Emma remained in the hospital for nearly a week under the vigilant eye of Dr. Whale. They monitored Emma's brain activity, her motor skills, her memory, and her incision. The practitioner was reluctant to discharge his patient, but under the circumstances- Emma being the wife of his boss- he conceded. The only agreement was that Emma stay on bed rest, something the rest of the family had no objections to. Regina even revoked Emma's shield for the time being.
Emma thought that she'd only been out for a day. When Regina informed her she'd been unconscious for just under a week, the blonde had never felt guiltier. She'd left her family for a week, and she didn't even know it. The blonde begged her wife and children to forgive her, spent everyone moment trying to make up for what happened. Her kids didn't hold a grudge against their mother, they were just happy to have her home. Except for Regina. She was still pissed at Emma for the stunt she pulled. The couple hadn't been able to talk much about it, until Emma called a family meeting.
Everyone gathered in the living room of the Swan-Mills household. Normally, Emma would have stood in front of the family, but she followed Regina's orders and sat on the couch. In a strange way, it made her feel inferior to those around her.
Once everyone was there, Emma started her story. "I know this'll sound crazy, but when I was... out... I saw Neal." The only one to gasp was Snow, as the rest of the family had better poker faces.
"You saw Dad?" Henry asked, always the believer.
Emma nodded, "I... I dunno what happened. I was by the water and he just came up to me. He said when bodies die, spirits go somewhere else."
"But you weren't dead," David clarified.
"I know, but he was. He said he was my 'spirit guide.' The only way I could have gotten back home... was to understand why I was there in the first place," Emma explained. The memories were still fresh, as if they'd just happened the day before.
"And did you?" Regina wondered curiously.
"Eventually, yeah, but... Ok, before I got back... King George was there." Now everyone had different reactions. "I don't know why Storybrooke would be his favorite place, but there was something going on."
"Are you sure it was him?" David asked sharply. He didn't let Emma answer before slamming his hand into the wall. "That son-of-a-bitch!"
"Guys, he knew about Cora and Pan," Emma continued.
"Everyone knows about Cora and Pan," Snow piped. She stood with one hand over her heart and the other resting across her stomach.
"No, Mom, he knew. He also knew Regina's magic didn't work against Cora. I think there's more to that. Look, all I know is, something's not right. He said we tipped the balance of good and evil. We never found out why Cora and Pan wanted Henry, and while we can guess all we want, there's a real reason out there. There's a reason King George came back, and there's a reason I got shot." Emma scanned the room for a response.
"It doesn't make sense, Emma," Snow chirped. "Cora killed Pan. I doubt those were in any orders."
"We can't know that," Emma countered.
"I dunno, Ma. She looked pretty in control to me," Henry said. "Didn't seem like someone had told her to do anything."
Emma listened to the thoughts of her family, and while they made sense, there was still something off about this whole thing. "Listen, someone or something is out there. These guys weren't working on their own. They were working for someone."
That night, Emma and Regina tucked all of their children into bed, said goodbye to Maya and Henry and wished them safe travels, and strolled into their room. Emma had only been home for a few days, and she never wanted to leave again. Hospital beds weren't exactly the most comfortable to sleep on.
Regina had said little to Emma during their nights together. It wasn't because she didn't want to, but because she knew if she started, she'd never stop. It was hard enough knowing Emma had died, but now she knew her entire family was in danger yet again. They could never just have time for themselves.
Emma was laying on her side, watching Regina read her book. The brunette's glasses rested on the bridge of her nose, and Emma thought it was the cutest thing. She pawed at Regina's arm in hopes that her wife would finally break her silence.
"Gina? Can you talk to me?" Emma begged. She knew Regina had been angry with her, and she understood, but Emma had also been feeling things- things she wanted to tell her partner. "Regina, please?"
Regina sighed tiredly and removed her glasses. She closed her book with a loud thud and tossed it onto the bed stand. She did not, however, look at Emma. "What would you like to discuss?" she asked curtly.
Emma hated it when Regina talked like a politician, especially when it was to her. "Gina, I'm sorry. How many times do I have to say it?"
"What exactly are you apologizing for, Emma? Not listening to me and letting David take care of it? Taking a bullet without thinking? Going into a coma and abandoning us? Breaking your promise? Gallivanting in some other realm with Neal? What part are you sorry for?"
"Ok, fine, I deserve that. But what was I supposed to do, let my father die?"
"Of course not! Neither of you should have died!" Regina snapped.
"And I'm here now, so talk to me," Emma pleaded. "Just say it."
"How I hurt you. How I almost left you alone. How angry you are at me. Tell me."
Regina narrowed her eyes at Emma and tightened her jaw. "I'm not doing this right now," she said as she jumped out of their bed.
Even in recovery, Emma was quicker than Regina. The mayor was aiming for the door when the sheriff blocked her way. "No running. We can't run from this. Not this time."
