Title: Sons and Birthdays
Rating: PG
Characters: Emma, Gold, Henry, and Regina
Warnings: None
Notes: This is a birthday fic for
rumpelgold/scabiorsnatcher. Happy Birthday! I hope you had a wonderful day and enjoy this story.

Emma stared morosely at the cup of hot chocolate in front of her. Glancing at the clock above the counter in Granny's she let out a dejected sigh. Henry's 11th birthday party would be over now...a party she wasn't invited to. Despite Henry's begging, and her own attempts to be more pleasant towards the mayor, Regina refused to let Emma celebrate with them. In fact, she had made it clear that if Emma tried to crash the party she would live to regret it.

The door to the diner opened and Emma looked up, cursing her bad luck when she saw Mr. Gold limp in. She quickly ducked her head as his amber eyes scanned the diner, hoping he wouldn't see her sitting in the back booth. Fate, however, wasn't on her side and she scowled as he approached her.

"Ms. Swan," he said in a silky, smooth voice. "May I join you?"

"I have a feeling that even if I said no you'd sit down anyways," she replied in a slightly irritated tone.

He smirked as he slid in the seat across from her. "That's just one of reasons I like you Ms. Swan...you get me."

"I don't want to be rude but I'm really not in the mood for company. Especially your company."

He continued to smirk at her but his features softened a bit. "Having a bad day?"

"What gave it away?" she asked sarcastically with a raised eyebrow.

"I know you don't want to believe it Emma but I'm actually a good listener and would like to help you if I can."

She studied him for a moment. She trusted Gold about as far as she could throw him but she sensed he was actually being sincere.

"Today was Henry's birthday party and I wasn't able to go," she said softly, looking down at the table.

"I'm guessing that wasn't your choice."

"No," she replied bitterly. She glanced back up, anger flashing in her eyes. "Henry begged Regina to let me come but she refused. She said I wasn't there to celebrate the last ten birthdays so there was no reason for me to start now."

"Regina can be..."

"Bitchy," Emma cut in.

Gold let out a quiet chuckle. "I was going to say cruel but bitchy works too."

She grinned at him before letting out another heavy sigh. " Every year on his birthday I'd wonder what he was doing; did he have a big party with his friends, did he like the gifts he got, what kind of cake did he eat...was he happy and having fun." She paused and hastily wiped the stray tear that had rolled down her cheek, hoping he hadn't noticed. "And now that I'm here, so close to him, I'm still left wondering."

"I know it can be difficult...to give up a child and constantly wonder what his life is like now," he replied in a quiet, low tone. "But it does no good to wonder."

A sudden burst of anger flared through her, furious that this man had the audacity to tell her what to feel. "What would you know about it?" she snapped.

"More than you would think," he said simply with a slight tilt to the head.

She scoffed and leaned back in the booth, giving him a disbelievable look. "I somehow doubt that."

They sat in silence, glaring at one another. Gold broke down first and let out a tired, shaky breath. "I had a son Ms. Swan."

Of all the things she had expected him to say, that was not it. Her mouth dropped open and her eyes widened with shock. "You...have a son?" she said slowly, unable to comprehend what he had just confessed.

"Had," he corrected. "I had a son who I lost a long time ago."

"I'm sorry," Emma apologized, cringing inwardly at her earlier words to him. "No one ever said anything to me."

"Why would they? You're the first person I've told in a very long time."

"Can I ask what happened?" she said gently.

He placed his hands on the table and looked down at them, unable to deal with the sympathy he saw in her eyes. "I...I wanted to protect him...to give him a better life. The only way I could do that was to let him go."

Her hand came to rest on top of his, her touch warm and gentle. Startled, he looked up to see her giving him a compassionate smile.

"You did what you thought was best," she said softly. "You made a sacrifice to make sure that he had a better future... but the ache to be with him never really leaves, does it?"

He gazed intently at her for a moment before slowly sliding his hand out from underneath hers. "You're right Ms. Swan...it never really leaves." He let his words hang in the air for a moment before sliding out of the booth and walking away from her. She watched as he yanked the door open and walked out into the cold night.

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An hour later Emma found herself piling the gifts she had gotten Henry on the kitchen table. She had decide to show up at his school tomorrow and give them to him then...consequences be damned.

Knock-knock-knock.

She turned to the door with puzzled expression. It was 6:12 on a Sunday, which in Storybrooke meant families were just sitting down for dinner. Walking over to the door she opened it and was shocked to see Henry and Mr. Gold standing on the other side.

"Wha...what are you doing here?" she asked Henry with a smile.

"I'm here to celebrate my birthday with you," Henry replied with a bright smile. He walked into the room, exclaiming happily when he saw the presents on the kitchen table.

Emma noticed Gold was holding a small cake in his hands, his cane clutched limply in his right hand. "May I come in?" he asked in a polite tone.

She merely nodded and stepped aside, still unsure of what was going on. She glanced at Henry, who was shaking the wrapped gifts and then back at Gold. "Does Regina know that you have Henry?" she asked worriedly, afraid of what his answer would be.

He smirked as he placed the cake down on the counter. "Don't worry Ms. Swan. I didn't kidnap Henry."

"I don't understand," she replied, the confusion evident in her tone. "What did you say to her?"

Shrugging his shoulders casually he turned to watch Henry carefully rip into the wrapping paper of the biggest gift. "Let's just say I can be quite persuasive."

"What the hell are you doing here?" Regina snarled as Gold walked into the foyer of her house.

"I'm here to take Henry to see Emma," he answered back, his lips curled slightly upwards.

She snorted and rolled her eyes at him. "The hell you are." She opened the front door and said, "Get out."

"Oh come on Regina," he replied in a falsely pleasant tone. "Do I really need to say the magic word?"

She froze, staring at him furiously.

He smirked. "That's what I thought."

"Why did you do this?" Emma asked as she walked towards him.

He watched Henry for a moment, imagining that it was Bae gleefully opening up the gifts. "I missed out on having a second chance with my son." Turning to her he added, "But you still have a chance. You shouldn't have to wonder any more what Henry is doing on his birthday." Giving her a small smile he started to walk towards the door, intending to leave. "I told Regina I would return with him in three hours. You two enjoy your time together."

"Wait," she called out, stopping him. "You should stay...have some cake with us."

"I don't want to intrude," he replied.

She smiled at him reassuringly. "You aren't intruding. I want you to stay."

He hesitated briefly before nodding his head in acceptance. He limped back to her slowly. "Thank you."

She reached for his hand, intertwining her fingers with his. "No, thank you."