NIGHT AND DAY

Title: Night and Day
Author: Scouse, or inatrailoffire (on tumblr and twitter)
Rating: PG-13
Warnings: None

Pairings: Emma / Graham

Word Count: 1,781 words

Summary: They're so different. Vastly, conspicuously, infuriatingly different and everything about them screams that they just shouldn't work. Except for the fact that they so obviously do.

Notes: I've not ficced for a very looooooong time. Bear with me. I wanted to write something normal and everyday-ish. AU post final battle sort of drabble, thing. Throwing in a few beginnings of theories that I'm toying with too. Hoping to flesh them out further in more fic while I'm off this Christmas. :-)

~oOo~

Night and Day

They're so different. Vastly, conspicuously, infuriatingly different and everything about them screams that they just shouldn't work. Except for the fact that they so obviously do.

~oOo~

For example, she's a morning person.

Rising with the sun and the dawn chorus. Watching the sky change from the ink-black of night, to the soft grey of dawn, to fire. There's just too much to do in the day. She's spent so long on her own that now, here, she can't bear missing a thing, wasting a second longer than the need to sleep means must. It just doesn't seem right to -like throwing a gift back in the giver's face; ungrateful.

Besides, she's got people now…whatever the hell that means! People who she cares about and who care about her, and she wants to spend all the time that she can with them.

He happens to be one of those people, and pretty damn near to the top of her list at that (pipped to the post only by Henry actually), even if she teases him that he's not.

~oOo~

He works the night shift, and thus he rises when the moon is on her way up into the sky, the stars pricking their dazzling selves into the dark. He's always been more of a night owl anyway, has all of his best ideas, does all of his deep thinking, in the dead of night, looking up at those stars or under the light of a full moon.

Since she's more than capable of taking charge of the day shift (they hired Ruby to cover the reception desk to free up Emma's time spent answering the phones, and Ruby's taken to her new role like a duck to water), and since he knows Storybrooke better than she does, it makes sense for him to cover the alternately dead and dreary or suddenly fast and furious small hours. Better that he's out there when the "wolves" and worse are roaming the streets instead of her.

Not that he'd admit that to her, of course! She'd likely cuff him about the head and put meanings that he did not intend to be read in his words.

Like that he thought she was incapable.

Like that he was pulling rank.

Like that he didn't trust her.

Contrarily to her assumptions, she's the only person he trusts with his life.

~oOo~

She loves her coffee.

Its her first port of call of a morning; before relinquishing her pyjamas for shower and clothes and the walk to a day of work.

Strong and scalding hot is how she likes it, with just a touch of cream. It gives her a kick start, a boost and there's something she finds so comforting in that bitterness and it's familiarity.

She's had a coffee every morning since before she started running (from foster home to foster home, from town to town; running away…or towards Storybrooke depending on how you look at it), whether that was at a truck stop somewhere on the road or in some flea-bitten bedsit or a tiny rented apartment with her mug and coffee maker the only things that she has been bothered to unpack despite having been there a week already!

Nowadays she sits on their kitchen counter -her running done- back against the cold tiles of the wall and the dripping tap and sink to her right (she's made many a mental note, sitting there like that, to tighten the tap's washer and stop the dripping altogether, but she never remembers. Besides, that noise is something of a comfort too, ticking out its irregular staccato against the stainless steel.)

She doesn't sip -she takes swigs that burn her tongue and the roof of her mouth, leaving it tender all day- and she watches the square of sunlight crawl it's way up the opposite wall, making more false promises with herself to paint said wall yellow or terracotta or red so that it might catch that sunlight and glow warmer.

~oOo~

He doesn't really drink coffee.

Instead he usually sticks to water when he's working or a beer once his shift is over. But he does enjoy a cup of tea before he makes his way up to bed.

She jokes that it's a consequence of his accent. Something hereditary even though they both know now that they're from somewhere else, somewhere fantastical and elusive; always dancing at the back of their minds like a dream that's barely remembered.

He likes his tea strong, but with lots of milk too, claiming there's no sense in drinking it if all you can taste is hot water.

It's as comforting for him as coffee is for her. Calming, brings him down after a weary night as he sits; small, white, chipped cup cradled between large palms that are roughened by work that they've not seen in this world, but work that has toughened them none-the-less. He sees memories reflected back at him from the surface of the tea and he looses himself in them for a while (where she cannot because she left that world before she could have memories).