"And you would know a lot about running away, wouldn't you?" Regina fumed. At this point, all sense of right and wrong had flown out of the window and all Regina was thinking about was those six days without Emma.
"I'm sorry," Emma repeated heavily. "I should have listened to you, Regina, but I didn't. You're right, I wasn't thinking. I made a snap decision and almost broke our family because of it. And I'm going to spend the rest of my life trying to make up for what I did! But you have to talk to me! We have to do this together!"
"Now you want to do things together?" Regina laughed in disgust. "You have no idea what you put all of us through, Emma Swan! These kids almost lost their mother! Your parents almost lost a daughter! And I..."
"You almost lost your wife," Emma finished Regina's sentence.
"No, not almost, you died, Emma! Do you understand! You died! Your body was freezing! Your lips were turning blue! I- I held you in my arms and begged you to come back!"
"And I did!" Emma cut in.
"It wasn't soon enough! It doesn't erase the other five days without you!" Regina was crying by now, her heart beating faster than ever. "Do you even know what happened? Did you know the first time I kissed you, you didn't wake up?"
"Because it wasn't anything magic could fix, Gina. I had to do it on my own."
Regina didn't care. Her anger was her driving force in this argument "Do you know how George died? I ripped out his heart, Emma! I killed him!"
"Which anyone else would have done," Emma said cooly. Henry had told her about George, and Emma had understood.
"But they didn't! I did it! And now? Now we have to worry about keeping our children safe again!" Regina fell to her knees, overwhelmed by her own emotions. Emma knelt down next to her and tried to wrap her arms around Regina, but her wife moved out of her grip. "No! You don't get to do that! You don't get to act like it'll all be better with a hug! You left me Emma!"
"I know!" Emma roared frustratedly. "I know what I did, Regina! If I could take it back, I would! You know I would! I told you I'd never leave you, and I mean it! But something happened- and neither of us could have controlled it! I'm here now, and I'm never leaving you again! I'll fight for us, Regina, because you are my life!"
"You can't promise something like that, Emma. You did that before and this still happened," Regina whimpered.
"I know, but I made it through, didn't I? I came back to you, right?" Regina nodded slowly and wiped the tears from her cheeks.
There was a gentle rapping at the door and Regina hastily cleaned her face, "Come in."
Dani peeked her head in and wore a worried expression. "Moms?"
Regina helped Emma off of the floor and held onto her hand. "Yes, dear?" the brunette asked.
"Are... you guys ok?" Dani wondered. "The kids... they're kinda scared."
"Scared? We're fine, baby girl. Just... working some stuff out," Emma assured.
Dani nodded, though she didn't look convinced. "You're not, like, splitting up are you?"
Regina's heart skipped at beat at the innocent, yet loaded question. "Not a chance," Emma cut in. "Your mom and I are stuck together like glue," she smiled.
"Good," Dani sighed. She shuffled into the room and gave both of her parents a hug. "Love you guys."
"We love you, too," Regina cooed.
The two women watched their eldest daughter exit the room before turning to one another. "Regina," Emma started. "I love you more than I could possibly explain. You and the kids are why I'm alive. I got scared, and it was stupid. I forgot how incredibly, extraordinarily lucky I am to have you, and I'm sorry. I would do anything to make it up for it. I was given a second chance... again. All I want is you, Gina. You're all I've ever wanted."
"Emma-" Regina couldn't finish as Emma was already kissing her. The blonde's hands caressed Regina's back as their noses brushed together. When they finally broke apart, Regina felt as though she could melt in Emma's arms. The two of them rested their foreheads against each other's and Regina felt the goosebumps rise on her neck. "Emma, I meant what I said: I can't live without you. I spent too much of my life alone, I can't do it again. The kids, they love you and they would fall apart without you. We all would. You... you mean the world to me. I don't- I can't lose you."
"You won't, Gina. I'm gonna fight whatever or whoever I have to, to keep us safe," Emma promised.
"We don't even know who that is. Pan was the home office, and he's gone now. Who else is there?" In the back of Regina's mind, she thought about her fear when she was pregnant with Faith: someone else from their past had come for them. Did all of the good Regina had done really make up for any of the bad?
"I don't know babe, but we're gonna figure it out. Between all of us, the whole family, we can do this." Emma kissed the top of Regina's nose and felt her wife's body heat wash over her.
"You know, sometimes the Savior needs saving of her own," Regina breathed. "Whatever happens, please, just come back to me."
A/N - I hope you all enjoyed this! I could give a boring explanation of what happened, or I could cut to the chase. Someone else wanted to know the motives of Cora and Pan, which is completely valid! They suggested having KG taunt Emma in limbo with a new, more powerful villain. I kinda snowballed it into all of them working together, as you can see. It was a great idea, and I loved the twist! So, while this is the end of "Come Back to Me," it's NOT the end of this new, mysterious antagonist. And, I haven't forgotten about Neal! Thanks to all of you who are following this story, and for the great reviews! And again, I'm truly sorry for all the botched chapters! I'm trying to get better! :-)