"I don't know if she's awake yet, okay kid? We're just going to go in, have a look and then we might have to let your mom sleep for a bit longer."
"Because of the headache she had?" Henry asked, his worried eyes glancing up at her as she walked down the hospital corridor beside him.
"It's probably a concussion right?"
Emma nodded. Smart kid.
They reached the door one of the nurses had indicated and Emma took a quiet breath before closing her hand around the doorknob and pushing it open. Henry rushed past her in the blink of an eye and she stumbled forward and into the room.
Henry hurried over to the bed where Regina was pushing herself up into a sitting position. Her hair was disheveled and she was wearing one of the light blue hospital gowns. White dressing was placed on the gash on her forehead and Emma winced at the sight. Regina pushed the hospital blanket down to her waist and smiled at Henry.
"How are you dear?"
"I'm fine, but what about you? What did the doctors say? Do you have a concussion?"
Regina raised her eyebrows and looked over at Emma who only shrugged. "Yes, I hit my head harder than I first thought, but there is nothing to worry about. I'm going to have to stay until tomorrow, just to be sure, and then we'll go home, okay?"
Regina pulled Henry to her so that he was sitting on the bed, his head resting on her shoulder.
"Okay. Can I stay with Emma until then?"
Regina looked down at Henry and pressed a quick kiss against the side of his head. "If Miss Swan agrees."
"Sure, yeah, I mean it's not like I have anything else to do."
Emma had been released from the hospital two hours after Regina had been wheeled away by Whale. She'd simply taken Regina's car to drive straight to Kathryn and Henry to tell them what was going on. Henry had insisted that he wanted to be there when Regina was done with whatever examinations she had to undergo and they'd gone right back to the hospital together. Even though it had taken several more hours until they were allowed to see Regina they'd stuck around waiting for Whale to tell them any details.
"How did you get in here? I thought visiting hours were over," Regina said, glancing from Henry to Emma.
"I managed to convince the nurse that the mayor's family should be allowed to go in whenever they want, you know position of power and all that."
Emma smirked but realized what she'd said after a moment and cleared her throat.
"I mean Henry should be allowed to see you whenever, and since I happened to be there…," she trailed off and shrugged awkwardly.
Regina regarded her for a moment, her eyes narrowing slightly before she hugged Henry closer to her and gestured for Emma to take a seat.
Emma dragged one of the chairs closer to the bed and grimaced as she lowered herself to sit.
"What about you? What did Whale say?" Regina asked, slightly inclining her head.
Emma smiled and held up her thumb. "I'm okay. My ribs are just bruised, it'll heal in time. My knee got a little scraped, other than that I'm good as new."
"I'm happy to hear it."
"Yeah, I'd be happier if you could say the same."
"I suppose your head is just harder than mine."
Emma chuckled and leaned back in the chair. She watched Regina and Henry as they talked quietly, reassuring each other that they were alright and everything would be fine. Henry didn't seem too deterred by what had happened because he was already babbling about the next time they could go riding again. Emma wasn't going to get back onto a horse anytime soon and if it was up to her she would keep Regina and Henry from them too. But then again they loved riding and nothing would probably stop them from going back.
Henry's stomach grumbled quietly and Regina smiled at him. "Have you had dinner yet?"
He shook his head and his grumbling belly agreed.
"It's already past dinner time but I'm sure Miss Swan will take care of it."
Henry turned to look at Emma. "Can you make lasagna?"
"Ground beef –"
"No I can't," Emma interrupted, "I'm total klutz in the kitchen kid and last time I tried making something I actually set the pan on fire. I didn't even know pans could burn like that. How about Granny's instead?"
"That would certainly be the safer option," Regina commented, "I'd prefer if you didn't endanger my son's life by trying to make food that is most likely going to taste abhorrent."
Emma sucked in an offended breath and rose from her chair. She tossed her hair back over her shoulder and crossed her arms in front of her chest.
"Who says it would taste bad when I managed to make it?"
"Granny's is fine," Henry said, looking from Emma to Regina.
Regina was the one to look away first and she smiled at Henry as he jumped down from the bed. "Enjoy your dinner then, and I will see you tomorrow as soon as I can get out of here."
