"I swear I'll never understand this Sudoku nonsense." Emma muttered in an frustrated voice. Nibbling dispassionately on the cap to her pen as she gazed unseeingly at the puzzle in front of her, Hunched over her desk with a bemused expression.
Startled, Emma felt every nerve explode over her skin as the sound of her ringing cell phone echoed in the deserted sheriff station. The tiny hairs on the back of her neck prickling.
"Holy Fucking…" Emma grabbed at her collar, bunching the material of her blue button up shirt in a tight fist. Her other hand reaching into her back pocket to retrieve her phone. Sliding her thumb across the screen to answer it.
"Yea?!" she barked in an uneven voice as she tried to stifle her irritation.
Her face instantly morphed into worry as she heard Henry's voice on the other end, Worried and tense. "Emma. It's me. You need to come over. Now!"
Frowning, Emma blinked a few times, her own anxiety soaking in. "Why? What's wrong?"
"It's Mom." Henry all but pleaded. "Something's wrong with her."
Emma could tell Henry was trying to hide how scared he was. She could almost make out his quiet sniffles through the phone.
Emma stood up so rapidly her desk chair skidded backwards with a squeal on the tiled floor. "I'm on my way." She grabbed her keys as she ended the call. Not bothering to trifle with exactly what Henry meant when he said something was "wrong" with Regina. All she knew was Henry was upset, and she needed to fix it. She chose to ignore the deep seeded pang in her gut at the thought of Regina being hurt, or worse.
"Easy, Swan." She whispered to herself as she climbed into her old yellow VW bug. "Don't panic."
She made it to the Mayors mansion in what she would call record time. Catching every green light (Both of them), and avoiding the one stop sign before her brakes ground to a sudden stop in front of the massive house.
The brick walkway up to the front door seemed to go on forever as Emma paced herself, trying to keep herself steady.
The front door flew open just as she was about to mount the top step. Henry rushed towards her, grabbing her hand and yanking her into the house with an impressive force.
"Whoa kid! What's up?"
Henry chewed on his bottom lip as he pulled her up the stairs. "She's in the bathroom." He said quietly as he reached the second floor, Dropping Emma's hand and turning to face her. Emma squinted her eyes and sighed. "That doesn't seem like a.."
"She's been in there for an hour, and I keep hearing noises." Henry interrupted her quickly. Emma just looked from his worried face to the closed bathroom door.
"What kind of noises?" She asked cautiously.
"I dunno, kinda like a moan, and I think she was talking to herself."
Emma took a tentative step towards the door, squeezing Henry's shoulder as she passed him.
"Is the door locked?"
"Yes. I couldn't open it."
Emma place a hand on the center of the door. Her palm flat against it as she leaned in, pressing her ear to the cool wood.
"Get me a paper clip." Emma said, her ear still pressed against the door, her head facing Henry as she stood motionless in the middle of the hallway. "Now." her voice was insistent, but gentle. Henry sprung into action, running a lightning pace back down the stairs.
Turning her full attention to the bathroom door, Emma listened. After a moment, she heard a low mumbling.
"Regina?" Emma spoke softly. Wrapping her knuckles a few times on the door. She heard a non coherent groan, muffled through the door. "Regina, what's wrong?" Emma's voice taking on a hint of panic as she heard Henry bounding up the stairs. When he came into view, his hair was wild from what Emma assumed was frantic search for the paper clip which he held out in front of him as he raced down the hall.
"here!" he exclaimed breathlessly."Thanks. Now list to me carefully." Emma bend down to meet him at eye level. "I want you to go down the street to Mary Margaret's and stay with her till I come get you." Emma fixed him a look that said she meant business. Henry nodded.
"Is she ok?" He asked as Emma stood back up, taking the paper clip form his shaking hand.
"I dunno," She sighed. "But I'll do everything I can. M'kay?"
Henry nodded again as he turned on his heals, sulking towards the stairs.
"Hey, Henry?" Emma called out, needing to comfort him.
"Don't worry." she tried a smile, but it was half hearted at best. Henry opened his mouth to say something, but ended up only nodding his head again before turning back to the stairs, descending them with a heavy heart. The distant opening a closing of the mansion door indicating that Henry was gone.
Emma spun quickly to the door and knelt down to one knee. Unraveling the paper clip, she shaped it just right to fit into the lock. Smoothly she guided it into the opening, fiddling with it till she felt the mechanism release. A miniscule triumphant smirk pulled at the corner of her lip. I still got it. She thought before bringing her mind back to the task at hand.
