is growing back over my incision which is healing well. But my memory… I thought it was getting better but it's not. Maybe it did for a while.
Regina I'm so fed up forgetting things. People. People I love. My operation was meant to make me better not worse. I'm fed up of being so scared all the damn time. I fed up of being careful all the time. Taking my meds at the right time and trying not come across as a crazy person – which when you have a half shaved head with a huge slit in your scalp is rather hard.
I'm fed up of the sympathetic looks I get from people as I walk back forth from the clinic. The adults look at me like I might just die in front of them while the kids look at me like an a god with an awesome scar (Can't lie the latter is more comforting).
Mary Margaret keeps calling me. I wish I didn't have to lie to her. Is it lying if I just don't tell her? I guess its lying through omission. Regina I'm just scared. All the damn fucking time. Every twinge, every sneeze. Everything has me scared. Mary Margaret has told me a few things about Henry. Please don't hate me. I know you can't stand me right now, but I couldn't cope with you hating me. Sometimes I don't know who she's talking about. I don't mean to. I know he's important when she talks about him. I feel like this … warmth in my chest and hearing his name makes me smile.
Just go ahead and hate me. Right now I hate myself so you might as well. Who forgets their child? And don't, don't even think of telling me it's the cancer. He means everything to me. He does. GOD! Why is this happening to me Regina? Why can't we just be happy again?
I miss the stars. The city lights make it hard to see them. Occasionally I see them from my bedroom window. My room sees over this small park thing, but it means when the stars come out I can see them. Not like the clear nights in Storybrooke. They remind me of our late night walks on the beach. Every time I make a wish on the first star I see. To get better. To come home. If I wish enough it will come true right? It has to.
Give my love to Henry. Always yours x
Regina smiled sadly down at her lover's words. Emma had always believed she wouldn't be a good enough mother for their son. Her illness had only confirmed her fears. The brunette let out a large desperate sigh as took a sip of her cider, enjoying the familiar tingle the liquid forced upon her tongue. Standing she walked the distance towards the decanter she'd left out and poured yet another large measure. Regina was meant to be Emma's happiness…and Emma hers.
True Love. They'd found each other … they'd lost each other. Why had Emma been so willing to believe her angry words? Regina knew it was not the blonde's fault, it was hers. She hadn't made Emma see just how much she was loved. She had known how to destruct Emma's resolve. Knew how to press all the buttons to hurt Emma the most, just as she was at the time; and yet Emma still loved her. That was something that was always unwavering. Regina realised it always had been so. Emma believed it was her who was lucky to find Regina, but she was wrong. So very wrong. Regina was the lucky one; or maybe the universe really was that cruel. It let her taste it. Taste true happiness, only to tear it away from her. What had she really done to deserve such an amazing creature as Emma Swan?
17th May 2014
I'm scared. I'm scared of myself, of my life. I don't know what I'm doing most of the time. The thoughts and feelings I'm having. They just don't feel like mine anymore. I don't remember this apartment but the lease is in my name. I've checked with the landlord. Emma Swan. In big letters.
I don't know what's happening to me. I woke up this morning with the biggest migraine I've ever had – and that says something. I don't know if I've told you but I had kid a few years back, but when I was pregnant I had these mind splitting headaches. The one this morning was worse than that.
There was a sticky note on the front of this book letting me not to look at any of the entries. Just to turn to the next clean page and write. Why am I writing letters Regina? It feels kinder old school and weird. Why am I writing them in a book?
I don't really remember much of recent days – hard to believe it's 17th of May … hard to believe it's 2014. Think I might check that again. My cell is in the kitchen and I keep missing the ground when I go to stand up. Dizziness isn't fun when it's not accompanying alcohol.
I feel like I can tell you these things. That's right isn't it? I just kinder feel royally fucked up. I think I might be missing days too. Probably should get it checked out.
As I said I think I can tell you stuff. I feel like I can. Like I can tell you anything and you won't laugh or shout at me. Is that right? I had a bad night last night. Nothing new I know. Or maybe you don't. Argh I hate feeling so confused. But I remember sitting in the bath and just thinking so what? I'm not anybody to anyone. They wouldn't miss me. Pathetic isn't it. I'm sitting in an apartment I'm not entirely sure I can afford considering suicide.
