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06 April 2014 @ 09:12 pm
Awakening (Once Upon a Time; Regina/Emma)  
TITLE: Awakening
CHAPTER 4: Falsities
FANDOM: Once Upon a Time
PAIRING: Swan Queen (Regina/Emma)
SPOILERS: 3x13 "Witch Hunt"
RATING: PG
SUMMARY: "You know, when Walsh wanted to win me over, he bought me a video game."


*****

For the second time that day, Emma found herself completely floored by a simple comment. She didn’t even know how to respond.

Neither did Mary Margaret, clearly, who was still wearing a face-splitting grin. “Isn’t that just terribly interesting, how he thinks that?” Her eyes glittered but there was no mirth there. Just a losing battle to cling to her sanity. She was clutching one of the plates she was drying so tightly Emma thought she might be able to snap it in half.

Widening her eyes just slightly, she dropped her voice so Henry wouldn’t hear, telling her mother, “Alright, breathe.”

Mary Margaret did as she was told, nodding way too emphatically as she blew out a long breath, resuming drying the dishes.

Emma shook her head just barely, as if shaking off whatever had just happened with her mother. She temporarily chalked it up to hormones and a complicated past.

“Second of all…” She then turned on her heel and headed over to where Henry was seated, playing his game. She waited until she had his attention before she asked, “Henry, why do you think I’m dating the mayor?”

Wincing, he asked again, “Kinda obvious, isn’t it?”

Emma sighed, scrubbing her hands over her face. “Kid…” She sat down on the coffee table across from him, elbows on her thighs as she leaned forward. “You keep saying that, but you’re not giving me any examples to back it up!”

Henry set aside his game then and she recognized the smirk he gave her – he was accepting her challenge. “Alright…” He said, slumping against the wicker loveseat and folding his arms across his chest. “First, you guys are always sneaking off to talk ‘in private.’”

Emma swallowed, not having thought of how that might look to someone unaware of her… connection… with Regina. “Well…”

“And then there’s how interested she’s been in me, wanting to get to know me.”

She took a deep breath and sighed it out, turning briefly over her shoulder to Mary Margaret. It was pretty obvious she was overhearing all of this, as her scrubbing on one of the plates started to become violent.

But Henry wasn’t done yet. “You all of a sudden dumped Walsh and brought me back here.”

Emma opened her mouth to remind him that it was for a case, but he beat her to it.

“And I know it’s not for a case. Besides… when I told the mayor you were almost engaged, she looked really sad.”

That got her to pause. “She did?”

He nodded. “And, yesterday when we went to the diner together, she gave me this.” And from behind one of the throw pillows, he produced an all-too-familiar book with ‘Once Upon a Time’ embossed in gold across the leather front cover.

“The book…” Emma murmured without thinking.

He raised his eyebrows. “You’ve seen this book before?”

“Yeah, it—.” She stopped herself, realizing that she’d have to think up a pretty quick lie. “It was mine once.”

And when Henry smiled, she fought not to grimace – she obviously wasn’t so great at the quick little lies. “Then… why did she have it?”

“It’s complicated,” she huffed.

He grinned. “You know, when Walsh wanted to win me over, he bought me a video game.”

There was suddenly a ceramic-on-porcelain clanging that startled them both. They looked over to find Mary Margaret with red cheeks, looking down into the sink. She glanced up at them. “I-I… dropped it…” she trailed off, pointing into the sink.

Emma just nodded while Henry tilted his head at her curiously. He looked at her as if to ask what her deal was, but Emma didn’t address it.

“Look, Henry… Regina and I, we—“

“It’s okay,” he told her, reaching forward and covering her hand.

The motion took her by surprise. “Huh?”

“It’s okay, really. I mean… I get it. You guys must have had a past together.”

“We, uh… we did.” Think up another lie, Emma… “We were roommates.”

That apparently surprised her son. Or confused him. She wasn’t sure which would do less damage. “You were? When? I thought you went to jail when you were 18, and then you had me and got out.”

