A/N; I feel like I've given this fic a lot of buildup on tumblr, but I was just so excited about it! So, hopefully it lives up to the hype lol. This one was so much fun to write, probably the most fun I've had writing a fic! So I would really love to know what you guys think. Is it cute? Is it funny? I tried to be funny, but let's face it, I'm no Jim Carrey haha.
Speaking of which, I took the general concept of the movie Liar Liar, but it does not follow the movie plot beyond that (though there may be a little movie easter egg hidden in there!)
And finally, thanks to those of you who sent me confession ideas on tumblr. I really only ended up using one, which was from lieutenant-piecewise, but that's just because of the direction the story ended up going, not because I didn't like the ideas! So thanks also to: madamemare, asraiaysoph, boostergohan, and a couple anons, for voicing your ideas. Also big thanks to splinteredquill for helping me out making the cover image.
Oh, and if you wouldn't mind leaving your reviews here rather than tumblr? I'll take them anyway you give them, of course. But it just feels tidier to keep them in one place as much as possible. :) Guest reviews are enabled.
Holy long ass author's note, I'll shut up now. Enjoy.
"Go on, kid! Make a wish!"
Emma made it sound so simple. Just make a wish, like it was no big deal at all. Except, this was Storybrooke. There was magic here, and maybe Henry couldn't be absolutely sure, but he had to assume there was a chance that his wish might actually come true. He had to be just as careful not to waste it on something frivolous, as he did not to ruin it with something so simple as poor phrasing.
But what did he want? He had Emma and Neal, and Snow and David, and heck even Rumplestiltskin it seemed. Mom and dad. Grandma and Grandpa — Grandpas. It was a family any kid could envy, and not only because his Grandparents were Snow White and Prince Charming and his paternal side had ties to Neverland.
It was a good family, but there was someone it still lacked. He missed his mom — or should he call her Regina now? It was getting confusing — and he felt a pang of guilt for feeling that way. His new family would never understand how he could still love her, would they? Wasn't he expected to hate her? After some of the things she'd done, he thought he probably should.
There was also the fact that she'd lied to him. That was still a raw wound, and just thinking about it made him feel angry at her again. Emma had lied too, though. It wasn't just white lies, either. They had lied to him boldly, about important things. Things that mattered, like his sanity and paternity.
So, both of his mothers were liars, he concluded, just a bit sourly. Then, in the next second, Henry knew just what it was that he wanted most for his birthday.
"Sometime before the candle melts?" Emma encouraged lightly. Henry gave her a smile and a nod, turning back to his cupcake.
I wish, he thought, and wished with all his might, I wish that for just one day, neither of my moms could tell a lie.
And then he blew the candle out.
Emma smiled triumphantly at the cupcake with its star-shaped candle illuminating her son's face. She wasn't sure he remembered that little detail from the day they'd met, the treat being forgotten on the kitchen counter by the time he made his way into her Boston apartment and, unbeknownst to Emma, her life.
She'd wished on her own candle that she didn't have to be alone on her birthday, and that wish came true in the form of Henry. She had never been alone since that day, and figured she probably never would be again. So, it seemed fitting to her that she might present this same treat to the son who had saved her from her solitude, even if he didn't understand the gesture — and even though it was technically breakfast time. She was still new to this mom-thing, but she figured you could break the rules a little bit for special occasions.
"So, what did you wish for?" Emma asked.
"I can't tell you that," Henry said obviously, "If I do, it won't come true."
"Do you honestly believe it's going to?" she inquired, plainly skeptical.
"Do you honestly believe that it won't?" Henry countered. "There is magic here, you know."
"Fair point," Emma shrugged. "So what do you want to do today? It's your birthday, you call the shots."
"I want to go see my mom," he said cheerfully.
"Oh, please don't pick that," Emma whined.
Henry's face fell. "Why not?"
"Because," Emma started casually, "she makes me nervous. Not because she's evil, which I don't honestly think she is, but I still kind of owe her a massive apology, which I've been avoiding because my mouth goes dry and my heart pounds whenever I look at her, and then I get even more nervous because I'm scared that she hates me." Emma had rambled on for a good thirty seconds before the actuality of what she was saying caught up with her, and she turned to her son with a horror stricken expression. "I have no idea why I just said all of that. Those are not things I wanted you to know."