Clearly I didn't do it. I don't think I could. Just I haven't felt like that since I got out of prison. What's….weirder is the thing that stopped me. Do you know I like the smell of vanilla? I don't know if you do, but I do. I have vanilla perfume and I don't know why but when I got out of the bath…I also use apple stuff. Shampoo, shower gel that kinder thing. But when I got out for some reason when I got out I sprayed the perfume and the vanilla and apple…the smell made me feel safe, and I knew I was going to be okay.
I know it probably doesn't make sense, but I felt at home. I managed to fall asleep shortly after and I had dreams filled with … warm brown eyes and beautiful smiles. I felt safe. Loved I guess.
You probably think I'm crazy and a little bit of an idiot so I'm going to go, but thank you for whenever you read this. Thank you for reading it and hopefully not laughing at me. I have one more question…confession I don't know. But was it you? Woman with warmth soulful eyes and a beautiful smile. Was that you too?
The gasp that fell from Regina's lips fall before she could register it was her who made the noise. She couldn't breathe. She hadn't even walked the distance back to her seat on the couch before reading the next entry and as her legs gave way she wished she had. Pain shot through her knee as the cry rang out, echoing in the quiet room. The Emma on the pages in front of her...Emma had said she'd never forgotten Regina. She hadn't. Not really, but she didn't remember who she was. Her blurred vision tried to focus on the paragraph about Henry but her tears were making the words quiver. Emma had forgotten it was she, Regina who's adopted Henry. It was almost as if that moment, everything had been them...their struggle their story was gone.
Except she hadn't. Emma had known she was important. Knew she could trust her. Regina would guard her secrets with her life. She'd considered letting Henry...Snow and Charming read this. But now...no it wasn't for their eyes. It was for Regina. Each letter was addressed to her. But she had remembered her.
Hot tears fell as Regina pulled herself up upon the seat she had just left; thankful her drink had not spilled. Emma had considered suicide. The former Mayor had wondered, but this was written prove. It was in Emma's writing and it made her stomach clench and heart break. Had Regina's voicemail played a part in it? Emma had said the night she returned she'd thought "what was the point?" all because of one drunken phone call. Regina wished she could take it back.
She couldn't help the saddened smile that graced her lips or the broken hiccup that escaped them as she realised maybe she had saved Emma that night. Emma had not remembered her. Not really. But her heart had. When Emma admitted the day at the stables she'd bought the same bath products as Regina because it they made her think of her. Helped her feel like Regina was there with her while she was at her worst ... Did Emma remember this? Regina's smell, her invisable presence had made Emma feel safe. Made her feel like she was going to be okay and to keep fighting.
She had dreamed of her. Even when Emma remembered very little of the world around her, her heart had remembered Regina.
21st May 2014
Sticky note on the front says not to read over passed letters but if I'm honest I am considering breaking my own rule. A rule I set up because despite not remembering everything I've written (because of poor memory not just the thing in my brain), I know if I reread some of the entries I might alter them or rip them out. I don't mean to upset you with anything I write, so anything I do write upsets you…I'm sorry. I'm just trying to be honest and share all this crap with you. The reason I want to break my own rule is because I think I've lost some days. I can't remember them. Literally fallen out of my head.
It's been a while since that's happened and normally it's just hours at a time. Not days. That said who knows I could have been fine yesterday and my fucked up brain is playing tricks on me again. This entry isn't going to be long. Not remembering much kinder makes it easier and harder to do these things I guess.
Mom called again tonight. I could hear Henry in the background. Something about math. I don't know. That kid is defiantly all you. You did good with him. Not that you need telling that, but he's a good kid. I could hear him shouting "Bye Ma" as she rung up. I cried. I wish I was there. I came here to save you and him of all this. The throwing up, the mood swings and personality changes, forgetfulness. He needs his Ma and you need your partner not a bed ridden invalid. Sometimes I just want to give up and disobey you. Ring you up and tell you everything. Would you listen? You probably wouldn't answer the phone – I don't blame you.
