|The Best Day Ever
Author: RicksIlsa PM
Emma/Henry bonding fic with Mary Margaret and David in the end.Rated: Fiction K - English - Emma S. & Henry Mills - Words: 2,685 - Reviews: 5 - Favs: 32 - Follows: 4 - Published: 04-09-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8008771
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: Challenge fic for my Once Upon a Time Landom (See my profile if you'd like to join)
Sheriff Emma Swan sat at a table in Granny's diner absently sipping coffee as she scanned the day's newspaper and waited for Henry to show up. Normally, Emma would have had breakfast at home and then met Henry down the street from his house. Every morning she walked with him to the bus before heading to her office, but not today. Today was Career Cay; which meant each student in Henry's class got to pick a person in town who had a profession they were interested in and 'shadow' them for a day.
Emma was pretty sure that Henry really didn't have much interest in being a sheriff, but since Mary Margaret was his teacher of course his request to spend the day with her at the station was approved. Regina was sure to be thrilled when she found out: there was no 'if', she always found out.
But for the prospect of spending a whole day with her son, Emma would gladly walk through the fires of hell itself which is exactly what a confrontation with Regina felt like. Luckily, since Emma became Sheriff, Regina seemed to be more careful about picking her battles. Hopefully today would just be ignored.
The cold morning breeze ruffled her hair and Emma looked up eagerly to see who had entered. It was just David Nolan. Upon seeing her disappointed face, he laughed.
"What's wrong, Sheriff? Expecting someone else?" He teased and nodded at Ruby when she asked if he wanted his usual.
Emma sat up a little straighter in her seat and tried to decide how friendly she wanted to be to this man who had broken her friend's... her best friend's heart.
But David was the epitome of charm as he began to ramble about his work at the animal shelter. Soon Emma found herself smiling and even giggling a little at his recounting of the misadventures he had with a kitten that kept getting loose and wreaking havoc.
"I always wanted a kitten when I was little," she confessed, then bit her lip and looked away.
She wasn't sure where that tidbit had come from. It had been years since Emma had even thought about that desperate desire she'd had growing up, to have a pet of her own, something that would belong entirely to her.
It wasn't like Emma to share something that personal with a man she barely knew, a man who stomped on Mary Margaret's heart...
"I'm sorry you didn't get one. Every little girl should have a kitten..." he trailed off, suddenly looking confused.
"Mr. Nolan? David, are you okay?" She asked, worried.
He gave his head a shake and then laughed. "Sorry, I guess my mind hasn't fully recovered. I could have sworn, for a minute there, that I talked to you about a kitten before. But then, I didn't meet you until after I woke up, right? Our paths never crossed before then?"
Emma shook her head. "No. You were in that coma when I first came to town."
Ruby came over and set his to-go coffees in front of him.
He stood and picked them up. "I have to go. Kathryn's waiting... But I wanted to see if you'd be willing to help out. Sheriff Graham used to volunteer at the shelter a couple of nights a week and we could really use the help.
"Oh, I don't know..." Emma's voice reply trailed off as the door opened again. The smile that suddenly stretched across Emma's face lit up the whole diner.
David turned to see Henry making his way toward them. He was smiling himself when he looked back at Emma. "Alright, I'll leave you to your breakfast date. But just promise you'll think about it, okay?"
She nodded and he left.
Henry's smile matched her own as he plopped down on the seat across from her. He looked over at Ruby who was back behind the counter. "Waffles!" he called to her.
The young woman arched an eyebrow at him.
"Please?" he added, giving her his best puppy dog eyes. Ruby just laughed and went to turn in his order.
Emma savored every second she got to spend with Henry that day. They hadn't really done much, but it didn't really matter. After so many weeks of barely getting a glimpse of him, this time together was precious.
They ate junk food, drove around in the cruiser (Emma even let Henry run the siren a few times), and went for a walk under the toll bridge. Emma never had an entire day with just Henry before. No Regina, no pregnant maidens trying to run away with a baby promised to Mr. Gold... It was nice. It was wonderful. Just the two of them.
