Warning: Mention of Hook/Hood (only mentioned very briefly, never appears)
This is an AU story that takes place somewhere in the future post-season 5. No spoilers mentioned from the show, etc...
It's only a short story, eight chapters. Meant only for a little fun and exploring a bit of a different side to two of our favorite characters :)
Emma Swan sat at her desk, her booted feet up on the edge while she tossed a well-worn tennis ball at the ceiling. She sighed loudly as she glanced over at the clock on the wall outside of her office, and she sighed again when she realized she still had four more hours before her shift was over.
To be blunt, Emma Swan was bored. Aside from the odd minor traffic collision problems that occurred mostly on weekends, and the calls from the crazy old cat lady who lived near the town line who was always convinced there was an intruder prowling around her property, there was nothing else going on that required a steady Sheriff and Savior presence.
Emma knew she should be thankful for the break, but in the years since she'd first arrived in town with Henry, she knew better than to hold her breath because something was bound to happen sooner or later.
"Just jinxed myself, didn't I?" She muttered quietly and she tossed the tennis ball once more before catching it and haphazardly placed it on her cluttered desk.
Emma turned to look at her father as he stood in the doorway to her office. "Yeah," she nodded. "Too quiet, almost. What are you doing here? I thought that you were going to stay home with Mom and the baby today?"
"I needed a break," he said as he rubbed the back of his neck with a sheepish smile. "Neal is teething and you know how cranky he gets when he's in pain. Poor kid."
"Yeah, poor kid," Emma replied. "Does Mom know that you left?"
Emma raised a skeptical eyebrow at her father. "Really?"
"No," David chuckled lightly. "I kind of just slipped out. If she calls, don't tell her I'm here. I'm going to get caught up on some paperwork and enjoy the peace and quiet in here for a little while before she notices I'm gone."
"If you're going to stay here, I'm going to go out on patrol," Emma said as she dropped her feet to the floor. "I need to stretch my legs a bit anyway."
"All right. Radio me if you need me."
"Unlikely," Emma chuckled as she grabbed her red leather jacket and slipped it on. "Oh and if Hook comes around, don't tell him where I am, okay?"
"Is everything all right?"
Emma winced, but nodded anyway. "It's nothing. He's just been really moody lately and I'm kind of trying to avoid him. I know it's probably not the best idea, but—"
"You need space and he needs his," David finished for her with a soft smile. "I'm sure this mood he's been in will pass in no time, Em, and then everything will go back to the way they were before in no time."
"No, it won't." Emma frowned. "We broke up."
"We broke up."
"You did?" David looked confused. "I don't understand. I thought you two were happy and in love? When were you going to tell us that you two aren't together anymore?"
"I haven't found the right moment to bring it up," she said with a shrug and she grabbed the keys to the cruiser. "I'm just going to go out on patrol, okay?"
"Do you want to talk about it?"
"No. Not right now, Dad. Maybe not ever."
David reached out for her and pulled her into a tight hug. She knew she should've seen it coming, but it still caught her a little bit off-guard. She returned the hug and then stepped out of the embrace with an awkward smile and a shrug.
Thankful that David decided to leave the topic alone, for now, Emma turned on her heels and quickly exited the station. She pulled on her leather gloves as she made her way around to the station's parking lot. Despite the many signs that spring was near, the air was still cool and the sky was overcast with dark, menacing clouds. She shivered as she opened up the cruiser's door and hopped inside, muttering under her breath as she fumbled with the keys and turned over the engine.
If Emma was being honest with herself, and it wasn't often that she allowed that to happen, breaking up with Killian had left her with a resounding amount of guilt on top of the unsettling unhappiness she'd had since his return from the Underworld. She felt guilty because he had been given another chance to live and that he had come back to her alive, willing to pick right back up where they had left off months before. She felt guilty because as happy as she was supposed to be with him, it didn't feel right to her anymore and she wasn't entirely sure that she truly loved him as much as she'd thought that she did.
