Prompt: The Charmings move in across the street from 108 Mifflin.
Background info: 2+ years post the breaking of the curse, Regina is the re-instated Mayor.
Written for the 100th reviewer of 'Honey, I Shrunk the Saviour' - LydiaLurker who gave me an open enough prompt to work with. (And who is also working on a doll-house; seriously, what are the odds?)
If you hate it, you can contact her :P if not leave a message :)
No no, leave a message here either way, poor girl doesn't need to be bothered for my mistakes! x
Mifflin Street was never going to be the same again, Henry thought as he shouted behind his back, "Hurry up mom."
Regina begrudgingly caught up with Henry, in heels she reminded him for the third time since they had left their house.
"We need to give these people time to unpack", Regina said moving past the huge truck with the missing driver. Her eyes then raked the garden with distaste, two cardboard boxes lay taped, both marked Birdhouses. Who kept birdhouses in a number greater than one?
"Shouldn't we at least let them settle in?" Regina tried again, "They're hardly going to disappear overnight Henry." Even if they happen to sprout overnight.
Henry was practically skipping amidst the boxes that were dropped off without care around the pathway, some even had fragile stamped upside-down to her horror. She shook her head derisively; the sanctity of Mifflin Street, ruined. Henry looked back and his tiny smile alerted Regina that the young boy had something up his sleeve.
"But mom, it's the first time since forever anyone has moved in on this street, aren't you excited?"
"Oh ecstatic", Regina drawled. True most people had fled the street as the curse broke, but she actually enjoyed the empty streets with the cars crowding the ends on the road. She flicked away specks, was that fur, as she adjusted the basket she had been carrying. Henry had insisted on a welcome gift, something which Regina had been very proud about, admiring Henry's polite intentions. She however had instantly declined when he pressed on them being her apples. She frowned, almost apologetically, at the rosy reds in the basket she was holding. But a small voice reassured her that it was good, good because Henry didn't think ill of Regina being seen with apples. She had really seen how supportive Henry could be in the past months.
"It'll be fine, I know they'll love it", Henry said as he wiped his shoes at the mat, stretching to ring the bell.
Regina's hands went to brush Henry's hair out of his eyes, jostled by the restlessness that accompanied a soon-to-turn teenager, and the door opened just as she had bent to place a small kiss on the boy's head.
Regina's eyes went wide and before she could convince herself that she had heard wrong, Henry's voice shattered her short-lived belief, "Emma, hey!"
Regina straightened up mechanically, her hands going to straighten her coat as her eyes remained downcast. Her eyes fixed themselves on the welcome mat, slowly travelling up the long smooth legs that stretched on till they reached denim shorts, a tail of a white shirt hanging without care as the rest was tucked in over a red tank top that shone through in sunlight. A duster was held in one hand, the other hand was on the door-frame as some sort of barricade. Finally, Regina's eyes locked to the cold ones, belonging to one Emma Swan.
Before Regina could question her presence, a chipper brunette head popped from behind, "Oh Henry, Regina, what a surprise!"
Henry slithered past the women to inside the house when Snow beckoned him inside. Snow's eyes widened to twice their size on noticing the basket.
"Oh, I was hoping Henry would convince you to get these. Before the curse broke, Emma would always tell me the story of how you gave her a basketful when she first arrived. Please do come in Regina, I'll clear a place for you to sit inside."
Her hands pried the basket from the rigid hands that had a vice-like grip on the handle. Snow smiled as she shuffled back a bit from the force of the basket when Regina's hand suddenly flew open upon the realisation that she hadn't let go. Snow turned but not before instructing, "Emma, please bring our guest inside."
Emma crossed her arms, tilting her head as though daring Regina to say something. Regina on the other hand was still reeling from the overtly warm and confusing conversation she had just witnessed, and failed to participate in due to her own shock. Emma let out a small huff breaking Regina's stupor. When Regina looked at Emma, she quickly glanced away fixing her eyes on the gnome statue nestled inside an empty earthen pot. In the peripheral she saw Emma turn and retreat inside. The door was still open but Regina couldn't bear thinking of being in the same room as her. She spun around and in her absentness almost ran into David who, like Snow, seemed thrilled to see her.
"Hey, guess we're neighbours now. And I have to say, I am loving this street. Why don't you come in..." David trailed off when Regina brushed past by him. He watched her, his eyes narrowing as the corner of his lips upturned slightly.
Henry followed the loud noises to the kitchen. He had known ever since the first time he had brought home a dead pigeon when he was five that this was an outlet for her, a way to vent. But only recently he had begun to wish for lesser reasons that would bring her to this point.