“I-I did, yeah. It was, uh… it was after I had you. And I was released.” She looked down at her hands as her palms rubbed together in the space between her knees. She figured focusing on something other than her son’s face would make this whole lying thing easier. “It was right after I was released, actually. I moved us here for a while, but I, uh… I didn’t have any money. So, I needed a roommate.”

“So you lived with the mayor?”

“Well, she wasn’t the mayor then. She was just as poor as I was. And, she didn’t mind that I had a kid along with me.” Perfect way to explain why… “That’s why she’s so interested in you. She, uh, remembers you as a baby and can’t believe how grown up you are!”

“Oh.” Henry seemed to think to himself for a moment, before he looked up with a furrowed brow. “Then why didn’t she say anything about that?”

Emma shrugged, hoping she didn’t look as sad as she felt, having to lie to him so terribly. “She probably knows you were way too young to remember her. But, she really liked you. She helped me out a lot with you.”

“Really?” He smiled.

She smiled back and echoed, “Really. She was kinda like your second mom.” She threw a glance up at Mary Margaret, the two of them exchanging a solemn frown.

Henry took no notice. “Well… cool!” He smiled wide. “I’ll have to ask her to tell me some stories from back then.”

Oh, shit. She broke gaze with her mother, whose eyes widened just slightly at Henry’s last comment. Emma absent-mindedly felt for her phone. “Yeah. I bet she’d love to tell you.”

“Can I see her tomorrow?”

She decided to seize the opportunity. “You know? I think that’s a great idea. I’ll give her a call.”

Just as she hit the speed dial button, Mary Margaret piped up, “Actually, Emma? Before you do that I could use your help with the dishes.”

Emma gave her a look, furrowing her brows. “Okay…?”

Her mother smiled, a bit too sweetly. “It’s a little hard for me to put these pans in the bottom cupboards.”

“Oh.”

She didn’t buy it, but went over anyway. And as she took the few pans from her mother and bent to put them away, Mary Margaret leaned down and whispered, “Are you sure this is such a great idea?”

Emma shrugged, avoiding eye contact so Mary Margaret wouldn’t see right through her. She wasn’t at all sure it was a good idea. But she had to do something. If for nothing else than to get Henry off of this ‘you guys must have dated’ track he was on. “Why not?” she whispered back. “Regina will get to spend more time with him, and then maybe David and I can track down the witch.”

“Listen, Emma…” She leaned down a bit further, making a face when her protruding belly got in the way. She rubbed it unconsciously as she told her, “I’m just concerned.”

“About what? Regina knows what she can and can’t say around Henry.”

“That’s just it. I feel like… this might hurt her. She’s been hurt a lot already.”

And though she didn’t elaborate, Emma knew she must have had a few specific examples in mind. So she frowned up at her mother sympathetically. And then she whispered, “Well if you have any other ideas, I’m open to them. Seriously. Because I don’t know what else to do here.”

Mary Margaret frowned. “Just… be careful. Henry isn’t the only one who could get hurt by this charade.”

She nodded back, closing the cupboard and standing up. Mary Margaret thanked her, maybe a little too loud and conspicuously, for helping put the pans away. Emma gave her a tense little smile and then excused herself.

She shut the door softly as she stepped out into the hallway, again hitting the speed dial for Regina. She knew this would be an unusual conversation, but she hoped Regina would take it in stride.

Unfortunately, she knew Regina better than that.


TBC

 
 
 
Ariestessariestess on April 7th, 2014 06:45 pm (UTC)
Nicely done.
g_ww: Lucyg_ww on April 7th, 2014 10:18 pm (UTC)
I'm enjoying this story a lot: nice slow burn, nice hints of tension, nice spanner in the works from Henry.

Oblivous!Emma is fun to read, and I also quite liked seeing Regina flustered over her semi-relationship with Robin.

Keep up the brilliant update rate!