A/N: I've had this in my head since watching the episode last night, after the Snow/Emma hug especially. I'd love to see another emotional moment between them soon (AND SOME DADDY CHARMING TOO, PLEASE)
Disclaimer: Not my characters, just my words! Credit to the brilliantly evil minds of Kitsis and Horowitz.
Emma Swan couldn't fall asleep to save her life. She'd been lying there watching the ceiling fan spin around for the past hour (it made 150 rotations per minute), while her eleven-year old son was sleeping like a log beside her, snoring softly.
She couldn't stop thinking about August (or Pinocchio now, she guessed) and what, or who, he could've been trying to warn her about before he died and the Blue Fairy changed him back to a child. Something was wrong, she could feel it. And that wasn't the only thing on her mind; she couldn't stop thinking about the look on her mother's face when Geppetto confessed that the wardrobe had enough magic to transport two, and the broken sound of Snow's voice when she'd realized she could've gone with her. Emma didn't want to dwell on the what if's and could have been's. It was too painful. It was enough to know that her mother wanted to go with her, that she wanted her. It wouldn't do any of them any good to wish things could've gone differently because the past was over and done with. They were together now, and Emma was going to do everything in her power to make sure they were never apart again. She knew her parents felt the same, they'd shown her as much in just the short time they'd been together again.
When she still couldn't fall asleep, she swung her legs over the side of the bed with a resigned sigh and ran her hands through her hair. Maybe some warm milk would help. She crept down the stairs of the loft as quietly as she could manage, trying not to wake her sleeping parents. She tiptoed into the kitchen and flipped one of the smaller lamps on so she didn't shed too much light in the room and wake them up. As she was getting the milk out of the fridge, she heard a soft and tentative, "Emma?"
Not expecting anyone to have woken up, she jumped in surprise and hit her head on the fridge. "Ow," she grumbled, rubbing the spot on her head where she could feel a knot starting to form.
"Oh! Oh, Emma, I'm so sorry, I didn't mean to startle you!" Snow said a bit frantically as she rushed over to her daughter. "I just, I couldn't sleep either and I saw a light come on so I came to check it out and I'm so sorry! Let me get you some ice for that."
"It's fine, really, you don't have to-" Emma started.
"No, no, I do. Come on, sit down at the island and I'll get that ice for you." Snow insisted as she guided Emma to a chair and sat her down.
Emma knew there was no arguing with her, so she just sighed as she watched Snow grab a package of frozen peas from the freezer and a dish rag to wrap it in. Snow sat down in the chair opposite to Emma and winced as she took in the sight of the already visible knot on Emma's forehead.
"It's fine, I promise." Emma said.
"I know, I just feel bad. I'm sorry for startling you," Snow said as she pressed the peas lightly onto Emma's bump. Emma winced as she tried and failed not to let out a breath as the stinging cold package made contact with her skin.
"Sorry, sorry!" Snow said in a rush.
"It's okay, it just stings a little." Emma said, trying to placate her mother.
Snow frowned as she continued to apply pressure to Emma's forehead, and while she did, she ran her other hand down Emma's cheek and brushed a stray hair behind her ear. Emma caught her hand and squeezed as she asked, "Are you okay? You know, after what Geppetto said this afternoon about the wardrobe."
Snow's face crumpled a bit and she tried to reign in her emotions at her daughter's words. She contemplated them for a moment, then said "Yes and no." She lifted the peas from Emma's head and set them down on the counter as she took both of Emma's hands in her own. It was a testament to the progress of their relationship that Emma didn't flinch at the unexpected contact. Snow squeezed Emma's hands gently as she said, "Emma, I would have given anything to be able to go with you. I never, never wanted you to be alone." Both their eyes started to prick with unshed tears as Snow continued, "And I'm so, so sorry that you were. But I love you, and your father loves you and we have from the moment we knew you existed." A tear rolled down Emma's cheek and Snow wiped it away with the pad of her thumb as she smiled sadly. "Emma, my sweet girl, my beautiful, wonderful, amazing girl," she said as she cupped Emma's cheek in her hand, "You are never going to be alone again. We are never going to leave you."
Emma was crying freely now, something she realized she'd been doing far too much lately for her liking. She reached out to Snow like a lifeline, as her mother wrapped her arms around her and held her baby tight, rocking her side to side like she'd had so little chance to do. They stayed like that for a while, Snow running her hands gently over Emma's back. Eventually they parted, Emma blushing a bit at her emotional display. It seemed to her that Snow seemed to bring out that side of her quite a bit, and Emma was powerless against it. And, she was finding, she didn't mind at all.
Snow ran her fingers over the goose egg on Emma's head gingerly, and Emma winced a bit. Snow sighed and said, "We'll ice it some more in the morning, okay?"
"Okay," Emma replied. She turned to get the milk she'd came down for in the first place, pouring it in a mug and putting it in the microwave. She saw that Snow was still standing there, watching her with a conflicted look on her face. "What?" Emma said, her forehead scrunching in concern.
"Emma, I have to tell you something." She said in a rush.
"Okay…" Emma replied, plucking her mug from the microwave and sitting down cautiously.
Snow let out a breath, twisting her ring nervously on her finger. "I.. I went to see Regina the other day."
"YOU," Emma started, then lowered her voice, "You what?! Why would you do that?! She could have killed you!"
"I know, I know! Your father said the same thing when I told him earlier, and I know now it was stupid-" Snow said, but Emma interrupted.
"You're damn right it was stupid!" she exclaimed.
"It was. It was a mistake; I went because I thought if she killed me, it'd all be over. The pain, the guilt. The regret. I deserved it. But when she ripped my heart out-"
"SHE WHAT?!" Emma exclaimed, immediately rushing to her mother and placing her hand on her chest, sighing in relief when she felt the heartbeat underneath.
Snow grabbed Emma's hand and continued, "She showed me it had started to darken. When I slapped Geppetto today? Something's happening to me, Emma. And I don't know how to stop it."
Emma's features turned into pure determination and much like her father, she looked at Snow and said, "We'll find a way. Together. Because we're a family, right? You heard David. We don't have to go through it alone. And you won't."
Snow swept her daughter up in her arms again, and Emma murmured against her mother's shoulders, "You have one of the best hearts I know. If there's hope for anyone, it's you."
Snow squeezed her daughter tight, and Emma returned the hug.
"Now," Emma said. "It's getting late and we've had a really long day. We should probably try to sleep."
Snow chuckled, "Aren't I the one who's supposed to be telling you that?"
Emma smiled, "Maybe. But it's still true."
Snow sighed, "You're right." She ran her hand down Emma's arm and turned to walk back into the bedroom where David was sleeping.
"Hey," she heard Emma call out.
She turned to meet her daughter's gaze.
"It's all going to be okay, you know." Emma said with a determined look on her face.
"Oh, sweetheart." Snow said, smiling softly. "I know."
Emma nodded, "Good."
Snow smiled. "Goodnight, Emma."
"Goodnight," Emma replied. "And don't even think about sneaking off and battling Regina or anything, okay? I still need my mom."
Snow felt like she was going to burst. With a teary smile, she nodded hard at her daughter, her baby girl. "Okay," she said.