I don’t own anything from the OUAT
The cave was cold, even with the small fire they had going it still felt like she was freezing. Emma curled her knees to her chest and tried once again to sleep, but once again it wasn't going to happen. She sighed softly as she got up and tip toed to the mouth of the cave, “At least the sky is clear.” she mumbled to herself as she sat on the ground staring up at the stars. The tears that started to stream down her cheeks were no surprise, this happened every night.
“Are you alright Emma?” there was no reply, “Emma?”
A hand landed on her shoulder causing her to jump, “Oh Aurora! Jeeze, you scared the crap out of me!”
“I'm sorry, I called out to you, twice, but you seemed to be off in thought.” Aurora apologized taking a seat beside Emma.
“It's fine, I guess I got a lot on my mind.” Remembering her tear stained face she rubbed her cheeks trying to get rid of the evidence she was crying.
“You miss her.” it wasn't a question, it was a statement.
“I miss her.” Emma agreed sadly, “Whenever I couldn't sleep at home I would come outside and look up at the stars and just hope that maybe she was looking up at the stars too. And that would connect us somehow, it was comforting. But being here.. Looking up at these stars.. That sense of comfort, it just, it's not here. Cause I know that she can't be looking up at these stars with me. And it just, sucks, it really sucks.”
Aurora took Emma's hands in her own, gently stroking the back of them with her thumb, “We'll get you home, and then you will be able to see her again, and tell her how you feel.” Emma nodded sniffling, she knew she couldn't tell the dark haired women how she felt about her, but being home again with her own stars was a comforting thought in itself. “I couldn't imagine not being able to see the one you love anymore, and to have never been able to build up the courage to tell them before that happened..”
“Does that mean you're gonna tell Mulan?” Their eyes locked.
Aurora looked over at her sleeping friend, “I will, but for now we should sleep. They will be waking us in a few hours.”
“I'm not sure I can sleep.” tears threatened to spill from her eyes again.
“Neither am I.” Aurora whispered softly as she pulled Emma against her body, she felt the women crumple against her and just held her tight rubbing her back lightly.
“Can I get another please?” she pushed her empty glass away from her.
Ruby sighed taking the glass, “That's your sixth Apple Martini Regina.”
“Is something bothering you? Do you want to talk? I can listen, I'm a great listener.” Ruby offered trying to be nice.
“Just pour me another drink.” Regina said lowering her head onto the counter, “Please.” she added softly, almost inaudibly.
Ruby nodded sadly and made another Apple Martini for the women, “My offer still stands though if you want to.” Regina grumbled her thanks and started to sip on her now refilled glass, “Is this about Emma and Snow? You've been in here every night since they left. I think-”
“You know if I wanted your thoughts i would have asked for them! So why don't you just keep them to yourself for once!” Regina threw down some money, “Keep the change.” she spat as she marched out the door.
“Regina, Regina wait!” Ruby closed her eyes sighing as the women left, she looked down at the counter and pocketed the money before she too ran out the door, “Regina! Please wait Regina!”
“God what is with you! You're like a puppy that likes getting kicked!” Regina instantly regretted her choice of words when she saw the hurt look on the taller woman's face, “Ruby, I'm, I'm sorry. That was uncalled for and inappropriate. I am sorry.”
“It's alright.” Ruby took in the fragile drunk state Regina was in, she decided to try to push her to talk once more for the night, “It is about Emma and Snow isn't it?” she said softly.
Regina let out a small sob as she stared up at the stars in the sky, “When I can't sleep at night I look up at the stars, letting myself believe that she too is looking up at the stars. And because we both are looking at them it some how connects us. And that thought is enough to put a small smile on my face. But knowing she isn't here anymore, the stars don't help now. These aren't the ones she can see. This isn't the same world sky she's starring up at.”
Ruby tentatively put her hand on Regina's shoulder and when the woman didn't pull away she gave it a small squeeze letting her know she was there, trying to give her some small amount of comfort, “Oh Regina..”
“I'm sorry to be bothering you with this, I think I have had too much to drink for the night.” she apologized feeling embarrassed.
