Hey guys, sorry this took a while, but here it is.
There should be a new chapter up within 3 weeks, as I have to move back to uni where I'll be starting my third year I'll be putting up a new chapter every 3 weeks, though hopefully they should be up sooner than that. My other stories which are oneshots might be up more often than this, but it depends on what my muse is, also oneshots are notoriously easier to write than long fics (prompts are always welcome for those).
Thank you all for the reviews, please let me know what you think of this chapter!
Emma woke up cuddled up on her dad's chest, it moved slowly up and down, even with her upon it. She could smell his aftershave faintly on his t-shirt, and skin, despite not having put it on for a few days, and the faint smell of something which she could only now associate with the Enchanted Forest, what he had smelt like there, it was one of the same smells that her blanket had always smelt like. It was comforting on her blanket, it was why she always liked to have it near her, she knew she was safe in her dad's arms. She realised that she didn't even take up all of the length David's chest. She just snuggled closer to him, feeling a weird mixture of an adult and a child, well… the child she had never got to be.
She looked over at her mother who was reclined back against several pillows with Neal asleep on her chest, obviously her baby brother had fallen asleep while feeding, and Snow must have fallen back asleep along with him. Emma didn't want to admit it to herself, or anyone else, but she felt a little jealous of the bond her mother and brother got to have – it was one they had never got to have or would, in all likelihood, ever get to have. She fidgeted on David's chest, as she continued watching her mother and brother sleep.
David felt a baby fidgeting on his chest, with his eyes still closed he thought that it was Neal, but there was too much fidgeting which is when he opened his eyes and realised it was his older baby. He stroked his hand through Emma's hair, making her look up at him with her chin resting on his chest. There was just enough light for him to see her adorable little face staring up at him. "Hey, kiddo, how you feeling?"
David chuckled and pressed a kiss to her forehead. "I meant how's your cold?" Emma opened her mouth to answer but David quickly interrupted. "And before you tried to deny anything, I'll remind you that you're going to be resting anyway, and that I can hear your voice." He gave her a knowing look and saw how sheepish she looked in response. He chuckled again and kissed her head again. "That bad, huh?"
"Better than I felt in the hospital." Emma admitted. She looked down at the lion toy which had stayed firmly in her arms, along with her blanket, as she slept and even as she woke. She started to move around the soft toy, making its arms and legs move and its head.
David watched her moving about the toy, he could tell that something was on her mind and that she'd say it when she thought through it, but even if she wasn't having to think about something it was adorable watching her take comfort in the toy he bought her.
"…. Thank you for finding me…" She mumbled. "…You didn't have to, put erm, you did, so like, thanks."
David frowned, and sat up more as he thought about how to word his feelings, he hated that she even felt the need to thank him for doing what literally any moral human would do, let alone that she thought that he didn't have to. "Oh, kiddo, Em. I did have to. You're my daughter, I love you, I would do anything for you – and I'll always find you, no matter how far away you are, or whether you want me to find you or not." He placed his hand on the back of her head and gently pulled her so that she was cuddled close to his chest again.
Emma opened her hand up enough so that she could cling onto David's pyjama sweatshirt as well as her lion and blanket. "Love you daddy." She mumbled against his chest.
"I love you to the moon and back." David responded hearing her call him that, in conjunction, with the words made his heart melt.
Emma stayed with her head against his chest for a few beats before she looked up at him once more, pouting a little. "I'm bored." She repeated.
David sighed sympathetically. "I know, but we can't get out of the bed, you're sick." He watched as Emma's face fell, he felt bad when he saw how disappointed she looked, he glanced over at Mary Margaret and saw that she was still peacefully asleep and would probably remain so for several hours – it had been a long few months- he looked back at Emma and ran his hand through her hair to get her to look back at him. "But, I mean, we do have to do all your medicines still, and mine I guess… and I'm sure you're hungry, so we could get some cereal too, we may as well eat it on the couch." He watched her gasp with excitement, he tried to not smile at her kid like way of acting that morning, he just rolled with it as he and Mary Margaret had decided. "I mean, only if you want to, I don't wanna force you." He couldn't stop himself from smiling and looking amused. He quickly put his finger over his mouth before Emma got too excited. His eyes darted to Mary Margaret. "Shhh, we have to be quiet, we don't wanna wake mommy."
Emma copied him, putting her finger on her lips, she nodded her head in agreement and whispered. "Yeah, mommy needs to sleep."
She was starting to realise that she had begun to copy calling David and Mary Margaret 'Daddy and Mommy', but she didn't mind, she had been referring to them as that to Neal before she deaged anyway, plus David and Mary Margaret didn't care if she called them that so she would carry on calling them that until he told her otherwise.
