He misses her long hair, he thinks, as she puts her head on his shoulder.
It’s an odd thought, coming out of a moment when finally - finally - he has been able to step up and be the knight-prince Snow deserves. But he never had to assure her of any of this, when her hair was long. He never had to think for one - one awful, and treacherous - moment, that maybe she was right. Maybe Regina was good, once, like Snow: maybe his wife could be lost, losing, vanishing, now to that same darkness.
Her short hair is not what he expects, when he wakes up in the morning. He has reached out so many - too many - times, in the dark of night, to run fingers through it, idly thread and braid in the darkness, and found only strands in places shorter than his own. It is a constant reminder of what they’ve all lost.
And it suits her, it emphasizes her fine-boned face, her wide eyes, her bright smile. She is still every bit as beautiful as before, with her now-lost tumbling curls, but every time it still catches him by surprise.
He almost lost her. Not to George, nor a spell, not to an outside foe. He almost lost her to her own bravery, her own heart, when she followed Emma into the lost world. He almost lost her to something worse, when Cora came back with them, and she sent their world careening into Hell, and Snow with it.
The woman he fell in love with is still here, in his arms, still finally and at last accepting his strength, his comfort, the embrace she’s been needing and rejecting these past days. But she’s different now, short-haired and sad, not the girl he met but a woman he is only now learning. She has, in the years they lost in cursed sleep, become a mother with a child lost to time, even when their daughter stands before them; a woman who has lost her home, her family, her hope, and her innocence.
So yes, he holds her, and he misses her long hair. He misses her smiles that meant no more than ‘let’s have an adventure’ or ‘I love you, and the bedroom’s that way’. He misses her holding his arm, and telling him to do the right thing, always. He misses her belief, more than anything, her faith.
The short hair is a constant reminder of the dragons David will never be able to slay, the looming demons that will stalk his poor, beloved wife to her grave.
But she came back. She let him hold her. She didn’t kill anyone he wouldn’t have slain himself. His princess is gone but in her place stands a burgeoning Queen, and that David can cope with.
It’s not as if his hair isn’t shorter now, too: it’s not as if he’s not growing into a King, hardened and stronger, from the prince he was.
They’re a matched set. He only hopes it’ll be enough for the new demons they’ll face.
I think this is the actual core of the problem with Regina’s redemption arc: she never does it for its own sake. All though the first half of Season 2, she was doing it for Henry, or for the town’s acceptance, or even - perhaps - to restore the influence she once held through fear. She never does it because she can’t live with what she did, or because she feels guilt over the pain she caused, or even because she genuinely wants to be a better person. Everything is motivated by attaining a goal - Henry, the town, and perhaps her own power.
Which is why she was so easily turned by Cora: she has no motivation beyond immediate material gratification to do this. She doesn’t feel badly about killing Leopold or Graham or countless others, or about the Curse, or about anything else. She hasn’t forgiven Snow and that was the feud that started this. She doesn’t have to like the town, and for self-professed good guys they admittedly didn’t give her much of a chance (which is a whole other essay) but she shouldn’t, essentially, have needed them to. She has no genuine remorse, that we have seen, for anything that she’s done. And that made her a fantastic villain in season 1, but it makes her redemption arc incredibly unstable.
In the end, she was trying to be good to get Henry back. And she realised that to do so she’d have to co-exist with Emma and Snow and Charming, and accepted that, for which I was very proud of her. But the moment those three stood between her and Henry and Cora provided a solution, she reverted to her old patterns. She wants Henry back and we’ve seen that Regina is an any-means-necessary kind of woman.
She’s also impatient: she wants him back and she wants him back now. She wanted Snow, Emma and Charming to help her and she wanted them to help her right away. She asks ‘what did it get me?’. If she’d wanted redemption, truly wanted to be good, then just being good should have been its own reward, and given her some peace of mind. She’s looking for a greater reward, and she won’t find it. She has a long road before she’s even able to understand that Snow and Charming are good because they want to be good, not because someone is giving out trophies at the end, or because they want people to like them.
She still has no empathy for the pain she caused them, no understanding that they hurt in the ways that she hurts, and because of that no remorse upon which to build a solid desire for redemption, that would be its own reward. They had a right to assume that she might have killed Archie: she’s killed before and she’s only been good a few weeks/months, time that Emma and Snow didn’t even see. If she understood the gravity of the pain she caused, she wouldn’t expect them to forgive her instantly: she’d understand that it will take time and patience and work. That’s the only mindset that will allow her redemption to stick. Until she understands that she hurt these people as much as others have hurt her, then she isn’t going to be able to feel sorry for what she did, or have any genuine desire to change for change’s sake. She’ll keep doing it all for Henry, and when it looks like it’s not working, she’ll change tack and try something else. That’s not a redemption arc, that’s a quest.