Ruby gave her a small smile, “It's not a bother at all, honest, I offered to listen and I meant it. We'll get them back ya know. I know we will.”
“Doesn't matter, Emma will never feel the way I do about her.” Regina said sadly as she began to walk away.
Ruby wondered if Regina realized she had just told her she liked Emma but decided against bringing it up, “Hey maybe you could enchant your bedroom ceiling to look like fairy tale land's sky? I won't tell anyone about the use of magic if you do. I think maybe it will help you cope with her being gone.”
Regina stopped and turned around, “Thank you about tonight though Ruby, it was nice to talk to someone after all. I will think about it.”
“You're welcome Regina.” Ruby headed back inside to finish her shift leaving Regina to her thoughts.
“The stars of home..” she mumbled as she started the walk back to her house, a tiny smile started to form at the corners of her mouth, “I can do that.”
Emma opened the door still trying to rub the sleep from her eyes, “Regina?”
“What are you doing here? It's like,” Emma looked around for the time, “I don't know but late!”
Regina opened her mouth to reply but nothing came out, she clasped her hands together in front of herself, “Yes I am aware of the lateness of this meeting.”
“Regina? What is it?” the blonde suddenly was worried something had happened, the mellow state of the women in front of her started to become too uncharacteristic to ignore, panic started to over take her mind, “Is Henry alright?”
“No, Yes! I mean Henry is fine Emma. Miss Swan.” she closed her eyes and took a deep breath trying to collect her thoughts, “God what I am doing here.” she whispered to herself.
Emma eyed the women suspiciously, “Why ARE you here Regina?”
“I wanted to speak with you.” the reply came almost instantly.
“About? If this is about my time with Hen-”
Regina held up her hand to stop Emma's train of thought, “It's not, I assure you.”
“Then what? I just want to sleep, it's been a long, week. I just got back to Storybroke.” Emma sighed.
“I-” the dark haired women froze, she couldn't do this after all, “Yes, you're right. I should let you sleep. I will talk with you at another time. Goodnight Miss Swan.”
Before Emma could even reply Regina had walked away and out of view, “Goodnight Regina..” she said quietly before closing her door and getting back into bed, knowing sleep wasn't going to come easy now.
Regina sunk to her knees once she was out of the apartment door's sight, she inhaled deep breaths trying to calm her nervous, “I'm so stupid!” she spat at herself almost in tears, “Goodnight Emma..” she wiped her eyes dry and continued on her way home. The cold night air hit her wet face sending chills down her spine, she stuffed her hands into her pockets and felt her fingers wrap around the small box, she pulled it out of her jacket and stared at it for a few long moments, “I should go back.” she said turning around. The sound of Pongo barking caught her attention and she looked around, the dog and it's owner Archie were just rounding the corner. Scared of being seen in such a vulnerable state Regina took off running towards her house. Seeking the solitary of her bedroom.
Emma tossed and turned in bed, Regina showing up at her door at this ungodly hour was bugging her more and more, “What could she have possibly wanted?” Emma got up out of bed taking a blanket with her, made some hot chocolate and sat herself outside curled up tight to stay warm. She sipped her drink slowly as she looked up at the stars, “Why'd you come Regina..?” she whispered.
Regina kicked off her shoes and threw her jacket onto a chair, it wasn't like her to be messy but she just couldn't bring herself to care at the moment, “Mom? Is everything alright?”
Regina jumped startled by her son, “Henry! You should be asleep Dear, what are you doing awake?”
“I heard you leave earlier and I waited up to see if you'd come back.” he looked up at his mother.
She knew he purposely left out the part where he wanted to make sure she didn't kill anyone during the night, “I just had to run an errand, everything is fine, go back to bed Sweety.”
Henry stared at her for a moment trying to place his finger on what was different, “Have you been crying?”
“What? No! No I haven't. Of course not.” she mentally kicked herself at how not convincing that was, “I'm fine Henry. Go back to sleep.”
He nodded and turned to leave the room, “I'm glad you're trying to be better.”