"Okay, let's go then kiddo," He collected her into his arms, grabbed her Nemo hoodie from the chair beside the bed and put it onto her. "You got your special things?"
Emma looked at him, she made sure that he wasn't teasing her, then down at the soft toy lion and her blanket in her hands, she nodded her head. "I got them."
"Good girl." David smiled warmly at her and grabbed his own hoodie, he slipped it on, then stood up with her in his arms. He gently pulled the blanket so it was covering Mary Margaret and Neal a little better, before padding out of the room with Emma still in his arms. "Medicine first then I dump you onto the couch, or I dump you onto the couch then I grab your medicine?"
"Couch first." Emma decided after a brief deliberation.
"Good choice." David nodded and walked over to the couch, he sat her down onto the couch and covered her up with the throw, Mary Margaret had already set the heat to turn up automatically at about 5am but David turned it up a little more now that they were both awake. "You find us something to watch, anything you want, I'll be back in a moment with your medicines."
David smiled at her reminding him, he had been planning to take his out in the kitchen but he figured that there wasn't much difference with him taking it in front of Emma, to try and make a good example in taking it without complaining. "And mine."
As David disappeared to get the medicines and drinks Emma went to grab the remote from the coffee table where it usually was but it wasn't there, she turned her head looking around the living room for it, she spotted the remote on top of one of the tallboys beside the couch where she was sat. She stood up on the couch but when she couldn't reach despite how hard she tried to stretch with her arm up towards it. She dropped back to sit on the couch with a small frown and pout.
David came back through to the living room, he had figured that it would be easier to place everything on one of the very ugly trays Regina had cursed Mary Margaret to own, he saw that Emma was frowning and her things and the throw were to one side. He placed the tray down on the table and crouched in front of her. "Did you try to wander off and avoid your medicine?" He raised his eyebrow as he spoke.
Emma shook her head, seriously, despite the pout on her face. "No. I was tryna get the stupid remote but it's too high." She pointed up at where it had been abandoned.
David's eyes followed Emma's finger to where it was pointing. He smiled at Emma and nodded his head. "I'll grab that for you in a moment, let's just get this medicine done."
"You first." She said determinedly, she crossed her arms over her chest as best she could with her cast still on her arm, and pouted at the sight of the inhaler and spacer along with the other medicine.
David quickly took two of the cold and flu tablets with some juice from his own glass, at least his was tablets, it wasn't like it had a bad taste or a weird one like Emma's did. "Okay, I took mine, now it's your turn." He told her, giving her a look to show her that he was supporting her but that she couldn't just get out of it.
They made quick work of her inhaler, and although she complained a little, she otherwise took her medicine fairly quickly – mainly at the promise of being given the remote so she could watch whatever she wanted. David passed her the cup of juice to get rid of the taste of medicine in her mouth, as he was twisting the cap back onto the bottle, Emma lifted the small plastic cup to her lips to drink the strawberry juice, but as she drank she managed to spill half of the drink down her pyjamas, luckily avoiding her lion and blanket as well as the throw.
David saw Emma tipping the drink down herself but wasn't fast enough to be able to stop her pyjamas from getting soaked. He watched her bottom lip start to wobble as he took the empty cup from her. He stood up, and picked her up into his arms, she hid her head against his shoulder, her wet pyjamas were soaking into his own pyjama top but he didn't care.
"Sorry." Emma sniffled.
"Hey," David soothed as he picked up the tray of thing and carried it to the kitchen, "it's okay, it was just an accident. You probably needed to be changed anyway, right?"
Emma's cheeks tinged with pink not so much at David knowing that she needed a new pull up on, but that he had noticed and she hadn't.
David kissed the top of her head knowing she was probably embarrassed by both things, but it was just one of those things, David and Mary Margaret had no problems at all helping her with anything she needed. "It's okay." He walked into the bathroom and placed her down and knelt in front of her. "Em, honestly it's okay, it's not a big deal."
Emma looked up at him and nodded but sniffled a couple more times. "I didn't mean to it just kinda was too hard to control."
David nodded his head in understanding. "It was just an accident. Here, let's get you out of those wet jammies then I'll quickly grab you some clean things." As he helped her out of her pyjamas, leaving her in her pull up and vest, he spoke carefully to her. "Maybe it would be easier for you to use that sippy cup Mary Margaret found yesterday?" He suggested wrapping a big fluffy towel around her. "It's not like Neal needs it just yet, it was just in some gift set, and we get let off bed rest we can get some of your own, you can choose whatever style or patterns you want and feel most comfortable with."
Emma bit her lip, feeling drowned and vulnerable wrapped in the fluffy towel with her dad still trying to make sure she had some choices in her life. She nodded her head. "Okay."