Despite her odd declaration, Henry was absolutely beaming at her. Emma would have thought that perhaps it had something to with what she had said, either about Regina not being evil or perhaps even her own secret attraction for the woman — secret being the key word — except for the fact that his eyes held a glint that almost made her think her son believed that he'd just pulled off a major scheme.
She eyed him curiously and sighed.
"Do I even want to know?" she asked hesitantly.
Henry just shrugged. "Probably not."
"Alright, kid." She'd let it go, for now. It was his birthday, after all. "Get your coat. Let's go see your mom."
Emma shifted her weight anxiously from foot to foot as Henry pounded exuberantly on the door of the mansion. She certainly hadn't been lying when she told him how nervous she was to face Regina, because she was terrified. Speaking of which, where had that confession come from, anyway? Sure, she'd made it a point to be honest with Henry as much as possible ever since he found out about Neal, but there was a line and she was pretty sure she had crossed it.
She figured she just must not have been thinking clearly, she hadn't even had her morning coffee yet. Emma Swan had never been a morning person. Which is why they had made a pit stop at Granny's on the way here, and why Emma now held two steaming cups of coffee in her trembling hands. One for herself, and one for Regina.
The door opened, and Henry jumped excitedly into his mother's arms. Regina looked shell-shocked for a moment, but recovered quickly as she embraced her son with a brilliant smile that was truly quite magnificent to behold.
"Henry! What are you doing here?" she exclaimed joyfully, pulling back to smooth the hair out of his eyes. "I missed you so much. Happy Birthday, dear."
"You remembered," Henry replied, sounding genuinely pleased.
"Of course I remembered," Regina chuckled lightly. "No matter where you may live, I will always be your mother."
Both mother and son seemed to find some reassurance in this sentiment, and Regina's eyes finally turned to acknowledge her second visitor.
"Hi," Emma said stupidly, or at least she thought it sounded stupid. She held out a coffee. "I'm really nervous to talk to you so I brought coffee as a peace offering, even though that's really lame. You have a beautiful smile."
Emma groaned internally, praying that her mouth did not intend to have a mind of it's own all day long.
"I didn't mean to say that," she tried to recover. "I was just thinking it in my head and then I said it outloud, but I didn't actually want you to hear it. Dammit!"
Regina was looking at her with the most quizzical expression Emma had ever seen. This was a woman who was literally a witch, from a world of ogres and giants and magic, yet she stared at Emma now as though she'd never witnessed anything so strange in her entire life.
Emma pressed her lips together, unwilling to risk whatever other word vomit might come spewing forth at this point, and simply extended the coffee again. To her great relief, Regina accepted it.
"Thank you," Regina nodded politely. "I appreciate that very much."
Emma wasn't sure if she was referring to the coffee, the peace offering, the compliment, or some combination of the three. It didn't really matter though, because Regina hadn't sent her spiraling through the air down the sidewalk, and that was progress.
"Mom, can we go down to the pier?" Henry asked with childlike glee that he would soon outgrow. "You, me, and Emma?"
"Henry, I really don't much feel like spending any considerable length of time with Ms Swan right now," Regina replied, sounding sincerely apologetic.
"Why?" he asked with his saddest expression. "Is it because you hate her?"
Emma's head whipped up at his question. She couldn't believe he was using her accidental confession against her like that! He had that glint in his eye again. The kid was up to something, she just couldn't fathom what. Her heart hammered in anticipation of Regina's answer.
"I do not, nor have I ever, hated Ms Swan," Regina said firmly, and Emma sighed in relief, though noted how oddly forthcoming the woman was being. "However, it hurt me deeply when she accused me of murdering Dr Hopper, and again when she implied I was a bad person. I'm not ready to forgive her yet, and I'm afraid those big green eyes of hers might tempt me to do so prematurely."
Regina's brow furrowed as she concluded her statement, looking suspiciously back and forth between her son and Emma. "What the hell is going on here?"