I start my new treatment in two days. Fun! I am beyond dreading it. Like crippling fear kinder of dread. But if it makes all this go away then I'll do it. Also tomorrow I am altering my will. The Chemotherapy and Radiation can like nuke your eggs. So tomorrow I am getting some harvested and getting them frozen, and leaving them to you. If the treatment works we can decide what we'll do with them then.
I am aware you aren't talking to me, and pretty much hate my guts. I know. But it gives us an option. I know you considered having more than just Henry – you could. I could be like I am with Henry. I know its kinder asking you to tie yourself down with another child with me, but I would do it. If the treatment doesn't work, it's not something you have to worry about I guess. Even if it doesn't work and you get them, you don't have to use them.
Wish me luck. Yours x
26th May 2014
Sorry I keep missing days. I wish I could tell you it's because I'm shit at doing diaries – which is true. I really am terrible. But I just forgot. Or I think I'll do it later and then never do. Can we just pretend it's because of my crappy memory nothing else? Can we just pretend?
Being back at the hospital sucked. Iv bruise is back – they had to inject this contrast dye stuff so they can see where they've gotta nuke with the LINAC (name of the machine – I can't remember what it stands for). A few weeks back I had to have this mask thing made for my face while I get radiotherapy. It goes across your face like this plastic mesh and they literally fasten you to the table so you can't move your head. Thankfully one treatment doesn't last too long – literally a few minutes. Which is kinder scary isn't it. How much radiation are they putting in my head? Pretty sure you aren't meant to sleep with your phone under your pillow because the radiation will fuck up your brain cells and yet they're doing this to me?!
I'm having 2 weeks of treatment as they're trying to shrink the remaining tumour and help stop its side effects. At least it's not like 7 weeks like some of the people I was in hospital with.
I just got back from my first treatment – the one on Friday was to do the CT, dye thing. First real radiotherapy appointment was today and I've yet to throw up. Apparently I will – and probably soon. Looking out my window it's a gorgeous day outside. There's a small I'm going to say park but it's more of grassy area, outside my apartment block and I can see kids playing. On their bikes and two boy are throwing a ball together. What was Henry like growing up? I know by the time I came to Storybrooke he was more books and video games than an outside kinder kid. Was he always?
Oh one of the little girls just fell of her bike and did that silence for a moment before screaming blue murder cry. The one that makes every mother heart drop. Her mom is taking care of her. I wish I'd seen Henry grow up. I don't regret giving him up – not at all but I missed too much. I'm missing too much. I still am aren't I? When I'm better I am refusing to miss anymore. You can hold me to that!
There's something about children laughing which is quite soothing. I remember being in the system and the other kids laughing always made me smile. The laughter and shouting from the "park" makes me happy sometimes. I just sit and watch them play and run around. I'd hoped one day we'd watch our kids run around. Henry would be an awesome big brother.
I'm going to go because I'm not feeling all too well and I don't think you'd appreciate me throwing up on my diary or it even remotely smelling of vomit – nice.
Regina grimace as she read over Emma's ordeal. Her chest ached knowing what Emma had gone through was pointless. The treatment hadn't worked. But she couldn't help but smile at Emma once again planning their future. Her dreams of a family… of more children were just that dreams. They weren't born from obligation or concern she might die and so had to harvest her eggs to ensure Regina could carry a child of her own. Emma had wanted children with her. Had wanted a future….a forever with her. One they'd lost and would never get back now. But she was glad for Emma's sense of humour and tact. She could read in between the lines and could sense Emma was still worried and afraid of what was to come. Just as Regina had said the night Emma had returned and would continue saying to anyone who'd listen, Emma Swan was brave. She was bravely fighting a losing battle, just to get a little more time. Her Emma was brave, right up until the very end.
30th May 2014
It is…4.37am exactly. I can't sleep. At least I'm not throwing up anymore which I did for several hours earlier off and on. I really hope this treatment is working because I don't think I could stand another cycle of this. One more treatment this week and then I've got two days off. Feels totally awesome to even think that.
I'm never hungry these days though. I had to throw out a loaf of bread earlier untouched and days out of date. It had mould on. Gross! Don't even get me started on the milk. If I wasn't throwing up already …
I am constantly cold too. Like deep down in my bones cold. The kind that's bad it feels like I might never be warm again. Baths help. I just got out of one. Used your apple bubble bath so now I smell of apples. I feel which warm now but I'm wide awake.
