Henry smiled up at Kathryn as she regarded them with wide eyes.
"What happened to you?"
She reached forward and plucked some straw from beneath the collar of Regina's jacket. "Is…is that blood?"
Kathryn turned pale and gulped. She reached out a hand to steady herself against the doorframe, her gaze searching Henry quickly for any injuries. Regina tilted her head so that her hair hid the gash on her forehead.
"We had a small incident while we were out riding."
"My mom and Emma," Henry supplied, "Emma's horse got spooked by something and it took off and my mom raced after her and saved her."
Henry was bouncing excitedly on the balls of his feet by the time he had finished speaking. Kathryn raised her eyebrows and regarded Regina for a long moment.
"If you could watch Henry for a little bit? I just want to make sure that Miss Swan hasn't sustained any further injuries and I'll be back to pick him up."
"Sure, of course, Henry can stay as long as he wants. Just call me and let me know if everything is alright."
Kathryn briefly reached out and squeezed Regina's forearm. Regina smiled and nodded. She pulled Henry into a quick hug and walked back to the car parked in Kathryn's driveway.
Emma had her eyes closed, head tilted back while one hand was firmly planted against her side. Regina frowned as she settled behind the steering wheel.
"In how much pain are you?"
Emma opened her eyes and turned to look at her, she parted her lips to reply but Regina cut her off.
Emma huffed. "It hurts, pretty bad, and I admit that I'd appreciate some pain killers."
Regina nodded and started the car.
"How about you? The truth please."
Regina tilted her head to the side, eyebrow raised. "Everything feels slightly sore, but I'll be fine. The cut is just superficial and won't need stitches."
Emma hummed and closed her eyes again. She was silent during the rest of the ride. Meanwhile Regina was trying to ignore her pounding headache as best as she could, focusing on just getting to the hospital.
Once there Whale could take care of Emma and she could snatch some Aspirin before she went to get Henry. A nice long hot bath sounded like a heaven and her painfully quivering muscles agreed. She stopped in the parking lot before helping Emma out of the car. Together they made their way over to the entrance of the hospital. The automatic doors slid open without a sound and the nurse at the front desk immediately jumped up at the sight of them.
"Call for Whale and have someone bring a wheelchair."
The nurse nodded toward a young man in a blue scrub and snatched up a phone while Regina let go of Emma so that she could sit in one of the uncomfortable orange plastic chairs. Emma looked around with her lips pulled into a small frown before she gazed at Regina.
"So who's this Whale?"
"He's a doctor here and unfortunately the best we have. He'll determine whether you need to stay here for a while or can leave, assuming you don't have any internal injuries."
Emma's eyes widened. "Stay here? No, oh no. I'm perfectly fine really, I don't need to stay."
"That's not for you to decide."
"But… but I…," Emma began to protest, uncharacteristically fidgety.
Whale walked briskly toward them and eyed Emma up and down with a small smile before turning to Regina. "How may I be of service Madame Mayor?"
Regina frowned at Whale's blatant stare and crossed her arms in front of her chest. "Miss Swan here needs a thorough check-up. Her ribs are most likely bruised if not broken, her knee is scraped and you will make sure she does not have concussion before releasing her."
Whale raised an eyebrow at Emma and cocked his head to the side. "What exactly have you been doing?"
"Uh well –"
"Unless it is medically necessary, that's none of your concern," Regina interrupted just as a nurse brought a wheelchair over to them.
"I will leave you to it," Regina said.
She turned away from Whale and Emma, but fingers around her wrist stopped her. She looked down at the point of contact and followed along Emma's outstretched arm all the way up to her eyes.
"You need to get checked out as well, you fell and hit your head too. You were bleeding."
"I'm perfectly fine," she answered, irritably brushing her hair out of her face and flinching when she accidently tapped against the gash on her forehead.
"If you don't mind," Whale said and stepped closer to Regina.
She immediately leaned back, bringing as much as distance between them as she could. Whale only frowned and produced a small flashlight from his coat pocket which he shone into Regina's eyes, switching from one to the other. He squinted at the wound on her forehead before stepping back.
"I think you should get at least an MRI Madame Mayor, just to be on the safe side."
Regina narrowed her eyes and dragged her tongue across the inside of her cheek. Whale was probably making such a fuss because he was hoping for more funds flowing his way in the next term. She sighed.
"I'll arrange everything, it'll take only a few minutes," Whale said and wandered off.
Regina watched him go with another sigh. She didn't want to waste more time staying in the hospital when she could be heading back home by now. All she wanted was a bath and her bed, and a hug from her son.
"We'll need your insurance information," one of the nurses said to Emma who nodded.
She pulled her worn brown wallet out of a pocket of her jacket and fumbled around for several moments. A couple of small pieces of paper and a driver's license clattered to the floor as Emma pulled out her insurance card.
"Shit," she mumbled and moved forward to pick everything up.
Regina was quicker and simply crouched down to collect the mess. She froze mid-movement when she reached for a slip of paper. Her brow furrowed when she discovered her own handwriting. She picked it up and unfolded it. A small gasp escaped her lips.
It was the note she'd written that morning she'd left Emma in the hotel room. She slowly looked up at Emma who stared back at her wide-eyed. They were silent for several seconds until the nurse cleared her throat. Emma handed her the insurance paper without looking at her, eyes still fixed on Regina.
"You kept it."
Regina handed all the papers back to Emma and straightened. She closed her eyes and raised her fingers to her temples to massage them carefully. She wasn't in the condition to deal with something like that. The headache was getting worse and she could barely concentrate on anything besides the heavy pounding in her head. She opened her eyes and looked at Emma.