Yet, most of all, she felt guilty because her so-called true love had come back to life while Regina Mills' soul mate lay dead six feet under in a coffin in Storybrooke's only cemetery. That guilt left a heavy burden on her, especially on her conscious. She had a second chance with Killian Jones when she never should've had it, and a part of her believed that Regina deserved that too—even if she never really did like Robin Hood all that much to begin with.
Emma hadn't told anyone about her breakup with Killian, mostly because she wasn't sure how to break the news, and most of all it was because she feared how Regina would react.
She tightly gripped onto the steering wheel as the cruiser slowly began to heat up and she frowned as she caught sighed of her reflection in the rearview mirror. Her sleepless nights were starting to catch up to her and makeup only did so much to hide the dark circles under her eyes.
With a shake of her head, she readjusted the rearview mirror before backing the cruiser out of the spot. She drove up and down Main Street, and every time she passed Granny's Diner, her stomach growled, a reminder that the turkey sandwich she'd made herself for lunch that day had gone uneaten and was still sitting in the fridge at the station.
On her third pass by the diner, she nearly stopped, but she didn't when she reminded herself she was on patrol and that her lunch break had come and gone a few hours ago. She made a hard turn off Main Street, opting to drive through some of the quieter and narrower streets of the town to take her mind off of the grilled cheese sandwich and onion rings she was so desperately craving.
Her thoughts strayed once more as she took another turn, a left, and found herself passing by Mifflin Street a few minutes later. More and more she'd been thinking of getting out of town, not for good, but for a little vacation from her life even if it was just for a weekend or even a week. She hadn't had a proper vacation since long before she came to Storybrooke. Those road trips to Boston and New York City definitely hadn't counted, nor did her trip to the Enchanted Forest, Camelot, and definitely not the Underworld either.
It wasn't long before she ended up driving down Mifflin Street that she had the craziest notion to ask Regina and Henry to go away somewhere with her for a week. By the time she parked in front of the Mills' house, she was growing excited at the idea of getting out of town with Regina and Henry, and already thinking of all the places she could take them.
But, Regina wasn't home as her car wasn't parked in its usual spot in the driveway and Henry wouldn't be home from school until just after four, if he even came home at all since as far as Emma knew, he was spending a lot of his time with his girlfriend—at least as much time as Regina and Violet's father allowed them.
Emma kept the cruiser running and she chuckled as she pulled off her gloves and slipped her phone out of her jacket pocket. She quickly pulled up the browser and began searching for different places she could take Regina and Henry all around the country. Regina had only been as far as New York City and had never seen the rest of their vast and beautiful country, and neither had Henry. The possibilities of where to go were almost endless, but choosing the right place was a challenge within itself.
A sharp tap on the passenger window pulled her from her endless search and she groaned when she saw it was only her son. She unlocked the door and hit the lock button on her phone as Henry got into the car and dropped his backpack onto the floor between his feet.
"What are you doing out here, Ma?"
"I was on patrol."
Henry smirked and shook his head. "Right. What are you doing?"
"Nothing! Can't I take a break and come see my son?"
The look that Henry gave her was one that reminded her all too well of the way Regina looked at her when she didn't believe a word she was saying. Sometimes Henry was too much like his other mother it made her wonder just how he would've turned out if she had never given him up and raised him as her own.
With a short laugh she reached out to ruffle his hair and he pulled back with a wince and quickly tried to tame his hair with a scoff of annoyance.
"What?" Emma asked. "Are you going to meet up with Violet or something?"
"No, Ma!" Henry groaned. "She's still at school. She joined this dance team or something, I don't know, she said it would be good for her to help her make friends or whatever."
"A dance team?"
"I don't know, it's a new thing," Henry shrugged and he started to blush as he turned to look out the window, clearly uncomfortable with having that conversation with his mother.
"Okay, moving on," Emma said and she poked him in the shoulder a few times until he looked at her. "Been up to anything new lately, kid?"
"Not really," he replied. "Just school. Hanging out with Violet. Boring stuff, really."
"Boring? You call having a normal teenaged life boring?"
"Whatever," he shrugged again. "What about you?"
"What about me?"
"I haven't seen you in like a week, Ma, and I know that you're not busy with work so you don't have to feed me that line of bull shit."