"Mom", Henry tentatively asked as his head hovered above the counter, facing his mother's back.
"Not now Henry", Regina said, her hands constantly moving, picking up the small ball of dough and smacking it back on the wooden base.
He slowly walked over, ducking under the hold she had on the flour, and hugged her burying his face around the stomach.
"I thought you wouldn't come if I told you."
His mother's hands kept beating the defenceless dough, "I need to finish making this pasta."
His head slid up with his regretfully charming chin digging in painfully into her ribs, not like she'd say anything to him, "I am sorry."
"Henry", Regina sighed, finally stilling her hands, "I'm not mad at you sweetheart."
Henry bit his lower lip, thinking whether it was a good idea to justify his actions, "I didn't know Emma was going to be there, grandma just told me to get you."
Regina smiled, then laughed, "Of course, it's like your grandma can't stop hurti-"
"Mom", Henry whined making Regina wrap her arms around him, "I know I know. Sorry!" Regina smiled sheepishly, flicking his nose which became white on contact. Young eyes widened and he promptly wiped it on her apron.
"Hey", Regina cried and reached for some more flour but Henry was already halfway to his room by then, his laughter catching up to him. Regina swiped away her cheeks, the flour bits sticking to the wetness before taking a long breath, "No running in the house, young man!"
Emma dusted off the mantle for the fifth time, trying not to throw up in the fireplace on hearing her mother squeal about the open rooms and the surrounding greenery and how this was going to be the best thing for the baby. Frankly, Emma couldn't get excited about things lately, things like moving or pregnancy, or sometimes even waking up.
"Emma we've kept the room on the first floor just for you. It's next to the nursery. You can come by anytime you know."
"Yes Snow." the perfunctory reply came.
Snow, used to her clipped tone, kept the conversation going.
"I can understand you are not that thrilled on us moving here, but we got it for a steal seeing how still not many want to live across the Evil Queen."
Emma's head snapped towards Snow in blind reflex. But seeing her mother's expectant eyes the fury extinguished almost instantly into indifference and she turned back to resume her cleaning task.
When Snow heard Emma's breathing even out she tried again, "And I know how hard it is for you-"
"Give it a rest Snow." Emma cut her off, throwing the cloth into the bucket on the side and left to help David with the garden.
Snow watched her daughter slam the door and caressed her stomach with a small smile, "Your sister is a stubborn one you know."
Regina checked the email on her phone one final time before switching it off as she approached her car. She opened the back seat door and kept her bag next to Henry's and as she closed the door her eyes zeroed in on the Charming residence. She had spent the whole night wondering what on earth could have forced them to move here. Sure they were all civil for the sake of the town and Henry but that had not held the royal couple back from parading their raging disapproval of Regina. So this? Why? Why now? Threading her fingers through her hair she opened the door to the driver's seat. A smile graced her lips as she spotted Henry fiddling with his seatbelt.
"You have your lunch money?"
"All right let's-Mother of-" Regina gasped as her one hand went to her chest and the key dropped on the car floor with a loud clang, her eyes wide when they suddenly caught David half sprawled on her wind-shield.
Henry's muffled giggle brought Regina out of her shock, but not completely as she still kept blinking at the prince outside. David's lips were moving but the two couldn't hear anything over the glass. Regina finally put up her hand for him to stop as she rolled down the window.
"Lovely morning isn't it?"
When Regina just stared in disbelief he continued, "So Regina, my car is in the shop I was wondering if you could drop me to the station." He smiled at the end as he winked to Henry.
Regina's hand flew to the handle and she was about to step out to let Charming know exactly what she felt about that request when Henry caught her hand. She looked at him who nodded slightly, his eyebrows making a silent request. Seeing Regina's nose flare, Henry smiled knowing she was about to give in. Admitting defeat to her boy's smile she gestured David to join them.
"Thanks neighbour." David chirped, ever the enthusiastic idiot.
David and Henry discussed a show Regina was unfamiliar with till they reached the school where David took the now-empty seat besides her. Regina tried her best to pretend she was driving alone letting David talk to himself, babbling about the house amongst other things.
"You know I slept properly for the first time, it's such a peaceful neighbourhood. Snow started showing recently. It's still early but I'm hoping for a girl-boy-girl pattern. Snow and I both have a strong feeling about it. But we've thought of names regardless of sex. Would you like to hear them?"
Regina's hand massaged the spot between her ear and forehead as she got bombarded with a list of the same. She turned on her indicator, sighing in relief on spotting the station.