Henry hugged her tightly before scurrying to the door and out into the hallway.
"You took my car?" Regina asked quietly.
Emma nodded. "Is that okay? I mean I wanted to get to Henry as soon I could –"
"It's fine, keep it until tomorrow."
"Are you sure?"
"I wouldn't have said to keep it if I wasn't," Regina replied with a small smirk.
Emma cleared her throat and stepped closer to the bed. She leaned down toward Regina who moved away from her.
"What are you doing?"
Emma grimaced, still standing awkwardly bent over the side of the bed.
"I was trying to say goodbye," she mumbled and shook her head. She retreated and shoved her hands into the pockets of her jacket. Before she could get too far away, Regina grabbed a hold of the front of her jacket and pulled her back down. She pressed her lips against the corner of Emma's mouth and smiled.
"Goodbye Miss Swan."
Emma felt heat spreading along her neck and she tried to hide her pleased smile by pressing her lips firmly together.
She turned on her heel and walked out of the room, hurrying after Henry.
Henry was happy enough with dinner at Granny's but Emma wasn't hungry at all. The pain killers were making her feel a little nauseated and she was just picking at her sandwich disinterestedly. It occurred to her halfway through the dinner that she was going to have to sleep on Regina's couch because Henry could hardly share her bed at the Bed and Breakfast.
The last time she'd been in the huge house she'd felt completely out of her element and waiting for Regina to come home and find her watching a movie with Henry had turned the entire thing into an ordeal. Thankfully Regina hadn't seemed too angry. But she would be when Emma kept encroaching on her space.
She liked to think that they had a kind of truce. Regina had agreed to have an actual date and that moment at the hospital had to mean something. It did to Emma.
After Henry had slurped his hot cocoa for dessert, she drove them to the house and Henry whipped out his keys to let them in. He hurried up the stairs without taking off his shoes and Emma stared shocked. What if Regina found dirt on her floor after Emma had spent a single night in her immaculately clean house? That wouldn't do. So she took off her boots and hung her jacket into the wardrobe before following Henry to the upper level, glancing down to see if there were any stains.
She exhaled quietly as she reached the top of the stairs. She looked down the hallway, concluding that the half open door must lead to Henry's room. She found him sitting on his bed, thankfully without shoes, rifling through his backpack.
"Hey, everything okay? Just wanted to let you know that I'll be downstairs if you need me."
"Okay, do you want to sleep in the guest room?" Henry asked, looking up.
"No, don't worry about it. I'll just stay in the living room."
"Alright, I'll go to bed in a bit."
"Do you need me to like tuck you in or something?" Emma asked, still standing in the doorway, fidgeting with her hands. She'd never been in a situation like this and she wasn't entirely sure what was expected of her.
Henry smirked. "No. Mom still comes up to tell me goodnight every day but I'm old enough to get ready by myself Emma."
"Just making sure, well then goodnight kid."
Emma smiled at Henry and then quietly turned around.
"Mom will be okay right?"
Emma stepped back into the room and nodded with a smile. "Of course, you know how she wouldn't ever let anything get her down. She'll be back tomorrow."
Henry seemed satisfied with that answer and Emma left the room. She glanced at the closed doors of the hallway before sneaking back downstairs. She had no idea why she was trying to be quiet but she had the feeling that noise would disturb the silent atmosphere of the house.
Emma went to the living and sat down on the plush black couch, successfully fighting the urge to explore more of Regina's home. She flipped the television on and just let the noise of some odd show envelop her. She was exhausted from the day she'd had and the pain meds were doing the rest.
The next thing she knew was Henry poking her shoulder, his face closer to hers than she'd anticipated. He grinned at her and she flopped around the couch until she sat up with a groan, carefully resting a hand against her side.
"What? What time is it?"
"It's six thirty," Henry announced, still in his PJs.
"Then why in the world are you up?"
Emma was still having a hard time making sense of the thoughts in her head. It took her a moment to remember that she'd fallen asleep on Regina's couch. The TV was still on.
"I have school, you have to take me."
"No in like half an hour. I'll just have cereal for breakfast and get ready."
"Okay, alright, yes I'll be ready too," Emma mumbled.