"Don't let your Mom catch you using language like that," she said with a laugh. "She'll probably blame me."
"No she won't," Henry snorted. "You have no idea how much she actually swears when she thinks I'm not listening."
"So," Emma exhaled sharply and she reached out to ruffle his hair again just to annoy him. "What do you think about getting out of here for a little while?"
"And go to Granny's?"
"No, like out of Storybrooke," Emma asked, tentatively.
"And go where, Ma? New York City?"
"No," Emma said quickly. "Somewhere else. Somewhere you've never been before."
"I don't know," Emma replied. "Pick a place, anywhere. The first place that comes to mind, just name it."
"I don't know, Hawaii?"
Emma grimaced. "Maybe someplace less expensive, kid."
"I don't know, Ma. Where would you want to go?"
"Anywhere but here."
Henry shrugged and rubbed his palms over his jean-clad knees. "I don't know. Like I said, where do you want to go?"
"I've been to a lot of places, kid."
"That's not what I asked."
"What about your mom?" Emma asked him. "Where do you think she'd want to go?"
"You know how she is about leaving Storybrooke, Ma. I doubt she's thought much at all about traveling."
"That's not what I asked," Emma said, repeating his words right back at him. "You know her better than I do. Where do you think she'd like to go?"
"Well," Henry said slowly. "She never said anything, but I think she'd like to go someplace that reminds her of home, her old home, you know? I looked it up one time when I was like eight, before the whole, well you know."
"The closest place I found was this ranch in Vermont. They have these little cabins and everything."
"Tell me more," Emma said and she handed her phone to Henry. "In fact, find this place for me and I'll handle the rest."
It was Saturday morning, two days after discussing it with Henry, that Emma found herself pacing on the front porch of 108 Mifflin Street and working up the nerve to ring the bell.
Emma had found the ranch that Henry had mentioned and she had booked them a week there, their reservation open for the next two weeks and starting on whatever day they arrived to check in. As incredibly convenient as it was, it only made Emma all that much more nervous about asking Regina to come away with her and Henry, to leave Storybrooke for a week, a little over when she put in the time it'd take to drive down to the ranch in Vermont, and that left her in the agitated and nervous state that she was in currently.
After she shook her nervousness out with a few full body shakes and a couple of small jumps, she turned to the front door and pressed the little black doorbell button and took a step back.
Regina was home and Henry had told her what time to come around in order to catch Regina before she went about her day and shut out the rest of the world as she cleaned her already immaculately spotless house from top to bottom.
"Emma," Regina said as she opened the door a moment later. "What are you doing here? Did Henry forget something?"
"No, nothing like that," Emma said in a rush. "Can I come in?"
"Sure," Regina replied, albeit a little skeptically as she stepped aside to allow Emma in. "The coffee just finished brewing if you'd like to help yourself to a cup? I'll just head upstairs and get dressed."
Emma noticed as she walked into the foyer that Regina was still very much in her pajama's under the dark gray robe she had on. Emma also appeared to be very agitated, which Emma couldn't blame her since she did show up at her door unexpectedly after all.
"What are you doing here?" Regina asked again as they walked up the front steps into the foyer and Regina paused by the staircase. "Emma? You didn't come over here for coffee."
"No, but it's a nice bonus," she chuckled lightly. "Can you wait to get dressed? I just came over to ask you something and then I'll be out of your hair."
"And it is something that you couldn't have called or texted me about?"
"Henry said it'd be better to ask you in person."
"Oh he did, did he?" Regina asked with a roll of her eyes. She walked past Emma and led the way into the kitchen.
"Light cream and two sugars, dear?"
Emma watched Regina pour coffee into two glass mugs and she nodded quickly before Regina asked her yet again how she liked her coffee.
"Thanks," Emma said with a grateful smile when Regina handed her the mug. "So."
"So?" Regina echoed. "This something that you've come to ask me, does it happen to be about Henry?"
"Kind of yeah," Emma nodded. "What do you think about going away for a week?"
"Going away for a week?"
"Like on vacation."
Regina chuckled lowly. "And where would I be going on this so-called vacation, Emma?"