Emma gave her biggest, most apologetic eyes — since apparently that was effective — and a shrug to say that Regina's guess was as good as her own. Or, perhaps even better, as brown eyes narrowed sternly at their son.
"Henry..." Regina admonished.
"It's my birthday," Henry reminded everyone hurriedly. "I just want to spend it with both of you."
Well played, kid, Emma thought. It's not like either of them could say no to that.
The two women sat silently on the bench at the pier, sipping their coffees while Henry fed leftover bits of his scone to the birds not far off. Emma periodically sneaked a sideways glance at Regina, whose eyes remained trained forward and whose lips were pursed like she was sucking lemons.
Seemed she wasn't lying when she said she wasn't ready to forgive. Emma wondered if that also meant Regina was telling the truth about her eyes, and if that was the reason her own never wavered from their place in the middle distance over the water.
She really wanted Regina to forgive her.
"I don't actually think you're a bad person," Emma finally offered. Regina shifted slightly in her seat, but her face remained stoic. "I think you've done some really bad things, but I've done really bad things too, and Snow did a really bad thing to you, but she's my mom and you wanted to kill her."
"Actually, I still want to kill her."
Regina growled, as if angry at herself for having said what she did. Emma knew the feeling. "However, I have no intention of doing so. I have decided to let her live, for Henry. And for—" she cut herself off, sealing a gloved hand over her mouth.
Emma found the gesture odd and over dramatic, especially from Regina.
"And?" she inquired, pulling Regina's hand away. "And for what?"
Regina squeezed her lips together and shook her head. In the end, it was as if the word had physically pummeled its way out of her mouth and could no longer be contained.
Regina sighed, slumping dejectedly at having lost the battle. "I don't want to take away your happiness."
Emma smiled softly at the confession.
"Why are you telling me this?" she asked tentatively.
Regina snarled. "Because my mouth is a traitorous little snitch like your mother." She sighed, "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to say that."
"But you did mean what you said," Emma teased, and Regina finally relaxed a little.
"That I did," she affirmed with a nod.
"So, what exactly is going on here?" Emma asked, now that they had broken the ice. "I mean, something isn't normal today. Right? Something is making us say all these weird things."
"It would appear that you and I are only capable of speaking the absolute truth," Regina replied, as if their affliction were as simple as the common cold. "And, if I were to venture a guess, I'd say it's highly probably that our son is somehow behind this."
"That's absurd!" Emma exclaimed.
"You live in a town of cursed fairytale characters, Ms Swan," Regina reminded her cooly. "Perhaps it is time you reevaluated your definition of absurdity."
"Okay," Emma relented, "but how can you be so sure we can't lie?"
Regina pondered a moment.
"Tell me about the shirt I'm wearing."
"Seriously?" Emma scrunched her nose in doubt. How was that supposed to prove anything? Regina gave an impatient nod. "Fine. It's a blue blouse. Henry gave it to me to borrow when I first got to Storybrooke. It smelled like you, and I couldn't stop burying my nose in the sleeve when no one was looking." Regina raised her eyebrows inquiringly, and after a moment Emma's own words sunk in. "Dammit," she muttered under her breath. Regina smirked haughtily, and Emma was sure she would die of embarrassment.
"Please don't call me that," Emma pleaded breathlessly. "It turns me on when you call me that, and if I can't lie then I really can't afford to be turned on right now... Dammit!"
"What does 'turned on' mean?" Henry asked from Emma's opposite side, startling her.
Correction, now she would die of embarrassment.
Emma gritted her teeth, knowing it was futile to stop the words from escaping. She closed her eyes, not wanting to see her son's face while she whispered, softly as she could, as though it physically pained her, "Sexually aroused."
"Gross!" Henry gasped, truly affronted by the answer.
"I tried to warn you," Regina laughed, as Emma buried her bright red face in her hands.
Lunchtime found the trio back at Granny's diner, in the booth at the farthest corner, just incase anything might slip that wasn't meant for prying ears.