The sleep haze was still too thick for her to make sense of much, but she realized that she had about thirty minutes to get her act together and bring Henry to school. Why hadn't anyone told her about this?
She slowly got up from the couch and attempted to raise her arms above her head to get rid of the kinks in her neck and back but she was stopped mid-movement by a piercing pain in her side. She let her arms fall to her sides again and rolled her shoulders instead. This was not going to be a good day.
After getting a little freshened up in the downstairs bathroom, Emma joined Henry for breakfast in the kitchen. She didn't want to use Regina's fancy looking coffee machine and opted for getting a coffee from Granny's later instead. She wasn't much of a coffee person, at least not when she got enough sleep, but some days she just couldn't go without.
Henry was chatting about the project that was going on at school, successfully distracting himself and Emma from the fact that Regina was still in the hospital. By herself. Emma's stomach did an odd flip at the thought. She hated hospitals and knowing that Regina had to stay overnight without anyone to keep her company made her feel slightly panicked even though she wasn't the one forced to stay there.
"I'll go see your mom after I drop you off," Emma announced and Henry raised an eyebrow, reminding her so much of his mother.
"I don't think they have visiting hours yet."
"But that didn't stop us yesterday did it?"
"Right. I'm glad you're gonna be with her."
Emma swallowed at Henry's statement and raked a hand through her hair. "Yeah?"
"So she has some company you know."
"Sure, of course."
It occurred to Emma that she had no idea where exactly Henry's school was as she backed out of Regina's driveway. He had to direct her through Storybrooke until she stopped in front of a large two-story building. Emma clambered out of the car when Henry got out and hurried over to two kids, a boy and a girl, that seemed to be siblings.
"Have a good day," she called after him and sighed as he waved at her before following his friends into the building.
"Good morning," a quiet voice said from beside Emma and she jumped back against her car.
A pixie-haired woman glanced at her with wide eyes. "I'm so sorry I didn't mean to startle you. I just wanted to say hello."
Emma took a quiet breath and forced a small smile onto her face. "It's okay, don't worry."
"Good. I'm Mary-Margaret Blanchard, Henry's teacher," she said, holding a hand out to Emma who shook it briefly.
"Nice to meet you, I'm Emma."
"So, I saw you brought Henry to school today," Mary-Margaret said slowly, looking around as if he expected Regina to pop up out of nowhere, "and I couldn't help but notice that this is quite unusual. Madame Mayor always takes Henry to school."
Emma raised her eyebrows and fingered her car keys. "Well, she couldn't this morning so I took care of it."
Mary-Margaret blushed and ducked her head, turning away as the bell chimed.
"Good, that's good. I have to go. It was nice meeting you Emma."
"Yeah, you too," Emma said as she watched Mary-Margaret hurry off and into the school building.
Emma shrugged and walked back to her car. It probably looked strange to the citizens of a town this small that someone other than Regina took Henry to school, in her absence no less, but Emma hardly cared about what these people were thinking. All that mattered was that Henry was alright and that Regina wanted her to stay.
On her way to the hospital she stopped at Granny's to get her coffee. She pointedly avoided making small talk with Ruby, claiming that she had somewhere important to be. Ruby shot her an amused look and remained silent. Instead she added an extra shot of vanilla flavor to her coffee. Emma ignored it, assuming that she'd confused her order, and paid.
Back in the car she downed a couple of pain killers with a sip of water from a bottle she found under her seat, wincing at the taste. Her side was feeling sore. The pain made every movement unpleasant but it was dull enough for her to mostly ignore. She'd hardly had any problems with it before falling off the horse, but now it would take even longer for her bruised ribs to heal. Emma sighed. At least Regina had prevented anything worse from happening to her, risking her own health in the rescue attempt.
With the pain killers numbing the ache in her side even further, Emma drove straight to the hospital without taking a sip of her coffee. Instead she took it with her into the building.
There was absolutely no nurse to be seen and no one attempted to stop her on her way through the corridors. She made it to Regina's room and knocked quietly. Maybe Regina was still sleeping since it was fairly early.
A muffled "Come in," sounded from inside. Emma slowly pushed the door open and stepped into the room, a smile on her face.
Regina sat propped up in bed, a slight scowl on her face.