"A ranch in Vermont."
"That's oddly specific," Regina said with an amused smirk. "Who would I be going with? You and Henry?"
"So?" Emma pressed when Regina didn't say anything more. "What do you think?"
"About going on vacation to a ranch in Vermont with you and Henry?" Regina asked. "For a week, you said?"
"A little more than a week since it'll take half a day or so just to drive there."
"When are you planning to take this vacation?"
"Henry is still in school for another month."
"I know, but—"
"He's already missed too much, dear. I don't want him to fall behind any more than he already has."
"So, it's a no?"
"It is a no for Henry," Regina said. "I certainly wouldn't mind going away for a week."
"Who else would I go with?" Regina asked. "Besides, this was your idea, Emma. Unless you feel that spending a week alone with me is entirely unbearable?"
"No, no it's not unbearable. Actually, I think it'd be great for us to spend some time together, just the two of us."
"I agree," Regina nodded and she smiled before she took a sip of her hot coffee. "When would you like to go?"
"Up to you," Emma replied with a slight shrug. "I can take time off whenever, I just have to let my dad know so he can cover my shifts at the station. I know you're going to need some time to get everything in order before you leave for a week and everything and the reservations I made are pretty open ended."
"If he's not coming, he'll just stay with my parents."
"In the loft?"
"Maybe they can just stay at my house?"
"With the pirate?"
Emma groaned. "Hook and I aren't together anymore, Regina, so no, he won't be there."
Regina laughed and it was definitely not the reaction that Emma had expected from her at all. Emma just stood there and watched Regina as she shook her head and the laughter died on her lips.
"So, you finally figured out that you are too good for him, didn't you?" Regina asked and Emma frowned.
"I wasn't happy."
"That's all you're going to say?"
"Do you want me to yell at you, Emma?" Regina asked, her voice tense and tight. "Do you want me to call you an idiot after everything that you went through to save him only to discover that you are truly unhappy with him?"
"Honestly, it was only a matter of time before you figured out for yourself that you can never be truly happy with a man like him. He is a selfish and arrogant bastard who has only ever done anything that benefits himself in the end."
Emma frowned and stared into her coffee before taking a small sip. Regina was right and Emma found herself wishing she'd realized that for herself a long time ago. She'd held on to hope that what she had with Hook was real, that it was good, that she could be happy, but now she realized she had been grasping at something that wasn't there and holding on to empty hope because all she ever wanted was for someone to love her and want her no matter what.
"Are you all right, Emma?" Regina asked softly. "I'm sorry if I was a little too honest with you about Hook."
"It's fine," Emma replied. "I kind of wish you said something a long time ago about him."
"Believe me, I tried. You were in love and nothing else mattered to you, not even the truth of what kind of a man he truly was."
"When did you try?"
"It doesn't matter now, Emma," Regina sighed. "When did you two end things?"
"A couple of weeks ago."
"How many of the others know?"
"Just you and David," Emma replied. "Look, I had my reasons why I haven't told anyone yet. I wasn't sure how anyone would react, especially after everything that has happened."
Emma found it hard to get a read on Regina since her expression had turned rather neutral over the course of the last handful of minutes. Emma sipped her coffee and leaned against the island countertop with a frown.
"You've been doing too much of that."
"Not smiling," Regina said quietly. "You need to stop that. I can now see why you want a vacation and quite frankly, I cannot blame you. Is this vacation going to help you get back to normal, dear?"
"I—I hope so," Emma stammered. "Besides, what is normal, Regina? I've never been normal a day in my life."
Regina chuckled lightly, her expression softening. "Nor have I, at least not by this society's standards."
Emma couldn't help but laugh. As different as they were, they were very similar at the same time. It was one of the reasons why they'd become friends over the years, especially in the last year when they'd become closer than ever before.
"So, when are we going to go on this vacation, Emma?"
"How about we leave on Monday?" Emma asked. "Unless you need more time?"
"No, Monday should suffice," Regina said with a small nod. "It'll give me today and tomorrow to prepare for departure and to ensure that all will be well in my absence at the town hall."
