dude if you think about it we’re already astronauts. earth is in space. we’re in space. dude
First and foremost: trust and safety.
In Emma’s mind, Regina has gone from being someone she reluctantly puts up with for Henry’s sake and occasionally works together with to accomplish some mutual goal, to the first person she trusts with his life and the first person she calls to ensure her own safety.
When Regina hinted that she would look after Henry while Emma searched her office, Emma’s reaction wasn’t even grudging. If anything, beyond that apologetic half-smile saying sorry he doesn’t know you, Emma was almost amused at Regina’s passive-aggressive offer, but still completely willing to let her have that time with him. That took trust and a degree of mutual respect on each side, both to ask for it, and to offer.
Then, while Hook and Emma were sleuthing at the farmhouse, as soon as Hook acknowledged that the situation may be a bit out of their hands, Emma knew to call Regina. She didn’t even argue. She trusts Regina to keep her safe beyond what she can do for herself, and for someone with as much pride in her own self-reliance as Emma, that’s an astonishing admission.
Then, there’s the scene with Henry.
Everything about that scene was so sad yet so precious. For anyone still demanding Regina pay penance for her curse, her current relationship with Henry is all that and some. But look at what she wasn’t able to do with the fake memories. She wasn’t able to make Henry love New York; some part of him still connects to Story Brooke. And even when living with Emma, he still felt that same incompleteness that drove him to find Emma the first time. No matter which one he has, he isn’t happy, and even not knowing why, he knows that there’s something missing. Neither one of them can be his family alone. This scene had Swan Queen written all over it even without mentioning Regina’s reaction to any word about Emma’s boyfriend.
That’s why we ship this.
Swan Queen is the only relationship on this show that hasn’t been forced to develop unnaturally through blatantly cliche plot devices or magical destiny bordering on arraigned marriage. Because it was “unintentional”, their relationship has a depth to it none of the others do. They have grown together like real people, and if there’s one type of fairy tale I think the audience would love to see, it’s an authentic one. It isn’t a “predestined, true love, kiss of fate” romance; it’s the falling in love we see everyday. It’s the messy family, the shared experiences, and the trust, the safety. Emma and Regina have that now, and I’m just going to cross my fingers that - even if all else goes to hell - we can keep those two small bits of happiness between them.