Green Looks Good On You: Chapter One
I don't own Once Upon A Time
Premise: What if Emma had noticed that Regina hadn't joined them at the diner after they returned from Fairy Tale Land? What if she had gone to find her? What if Cora had the same idea?
It was heaven to have Henry smile at him like that. It had been so long. She stroked his cheek gently, flushed from his pride in her, and hugged him to her tightly. She never wanted to let him go.
"Hey kid, you hungry?" Henry pulled away from Regina – reluctantly, but he still did. Regina's fingers cramped a little, twitching, hoping that his will still be in hers. But the space where his hand should be was achingly empty. She looked up; her reflexes were muted from the exhaustion of the day but she saw exactly why Henry was no longer with her. Emma wrapped him in a headlock and, grinning at the other woman, had tugged her son away. She had grinned – mocking her. Reinforcing exactly what it was she could never have. Regina just watched them leave.
"Congratulations," Gold, Rumple, whatever he wanted to call himself, said. "You've reunited mother and son. Maybe one day they'll even invite you to dinner."
She didn't bother to hide her tears because, really, what was the point? Emma had everything. Loving parents, loving son – her son – and loving friends. And what did she have? Certainly not love. No, not that. Just a burning in her lungs and her skin from where the green dust had settled. Itching. Demanding to be used.
She turned away. What was the point of hiding her tears? Well. That was easy. She still had a modicum of pride. She wouldn't break down in front of Rumple.
"Excuse me," she heard herself saying. "I have important matters to deal with at home." The excuse was pitiful but she used it anyway. She drew her coat tight around her waist and inclined her head very slightly to the man. "Good evening." She strode past him, shoulders back, chin high, every inch the queen she had once been. He didn't move to stop her. For that she was grateful because the moment she stepped from his store and saw the backs of the happy group, boisterous on their way to their victory dinner, the tears came in earnest and it was all she could do to force herself into her car and drive back to the mansion.
The tears were dropping fast by the time she pulled into her driveway, heavy fat droplets from her nose and chin. She brushed them brusquely from her cheeks, furious. What was wrong with her? She had better control over her emotions than this. She brought her hand up again to wipe the tears away but stopped. Her hand. She brought it closer, closer to her face, and her eyes widened. Just beneath her skin she could see the power, the green and very unnatural power, crackling away. And, though she usually despised the use of crass words or expletives, she thought one might do very well in this instance.
"Fuck." She leant heavily against the marble pillar of her entranceway and stared at her hand.
Across town, at Granny's, Emma was frowning into a cup of cocoa. The drink was just what she thought she needed after, well, after the adventure she'd had. Sugar, warmth, chocolate. What wasn't to like? But next to her, Henry was beaming and interrogating her for details and she really didn't want to tell him about anything. What could she tell him? That she'd been useless? That she had unwittingly brought ogres down on top of them and her mom had rescued her more times than she could count? That her dependable gun had failed her? Again. Or perhaps more gruesome details that no ten-year-old boy should hear – that she had handcuffed a man and left him to the mercy of a giant; that Aurora's heart had been taken and she had been under the control of their enemy; that Cora's hand had been in her chest and…tugged.
Emma found her right hand came up to her chest at that thought and pressed hard against the spot, waiting for the reassuring thump. When it came, she relaxed just a fraction.
"Mom?" Emma started, twisting her neck to look for Regina. She hadn't come over here to yell at Emma for telling Henry things that weren't PG-13, had she? But Emma couldn't see her. She looked at Henry, confused, only to realise that he was calling her that.
"Yeah kid? What is it?" Henry frowned at her.
"Are you okay?" Emma rested her elbow on the bar and her head on her hand. She smiled at him.
"Well, Henry," she said. "I'm a bit tired. It was tough in Fairy Tale Land. We fought ogres and I climbed a beanstalk and there was a giant and," Emma shook her head. "Honestly?" she said with a touch of exhaustion, "you would have done a lot better there than I did." She clapped him on the shoulder. "My gun didn't help very much," she confided in him. Henry grinned widely at that and hopped off his barstool to hug her around the waist again.
"I'm glad you're home." Emma closed her eyes against a sudden sting of tears and pressed a hand to his head, bending over to, very awkwardly, rest her cheek on the top of his head.
"Me too. Speaking of," she pulled away from him, "where is your mom?"
Emma glanced around the diner but it was abundantly clear from the room full of laughter and no signs of discomfort that the woman wasn't there. "Henry?" The boy shrugged. "Did she say she didn't want to come?" He wouldn't meet her eyes so Emma slid off her stool and crouched down. "Henry?"
"I…didn't invite her. I know that you invited everyone but," he looked away deliberately. "I didn't say anything to her." Emma sucked in a deep breath. "Do you think she hates me?" He asked in a very small voice and Emma was abruptly reminded that he was, despite his words and oddly mature mannerisms, only ten.
"No, Henry. I don't think she hates you." Emma cautiously smoothed his hair from his forehead. "But I do think she didn't realise she was invited. So I'm going to go and get her, okay?" Henry nodded. "Here." She pulled her cell phone – David, thankfully, had given it back to her when they spoke – from her pocket and handed it to her son. "I'll call you from your house or your Mom's phone and let you know what's going on. Maybe a text. If I don't call, don't worry. Your mom and I are probably just talking. Go home with Mary – Snow – and David and I'll see you in the morning. Got it?"
Henry smiled. "Got it."
"Okay. Good. See you soon." Emma stood and ruffled his hair before collecting her red jacket from the clothes hook by the door. She turned to wave at Henry one last time before hurrying out onto the street. Then she stopped. She glanced down the street, trying to spot familiar rusted yellow but it was nowhere in sight.
"Shit," she said. "No car." She felt around in her pockets. "And no keys. Great. Another win for the Saviour," she said bitterly. She looked up and down the road again, hoping a friendly character would give her a ride, but it was oddly quiet tonight, even for this small town. She huffed out a breath and shrugged. She'd done a tonne of walking in Fairy Tale Land. Why not walk a few streets more? She set off for the mayor's mansion, hugging her arms to her chest, and prayed that Regina wouldn't be too angry with her. Or blame her for not being invited, which, Emma admitted, was pretty likely.
Stay tuned for the next instalment in this story. I've only recently been introduced to Once Upon A Time and its wonderful fictions so bear with me as I muddle through this tale. Swan/Queen, of course. Also, perhaps a little Sleeping/Warrior and others. (I like Red/Beauty but I don't know whether I'll write it in…) Please review and let me know what you think. Happy reading, readers :)