Mom rang earlier. Just after I finished throwing up thankfully, I don't know what I'd have done if I thought I was going to be sick again with her on the phone. She talked about you and Henry again. Henry still likes hearing my stories. I don't know if Mom believes them, she seems to. It's not like I'm lying. Every story I tell happened to me. Mom said Henry's face just lights up when he hears she's talked to me and begs for the latest news on my "adventures" – her words not mine!
Regina…Mom said Henry told her you shouted at him. He said he was telling you a story about me and you shouted him and told him to stop. I'm sorry I didn't realise he was doing that. No matter how good it feels hearing him be proud of me, I wouldn't put you through any more pain because of me. I've decided I'm not going to tell anymore. Or just the boring ones if I can't get Mom and him to stop asking.
I'm sorry. I wish I could tell you that in person because I am. I am sorry for everything. I'm sorry I can't be what you deserve. I hope when this is all over you'll give me a chance but I know it's unlikely.
I love you Regina Mills.
Regina took another gulp of her drink before slamming the glad back down. Thankfully it didn't break. She could feel the angry boiling through her veins and flushing her skin. Snow had told Emma about her outburst at Henry. How could she? She was shocked and hurt Henry had told his grandmother. It was one time. All she had done was shout his name and ask him to stop talking about his birthmother. She can still remember the painful twinge in her stomach at the mention of the blonde name. Maybe it's because it's the same pain she feels now every time someone mentioned the absent woman. Only now it's less of a twinge and more of an agonising ache from deep within.
Except it's a pain she welcomes. A pain that reminds her that Emma was indeed here, Regina hadn't made any of it. Emma had come back. Even when Emma thought Regina hated her she still looked out for her. Rereading the final words Regina couldn't help the low sob that vibrated through her chest as she replied with a small, "I love you too".
10th June 2014
Sorry for the last update. Radiotherapy didn't work. It doesn't seem to have had any…ANY effect whatsoever. Could my magic have stopped it? I didn't even think about it. I've had treatments for things in the past and it never stopped it. Maybe I'm overthinking things.
They're going to try Chemotherapy - tablet form apparently. Got to go tomorrow and get it. The ones they said they're gonna try me on is called Temozolomide (I asked them to write it down for me). Kinder like the radiation cycles I'm going to have to take it for so many days and then have rest days. Apparently the main risks of infection and bleeding - because that's what I need more fricking nose bleeds! I need to get better believe I do know that and I am willing to do whatever it takes, but Regina I am so fed up!
My headaches are back. Worse than they were in Storybrooke. I'm going out less and less. These last two weeks I've basically gone and had my treatments and popped into the store on the way passed. In and out. Still throwing up too. Doctors said it's common and would normally pass naturally but with them putting me on these new meds it might now … guess what other side effects of it are? Vomiting. Also headaches, lack of coordination, memory problems, loss in appetite…insomnia. I mean I just don't understand. Surely the treatments should be making me better not worse! I guess if it shrinks my tumour I should just be thankful right?
My memory has gotten worse AGAIN. Sorry I keep forgetting to write. I don't mean to. Maybe I should set an alarm to remind myself to do it? Think it will work? It did for my treatments at the hospital. Sticky notes have become my friend too.
Good Night xx
15th June 2014
Its official I feel the worst I have ever felt. If I'm not throwing up, I'm bleeding from my nose and my throat hurts. I have these huge bruises I got from nothing, on my legs. I look like a kid who's had a kick around in the park but didn't realise I'd gotten hurt. They don't hurt, just look pretty gross.
I'm pretty much in bed most of the time now. I don't sleep because well the fucking meds have screwed up my sleeping patterns. My head feels like it's going to explode and I'm always so cold. I have layers. That's right layers of covers on my bed and I am still sat shivering.
Michelle from next door keeps popping into see me every few days. She's back on shopping duty for me. Not that it really matters I'm not eating anything because I have no appetite whatsoever and when I feel remotely hungry everything tastes of metal. I think it's the meds – I can't go back and complain again. Can I?
