"Hey," Emma offers in greeting when her former room-mate turned mom opens the door. Snow's face lights up and the sheriff is ushered inside and into a chair before a cup of almost freshly brewed coffee is dumped in her hands.
"Emma, honey, what can I do for you?" the pixie-haired woman asks exuberantly and the blonde has to fight the urge to draw away from the overly cheerful woman that is apparently her mom. She's not sure she'll ever fully come to terms with that, but whatever.
"Well, uh, here's the thing," she starts, suddenly feeling silly at the idea of what she's about to ask. "As you know, we're working on a way to get Henry his memories back, but while they elude him we have to make a few adjustments."
Snow gives her a look she doesn't know how to interpret. "And by 'we' I'm guessing we're talking about you and Regina?"
"Right," Emma replies, feeling suddenly as if she's being scolded, and worrying her fingers through a few of her blonde curls. "Well, anyway, I just wanted to do something nice for Regina since she's obviously having a hard time right now-"
Snow's eyebrows lift almost to her hairline and the sheriff feels her ears heat up under the intense gaze of her 'I'm-the-same-age-as-you' mother. Thank God her hair hides them so the woman doesn't see how hard this is for her.
"And since you've known her a long time I was just wondering if you could give me any pointers as to what she might like to do for fun." Emma pulls a face at her choice of words as she quickly amends it with "Well, what passes as fun for Regina."
"Oh," the pixie haired woman breathes somewhat surprised before she releases a barely heard sigh. "Well, I'm honestly not sure what she likes to do. It's always just been work and Henry." A thoughtful look passes over pale features. "Although she's always loved animals. Horses. She's an excellent rider."
"Horses, of course," Emma deadpans as her stomach knots itself. Of course the woman would like something like that. These people were from freaking fairy tale land and even if they weren't, it's kind of fitting for the mayor. Horses are strong and stubborn and full of pride. And fucking scary if she's being honest.
"Does Storybrooke even have a stable?"
"Oh yes, we have a wonderful stable," Snow confirms immediately with a bright smile that slowly falls away. "I mean, Mary Margaret didn't care much for it, but since the curse broke…Anyway, David and I would love to show you if you want?"
Emma barely manages to hide her grimace at the thought. "No, that's okay. Horses and me, we don't really mix that well."
Snow tries her best to hide her disappointment, but the blonde feels it anyway and can't help but feel a little bad.
"Anyway, I should probably get back to Henry," she states as she empties her cup and stands to put it in the sink. "I'll talk to you later," she promises before dodging out of the tiny apartment that they used to share.
"Where are we going?" Regina asks suspiciously as soon as she opens the door to find a grinning Emma Swan on the other side. The blonde looks her over, purses her lips, but doesn't say anything and she places her hands against her hips in one of her better imposing stands as she impatiently offers a "Well?"
Emma just shakes her head and tells her to come along, turning and walking down the pathway, forcing Regina to follow briskly unless she wants to be left behind.
"Absolutely not!" Regina exclaims, arms folding petulantly in front of her, when the sheriff pulls open the passenger door to her old bug and motions for the woman to take a seat. "I put on sensible clothes like you demanded, but I am not getting inside that death-trap."
Emma snorts - because sensible clothes to Regina is clearly not the same as to her even though she did at least forego the high heels - before she shrugs and responds with "Well, I doubt you'd ever let me drive your precious Benz and since I'm the only one who knows where we're going you don't really have much of a choice."
The Mayor glares at her, eyes narrowing when the only effect it has is to make the blonde grin even wider.
"Look, I even cleaned the car for you."
"That is not the point, I-" Regina starts to argue automatically before she realizes what the woman just said and looks at her in genuine surprise. "You did?"
Emma looks insanely proud of herself as she motions for the brunette to take a look and confirm for herself. "Let it not be said that Emma Swan is a cheap date," she pronounces officially and despite herself, Regina can feel her lips curl upwards just slightly.
"The jury is still out on that," she offers with a sniff before she gingerly slides inside the car, admitting defeat. For now.
"I don't really like surprises," Regina hints once they've driven away from Mifflin Street and silence falls between them. Emma glances over at the prim woman in the passenger seat, before looking back at the road.
"Not all surprises are bad," she offers, understanding the feeling completely, but refusing to budge. This surprise will be a good one.
"I don't like not being prepared either," Regina adds and Emma barely refrains from sighing out loud.
"Look, Regina, you can pester me all you like, but I'm not gonna tell you okay? You'll see soon enough."
The brunette harrumphs before falling silent, grudgingly looking out the window and deciding not to engage in any further conversation if the blonde is gonna be difficult.
Inside, Emma is smirking at the utter childishness of the other woman. It's annoying, but also oddly endearing and almost a little cute. Better than a tantrum for sure, she reminds herself as she turns on the radio, volume low enough so they can talk if Regina changes her mind.
"Emma, you need to tell me where we're going," Regina says when she realizes they're driving towards the outskirts of the town. The blonde is surprised by the severity and slight panic in her voice.
"Relax, I'm not taking you across the town line and I'm not gonna take you into the woods and murder you," she tries to joke, but Regina has gone almost rigid in her seat as she stares ahead.
"This isn't a joke, Miss Swan, I'm serious," the brunette hisses and even if her posture and tone hadn't been a good enough indication of that, the use of her last name like when they hadn't shared a son certainly was.
Emma side-eyes the woman as she feels suddenly worried and nervous at the unusual behavior. "Someone told me you liked horses so I figured I'd take you to the stables. You can watch me make an ass of myself as I try to get on a horse and ride one."
She offers Regina a small smile, knowing that if nothing else, that is sure to bring the woman some kind of joy, but when she glances over again all she sees is that most of the color has drained from the woman's face. It makes Emma frown with worry as she quickly pulls over to the side and stops the car so she can make sure the brunette is okay.
"Regina, what's wrong?" she prods, voice filled with concern as she turns her body to face her, but Regina refuses to meet her eyes, keeping her gaze firmly planted forwards.
"We can't go to the stables."
"Why not, what's wrong?"
"You need to take me back." Emma automatically reaches out for her when her voice cracks, but the Mayor draws as far away as she can get and the blonde pulls her hand back, trying not to let the rejection sting.
"Tell me what's going on," she pleads, but Regina is starting to shiver now and she can feel her own panic growing because it looks like Regina might actually begin to cry and what the hell was going on?
"I need to go, I can't go to the stables, I have to go," Regina mumbles nonsensically and the sheriff is damn near bursting with questions and worry.
"Okay, alright, we're not going to the stables, I'll take you home," Emma promises, but apparently it falls on deaf ears because the woman's lips move silently and then purple smoke fills the car.
Emma coughs and blinks – a vague taste of apples on her tongue – before the smoke disappears and she realizes that so has Regina.