OUaT/The Good Wife crossover - When Regina and Henry are endangered, Emma turns to an old friend for help - Kalinda. Past!Emma/Kalinda, present!Regina/Emma.
Emma ushers them through arrivals at O'Hare: Henry wide-eyed and excitable, Regina sullen and withdrawn. If it seems ungrateful that Regina be so uninterested in her first trip out of Storybrooke, Emma doesn't remark on it. They have more pressing concerns.
She scans the gathered crowd anxiously, unsure how far Gold's reach truly extends; even Regina can't say with any certainty. Emma corrals their bags and makes sure everyone has everything, playing Mom in a way she's not remotely comfortable with.
But then she catches the darting movement out of the corner of her eye, the familiar shock of dark hair and leather jacket that, more than anything else, let Emma exhale fully for what feels like the first time in days.
"Come on," she urges, heading straight for the short-term parking exit. She's relieved when Regina doesn't protest and Henry doesn't pepper her with questions. It's only in the open space of the parking lot that she finally slows down, falling into step with the familiar figure just a few feet away.
"We have to stop meeting like this," the familiar, jumbled accent is like a symphony to Emma's ears.
"You suggested the cloak and dagger, K," Emma replies, dropping her bags on the slick tarmac and pushing past Regina to gather Kalinda in an awkward but much-needed hug.
Regina clears her throat behind them, and Emma reluctantly lets go.
"We'll do introductions in the car," Kalinda says tersely, nodding towards a huge, black SUV parked over two spaces. "Does the kid get carsick?"
"My name's Henry," he pipes up. "And no, I don't."
"Good," Kalinda says, opening the driver's side door. "You owe me for this, Em."
Emma wants to laugh when Kalinda opens the apartment door. It's like a replica of the place Emma left behind in Boston two years ago, although maybe some of the colors are a little off. But the sparse kitchen with nothing but juice in the fridge, the empty smooth surfaces that extend across the room, the almost complete absence of furniture: it feels like coming home.
Not that Kalinda had anywhere like this when Emma knew her. Back then it was motel rooms and sometimes the occasional four-star hotel charged on expenses. Or the backseats of cars (not the Bug, back then it was the Jeep that died every two thousand miles) .
"Are you sure this is okay?" Emma asks, wincing as Henry goes running off towards the windows. Chicago has a pretty skyline, there's no denying that, but how does she explain to a twelve year-old that they're not going to be playing tourists any time soon?
"Wouldn't be here if it wasn't," Kalinda says with a shrug. "I'm going to stay with… well, with a friend. So this is all yours for as long as you need, okay?"
"A friend?" Emma teases, falling back into old habits. "This friend wouldn't be that nice lady lawyer who offered to help us, would it?"
"You don't need a lawyer," Kalinda says, shutting it down. Unfortunately for her, that's all the evidence Emma needs.
"Is there a shower?" Regina interrupts, finally coming to life after another long spell of silence. She looks exhausted, irritated and impossibly gorgeous.
"Down the hall," Kalinda points in the general direction. "The bedroom has an ensuite, or there's a bathroom at the end."
"Swanky place," Emma mutters, and Kalinda just smirks.
"You've got my cell," Kalinda reminds her. "But you'll be safe here."
"I'm not sure I believe that, K," Emma says sadly. "But it won't be your fault if we're not, okay?"
"Emma?" Henry calls from where he's pressed against the floor-length kitchen window.
"Coming," Emma replies, and she feels suddenly very alone as Regina marches off in search of the showers while Kalinda slips back out of the front door like a ghost.