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Aftermath

Title: Aftermath
Show: Once Upon a Time
Disclaimers: None of this is mine
Summary: The battle had been won...


   At long last, it was over. The battle had been hard fought and lasted longer than anyone had thought it would but finally the Evil Queen was defeated. Stripped of her powers and imprisoned within her own Magic Mirror, she was doomed to forever observe a world she could no longer have any effect on.
   It was not without a cost though. As Emma looked around in wonder at the Fairy Tale world she couldn't help remembering those they had lost along the way. Shaking off the melancholy thoughts on what was supposed to be a happy day, she turned to look at her parents. Restored to their former glory, Snow White and her Prince Charming stood before her enormous smiles on their faces. She smiled back at them. It had taken her along time to accept the truth about who she was and who they really were but she was here now and that was all that really mattered.
   Snow White reached out and took Emma's hands in both of her.
   "This is where you were born Emma. This is your home." She paused and if possible her smile grew even wider. "I can't wait to show you everything."
   Emma looked around again, feeling excitement building within her. "I can't wait." She murmured, echoing her mother's words. "Henry's going to love this place."
   No longer a boy, Henry had matured into a bold, courageous young man with an innate sense of right and wrong and possessed with the same sense of wonder and childlike faith that he'd had when she'd first met him. He'd waited on the other side, allowing her to enter the Fairy Tale world for the first time alone with her parents.
   When Snow White didn't respond, Emma looked back at her and saw a look of utter sadness on her face now.
   "He was born in the other world and is unable to enter into ours." Her father's voice, laced with sadness and regret.
   "But..." That's not fair! None of us would be here now if not for him. But she better than anyone knew that life wasn't always fair. Emma looked over her shoulder. She could see him, but indistinctly, as if looking at him through a wall of water. She stared at him a long moment, feeling the tug and pull of many different emotions, then finally turned back to her parents.
   Both of them seemed to understand the look on her face.
   Her father nodded his head once, then squeezed her arm. "I'm so proud of you Emma." He leaned down and pressed a kiss to her cheek then stepped back.
   Her mother pulled her into a hug. Emma hesitated a moment, then returned it. "I have always loved you." Snow White whispered into her ear.
   Emma felt wetness on her cheeks and for a moment wasn't sure if it was from her mother's tears...or her own. "I know...Mom. I love you too."
   They finally pulled apart and Emma turned back to the portal.
   "This will always be your home Emma."
   Emma nodded, acknowledging her father's unspoken words. She would always be free to come back here.
   She glanced back one last time, framing one last image of her parents in her mind. Her father stood tall and proud, one arm wrapped around her mother. They both raised a hand in farewell to her.
   And then she was stepping through the portal back to the only world she had ever known.
   Henry seemed surprised to see her.
   "You came back!"
   "Of course. Wait, you knew?"
   Henry gave her an impish smile. "Of course."
   Emma stared at him for a long moment, unsure how to respond. Then she threw her arm around his shoulders and steered him away from the portal.
   "Come on kid. Let's go find something to eat. I'm starving."
   Henry looked over at her for a long minute. Then he smile. "Thanks. Mom."


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