To say Regina didn't have many sporty clothes would be an understatement. Looking anything but stylish was not an option as the paper would be covering the track and field day, and as mayor she would most definitely be photographed. Regina just hoped this year it would be a picture of her in the bleachers looking on, and not a picture of her dragging Henry across a football field on his ass. Her never worn Oasic tennis shoes and white ankle cut socks were admittedly comfortable. Even if she didn't plan on doing anything overly physical she still had to dress the part. She wore her only pair of black nylon shorts and a white t-shirt which she only owned because she had accidently picked the wrong size for Henry. The t-shirt alone was enough to make her hate this day.
She and Henry arrived to the school grounds early. Regina walked with purpose while Henry shuffled listlessly behind. Henry might have been good at sports, but his ability had never been cultivated. Beyond riding his bike and participating in gym class he had no experience. The other kids hooked onto his shortcoming and teased him, which was yet just another reason to hate track and field day.
Regina spotted Emma as soon as she arrived, watching her curiously from a distance, as she removed her grey sweat pants and stretched her calves on a chain link fence. She was now wearing black Under Armor knee length running tights and a fitted black running jacket, a hint of her red shirt peeked out from under it. Henry's mood perked up considerably as soon as he saw Emma. He turned to Regina and exclaimed in wonder, "Emma's here!"
"Yes, and she is going to be your co-participant this year," Regina stated, watching Henry's sudden unbridled excitement light up his face.
"Awesome!" He said as he ran towards Emma, just about knocking her over from the force of his sneak hug attack.
Regina felt her heart sink and her chest constrict. Henry didn't even feign disappointment that Regina wouldn't be participating with him. She sunk down onto the hard bleachers, noticing too late that they were still coated with dew.
"Good morning, Madam Mayor," Emma chirped coming to stand before her. She matched Henry's enthusiasm, although Regina suspected she had just had way too much coffee.
Regina sneered and gave her a tight smile, "Hello, Sheriff. Henry's very excited. You'd better not let him down."
"This whole thing is about teamwork and fun, it's not about winning. I'm pretty sure Henry knows that," Emma said as she looked out at the field. Mary Margaret was bustling back and forth, setting up kiddie pools and bowling pins for the younger children's events.
Emma moved to sit down next to Regina, but Regina stood up instead, causing Emma's legs to connect with the bench behind her and nearly fall backwards. Regina reached out just in time to steady her, although she inwardly cursed her natural reflexes, wishing she had let her fall.
"Whoa!" Emma chortled as she caught her balance, clinging to Regina's outstretched elbow.
"Careful, Sheriff, your clumsiness does not instill confidence in your athletic ability," Regina barked, removing her hand from Emma's back.
"Don't worry about my athletic ability, I'm pretty fit- being Sheriff is a physically demanding job, unlike your boring paper pushing," Emma quipped right back.
"Physically fit, maybe, mentally- however, doubtful," Regina pursed her lips and headed down to the field while Emma followed, taking in the nice view of Regina's rear. Madam Mayor had a nice pair of thighs she always hid under her pencil skirts and pants suits.
Regina marched up to Mary Margaret, invading her personal space, tapping her clipboard and neglecting all pleasantries, "Tell me which events Henry will be in today."
"Oh, um, Madam Mayor- Emma tells me she will be taking over the father/son events, how lovely," Mary managed a smile, and was unsurprised when it was not returned. She squinted as she rifled through her clipboard, "Father/child relay and three-legged race, 4th grade softball throw and tug-o-war."
"Fine," Regina nodded curtly and turned around nearly bumping into Emma.
"Need any help with anything before we get started?" Emma volunteered to Mary Margaret.
"Oh, yes, actually- Emma, would you and Regina be willing to record the stats? Mr. Mason isn't going to make it today, but he has everything ready," Mary Margaret was distracted and hurried and barely waited for a response before shuffling off to line up the parents and students.
Regina grumbled under her breath, but was relieved to have a job to do that was in the vicinity of her strengths. If she still had her magic she would undoubtedly make sure Henry won every event, but in this world there were no similar advantages.
"Okay, stats, let's do it," Emma was way too excited about this, and sure enough as Regina and her sat down at the table on the side of the field to get organized she began to prattle on.
"This is just the beginning, Henry and I can practice and get ready for next year right away," Emma assumed Regina would let her do this again. What really terrified/thrilled/irritated Regina was the thought that she had another whole year of dealing with Emma. She didn't like to be reminded that the woman was in Henry's life permanently. Regina didn't want to contemplate how they would ever get beyond the next year, let alone the entire foreseeable future together, arguing and bartering over Henry's schedule and truly, his love.
The morning passed quickly, the kindergarten-2nd grade events were cute and surprisingly, Emma and Regina worked well together. Emma would collect the times from the parent's with the stopwatches and she would report them to Regina who recorded and organized them. The children were to learn the merits of challenge and competition, but the emphasis wasn't really on winning as each one of them would receive an identical participation ribbon. Still, Regina believed winning did matter, if not, why even bother keeping time?