The best part was their conversations. They had an unspoken agreement that 'Operation Cobra' was off limits today. So the pair of loners, probably two of the most private individuals in town, talked to each other about themselves.
Henry wanted to know about Emma's childhood. It was difficult to open up at first but the more she shared, the easier it became. Although growing up had been lonely and difficult for Emma, there had been some good moments as well: When she was 13, the foster family she had lived with for half a year 3 had taken her to Disney World... When she was 15, she hit a game-winning grand-slam at her middle school softball game... When she was 17, she won front row tickets to Madonna concert off the radio... and she when she turned 21, she had gone to Vegas for her birthday and won $7000 at a poker game.
"What about you? I mean, I know Regina is not the ideal parent, but surely she gave you some good memories?" Henry was quiet for a long while. Emma was content to let him think in silence as they strolled through the woods.
"No. It wasn't all bad. It was better when I was younger and didn't understand the difference between good and evil. I never went hungry; I always had the best clothes and toys that money could buy. She always stayed home from work and took care of me whenever I got sick. Once she took me horseback riding. That was really cool..." he trailed off with a wistful smile.
"Really, horses? You're braver than me," Emma said with a slight shudder.
Henry looked up at her in shock. "You don't like horses?" He asked.
Emma crossed her arms and shot him a defensive look. "I like horses just fine. I-I just never had anyone to teach me to ride, that's all."
He snorted and she gave him a playful shove.
"What else did she teach you?" Emma asked a few minutes later when they reached the river.
Henry picked up a few rocks and started trying to skip them across the water. Emma joined him, though neither succeeded. The current was too strong.
"Um, when I was seven, one of the kids at school invited me to a pool party. I told her that I didn't want to go because I didn't know how to swim. She was going to have me take lessons, but I didn't want to, so I told her the truth that I didn't really get along with the kids at school. She was so angry that I lied to her. She yelled and threw things..." he shuddered.
Emma put a comforting hand on his shoulder.
"Then the next day, she was like a different person. She took me to a gym that had a big in-door pool. I guess she paid them to keep it closed, because it was just me and her all day long. She taught me how to swim, and we played like we were mermaids... that was the last time played with me. After that, whenever I asked if we could go swimming, she would just tell me she was busy and wasn't I too old for make-believe?"
Emma sighed and rubbed his shoulder. "Swimming. So, you can ride horses and swim. Two things I never learned how to do," she confessed.
"You can't swim either?" He demanded, stunned.
She shook her head, smiling. They walked in silence for a few minutes, just listing to the rushing water.
"My birthday's were always fun. She made sure I got whatever I wanted and was never too busy to make sure I had a good time," Henry admitted suddenly.
Emma nodded, but didn't say anything. Listening to his good memories with Regina was bitter-sweet. Sweet in that she was so grateful that Regina was able to give Henry some good memories, bitter in that his fear of Regina seemed to taint them. She had given Henry up for adoption in the hopes that someone would be able to give him a better childhood, a better life, than she could. But it seemed that she had been wrong.
"Tell me about your best birthday ever," he said suddenly breaking her from her sad thoughts.
She smiled and led him to sit on a fallen log. Henry sat down and looked at her, expectantly.
"My best birthday ever?" She paused as she gathered her thoughts. "Hmm, well, I had finally caught this guy who skipped bail that I'd been tracking for weeks. Really cashed in on it too..."
"So, you made a lot of money? That's a pretty good birthday."
Emma shook her head, "No, that's not the good part. I was so behind on my bills that I didn't have much extra. But I did have enough to stop by a gourmet cupcake shop on the way home. A yellow vanilla cake with cream cheese frosting. It was a $10 cupcake and worth every penny."
"Okay, caught a bad guy, made a lot of money and ate an expensive cupcake? I guess that's a pretty good birthday," he said with a laugh.
But Emma shook her head again.
"There's more? What, a $50 scoop of ice cream to go with it?" He teased.
"No, I bought a... candle. For the cupcake... And I lit it, made a wish and blew it out."
