one of the greatest things about swan queen is that, when you have two characters positioned as rivals or enemies, there is often a shift to friendship! but it usually happens in a brief arc where they’re forced to work together or find commonalities and after that, they’re friends and allies.
swan queen had years of that, of push-pull and missions together and the slow commonalities and reluctant partnerships. there was no quick fix there, no easy “okay, now we’re buddies” moment. instead, we had that initial partnership in 1.22 that dissolved by 2.10, a new grudging alliance before and in neverland that brought them to the moderately less grudging alliance against zelena. and the shift was so gradual that they don’t even realize that they’re friends until the big conflict at the end of 3b.
and then they build on that throughout s4 until we’re at this place where regina can suggest a mission and gets i don’t need a babysitter, emma knowing it’s solely about regina supporting her. where regina can use emma’s desire to protect her to protect emma. where they’re at this almost romantic level of friendship where they both clearly care about each other so deeply.
like this is so natural, so beautifully built up into a relationship that isn’t just about writers ticking off a bunch boxes on the enemies-to-friends paths. this has been desperate alliances and wary coexistence and reluctant team-ups for years!! and now it’s paid off into something greater than I ever would have dreamed of. :’)