"Ah! Emma's car is here. Early as usual. She has been working non-stop lately, I mean she hardly goes back home, probably tired of facing the empty thing since she refused to move in with us."
David watched Regina park, observing her relentless grip on the wheel.
"Anyways, thanks." David said sprinting towards the stations waving his goodbye but Regina's eyes never strayed from where they were stuck.
Regina stayed till her phone rang, her secretary checking in if she was due to arrive soon and with that she backed away from the yellow bug in front of her.
"Snow, I'm busy."
"But the baby needs a burger. And Granny said they can't deliver now."
Emma muffled the receiver on her jacket as she let out a small scream. Tugging the ends of her hair she put the phone back on, "After work?"
"But you always work late Emma. It's ok. I'll just see who else is not busy enough to-"
"I'll see you in 30." Emma slammed the receiver.
Emma drove by the white house and slowly parked her car on the road. It took her five minutes to get out of the car but she did, holding the two bags near her stomach; she had learnt never to bring anything Snow wanted in a number less than two after the first couple of times. As she knocked she noticed a piece of paper on the side. Reading it she crumpled the paper on to the ground and jammed the bags in one of the many ridiculous bird houses hanging on the side of the door.
Regina opened the door begrudgingly to a chirpy Snow asking for the burgers Emma had left and Regina was too tired to feel bad for slamming the door on a pregnant woman. When Snow checked her phone she saw Emma hadn't appreciated her note of dropping the bag in Regina's house and sadly had to eat mashed burgers that evening.
"That's a fine suggestion, Madam Mayor. Not that I'd expect any less from you."
Regina smiled at the young man, "Thank you Charlie. Now it's getting late so-"
"Did you hear about the new Italian bistro, Madam Mayor?" Charlie asked, pushing his black hair away from his forehead with slightly shaking hands, his sweet smile not leaving his face.
Regina sighed internally. Charlie was barely 23 and had developed a school-boy crush on her since he joined the office a year ago. If it was anyone else, Regina would have had no reservations on rejecting them harshly but he was unfortunately too innocent and too competent in his work for her to dismiss forever. She was about to give him the 'it's not you it's me' talk for the third time this week when a loud voice interrupted from behind.
"Oh hey Regina."
Regina grumbled to herself before schooling her features, "David."
"Henry is at our house waiting for you. Why don't you get him till I give Mr?" David turned to the young boy.
"Charlie, sire." Charlie said in awe-struck wonder, which he tried to hide for Regina's sake.
Regina hid her smile at the adoration that was shining in his young eyes. Far too innocent.
"Right. Mr. Charlie some company."
Regina nodded, thankful, and made her way to the quaint house across the street. When Regina looked back, David was waving at her with his one arm around Charlie. She went towards the door and knocked very softly. Soon Henry opened the door.
Regina looked behind him and bent down to whisper, "Is Snow home?"
Henry nodded and looked back before whispering in reply, "She is sleeping, let's go before she wakes up."
Regina cupped his cheek in mirth, "Good boy", she chuckled and ushered him out of the house, closing the door quietly.
They both made their way across the street. David was smiling, as usual, and Charlie was well, he was smiling too, a little too broadly.
"Charlie, what happened to your shirt?" Regina asked looking at the crumpled collar.
"Oh nothing Madam Mayor", Charlie said brightly, "Now I guess I'll be leaving. It was really nice to meet your family."
He nodded to Regina Henry and slowly to David. David narrowed his eyes a little but let out a boisterous laugh that took Regina by surprise. For a minute she felt like she had heard her father.
"It was wonderful to meet you too Charlie."
"Y-yes sire, I mean David."
David ruffled Henry's hair who sighed, straightening it again and bid him goodbye. He smiled at Regina before leaving and she returned it not thinking how less a chore it felt.
"Charlie I'll see you tomorrow for the inventory then?"
Charlie almost smiled before he froze on looking behind Regina. Regina followed his line of sight and saw David still standing by the steps of his house. On catching Regina's eyes he waved instantly, making her roll her eyes.
"So?" she asked turning back.
"I'm sorry Madam Mayor but I'll be sending Jim, I just remembered I have an important personal engagement tomorrow." Charlie turned back and strode away taking long steps.
"Did you think that was weird too?" Regina asked Henry, wrapping one arm around him.
Henry shrugged and started telling her about the school day as they both stepped inside.
Regina peeked out her door, looking left and right. She was about to further open the door when suddenly a hand grabbed her arm. She jumped, shutting the door with a bang, her eyes narrowing at her son laughing behind her.
"Henry Mills, that is not how you behave in this house."
