The Fragility of Losing Someone – Chapter 9

A/N: This story is finally finished! I'm super chuffed with it, even though I originally planned it to be far longer. I hope you've enjoyed reading, and that this final chapter will round it off nicely. I'd like to thank all the followers, and reviewers who have made me want to write and finish this! If you want to see some more of my writing, my new fic Paint You Wings is (slowly) being updated. Anyway, thank you, and I hope you enjoy this! It is rather short, but I really wanted to wrap it all up neatly, and with some fluff!

It is interesting how people come together through pain, through a mutual panic and imminent destruction to their lives. The force pushing people to come together in dire need perhaps as well saved Storybrooke, along with the renewed Mayor stepping forward and risking her life against everyone's assumptions.

Yet more so, this coming together showed most prominently in the Mayor and the Sheriff. Now united, the days of shouting and pushing each other's buttons have long ended, instead replaced with a mutual pride in each other.

"Seriously Ruby, stop gawking and get back to tidying up!" Granny scolded as she tried to pull her away from the couple sitting in the now clean corner of the diner.

The town was still in shock, not just from the town's devastation, but also at the clear affection and love that shone between the eyes of Regina Mills and Emma Swan. As Henry ran back to see if his grandmother had been vanquished, he had been expecting the worst. But seeing his mothers in a passionate embrace, he knew that all was well, if not a little unexpected.

The pair were now sitting, huddled together in their black clothes. Cora's funeral was today. Against many people's wishes, Regina had wanted her mother to be buried properly in her family vault. Regardless of the angry outcries of the town council, the united front of the Mayor and the Sheriff forced them down and the brunette got her wish.

Ruby decided to forget pleasantries and instead decided to face the elephant in the room head on. No-one had outwardly asked the pair if they were now dating, but Ruby thought it was silly that people were being so shrewd about the fact.

Coughing expectantly, the Mayor raised her head to see the usually bright looking girl looking instead slightly nervous and flustered.

Regina straightened her face into the porcelain statue of the Mayor, hiding the emotion she felt wash through her from her mother's funeral.

"Yes, Miss Lucas?" the older woman asked. She winced as she felt a foot jab into her calf, the offending boot in possession of the blonde sitting across from her.

Ruby smiled at the expression on the brunette's face. It was definitely one of annoyance, but there was a far more playful tone to the expression than she usually saw.

"Are you two, ya know, together?" Ruby asked, "Because the whole towns been gossiping and no-one has the balls to ask either of you."

The quirky young woman expected a bollocking from the Mayor, or at least a harsh speaking to. What she didn't expect was to see a small blush cross the usually tanned face. Emma's reaction was far less subtle, instead she spluttered her usual hot chocolate all over the table from a cough, rushing hastily to wipe it off the marble surfaces.

"Our private life is none of your business, Miss Lucas," Regina's voice still tinted with authority, "nor is it the towns."

"Oh my god, Regina," Emma called out, "Get off your high horse and just admit it!"

The blonde reached over the other side of the table, entwining the Mayor's slender digits with her own. She ignored the small, undignified squeak that came from the older woman's throat, and the threatening stare that shone through those bright brown eyes.

"Yes, Ruby. We are in a relationship. Regina just hasn't got the balls to admit she's gay…"

"Emma- ," Regina started.

"Yada, yada, yada," Emma muttered on, "I know. You're not gay. It's just me, I get it."

The sheriff smiled up at Ruby, winking at her. The waitress enjoyed the careful banter between the pair; banter she never thought she'd see.

"Well, I'm glad for both of you," Ruby grinned, "You've definitely got a catch there, Em."

Regina coughed awkwardly, staring at Ruby expectantly, waiting for her to leave.

"I'll grab you another hot chocolate, after you made such a mess of your last one…"

"The first proper day out since this all happened, and we get hounded by the worst gossip in town…" Regina sighed, holding the diner door open for Emma to walk through.

Emma laughed, "Ruby isn't that bad. She's just not scared of you."

The pair fell into a comfortable step next to each other. They both wanted to survey the damage, yet they'd been so caught up in funeral arrangements and each other, they had not managed to until now, two weeks on.

Emma subtly sneaked her arm into Regina's pulling her closer, battling against the fierce winds, "You know they're not going to go back to the Enchanted Forest?" Emma asked.

"Yes, I was there at the town meeting, remember? Or at least, we did that Slide thing."

"It's Skype, Regina," Emma corrected, "but I just thought it was a cool thing. I mean, this place means a lot to everyone, even if it was created in less than favourable circumstances…"

"I'm glad my curse was worthwhile. I'd hate for anyone to be disappointed by it," Regina replied sarcastically.

"Just because you think everyone should hate you, it doesn't mean they're going to do that."

"I've harmed people enough in my life, but that's all been wiped out after I faced my mother," Regina murmured, "I thought they knew it was all because of Henry, not for them or the town."

"What about me?" Emma smirked.

"Honestly, I never really realised I like you that much until you showed up like a knight in shining armour," Regina answered.

"Well, thanks…"

"Don't take it badly, dear. You've got to admit you weren't the nicest person to me over this last year."

Emma scoffed at the brunette's words. They were slowly walking up Mifflin Street, where the majority of the destruction had happened. Gold had later realised that this was where the portal had come through, destroying half of 108.

"Oh please. You were a right bitch before this all happened. I was just retaliating…"

"You cut down my apple tree. That was a bit extreme I'd say, just a few angry words would have done."

"You and your apple tree," Emma retorted, "It was just one branch."

"You had a chainsaw, Emma…"

"Fine. Call it unresolved sexual tension then," the blonde abruptly finished the conversation as they neared the spot still scared with Regina's blood from her mother's brutality of her wrist.

"Does it hurt?" Emma's voice was far softer as she glanced over to the brunette. She'd seen the woman subconsciously rub it all day, but she wasn't sure it was a reflex because of her mother, or that it still hurt her.

"It comes and goes. It hurts more when I think of her…" Regina hated being this fragile, but she had to admit that the whole ordeal had taken a lot out of her. She was finally free from the restraints of her mother. All that was left was the angry red marks of 'weak' on the inside of her wrist. But that was minimal compared to what could have happened, if Emma hadn't turned up.

In those few moments with her mother's hand around her neck, she had accepted death, feeling the coldness sweep over her. She knew she had saved Henry, and to some extent Emma and the whole town, from the darkness that surrounded her heart. It was her that after all put them all in this town.

"You need to stop beating yourself up about everything," Emma said as she wrapped her arms around the brunette. She knew she was still healing, both physically and emotionally from that day two weeks ago, and that involved a lot of self-hatred.

"I should be locked up."

"You should have a statue and a golden plaque with your name in it, Regina…"

"I put them all in this town."

"And look what they've done in return .They love this town, this stupid little town that gripped me by the heart unlike no other place before. They're staying, building it back up again and they've decided you should run it. It's their home now, our home." Emma squeezed Regina's waist, snuggling into the curve of her neck.

"Are you sure that 'unresolved sexual tension' didn't grip you by the heart instead?" Regina laughed.

"Shut up…"