"Would you leave, if you could?"
Great. Now she's talking to the moon. Lunatic. Then again, for all she knows, there really is a man on the moon. Her gaze drops to the orange line spray-painted across the road.
The town border.
The bumper of her Bug shines a silent smile in the moonlight and Emma sinks back against the bonnet, her back against the windshield. She closes her eyes and immediately her vision fills with the memory of Regina's last words, her eyes flashing with anger and betrayal.
Emma tries to fight the emotions threatening to overpower her. Silent tears streak down her cheeks.
Ruby watches Emma's silent struggle from her path through the woods. Her heart tugs her closer and she approaches slowly until she is within arm's reach. Ruby's hand hovers above Emma's shoulder.
Emma jerks up from the windshield and her eyes dart to Ruby's hovering hand. She cringes before lowering her eyes, trying to soften the insult with a soft smile that doesn't quite reach her eyes.
"You found me!" Emma teases, batting her eyelashes.
Ruby laughs and shuffles onto the bonnet next to Emma.
"I will always find you." Ruby breathes melodramatically.
She holds Emma's gaze for a moment and then bumps her shoulder against Emma's and leans towards her with a playful glint in her eyes.
"Anyone could. Your leather jacket practically glows in the dark."
Emma scrunches her face in mock offence and punches Ruby's shoulder before they both settle back against the windshield. They fall silent and listen to the sounds of the forest.
The silence stretches out between them until Ruby pushes up on her elbows and searches Emma's face in the moonlight.
"I don't know, Ruby."
"Do you know why, at least?"
Emma sighs and rolls off the bonnet. She paces nervously under Ruby's gaze, trying to avoid looking into Ruby's sharp, green eyes.
"It's complicated, Ruby."
"Then break it down for me, Emma, because I don't understand. They love you, we all do! Isn't that enough? Aren't we..."
Ruby sucks air through her clenched teeth.
"Aren't we good enough?"
Emma stops pacing to gape at Ruby.
Ruby turns her face into her shoulder.
Emma catches the curve of Ruby's sad, sad smile and slowly leans closer to comfort her friend, but Ruby shakes the tears from her eyelids and edges off the opposite end of the Bug, her arms hugged tight around herself.
"Please don't. Just. Don't."
Conflicted eyes follow a trickle of moisture down Ruby's nose. Ruby grips her elbows against her sides.
"I know, Em."
Ruby turns her back to Emma. Her voice shakes despite all effort to keep it steady.
"Tell me why."
Emma crumples against her trusty Bug. More comfortable with actions than words, she reaches for Ruby again, but this time it's Ruby who flinches. Emma's hand falls awkwardly to her side.
Emma takes a deep breath.
"It hurts too much. I'm not...I'm not strong enough to just watch from a distance. Every single day, seeing everything I want and can never ever have, just dangling in front of me." Emma confesses, voice filled with longing.
"She can't even look at me. She hates me..."
Emma bows her head.
Emma watches as Ruby hugs herself even tighter. It's unnerving to see the usually strong werewolf so vulnerably curved under the moonlight.
Emma tries to reach for her again but Ruby shakes her head.
Slowly, Ruby pulls herself upright and takes a step towards the forest.
Ruby turns, a trail of moisture down her left cheek glimmering in the moonlight.
"Everything you want and can't have?" The words sound hollow, whispered over her shoulder. Ruby laughs bitterly.
"Maybe you're not strong enough on your own, but you're not alone."
Ruby's voice hitches and she closes her eyes and and tries to steady her voice.
"Do you have any idea how much it hurts us, watching you sit at the town border night after night wondering if our love is enough to keep you here?"
Ruby glances up and the moonlight drapes around her strong jawline.
"We might not be everything you want..."
Ruby's words drip with bitter sarcasm. Emma frowns.
"I didn't mean..."
"...but what about Henry? This is his home. This is where he belongs, with his family. So you'd better find a way to be strong. For him."
Emma bows her head in shame.
Ruby escapes into the forest without a backward glance.
Elsa freezes in her tracks when she catches sight of the two figures next to the strange carriage. She steps back and hides behind a nearby the tree. An all too familiar fear trickles up her spine.
Why are they here? Have they noticed the falling temperatures?
She has to be more careful.
Elsa tries to calm her magic. She seeks the warmth of happiness within herself. It is a dim, old memory and she struggles, but keeps reaching for it. Happiness. Love. Home. After several minutes Elsa feels warmth radiate from her rather than being drawn in. She shifts slightly until the two figures are visible through the branches and gasps.
It's too late.
A deep red cloak flutters behind a dark figure running towards her. A waft of magic from the coat tingles down her spine. Tainted magic. A very particular dark magic.
She should have known it wouldn't be that easy to escape from his clutches.
Fury floods through her chest and she gasps as her magic implodes like a black hole. Her body grows warm as she absorbs more and more energy.
She will not have her freedom taken from her again!
The influx of energy increases and the tree she's leaning against starts groaning as it freezes. Ice branches out under her feet. The old rage fills her with purpose and she runs as fast as her legs will carry her.
The temperature plummets. An arctic breeze fills the trees leaving icicles on everything it touches. The first snowflakes fall.
A blizzard is born.