Regard between Emma and Regina has grown slowly over the years into something lovely indeed. When we are speaking about unlikely love stories, this one fits neatly into that category. It also fits in the category of made up by the fans. This is not a canon ‘ship but it is so important to the fans that it is the most written about ‘ship by a landslide, per our little table. In the tradition of fan fiction, it is often the case that romances that don’t actually exist on the screen are celebrated and loved by the fan community off the screen. I invite you to put on your rose tinted glasses and come with me. This will be fun, I promise. *Spoiler Alert! The discussion below assumes knowledge of the show to date.*
Neither Emma nor Regina have had many friends in their lives. True friends, the kind you call at 3am when the world is falling down. They begin their journey sniping over Henry but as time goes by, Emma reaches out to Regina, enticing her to leave the darkness behind. It takes a lot of doing for Emma to win Regina over, to convince her that she has her best interests at heart. This mostly takes the form of bonding over a common goal, saving their son.
When Emma recognizes Regina’s capacity to love Henry, she has a way in, though pushback from Regina is ferocious at times. With Henry as the seed, compassion grows between them, a slender thread to begin, but it is woven into a thick rope by the time we get to the present season.
Regina gives up the thing she loves most to save the town from Pan’s curse proving to Emma that she is capable of reform and that she truly loves Henry. One of my favorite moments between these two occurs when Emma brings Henry back to Storybrooke a year later and she sees Regina’s pain over Henry not knowing her. Emma tries to sooth Regina by convincing her to interact with Henry even though Regina thinks that would be too painful.
The photo above follows Emma saving (thinks she’s saving) Regina from the chernabog. This is Regina looking at Emma. That look is smoldering.
Regina and Emma spend much of Season 4 working as a team and gaining trust between them. A closeness between them is palpable most especially when Emma takes the darkness into herself to save Regina.
As with the other love stories, the proof of their power is in how much it hurts when something bad happens. Here in the midst of early Season 5, Regina struggles desperately to hold on to Emma and keep her from being lost to darkness in Camelot. In present day Storybrooke, we see a broken hearted Regina reverting to the epithet, “Miss Swan.” Emma reacts as if she has been slapped. Poor Regina has tears in her eyes over the loss of Emma. And so do we.
I am afraid you will have to turn to fan fiction for snuggles and kisses, but the fodder for such is liberally distributed over the Once landscape. I purposefully limited this discussion to what is in canon to illustrate what can happen when you put on the rose tinted glasses and change perspective just a little. I’ll leave you with this darling behind the scenes picture, though I am sorry to be unable to credit the photographer (selfie??).
Next to Snowing.
Back to Once in Love.
Before you go, you can check out my research project! I have conducted a study of OUAT viewer preferences and you can check on my progress here. Yay for science!