AN: After getting hooked on Once Upon a Time and seeing these two, I just had to write something. Not sure how long it's going to be, just winging it. SwanQueen eventually. Also, I don't know anything about horses, just what I've heard about the whole bonding thing…hopefully that is.
This chapters rating: G
Hope you enjoy.
Something Worth Holding Onto
Ch. 1 – Princes and Horses
"Kid, I really don't think it's a good idea."
"Come on Emma, please?"
"Henry, have you ever even ridden a horse before?"
"No, but I really want to learn, every Prince needs to know how to ride a horse."
Emma sighed at his 'Prince' reference and ran her fingers through her hair. Henry had been pushing this horse riding business on her all day and he didn't stop as they made their way into the mayoral mansion.
Kicking off his shoes and throwing his backpack on the floor he made his way into the kitchen. Emma knew Regina would have a cow if she found his things haphazardly thrown on the ground, so bending down; she picked up his backpack and nudged his shoes into the closet. Even though they were Henry's belongings, Emma knew the woman would find some way to put the blame on her instead. Better to be safe than sorry she thought.
She followed him into the kitchen and sat his backpack down in one of the chairs. When she looked back up she found Henry on his tip toes reaching into the far depths of a cupboard, finally extracting the box of cereal he was looking for.
She looked curiously at him and he smiled sheepishly saying, "Mom hates it when I eat this stuff, so she always puts it at the far back."
Emma just grinned and gave him a knowing nod. Leaning against the table she patiently watched him eat as she waited for Regina to get home before she left Henry. While she knew Regina wasn't the least bit thrilled at having her in her house when she wasn't there, Emma wasn't going to leave until someone was there with Henry, and the mayor was never more than 10 or 15 minutes past when Henry and Emma got back from the school.
Emma focused her attention back to Henry and stifled a laugh. "Excuse me, wanna try that again?"
Visibly swallowing the large mouthful of cereal, "So, how about them horses?" he asked, giving her a wide grin.
"Henry, for the last time– "
"What about horses?" Regina's voice rang out from the kitchen entry.
Emma whipped her head around to find the mayor standing there in all her power suit glory with an inquisitive expression on her face. She hadn't even heard the woman come in, and she was of course in her designer heels. She could be so stealthy sometimes. Weird.
"Hello Regina." Emma greeted with a smile.
"Miss Swan." Regina gave a curt nod back.
"Hi mom." Henry managed to get out through another mouthful of cereal.
Regina gazed at him with a disapproving expression before crossing over to his chair and wiping the hair out of his eyes, then leaned down and kissed the top of his head. Henry didn't move away but he didn't return her affection either. Emma had told him to lay off a little on the Evil Queen stuff. While she and Regina seemed to clash on just about everything, they both had Henry's best interests at heart and Emma knew that. Regina could be strict and overbearing but Henry wouldn't have turned out as good a kid as he had if he hadn't been brought up by the mayor. She knew Regina loved Henry very much and Emma just wished Henry could see that as well.
After stowing the cereal back in the cupboard Regina turned around and looked to Henry. "So, what is all this talk about horses?"
Drinking the last spoonful of milk from his bowl, Henry replied, "Oh, I was just telling Emma how I want to learn how to ride a horse."
"And I told him it was too dangerous." Emma said before crossing her arms, awaiting the agreement of the mayor.
"I think it's a wonderful idea, Henry." Regina spoke matter -of-factly.
Emma's mouth dropped slightly. "You think it's a wonderful idea? He could get hurt!"
"Nonsense Miss Swan. While horses are strong creatures, once you build a bond, they are very loyal and obliging."
"Yes Regina, I know that, but Henry just wants to jump on and start riding."
"Hey, I never said that!" Henry shot back with a guilty expression.
"You were thinking it." Emma retorted.
Regina pointedly looked away from her and back at Henry. "You know Henry, I don't have any paper work I need to finish and it's a lovely day outside, what do you say we go to the stables and get you practicing?"
Regina's voice never faltered but Emma could tell the woman was hesitant to ask the question. She desperately wanted Henry to give her the time of day but was afraid he would draw even farther back if she pushed too hard. However, this time, Regina wasn't disappointed when Henry answered her.
"Really? You'll let me ride a horse?"