"Sorry mom", he grinned, "Were you looking out for gramps and grams?"
Regina's face was all the answer he needed and he nodded understandingly.
"I think they've been under the influence of some strong magic, I just don't see any other explanation Henry."
Henry opened the door for her smiling, but it soon turned into a sigh when he saw Snow with her hand outstretched like she was about to knock. Snow opened her mouth and then stopped to pinch Henry's cheeks before looking at Regina.
"Regina I was wondering if you have any pasta sheets for lasagna?"
Henry stepped back to Regina's side, annoyed as he caressed his red cheek and Regina was sure she heard him mutter only five more months.
"Of course Miss Blanchard, if you'll wait right-"
"Oh good." Snow said as she stepped inside, "I just need half a packet. Kitchen is there right?" She pointed to the left.
Regina took a step but Henry snuggled into her side, grounding her movement.
"Yes." Regina gritted out before looking down at Henry, "I'm not going to kill her if you're worried."
Henry tugged her hand as he followed Snow, "I know. I'm not worried for her I'm worried for you."
Regina's laughed lightly as she entered the kitchen where Snow stood straighter than a soldier in attention, trying not to breathe on any of Regina's belongings.
"You have a lovely home Regina."
Oh. This was the first time Snow White had been inside her house. Oh.
"Well I'll just give you what you came for then."
Snow nodded, her hand coming to rest on her stomach, "Yes please. Lasagna is the only thing Emma will eat when she comes over."
Henry's eyes looked for his mom but she was hidden behind the open cupboard. After a minute an unopened packet of pasta was shoved into Snow's hands as she asked with a facile smile, "Will that be all?"
"Yes. Thank you Regina you're a life saver."
Both the Mills looked at each other with wide eyes at the statement as Snow exited the room. Regina remembered her manners and followed the guest.
"Three of us used to have lasagna every Monday."
Regina paused momentarily on hearing Henry but that was also when she heard Snow's cry.
Emma entered the house, using the key which Emma had fought for, saying she should have access if she had to drop of things in future. As soon as Emma turned her handle she stopped, blown away by the scent coming from the kitchen.
"I know, it smells wonderful doesn't it?" Snow said as she saw her daughter with her eyes closed and a faint smile on her face. On hearing Snow, Emma straightened up, her face impassive again.
"We weren't expecting you so early."
"I thought I'd come by earlier and tell you I won't be joining. I have to be up early tomorrow-."
"Oh, but we've already started making dinner."
Emma had left David at the station so it couldn't be him and she really hoped the kitchen door wouldn't open to reveal seven dwarves cutting, frying and baking. But the real scene was nothing compared to what she was worried about. Inside, Henry was sitting on the kitchen counter, kicking his legs to and fro. Next to him was Regina, Regina Mills, in her mortal enemy Snow White's kitchen, wearing a light green apron with the words, "Animals are people too". She had her hand outstretched, letting Henry taste some of the sauce from the spoon she held. Her hair was tucked behind her ears and she was leaning using her free hand on the counter, and smiling. She was smiling.
Henry turned when he heard shuffling from the door, "Emma. Hey! Grandma was feeling sick so we volunteered to help make dinner today."
In his glee, he didn't see Emma's eyes never flickering from his mother's eyes. When Regina looked away Emma lowered her gaze to Henry. Her demeanour softened as she raised her eyebrow, her voice teasing.
"Oh? So you're too busy to hang out with your mom at the station but free to play iron chef at your grandma's."
Snow sighed listening to her daughter's carefree voice, she didn't know how long she'd have to wait for the day Emma would start talking to her similarly. But willing herself some strength, she called out, "Henry, why don't you come help your poor grandma with the plates."
Emma rolled her eyed, 'you're pregnant not sick', she said to herself.
When only two people were left inside Emma cleared her throat, "What are you doing?"
"Cooking", Regina said as she simmered the flame, her spoon stirring the pot incessantly, "Or if your concern is if I'm poisoning the food then no, Henry insists on tasting every minute since it's his favourite."
After a drop of silence she added, "And we were going to leave before you came."
Her hand suddenly stopped as Emma's gripped it, almost painfully, "What are you doing, carpooling with David, playing the cook for Snow?"
"What, you wanted me to say no to the pregnant woman who almost fainted in my house today?"
"Oh because you wouldn't have been able to sleep otherwise?"
Emma's hand turned Regina to her side, her other hand hovered over waist but instead latched onto the counter top.
"See, I know you have no problem shutting people out. So what's your motive?"
"Stop making this about you." Regina sneered, trying to pull her arm out of her grasp.
