The last thing she expected when they left Storybrooke a good two hours ago was for her daughter to hug her as soon as she saw her, but here they are now, in the hallway, David carrying the bags behind her and Emma hugging her so tight Snow starts to feel the pressure to her ribs.
But she doesn't back away and doesn't push Emma away. Instead she lets her daughter take as much comfort as she can and, she'll never dare say it out loud, enjoy Emma's hug because they are far and few between. Snow knows that Emma is easier to open up to David than to her and sometimes she misses the months they spent as best friends. Not today though. Today her daughter needs her mother and a mother she will be.
"I'm sorry," Emma, wiping tears away with the back of her hand, apologizes and Snow shakes her head.
"Why? It seems that hug was exactly what you needed," she smiles while her knees feel ready to give up; Henry's voice getting closer and louder. Fast, so Henry won't listen, she whispers. "And so did I."
Emma smiles, a small broken smile that makes Snow want to take her daughter in her arms again and never let her go, but at the same time it makes her feel uncomfortable, knowing that she put her own needs above everyone's. "She's not going to bite you, you know. She's…" she stops and Snow feels a sharp pain in her heart watching her daughter look up in an attempt to hold back her tears. "She just woke up actually, we had a small incident earlier, Henry freaked out, of course he did, he shouldn't see…"
"Emma," Snow says because Emma is mumbling stuff she can't understand.
"..So we came home and I put Regina to bed, it's ridiculous how fast she gets tired, ten minutes of walking can leave her breathless and in need of a nap-"
"Emma!" David says her name again and this time it does the trick, she stops, right when Henry appears at the door.
"Granma! Granps! You're here!"
Henry hugs first her and then David and it's as if Emma snaps and sees her father standing there for the first time and shyly she gives him a quick hug, her attention elsewhere.
"Regina? You're okay?" Emma asks and, Snow observes, in heartbeats both her daughter and grandson's bodies tense. "Regina?"
It's almost unbelievable how they all, as if they were one person, don't move or talk, until they hear the soft reply from inside the apartment.
"Let me help you with that," Henry takes one bag from David and they finally step inside.
When Henry was fourteen and for about six months he was crazy about hockey. He made Regina buy him expensive ice skates and stick while Emma bought him a vintage tee from his favourite team, Montreal Canadians because he liked the red and the blue, despite being a Bruins fan herself. They had work out a schedule to drive him to practice and Emma joked with Regina that they were raising a jock, when Henry quit from the team without a warning. Much later they found out that Henry's new found love for hockey was because he wanted to charm a girl, but he didn't like the sport and was so bad the coach cheered with relief when Henry told him it's his last day.
Regina is wearing that t-shirt now and it's as big on her as it was on Henry when Emma bought it for him.
It's the first time Snow sees her after that day at the hospital and she doesn't know what to do or what to feel. Her first instinct is to go there and hug Regina, something she wasn't able to do for so long now and she misses it. Even when Emma was dating Regina, Snow and Regina's relationship still had ups and downs. And while they had a lot of one on ones, hugging was out of the question. Regina allowed small touching, but it was pretty clear that it was all that could tolerate.
There are days that Snow is…was, is jealous of Henry and Emma for being able to put their arms around Regina and give her a hug because it's the one thing she wants, but can't.
"Can I…can I hug her?" She asks all hope, but Emma shakes her head crushing Snow's hope.
"Better not. She gets a little nervous around people she doesn't kno-doesn't remember and she had an incident earlier so you know."
Snow doesn't know, but nods anyway. It doesn't escape the fact that Emma, twice now, said something about an "incident", but looking at the woman sitting on the couch she can't tell what exactly is wrong with her. Sure, she looks a bit groggy, but that could be normal if she just woke up. Still Snow can't help but ask, "What kind of incident?"
"Later," is all Emma says, walks to the couch and sits next to Regina, and Snow gets the message that it's something Emma doesn't want to talk with Henry on the room. Then she points at David and Snow. "Look Regina, Mary Margaret and David. They came all the way from Storybrooke just to see you."
"I'm glad you came," Henry whispers at her before he disappears with their bags to one of the rooms. "Since Granps and Granma are here, I'm getting online, okay?"
"Snow?" Her husband asks and she doesn't know how he does it, how he says only her name, but means so much.
"I'm fine, David."
"No one will blame you if you need some time."
She shakes her head. "I had plenty of time. I'm fine." But she's still standing there watching from a safe distance.
David says nothing, but gives her a gentle kiss on the forehead for support.
"I'm ready," and this time she is.
She smiles when she sits on the opposite side of Regina. The chair is a dark green color and had seen better days, but it's all Emma could afford on such a short notice. She had only days to furnish the apartment and couldn't be picky about the furniture. The chairs and the couch don't match and the coffee table is far too short to be comfortable.
The couch her daughter and Regina are sitting is a creamy white and there's a small hole on the inside of the left armrest and suddenly she realizes that most of the things in the apartment are either from IKEA or from a second hand store. A crazy thought cross her mind and she thinks Emma capable of doing it, perhaps a few pieces of the furniture came from a dumpster? She'll ask Emma later. Or maybe she will not. She likes the chair she's sitting.