I feel so incredibly gross right now. Remember when Henry got sick just before last Christmas and spent like three-four days throwing up. His eyes looked all bloodshot and sunken … he looked gross. That's me at the moment. I won't take a picture because believe me when I say it's not pretty.
The photo of you, me and Henry is still beside my bed. I miss you. I miss both of you. I know it's my fault. I left, but I wish I didn't miss you like this. I keep scrolling through my phone and seeing your name. Something stops me every time from pressing the call button. Would you pick up if I rang? I guess not, but I like to pretend you might. I've read through our texts like a hundred times. I've become that person! I wish everything would go back to the way it was. I miss us and I miss Henry. I just miss being happy.
I best be getting back to sleep or at least trying to. It's just passed 3 am. Maybe I should have put tomorrow's date on the top. Counted it as my tomorrow entry. I dunno. I'll write again tomorrow if I remember – I can hear the birds singing outside. It's annoying. Don't tell Mom I said that please. Pretty sure it's like a sin for Snow White's daughter to hate birds singing.
Goodnight Regina. Xx
18th June 2014
I'm back in hospital. Remember when I said the new meds would heighten my risk of getting an infection. Michelle's little baby has a cold or something and she brought him with her one of the times she came over because he couldn't go to day care. Guess who's got gotten sick.
Doctors are just keeping an eye on me and flooding me with antibiotics. Really wish I wasn't used to having an IV sticking out of the back of my hand. At least it's my left so I can still write. They weighed me Regina … I didn't even know how much I'd lost. They were keeping an eye on things during my treatments but its normal to lose weight but since I was here for my biopsy …I've lost a lot!
I'm really wiped out so this isn't going to be a long letter … sorry I'm just so tired. If I feel better later I'll see what I can do. Rose is my nurse again! Did I tell you about her? She's pretty awesome; the kinder nurse you know is doing it because she cares not because she's getting paid.
Wish me nice dreams. Love you xxx
23rd June 2014
I'm not doing very good. My body can't fight the infection – not completely. I feel so tired all the time. Sorry my writing is really bad, got another IV in my right hand. Kinder feels weird to write. The doctors are trying everything they can, but I can tell Rose is just being upbeat. You know that annoying optimism Mom has? That's Rose when she comes and checks on me.
I don't know how I feel right now you know. It's all kinder a blur. I spend most of my time sleeping. Talk to Mom this morning for like 5 minutes and it just wiped me out. She said you two have been getting on better, or at least not fighting as much. I told her to lay off you. I know I've been saying it for almost 2 years but I hope she's finally listening.
Regina I'm scared. I don't know what's going to happen to me. When I found out I had cancer I was terrified, but now. I had surgeries and possible treatments that might work. Now… I'm surviving and the doctors say they aren't giving up. Guess that means I'm in for one hell of a fight.
I left to protect you and I thought it was best for both you and Henry that I didn't drag you down with me. But right now if you rang I'd tell you everything. If I could guarantee you'd pick up the phone, I'd call you right now. If I could do this all over I'd have told you the day Ruby found me collapsed at work. How selfish does that make me? Knowing what I do now, I would choose to have you by my side. I miss you so much. Why is life so unfair? What did I ever do to deserve this? We were happy.
I love you Regina and I hope I'll get to see you again.
Your fighter, always x
Regina had to squint at times to read all the words. She didn't want to miss a single thing. She felt her heart sink, it was resting somewhere in her gut. Unmoving. It was coming. Emma had explained to her everything that she'd been through and she knew what was coming. She could feel there were only a few creased pages beneath her fingertips.
Emma had been afraid. That was apparent without Emma needing to say it. Regina could remember how Emma had cried as she told her of Whale's discovery and her eventual fate. The blonde had been holding on for so long that she's burnt herself out. She would have told her. She'd have let her come to Boston with her. Why hadn't she rung her? She could have asked Snow to get her to ring. She wouldn't have had to explain anything she hadn't wanted to. Regina hadn't called because she hadn't known she was needed. She didn't know Emma had needed her. She knew it; and yet she felt so guilty.