Emma laughed as she let go of Regina's wrist, "Nothing is about me Regina, you made that very clear. But I can take care of my family so please stop sacrificing your happiness and time for them. I'll pick up David from tomorrow and I sure can cook whatever the hell Snow wants."
Regina all but tore off the apron and shoved it into Emma's chest, "Tell that to your parents the next time they wish to frolic over to my place."
"How's the lasagna honey?"
Emma gave Snow a thumbs up as she continued eating, not looking up. It was barely edible after Emma had taken over but no one seemed to be bothered by it, visibly atleast.
"It's a pity Henry and Regina had to leave."
Snow looked to David who on receiving an imperceptible nod cleared his throat. "So Emma, have you thought about dating again?"
He calmly passed the jug of water to his daughter who unfortunately got food in her wind pipe.
"It's just", David sighed looking out the window, facing the road.
"What?" Emma asked pushing her plate away, "Is she already seeing someone?"
Snow shook her head, "No no. David didn't say that." She glowered at David as she said, "We haven't seen Charlie around."
"Charlie", Emma spluttered, "that prepubescent man-child?"
David shook his head, "Of course not. It's her personal life. We just ran into them and as neighbours we thought we'd talk-"
Emma kicked off the chair from behind, "Oh since you're all suddenly such chums, know that if she's screwing that bastard, it's not my problem. It's her fucking life."
Next day Regina was not surprised that David asked her to drop him. Since the past few drives Regina would sometimes contribute to the discussion the two boys would have since Henry and David had coaxed her into watching their favourite TV show. But today she remained silent, scarcely taking her eyes off the road. After dropping Henry even David didn't strike up a conversation, perceptive to her mood. The black Merc arrived the same time as the yellow bug at the station. David said his goodbyes and with a final pat to Emma entered his workplace. Regina just ignored the stare that seemed more heated than usual and focussed on her rear view mirror as she reversed. She had almost reached the curb when she felt the knock on her window.
"Yes Sheriff Swan?"
"I'd appreciate if you'd let me have Henry the days you have people over."
"It's just I don't want to scar Henry just because you want to have sex with children ten years older than him in the other room."
Regina's mouth flew open, unable to comprehend what she was being accused of. When she saw Emma retreating, she leaned out the window, "How, how inappropriate."
"I know, that's why I'd be happy to have him." Emma said without looking back.
Regina parked her car on the road and got her bags out. It had been a quiet couple of days. After her run-in with Emma at the station, she had been adamant on not entertaining Snow or David. She didn't open any doors, answer any calls and even Henry didn't mind leaving earlier than usual in the morning. And slowly her days had bled into the monotony she was used to before the street had been invaded by Charmings. She certainly didn't miss David who bellowed instead of taking offence at every snide comment Regina would throw at him. And she definitely did not miss Snow's theatrics like she was birthing a tiny alien. Regina sighed as she shifted her grocery bags to get her key out.
"Hi neighbour, long time."
Her keys fell on to the mat and she gritted out, "Not long enough."
David just laughed like this was an inside joke they'd been sharing for years now and Regina could just shake her head. He bent down to pick up the keys and even slid it inside the door.
"We know you've been very busy this week. So I was wondering, there's this chicken dish Snow has been craving for from our land, I would be grateful if you could teach it to me so I don't have to bother you every time."
David didn't wait for her answer as he took the bags from Regina and entered the house leaving Regina just gaping on her doormat.
"David", Regina finally stepped inside her own house like a guest, "we need to talk about boundaries, you both cannot just-"
She paused seeing the empty kitchen, "David?"
A wooden spoon shot up from behind the counter, "Sorry. Dropped it."
David jumped up next, his hands on his waist as he looked Regina expectantly, his eyebrows raised slightly awaiting instructions.
Regina's hand flew to her mouth at the scene. David was... he was pulling off her white apron rather well, the blue floral pattern complementing his shirt.
"You look... good." Regina nodded, her shoulders shaking slightly.
"Thanks", David showed a hint of red before he started taking out the items from the brown bags, "So, where do I put these?"
Regina shook her head as she rolled up her sleeves.
Regina silenced Henry with a stern glare when he kept snickering at the questionable sounds Snow was making.
"Oh gods, this is so good. Oh the baby is dancing with absolute joy David."
"Why thank you Snow." David beamed before adding, "Regina helped a little bit."
"Little bit", Regina arched her eyebrow at David sitting in front of her who just shrugged in response.
Henry sitting between her and David chose to impart some more knowledge on the subject, "Gramps almost burnt the kitchen today."
