DISCLAIMER: Once Upon a Time and its characters are the property of ABC. No infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Companion piece to Deals Made in Times of Darkness. I do not own any of the Once Upon a Time characters. If I did, Regina and Emma would have realized how perfect they are for each other a long time ago.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To daughter2artemis[at]yahoo.com

One Door Closes, Another Opens
By In-Betweens


Too many people.

I look around and wish they would disappear. There is something that needs to be done, and I can't do it in front of all these on lookers. The paramedics are doing the best they can, but they don't understand what they're battling.

I do. I know the kinds of things that live in the darkness of the mine. I know what used to dwell within the long cavernous shafts. No one else understands.

They need to go away. Right now!

I need to get Henry out of here. I had wanted to take him into my car and race off to the hospital. At least alone in my car I could do what needed to be done to save him. But Graham, damn that man, grabbed a hold of me as I was about to pass the ambulance and the waiting paramedics.

They couldn't save Henry. Couldn't Graham see that?

"No, Graham, no, let me take him. I need to get him to the hospital…" I can't do anything, he won't let me move. His arms are around me as if he's afraid I'm going to fall to the ground, weak and helpless.

I am neither, and yet I am, all in one.

"Let them do their job Regina. They'll take him to the hospital as soon as possible…" Damn him, damn this man. Why can't he see? Why can't he understand?

No, of course he can't see because he has no idea what's going on with my son. He, like everyone else, just think Henry's breathed in some kind of harmful toxin. He has of course, but it's not the type of toxin that can be excreted with the use of an oxygen mask.

Dr. Hopper seems to be faring well, but then again, he like everyone else in this town save for Henry and Emma, have already been exposed to what lay beneath our very feet. That's why I need to leave. It's why I need the paramedics to give me back my son. They can't help him. No one in this crowd except I can save him.

Not even Ms. Emma Swan.

"No…Henry, please Graham, I just need to take him to the hospital. Let me take him to the hospital…" I'm crying now and fighting against Graham's arms because the paramedics don't know what they're doing and my son is about to die right in front of my eyes.

Morons! Idiots!

I can save him!

I want to scream at them, maybe even kill them for their stupidity but I don't. All they have to do is let me near Henry, let me take him to the hospital, have him in the car where I can just cast the spell, save him, make this all just a forgotten nightmare. They just have to let me do what I need to do. I am the Mayor of this godforsaken town and I make the rules, they follow them. So why aren't they listening to me now? Do they not realize that I will kill ever last one of them if Henry dies? Can they not feel my anger seeping into them? Of course they feel it, it's the tiny little shiver that moves across all their skin. That is not the touch of an angel here to save them, but the touch of my wrath should they persist in their stupidity.

"Please…" I beg looking between Graham and the paramedic. I don't beg, so they better realize that this is a once in a lifetime moment and do as I ask, as I plead. They take my pleadings wrong. No, no…what do they think they're doing! I don't want them to continue their routine check up on Henry. I just want them to give him to me. He'll be safe in my arms, just like he always has been.

I look away, I can't look at them. How could I have let this happen? How could I have been so stupid?

I know why…and I know how.

I had been scared. For the first time since Henry got sick at six months old, I was terrified. So terrified that I called for a search party and made half the town come here to help save Henry. I had no other choice. Emma Swan would have done it all by herself if I hadn't made the phone calls. Even if it would have just been easier to find a way down into the mines myself, I called everyone because she would have and if she did it before me it would have looked bad. With what public opinion is these days, half the town would have been beginning to remember their former lives. I couldn't risk that.

I just, I know that I could still navigate the tunnels. I know I could, but I couldn't even offer to do that! Deputy Swan had to go in and play hero. The little bitch, thinking that because I was behind a desk for the last ten years made me weak or incapable of saving my son! Gods, I hate that woman.

What gave her the right to come back into Henry's life after all these years and slowly weed herself into his life, into his heart. She was taking him from me and I have no idea how to stop her. She's the 'fun mom'. She doesn't have to make the tough choices, she doesn't have to tell Henry no, she doesn't have to worry about what kind of man he's going to grow up into. She's just here because she doesn't think I'm best for Henry…but she is? Ha! I could laugh…if I weren't so beside myself.