29th June 2014
I love you. I love you so much sometimes it hurts. It hurts to even try and remember what it was like before. I'm sorry I made you doubt me. I'm sorry I took the opening you gave me and I ran with it. I love you. I'll keep saying it until it sinks in. Don't ever doubt me or yourself. Never, you hear me?
I came home. I spent the whole drive home talking to Mom and we came up with how I was going to tell you. I practiced it and everything. But then you opened the door…Somehow I'd forgotten how beautiful you are. You just took my breath away. Then the yelling started. How do you do it? Take any rational thought out of my head and just hide it out of sight.
You looked so angry at me. I deserve it. I know I do. Everything you said tonight was right. I know that. I will never apologise for trying to do the right thing and protecting you. I might have been wrong, but I will never say sorry for loving you and trying to do right by you and our son. I've been looking out for Henry since before he was born; I just wasn't what was best for him. But I am sorry for hurting you. Sorry for hurting you then. Sorry for hurting you tonight. I wish I had better news to tell you.
Did you mean what you said when you said I was like Neal? Of all the things you've ever said to me that hurt the most. Because I never abandoned him Regina. You know why I gave him up. I could never be what he needed me to be. I made the hardest decision a mother will ever have to make the day I decided I was giving him up. It wasn't one I made lightly or without thought. You know that right? I guess I'm leaving him again aren't I?
Regina I do have one question. A question I may never get the answer to, and part of me doesn't want it either. You said you regretted me. Regretted loving me. Did you mean that? Because I have never regretted loving you. You were just angry right?
It's just after 2am and I am sat in the bath. I got cold as per usual. Stole your bubble bath I hope you don't mind. I didn't want to wake you – you looked so peaceful. I've missed you. I'm not just saying that because of the awesome sex. I've missed just being close to you. Seeing you, hearing you talk. Saying my name as if it's some precious. You stopped doing that before I went away. I know that's my fault but I've missed it. Holding you. Something inside broke. Something I wasn't even aware I'd been holding onto.
Regina what are we going to do? How are we doing to tell Henry? How do you tell your child you're going to die? Leave him behind yet again.
Please Regina know that I love you. I have loved you for almost 2 years now. Every day. I don't blame you for any of this. Please know it's not your fault. None of this.
Here is to fighting. Yours xx
30th June 2014
You look so peaceful. Do you know that you do this little whistling thing when you breathe in? I wouldn't say its snoring. I don't know but its adorable. I woke up freezing cold, so I put on a top and sweats and now I'm awake. I considered having another bath but you've got me pinned in place. Not that I will ever complain about you holding me. I've missed it. Us just being … us.
We lost us long before I left didn't we. I never meant to get so lost. I guess maybe Whale was right. He said that GBMs were one of the most unpredictable forms of cancer because they go unseen for so long. By the time you notice something is wrong its already destroyed everything you are. Whether you were there or not you kept me grounded. You kept me sane … somewhat.
Thank you for sharing the stables with me today. I know that can't have been easy. You were right it wasn't as bad as I had built up in my head. Part of that was because I knew you'd keep me safe. My protector. You made it easy and just so … normal. Nothing about my life has been normal these last few months. I have continuously had to worry about everything. But today…I knew I was safe. I could let go.
Thank you for listening to my ramblings about Tim and Lizzie. Apart from the police when I gave my statement I haven't told anyone about them or that night. Not even Neal. I know I can trust you to keep my secrets. I know you wouldn't laugh or be disappointed in me.
Regina you're currently running your fingers across my stomach. You know that makes me sleepy. How is it even in your sleep you're simply perfect?
I meant what I said to Henry you know. I'm not giving up. You, Gold and I will look into every magic venue available to us. We might not be able to find a cure, but maybe something which can slow things down? I don't know. I don't know how magic works – don't laugh. But we have to keep fighting because I want it all Regina. I want the engagement and the wedding. You'll make one beautiful bride. I want to see you pregnant…I know you'll be stunning. I need to see you holding our baby and see Henry be the best big brother ever. I want our life together. So I'm fighting for it.