Snow managed to leave the fork on her plate long enough to pat her husband's hand, "Like daughter like father."
Regina's eyes drifted to the empty seat on the table when she heard Snow's voice again, "Thank you for letting us have dinner here."
"Well your husband cooked, so I could at least host. Since you decided to just.. show up with a bottle of wine." Regina said dryly, taking a sip of the red.
"David is accompanying me in avoiding alcohol, so I thought maybe you could enjoy it. It's a good year.. I think."
Henry and David were fighting over peas and Regina was trying her hardest not to root for her boy. Snow always had a look of adoration to the point of crying on her face whenever she saw Henry doing, well anything.
"Sometimes it's like I have two children, I don't know what I'll do when the third one comes."
Regina nodded, trying to adjust the salt and pepper shakers. The other brunette started talking to herself absent-mindedly, "Which reminds me, I will have to heat up some soup for Emma when we get back."
Both Mills snapped into attention and Henry asked the question floating in Regina's mind, "Emma is here? Is she still sick?"
Regina started at the word still as Snow nodded.
"You left your sick daughter alone to come here and dine." Regina said, shocked.
"Well, she has been sleeping all day at our place since David forced her to come over and rest. She doesn't normally eat anything I make, so we will just do by with tinned soup."
Regina immediately brought her hands back to her plate and surrendered her fork and knife.
Emma looked at the empty bowl and wondered if she could lick it clean before her mother showed up. Snow laughed from the door as she saw Emma staring greedily into the empty bowl. She padded her way to sit next to her.
"Glad you liked it, you'll be surprised to know that it was made by your father."
"David, no way!" Emma exclaimed, forgetting her inhibitions that second.
"Yes, but Regina helped him. We were actually there for dinner. Thankfully we had enough leftovers to bring home. But now that I think of it, Regina hardly ate after I told her you were sick."
Emma had already started licking, her head hidden by the bowl.
"I'm not sick Snow, I was just tired."
"But you vomited in the station."
"Because I drank a bottle of vodka the day before."
Snow tutted, rubbing her small bump, "See little one, your sister is trying to compete with Leroy."
Emma rolled her eyes, "Thanks for letting me sleep here, but I think I'll head to my place now."
"Snow I can take care of- What?"
Emma looked at her cautiously, "Okay then."
Snow handed her a washed Tupperware which had miraculously appeared from behind her back, "Please return this to Regina when you go, since you're heading out anyways."
"And help me up please, the dinner tired me out."
Emma resisted telling her she was only 4 months pregnant then but cordially nodded.
Emma shuffled as she heard footsteps getting louder, she could faintly make out the noises from the other side. The only thing she clearly heard before the porch light brightened was, 'Damn Charmings.'
"What?" Regina tiredly asked as she opened her door.
"Hey, uh", Emma said her eyes fixed on Regina's door and not her night dress, Emma's favourite nightdress which was hidden poorly under a black robe.
"Emma", Regina just blinked before shaking her head, "You seem... well?"
"Yea, wasn't really sick, just, you know had a lot to drink."
"Em-" Regina started, using her reprimanding tone but abruptly pressed her lips together. After a breath she asked, "So how can I help you? And before you ask I have no one over since Henry is still in the house."
Emma looked down in embarrassment, "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to, I thought Charlie was..." she coughed inside her fist.
"Emma I've told you a thousand times-"
"Yeah yeah, he's just a kid", Emma smiled briefly, "Who's not related to Snow White... anyways here's your bowl, you taught well."
Regina nodded, before closing the door. Emma deflated as she stared at the golden ornate numbers, thinking whether to knock again or not, only to turn around in the end. A few minutes past her departure, the porch light switched off.
Regina tossed and turned. Sleep had scarcely come to her this week. Her nights passed in thinking and re-thinking about her past and her decisions. Was she a fool if she wanted to put someone else before her? She groaned as she reached for the little white bottle Archie had suggested when she heard a loud clang.
Jumping out of her bed she saw the time, 5:30. Instinctively she rushed to Henry's room, only to find his door open and room empty. Another sound, her ears perked up, this time it was followed by a muffled whisper. Her blood ran cold as she descended the stairs, they were more than one. She didn't register so but the first person she thought to call for help was the Deputy staying across the street.
She was on the fifth step from the first floor when she heard a startled cry, Henry. Losing all sense of control Regina followed the voice, her heart beat racing faster than her feet. Regina stopped short inside the kitchen, blinking as she took in the scene in front. Henry was covered in egg yolk and David had an empty carton in his hand.
"Mom", Henry's eyes widened, "Mom relax, everything is ok. Relax."