Grasping the door knob for leverage, she pulled herself up as she turned the polished bras.
Slipping her head in through a crack, she called out "Regina? Are you ok?"
When there was no answer, Emma tried to pushed the door open further, only it wouldn't budge an inch. Glancing down, Emma felt her heart clench in her chest . Regina Mills lay crumpled on the floor in a fetal ball. A bright red towel wrapped around her body.
"Shit! Regina!" Emma called out to the woman. A pained moan was the only reply Emma got. Which, Emma was glad for any reaction at all. Emma used her body to push the door open enough for her to get into the bathroom. The jarring motion causing Regina's pale features to twist in discomfort. Once she had enough space, Emma stepped over Regina, into the room. The door shutting behind her as she spun around and knelt to the floor beside the half conscious brunette.
"Regina, listen to me." Emma gently pressed her hand into Regina's forearm, immediately noting the fevered skin. "You're gonna be ok." Emma let her eyes trace over Regina's petite form. Her skin was flushed a bright red all over, except for her face, which was eerily pale. Her lips slightly parted and her labored breathing was harsh and husky. Dark, hollow creases under her eyes giving her a morbid look that made Emma's skin crawl.
"What the hell is wrong with you?" Emma whispered to herself as she lifted her hand from Regina's arm and reached up, laying the backs of her fingers against a scorching temple. "Shit.."
Regina recoiled from the touch, her face scrunching in discomfort.
"You're not going to like this." Emma told her, hoping Regina could hear her, "But I am going to pick you up." Emma took a steadying breath, "And it'll probably hurt."
Regina groaned. One eye slitting open just enough for Emma to see a honey colored iris. With an imperceptible nod from Regina, Emma slid her arm under Regina's knees first, Hooking her elbow around slender legs. Regina's skin was on fire and Emma knew it had to be excruciating for her. Once her grip was secure, she reached her other arm under Regina's neck, looping it around her delicate shoulders.
"I got you." Emma watched Regina's eye close again. Without thinking, or hesitation, Emma bent down and kissed Regina's forehead. Her lips burning at the contact. "Here we go." she whispered, mostly to herself.
Emma was surprised at how light Regina was. The blonde stood easily, quickly opening the door and stepping into the hallway. She wasn't exactly sure which room was Regina's, but she did know which was Henry's, so she made an educated guess and headed towards the room at the very end of the hall. The slight woman in her arms limp, but weightless. The red towel still draped loosely around her.
"Ok. Here we go." Emma said into Regina's ear as she lay her down on the bed. She'd obviously chosen wisely, as the bedroom was decorated in true Regina style. Black and white Damask print on the walls and black stained wooden furniture.
"Ms. Swan." Regina's voice barely audible.
"Regina?" Emma leaned down closer. "Did you say something?" Emma listened with batted breath but Regina made no further attempt to speak.
Emma reached up, brushing a few fly away hairs from a regal brow with her finger tips. What are you doing?! Emma thought, chastising herself for her actions. Standing up rigidly, Emma grabbed the blanket at the foot of Regina's bed and pulled it up over her shivering form. Once Regina was covered, Emma reached under the blanket, grabbed hold of the towel and skillfully pulled it away, tossing it to a chair near the closet once it was liberated.
"Sleep." Emma whispered as she let the back of her hand caress Regina's upper arm. Looking down at the sickly form, Emma's smiled sadly. "still beautiful." She said out loud, surprising herself. Shaking her head, she pulled her hand away and took a step back. OK. Time to go. Emma's brain told her. But her feet wouldn't move. She stood there, watching Regina breath as if she was afraid the gentle rise and fall of the brunettes chest would cease.
"Emma." Regina breathed. Emma's eyes widened, though she didn't know if it was more for the fact that Regina was speaking, or that Regina had used her first name. Emma flew to the side of the bed, kneeling, she placed her hand back on Regina's arm.
"I'm here." was all she could say.
Regina breathed heavily, her throat moving as she swallowed. "Stay." she wheeze. Her eyes shut tight. "Please."
Emma didn't waist any time as she stood, kicking off her boots as she rounded the large king sized bed. Crawling onto the bed, the mattress gave way as Emma sank into it beside Regina, on her side, facing the brunette.
"You're gonna be ok." Emma told her, reaching across the short distance between them, lightly tucking some hair behind the elegant shell of Regina's ear.
When there was no response, Emma shifted onto her back, folding her hands over her stomach as staring up at the ceiling.