David gave a loving smile at her quiet approval, he kissed her curls which had been made crazier with sleep, before he gathered her wet pyjamas and stood up. "I'll be back in a minute, I'll just be in the bedroom, I know your mommy left some bits for you in there. If you need me shout." He waited for her to nod again before he quickly left the room.
He threw the pyjamas into the machine, along with his own damp shirt, then dashed into the bedroom. Before long he was back in the bathroom, with a new pyjama shirt on, and a new pullup and diaper rash cream, an undershirt, and pyjamas for Emma. "Okay, kiddo, let's get you changed then we can have some breakfast." He made quick work of changing the diaper, having Neal had given him the ability to quickly change diapers, though Neal's were normally quick so the baby didn't try to pee on him (David was sure he did it on purpose and only on him never Snow), this time it was to make Emma not feel quite as embarrassed.
Emma looked down at the pullups as David switched her undershirt for a clean one. "Dory?"
David took a second to realise that Emma was on about the pullup. "Oh, sorry, I just grabbed one from our wardrobe. We got some, well I got them, two packs I figured that it'd be easier to get you to wear this one or the other depending on which age you felt. Sorry, I didn't even think, do you want me to run up to your room and grab a different pair or are these okay for now?"
Emma shrugged her shoulders still looking down at them. "These are okay, you don't have to go get different ones." She actually rather liked Finding Dory since she had seen it, she had watched it with her parents so they knew how much she actually liked it, even if she pretended otherwise. "It has the purple shells on it."
David smiled, he pulled the long-sleeved pyjama top over her head, it was yellow and had a circle of dark blue with a rocket on it and the words space on it. "It does. I like that bit of the movie, where Dory finds her parents, it reminds me of how happy I was when I opened the door and found you there when you came back from New York. These purple shells stay purple if it's dry."
Emma let David put the pyjama pants on her, they were blue like the circle on the top, but were covered in white constellations. "What if they don't stay dry?"
David shrugged making sure that she was aware that it was no big deal. "Then me or your mother will change you, just let us know, we don't want you getting diaper rash."
Emma looked a little worried as David picked her up in his arms again, he dumped the pullup into the bin in the bathroom, they were back into the living room by the time she spoke. "What if I don't let you know? If I… can't?" David looked down at her intently as he sat her down on the couch again and covered her in the throw. "I didn't, couldn't, really tell when I…" She trailed off awkwardly, "I had trouble learning how to, erm, to be potty trained."
He saw her cheeks tinged pink and he brushed a curl from her face. "Is this because you're so small?" He asked her kindly, she nodded her head, obviously embarrassed. "That's okay, it's not your fault, Em. Did you have any other," he purposely searched for a word other than problem, "difficulties, or challenges?"
"A couple of different things, I guess, like I'm sure you've noticed my speech isn't always too good at saying some words and stuff…"
David smiled gently, he and Mary Margaret had noticed that her 'r's sounded a little more like 'w's, and sometimes she substituted different letters for ones in words – they had worried a little bit but when they had looked into a couple of the parenting and baby books they got when they had gotten back to Storybrooke they had found it was common in younger kids. "That's okay kiddo, me and your mother can understand you still, and we'll help you in any way you need."
"No thanks necessary." David told her sincerely. He gently tapped her bright yellow cast with a smile at her. "Hey, guess what? You get to get this off soon, that'll make it easier when you have baths, you won't have to have use reminding you to keep it out of the water."
Emma smiled but then looked worried. "Will it be scary?"
"If it is you'll have me and mommy right there with you." He told her, he had never actually broken a bone in this realm so he wasn't actually sure what the standard practice was, but he knew no matter what Emma would probably be scared of the hospital. "Now, Cap'n Crunch or Lucky Charms?"
David smirked. "Are you sure, I managed to convince Mary Margaret to get the peanut butter Cap'n Crunch." he saw the amused look on her face and rolled his eyes good naturedly, "Okay, I smuggled them in when she wasn't looking, but she didn't give me too much grief about them."
"Lucky Charms have marshmallows in them."
David rolled his eyes, in his mind Cap'n Crunch were at least a little healthier, especially considering that Emma normally just picked the marshmallows out. "Worth a shot." He kissed her forehead and stood up.
"Whatever I want?" She asked when the remote was placed into her hands.
"Whatever you want, just no chick flicks, I beg you."
David grabbed a normal bowl and a plastic one, the ones they had gotten which would be easier for Emma to hold, not just because she had broken her arm. He figured that if Emma was having Lucky Charms then he may as well have them too, at least he thought about being healthy, plus his had milk on them which was healthy in his eyes. He opened the fridge and grabbed one of the bottle of the PediaSure chocolate milk, there were a couple of other flavours but he figured this one would go down the best. He poured it into the sippy cup, he was about to make himself some coffee but his eyes flickered to his and his wife's bedroom, he knew she wasn't going to be happy about he and Emma not adhering to the bed part of bed rest. He topped up his juice instead, better to play that part on the safe side, and not completely worry his wife.