"Great," Emma grinned and she downed the last of her coffee, exhaling sharply since it was still a little too hot to drink too fast. "I'll get out of your hair. Do you want to tell Henry that he's not coming or should I?"
"I'll leave that up to you seeing as he's staying with you this weekend, dear. If he gives you any strife, he can speak with me about it."
"Alright, cool," Emma said and she walked over to the sink and rinsed out the mug. "Are you busy tonight?"
"Yes, of course," Regina said before Emma could finish. "Bring over a bottle of pinot noir and nothing that tastes like poison this time, hmm?"
"Right. So, I'll see you tonight," Emma said and she backed up towards the kitchen door. "Seven all right?"
"That's fine. Just make sure Henry—"
"He knows that his curfew is eleven on Saturday night. He's supposed to go to the movies with Violet and a few others tonight. I can get David to pick him up."
"Perfect. I'll see you tonight, Emma."
Emma left the house with a smile and she sat in her cruiser for a few minutes just thinking about the conversation she and Regina just had. It hadn't gone nearly as badly as she thought it would and Regina had been more than okay with the idea of going away on vacation, even after she declared that Henry wasn't coming with them because he couldn't afford a week off of school.
She drove off a few minutes later once the cruiser had heated up enough to stave off the chill, and instead of continuing on her patrol, she stopped by the store to find a bottle of pinot noir, choosing one of the more expensive bottles as she kept in mind what happened the last time she brought a cheap bottle over to Regina's and how horrible it had been to drink that night.
She picked up a six-pack of Budweiser too, just in case the wine turned out to be just as horrible as the last time. Regina's cider packed too much of a punch for her on a good day and it'd been quite some time since she last had some that she couldn't remember the last time she actually had a glass of Regina's potent cider.
After making a quick stop at home, she headed back to the station, not surprised to find her father passed out on the couch beside the cells. She headed into her office and shut the door before pulling out a stack of paperwork she knew she'd need to get done before she left on Monday. She'd barely even sat down at her desk before a text came through on her phone.
Any idea on what I will need to pack for this vacation?
Emma chuckled and quickly typed out a reply to Regina, informing her that she needed to only pack casual. Emma knew that Regina barely owned anything casual, yet she had seen her in a pair of jeans just once, and purely by accident, as Regina had used magic to change into her usual attire.
Regina Mills paced the floor in her bedroom, waiting patiently for Emma to text her back. She already had her suitcase laid out on her bed, but she was completely at a loss as to what to actually pack for their vacation.
When she read Emma's text a few minutes later, she rolled her eyes. Casual. Of course. She should've expected that, especially since they were going to a ranch. In the time since Emma had left, she had to look up what a ranch actually was on the computer and when it had been confirmed just what kind of a place it was, she could already feel a bubble of excitement beginning to build from deep inside.
Emma's visit that morning had been a surprise, not just because it had been unexpected, but because of the proposition of taking a vacation as well as learning that she was no longer in a relationship with the pirate. Regina hadn't been surprised to learn that Emma hadn't been happy with the pirate that led to their separation since she knew that Emma hadn't been happy for a very long time. She had just assumed that Emma would stay with him because she believed what they had was real and true, that they were meant to be, despite the way she had begun to feel over time about him.
In fact, it had taken a lot of willpower for Regina not to show her true elation that the pirate was no longer in the picture, and a whole lot more not to let her true feelings for the blonde-haired Savior come out.
The revelation that she not only cared for and loved Emma Swan, but was in love with her, had happened shortly after Robin Hood's funeral. She'd been sitting at home alone, sipping on a cup of tea in the study and scrolling through the many pictures she had on her phone, most of which were of Emma and Henry together. The fact that the realization of her true feelings hadn't rattled her at all had her wondering if she'd been feeling this way for far longer than she even knew.
She'd spent many hours after that revelation just thinking about how far they'd come since the first night Emma Swan showed up on her doorstep with their son. She even tried to pinpoint an exact moment where she had fallen in love with her, but there wasn't just one, there were many, and they had happened over the years in random intervals.