Regina watched the back of her son's head as he ran off to his room, “I wonder if she will be too..” she pinched the bridge of her nose trying to forget about the fool she had made out of herself in front of Emma earlier. She sighed placing the small box in the drawer of her nightstand she then striped her pants and shirt off and crawled into bed, “I'll tell her tomorrow. And then she will know. Yes, I will tell her tomorrow.” she repeated it a few times until she believed that she believed herself, “Or maybe the next day..” she groaned as she rolled onto her back staring at her ceiling. The stars shone back at her like they were real and Regina briefly wondered if she should put her ceiling back to normal now that Emma was home. Or maybe she would keep them just in case another unexpected journey happened.
Ruby poured the hot liquid into the ceramic mug, “Hey Emma, you enjoying being back?”
Emma grinned, “It's the little things you miss the most; indoor plumbing, heat, edible food.”
Unable to control her laugh Ruby's hand shook spilling some of the drink onto Emma's hand, “Shit Emma, I'm so sorry.”
Her hand shot off the table, recoiling in pain, “No, no, it's fine. Really.” Emma insisted poorly, “It just burns, a tad, a lot.”
A cloth napkin landed on the table in front of them and Emma looked up confused, “Use that, and you really should get some ice to put on that before it blisters. Have a good day Miss Swan, Ruby.” Regina nodded to both before walking away and sitting at the counter continuing to drink her own coffee.
“Um, thanks.” Emma replied too late to be heard as she took the cloth and wiped off her hand gently, “That ice idea sounds nice though, Ruby do you think..?”
“Oh yeah, sure, I can totally do that. I'll go find some for you. One sec.” Ruby disappeared into the back.
“You didn't have to.” the blonde said sitting down beside Regina at the counter.
“You looked like you could use the napkin more then I could.” she stated, almost coldly.
“Regina, about last night..” Emma tried to continue but she honestly didn't know what else to say, she still had no idea as to why Regina had came to see her in the first place.
The subject of last night momentarily froze Regina, her hand hovering in the air on the way to the steaming mug, “Hey I found the ice!” Ruby proudly announced as she came over to the pair.
“It'd be best to just forget the whole thing. Thank you for the coffee Ruby.” Regina paid leaving a tip once again and left the diner before anyone could stop her.
Emma watched Regina leave as she absentmindedly took the ice from Ruby, she wrapped it in the napkin and pressed it to her hand, “You should go after her ya know.” Ruby nodded off towards the direction Regina went.
“Why's that?” Emma eyed her suspiciously. Ruby looked like a deer, or maybe a wolf would fit better, caught in head lights, “You know something..”
“Um, no. No not really, She just seemed like she wanted to say more to you that's all.” the tall woman bit her lip nervously.
“I don't believe you for one second Ruby.” Emma paused to look out the window again, “But I do need to talk to Regina anyways about something so you're off the hook.”
Ruby let out the breath she didn't know she was holding, “Thank god.” she mumbled.
Emma shook her head smiling at her friend, “I'll see you later.”
“Good luck!” Ruby called to her as she walked out the door, Emma turned around and gave her a 'what the hell' look. Ruby plastered a smile on her face as she mentally kicked herself at her poor word choice.
Emma shook her head again and started to and jog down the street in search of Regina, “Good luck with what exactly?” she questioned Ruby's words quietly to herself.
Darkness had fallen over Storybroke and Emma was still unable to find Regina, she has checked her home, the old Mayor's office, the diner, multiple times, she even looked in the cemetery! Saying she was frustrated would have been an understatement at this point, “Where the hell are you?!” she groaned as she entered her apartment building. Emma froze in her tracks, she had been looking everyone for this woman and here she was slumped down in front of her door asleep, “Regina?” Emma whispered.
The dark haired woman groaned softly at her name and her eyes slowly opened, she looked around at her surroundings and immediately panicked, “Emma! Oh my.. I am sorry. This, I am sorry.”
“Regina, calm down.” Emma put a hand on her shoulder trying to get her to relax, “Breathe.”
“I- I-” she closed her eyes and took a deep breath, “Hello Miss Swan.”
Emma helped her stand up letting her hand linger on her arm slightly longer then she probably should have, “What are you doing here? I've been looking for you all day! Have you been here all day?” her eyes widen at the thought.
