Sitting in the park Henry waited for Chloe. He’d been avoiding everyone; so he moved from his fort to the swings on the other end of the park, he didn’t want to deal with any of this until after he talked with her again. He needed her advice on how to deal with the inevitable talk with his mother and grandparents. Not to mention the unavoidable round two with his mom. Things were so much simpler when he could simply see them as good and evil.
“So how’d it go?” Just like last time she just appeared out of nowhere. Someday he was gonna figure her out, but that could wait until she helped him figure out everything else.
Thinking about how everything went with his mom all he could do was sigh, it had all been going so well before it all crashed and burned.
“So you got your answers from your mom then?”
“Yeah, but then my mother and her parents showed up before I could really get into the whole forgiveness conversation and then I got defensive and ran away.” He hung his head in shame at that last part. Heroes don’t run.
“Hey, there’s no shame in running, sometimes it’s the only thing to be done. When life is overwhelming and everything is coming at you at once everyone runs sometimes. Everyone. All that matters is what you do once you stop running and stand still again, do you stay gone or go back.”
He supposed she was right, it seemed like she was always right, and running had seemed like the only way to stop the fighting. They were fighting over him if he wasn’t there then they wouldn’t have anything to fight about anymore. Besides he got his answers and all he wanted in that moment was to get back here to see Chloe and talk about everything he’d learned. She was fast becoming his best friend. Even if he was still a little suspicious about her most of the time.
“So tell me about these answers you found.” She looked genuinely interested, which made it easier to tell her everything.
“Turns out my mom did have her reasons for what she did. She lost the love of her life because of a mistake and that turned her bitter and eventually caused everything that happened after.” He still didn’t know how to feel about that or even how to properly explain it and he was sure he was still missing a few things.
“So this excuses her?” Did it excuse her? Could it?
“No! Well, maybe, I don’t know. Maybe excuses is the wrong word. Maybe it explains her though. Nothing will ever excuse what she did by enacting the curse she hurt so many people for so long, but at the same time she did have her reasons for doing it and I don’t think she really understood the consequences. That’s what everything is right, reason, choice, and consequence.” If his mom made a choice based on a good reason but didn’t understand what the consequences were going to be until it was far too late what did that mean about the choice she made.
“True and now that you know her reason and you lived the consequences, what do you think of her choice?”
“I think that it was the wrong choice.” Of course it was the wrong choice, it was the evil choice, how could she ask that.
“Of course it was the wrong choice, with every choice that needs to be made there will always be a wrong choice and every now and then that’s the choice that is made. I wasn’t asking you if you thought it was right or wrong, I was asking if you understood from her reason why she made that choice instead of another one. And while we’re at it what other choice do you think she had. If you were her what would you have done instead?”
He didn’t know. That was a scary feeling to have, not knowing. He’d never been in love but he did love people which he supposed was the same thing, so he thought about it. What if he’d told Chloe that he was going to run away before the curse was lifted and she was tricked by … Mr. Gold into telling that secret before they could leave. Then what if to keep Henry from leaving, and Emma from following him, Gold had hurt him maybe put him in the sleep curse. Or closer to his mom’s situation: what if to keep him here Gold had killed someone he cared about like Snow White. How would he react and how would finding out that Chloe had been tricked into ratting him out have changed his reaction or his feeling towards her? What would he have done?
He would have been angry, he knew that having something you tell to someone in confidence be spread around to other people never feels very good at all. He remembered when he used to go to Hopper for “talk sessions” and something he told him would come pouring out of his mom’s mouth at dinner he felt so betrayed and angry he couldn’t talk for the rest of the meal at least. So anger was natural, but his mom had gone a bit farther than most people would have.
“I think she was right to be angry but I think she held onto that anger longer than she should have and she took it too far in the end.”
“True, but anger has to go somewhere you don’t just let it go and have it float away on the breeze you need to have a way to truly release it whether that’s talking to someone else about it or finding a way to see the situation differently so your anger can fade on its own. Could Regina do either of those things? And while we’re in an either or mood what were her other options for dealing with it beyond even those two options. What else could she have done other than the curse?”
He still didn’t have any answers and he supposed he never would. For all his imagination something like that was something he didn’t think anyone would understand unless they were so deeply in love and then they lost it. Even though he wanted to understand his mom more he hoped he would never understand her completely.
Looking up at Chloe and seeing her reassuring smile made him smile in return. Somehow just looking at her made it clear to him that everything was going to be alright. Somehow he would get through this like he did everything else.
Emma was pacing the apartment she shared with her parents, and really they really needed to talk about their living situation, and tried to remain calm. Henry was nowhere to be found and she was terrified that something had happened to him. Hearing the door open she ran into the living room but it was just her parents coming back from more obviously fruitless searching. Where could he be?
“Emma, you need to calm down, we’ll find him.”
“What if we don’t? What if…” She couldn’t make herself finish the thought of what if something terrible had happened to him. They lived in a town filled with people of fiction and legend no one, not even Regina, knew everyone that was here. Hearing the door again she turned to see who it was.
“Henry! Where have you been?” Running up to him she scooped him into her arms and hugged him tightly against her body assuring herself that he was here and alright.
“I was at my fort.”
“Honey, your fort was destroyed remember?”
“No, not that one my new fort, it’s extra top secret in a need to know location so I know this one will always be there.”
It always broke her heart whenever he talked about his fort like that, just one more thing that Regina took from him.
“I want to talk to you about Regina.”
Finally he’s come to his senses, he’ll just apologize for going against her rules and going to see her and everything will go back to normal.
“I think I should spend alternating weeks at her house.”
“Henry honey, Regina is dangerous I don’t think it would be a good idea -” There goes Snow sticking up for her again. It was kind of nice having a mom around.
“She isn’t dangerous to me. She loves me and she’d never do anything to hurt me ever! Didn’t you see when you three broke into her house how she got in front of me to protect me even though she had no idea who it was coming at us?”
“No, she’s all alone and I won’t just leave her behind! Since it’s already Friday I’ll spend the weekend here and go to her house on Monday then I’ll be back here the following Monday to spend the week here with you guys. This will work! Then everyone will have someone and no one will be alone.”
Without another word he stormed off to his room leaving them to stand around staring at each other. What the hell just happened here?
“Well, I guess we know what he wants now.”
“No, Snow. The boy is right, he is all Regina has, and I honestly don’t think she’ll hurt him. If he wants to spend time with her I don’t think we should stand in his way. Maybe it’ll be good for her, for both of them.”
“But Regina is evil.” Didn’t he realize that?
“It doesn’t matter if she’s angry and venomous with us from what I’ve seen of her with Henry she is nothing but kind and loving. We should at least give it a try. If it doesn’t work out we’ll figure something else out but until then I don’t see the harm in letting Henry get his way this once.”
He might not see the harm but she did and there was no way in hell she was going to let her son be put in the middle of this little tug-a-war with Regina. She had another house call to make.
Regina sat at home with her mother trying to understand what she’d been told. Henry wasn’t under some kind of spell. He had simply forgiven her. Feeling a smile form on her lips she knew that if that was true then she would never do anything ever again to lose his love. She would be there for him forever.