A/N Just a small one-shot because I'm loving the Emma/Snow dynamic this season. Big spoilers for Episode 3 The Lady of the Lake.
One Right Move
Emma Swan couldn't remember the last time she had felt so small so many times in one day.
Living a life on her own had equipped her for the roughest, loneliest kind of life and she had lived it for so long that she couldn't remember anything else. She'd provided for herself, taken care of herself, defended herself for almost twenty-nine years.
But, ever since she'd become the hero and broken the curse...
Now, it was hard to remember the last time she had done something right.
Telling Cora about Henry had been imbecilic. She'd met the woman at the bottom of a pit. After barely knowing her two minutes, she was sharing details about her only son? She'd been around bad people long enough to know to watch what she said and even how she said it. And around evil people...? Well, the fact that Cora was Regina's mother should have been her first warning.
What had she been thinking?
But, that had been child's play compared to the whole ogre episode, when she'd nearly got herself killed. Mary...Snow...her mother had specifically said ogres hunted by sound. Yet, what had she done? Fired a gun in the middle of the forest! She might as well have set off firecrackers, strung up a welcome banner and fairy lights and served herself up on a platter.
She could still remember the foul stench of its breath blowing her backwards.
Then the ogre had copped an arrow to the eye.
Her mother had had to save her. That alone had stung. Hadn't she been the one who had taken care of Mary Margaret for the whole time they had known each other? But, to see her standing face to face with the ogre and practically roar at it to defend her daughter.
It was bewildering.
And the way she had gently admonished Emma had stung even more.
Next time, listen to me.
Ouch. It had hit her that she felt like a child who had disappointed her mother. And that wasn't even the end of it.
She'd been grossly underestimating everything basically since she'd arrived in the fairytale world (or was it the real world now?) Making stupid mistakes, unhelpful suggestions and ignorant comments. Mulan thought she was an idiot. Aurora stared daggers at her. Though Aurora seemed to stare daggers at everyone. And her mother? Well, she seemed to maintain that gentle tone of patience and sweet look of affection at Emma's every mistake.
I came here to be with you.
Emma thought it might be the look a mother would give her child. If she'd ever actually seen that look given to herself before.
Emma was confident she was turning the tide.
The overwhelming magnitude of standing in her nursery. The place where she was supposed to have grown up.
All fallen into ruins.
And finally, Emma had seen, in her mother's eyes, what it meant to stand in that room twenty-eight years after leaving it.
Her mother had not expected to return. Hoped, perhaps, but not expected. She had brought her baby into the world and then tucked her inside a wardrobe to send her to the other side of...somewhere.
And the sacrifice blew Emma away. And caused a multitude of feelings to crash on her like an avalanche.
She hadn't been able to not say something in the face of such selfless sacrifice. Of finally understanding that, at the end of all things, she, Emma, had been the first and only thing on her mother's mind.
Well, get used to it.
Now standing in her mother's arms, Emma squeezed her eyes shut and tightened her arms around Snow White.
Emma was glad of her confession. It was, perhaps, the biggest insight into her soul that she'd ever allowed anyone to see. It was freeing her heart piece by piece.
Finally, this felt like something she'd done right.