"Huh", Regina noticed the burning flame flickering over her hands. Regina tried to calm down, the swirls of blue slowly extinguishing but her eyes remained on the two people in front.
"What in god's name are you two doing?" her voice came out raspy, laden with exhaustion of a sleepless night.
The two boys looked at each other and Henry meekly said as he tried to grin, "Surprise."
David coughed, "Uh Henry wanted to surprise you with breakfast. Sweet kid. Had to do it before you got up."
When Regina was sure she wouldn't shout she opened her mouth, "Henry, go take a shower and then get dressed for school. David, sit, I need to have a talk with you."
Henry sped across the room not choosing to worsen her anger, leaving a flustered David in the room.
"David, what are you doing?"
"Well Henry asked me to help make some French toast. Well he wanted Snow's help but eggs make her nauseous now. And he would have asked Emma but-"
"Stop it", she snapped, "You loon, you stop this nonsense right now."
"Do not play coy with me when I'm this close to incinerating you." Regina slowly approached the counter, "I've been far too forgiving considering the situation and you continue to keep pushing me to the edge. Why can't you just leave me alone?" She huffed in exasperation, "You're always around, you're everywhere I look and you constantly keep reminding me of, of..." she plopped down on the chair.
David sighed, and in a single second Regina saw all his bravado, all his blinding optimism fade away, suddenly making her aware of how time had started moving again.
"I know", David frowned, "I know. Well we have to do what we can to get Emma back."
"You already have Emma back, you wanted her to not be with me and you got that. What more do you want from me?"
"Don't be naive Regina, that person who walks around the city wearing the badge, that's not Emma." David snapped, a little too harshly before he corrected himself, "It haunts us, it haunts us every day."
With heavy feet David made his way to Regina, sitting down beside her, "If I could I would go back and stop myself from saying the things we said, making her choose between you and us."
"You really expect me to believe this good people garbage."
David's eyes trapped Regina's, trying to convey the mute request and Regina in her silence agreed to listen.
"Emma was happy. Truly happy. And we deluded ourselves into thinking that it was because of us. But the next day when she came and told us, when she said we'd", he hissed, "we'd won", he wiped his face before continuing, "I saw my daughter break in front of me Regina. And I haven't been able to fix her ever since. Because we can't, only you can. We thought she needed time but all she needs is you, it's you who made her whole."
Regina blanked on hearing David's words, so naked, so honest, "You know that's not true."
"It is. And we tried everything to remedy our mistake. And in the end, we thought if she saw us accepting you, she'd come back to us. All of us."
"So what, you thought you'd just keep pretending to like me for the rest of your life?"
David actually faltered on hearing the question. He looked into his hands and slowly began to laugh, unable to believe what he had just concluded, "That was honestly the plan. But you know, it changed, somewhere in between it changed. We like it here, we like living next to you and Henry. It's… fun? It is isn't it, it feels like being part of a family I never imagined I could ever have. And knowing the risks of being magically electrocuted I am still telling you that it was fun to annoy you, and we both know you didn't entirely hate spending time with us. But you try to constantly hide it with that scowl of yours, yeah that one."
Regina shook her head, "You are more delusional than I thought."
"Well, you're stuck with us, one way or another. And I don't care if Snow and I have to go through ex-evil queens, saviours, or love sick fools to get you two together."
"I - love sick fool?"
"Well, that kid was asking for it."
"What? No one woos my future daughter-in-law and gets away with it."
"David, please, this is not funny", Regina whispered urgently, her tone desperate, "Emma hates me, she can hardly stand talking to me."
"Now who's being delusional? She's just angry. She is angry at us too but we've been shamelessly using Snow's pregnancy as a shield. I sometimes think if we hadn't she would have left Storybrooke."
"For once I did the right thing", Regina turned away, "why does she get to be angry? I should be angry, not her."
"Hey", he cooed as he extended his arm to pull her into a hug.
"Ya didn't think so", David cowered, steering his hand away, choosing to envelope her hand instead.
David waited for Regina to relax a little and when the tense hand limped he dared, "Can I ask you something?"
David smiled at the borderline-petulant tone, "You didn't have to put up with us, but you still did, day after day. Why?"
"I couldn't outright say no."
David shook his head, "I would, if someone made me go out of their way to the station everyday. And Snow is a handful even when she's trying not to be."
Regina didn't care to respond, asking her own question, "Whose bright idea was this? How did you think this nonsense would not get you killed?"
"Uh", David scratched his chin, "Is it too early to start blaming Earnest?"
"Earnest?" Regina asked before frowning, "Really? Earnest?"
