Originally I had written this story to be a one shot, but it kept nagging at me to write a bit more. I really wanted to explore Emma and Snow's relationship some more. I love the show and its characters. I hope I'm doing it justice with my story.
And without further ado, I give you:
Emma sat next to Mary Margaret on a log in the small clearing that would be tonight's campsite. Mary Margaret and Aurora chatted amiably while Mulan skinned a rabbit she had caught over by the fire. Emma was trying her best to sit still, but it was becoming more and more difficult. Her butt still hurt from earlier when Mary Margaret…
Emma shook her head slightly as if that would erase the painful memory from her mind and stood up. It took all of her self-control not to reach back and rub the moment she did.
Snow glanced sideways at her daughter, sensing that she was uncomfortable. When Emma stood, Snow looked at her questioningly.
"I'm gonna…go get some firewood," Emma said in reply to Mary Margaret's look. She took off towards the crop of trees to her right without looking back. She could hear Mary Margaret call after her, but she ignored her. She just needed to get away for a minute to be by herself and think.
Snow watched her daughter's retreating back and called after her. She didn't want her going off by herself. There were dangers in this world that Emma wasn't prepared for. And after the beanstalk incident, Snow didn't want to go very far from Emma's side. She didn't regret spanking Emma earlier—she felt it was more than justified after what Emma had done. Snow just wanted to impress upon her daughter just how serious she was about protecting her. Emma seemed to have handled it well. If anything, she was allowing Snow to be even more affectionate with her than she ever had before.
Snow sighed and stood to follow Emma, wanting to make sure she was alright. "I'll be back in a moment," she said to her companions before heading in the direction Emma ran off to.
Emma walked into the dense trees, but made sure not to go too far in. She didn't want to get lost and have Mary Margaret worry. She really did feel awful for making her worry before. Thinking back to earlier, Emma reached back and rubbed her bottom. She was lost in thought and didn't hear the cracking of branches.
"Emma, you shouldn't go off by yourself like that," Snow scolded gently as she reached the blonde.
Emma jumped and turned towards her mother, blushing as she quickly dropped her hands to her sides. Snow barely hid a smile as she watched her daughter jump and stop rubbing her tender bottom. It was just so child-like. Snow's heart ached, thinking of all the other things she had missed out on over the years.
Emma's heart thudded in her chest; her mother had scared her. And she was embarrassed to be caught rubbing her bottom like a little kid. Still, there was another part of her that secretly liked feeling like a kid for just a moment. She had always hoped and prayed that her parents would find her growing up and take her away. She had wanted so badly to be loved. She still wanted that more than anything.
Emma knew her mother loved her. She could see it in her eyes every time she looked over at the woman. She felt it every time Mary Margaret brushed her hand over Emma's arms or cupped her face. She heard it in her voice. But Emma was scared. She was used to closing up and keeping everyone at a distance. That had started to change when Henry came into her life, and when she moved to Storybrooke. It was the first place that had truly felt like home. She had become friends with Mary Margaret and had started to let her guard down. She loved her best friend, she really did…but now things were complicated. Her best friend was also her mother.
She also knew that Mary Margaret was still inside Snow…so why couldn't she just act normally around the woman? Emma was still resentful towards her parents for giving her up. Oh, she understood why they did it…she herself had given up Henry when he was a baby, to give him his best chance at a good life—the same as her own parents had done for her. He had accepted her back into his life no questions asked. But he was ten years old and his heart wasn't hardened like hers was. She really was trying…she saw the hurt in her mom's eyes when she pulled away.
"What are you thinking about?" Snow asked quietly. She wanted so much for her daughter to open up to her.
Emma looked at the brunette woman standing so close to her, looking at her tenderly, wanting nothing more than to take her pain away. She sighed loudly. "It's…complicated," she replied, and then snorted.
"I know…I know this is hard for you. I wish I could make it easier," Snow said, stepping closer to her child and reaching a hand out to cup her face.
"I'm sorry," Emma said, looking into Mary Margaret's kind green eyes. She saw the pain in her friend's eyes, and that brought tears to Emma's.
Snow immediately engulfed her daughter in a warm hug, rubbing her back soothingly. "What do you have to be sorry for, sweetheart? There's nothing to be sorry for. I didn't mean to upset you," she cooed. Emma buried her face in her mother's shoulder and cried.
"I-I-I…I'm sorry I'm n-not the daughter y-you want," Emma sobbed, completely breaking down. She knew this was it. Her wall she had spent all those years building up and fortifying was crumbling down around her. All the pain and sadness over never being able to grow up with a family, of not being loved, was pouring out of her along with the immense happiness of finally finding where she belonged. Her parents loved her and wanted her, her son wanted her…and she wanted them. She wanted her family, more than anything. She wanted to get home so she could begin her happily ever after.
"Hey, Emma, no. No no, sweetheart, you are perfect just the way you are. I love you, baby," Snow said, her heart breaking for her child. She wanted to cry along with her, but she kept her tears from forming, knowing that that would only hurt Emma more. She needed to be strong right now for her baby.
"I'm s-sorry I've been s-so cold and withdrawn. S-s-sorry I won't let you i-in. And I'm sorry I w-worried you and have h-h-hurt you. I never w-wanted to. I-I've been horrible to you s-since the Curse broke. I'm a h-horrible daughter," Emma continued as if she hadn't even heard her mother.
Snow pulled back so she could look into Emma's eyes. "Now you listen to me, young lady," she said sternly while wiping tears from Emma's face. "You are my daughter, and I love you more than anything else in this world. You are not horrible. You needed time, and it's ok that you did. I completely understand. I'm not going anywhere, baby. I'll be here for you always, and will never leave you again."