Henry had dove into his meal enthusiastically, keeping his mouth mostly occupied, to the dismay of both women. Without Henry's chatter, there was only silence as they feared what other truths they might inadvertently unveil.
With an expression that was at once both thoughtful and reluctant, Henry swallowed a massive mouthful and placed his burger back on his plate.
"So..." he began, clearly hesitant, but apparently even more curious. "Are you two, like, dating or something?"
"No, we are not dating," Regina replied evenly.
"You've never even kissed?" he seemed to find it hard to believe.
"No, never," Regina answered again.
"Not for lack of trying," Emma grumbled, before the thought of the words had even registered. The two women's eyes locked, and Emma silently begged her not to ask. Hadn't this day already been horrific enough? This was not how she had imagined her first time celebrating her son's birthday. Not by a long shot.
"How's that, dear?"
Of course Regina would ask. She should have known better.
Emma glared with all her might, with every ounce of venom her gaze could hold, but even as her eyes shot daggers at Regina, the words came tumbling out. "I wanted you to kiss me when Henry was trapped in the mine."
"Thanks a lot," Henry muttered sarcastically, and Emma shot him an apologetic smile before being distracted by Regina's reply.
"I wanted to do a lot more than kiss you under my apple tree the day you assaulted it."
Regina recoiled at her own admission, while Emma's mouth hung agape. Regina was the one who said they couldn't lie, right? So, she really had to mean that. Like, really, really had to mean it. Emma felt the confession hit her right between the legs.
"Ew! Mom!" Henry shouted, drawing attention from several of the other patrons.
"Shh!" Regina begged. "I'm sorry, Henry! I'm sorry, I honestly didn't want to say it!"
"Bet you miss us fighting right about now, don't you, kid?" Emma tried to lighten the mood.
"I like the way you pin me up against the wall when we fight," Regina brought it back down in the same instant.
"Can I go get dessert?" Henry asked urgently, eager to get away before his mother said anything graphic enough to burn even worse visuals into his mind's eye. Emma nodded, handed him a wad of bills and shooed him away hurriedly.
Regina's elbows rested on the table, her head in her hands as she rubbed her temples, clearly exasperated. Emma had to admit she felt bad for her, as Regina's outbursts of truth had been far more horrific than her own little slip at the pier. She was quite certain that all three of them would remember this as a most traumatic day of revelations.
Emma wanted to tell Regina that it wasn't that bad, but it really kind of was at the moment. She wanted to tell her that it would all blow over soon, but she had no way of knowing if that was accurate, and so the words clogged up in her throat. She had to find some other way of bestowing comfort.
"Regina, it's not your fault," she said gently.
Regina snorted, but she actually smiled a little. "Is that the best you could come up with?"
"Without lying?" Emma shot back. "Yeah, it really was."
Finally, Regina opened her eyes, offering a small grin in thanks for the gesture.
"You really do have a beautiful smile," Emma said again, no more intentionally than the last time, though marginally less mortified.
"And your eyes really do make me want to forgive you all your tespasses," Regina sighed.
"About that—" Emma started, only to be cut off.
"I know," her companion assured her, but Emma shook her head.
"No, Regina. I need to say this," she pushed. "You are the only reason we made it back here alive. I should be eternally grateful for that, but instead I turned my back on you the first chance I got. And yeah, some other messed up stuff has happened since then, but it never would have if I had just stuck to my guns and believed in you. I am so sorry, Regina."
Regina looked to be on the verge of crying. She tried to hold it back, but it seemed that even her tears could not lie, and a single droplet broke free. Emma felt a little bad taking advantage of their current dilemma, but she really, honestly wanted to know, and so she asked, "What are you thinking about?"
Regina gave a bit of a mock scowl, knowing Emma was well aware she would have no choice but to answer, though the expression lacked conviction.
"I'm remembering how genuinely relieved I was to see you climb out of that well," her gaze flicked down to the table. "I'd never been quite so very happy to see you. I was glad you stuck around after everyone else ran off. You were the only one who bothered."
"Yeah, well," Emma shrugged, "I kind of realized I'd actually missed you when I saw your face. My motives for inviting you to the party at Granny's weren't entirely selfless."
