Flu Love's Kiss 17
Epilogue 3 - Forever me and you
I can't believe I'm getting married, Emma thought giddily.
She was dressed already and standing in front of the full-length mirror taking in her own reflection. She wore ice white, a simple dress flowing in waves around her, and she'd let Mary Margaret do her make-up. Her hair was out in shining gold, tighter and smoother curls than usual. The woman in the mirror looked radiantly happy... and beautiful even.
She barely recognised herself.
I can't wait to see Regina.
The other bride-to-be was getting ready in another guest room at the far end of the hall. They weren't going along with many traditions today except that neither of them had seen each other since yesterday. They were holding the ceremony at home in the garden since the backyard at 108 was lush and green and in flower at this time of year and would easily accommodate what they wanted and the number of guests.
There was a knock on the door and a cheeky little face peeked around.
"Hey, Emma! Are you ready yet?" Henry smiled and came in to give her a looking over.
"Hi, kid," said Emma, running her hands down the lapels of his black tux. "Aw, you look handsome, little guy. All the girls at the reception are gonna fall for you."
"Emma," complained Henry, trying to wiggle away.
"No no, come here," Emma pulled him to sit down on the ottoman. "I want to tell you something ok?"
Henry waited patiently and she brushed his hair off his forehead.
"Thank you," said Emma with a soft smile. "Today wouldn't be happening if it wasn't for you. I know it was pretty rough and messed up last year but I'm so glad you came and got me. You brought me to your Mom."
Henry nodded proudly. "I did, didn't I?"
"Yeah, kid," Emma laughed. "No more running away though, alright?"
"I'm glad you came too," said Henry. "For me and Mom."
"She was kinda miserable huh," said Emma wryly.
"She smiles way more now."
"Yeah, and not just in the 'I'm plotting your demise' way either. By the way, kid, you've got chocolate on your face, what have you been into? Share."
The two of of them shared a grin of mischief until Mary Margaret appeared in the doorway and then joined them. Tears pricked the pixie-haired woman's eyes yet again upon seeing her daughter again. She clasped her hands together and there was a camera dangling around her wrist - no doubt the first memory card was half-full already.
"Oh, Emma!" she gasped.
"Really, Mom? You already saw me five minutes ago."
Mary Margaret pressed her hands to her lips. "But you look so-"
"- much less ratty than usual?" joked Emma, earning a light backhand slap on her bare shoulder for her trouble.
"Quiet. Or I'll tell your wife."
"Ooh I'm in trouble already," teased Emma. "But she's not my wife yet. There's still an hour left to escape."
"Are you nervous?" asked Mary Margaret, thinking back suddenly to her own wedding day.
"I thought I would be but I'm not. It's weird."
"Where is Mom?" Henry piped up.
Mary Margaret exchanged a look with Emma, trying not to appear worried by his question. "Ah, she's not in her room getting ready?"
Henry shook his head. "She's not there. I went in there before I came here."
Mary Margaret patted Emma's arm and then headed out of the room. "I'll go find her. I'm sure she's just-"
Emma bit her lip and called out. "Mary Margaret?"
Her mother paused in the doorway looking back and a silent communication passed between them.
"Of course." Mary Margaret nodded and left.
Mary Margaret went downstairs and then outside after checking every room in the house. She scanned a look around the backyard where the caterers were starting to set up and the chairs were lined in rows before an arbour of roses. Many of the guests were already there, standing around in groups, waiting for the time to pass until the ceremony would officially start.
She spied a familiar tall form in a black tuxedo and went over to tap her husband on the shoulder. "David, have you seen Regina anywhere?"
David stepped aside with her and spoke warily. "What do you mean. I thought the girls were supposed to be getting ready inside?"
Mary Margaret cringed. "She's not there. I've looked everywhere."
"Let's just-" David inhaled slowly, thinking how bad this appeared. "Let's have another look, ok? She's probably fixing up some last-minute detail or bullying the caterers or something."
They did end up finding her.
Mary Margaret and David went around the hidden side of the house where Regina was standing with her palm against the wall and holding her stomach with her other hand. She had her eyes closed, breathing hard like she couldn't get enough air.
"Regina? Is everything ok?" Mary Margaret said gently.
Regina jumped a mile in fright. She covered her face and groaned. "Not you two..."
"Just a little payback for gatecrashing our wedding," teased David lightly.
Regina gulped and laughed once without humour. "I'm relieved to see you without a sword then."
Mary Margaret shot her husband a look and he summed up the situation immediately.
"I'm just going to go... rescue something," said David, before returning to the backyard.
Mary Margaret went over to stand with Regina who was still avoiding her eyes shiftily and breathing rapidly like she was panicked.
"I know I'm last the person you probably want to see right now - or maybe ever- but I can get someone else for you? Do you want Emma?"
"No!" Regina said quickly. "I don't want to see her. I can't do this. I can't hurt her."
"I know you might think that everyone here is on Emma's side and no-one's here for you... but that's not true. You and I are family too."
"Yes, and look how well that turned out!" Regina said, sounding a little crazed.