Snow took a moment to collect herself. She felt the tears welling up in her eyes. She gave Emma a watery smile that was full of love. "I'm the one that should be apologizing. I'm sorry that I wasn't able to be with you growing up. I'm sorry you had to go twenty-eight years not knowing where you were from or who your parents were. I'm sorry you grew up thinking we abandoned you and didn't love you. Your father and I love you very much, and we never wanted to leave you. But we had to, baby. We had to send you away, to give you your best chance at surviving. I am so proud of you Emma Ruth Swan, do you hear me? I'm proud to be your mother. I love you."
When Snow finished, she had tears falling freely from her eyes. She brushed them away and pulled Emma into another hug.
Her mother had said a lot of things to her just now, but the one thing Emma fixated on was her name. Her mother called her "Emma Ruth"…Emma never had a middle name growing up. The only reason child services had known her first name was because it was embroidered in her baby blanket. She was once told by her social worker, Ms. Kate, that they had decided to give her the surname "Swan" because she had pure white skin and was absolutely beautiful. They never bothered with a middle name though. She grew up wondering if her parents had ever given her one.
"R-Ruth?" she asked, holding tight to Mary Margaret. She needed to be held right now…and what's more, she found that for the first time, she didn't mind it.
"It was your grandmother's name. We wanted to name you after her because if it weren't for her, you wouldn't have been born," Snow said, pulling away slightly so she could kiss Emma's forehead.
"Oh," was all Emma said. It was all she could say. Her mind was trying to process everything that her mother had just said.
"Come on, Emma, we can talk more back at camp. I don't like being in the woods any longer than we have to," Snow said, stepping out of the hug and holding her hand out to her daughter. Emma took it and let her mother lead her back to the campsite.
Supper was a quiet affair. Mulan and Aurora sat a little away from mother and daughter, knowing that the two needed some privacy. Snow and Emma talked about home mostly. Snow watched Emma carefully. She noticed that she was still squirming every few minutes to try to find the most comfortable position. Her heart went out to her daughter. She also noticed that Emma was hardly eating and was practically falling asleep sitting up.
Carefully taking Emma's wooden bowl from her, she stood and helped Emma into a standing position as well. "Let's get you to bed, sweetheart," she said softly, wrapping her arm around her daughter's shoulders and steering her towards their tent. Emma simply let her mother guide her towards the tent and their makeshift bed. While they were at her parents' castle, they had grabbed whatever they could—blankets, bowls, water canteens, and anything else they thought would be helpful.
Snow watched as her daughter crawled onto the blankets and winced as she lay down. "Roll over on your stomach, silly. That way you won't have to put any pressure on your bottom," she said, trying to hide her smile.
"I wouldn't have to lay on my stomach if your hand wasn't so hard," Emma mumbled, but rolled over anyway. Her butt still hurt. What? Did her mother secretly have lead in her hand?
Snow didn't quite catch what Emma said, but she had a feeling it had something to do with the spanking she gave her earlier. Emma sounded like she was just poking fun though, so she ignored her and lay down on her side, propping her head on her hand so she could look at Emma still.
The two were silent for a few moments until Emma spoke up. "Mo—uh, Mary Margaret? I really am sorry I worried you today," she said, blushing at almost calling her mother "mom". She wasn't planning to, but it had just started to come out. She wasn't sure if she was quite ready for that yet. Letting her walls down today had been enough of a step for now.
Snow didn't miss the quick change from "mom" to "Mary Margaret". Her heart swelled, even if Emma didn't completely call her mom. It was more than she could even hope for in the moment. "It's all behind us, Emma," she said as she smiled warmly at her child.
"I won't worry you like that again. I promise," Emma said.
Snow laughed and raised her brow playfully. "You had better not if you ever want to sit comfortably again," she quipped, giving Emma a few light pats on her bottom for emphasis.
"Hush, Emma. It shouldn't be an issue because you just promised you wouldn't worry me again," Snow said, leaning over to kiss Emma's head. "Now close your eyes and get some sleep. I'll be right here."
"I'm not a child, Mary Margaret," Emma said, but did as she was told.
"You're my child," Snow replied. She rubbed Emma's back gently and began to sing.
When destiny calls you
You must be strong
I may not be with you
But you've got to hold on
They'll see in time
We'll show them together
'Cause you'll be in my heart
Believe me, you'll be in my heart
From this day on, now and forever more
Emma listened as her mother sang to her. She had a lovely voice. It was lulling her to sleep. She breathed deep and let it out slowly. She wished this moment would never end.
Snow lay down and wrapped her arm around Emma. She continued to sing as she felt her daughter relax into her. "I love you, Emma," she whispered.
"I love you too, Mommy," Emma mumbled, barely awake now. She was vaguely aware that her mother's singing stopped, but she was being held more tightly. Emma snuggled into the embrace. She fell asleep with a smile on her face, knowing that she was finally where she belonged: in her mother's arms.
Snow's heart almost stopped. She wasn't sure if she had imagined Emma's words or not. She stopped singing and looked at her daughter. She saw a faint smile play across Emma's lips before her daughter's breathing evened out and she was completely asleep. Tears rolling down her face, Snow stroked her daughter's hair and placed her lips to the top of her head. "Goodnight, sweet child," she said before drifting off to sleep herself.
Author's Note: I hope you all enjoyed this chapter! I hope I did the characters and the story justice. I really enjoyed writing about Snow and Emma's budding relationship and their feelings. This will be the end for this story, but I may make other OUAT stories in the future.
Oh, and the song that Snow sings is "You'll Be In My Heart" by Phil Collins (Tarzan, anyone?), but I used the Celtic Woman's version for inspiration (if you've never heard of them, look them up on YouTube! Awesome group!)