Emma's hands were limply resting on her thighs, her gaze fixed onto something on the floor. Regina sat down in the chair next to her and reached out to tap the tip of her index finger under Emma's chin to turn her head. Blonde hair spilled across her shoulder as she tilted her head to look at Regina.
Regina smiled and let her hand drop to cover the one on Emma's thigh. "I regret the way I left."
Emma gave her a sad smile. "Me too."
"But I have Henry to consider, and I usually don't do anything… like that. Ever."
"Neither do I, and I know, I get it. You're a mom, an amazing one at that, and you're the mayor, which probably comes with a mountain of responsibility. And a reputation. I understand why you don't want me here."
"It's true that I didn't think it was a good idea that you stayed in Storybrooke at first, but…," Regina trailed off, unsure what exactly she was trying to say.
"But I still owe you a date, and you'll have to delay your departure until that is settled. I do not remain in anyone's debt."
A beautiful smile spread across Emma's face as she nodded slowly. "With my car broke and a date in the not too distant future I guess Storybrooke will have me for a little while longer."
Finally feeling like she had done something right, Regina returned the smile. She looked up when a nurse approached them but she just couldn't remember if it was the same one she'd spoken to before.
"Everything is ready. If you get into the wheelchair I'll take you to the examination room, and Madame Mayor if you could follow Jackson over there, he'll take you to the MRI," the nurse said.
Regina was still regarding her with scrunched brows. She couldn't for the life of her remember how the nurse to whom Emma had given her insurance papers looked like.
"You okay?" Emma asked quietly and Regina immediately nodded.
She got up from the chair and smoothed down the front of her jacket. "Yes, I will see you in a bit."
She looked briefly at Emma and turned to walk over to the young man who gestured with his hand for her to take the lead down the corridor. She'd forgotten his name.
She silently went through the motions as she was prepared for the MRI and then had to lay still for a certain amount of time so that they could do whatever these people did when they looked at pictures of her brain.
By the time they were done and she was allowed to go back to the waiting room she knew something wasn't right. She couldn't remember which of Emma's legs had gotten injured and the nurses were all starting to look the same. She never paid much attention to people unless they had some relevance, but that didn't mean she didn't remember their faces.
"Where's Whale?" Regina asked the woman at the front desk.
She looked up at with a little fear glistening in her eyes at Regina's tone. "He's in the examination room with Miss Swan."
"Number three, but you can't go in there."
Regina didn't even wait for the woman to finish speaking, she simply stalked down the corridor and entered the room without as much as a knock. The sight on the other side of the door startled her into immobility for several seconds. Emma and Whale were both staring at her. Emma had stripped down to a black bra and gray boy shorts so Whale could examine her injuries. Regina's eyes briefly traveled over Emma's body, the dark bruises on her side, down to her knee. It was the left one.
"Madame Mayor this is a medical examination, I must ask you to leave."
"A word Whale, now."
He sighed and handed Emma a blue hospital gown.
"I'll be right back."
"Okay," Emma answered slowly, moving to cover herself with the flimsy gown.
Regina stepped out of the room and blinked. She felt lightheaded and swayed right where she stood. She pressed the palm of her hand against her brow and turned around to Whale who was closing the door behind him.
"What was so important that couldn't –"
He was interrupted by Regina stumbling forward and into him. He rested his hands on her shoulders and steadied her.
"Madame Mayor, are you feeling dizzy? Nauseated?"
Regina was having a hard time focusing. "I can't remember… what is going on? Something is wrong."
She started to blink her eyes more rapidly to clear away the darkness encroaching on her vision from every side.
"I need a cot here, right now," Whale yelled as Regina reached out a hand to steady herself against the wall.
"You think you can stand?" Whale asked, moving to walk down the corridor since nobody seemed to have heard his call.
"Of course," Regina hissed.
As soon as Whale let go of her to sprint down the hallway she tilted forward. The door in front of her opened and Emma appeared dressed in that ridiculous hospital gown.
"Regina, what's going on?"
She tried to answer, she was sure she could explain that she wasn't feeling well and just needed to sit down for a moment and everything would be just fine, but instead of speaking actual words she groaned quietly as her headache became so painful that her legs gave out. Surprisingly strong arms wrapped around her and slowly lowered her to the ground. She was cradled against Emma, her head resting against the crook of Emma's neck. For a moment the headache seemed less intense.
"God Regina," Emma said, her breath ghosting across the top of Regina's head.
"It's just a headache," she said quietly and felt Emma chuckle, Regina's cheek bumping against her chest.
"Yeah I don't think so. Next time just let my ass drop off the horse by itself okay?"
Regina smiled and closed her eyes. Emma's proximity was helping the pounding pain in her temples. The familiar scent was calming and her heartbeat slowed, ceasing to sound like an entire drum set inside of her skull.
"Alright, let's get you up and on that nice cot Whale has hauled over here," Emma murmured and shifted Regina in her arms to better support her weight.
"I am very well capable of getting up myself," Regina protested but held on to Emma as she got to her feet. Emma only smiled and assisted her in getting up and onto the cot. The world was spinning around her. The white lamps on the ceiling dimmed and brightened in rhythm with her pounding headache until Emma's face appeared in her line of sight. Her brows were drawn and she bit down on her bottom lip for a moment.
"You need to get better okay? I'll be here when they're done with you."
She then leaned down and pressed her lips against the corner of Regina's mouth. Regina reached up and cupped Emma's cheek in her palm. She didn't care that probably half of the hospital staff was watching.
Emma smiled and turned her head so she could press her lips against Regina's palm, cradling the hand in her own. "Just be okay."
Emma let go of Regina stepped back, allowing a nurse to push the cot away and down the corridor. Regina kept watching the lamps on the ceiling as they flickered by.
She had absolutely no idea how she was going get rid of Emma Swan without breaking her own damn heart along the way.