So there it is, the person that was truly responsible for this. I couldn't be held responsible. I won't let myself be responsible. So what if I know that I can save Henry? All I have to do is prove to half of the town that my son is not delusional, that he's right, I am the Evil Queen from his fairytale book.

A small price to pay…right?


I have the power to save him, I have the spell and it's at the tip of my tongue, but I don't cast it. I can't.


Because I'm afraid. I'm afraid that if I do save Henry I'll still loss him anyway. These people will not take kindly to finding out that their lives have been taken from them. By me. They will surely take Henry away from me, but not before Emma Swan takes him from me first. She's just been waiting for the right opportunity to do so, I'm sure of it! It's why she needs to leave, and leave quickly because I'm…I fear she might succeed in taking Henry from me.

Henry already favors his birth mother over me and I despise the woman for that. Where was she through all the scraped knees, the viruses, fevers, or when he had colic as an infant? Where was Emma Swan at all the school plays, or on the nights Henry couldn't sleep without me singing him to sleep (I can sing, just…not well) and staying with him because he was afraid of the monster that lived in his closet? I'd take a guess and say out partying and 'living up life' while I took care of her child, my son. My son who, at the age of eight still thought there was a monster in his closet. There wasn't one of course, I wouldn't allow a monster to live in my house, and I told Henry as much. He'd laughed and I'd smiled, he thought I was funny then. I had been the center of his world, just like he was mine, but that changed, and it is all Emma Swan's fault.

Emma Swan didn't care before, and I'll be damned if I let Emma Swan take my son from me. He's mine and I love him…even if it's so hard to fully love him and keep the curse functional.

Every curse comes with a price, but I've already paid for this curse with my soul. It couldn't take away my life, it couldn't take Henry from me. I wouldn't let it.

I take a step forward. Screw everything else about this world. Let them try to take Henry from me. They won't be able to. I'll stop them all. Even perfect little Emma Swan.

I yank myself free from Graham's arms; they're more suffocating than comforting. Just as I touch Henry's hand the paramedic yells to his partner. "Get the bag…"

"The bag…?" I ask and watch in shock as the paramedic starts chest compressions, the other rushing over with an air bag of sorts that he puts over Henry's mouth, and squeezes on ever three seconds, the two working in harmony to save my son.

It's then I realize I may be too late. I…I may have just cost Henry his life.

"Henry…" I whisper…tears slipping from my eyes as I hold tightly onto his hand. Damn these tears! I can't see properly through them. They're making everything blurry!

"What's going on!" I hear yelled out from across the open field and I see Emma fucking Swan looking between me and Henry, frantic.

What's going on…is my son has stopped breathing and his heart has stopped working on its own. (Well, not really on its own. There is a cause after all.) That's what's going on. I glare at Deputy Swan for a moment more before looking back to Henry. This time I need Graham's arms around me to keep me standing, so I'm grateful when they're there immediately, tight around my waist.

The paramedics are frenzied, more so than I am myself. This can't happen. I can't lose Henry. He's all I have. He's all that has kept me sane these last ten years. He means more to me than even I can admit. It's been ages since I've let anyone inside, let anyone slip passed the walls I've built about myself to keep me safe. I knew they were needed. My heart is too weak to suffer another blow.


If any of these people around me knew that my heart is more fragile than theirs they would laugh unbelievingly. I've given them all reason—in their former lives—to doubt I even have a heart. And maybe they're right. Maybe I don't have a heart. Maybe my own heart is locked away somewhere no one can get to it so no one can crush it in their grasp like the last time. Or maybe I trusted it to the wrong person (again).

Except Henry isn't the wrong person. He's the right person. He's my son, my star, and moon. He's everything, he's my everything.

I can't lose him.

So it's with a wail that I meet the eyes of the paramedics as they step away from Henry's unresponsive body. "NO…!" I scream and it echoes and gains a new tilt to it, it almost sounds like someone else is crying out in the same pain as me. It can't be, because no one knows the pain I feel as I fall to the ground, Henry's hand slipping from mine.