When he walked back over to her with the food and drinks Emma was sat where he left her, the remote was pointed at the screen, but this time the screen was playing something. It took David a few seconds to register that it was cartoons on the screen. He watched Emma's eyes flickered to him so he gave her a small smile. "Do you want to watch this?" David asked carefully.
"I…" Emma shrugged her shoulders as she trailed off.
"Okay." David said cheerfully. He settled down onto the couch beside her, he was a little surprised when Emma moved and sat on his lap without taking her eyes from the screen, when she was comfortable he passed her the smaller bowl of Lucky Charms which he knew better than to put any milk onto. "Comfy?" He asked and smiled as she nodded. "Good. What's this show then?"
"It's called Recess." Emma told him, she quickly launched into an explanation about the show and what it was about, and how she had found a channel doing a marathon of older cartoons from the early 2000's.
"Do you think that this is what your mommy's school is like?" David asked her, he knew that she was the Emma who was the Emma whose past he knew… well knew some of… but it was like she was a combination of an adult and a little kid, especially with the enthusiasm she was talking about some cartoons with, and how she giggled at his joke.
"Maybe." She had been wolfing down her cereal but she was clearly finished. She moved to cuddle closer to David, she felt him holding onto her to make sure that she wasn't about to fall off the couch as he leant forward to place their bowls down and passed her drink. "Do you think mommy's going to go back to being a teacher?"
David was still getting used to Emma suddenly feeling comfortable enough to call he and Mary Margaret mommy and daddy, something which would probably have been normal in the Enchanted Forest and even if it hadn't been they would have been cool with it, so the childish sounding question threw him for a second.
"Hmm, I'm not sure." And he wasn't.
She was still getting recovering from having Neal, and that he was safe, that nothing was going to happen to take him from her, as well as the whole situation with Emma which neither of them were sure how it would culminate, but then he also knew that she genuinely loved teaching.
"How would you feel if she did?"
"If… If I'm still like this?" Emma asked, knowing there was a possibility of that, and received a hesitant nod. She wiggled her mouth from side to side as she thought. She sipped her chocolate milk smiling a little at the perfect taste, she couldn't remember her mom ever buying chocolate milk, so she figured that it was the PediaSure drink- she remembered the off-brand versions she would sometimes be fortunate enough to be bought, though those were normally instead of meals.
"She liked it, likes it, teaching kids."
Emma wasn't sure that there was a but until David asked that she figured what it was which was in the back of her mind. "I'd miss her, lots, and I wouldn't like not really seeing her or you."
"I would miss working with you, it might not happen, but if it did your mom and I would make sure that we weren't working too much. We already have a couple of people helping us out, I'll hire more people to work there even if you change back. We'll have more time together as a family, you won't ever be without at least one of us at some point, we'll juggle everything about but I can promise you that much."
"I guess I can live with that." Emma stated cuddling closer to him. "I mean, for Neal, he'd miss you."
"I'd miss Neal too, and you, but I'd make sure that I'm mostly with my two favourite people in the world." He watched her raise her eyebrow. "Your mommy's a close third, she doesn't mind, she feels the same – you and Neal are joint first no matter what." He felt her cuddle closer but her attention was then captivated by the new cartoon starting. He chuckled as he spotted the cartoon version of his wife in the opening of House of Mouse, and was relieved to see the rather useless Disney version of himself was missing.
He knew that they should probably both get back to bed, but Emma was actually watching a cartoon while cuddled up to him and he was reluctant for that to end, they were still resting they were just on the couch. He swivelled around so that his legs were up on the couch and he was reclined as much as he could be in the limited space. They'd move soon, they just had some cartoons to watch before they did.
Mary Margaret didn't mean to sleep for as long as she did, but with her husband and daughter tucked safely beside her, and a baby sleeping on her chest, she was very comfortable. She woke up slowly, feeling Neal still asleep on her she kissed the top of his head as she opened her eyes and slowly turned her head toward David's side of the bed, she gasped and her eyes widened when she didn't see Emma asleep on David's chest like she expected to. The bed was empty.
"No. No, no, no." She felt her heart stop as she thought that Emma had run away again and David had gone to find her. She stood up on autopilot, she placed Neal into his bassinet beside the bed as fast but as safe as possible, then raced out to the main part of the loft to find her phone to be able to ring and try and find out where the hell her husband and daughter were.
Her hands were trembling as she raced to the kitchen island to grab her phone, she was already starting to dial David's number, when she finally realised that the television. She sprinted over and saw David and Emma cuddled up asleep lying on the couch with some kids cartoons playing.
