Ruth's Nostos

Disclaimer: I wish, but no, I don't own the characters/show.

Author's Note: A what-if thought I had that turned into fanfic. Enjoy.

"It took you long enough to get here, but I knew you would eventually."

The voice jerks Emma awake, her eyes darting as she quickly pushes herself up.

Wait, what? Where's here? A lake? The lake? But damn it they just got home!

"Where's Snow?! What have you done to her?!" she snaps, locating the owner of the voice as her hand reaches for the dagger still sheathed in her boot.

"Oh calm down, sweetheart, your mother is fine. As is my boy and yours. And all thanks to you I might add," the older woman before her just smiles, and there's something about that smile, something that makes her stop.

My boy…

No way, it couldn't be. Could it?

"Wait- Your boy…You mean David, don't you? But that makes you my-"

"Grandmother, yes," she nods.

She wants to believe she's just dreaming, that this can't be real, but after everything that's happened in the past few weeks suspending her disbelief has become an every day occurrence. This all could be some awful magic trick by Gold or whomever, but her superpower says otherwise. In fact it's all but screaming at her that this is legit. Which means that this woman really is her grandmother.

She'd made a point of reading Henry's book again since getting home, trying to fill in the gaps so she wouldn't have to ask stupid questions in the future regarding Storybrooke citizens' dual natures. But besides their roles in her parents' story her biological grandparents had featured very little. She'd just gone on assuming that unless their deaths were mentioned they'd all passed on. No need to ask her parents and bring up more painful memories.

But taking the time to really take this woman in, Emma realizes she's everything she ever thought a grandmother should be. A plump, inviting face, bright eyes twinkling through greying curls all wrapped in a simple white dress and shawl. The kind of grandma who would have spoiled her grandchildren rotten and told them every possible embarrassing story she had of their father when he was growing up. It stings more than she wants to admit that she never got to know this person, this part of her family.

"You're right. I was long gone by the time the Queen cast that awful curse."

Emma starts, how had she-

"It was written all over your face, my dear. Your father never could keep much from me and it appears he's passed that trait on to you."

She has to smirk at the amusement in the woman's voice, but the fact still remains-

"What am I doing here exactly? And why here? Why this stupid lake?"

"Why indeed," she nods, "Come, we have much to discuss."

The woman offers her hand easily, as if she assumes she'll take it, and before Emma realizes it her own hand is reaching out. The fingers that touch hers are calloused, and there's definitely strength in the arm that tugs her along to walk the edge of the lake.

"First off, you can call me Ruth. I know you've been having enough trouble with names lately and that one's easy to remember."

"Okay, Ruth," she nods, "What's up with the lake? I assume I'm in some kind of magic dream state?"

"In a way yes, your physical body is fast asleep on a couch back in Storybrooke. It's similar to a sleeping curse in that this is very real, but in your heart and soul only. Not just anyone can accomplish it."

"But how do you know all this if you died before I was born?"

"Because as you're starting to be aware, love is powerful magic. It can break any curse, any barrier, even death. This lake is where you became a possibility all those years ago. This is where I gave my life so that Snow could bear children again."

Now that definitely gets her attention. Maybe she could get to know this grandmother of hers after all.

"Tell me more."