"Hold. Me." Regina voiced between breaths.
Emma scooted closer, carefully pushing her arm under Regina's shoulders again and pulling her against herself. The fire in Regina's skin seeping into Emma through the blanket encircling her as the brunette curled instinctively into the blondes side. Emma softly taking Regina's arm and pulling it over her stomach, smiling as she felt Regina latch on to her.
Placing another tentative kiss on top of Regina's sweat soaked hair, Emma let her eyes drift shut.
Emma awoke an unknown amount of time later to Regina violently shivering. The fever engulfing Regina had grown. Emma could feel the rise in temperature as Regina clung to her painfully.
"Regina." Emma shook her. No response. "REGINA!" Emma sat up, pulling the slighter woman with her, looking down into wide brown eyes staring back at her; petrified and indignant.
"Jesus Regina, you're burning up!" Emma presser her hand to Regina's cheek, frowning.
"bathtub." Regina's voice was surprisingly coherent. Emma just nodded and pulled her closer as she scooted off the bed, effortlessly lifting Regina as she made a mad dash to the bathroom, not noticing the blanket left behind.
Setting Regina in the large tub, the cold porcelain causing her to hiss as her skin ached. "Sorry." Emma said affectionately as she turned the faucet on, frantically adjusting the water till it was just tepid enough to ease Regina's fever, and not cause too much pain. It was only when Emma began scooping water into her hands and pouring it over Regina's skin that she noticed the brunette was naked, and once again, unconscious. Emma gulped, trying to ignore the flawless body laying in the slowly filling tub.
Turning off the water, Emma noticed Regina's skin returning to a somewhat normal shade, except for her face, that is. Her eyes sunken and dark, contrasted drastically with washed out cheeks and white lips.
Emma let the woman soak, making sure she didn't drowned for about 10 minutes as she could tell it was helping suppress the fever raging in Regina's veins.
Emma pulled the drain plug free, letting the water drain almost twice as fast as it had filled. She smoothed the pad of her thumb of Regina's chin and neck, feeling relief flood her as the touch seemed to sooth, rather than pain.
Quickly grabbing a towel and draping it over Regina, she lifted the woman with one arm and continued drying her. Emma's clothes splotched with wetness, sticking to her awkwardly. She ignored it.
"Thank. You." Regina whispered into Emma's neck as Emma finished drying her and threw the towel onto the side of the tub.
Emma's arm was looped around Regina's waist, holding her up. Regina's face lay on her shoulder, turned towards her neck. Hot breath caressing the sensitive skin of Emma's throat. "your welcome." Emma said with a diminutive smile playing at her lips. Twisting confidently, Emma pulled Regina up into her arms, leaving the bathroom, straight for Regina's room.
She didn't bother laying Regina down. She didn't bother with the blanket. Emma climbed onto the bed, making her way to the center, on her knees. Regina cradled securely in her arms as she lowered herself down, assuming their previous position.
Emma could clearly tell Regina's fever was significantly lower. Her breathing was easier and her shivers had almost disappeared. Emma pulling the blanket back around Regina's nude body.
"Regina?" Emma's breath making Regina's hair to dance as she spoke into it.
"Mmm?" Regina hummed sleepily.
"Thank you." Emma closed her eyes, leaning her head against Regina's damp locks.
"For what, Dear?" Regina's tone had regained some of its richness.
Emma grinned at the classic Regina phrase.
"For letting me take care of you." Emma tugged Regina closer. "And for this." Emma nudged at Regina's forehead with her nose, cause Regina to look up at her through half lidded questioning eyes. Emma said nothing, as she leaned down, pressing her lips to Regina's in an innocent kiss. Emma's soft, cool mouth comforting Regina's chapped and burning lips. The brunette didn't pull away, or make any more to retaliate. She did, however, press her lips more passionately into Emma's as she gripped at Emma's body with fever weakened arms.
When they eased apart, Regina sighed. "It's about time, Sheriff." She teased, though her weariness evident.
Emma's grin spread across her face, lighting her eyes and making them shimmer a deep emerald green.
"Go to sleep, Madam Mayor." Emma chuckled, pressing her lips to Regina's nose before laying back down. Regina resting her lay her head on Emma's chest, listening to the rhythmic lullaby of Emma's heart beat.
"Be here when I wake up?" Regina asked as sleep over came her.
"Every time." Emma murmured as she hugged Regina to her and drifted into a soporific sleep.