Her fear was gone, replaced with a brief relief, then frustration at the pair. They were meant to be staying in bed, but more importantly she thought they had gone, that Emma and/or David were missing and hurt, at the very least. She leant down and poked David's shoulder.
David's eyes flickered open and was met with his wife's very displeased face, a face he was sadly only too familiar, it was even worse this time as it was turned onto him. "…Mary Margaret…" His voice was a little crackly from his own cold and it was slurred with sleep. He felt his daughter waking on his chest.
"You're both going back to bed." She said firmly without realising that it came off a little cold, taking Emma who was now awake into her arms, she started to walk to the bedroom with David trailing behind.
"…Mommy?" Emma's voice was just as crackly and slurred as David's was, but worry filled her at Mary Margaret's tone, she also felt bad that she had been the one to convince David to let them both to get up.
Mary Margaret took a deep breath. "Emma, this isn't up for debate or discussion, and right now I just need for you to listen to me and do as I say. I'm very disappointed in both of you, you're both meant to be on bed rest because you're ill and it's a miracle that you're not still in the hospital with hypothermia or worse. So I really, really, recommend that you just do as I say without talking."
Emma shrunk into herself, it stung to know that her mother was disappointed in her, she didn't say a word even as Mary Margaret placed her into the bed and piled blankets onto her.
Mary Margaret left without saying another word, she needed to take a minute, but she was almost certain that David would follow her but she'd much rather that than Emma following her.
Emma fidgeted in the bed, she wanted the blanket and lion which had been left on the couch, but didn't want to say it. She wanted to be better and to be able to go out, she kind of wanted to go to the park and play on the swings, she wanted to watch cartoons with her dad again, and to introduce her mother and brother to the cartoons she and David had been watching – but most of all she didn't want her mom to be disappointed or upset with her.
David watched the curtain 'door' shut again behind his irate wife. He looked at Emma and gave her a sympathetic smile, before he placed his hand onto her head as a sign of comfort, though it did little to help. "It's okay Em."
"I'm sorry, it's my fault, I made you get out of bed." She mumbled a quick but sincere apology.
David shook his head. "You didn't make me do anything. I'm your daddy, and we were resting, just…" He sighed. "Just stay here while me and Mary Margaret talk, we'll both be back in a few minutes, I promise."
"Go back to bed David." Mary Margaret said firmly when she heard her husband's footsteps leaving the bedroom heading towards her. She didn't bother to turn around from where she stood in the kitchen to face him as she spoke.
"Mary Margaret?" He sighed as she ignored him. "Mary Margaret. Snow."
Mary Margaret sighed in frustration but finally turned around. "What?" She felt a little bad when she realised how venomous she sounded but David already started to speak so she couldn't take it back no matter how much she wanted to or felt bad about it.
"I'm sorry I scared you. It was my choice to let Emma get out bed because she looked so disappointed when I said that we had to rest, I didn't think of how worried you would be after yesterday, and I shouldn't have let Emma get out of bed before you were awake…"
David took a deep breath. "But…" He took a few steps closer to Mary Margaret and took hold of her hands it was a good sign when she didn't shake him off or step away. "I made sure Emma was resting, she didn't even take a single step, I carried her the entire time, and resting on the couch is just as good as the bed. I know that it was worrying, and I am sorry for worrying you… but I made sure she had her medicine, and gave her some breakfast, changed her diaper, and her pyjamas when she spilt her juice down herself, I even gave her one of those PediaSure shakes and got her to drink it in the sippy cup without kicking up a fuss because she can't properly control the little plastic cup. We were only a room away from you." He gave her his loving but firm smile. "I'm her parent too. I would never put her in danger, you trust me so trust that I would always look after her, I didn't do anything wrong other than scare you."
Mary Margaret gave a big sigh, then gave him a nod and looked down, disappointed in herself. Emma was just as much his child as she was hers, he was an amazing father to her daughter no matter Emma's age, she shouldn't have taken her fear out on him. She glanced over at the closed curtains and bit her lip, it was only now that she was calming herself that she realised how she had spoken to Emma, she needed to talk to her again.
David gently moved and tipped her chin back to look him in the eyes. "I'm sorry for scaring you."
Mary Margaret sighed gently, she wrapped her arms around his waist, and he responded in kind, she leant up on her tiptoes and kissed his lips gently. "I'm sorrier. I should have checked the other rooms before I started to freak out, I just assumed the worst after yesterday… but I shouldn't have taken it out on you or Emma." She managed to hold off at least a few seconds before asking her husband how their daughter seemed to him that day. He, of course, told her how she was health wise, but Mary Margaret knew her husband was thinking of how to tell her something, so she just watched him and let him figure it out.