"Hi," she says softly and waits, but for what she doesn't know.
Regina looks at her, then at David serving himself a cup of coffee, before resting her head to Emma's shoulder.
"Waking up takes some time," Emma informs Snow. "The meds she takes don't help either."
"I-" Snow doesn't know what to say. There are so many things she wants to ask she doesn't know where to start. Finally she decides to state the obvious. "You look better since the last time I saw you, Regina."
When Regina looks at her it's nothing like she's used to. Snow is used to death stares and snarky comments and even, although not as often as Snow would like, a smile. She sees nothing of those things in Regina's eyes. She could always see Regina's emotion in her eyes, emotion she didn't want to see and things she never thought she'd see again, and right now the eyes that stare back at her are without any emotion.
"She's getting better," Emma answers for Regina and Snow feels relief that she doesn't have to look at Regina's eyes anymore. "Slowly, but she's making a lot of progress. "
"Yep," Emma continues and Snow smiles again before asking.
"You said something about an "incident", didn't you?"
"Yeah," Emma looks away and Snow follows her daughter's gaze; Henry is lying on the bed with his laptop on and wearing headphones, door wide open in case something happens. When he looks at them, surprised to see them staring at him, Snow smiles once more. "She had a complex partial earlier."
Snow has read books and went online to find out more about Regina's condition, but she read about someone else's life and someone else's seizures. Hearing Emma talk about a seizure almost makes her want to take the car keys and drive all the way back to Storybrooke when Regina lifts her head and looks up at Emma, and Emma looks back at her with so much love that makes Snow finally feel that here is where she suppose to be.
"You have nothing to apologize for," Emma's voice is soft, but Snow can hear the emotion in her voice; Emma is almost to her breaking point and it's all Snow's fault. She was selfish, thinking about her own feelings and how she couldn't cope seeing Regina like this. Right now she can't stand watching Emma like this.
"I scared him."
Henry. Of course. That explains why Henry was so glad to see them and how fast he ran to hide behind a computer screen. Like his moms, like both his moms, Henry likes to withdraw to himself. Snow has no doubt that if Regina was healthy and they were back at Storybrooke that door would be tight shut.
"Yes, you did."
Snow didn't expect Emma to be so forward with Regina, but perhaps that's exactly what Regina needs. They don't know how much Regina remembers from her past life, but she always had trouble trusting people, Snow knows that. Emma telling her the truth, as hard as it is, will help Regina trust her faster.
"He's alright," Emma takes Regina's hand to hers and squeezes it softly. "He needs to know what to do next time you have a seizure."
Regina looks down and Snow finally figures out why Regina's behavior seems off. It's not only Regina's eyes that are blank, but her face is stripped from all emotions. Regina was always very expressive, using her voice and her body to express feelings, but now, watching her closely, her face shows no emotion.
Snow's eyes widen and she opens her mouth to say something, but one look from Emma stops her.
"She doesn't know," Emma says eating a chopped carrot.
David is on babysitting duty, watching Henry and Regina play with kinetic sand, an excellent way to improve Regina's motor skills as well as her hand's strength. Prince Charming was rather impressed with this new sand and wanted to know how it worked so it was up to Snow and Emma to make dinner.
When Emma took two soup cans from the cabinet Snow rolled her eyes and went to see if she could find enough ingredients to make homemade soup. Five minutes later all she had in front of her was a couple of carrots, six small potatoes, celery, and four onions. Snow told Emma to start chopping while she had sent Henry to buy a chicken for the soup. Twenty minutes later the soup was halfway done and they were having a cup of cocoa.
"It's hard for him. He wanted a kiss from his mother and a reassurance that everything is going to be okay and she can't give either to him."
Snow takes a sip of her drink and watches her husband and grandson. Regina is making something with the sand and Henry is watching her closely. Snow hadn't seen him sit so close to either of his moms in years. "Still thinks it's his fault?"
Emma gives her a half smile and it's all the answers Snow needs.
"What her doctors say?"
"Her doctors say she's a miracle." She takes a sip and whiles her lips with her fingers before she continues. "The one patient no one expects to live let alone go home."
"But she's getting better, right?"
"Yeah." Emma looks down to her drink. "Yeah."
Despite Emma's objections, Snow asks Regina to help her serve the soup. It's a simple task, but Emma is hovering around in a not so subtle way and Snow holds the bowls while praying she won't get second degree burns. She should have listened to Emma, but David and Henry set the table, Emma and her cooked, and she didn't want Regina to feel left out.
"You got this," Emma says to Regina and Snow smiles encouraging to the other woman.
It takes almost ten minutes, but no one gets burned and all five bowls are full with steamy soup. Henry sits next to his mom and, after Emma whispers something to his ear, David takes the other seat next to Regina leaving Snow and Emma to sit at the opposite side of the table.
Snow raises her glass. "To family."
Emma groans and David has an amused look, but when Regina raises her glass with ashaky hand to a toast they all follow.