"Today is about you and Emma," said Mary Margaret, gentle and kind but firm. "Emma is ready inside. She loves you and she can't wait to marry you... but she knew you'd be freaking out. She wouldn't want you to do this if you feel trapped, so if you've changed your mind I can make all this disappear ok?"
"No, no! It'd crush her."
"But what about you? What do you want?"
Regina looked like she wanted to be sick. "I don't want to get married again."
Because I couldn't escape. I lost everything. I couldn't leave. I couldn't be myself. Or think. Or breathe. Or live. Or love. I could barely move and time went so slowly and each painful breath was a reminder of Daniel and the loss. The dragging loneliness that never ended. No, that's not true, it did end. It ended with death.
"I can't hurt her."
Mary Margaret tilted her head sympathetically. "You will though. Emma will hurt you too. You will fight at times and annoy each other. But they will be small hurts compared to how much love and happiness you will have. Put your trust in Emma and she won't ever break her word."
Regina blinked like coming out of a fog. "No, she doesn't do that, does she."
"Mom! There you are!" Henry came running around the corner.
"Oh, Henry, look at you," Regina sighed lovingly, looking at her baby boy so grown-up in his little tuxedo.
"Emma said to give you this," Henry said shyly, placing a light object into her hand and then ran away again to find David.
Regina looked down at the object in her hand and felt her heart fill to capacity with love for Emma at the gift she'd sent:
Two dandelions tied with a strip of burlap.
"I don't care if we wear burlap sacks and carry dandelions... I just want you there next to me. That's what will make it perfect to me."
"Tell me my daughter did not send you a bouquet of weeds on your wedding day," said Mary Margaret wryly, half ready to march upstairs and give Emma a piece of her mind though the other half of her suspected there was more to it than there appeared.
Regina's lips twisted into a shaky smile. "No, it's perfect."
Emma was already waiting in front of the arbour when Regina appeared, seemingly taking forever and a day to join her at her side. Her mouth dropped open at the sight of her, hardly believing her eyes that she could actually look more beautiful than ever. She wore a crimson satin dress that set off her dark hair and perfectly matched the roses in the bouquet in Emma's hand.
"Sorry I'm late," said Regina.
"Always gotta make an entrance don't you?" said Emma, not even trying to contain her grin.
Regina snuck a glance sideways before turning her gaze forwards. The guests behind them were silent and waiting, though hardly noticed right now. Emma's parents and Henry were sitting in the front row.
"By the way, the first course is Honeycrisp appel salade," whispered Regina.
Emma scoffed in disbelief and murmured out the corner of her mouth. "Are you kidding? You know who's going to get the blame for that! Mary Margaret is going to kill me."
Regina whispered back. "Well, perhaps you should've paid attention to the menus. Or me, yesterday, when I drove a crate full of apples to the caterers' and I asked you to come with me but you said no."
"I was on a high score! Henry was goading me that I'd never overtake him, the little br-"
Doc broke in holding his notes for the ceremony. "Um, if you two ladies are finished talking perhaps we can start?"
Leroy laughed gruffly to himself nearby. "Ha, there won't be much time for talking later."
"Why?" said Henry innocently. "The party goes for ages."
Doc cleared his throat and began. "Welcome, family and friends. We are here to celebrate love. Love which is the thread that runs through life and organizes our large and sometimes unpredictable realms. It is the basis of family, and the greatest gift bestowed upon someone is that of love freely given by another person. In marriage, t-"
"Wait!" Emma interrupted. "This is wrong!"
She picked up the hem of her dress and quickly switched from being on Regina's right to her left.
"What?" Emma said awkwardly, feeling the stares upon her. "I have to be on your left!"
Emma took Regina's left hand in her right one, joining them in the same way they'd been stuck together when infected by Love Flu, the same hands they wore their rings on.
"We're not married yet, there's still time isn't there...?" teased Regina, as the guests chuckled in the background as well.
"Nope. Last chance to back out?" Emma whispered.
Regina didn't answer but met her eyes softly, knowing that Emma could feel her hand shaking with nerves. Almost imperceptibly, she shook her head sideways and smiled.
Doc started the ceremony again:
"In marriage, two people turn to each other to find a greater happiness than either can achieve alone. But it is not without risk and means nothing without a promise. It is risking who you are for the sake of who you can be together.
"The words we say today have no magical power. They are merely a reflection of what already exists in the hearts and minds of these two people: Emma and Regina..."
"Argh! I feel like I haven't seen you in hours," Emma complained, finally catching up to her wife before she could be whisked away by another guest.
"Emma, we've been married forty minutes," said Regina wryly.
"Yes, but people keep coming over to me and wanting to talk to me and stuff when all I want to do is be with you."
"People want to talk to you at your wedding? I'm shocked," she teased.
The wedding guests were milling around the dining tables that were set up in the garden, either talking to each other or taking photos as they waited to sit down for the meals. Each table was draped in white jacquard and decorated with crystal vases of crimson rose arrangements and petals strewn around, surrounded by chairs tied with wide ribbons.