The latest revelation of being in love with Emma Swan had happened in New York City when they'd been at Robin Hood's apartment looking for clues as to where to find Henry. In her moment of vulnerability, she had come to the realization again that she was in love with Emma Swan when she let all her walls down and openly cried in front of her.
And she nearly let it slip that she not only cared for her, but that she was in love with her, and thankfully she had stopped herself in the moment because she was more than certain that it wouldn't have been received well at all.
Not once had Emma ever showed any interest that the feeling was reciprocated in any way, though Regina had convinced herself the reason for that was because the annoying pirate had been in the picture for far too long.
With an annoyed sigh, Regina went through the dresser drawers and then her closet in search of somewhat casual clothes to pack for their trip, but aside from the one pair of jeans she owned and the two yoga pants she used when she worked out to the videos in the privacy of her study, she had nothing even remotely casual. Casual was not something she did nor had she ever thought of appearing in public dressed in anything that wasn't meant to impress.
She packed the jeans and frowned at the empty state of her suitcase. She'd need to figure something out because there was no way she'd be able to spend a week on a ranch wearing slacks and blouses and her leather jacket that was far too expensive to be riding around on a horse in or even just hiking the trails that were likely around the ranch itself.
Regina scoffed as she grabbed her phone and instead of sending a text to Emma, she called her and paced the floor in front of her bed as the line began to ring.
"Sheriff Swan," Emma said when she answered and Regina rolled her eyes knowing Emma hadn't even bothered to look at the caller ID.
"Hello Emma," Regina said and she shook her head, embarrassed at the way her voice had cracked nervously.
"Regina? Is everything okay?"
"Yes, everything is fine," she replied. "Actually, everything is not fine."
"Do you need me to come around?"
"What? No," Regina said and then it clicked. Emma was still on duty and she was assuming the call was not a casual one. "I'm packing for our trip and I have absolutely nothing."
"Nothing?" Emma chuckled. "What about those jeans I saw you wearing that one time?"
"Aside from those."
"Well, it's just a ranch right?" Emma said and she laughed again to the point where Regina let out an annoyed groan and continued to pace. "Jeans and boots, sweaters and any old jacket should be all right, you know?"
"I don't own more than one pair of jeans, Swan, and sweaters I have but nothing considered casual."
"We're about the same size, right?" Emma asked and Regina scoffed. "What? We are, give or take a bit right?"
"I suppose so yes. What is your point?"
"Well, unless you want to go on a shopping spree for clothes you'll never wear again, why don't you borrow whatever you need from me for the trip?" Emma suggested and she laughed. "I mean, you'd have to make sure that everything fits first of course."
"You want me to borrow your clothes?"
"Wouldn't be the first time, right?"
"From what I recall, you have borrowed several shirts of mine that have never been returned."
"Hey! I brought that black turtleneck back and as for that blue silk one, well, if I could find it I'd bring it back," Emma said defensively. "So?"
"Do you want to borrow some of my clothes for the trip or what, Gina?"
It never failed that every time Emma called her "Gina" that she felt those butterflies taking flight and found it impossible to not smile. She thought of what the worst could happen in taking Emma up on her offer and though she had several fantasies about getting into Emma's pants, literally wearing them had not been one of them.
"I suppose so, and if nothing fits, I still have tomorrow to do some last minute shopping," Regina said after a moment.
"Great. So, I know I was coming over to your place tonight, but maybe you can come over to mine?" Emma asked and before Regina could give an answer, Emma continued at a rapid pace. "If you do have too much to drink to drive home tonight, you can crash here, you know? There is the couch or if it's not too weird for you, you can share my bed with me or even sleep in Henry's room or something."
"Okay," Regina said quietly. "Only if I've had too much to drink of whatever atrocious wine you bought for tonight. In fact, I may just bring some cider over with me just in case."
Emma laughed. "All right, Gina. I'm off at four today, so whenever you want to come around is fine by me."
"I'll see you later, Emma."
Regina ended the call and tossed her phone onto the bed as her heart thundered in her chest and her mind began to race.
She wasn't sure if taking a vacation with Emma alone was such a good idea, but it was far too late to back out of it now.