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Lost and Found

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Ruby dropped Henry off at Emma's at three in the morning. She would have been willing to keep him overnight, but David had insisted he be brought home, so they drove over, still clad in pajamas and rubbing their eyes tiredly.

Ruby was not stupid; she knew something was wrong. So she was not surprised to open the door and find an ashen-face Emma, flanked by a puffy-eyed Charming. But where was Snow?!

Henry yawned as he stepped over the threshold, but he did not go to his room. "What's wrong?" Henry asked, throwing his backpack on the ground. "Did you stop her?"

"Yes, Henry, we did," Emma replied, with no trace of happiness in her voice.

"So why is everyone upset?"

"We'll tell you in the morning, kiddo. Just go get some sleep," said Charming.

"But – "

Emma gave him a look – one that even Ruby wouldn't have messed with – and he walked upstairs with his shoulders slumped.

As soon as he was out of hearing range, Ruby whispered, "Where's Mary Margaret?"

"She's - well - " Charming stuttered nervously.

"What?! She's not - "

"No, she's alive," Emma sighed, "but she's not really living."

"I don't understand." Ruby brushed past them and walked toward Mary Margaret's bed. She had mistaken her friend for a motionless lump for blankets from a distance, but now that she was closer, Ruby saw. But she did not want to see.

Mary Margaret was lying curled in a ball, staring up at the ceiling. Her red, puffy eyes rarely blinked, and she gave no indication that she knew her friend was standing at her bedside.

"Snow?" Ruby whispered hopefully.

"She won't talk," Emma said from the kitchen.

David sat down beside Mary Margaret and grabbed her hand, but she pulled it away. "Snow, you were just trying to protect your family," he said reasonably.

She turned to the side and looked at Ruby for the first time, her eyes boring deep into her heart, mumbling, "Go away ... and don't call me Snow."

Ruby finally became aware that she had not moved a muscle in the last minute, and she sadly turned away to when a cool hand grabbed her wrist. The leather of her jacket squeezed her skin as Ruby turned her head. "I wasn't talking to you."

Charming looked up awkwardly and said, "I'll leave you two alone. Emma, do you want to make sure Henry's all right?"

"Sure," she nodded, and the two walked upstairs.

They were alone now - just like it used to be all those years ago in the cabin. When it was only the two of them. Ruby could see that Mary Margaret's walls were breaking down like Red's had. She was blinking back tears now, her eyes glistening and wet.

Ruby tried to remember what Snow had always done for her on those nights when it was the worst, and she cautiously climbed onto the bed and lay beside Mary Margaret, wrapping her arms around her from behind. In less than a second, the brokenhearted teacher had turned and buried her face in Ruby's chest, beginning to sob uncontrollably.

Ruby rubbed circles gently on her back and held her tighter, kissing her forehead. "I don't know who I am anymore," Snow said through jumbled tears.

"What happened?" she asked, worry buried in every ounce of her voice.

Snow clutched at the lining of her jacket. "I did something - stupid - so stupid. ... And so evil." Ruby knew the feeling; she truly did. "I just feel so lost."

Ruby was fighting back her own tears now. It was the way Snow sounded, the way she talked; there was so much pain there now that had never been there before. There was so much regret. And it broke Ruby's heart that somewhere as pure as Snow believed herself to be so evil.

"Mary Margaret, do you remember when we used to live in that cabin?"

She nodded.

"Do you remember what you told me after I killed Peter? When I said that I didn't feel like myself anymore? When I said I felt like a monster? ... When I said I felt lost?"

She nodded, but Ruby said it anyway.

"You told me I was the kindest person you had ever known. You told me I was good, truly and wonderfully good, and that no one should tell me otherwise. ... And you told me about what you said to Charming - that you would always find him and he would always find you. So as long as you were together you would never feel lost."

"I remember."

"Well, Snow, you are the kindest person I have ever known. You are good, truly and wonderfully good, and no matter what you may have done, don't you ever believe otherwise. And all you need to do to feel found again is to be with that person you love."

Those last words were like vomit coming from her mouth. Because Ruby didn't want Snow to love Charming. She wanted the beautiful woman in her arms to look up into her eyes and kiss her instead.

Ruby had felt lost for 28 years, and now that Snow was back in her life, she had thought she would feel that sense of belonging again, but it was different now. They weren't alone anymore. Mary Margaret was married to David, and Snow was married to Charming. And nothing in the world would change that.

Sometimes, Ruby would get her hopes up. Like now - as Mary Margaret began to doze off in her arms, still crying quietly, but letting out slow, still breaths. It felt so right; it felt so perfect. Why couldn't it just stay this way forever?

"Ruby?" Mary Margaret mumbled, her voice muffled against Ruby's jacket.

"What is it, sweetheart?" Ruby brushed a few small strands of hair behind Snow's ear affectionately.

"Don't go."

"I will never go. I will never leave you."

"Ruby?"

"Hm?"

There was a long pause, but just before she fell asleep completely, wrapped up in Ruby's warmth, Mary Margaret whispered, in a voice that was barely audible, "I don't feel lost right now."