"What did you wish for?" Henry asked, intrigued.
Emma took a breath, and blinked at the tears already threatening to start. "I wished that for the first time in my life, I wouldn't have to spend my birthday alone."
Henry was quiet for moment; his own eyes were getting bright as he began to understand what she was telling him. "And, did your wish come true?"
She nodded. "The second I blew out the candle, there was a knock on the door. When I opened it, I found this boy who told me that I was his mother. You see, he had come to bring me home, where I belonged. And that's why it was the best birthday I ever had-"
Henry's arms were suddenly wrapped tight around her waist. His face was hidden in her stomach, but she could still tell he was crying.
She gave him a tight squeeze, and then gently loosened his arms from around her waist. She sank to a knee so that he was looking down at her. Just a few months ago they would have been eye-level. He was growing so fast...
"It was my favorite birthday too," Henry said, wiping at his eyes.
Emma laughed, "It wasn't your birthday..."
"Yes it was! It was my birthday, Christmas, and summer break all rolled into one! You made one wish, I made a million! Always the same wish from the day I learned I was adopted... every wish! Birthday candles, pennies in fountains, and wishing upon a star. Every night I would look out my window and wish that you were here. And now I wish..." he stopped, dropped his head and covered his face with his hands.
Emma felt her stomach drop. Was he going to tell her that he wished she would believe his fairy tale theory?
"What Henry? What is it you wish for now?" She asked, pulling his hands away from his face.
"I-I... it's just, she tries so hard to make you leave! She wants you give up and go away. So every night I make a wish that you would stay. I wish, that in the morning when my school bus passes the station, I'll see your car. And when I do, I'm glad because I know that I have one more day..."
Emma hugged him tightly, unable to stop her own tears. Her next words, spoken in a harsh whisper, were broken with gulping sobs, "The reason that birthday is the best, is because it was only the first one. Every birthday I ever have now will be the best, because I have you. Henry, I will never leave you. You know that right? Your- Regina, may try to keep us apart, but I'll never be far away." Henry had never heard anything so beautiful.
She took a deep breath and held him at arm's-length.
"You need to understand. I didn't mean too, but I think I abandoned you when you were a baby. I didn't know what would happen Henry, and I will be forever sorry that I did. But I swear to you, I will never make that mistake again. Ever."
They both stared at each other with tears streaming down their faces. "I know."
She hugged him again. They both jumped at the sudden sound of a branch cracking under a foot, Mary Margaret and David Nolan came rushing toward them.
David had come to walk Mary Margaret home from school, when the mayor had shown up.
"Emma! Regina showed up at the school, she- What happened? Why are you crying?" The young school teacher demanded.
Emma and Henry both hurriedly wiped at their faces with dirty hands. "We uh- were having a moment," Emma explained, smiling at David when he handed her a handkerchief.
She quickly wiped her face and then handed it to Henry who did the same. The bright smiles that both Emma and Henry wore on their faces reassured Mary Margaret and David.
"Well, Regina is less than pleased, as you can imagine. I had to tell her he was with you," she admitted, looking guilty.
Emma laughed and they all looked at her like she'd lost her mind. "It doesn't matter," she said, looking each of them in the eye, kneeling to look at Henry last. "Regina has nothing to do with us. Henry, we are the good guys..."
"...and girls," Mary Margaret chimed in.
"Yes, and good girls. And good always wins in the end."
"That's right. Good will always beat evil," David said, grinning.
The four turned and started to walk back toward the sheriff's station where they knew Regina would be waiting.
Emma laughed as David knelt to give Henry a piggy-back ride. Mary Margaret's hand clasped hers and Emma soaked in the laughter and smiles around her, wishing that it could always be like this.
The word 'family' kept floating through her mind, and though she would probably never admit it aloud, she knew that a small part of herself deep inside, hoped that Henry might just be right about everything. That they all really were a family and that Emma would break the curse that kept them apart and defeat the Evil Queen once and for all.
Her smile widened. Even so, it didn't matter. She had today. They all did. And it really was the best day ever.