I push Graham away from me, I hear him stumble and probably fall on his ass, but he can't touch me right now. I wrap my own arms around my chest and feel like I'm going to be sick. My body heaves as if I am, but I cover my mouth and lean over. No one, after Graham, comes near me. They leave me be, all still in shock. They still think that miracles are possible, deep down they still have hope that this world isn't as awful and cruel as it always has been.

They're wrong.

I know they're wrong because I brought them here into this world and I took away miracles and happy endings and now I'm stuck seeing the true cost.

"He…Henry…" I whisper, my eyes closed as I shake my head, wishing for a second chance. Wishing with all my heart that I had bitten the bullet and taken the fall. Revealing myself to be the evil queen that I am doesn't seem as drastic or apocalyptic as I thought it had been minutes ago. Now all I want is to have saved Henry, to have risked it all to save the boy that has brought me so much joy and happiness, and annoyance (in the form of Emma Swan).

But I can't blame him for wanting to meet his biological mother. Even if I had been sick with worry when he had disappeared to go and find Emma Swan. He hadn't even told me he was leaving! He just disappeared, without a note or a word, I had thought the worst. I had thought someone had taken him from me. Someone had remembered and wanted to pay back the dark witch by taking what I loved most: Henry.

My powers couldn't extend as far as he'd traveled to find Miss Swan, and it was only then that I realized no Storybrooke citizen had taken him. None could leave, and Henry had been too far to be with someone from Storybrooke, which only worried me more. How was I going to save him if I couldn't send minions out to find him? Thankfully he returned to me. Alive, unharmed, breathing, and…happy. Except when he saw me, he wasn't happy when he saw me, even though I'd been a wreck. Still, I hadn't hurt, the pain in my chest had disappeared when he came rushing through the gate. I knew everything was going to be alright at the sight, and I'd been so grateful. So so very grateful to have my son back that I didn't realize what he'd brought with him…or rather whom he'd brought with him until it was too late. All I want is that feeling in my heart again. I want to be back in that moment, watching as Henry runs through the gate his backpack swaying on his back and safe in my arms. Even if he was grounded. I just want Henry to be alright, safe, and happy. That's all I've ever wanted since I held him in my arms.

I wish, silently, and with all of my heart that Henry would just…that he would just breathe!

I swear that if my wish is granted, that if I'm given this second chance that everyone deserves (even if this might be my third or fourth) I'll do right by Henry. I'll tell him. I'll tell him everything…even if that means I'll have to admit to things I try my best not to think about anymore.

"I…please, just give me another chance." I beg aloud, desperate.

"No…no Henry no…" I look up, my chin on my shoulder as I stare at Emma Swan, Henry's biological mother. I wonder briefly if she feels the loss as acutely as I do. If it feels like her whole world has just self-destructed right in front of her. Does Emma Swan feel like her heart has just been grabbed and pulled in a hundred different directions at the same time? I doubt it. She's only known Henry for a month, how could her pain even compare to mine? Henry hasn't been the center of her world for ten long, wonderful, years.

Deputy Swan's voice grows softer but I can still hear her words, as if they were spoken directly to me. As if the blonde actually knew that I could have saved Henry, that I might still be able to. This is all Emma's fault and all I want is to have a chance to strangle that woman to death.

What? Who is that behind…is that Mr. Gold? What is Mr. Gold doing here? When did he get here and why is he holding Emma?

I glare. If there is someone in this town that I dislike more than Emma Swan and Mary Margaret Blanchard combined, it is Mr. Gold. That man…even here is a pain in my ass. So…what is he doing with Emma?

"Bring him back…god please bring him back…" My eyes widen, no! The stupid wretch! She doesn't know what she's just done. There is a brilliant smirk upon Mr. Gold's face and if no one else can feel it, I can. I feel it wash over the entire area, the hair on my arms standing erect at the stinging touch of magic, so unlike my own.

"As you wish…" I feel my heart fall into my stomach as he looks first at Emma and then at myself. No…no I did not make a wish for him to hear. I did not ask him for anything. I will not owe him anything he…he…

"Why are you smiling?" Emma grabs Mr. Gold around the collar and pulls him close and there's movement behind me. Graham is finally being useful, but I can't take my eyes off of the smile on Mr. Gold's face. I know, without him having to say anything, that there is going to be a price to pay for my wish being granted. There always is with him. Suddenly I wish I am in Emma's place, except I'd move my hands up onto his neck and strangle him. Finally damning him for all that he's done.