"I see you once again managed to bypass the regulations pertaining visiting hours."
Emma immediately froze on her way over to the bed and frowned. "I can come back later if you want…?"
"No, that's fine. I've been waiting for Whale to show his face here to finally discharge me, but I was told that he wouldn't be in until after lunch."
"Can't you just leave?"
"A nurse informed me that there are some tests I was supposed to get done. To make sure I am really in the shape to leave."
Emma nodded as she walked over to the chair and sat down, leaning forward and watching Regina. She looked tired, her hair was tousled from sleep and without any make-up the dark circles under her eyes were clearly visible.
"How was your night?"
"As good as you would expect it to be with the smells and sounds here," Regina answered with a sigh, "I wish I could leave."
"Yeah I can imagine," Emma said and took a sip from her coffee she was still holding.
Regina turned her head and looked at the cup. "Is that vanilla?"
Emma raised her eyebrows and nodded. She held the cup out to Regina. "Would you like some?"
Regina crinkled her nose but grabbed the offered cup and took a sip. She sighed quietly and closed her eyes.
"Wait, are you allowed to have coffee?"
"Why wouldn't I be?"
"I don't know, some medical thing."
"I'm fine Emma."
Emma smiled at the way Regina said her name and leaned back in her chair, leaving the coffee to Regina.
"So how did Henry's and your evening go? I forgot to mention the spare bedroom, I'm sure Henry showed you."
"Yeah he said something about that," Emma answered slowly. Regina didn't have to know that she'd slept on the couch. Her neck was still aching from the awkward position.
"And we did alright. Had dinner at Granny's and he did everything else, getting ready for bed and all that."
Regina nodded to herself and took another sip of the coffee. Her shoulders were tense and Emma was sure she was not entirely comfortable with the idea of her being alone with Henry. But she obviously trusted Emma and it was a strange feeling to know that Regina had enough confidence in her to let her take care of Henry for a night.
"Did you take him to school?"
"Yep, on time."
"I wasn't thinking clearly yesterday, I should've asked Kathryn to take him for the night and not burden you with all that."
Emma scrunched her brows and shook her head. "What? No. I like spending time with Henry, he's a really bright kid, everyone would be happy to be around him."
Regina raised the coffee cup back to her lips and Emma saw her hand trembling ever so slightly. She didn't hesitate and got up from her chair to move over and perch on the side of the bed. Regina glanced up at her, lowering her cup to rest against her thigh.
"I know why you're scared," Emma said quietly.
Regina sucked in a quick breath, her eyes widened and almost every drop of blood drained from her face. She looked like she was on the verge of passing out.
"Hey, it's okay, listen to me," Emma said, she scooted closer and rested her hand on Regina's blanket-covered thigh next to the coffee cup, "you worry about Henry. He is your son, your everything, I can see that, and I know you don't want to introduce anyone into his life who will eventually leave him. But I didn't stay because I want to break his little heart, I would never do that. Even if I left town, I would still stay in contact, visit. It's not like I would just disappear one day, I promise."
Regina was taking a couple of deep breaths, her eyes searching Emma's face for several seconds, before a small smile settled on her lips.
"Thank you. For saying that."
"I don't want you to worry. And I won't just leave."
Regina reached around Emma to put the coffee cup down on the small bedside table and then scooted to the side, looking at her with an unsure expression.
"Would you just… stay for a moment?"
"Of course, I mean I can wait until you get discharged and take you to your house," Emma answered with a small nod.
Regina smirked and shook her head.
"Thank you, but I meant," she glanced down at the space between them, "here."
Emma immediately felt warmth spreading across her neck and smiled sheepishly. She shrugged out of her leather jacket and tossed it over to the chair where it landed with a dull thud. She moved to sit back against the headboard, shoes resting on top of the blanket. Regina hesitantly moved closer until she could rest her head against Emma's shoulder. Emma delighted in the feeling of having Regina so close. She reached around her body to wrap her into a light embrace. Regina moved so that she was pressed against her side, her breath tickling across Emma's collarbone.
Emma smiled and rested her cheek against silky black hair. This felt right. As unexpected as it had come, she knew this was something she'd never known where to look for.