"Hey, I've an idea-"
"Emma, there you are!" said Mary Margaret, appeared and pulling at her reluctant daughter's arm. "I need you."
"Why," Emma whined.
"There's someone I want to introduce you to and then I need a few more photos."
"How is it that there's people I don't know at my own wedding in a small town like Storybrooke? And didn't we just take a thousand photos?"
"It'll only take a second," said Mary Margaret to the resistant blonde. "Regina, can't you do something about your wife?"
"I have no control over her."
Emma laughed. "Hah! Well that's just not true. What about the other night when you wore that thing and used your-"
"EMMA! Come on," insisted Mary Margaret, sending Regina a suffering look.
"Nooo. Regina, do something," Emma pleaded.
Regina just smiled evilly and waved, watching her wife get dragged away. She spied Henry standing with Archie over near the wedding party's table and went to join them.
"Hi, sweetie." Regina smoothed Henry's hair down and laid her hand on his tux-clad shoulder.
She turned to Archie and greeted him. "Dr Hopper."
"Mom, where's Emma?" said Henry, looking around trying to locate her among the throng in the yard.
"I'd have thought it would take quite a lot to drag Emma away from you today, Regina," joked Archie.
"Yes," Regina returned in kind. "All the force of Mary Margaret actually."
Henry jumped up and ran away seeing them over the other side of the backyard. When he was gone, Archie regarded Regina through perceptive eyes.
"Congratulations on your marriage, Regina. You look beautiful," said Archie in his characteristic humble manner. "And happy."
"Thank you, but I-" Regina closed her eyes for a second. "I'm not sure I can- Dr Hopper, in a few weeks would you have some time available? For me."
"Of course. Anything you need."
Regina exhaled slowly and spoke almost to herself, thinking of the promises she'd just made to Emma. "I want to give this its best chance."
Henry came running back, out of breath and talking rapidly. "Mom Mom Mom."
"Henry," Regina chided in amusement. "Has Emma been letting you fill up on candy this morning?"
"Um no," said Henry, all innocence and cheeky smiles.
"I suppose I don't mind, since you are staying at your grandparents' for a week. They're the ones who will be dealing with this sugar-high later."
Henry nodded and scrunched his nose. "I know. They don't know the rules so I figure it'll be easy to get away with stuff."
"Mothers always know," said Emma's voice right near her ear, suddenly coming from behind Regina.
"Hey Archie. Hey kid." Emma greeted them. "Sorry but I need to borrow my wife for a minute."
Since the rest of the guests were taking their seats at the dining tables anyway, Emma and Regina went to sit at the wedding party's table. There was only Mary Margaret, David, and Henry supposed to be sitting there as well, since neither of the brides had any attendants. But they were alone for now.
"Finally I've got you to myself! You are so paying for that later, wife," said Emma cheekily.
"You like saying that don't you."
"I'm not sure what you mean, wife."
Regina rolled her eyes lightly. "What have I gotten myself into?"
"You could've gotten into me if it weren't for the fact that the meals are about to be served. We'd have had time too but no, you let me get abducted so now you'll just have to wait till tonight."
"Yes dear, I'm sure no-one would've noticed the sudden disappearance of both brides and suspected nothing."
Emma was just about to describe exactly what she should expect later when her parents and Henry joined the table.
David leaned over to kiss Regina's cheek lightly, at which she froze rigidly in shock. He placed a long velvet box in front of her.
"This is for you from both of us," said David, sitting back in his seat next to Mary Margaret. "I fully intend to embarrass Emma in my speech later but I thought I'd let you off the hook now."
"Open it, Mom!" said Henry excitedly.
"I-" The velvet box hinge cracked as Regina opened it and looked up at them with something between curiosity and disbelief.
"It was in my mother's family. One of the jewels that someone," David sent a sly glance sideways, "stole from me after ambushing my carriage. It's been passed down to a daughter or an eldest son's wife for a number of generations... until I found it in Mr Gold's shop, and now I'm giving it to you."
"B-but shouldn't it go to Emma?" stammered Regina weakly.
"We have some other things for Emma," Mary Margaret smiled. "This one is for our daughter-in-law."
Seeing as how Regina was actually speechless for once, Emma smiled happily at her bride and put her arm around her so she could kiss her cheek where a tear had escaped.
A waiter appeared holding several plates of the first course to interrupt the tender moment, smiling at the brides and their wedding party.
"Ok folks, are we ready to start here? Who likes apples?"
A/N: Thanks to those who supported this story along the way. I love everyone who read, followed, and reviewed! I love reading your comments and talking with you guys. I hope this satisfies your need for a happy ending? :) I hope you enjoyed the story as much as I enjoyed writing it. Originally I intended this to be a 3-4 chapter fluff piece to distract me from the angst of the show... and then my muse turned up and said, "Hey, how about a plot?"
But it's not over yet! There is a sequel to FLK coming soon, called Baby Fever, and it will not be exactly what you might be expecting ;). Pun oh-so-intended.
UPDATE: The sequel Baby Fever has now begun, see my profile for the link.