"She's…" he sighed as he searched for the right words, his hand rubbed the back of his neck, and he sighed again. "She's changing. She's like a mixture of the two Emma's. She keeps calling the two of us mommy and daddy, and wanted to watch cartoons, and then told me all about them. She won't put the lion toy I got her down, or her baby blanket… she seemed rather uneasy when you put her to bed without them." He smirked when she looked a little guilty at his mock accusatory tone, even when annoyed she wouldn't have left them on the couch had she known how attached to them Emma had become.
"We'll have to remember to grab it for her before we go join her again." There was no way that she was going to forget that if it made Emma feel more comfortable. "It was pretty adorable, seeing you two cuddled up… did she really pick cartoons?"
David grinned his charming smile, the one which still made her legs go weak. "Yeah…She also asked if you were ever going to go back to being a teacher too, even if she stays a little kid." Her eyebrows shot up at that. "I told her that you enjoy it, so you might one day. But if that happens that we're going to make sure that at least one of us are always with her and Neal. And that we'd make time to be together as a family… if Emma stays the size she is…"
"Or becomes more like a little kid." Mary Margaret finished. They were silent for a minute. "David?"
His wife's voice was barely above a whisper and he didn't have to ask what her question was going to be, he felt the same, but he asked regardless. "Yes dear?"
"What do we do if Emma changes into a child completely."
David had been wondering the exact same thing especially as he and Emma watched the cartoons. He could tell that Mary Margaret was trying not to worry, he knew her as well as he knew himself, she needed to be given a plan. "I guess… I guess we just finally get to raise her. If it does happen Regina will have shown us Emma's fake memories, so at least she won't feel hurt that we don't know what she's talking about, we'll adapt the loft because Emma's already a hell raiser so can you imagine how much trouble she'd be if she's this size and a kid?" He smirked and let out a breath of laughter but was glad to see her give a small smile. "If you want to work part time, or full time, or be a stay at home mom, or I want to do any of that, we'll sort it out later. We can do this. But, but maybe Regina will find something, or Belle, or Gold. Or even Blue." That bit sounded stronger in his head. "We can do this, together, as a family."
"We always do." She leant up and gently kissed his lips and placed her hand upon his chest. "We need to get you to bed, you're sick too, but just let me talk to Emma first? Please?"
"Of course." David agreed, she started to walk back to the room, but David quickly took hold of her hand pulling her back to him. "I'm guessing Emma and I aren't going to be allowed out of bed again today?"
She gave him a patient smile. "You can tomorrow." She quickly grabbed the lion and blanket from the couch, and passed David, she headed into the bedroom through the curtains which hung closed.
Mary Margaret almost ran into Emma as she entered the master bedroom. Instead of lying in the bed where she had been left, Emma was stood at Neal's crib, she looked up at Mary Margaret sheepishly when she realised that she was there.
"I… I'm sorry." Emma mumbled, she didn't want to let her mother down any more than she had by getting out of the bed in the first place. She bit her lip and fidgeted, looking up at her mom as though she had been caught with her hand in the cookie jar, and she felt as young as she looked. "Nealy woke up, and you and daddy were still talking, I was just talking to him, I'm sorry for getting out of bed again."
Mary Margaret frowned realising that Emma really thought that she was angry with her. She crouched down in front of Emma, she placed the toy and blanket under her arm and gently took hold of Emma's hands so she could keep her attention. "I'm not mad sweetie. Emma, you don't have anything to apologise for, I do. I was just scared when I didn't wake up with you beside me, I thought that you had disappeared again," she held her hand up to stop Emma from apologising again, "it's okay you don't have to apologise again."
She gently picked her daughter up and carried her over to sit on her lap on the bed so that she was facing her. She handed Emma her lion and blanket before brushing a strand of hair from her face. "Sweetie, you know when Neal was born and Zelena took him, and then it was very hard for me and daddy to put him down or let him leave our sight?" She asked slowly and carefully, she knew Emma was acting like a mix of an adult and a child so she was trying pitch it for a suitable tone.
"Yeah." Emma nodded remembering how only a select few were even allowed to hold him, they had both gotten better with him, and now they weren't overprotective of him out of the ordinary. "You only let me hold him, or sometimes Henry, but we had to be careful 'cause he's only a baby."
