The next morning Regina woke with a stiff neck and an aching back. When she opened her eyes she saw Emma looking back at her smiling.
Regina yawned and said, "Good morning sweetheart"
Emma smiled and said, "morning mommy" Emma smiled dropped when she started coughing. Regina stood up and pulled Emma's head towards her stomach so she could rub and gently pat Emma's back.
When Emma's coughing fit ended Emma looked drained and sleepy again.
Regina kissed Emma on the forehead and felt that Emma was still warm but no where near as bad as she was yesterday.
Regina looked around the room and noticed that Ruby wasn't there. Huh, maybe she went home?
Regina stretched and called Jenna to let her know that she was going to be in but it was going to be closer the this afternoon.
Emma was asleep again by the time Regina finished her phone call.
Emma's doctor, Dr. Whale, came in to talk with Regina about Emma.
"Hello Mayor Mills"
"Hello Dr. Whale. Is there any update on Emma?" Regina was hoping Emma would be discharged today.
Dr. Whale looked down at Emma's chart. Whale sighed and looked back at Regina, "Emma's fever is still there. Due to her previous malnutrition it will take her body longer to recover. If we can get her temperature down by tonight and it stays down over night we can discuss discharging her in the morning. Until then I would like to order some blood work to see what vitamins she needs more of."
Regina sighed and nodded her head. Whale handed her the forms for her to sign and told her the tests would be done later this afternoon.
Around 11:30AM Cora knocked on the door. Regina was laying in Emma's hospital bed,with Emma in her arms, while they watched a kids TV show.
Emma looked up and saw Cora, "Nona!"
Cora looked at Emma and smiled, "Darling. How are you feeling? You gave us quite the fright."
Emma smiled back and said, "Better."
Cora walked over to the bed and gave Regina a kiss on the cheek and Emma one on the forehead. "Hmmm, still a little warm dear."
Emma coughed and leaned back against Regina.
Regina called in to Granny's and asked if Ruby could deliver some soup for Emma, and two cob salads for herself and Cora. Ruby quickly agreed and said she would be there shortly.
By 12:20PM Ruby was bursting through Emma's door carrying a bag full of food. "PUP!"
Emma smiled at hoarsely screamed, "Wolf!"
Cora looked at Regina, who just smiled and rolled her eyes.
Regina carefully gets out of the bed and gives Ruby a hug, "Thanks for everything Ruby. I really appreciate it."
Ruby nudges Regina's shoulder and says, "Hey, no worries. I'm just glad pup is ok."
Regina smiles at Emma who is explaining Dragon Tales to her Nona, "Me too Rubes, me too"
Regina finishes her lunch and gets up. "Alright I need to head home quickly to change, then head to the office. But I will be back later ok sweetheart." Emma nods and Regina give Emma a kiss on the forehead and wraps her into a hug, "I'll be back, I promise"
Emma hugs back and quietly asks, "promise?" Regina nods and whispers, "promise"
Ruby and Cora agree to stay until one has to leave. Regina looks at her family and smiles as she leaves the room.
Ruby and Cora stepped out a minute ago, one to dispose of lunch and the other to grab them all some hot chocolate.
While they are gone the nurses enter Emma's room and prepare to take her down to get her blood work done.
Emma thinking they are there to take her away tries to fight them. "NO! NO, I don't wanna go!"
Emma is kicking and screaming, "No! Mommy! Mommy!"
Cora and Ruby both hear Emma screaming and come running. Ruby gets there first and what she sees makes her angry. One of the male nurses is strapping Emma down to her bed, with restraints.
Emma is crying and screaming, "No! Wolf help me! Mommy! Nona! HELP! I don't wanna GO!"
Ruby jumps in and angrily pushes the nurse away. "What the hell are you doing!"
Cora is there in time to watch the nurse push Ruby away and tell her, "Back off lady! My day is crappy already, I already have to deal with this screaming bray, I don't need you too."
Emma is crying and trying to move her arms, "No! I don't wanna go."
Cora enters the room like she owns it, "Young man and just what do you think you are doing?"
The nurse is about to yell at Cora but when he gets a good look at her he recoils. Everyone knows Cora Mills. Not only is she Mayor Regina's mother but she just happens to be one of the major financial contributors to the hospital, she even has an entire wing named after her.
Cora lifts an eyebrow and coldly says, "Well?"
The nurse clears his throat and says, "I was taking her down to get her blood work done. But when I came to move her she started freaking out. She was kicking and swinging her arms. It is protocol to restrain the patient if I think they are a danger to me or themselves."
Cora nodded and asked, "Ruby how much does Emma weigh? 30lbs give or take? Not to mention that Emma is in the hospital with a fever and cold. I don't think she was a danger to you. Now to herself Emma was perfectly fine before we left, so why don't we skip the speculation and ask Emma. Emma darling why did you start crying and fighting when this nurse tried to take you to get labs done?"
Emma's red eyes met Cora's, "Cause he's gonna take me away. And then Mommy not gonna want me anymore and then I have to go back. I don't wanna go back." Emma's voice was hoarse from being sick and yelling but it was so frightened that even the nurse had to hold back his tears.
Ruby and Cora both approached Emma. Ruby started to undo the restraints on Emma's arms, with one look to the nurse Ruby got him to take off the restraints on Emma's legs. Emma flung herself at Ruby and started to cry again.
Being mindful of Emma's IV and all the other wires monitoring Emma Ruby sat on the bed and held Emma to her chest while she cried. "Pup. Listen to me, your mommy loves you, no matter what. Is that what happened last time pup? You old foster parents left while you went to get tests done?" Emma nodded. Ruby looked to Cora and saw the older woman wipe her tears away. Ruby too had tears streaming down her face.
