Part 3

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

Ruth just smiles again.

"A griffin. Beak, paws, the whole bit. Its parents had been slaughtered, best as we could figure. Of course I wouldn't have it at first, cute as it was I knew it wouldn't be cute for long. But he flashed me those baby blues and I couldn't say no. His father had passed months before and I hadn't seen the light return in those eyes until then. Kept it in a shed he built himself, raised it to hunt for itself and stay away from the livestock. Best as we could understand that's why its parents died so he was determined not to see this little one suffer the same fate. And even as it grew stronger and bigger and I got so worried about him never once did your father shirk. 'We all need somebody, mother,' he told me once, and only then did I understand the size of my son's heart. Here was this creature, a monster by all human accounts, and he still accepted it, treated it like a brother. And once it was old enough he let it go, watched it fly into the sunset with a smile on his face. That's the kind of man your father is, Emma. I just want you to understand that about him if anything. He won't give up on you, no matter your past or people's preconceptions, you just need to give him that chance."

And for some reason, through Ruth's words it's easy to imagine her father doing such a thing, maybe because Henry would have too. Those two were more alike than she ever could have imagined. And the thought that this new David would care about what other's might have thought not worth it the effort warms her. The David she knew from before would never have had the guts, but this new man? How far a stretch would it be for him to care like that about her?

"I guess," she clears her throat, "I guess I can be more open to the possibilities. Two-way street and all."

Ruth smiles, taking her hand once more "That's all I ask. Now give your grandmother a hug, my time here is almost done."

"Done? But I thought-"

"All magic has its limits, Emma. I had to choose the time I took to speak with you wisely. Now I must move on. So come here."

Ruth pulls her in, and she hugs back, unable to stop the sense that once again time was not on her side.

"Now, now, child, don't fret. I may be gone from this place, but we're always connected. Please say hello to your dear father and mother and son for me, yes?" she pulls back smiling, reaching up to cradle Emma's face.

"You have her chin, but you most definitely have his eyes," Ruth smiles, and for some reason Emma finds herself fighting back tears.

"Hush now, it's alright. It was wonderful to finally meet you, Emma."

And just like that she's gone, vanished into thin air, and Emma wakes up with a start, still feeling Ruth's hands on her face as her vision adjusts to reveal the couch she'd called her bed for a few days now.

"Emma? Everything okay?" David's hushed voice calls from the kitchen, and she realizes the sun has just barely started to rise. Meaning it's early, far too early for her to be as awake as she feels.

Groaning she flops back down into the couch, and hears a chuckle.

"That good a dream, huh?"

And then it hits her. A dream. A lake. Ruth!

"You could say that yeah," she finally answers, rubbing her brow, before sitting up to eye her father.

"So why are you up so early?"

He starts, as if he'd expected her last answer to be the end of their conversation, and she realizes it normally would have been.

"Couldn't sleep," he shrugs, "Figured I'd get breakfast going. You like waffles?"

It's a simple question, but his eyes hold a wealth of such wonderings, and whether she was aware of it before she is now. He wants to get to know her, and she made a promise to somebody important that she'd give him the chance.

"Yeah, I like them," she nods, and he smiles like she just gave him exactly what he wanted for his birthday.

"Great! Try to catch a few more winks if you like, need some time to get the batter ready."

"Might go shower, actually. Not often I get the first crack at the hot water anymore," she smirks, still relishing the idea of indoor plumbing as she untangles herself from the blankets and gets up.

"Oh, and David?" she calls halfway to the bathroom.

"Yeah?" he asks, obviously still unused to her purposefully conversing with him.

"I'd like to hear more about that griffin you brought home sometime, Ruth wasn't big on the details."

God what Emma would give for a camera at that precise moment. She's never seen him look so stunned.

And finally letting her laughter out as she closes the bathroom door behind her, she swears she can almost hear Ruth laughing too.