This scene shows perfectly why Snow will never forgive Regina, and why Regina will never ask her to. Even with her own redemption for crimes she committed entirely by herself, Regina sees herself as the victim rather than the perpetrator. And Snow, too, sees herself as the victim rather than accepting any responsibility for letting Regina fall back to Cora, although she is at least a little more justified, in my opinion, than Regina in this view. Regina never apologised truly, without hope or agenda. So Snow cannot forgive her truly, without hope or agenda. Remorse and forgiveness, like redemption, must exist in a vacuum: they have to happen for their own sakes to be true. A few good deeds don’t make up for years of murder, rape, and abuse, especially when she killed the woman in front of her’s father in cold blood, and proceeded to try to kill her too for a mistake she made in good faith as a child. A few good deeds don’t make up for that, especially when not accompanied by any genuine remorse or empathy. Snow will have a long way to go before she can understand where Regina is coming from - and this new dark side arc will help, I think - but Regina also has a very, very long way to go before she’ll see that forgiveness isn’t something she should expect just because she wants it, but something that needs to come organically from a long period of genuine hard work at being a better person for her own sake.
Title: Visiting Hours Rating: PG-13 Summary: Everyone’s been locked away at some point, and everyone’s had a visitor. Or what happens when the people of the Enchanted Forest can no longer run from their personal ghosts.
A/N: So this is a thank you to my 800 followers, because holy hell I have no idea how that happened but I LOVE YOU ALL.
They are to move to the King’s palace in the morning. Regina’s mother sleeps, beside her sleeping father; her new step-daughter sleeps; her future husband sleeps. Everyone sleeps, and Regina wonders how.
She can barely close her eyes for memories and they bring tears and a tearing, bleeding gash where her heart should be. Every moment she tries to sleep, she hears that terrible, choking, gasping noise her mother tore from Daniel’s throat, as she ripped the heart from his poor shaking chest and crushed it to ashes. She hears not her own screaming, nor her mother’s stern admonishments. She hears only choke, gasp, thud, silence.
On the Facebook page. It’s called Mr Gold’s Untold Stories, and it’s got loads of sweet little insights into things like Emma/Graham that the show didn’t really go into loads of detail about. It also has a chipped cup to find.
“Belle?” Rumpelstilskin was amazed he could make sound at all, but the name rang through the dank cell and the girl’s head jerked up, her eyes meeting his.
“You know her?” Snow asked, stepping forward to get a better look. Her hand tried to slip from his, but he held on tight. His world was spinning, reeling, rocking hard enough to make him seasick and faint. But he knew he couldn’t let go of Snow: not if he wanted to do whatever it was he’d planned to do.
“Of course I know her.” He said, his voice suddenly cold, quiet, bitter and shaking.
AU: Charming was kidnapped by the Queen before Snow left the dwarves; she and Rumpelstiltskin have to save him.
A/N: 500-follower thank you fic part the second. And just so we’re clear, this is a Snow and Rumpelstitlskin bromance fic: Snowing and Rumbelle are the actual ships. Blame Fyre and Charmed Life. And Lolaveri for the prompt.
Chapter 2 —- “Do you think you could reach that with a leg up?” he asked.
Snow gave Rumpelstiltskin a look he caught even in the darkness. “I thought you could translocate.” She said, looking back up at the archway maybe ten feet above their heads, and the flickering firelight it housed, “Just get yourself up there then haul me up.”
He’d rather not: it was a little easy, and begged the question why he couldn’t snap them straight to where they need to go. “Not a good idea, princess,” he said, “Trust me.”
She folded her arms, and he thought her eyes must be coping well in the gloom that she looked right at him, “Trust you? Really?” she scoffed.
AU: Charming was kidnapped by the Queen before Snow left the dwarves; she and Rumpelstiltskin have to save him.
A/N: Okay, so this is my 500-follower thank you fic, and therefore dedicated to everyone who contributed to that. It is especially for Lolaveri (who was asking for this months back and I’m sorry it took so long!), and anyone else who wanted dark!Snow and Rumpelstiltskin. Rumbelle and Snowing, just fyi, are the actual ships here.
Rumpelstiltskin was good at forward planning. Three hundred years with only one agenda, one goal, had granted him that skill.
It had been a stroke of luck, when Cora arrived at his doorstep, pregnant and miserable and starving, and offered - offered! - her child as payment for sanctuary, for riches and good fortune. He had pretended not to notice, to be unable to simply take the child, when she ran months later without so much as a goodbye. She had her powers, her gold and her precious stones, her biddable husband and her life.
But the child (Regina, she called her, in the hopes that one day she would be a Queen), the child was Rumpelstiltskin’s property.
Regina was oblivious, and entirely wrapped in his web: she was his curse-caster.
Um… never? I don’t know anyone who has ever been ostracized for liking the Charmings… if you hate all of them then it must be pretty difficult to watch the show, to be honest, considering how they’re three of the leads.
I think the backlash, especially against Snowing but also the Charmings in general, is a response to some of the Belle, Bae, Rumpel, and to some extent Regina hate that has been going around, especially in the wake of Emilie de Ravin’s promotion. But as far as I’m aware, that’s a reaction to the actions of fans, not the characters themselves.