Cora walked over to Emma and Ruby and said, "Darling, Regina loves you so so so much. Nothing and I mean nothing is going to keep her from you ok. And if Nona and Abuelo have to help then we will." Emma nodded and Cora kissed Emma on the head.
"Now, how about we head down together and get those labs done." Cora suggested, more like instructed.
The nurse went to disagree but thought better and just closed his mouth.
Ruby crawled into Emma's bed and pulled Emma to her chest. Emma had calmed down and snuggled into Ruby.
The blood work only took 10 minutes. Emma had exhausted herself and had fallen asleep on the elevator ride back up to her room.
Both Cora and Ruby were emotionally drained after learning about Emma's past.
Ruby still laid with Emma snuggled to her chest while Cora sat in the hospital chair. Cora spoke first, "I think I am going to have a talk with the chief about that nurse. What he did was unacceptable."
Ruby nodded in agreement. Protect me from the bad people Ruby played that sentence over and over again in her head. It all made sense now. Emma wanted Ruby to protect her from those trying to take her away from Regina. I don't wanna go! She doesn't want to go back into the system. Ruby felt the tears streaming down her face and quickly whipped them away.
Cora watched Ruby, "It's ok to cry you know."
Ruby smiled, "Yeah I know. I just.. I just can't figure out if I am sad over what happened to her or furious that it did at all."
Cora nodded and said, "That little girl has wormed her way into out hearts."
Ruby smiled and hummed in agreement. "You think we should tell Regina?"
Cora looked at Ruby and sighed, "Yes. No. Yes. She is probably going to find out and she would be furious if she found out we knew but didn't tell her."
Ruby nodded and said, "You are can tell her"
Cora chuckled and said, "Traitor"
Ruby smiled and gave Emma a squeeze, "Wolf and Nona are here, and we will protect you always."
Regina had been at the office for a few hours and was getting ready to leave and head back to the hospital when Mary M decided to drop by.
Regina sighed and said, "Yes Ms. Blanchard? Is this quick I am on my way out."
Mary M nodded and said, "Yes, I just. I was just wondering how your daughter was."
Regina looked up at her and said, "She is doing better. Thank you for asking."
Mary M said, "I'm glad. I hate to hear kids are sick."
Regina nodded and looked at the picture that she had on her desk of herself and Emma smiling at the camera. The picture was one of Regina's favorites, Emma's green eyes really sparkled. That reminded her Ruby wanted a copy of that photo. Regina grabbed the copy she had made and put it into her purse.
Mary M looked at the picture that Regina was staring at, "Is this her?"
Regina nodded and cautiously said, "Yes. That is Emma."
Mary M pointed towards the picture and asked, "May I?"
Regina nodded. Mary M looked at the picture and gasped, she instantly had tears in her eyes and stroked her thumb across Emma's face.
Regina confused and now annoyed cleared her throat and said, "Was there something you actually wanted? As you can guess I would like to leave and get back to Emma."
Mary M shook her head and gently placed the picture back down on the desk, "No. I didn't need anything. Have a good night Madam mayor." Mary M quickly walked out of the mayor's office and into the night.
Regina rolled her eyes and turned out her lights. She was leaving 20 minutes later than planned due to Mary M's impromptu visit.
By the time she reached the hospital Emma was fast asleep. Ruby and Cora were awake and watching a Golden Girls marathon. Ruby had removed herself from Emma's bed when she needed to use the bathroom and figured if she tried to get back in she risked waking Emma.
Ruby and Cora looked at Regina and Ruby asked, "Geez what took you so long?"
Regina rolled her eyes and said, "Mary Margaret. How is she?"
Ruby was confused, why would MM want to see Regina?
Cora cleared her throat and told Regina she needed to speak with her in the hallway.
Regina looked concerned but Cora assured her everything was fine. Before Regina went into the hall she opened her purse and handed the picture to Ruby. "Here. This is the picture you wanted of Emma." Regina smiled and said, "I have it framed in my office."
Ruby reached and grabbed the picture, "Thanks!" Regina nodded and went into the hallway where Cora told Regina all about what had happened.
While Cora and Regina were in the hallway Ruby looked at the picture Regina had just handed her. She was looking at the picture as she was thinking about all the possible reasons why MM would want to talk to Regina. That's when it hit her. Emma. Those eyes, that chin, those cheekbones.
Ruby grabbed her phone from her pocket and scrolled through her pictures until she found the one she was looking for. It was a selfie of her, MM and her now husband David Nolan. Ruby looked between MM and David and the picture she held of Emma. The resemblance was uncanny.
Ruby thought about it for a moment. Emma is four almost five. Five years ago MM was a high school senior having a secret love affair with David Nolan. Four years ago MM was a freshman college student in school just outside of Boston, before she moved back to finish her degree in Storybrooke a year later.
Ruby's mouth dropped open when she started to put the pieces together. MM had an affair with David Nolan, who was then married to Kathryn Nolan. MM got pregnant right before she left for college and had and abandoned the baby while away.? MM moved back to Storybrooke and finished her degree early. David divorced his wife Kathryn for MM. Kathryn Nolan.
As Ruby put the pieces together Regina entered the room again.
Kathryn Nolan, Regina Mill's long time best friend.
Regina bent over Emma's bed, kissed Emma on the forehead and whispered, "Mommy will never leave you. I promise, not matter what."
Regina is mothering MM abandoned daughter.
Regina stood up and looked at Ruby who had her mouth hanging open and her eyes glazed over. "Ruby you alright?"
Ruby just shook her head, 'no'.