"I cried after you called to invite me," Regina blurted out, looking almost disgusted with herself at the very notion that she had done such a thing, let alone spoke of it.
Emma noticed the expression. She thought about what that invitation had meant to Regina. She had felt happy, relieved, even welcome. So much so that it had brought her to tears. Only to have it ripped away by the less considerate and more hostile guests as soon as she arrived, later to be trampled even further by Emma's own accusations.
For once that day, Emma made her confession by choice, to ease Regina's self loathing, rather than because she had no other option.
"I was devastated when you left early," she said earnestly.
Regina smiled, that brilliant, beautiful smile again, and Emma had to bite her tongue, quite literally, to keep from openly gushing about it a third time. There was a pause, a long stretch of silence that wasn't entirely uncomfortable, though Emma wondered if that might just be on account of how very awkward most of their more vocal moments of the day had been. Perhaps, though, it was just a moment of quiet understanding.
"I'm afraid Henry will never love me as much as he loves you," Regina said quietly, and the sentiment seemed just nonsequitur enough to make Emma wonder if this too was a choice confession on Regina's part.
So focused on this notion was she, that she wasn't entirely sure if her own reply was by choice or not as she nodded, saying, "I'm afraid I'll never be as good of a mother as you."
"You're both good moms," Henry said, startling the women, neither having noticed him approaching the table. "And I do love you — both of you. But this is the lamest birthday wish ever."
Just like that, the pieces fell into place for Emma. Regina saying Henry was behind this. The scheming little glint in his eye. The star-shaped birthday candle.
"You wished for this to happen?" Emma was incredulous. "Your wish from the cupcake this morning, it actually came true?"
Henry had the good sense to look at least a little ashamed of himself as he nodded his head.
"Cupcakes for breakfast, Ms Swan? I might have guessed," Regina chastised, and Emma kicked herself for letting that bit of information slip. "Henry, sweetie, I need you to tell me exactly what you wished for."
"Why do you need to know that?" Emma asked. "It's not like it's going to make his wish 'un-come true' if he tells after it already happened."
"Yes, Emma," Regina sighed. "That is exactly what will happen."
"Oh," Emma muttered. "Well, kid, you heard the woman. Spill it."
"You're both good moms, and I love both of you... But you also both lied to me!" Henry prefaced, with what he clearly hoped would justify his actions. "And I was just really angry about it, and so I wished that, only for today, neither of you would be able to tell a lie. But then I realized the only lies that either of you have told me are the ones I already know about, and I know you've both been trying really hard to make up for those. Which is why this was the lamest birthday wish ever, because apparently the only lies you tell are to each other—" he paused there to shudder, "—lies that I did not ever need to know the truth about."
"You're totally traumatized for life now, aren't you," Emma said sympathetically. Henry's lip curled as he nodded. "Yeah. Me too, kid."
"Emma," Regina picked up a blue pen and held it up between them. "What color is this pen?"
"It's blue," Emma replied obviously.
"No, it's red," Regina stated easily.
"Regina, that pen is clearly— Oh!" Emma exclaimed as realization hit her. "We can lie again! Awesome."
She decided to hang back a few paces while Henry said goodbye to Regina. Emma figured they'd probably had enough of each other for today, probably more of each other than they'd ever expected to have in their entire lifetime.
It wasn't all bad though, Emma mused. After all, she had finally gotten to apologize, and as icing on the cake, she now knew that Regina had a weakness for her eyes. She kind of wished Regina had a thing for her boobs instead, cleavage being far easier to enhance and exploit. Though, the whole "windows to the soul" thing probably made the eyes a far more sophisticated choice.
Regina had also agreed, albeit reluctantly, to join them for Henry's family celebration that evening. Understandably, she hadn't been too keen on the idea of spending quality time with Snow White or Rumplestiltskin. Emma had insisted that it couldn't possibly be a proper family celebration with such a vital member of his family missing. She'd also promised that everyone would be on their best behavior tonight. For Henry.
Speak of the devil, the kid came bounding down the walk, pausing when he reached Emma to say, "Mom wants to talk to you. She told me to wait in the car."