"Yes, and you're very good with him, he loves you so much." Mary Margaret smiled gently at her, she really was talking like a little kid, but her memories hadn't changed so Mary Margaret was beginning to wonder if this was just the next stage in the deaging. She stroked her thumb down Emma's knuckles, to get Emma to look back at her instead of at her brother's crib, she kept the loving smile on her face. "But it took some time for us to get used to knowing that Neal would be safe if we weren't always around him and that he wasn't going to disappear again. We feel the same about you, it really scared us when we couldn't find you, we would feel the same no matter how old or young or big or small you are. So, it's going to take us a little time to get used to letting you out of our sight too. I'm sorry for freaking out at you and your father, I can't promise that I won't get worried again but I will try my best to think things through and actually search for you if that does happen-"
"-Then you'll freak out." Emma lightened the mood with a small joke, but there was a touched look on her face which couldn't be hidden, she already knew her mother loved her as much as Neal… but there was just something which suddenly seemed even more to her – as though the love was completely filling her up. It was so uncomplicated, pure and selfless love, Emma led her head against Mary Margaret's chest.
Mary Margaret smirked at Emma's joke but happily cuddled her daughter closer to her. "Then I'll freak out, but Emma I won't be mad at you, I promise."
Emma just smiled and didn't pull away from the closeness of the cuddle, she felt secure and comforted with having her mother not just near her, but her arms wrapped around her.
Emma and Mary Margaret sat cuddling and listening to Neal gently cooing in his crib as he looked up at his sheep mobile.
Emma adored her little brother but she found herself loving the individual attention from her mother, it was quite nice not having to share her mommy for once, she relaxed even more as Mary Margaret stroked her hair it was something which always relaxed her.
Emma was just about to ask where David was, and why he didn't have to stay in bed like she did, when suddenly he called through from behind the bedroom curtain.
"Are you two done talking now?" David called from behind of it. "I'm bored. Can you let me in?"
Mary Margaret rolled her eyes good naturedly. "Typical." She whispered to Emma before she tucked Emma into the middle of the bed and walked over to the curtain. "And why can't you let yourself in?" There was laughter in her voice as she walked over, she pulled the curtain open and smiled when she saw David standing holding the television box and screen in his arms.
"Em and I were enjoying watching our cartoons, weren't we kiddo?" He placed the tv and box on the dresser which stood opposite the bed and between the curtained entrance ways. He turned back around and smiled as Emma was nodding enthusiastically and Mary Margaret tries her hardest to look displeased but he knew he was back in her good books from the smile in her eyes which was fighting to get onto her face too. "It's either this or we revolt and I reckon we'd win the uprising."
"Yeah, we can get Neal on our side too, he needs to watch them too." Emma grinned as her mother scooped Neal up into her arms, headed back to the bed, then in one swift motion she picked Emma up and then sat back where she had been with both Emma and Neal on her lap.
David smiled at the sight of his wife and kids cuddled together, Mary Margaret caught his eye and they shared a smile, yes two of the four members of the family were sick, but it was still a nice day. David quickly set the television back up and the old cartoons returned to the screen. David climbed back into bed and Emma's eyes stayed on the screen as she moved to cuddle up on his lap.
"Can I hold Nealy? Pretty please mommy?" Emma asked as the episode of The Rugrats came to an end.
Mary Margaret smiled gently down at Emma, she leant down to drop a kiss onto Emma's forehead, then did the same to Neal. "Okay, but you let your daddy help you, okay?" She wasn't sure if Neal would be too heavy in Emma's little arm. She waited for David to get Emma into position then placed Neal onto Emma's lap with both Emma and David supporting his head and body.
"Hiya Nealy." Emma smiled down at his blue eyes, she beamed as he cooed up at her, though she was relieved when her mother saved her hair from being tugged on she was also happy Neal was becoming more curious and therefore more interesting. She started to talk to him about the new cartoon which was on the screen but eventually she drifted off into silence, only speaking every so often about the show.
But eventually she became lost in her thoughts. "I had a bad dream before I ran away." She told them breaking her own silence, her parents looked down at her but stayed quiet to let Emma speak, so she continued. "I was at home, then my old social worker turned up and she had this big file, which the social workers always turn up with before I was moved. When I woke up I found the file by accident, I wasn't snooping, I promise."
"It's okay kiddo, we know you weren't, it's okay." David soothed her childish worry, he kissed the top of her head, and waited for her to continue.
"I found the file, and I couldn't read it properly, just my name. But it was like the file in my dream, and the ones which were always around when I ended up in hospital… I tried to take some breaths and calm down, but then the pictures falled, fell, out. I thought you were sending me away," her ending sentence was a whisper, "I don't want to be without my mommy and daddy… I don't want you to send me away."
"That will never happen." Mary Margaret told her firmly.
"Ever." David added.
"Emma," Mary Margaret placed her hand on her cheek so she could look into her green eyes which were sparkling with tears, "please never run away from us again. Please come and talk to us, if any ever makes you want to run again, come and talk to us. It doesn't matter what time of the day it is, you could wake us up on the hour every hour, during the middle of the night and we wouldn't mind."