Only once he's finished, washed his cup carefully and placed it back in the cupboard beside her coffee mug (a rainbow of colours and sporting the word "MOM" in Henry's wobbly hand-painted uppercase), does he take the stairs two at a time and slink his way into bed. He tries to keep quiet for her but she still knows (perhaps instinctively), still stirs as the bed dips beneath his weight. And she smiles, turns towards him, barely conscious, still mostly sleep-addled.

He likes those moments. Whilst he is still alert and she's soft and unguarded and pliant, moulding herself against him. And its in those moments that he remembers why exactly it was that he chose to stay in Storybrooke, rather than returning (like others did, like her parents did) to their real lives in the Enchanted Forest.

He stayed because his heart is still gone. Oh, literally it's there in his chest, beating, pumping blood and life through his body and limbs. But he lost it to her a long time ago. Perhaps -clichéd though it may be- upon first seeing her, locked up in the cells that she now helps to populate. He stayed for her, because he couldn't face the thought of any world -fairytale or "real" or whatever- without her in it.

They're so busy with work and Henry and the town (and she's so intent upon being strong) that such glimpses of her truly unguarded are few and far between and dearly cherished. He loves her strength, loves her independence and fight and her fierceness; but he also likes to be the one looking after her for a change. He doesn't like being the damsel in their relationship all the time.

~oOo~

Sundays are a different story to the rest of their week, and that in itself has become a habit, something of a ritual for them. Something to look forwards to when work grinds them down or bills mount up on the kitchen table or they realise just how much they miss those friends and family who decided to return to the Enchanted Forest, the one's who couldn't stay because their hearts lay elsewhere. When times are tough and they question previous choices, they keep faith in themselves; that they'll always have each other.

Sundays are treasured because neither of them have to worry about work. A day of rest when there's no school runs or calls from the office, and even she sleeps in (even if technically she's not sleeping). She allows herself that time just to lie beside him, to bask in his company, to realise she's no longer alone. She has Henry and she has him; both unconditionally. It offers a great deal more comfort than her morning coffee.

The hours crawls lazily on towards noon and she waits for as long as she can stand it before she wakes him -her cheek against his shoulder, forefinger tracing the line of his jaw. And he's bleary and tired and his eyes are red from so few hours rest when he does stir, but he always greets her with a smile -soft and warm and, above all, [i]her's[/i].

~oOo~

Interruption will come usually in the form of Henry calling "Mom!" by way of warning that he's awake and tired of amusing himself. A name that she's still getting used to answering to, as much as Henry is still getting used to using for her (he's taken less time to drop the "Sheriff" and "Sir" when it comes to addressing Graham, but then again he's known Graham for a lot longer than he's know her and thus it's not so surprising.)

On the Sundays that she finds herself needing to resort to more drastic measures to thoroughly wake Graham (mouth seeking his, stealing kisses until he's alert enough to return them), and time runs away with them, Henry will retaliate (for Sunday is also library day and his thirst for stories only grows. Emma thinks that he may become a writer when he's older. Henry only wrinkles his nose at this notion; sometimes he wants to be an archaeologist. Other times an astronaut. Most of the time he wants to be a teacher.) He'll charge through the bedroom door with all her fearlessness and bravado and cheek. And while he'll exclaim a high pitched, "Ew, gross!" and clap his hands over his eyes, she will break her kiss, glance up and counter with a, "Kid! What have I told you about knocking?"

Graham only ever flushes, ducks his head and chuckles; a little awkwardly, a lot embarrassed until Henry escapes and Emma -shifting over him, purposely settling her weight in all the very right places- follows, glancing over her shoulder as she follows her son.

But Henry has taken to their relationship better than ever either of them could have hoped he would. Though he may give Graham grief sometimes, as all boys do with father-figures. Though he may act up for their attention, because damn neither of them seem to have enough hours in the day, he's thrilled to have a family. Small and cobbled together and slightly odd though it is. They've bonded, the three of them -after what they've seen, what they've lived through- and nothing short of a curse ten times as powerful as the one that they ended, together, will come anywhere close to breaking that.

~oOo~

Its tough.

She has a kid.

He has the town.

They both have their jobs.

But its not half as tough as before when they were both alone.

~oOo~~oOo~~oOo~

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