Emma nodded. "Okay. I'll be right there."
She shuffled her way up to Regina, biding her time just a little bit, but not so much as to irritate the woman with her dilly dallying. Emma smiled when she came within range, stupidly again, she was sure.
"So..." Emma began awkwardly, as if there was anything worse that could be said after Regina had so blatantly stated how she'd wanted to take her under the apple tree. "That was an interesting day."
"Indeed," Regina nodded, poised as ever. "And I do believe Henry has learned his lesson — That there is a reason adults don't always tell children the whole truth. That there are some things that are just not meant for him to know."
"Great, now we don't need to get him a present," Emma joked lamely.
"To that same effect, Ms Swan — pardon me, Emma," she corrected herself, forcing Emma to recall one of her own more horrifying confessions. "I think it would be best if we tried to forget the majority of today ever happened. There are some things better left unsaid."
"Oh, okay," she sputtered, not quite sure what she had expected to happen, but knowing quite certainly it wasn't this. "I mean, yeah. That's probably for the best." Maybe she was just a little disappointed, but she reminded herself that Regina's weakness for her eyes was only the icing. The cake was what mattered. "My apology?" she asked nervously.
"Still stands," Regina affirmed.
"Good, that's great," Emma grinned, just a little too broadly to be completely sincere, though if Regina noticed, she didn't mention it.
As far as Henry was concerned, this was the best birthday party ever. The curse was broken, he had grandparents, he had his dad, and he had both of his moms. Probably most kids his age might think toys or games were better, more exciting. This was enough for him, though. As long as he could have his family, and they could at least pretend to get along every now and then, he figured that was a pretty good deal.
So far, everyone had done well to remain civil. There were a few odd glances from Snow in Regina's direction, though that was probably just because she was mad she couldn't talk to Emma, since the woman she was trying to avoid seemed to be spending the entire night by her daughter's side.
Henry wasn't sure why they were holding the party in Mr Gold's shop and not at home in their loft, or his mom's giant mansion, or even Rumplestiltskin's actual house. But, apparently, grownups had all kinds of weird reasons for doing the things that they do, and heck if he was going to question any of those motives again anytime soon.
His grandmother had disappeared, and now reappeared with a cake in hand, which she set down gently on top of one of the glass display cases. Henry still wasn't a fan of magic, so it irritated him slightly when Rumpelstiltskin lit all the candles at once with a wave of his hand, though not enough for him to say something and ruin the mood.
David turned out the lights, so only the flickering of the candles shone in the room as everyone began to sing the Happy Birthday song. When they had finished, Henry closed his eyes and blew out the candles, all in one breath.
There were cheers, and a long moment of pitch darkness when David lost his bearings and couldn't find the light switch again. When he finally located it, Henry thought perhaps he was the only one not surprised to find his moms engaged in a passionate kiss. It was kind of gross, because it was his moms, but he couldn't help noticing how his adoptive mother actually looked happy for the first time in as long as he could remember, while his birth mother appeared more relaxed and content than he'd ever known her to be before.
Unfortunately, not everyone shared his sentiments on the moment.
"Emma!" Snow gasped. "What the hell are you doing?"
The two women jumped apart then, looking just as surprised as anyone else in the room to have found themselves in such a position.
"Henry," Emma said sternly. "Did you wish for your mom and I to start dating?"
"No," Henry replied. "I didn't wish for anything that time. Everyone knows you only get one birthday wish a year."
Awkward glances shifted all around the room.
"Why don't we cut the cake?" Regina exclaimed, just a bit more loudly than necessary. Everyone nodded and rushed eagerly towards the distraction.
Henry smiled at the turn of events. They say to be careful what you wish for, because it just might come true. Henry knew that better than anyone now. Though, while he may have gotten exactly what he wished for, he realized now that what he had was so much better.
All he'd really wanted was for his two — or was it three? — families to come together as one. He looked at his mothers, the last two pieces of that puzzle, nervously trying not to touch one another, and smiling shyly when they did.
No more wishing, Henry thought with a grin. They were all going to get their happy endings now.