After the last of the first round of events it was snack time, and Emma merrily helped pass out orange slices and juice boxes, smirking as she handed an apple juice to Regina, who gratefully popped in the straw and sucked. Regina caught Emma looking at her and chuckling. She finished her swallow and then pointedly asked, "What?"
"Nothing…nothing, you just look…so grumpy and cute drinking your little box of juice, is all," Emma replied and turned away to help a little girl get her straw in before Regina had a chance to refute Emma's comment.
It was finally time for Henry's section to do their events. Regina and Emma cheered for Henry in the softball throw. Even though he got three tries, each time the ball went high into the air but didn't carry any distance.
"We'll definitely have to work on that," Emma said in frustration and disappointment.
Regina sighed despondently as she recorded his short distance next to his name in the ledger. Perhaps she would let Emma help him; it was the lesser evil than having him feel like a failure. Fortunately, he was better at running and so was Emma. The total distance was once around the track, 400 meters: Emma and the fathers running the first 200, then handing off the baton to Henry and the kids to run the second 200.
Regina took in the competition, the men of Storybrooke were mostly large and somewhat overweight, while Emma looked lithe and streamlined. She was fast too, Regina was impressed and Emma shot out of the gate by far faster than any other dad. Regina shook her head, when she kept referring to Emma in her head as the 'dad' but then her eyes widened as she watched Emma smoothly hand off the baton to Henry and he launched into a full sprint. He was rounding the curve before the other kids even had the hand off and crossed the finish line leaps and bounds ahead of the other.
His smile made it all worth it, Emma ran across the field, and Regina ran to meet him at the finish line, "Great job! First place!"
Regina hugged her breathless and dazed son before he had the wherewithal to push her away, and Emma lunged toward them both, trying to wrap her arms around Henry, but settling on just getting in on the family moment, not caring that she was hugging Regina. It was then that Regina heard the tell-tale click of a camera and fought out of Emma's arms to turn around and glare at the reporter. He gave her the thumbs up in affirmation that he had caught the touching scene. Regina was not impressed. She ruffled Henry's hair and retreated back to the bench to record the times.
The three-legged race didn't go so well, that was definitely another event that needed practice, and although Emma tried, her and Henry's coordination was off, and Regina delighted in the fact that Emma did not better than Regina could have done in the event. Emma huffed off the field, her temper flaring at the loss. She plopped down next to Regina and frowned off into the distance. It took all Regina had in her not to gloat, and she didn't even know why she refrained.
As the morning became afternoon, everyone was getting tired. Although, a beautiful day, the hot sun was taking a toll and in Mary Margaret's effort to get everyone involved she overestimated the children's patience. The parents of the younger kids had already taken them and gone home by the time the final event came: Tug-o-war.
Participation was mandatory, and the teams were divided by class. Emma grabbed Regina's hand and hoisted her to her feet, "You have to participate in this one, come on."
Regina rolled her eyes but took her place behind Emma and Henry beside the long rope. There were at least 30 people on each team and they were virtually smashed together. They picked up the rope and Regina's knuckles touched Emma's as they planted their feet and got ready to pull.
Mary Margaret stood in the middle where there was a line on the field and a little flag tied to the middle of the rope. Whichever team pulled the flag to their side toppling the opposite team was the winner.
"Ready, set, GO!" Mary Margaret yelled and blew the whistle. The teams scrambled, gritting their teeth, pulling with all their might. Regina was really trying she was surprised to say and Emma was pulling just as hard. There was give and take for a bit, before Henry's team got the advantage in one strong pull they felt the other team relent as the flag crossed to their side and the whole team fell down from the strain. Never before had Regina felt an actual sense of teamwork or pride as she did when her team and her son actually won the tug-o-war. Emma flashed a wide smile and for the first time that day Regina felt the corners of her mouth turn upward as she returned the smile willingly and genuinely.
The celebration was short lived as Mary Margaret killed the high of victory with a long winded speech about participation, teamwork and blah, blah, blah. Regina cleared her throat and tapped at her watch in impatience. Mary flustered, but got the hint, and ushered the kids into a line to receive their participation ribbon. Regina took on ribbon duty believing there was an extra sense of pride and prestige to receive a ribbon from the mayor. She also knew she could speed the process along. Regina didn't give hugs like Mary Margaret was prone to do.
When each child had their ribbon and everything was picked up, Henry was talking a mile a minute about everything. He even took his softball loss in stride, having figured out how to do it better next time.
"Emma's going to work with you on it," Regina announced before thinking. Emma and Henry both shot her a look of surprise, but quickly shook it off, grateful to find Regina in such a charitable mood.
"So..I know what you're thinking, Henry. Are you going to ask or should I?" Emma teased, brushing against Henry's shoulder and turning to look at Regina in a pleading manner. Henry did the same and in unison they both whined to Regina in a way she couldn't possibly deny, "Ice Cream? Please?"
"Fine," Regina acquiesced and they headed off to Granny's to celebrate their victory, although we need not be reminded that everyone is a winner.