Forever and always, yours,
Emma Swan-Mills xxx
As she turned the page she had known she would find no more words to comfort her. The script simply ended, and yet as she turned the pages she wished she might find just one more page to offer her refuge. Only her eyes found none. No more words, no more photographs; simply untouched pages beneath her fingertips.
Lifting her tumbler to her lips she found all drops of her beverage gone. On any other day she would have scolded herself for even thinking about drinking in the middle of the afternoon, but today was different. She cared every little for her usual ways of discipline. She cared every little for rules and order. She had lost every ounce of control she had believed she had ever gained. The emptiness she felt inside was little like she had ever experienced; which was saying something considering the dark curse she had enacted. It felt like nothing to the pain which that seemed to slither across her body like a second skin. She did not care for order right now.
Standing, Emma's diary clutched to her chested she refilled her tumbler with the liquid she knew would only offer solace for so long. Not caring for the consequences the cider would bring as she took yet another sip and felt it tingle its way down her throat giving a slight twinge of satisfaction.
Out of the corner of her eye she saw the answering machine flashing at her. It was with a startling realisation she remembered she had not entered this room since the night Emma had returned home a week ago. With a hint of regret she remembered Emma's confession that she would find a message waiting for her on the answering machine if only she had checked. Their first evening back together would have gone so differently if only she had pressed that small button she felt flex under her fingers, sooner.
"You have one new message, message one" rang out from the device in a feminine attempt of a robotic voice. Regina felt her heart beat faster within her chest and legs weaken as she waited for the recorded buzz to fade to reveal Emma's lost voice.
"Hi Regina it's me" Emma's voice said quietly though it seemed to echo around the quiet room. Regina felt her legs buckle completely from under her. It was only by chance she caught the couch next to her and allowed herself to sit upon its cold leather. Her skin felt as if it was on fire as her tears fell fast cooling her burning skin.
"Hmmm are you there?" the voice from the machine continued and Regina heard Emma's attempt to keep a reign on her emotions. She wanted more than anything to call out to the other woman. She could hear the slight buzz of others in the background and Regina couldn't help but wonder where Emma had made this call from. Now she would never know. There was a long pause in which Regina silently begged Emma to continue, and when she did it was with a steadier voice. "I guess not. I'm coming back to Storybrooke. I've just got to get my stuff from the apartment and then I'll be driving back" Emma explained. Emma had rang her before she'd even retrieved her belongings from her new apartment.
Regina felt her sob rip from within her chest as heard Emma's shudder breath muffled slightly down the phone. "I need to talk you" Emma said softly and it shattered her already frail heart into a million pieces. "I need to see you" the voice confessed again Regina's hand couldn't even silence her sobs. "Regina if you're there please pick up the phone" Emma begged her voice so thick that Regina could almost taste the blonde's tears, except they were simply her own. She wished more than anything that she had done as Emma was asking her, and resisted the pointless urge to pick up the phone as if Emma would be on the other side still waiting for her to answer her.
"Okay I'll see you in a few hours" Emma said sounding as defeated as Regina felt. There was silence once more though the ever present background buzz still lingered as if Emma wanted to say more but couldn't. She knew the other woman's hesitation at telling her, her prognosis and couldn't help but wonder if Emma had considered telling her this way. Over a voice message. It was a deep sigh that broke the silence and Regina wondering how long it would be before her answering machine cut off. How long the message would be. "Regina…I love you. Bye" Emma breathed softly causing yet another cry to resound into the silence that was suffocating the listening woman.
It wasn't fair. How could she be gone? How could she leave her and Henry? How could Regina have this recording of Emma's voice; a tangible entity she could hear and yet Emma was nowhere to be seen. How could Regina be holding in her grasp a book of Emma's thoughts and feelings during the last months of her life and yet Emma was not here to share them with her? How was she meant to keep breathing without her? How was she meant to keep going knowing Emma was never coming back? Her message promised she was coming back. Except she wasn't. She had gone where Regina could not follow. She was gone for good.
Author's Note: This story is over BUT there is a sequel in the works. I'm not sure when I will start writing it, but I have every chapter planned out. The Sequel will be named "Famous Last Words". It too will be a Swan Queen story so do not give up! Thank you for reading this story and the awesome fan art it has inspired. Watch this space, and I hope to see you back here again very soon.