Not as it Seems

20

The ride back to Storybrooke is pretty silent. Graham is in his squad car and Regina and Emma are riding in Regina's Benz.

Emma sat quietly in her car seat and watched the never ending rows of trees pass them by as they drove upstate.

By the time they reached Storybrooke Regina and Emma were tired and hungry. Graham turned into the sheriff parking lot while Regina kept going straight to the mansion.

Regina pulled up to the large white house and turned the car off.

Emma looked at Regina with her mouth open and wide bulging eyes. "You live here? HERE!"

Regina smiled and thought August said the same thing. "Yes dear, I live here. And now so do you. Come on, lets head inside. I'll make us some soup and sandwiches."

Regina helped Emma get unbuckled and helped her to the front door. Once inside Regina gave Emma a quick tour of the house. "The door here is my office, this is the living room and dining room. Over there is the kitchen and this door leads to the backyard."

Regina and Emma made their way upstairs and Regina showed Emma around. "This is one of the spare rooms, August was sleeping here. I was thinking the room closest to mine would be a good place for you to sleep. This one here is my room and this one, is going to be your room." Regina placed Emma's tiny backpack down in her room while Emma looked around.

Emma looked at the large room. She had never had a room this big before, and if it was this big she always had to share it with the other kids.

Regina looked at Emma's face but couldn't make out what Emma was thinking, "If you don't like it you can take the room August was in. Of course we can decorate it any way you want."

Emma shyly looked at Regina and asked, "Is this really all for me? Do I have to share it?"

Regina nodded her head, "Yup. This whole room and the bathroom are all yours. You don't have to share with anyone."

Emma smiled up at Regina and said, "I really like it. But it would be better in purple."

Regina laughed and said, "Well when we go to the stores in town we're going to have to make sure we get some purple paint to make the room better."

Emma and Regina smiled at each other; Emma's stomach then grumbled loudly. Emma looked down at her stomach and blushed.

Regina smiled and poked Emma in the stomach, "I think there is a hungry little monster in there waiting to be fed."

Emma laughed and said, "There isn't a monster in my tummy. It's just me!"

Regina decided to play along, "I don't know, it's making some weird noises. Next it's going to grab my hand and try and eat it."

Emma laughed and shook her head, "nuh uh"

Regina placed her hand near Emma's stomach and pretended to have her hand grabbed. Regina started tickling Emma's tummy and kept saying, "Let go of my hand you tummy monster!"

Emma laughed at being tickled and at how silly Regina was being.

When Regina finally stopped tickling Emma and their laughter died down, she wrapped Emma in her arms.

Regina turned Emma so she could see her face. She then picked Emma up, brought her downstairs, and sat her on one of the breakfast bar stools.

Regina quickly moved around the kitchen and made soup and homemade grilled cheese. Since both she and Emma had had grilled cheese earlier she only made one and cut it in half.

When the soup was finished Regina placed a small bowl in front of Emma and told her to be careful, it was still really hot.

Emma waited for Regina to get her bowl and sit down next to her. Emma smiled at Regina and carefully blew on her soup. Emma and Regina ate their dinners in comfortable silence. After they finished dinner Regina helped Emma down from her stool and told Emma to go upstairs and wait for her in her bedroom. Emma nodded and ran off.

Regina heard the slow stomps up the stairs as she washed the dishes. Regina often forgot that Emma was only four and a half with the way she spoke and the things she has been through in her life. Regina finishes the dishes and turns out all of the lights downstairs.

Regina walks into her bedroom and sees Emma sitting on top of her bed making silly faces in the mirror, that is across the room above her vanity.

When Emma sees Regina standing in the doorway watching her she quickly sticks her tongue back in her mouth and blushes embarrassed.

Regina smiles at Emma and says, "Well I think its time for a quick bath and then off to bed."

Emma nods and crawls her way to the edge of the bed. Regina didn't think about this before but she wondered how Emma got into her high four poster king sized bed without any help. Regina had her answer when she watched Emma use the bench at the foot of her bed as a step stool and her bed post as a way to balance. Emma slowly shimmied her way off the bed and onto the floor.

Emma ran over to Regina and smiled. Regina couldn't help but smile, even though her pristine bed looks like a tornado hit it. "Come on you little spider monkey."

Regina held out her hand for Emma and led her to her master bathroom.

Regina turned the lights on and heard Emma breathy, "Woah!" Regina let go of Emma's hand and turned on the water for the bathtub to fill up. The tub was all white claw foot with a silver faucet. There was a spa like shower and a huge counter filled with hair products and lotions.

While the bathtub was filling with warm water Regina grabbed towels, a luffa, shampoo and conditioner, and a strawberry scented body wash Regina thought Emma might like.

Regina placed all of the items on the floor near the tub, "Emma come on."


Emma looked over to Regina and noticed her bath was ready. Emma shyly walked back to Regina and stood in front of her. Emma didn't want to take her clothes off in front of Regina, because she didn't want her to be grossed out by her scars and her bruises.

Regina was waiting for Emma to take her clothes off so she could get in the bath, but noticed the way Emma held tightly onto her shirt and hugged herself. "What's the matter Emma?"

Emma continued to look down and mumbled, "I don't wanna show you my owies and make you give me back."

Regina was confused but then realized Emma meant she didn't want Regina to see her scars. Regina's heart broke at the thought of Emma being hurt, but she swallowed the sadness, and lifted Emma's chin. "Emma listen to me. It doesn't matter how many owies you have, or how many owies you get, I will not send you back."