"WHY ARE YOU SMILING! You sick son of a bitch…why are you…why are you grinning like that! No…no get off me…get off me…"

I look away from the scene as soon as Graham has a hold of Emma. There is nothing else to watch. Instead I focus on Henry, and stare, willing him to breathe as I reach out my hand. The moment my fingertips touch his wrist, I feel the pressure in my chest release, as I'm unable to stop my delight from leaving my mouth. "Henry? Oh my god…HENRY!" I stand up so I'm leaning over him and help him sit up. The paramedics look at me like they've just witnessed the rebirth of the messiah. If only they knew…Henry has always been destined to be a savior, even I know that, because he saved me.

"Ma…mom?" His voice is feeble, and terrified.

"Oh baby I got you…I have you…everything's going to be fine." I promise him as he wraps his arms around me, tears leaving his eyes as he holds onto me tightly. I wouldn't give this moment up for all the stars in the sky. Not a one. Henry is in my arms, he's warm, and safe, and he's hugging me back.

I watch splashes fall onto Henry's jacket and squeeze my eyes tightly closed, fighting off the tears. Even as the paramedics ask me to move away I keep a hold on Henry. Now that he's stable, they're ready to take him to the hospital. I get into the ambulance with them, holding onto Henry's hand with one, or both of my own the entire trip.

As the doctors explain that he's fine, and he can go home, I'm still holding his hand. He hasn't complained, or asked where Emma is. I'm grateful for both.

Dr. Whale gives me permission to take Henry home so long as I promise to bring him back tomorrow afternoon. I have to make sure to wake him up every hour, so his sleep isn't going to be the greatest, but I'll do what I have to do.

Feeling more generous than I probably should, when I see Emma Swan sitting in an uncomfortable plastic chair in the waiting room, I'm merciful. She must have come right behind the ambulance, which means she's been sitting there or walking around this hospital for four hours. I don't scratch her eyes out or use veiled threats on her. Odd, I know. I simply invite her to join Henry and I home so she can help tuck Henry in. Henry's grateful smile, and Emma's bowed head and small smile are my only rewards. But they're worth it.

Sitting on the edge of the bed I watch as Emma tucks Henry in, my hand never far from some part of Henry's body. His shoulder, arm, hands, cheek, forehead or hair have all been victim to my need for reassurance. His hair is my latest victim. I brush most of it back only for it to fall back forward. He smiles and even lets me kiss his forehead without complaint.

"Goodnight, dear…"

I extend my arm out and wait for Miss Swan to leave first. Henry's soft call of, "goodnight moms…" reaching both our ears as I close the door.

"I'll show you out." Turning around my smile is tight and I'm fighting the urge to ask why she's still in my house. Leading her down the stairs, it's uncomfortably quiet. We don't do this neutrality thing well. It's too uncomfortable, unnatural. We're opposites, polar opposites. We're not meant to get along.

Walking Miss Swan to the door I can't let the evening end like this. Facing the wooden surface of my front door, I feel the sudden urge to thank Miss Swan. "I'm only ever going to say this once, Miss Swan, so do pay attention." I swallow as she turns to look at me from the porch as confused as I am. Why break the silence? Why not end the night as it has been, no matter how awkward. "Thank you, for all that you did today. I…" I feel my tongue swell as I try and force it out. "…I owe you."

If it hadn't been for her foolishness, Henry would not be snuggling into his own bed, warm, content, safe, and alive! I just hope, that she understands what she's gotten herself into. I can handle Mr. Gold, I know I can, but her? She's going to need all the help she can get, and surprisingly, I'm starting to think it might not be such a bad thing to owe Emma Swan anything.

"Uh…" I roll my eyes, she's standing there with her hands dabbed into that awful red leather jacket with her mouth opening and closing like a dying fish.

"Good evening, Miss Swan." The door closes with a thick clack. What is it that people say? For every one door closed another opens?

Well, I look forward to seeing which door has opened this time around.

The End

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