This time, Regina did hesitate slightly. "Well, slowly Henry. You do need to build a bond with your horse before you can trust each other, but I don't think a bit of light riding will hurt." She gave him her best smile, the one she reserved just for him and for the first time in a long time, he slipped out of his chair and wrapped his arms around her in a tight hug. Regina's eyes widened as she was slightly taken aback. But it lasted for only a moment before she regained her composure and wrapped her arms around his small shoulders.
Emma couldn't remember the last time the brunette looked so happy.
"Thanks mom," Henry mumbled against her shirt before he drew back and looked up at her, "I'm so excited, Emma can come too right?"
And just as quickly as it came, the smile slid off of Regina's face as she looked over to the blonde.
Right as Emma was about to speak, Regina beat her to it.
"Henry, Miss Swan was the one who didn't want you to go remember? I'm sure she has no interest in riding horses; much less know how to ride one."
Regina looked up, her mouth pressed into a thin line.
"Actually, I do know how to ride a horse thank you. One of my foster families' had a ranch and raised horses. On the weekends as a treat they taught me and their kids how to ride."
Emma looked down at her boots, wondering why she had shared that information, she never gave Regina any look into her past if she could help it, but this time, she wanted more to just stick up for herself. She wanted to prove to Regina that the uptight mayor wasn't the best at everything.
Regina looked back down into Henry's pleading face, she wanted so much to spend time with Henry and make him happy; she would have just preferred it to not be in the presence of one Emma Swan. With a deep sigh, she straightened her back and gave Emma her best mayoral grin, "Very well Sheriff, let's see you put your money where your mouth is."
They had taken Regina's car after she refused to get into Emma's bug. Emma didn't know why Regina had such a problem with her car, if Henry rode in it so could she.
Pulling into the lot they all climbed out of the Mercedes as Emma looked up into the sky and smiled. It really was a beautiful day. Winter was quickly approaching but the weather seemed to be holding onto a few of those crisp sunny days before the rain set in.
Emma looked back when she heard laughter. Regina and Henry were already walking down to the stables and she saw something she hadn't seen in a while. It was a simple gesture, but at the same time held so much. As the two walked down the gravel path, mother and son were hand in hand. Henry was laughing at something Regina had said and that smile was back on her face. Emma realized with a start that she was starting to enjoy seeing that smile, whether because it was such a rare occasion, or it meant Henry was happy, or for some entirely different reason, she wasn't sure.
Picking up her pace to catch up they all rounded the corner and went to a stall to pick a horse. Emma wandered off down the rows while Regina helped Henry; she wanted to give them as much bonding time as she could.
Emma stopped in front of a stall with a gorgeous chocolate brown steed. Unlocking the door, she entered slowly, letting the horse know she meant no harm. Carefully she reached out and stroked its back. The horse swished its tale and bobbed his head in appreciation.
Emma smiled. She realized she had missed this. She hadn't gone horseback riding in a very long time but she had a feeling it would all come back once she got on.
After attaching the saddle, she pulled the horse out to meet with her son and Regina. Not finding them at the stall she left them at, she rounded the edge of the barn entrance to see with little surprise both of them already on their horses waiting for her.
Henry looked quite dashing in his riding boots and helmet that Regina picked out for him, but his smile was what Emma loved the most. He had picked out a golden tan horse and looked so incredibly happy, she was glad she joined them.
Next she looked to Regina and was slightly shocked to see just how comfortable and right Regina looked up on her horse. Emma hadn't really taken any notice to the riding pants Regina had thrown on before they left the house, but once she paired them with boots and a jacket, well she looked positively gratified up there looking back down at Emma. She also noticed Regina had picked a horse that was black as night. She would.
While Emma continued to stare, Regina decided to take some pity on her and with a smirk broke the silence, "Well Miss Swan, Henry and I are ready, I suggest if you're done gawking we can be on our way."
Emma snapped her jaw shut after realizing she had left it hanging open slightly. Trying to hide the blush creeping up her cheeks, she mumbled a few words before what she hoped was a graceful move, hoisting herself up onto her horse.
Looking back to Regina whose smirk had been replaced by smooth features with possibly a hint of shock at Emma not falling off; she would say she at least partially succeeded in not making a fool of herself.
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