“I'm not exactly sure why I am here myself. I thought, maybe, I thought that maybe I could tell you, but now, being here, in the moment, I can't. I'm sorry.” Regina tried to get past Emma to leave but was stopped.
“Tell me what?” the blonde asked slowly.
“It's not important.” she once again tried to leave and was once again stopped.
“Regina.” Emma looked her trying to build up her own courage to say what she really wanted to, “Why don't you come inside?” she asked sticking her key in the lock and opening the door.
She nodded unable to form any words, this was the most nervous she could remember herself ever being. Was she really going to confess her feeling to Emma? She stuck her hand in her pocket and felt the small box, yes, yes she was going to do it this time, “Yes, thank you.”
They sat down across from each other, Emma on the couch and Regina sitting, legs crosses hands clasped together, on a wooden chair. Emma took in her appearance, “Do you ever relax?” The question took Regina off guard and for a second she changed her mind and was going to run, “It's alright, just thought that maybe you'd be comfier if you did.” Emma shrugged trying to not scare the woman away for the third time in twenty four hours.
Regina could feel her heart beating wildly, “Yes, you do make a point.” If she was going to do this she might as well go all out. She stood up and took off her jacket taking the small box out of it's pocket and holding it in her hand carefully. She left the jacket on the chair as she walked over and sat down beside Emma on the couch.
“What's in the box?”
Regina passed her it, “Why don't you open it and find out?”
“It's not going to like explode or something? Or curse me?” the look on Regina's face sent Emma into a fit of laughter, “I'm kidding, I trust you.”
Flustered Regina tried to compose herself, “It's not like I could blame you for thinking that anyways, I haven't exactly proven myself differently.”
Emma looked at her waiting for Regina to look her in the eye. It felt like ages but finally their eyes met, “I think you have.”
Regina was almost in tears, “Thank you Miss Swan, Emma.”
“You're welcome.” Emma smiled.
Not sure how much more she could take before her flight relax kicked in Regina nodded to the box, “Open it.”
“Ok, ok!” she laughed as she carefully opened the small box, “A key? And a crystal heart? Um Regina..?” Emma looked at the dark haired woman confused.
She took a deep breath, it was now or never, “The key is to my house, because I want you to move in with me.” Emma eyes went wide, “I, I mean Henry is there too so, this would just be easier. The three of us all together, under one roof. A family.” Emma opened her mouth to respond but no sound came out, did Regina really just ask her to move in? Regina took another deep breath, she could do this, “And for the heart, I thought about literally giving you my heart since it is already yours but then I thought that wouldn't really go over well so I decided on this instead. This is me giving you my heart Emma. And I know you may not want it, and I know that this is highly absurd and you're probably thinking what is she up to this time. But Emma I, I love you. I love you ok? And I just can not keep that from you any longer.”
Emma was speechless, her mouth hung open, Regina took this as a bad sign and stood up to leave, “Yes.”
“What?!” Regina turned around so fast she should have gotten whiplash.
Emma stood up and came over to Regina, “I'll move in.”
Hopes were quickly dashed as she realized Emma was probably agreeing so she could be near Henry more, “Alright, the guest room is already set up, you can move in tonight, tomorrow, whenever you want.”
“What if I don't want the guest room?” she questioned.
Regina didn't understand and stood there looking at the other woman confused, “I'm sorry?”
Ignoring Regina's confused state Emma cupped her cheek softly, “I want to stay in your room.” Regina's heart sped up, “I want it to be our room.”
“You mean?” her bottom lip trembled scared for an answer.
“I mean.” Emma leaned in and kissed her slowly.
Regina thought her heart was going to burst from her chest, a single tear spilled down her cheek and she kissed Emma back, “Emma.. Is this really happening?”
She nodded, grinning like a fool, “It is. And this,” she held up the keychain, “I think is the cheesiest thing someone has ever done for me.”
Regina glared, “Well-”
“But I absolutely love it.” Emma interrupted.
She smiled unable to hold back how happy she was, “I'm glad.”
“I love you too.”