Emma looked at Regina's and saw the truth in her eyes. Emma slowly unwrapped her hands from around her waist and began taking her shirt off.

Regina had to hold in the gasp when she saw the bruises and healed scars along Emma's back. Regina saw the clear hand print shaped bruises wrapped around Emma's upper arms, like someone grabbed and lifted her by her arms. Emma took off her borrowed sweatpants and Regina could see the bruises continued down to Emma's tiny legs. She could see how malnourished Emma really was without the baggy clothing. Regina internally made a promise to herself that no more harm is going to come to this child, and if anyone wants to harm Emma they are going to have to do it over her cold dead body.


Emma climbed into the bathtub and shyly looked back at Regina. Regina grabbed the shampoo and said, "So I don't have any kids shampoo so you need to close your eyes and keep them closed tight until I say so ok."

Emma nodded and felt Regina massage the shampoo through her hair. Regina then grabbed the detachable hose and rinsed the shampoo out. Regina ran her fingers through Emma's long blonde hair to make sure it was all out and then told Emma she could open her eyes. Emma's green eyes met Regina's brown and smiled. Regina then grabbed a little conditioner and told Emma, "This needs to be in for a minute. So we are going to put this in, wash you up, rise it out and get you something to sleep in. How's that sound."

Emma nodded. Regina put the conditioner in and grabbed the luffa. She let Emma smell the body wash and chuckled when Emma giggled and hummed, "humm, Strawberrwy"

Regina gently washed Emma and rinsed the conditioner out. Regina grabbed the towels and lifted Emma out of the tub, and let the water drain out. She wrapped Emma's hair and body in the two fluffy towels and told her to wait there for a second.

Regina went back to her room and grabbed one of her old college t-shirts and looked into Emma's backpack of clothes, only to find one pair of underwear, two mismatched socks, a pair of ripped jeans and a ratty tank top. Regina couldn't imagine having so little, and it pained her to think that this was all Emma knew. Regina vowed to do what she could to try and make up some of the wrongs that Emma's has endured.

Regina walks back into the bathroom and hands Emma the t-shirt. Emma puts the shirt on and lets the towel fall to the floor. Regina then hands Emma her underwear, Emma pulls them on and looks up at Regina. Emma looks so cute in her Cornell t-shirt and oversized towel on her head.

Regina begins to clean up the bathroom, she rinses the tub, puts the dirty clothes in the hamper, and closes all of the bottles.

While Regina is cleaning Emma grabs the collar of the shirt and sniffs, "It smells like you."

Regina smiles and looks at Emma and asks, "Is that a good thing? Or do I smell stinky?"

Emma laughs and says, "Its good. You smell good. Like apples and sssinnamon, ccciiinnnaammoon." Emma smiles broadly at her correct pronunciation of cinnamon.

Regina laughs and walks over to Emma, "Well I am glad that I smell good. I don't want to smell bad."

Regina quickly towel dries Emma's hair and grabs one of her combs. She lifts Emma into her arms and carries her back to her bed. Regina plops Emma down on the bed and smiles and Emma laughs as she bounces on the bed. Regina sits on the edge and pats the space in front of her for Emma to come sit.

Emma crawls over and sits in front of Regina. Regina combs through Emma's hair taking out the few knots. Regina braids Emma's hair into two long french braids and ties them together with a rubber band. Emma turns and faces Regina, "You are good at that you don't pull. It doesn't hurt when you do it."

Regina smiles and says, "Well I am glad that I am a good smelling, hair combing braider." Emma giggles and hugs Regina. Regina hugs Emma back and squeezes just a little, hoping that Emma can feel her growing amount of love. Regina releases Emma from the hug and tells her to wait here for her while she gets in the shower.

Regina leaves the door cracked just incase Emma needs the bathroom and so that them she can hear Emma just incase something happens.

Regina decides to just take a quick shower. She gathers her shampoo, conditioner, and apple scented body wash and jumps into the shower. During her shower Regina's mind runs through the long day, woke up, found foster son August, my car, and my cash gone, drove to Boston, found out who Emma is, gave up fostering August just to foster Emma. And people say my life is boring. I never wanted kids, I never saw myself as a mother. How could I when I had Cora as a mother? Oh man when she finds out, that's going to be fun. 'Hello Mother. How are you? Good. Yes I am fine thanks for asking. Oh the child in my arms, oh she is my foster daughter.' Cora is going to throw a hissy fit. I have a foster daughter. A daughter. I never in a million years would have thought that I would want a daughter. I can see a future with Emma. Her first everything with me, birthdays, Christmases, Thanksgivings, everything. I am falling in love with Emma, and it is a completely different raw, protective, motherly kind of love. Maybe I can do this. No, I can. Emma is mine. Emma is my daughter.'

Speaking of her daughter Regina finishes her shower, puts on her silk pajamas and head back to her room. Regina can't help but smile at the sight. Emma is curled up facing Regina sound asleep. Regina doesn't have the heart to wake her and move her to her bed, so instead she turns out the bathroom light, puts Emma legs and arms under the covers and gets into bed. Regina turns on her bedside light and continues reading her book, The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams, from the night before. Regina finishes the chapter and puts the book down, as she is settling into bed she feels Emma shift closer and snuggle into her.

Regina smiles to herself, turns out her lamp, and rolls onto her side wrapping a protective arm around Emma pulling her snugly into her chest. Regina can feel Emma's deep steady breathing against her collarbone. She tilts her head down and softly kisses Emma on the head, "Sweet dreams my little spider monkey".

For the first time since Daniel died Regina falls into a perfect dreamless sleep.


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