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Time To Play

Title: Time To Play
Author: Kat Lee
Fandom: Once Upon A Time
Character/Pairing: Snow/Ruby, Emma, Henry
Rating: PG/K+
Challenge/Prompt: 1_million_words Bingo: Presents
Warning(s): None
Word Count: 1,030
Date Written: 28 February 2017
Summary:
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to their rightful owners, not the author, and are used without permission.





"Hey, Grandma, there's a heart in your cocoa!"

Snow White tenses at her grandson's exclamation. "Henry," Emma chides, "we've been through this. You don't have to keep calling her your grandmother."

"It's okay, Emma."

"No, it's not. I know how it makes you feel."

Snow almost turns on her daughter and questions her as to how she can possibly understand what she feels. She hates what Emma suffered through as an apparently orphaned child in this new world, but she can't possibly understand what it feels like to have her baby taken from her -- not given up but taken. Every time Henry calls her his grandmother, it reminds her that she missed out not just on her own child growing up but quite nearly also on her child's child. There's so much that they've both been through that Snow will never get to live with them, never get to advise them on, never get to help them --

"Hey," Emma says in surprise, startling Snow out of her own thoughts, "there is a heart in your cocoa!"

Snow looks at her cup and has to smile at the heart made out of whipped cream. "So it is," she comments.

"That's pretty cool," Emma says with a nod as Snow stirs her cocoa.

"Aw, man! I was going to take a picture of it!"

Snow frowns at Henry and almost asks him with what was he going to take a picture when she sees his mother's phone held in his hand. Being able to take pictures so easily with a simple snap of a device is yet another thing the people born into this world take for granted. She remembers sitting for hours back at her father's castle to have a simple portrait drawn. But before she can comment on the wonder of phones or cameras, Snow feels eyes on her face and looks up.

Her eyes lock with Ruby's across the bustling cafe. Ruby's holding her own cup of coffee and licking cream off of her top lip. Snow suddenly feels stifled in the busy room. "Mom? You okay?"

"Wh-What?" Snow blinks as she looks up at Emma, who's now standing.

"I said I had to get Henry to school."

"You don't have to walk with me."

"I want to, kid." Emma barely stops herself from commenting on how many walks to school she's missed. It's another remorse that goes unspoken between the three.

Snow nods. "Okay," she says, her eyes trailing back to Ruby's. "I'll see you later."

There's a primal flash in Ruby's dark eyes before the waitress starts to move. Snow glances up and to the side once to make sure Emma and Henry are gone, then follows her best friend into the back room. "I thought you'd never look up," Ruby complains the moment she has Snow alone. She presses her against the back of the door as she nuzzles her neck.

Shivers race through Snow at the sensations of what Ruby's doing to the arch of her neck with her tongue and teeth. She fights to think clearly. "The full moon's tonight, isn't it?" she gasps.

She can feel Ruby's grin in the way her teeth press against her flesh. "Whatever gave it away?"

She laughs as Ruby licks her and lets her fingers bury in her long, luxurious hair, quickly breaking it free from her scrunchie that's meant to hold her hair away from the orders she delivers all day, and often night, long. "Because I know you and I know how excited you get around this time."

Ruby nips her ear lobe. "You can't tell me you're not excited, too."

"Of course I am!" Snow laughs, but suddenly her laughter sounds flat.

Ruby pulls back and looks at her, cocking her head to one side as she studies her. "What's wrong?"

"Nothing."

"Something's wrong. Tell me, or I'll sniff it out."

Snow smiles despite herself. "We have to be more careful," she tells her gently, "or one of these days, they're going to figure out these presents you're always leaving me." Like the heart in her cocoa this morning or the x's and o's scribbled hastily onto last night's ticket stub or the tiny hearts dotted on her napkin yesterday morning . . . The others could have noticed any one of those items and questioned her about it, but it was only today that Henry saw the heart in her cream. Thankfully, both he and Emma only thought it was an odd quirk of fate and twisting cream.

"You're really worried about that, aren't you?" Ruby asks softly, frowning in concern. "They're going to figure it out eventually, Snow, but they're still going to love you."

"I wish I could be as certain."

"I smell it on them," Ruby tells her. "Their love for you is sure. Nothing's going to change it. Just like nothing's going to change the way we feel about each other." At Snow's silence, Ruby begins to worry. "Is it?" she asks softly.

Snow looks up quickly, meeting her eyes again. "Change the way I feel about you? Never," she swears, wrapping her arms around her and rubbing her nose against hers. "Just promise me you'll be more careful in the future. I don't want them to know until they have to know."

Ruby still wants to shout their love from on top of Granny's roof, but she understands Snow's pain. The love of her family, of her daughter and grandson, are still too new. She doesn't want to risk them, and Ruby can tell her a thousand times and in a hundred different ways that they'll always love her, but Snow won't believe it until they've proved it. Remembering her own disjointed family, and the way she'd had to kill her own mother to save the love of her life, Ruby not only sympathizes with Snow. She supports her and keeps her word.

But, for now, the kids are gone off to school and work. Granny also isn't back yet from her early morning errands. There's plenty of time for the wolf to play. "Promise," she agrees, nipping her lips and then drawing them in for a long and passionate kiss that sears them both straight through their curling toes.

The End

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