"We'd just have to keep you in our bed with us so you actually get some rest." David added with a jokey smile, though he wasn't joking, in fact he would rather she stay in his sight at all times considering how worried he and his wife had been when Emma had run.
"I don't have my real file here and I think they lied in it." Emma told them as her eyes were fixed looking down at her baby brother who her father was still helping her hold. "They blamed me for everything, even if it wasn't my fault, or I didn't mean to."
"Nothing that happened was your fault, baby." Mary Margaret promised in a soothing voice.
Emma nodded her head, but it was a nice reminder, she found without them she would often start to blame herself for things. "Can you ask Regina to make another dreamcatcher for me, for my real memories, not my other ones? So that you can see what really happened… if you want… they can get pretty scary."
Mary Margaret gave her a water smile, David took Neal from Emma's arms, then Mary Margaret took her into her own arms and cuddled her baby girl close. "Of course we will Emma. Me and daddy are never leaving you, no matter what the bad people did to you, and you're never going to have to go through that again."
They spent the rest of their day watching cartoons with Emma and Neal, along with some animated movies such as The Princess and the Frog, and Tangled which Emma was singing along with as best she could with her sore throat. Mary Margaret had both David and Emma eating soup for lunch and dinner, though at dinner she had deemed them both better enough to have grilled cheese with them, which also made it easier to convince Emma to take her night time medicine.
Mary Margaret had also left the room to talk to Regina when she called, Regina had found the person who had made the ice castle, a queen from a faraway land who had come through with Emma and Hook from Gold's vault. Mary Margaret was proud to see the progress her step mother had made when she told Mary Margaret that she had become friends with the woman who specialised in ice magic, and was helping her to find her sister. Mary Margaret had also assured Regina that Emma was going to be okay, and Regina had assured Mary Margaret that Emma would be mostly a mixture of an adult (as much as Emma could ordinarily be described as one, Regina had quipped) and child, with completely childish days where Emma would have her separate memories. When she returned to the room she was slightly surprised that Emma hadn't asked her who was on the phone or what it was about, but she was happy that Emma wouldn't have another thing to worry about.
Both Emma and Neal were fast asleep by 7:30, it was as David and Mary Margaret cuddled in front of a movie more to their taste than their kids' that Mary Margaret told him about the phone call, and that she had done as Emma had asked and asked Regina to make a dreamcatcher so David and Mary Margaret could see Emma's true memories before they learnt of her fake ones. Regina had promised to be around the next day, with her new friend, Henry, and a dreamcatcher.
As a knock at the front door thudded, gently enough to try not to wake the younger residents of the home but loud enough to announce their arrival, it was clear that it was a fellow set of parents knocking.. Emma stirred, Mary Margaret stood from the bed, with Neal still nestled in her arms, to answer it, and David was left to hope that Emma would fall back asleep then sleep through until night time.
"Who's 'at?" Emma asked, as she stirred from her sleep, her voice slurred as she fought sleep which tried its hardest to reclaim her.
David's voice was barely above a whisper but it vibrated through his chest as he quietly spoke and stroked Emma's hair to try and get her back to sleep. "Shhh, it's okay kiddo, it's just Ella and Thomas." He felt her head tilt to the side so he could tell she was confused. "Ashley and Sean." He reminded her gently, after the second curse had broken some of the Storybrooke residents had decided to change their name back to their original ones, he knew that his wife had been thinking about changing her name back to Snow before everything with Emma had happened, but now she had bigger things to think about that deciding about a change of name.
"Alexandra's three but she's pretty big for her age, and you're pretty small, so Ella offered to drop some stuff around Alexandra's outgrown just until we can take you shopping. Go back to sleep sweetheart."
"Gonna go say hi?" Emma mumbled, but David stroking her hair was making her very sleepy, her thumb went up to near her mouth and she hesitated for a half second before putting it into her mouth.
David smiled down gently at her thinking she would be awake long enough for David to even carry her to the doorway of the bedroom. "Maybe next time." He said softly, he felt his daughter nod her head and within a minute Emma was fast asleep once more.
David stayed awake until his wife was back into the room, he watched her place Neal in his crib at the end of the bed, and change into her own pyjamas before climbing into bed beside him. David turned his head and kissed her lips, just as softly and slowly as full of love, then rested his forehead against hers. Emma was still curled upon his chest, and Mary Margaret wrapped her arm around him, and Emma by extension. The next day they would be learning about their daughter's real past. They wanted, no needed, to know. But it was going to hurt them, which they could handle, and their daughter even more so, which they couldn't. They led for a while, enjoying the calm between the storm while it was there, until they too eventually fell asleep hoping that both of their kids would stay asleep for as long as possible.