"Hey, it's a good name. Sir Earnest Charming. It's, it's good. Very knightly."
Regina scoffed, "Yes, he'll enjoy it immensely since he is being born into a Wilde novel."
David nudged her with his elbow, eliciting a murderous glare, "I'm not hearing any suggestions."
Regina trudged down the stairs, shaking her head, but with no malice she shouted out, "I told you already, I'm not giving you diaper training Char-" Regina stopped on being genuinely surprised to find someone else, "Emma."
"What the fuck Regina?"
Regina jerked forward in reflex closing the door behind her, "Emma, watch your language, Henry is inside."
"What the hell is wrong with you?"
"Gabriel, you're letting them name their kid Gabriel."
"I", Regina blinked slowly in surprise, "I just thought-"
"What?" Emma slammed her fist besides Regina's head, her knuckles hitting the wooden door behind, "Stop screwing with me Regina. I know we were joking when we said we were going to name our kid Gab, but... so this is it, this is you giving up on us?"
"Giving up? I thought, I -", Regina looked away, "I'm sorry Emma."
Emma held her chin making her look into her eyes, "Why are you sorry, one year we were together and you didn't even fight them for me. And now, now you're moving on."
"Emma, I'd destroy worlds if it meant being with you, but I couldn't bear being responsible for you losing your family again."
"But that's what you did you stupid woman", Emma's eyes slipped shut as she leant forward, her forehead touching Regina's till her head hit the door behind, "you ripped me way from my family, you ripped me away from you."
"No, I really really hate you. Why do you always think you can't mean anything to anyone? You are my everything Regina, and it makes me so mad that you gave up because what?" Emma pulled back, "The king and queen of fairy tale land couldn't be grown up about their daughter having a relationship."
Regina's face hardened as her hands twisted into Emma's shirt, "Well, if I was being stupid then why did you have to leave? You forced your way into my town and my house and you couldn't force me to listen to you. Why didn't you stay?"
"No." Regina shook Emma in anger, "You never listen to me. Not when I asked you to leave Storybrooke, not when I asked you to not ride that dirt bike without your helmet and not when I asked you to not tell your parents about us. Never. And suddenly one fine day you decide to. I hate you more you.. you idiot."
Emma wiped the angry tears now flowing across Regina's cheeks, "We're both stubborn idiots." She smiled as she eased the struggling brunette into a hug so her hands cushioned Regina's back against the door, "Why can't we be idiots together?"
Regina stilled, her head bent below Emma's chin as she asked in a small voice, "Do you still want to?"
"Of course I do you goof, I was just.. I mean you decided to take the decision for both of us. We were in it together, you can't just tell me you want to break up because you think it's right for me."
"I thought the only one hurt would be me."
"God we need to have a long talk. I love you so much, I was just-"
"Angry, I know. Me too." Regina said softly, her arms tightening impossibly around Emma.
They spent a long time just breathing and listening to the other breathe, soaking in the feeling of being in the company of other.
"You ok?" Emma asked breaking the comfortable silence.
"I am now. Especially after these last few months."
"Aww. You didn't enjoy spending time with David and Snow?" Emma teased making Regina pinch her side, "You have no idea."
"Hey. I've had my fair share too ok. Ever since, they've been trying to apologise to make me start talking to them again. I thought they'd given up when suddenly Snow told me they were moving here." Emma snorted suddenly, "Can you imagine us being this way with Henry?"
"I hope not, my poor boy. Do you think he was in on it?"
Emma shrugged before she moving her hand up weaving her fingers into her hair, "Do you think they'll still stay here now that their stupid mission to annoy us till we made up is completed?"
She expected Regina to scoff but was surprised when all she heard was a low whisper, "I am not opposed to them being here."
"Ya?" Emma asked incredulously.
"Somehow I can't see them as Snow White and Prince Charming anymore, I can only think of them as your parents", she looked up, "Is that strange?"
Emma looked down in awe at the brunette, "Nope, not at all."
"And David isn't so bad. But your mother acts like she is carrying octuplets."
Emma chuckled, "Man, I've missed your snark."
Regina said honestly, "I've missed you."
Emma kissed the top of Regina's head slowly trailing a line from her forehead downwards but stopped short of her lips as she suddenly started laughing.
"What", Regina smiled, her hands trailing her back.
Emma put her hands over her eyes, and leaned into her side, "Listen."
Regina strained her ears and on hearing what Emma was talking about, shook her head, "Idiots."
Henry's pencil dropped when he distinctly heard her adoptive mother's voice from outside. But he had surely heard wrong hadn't he? Because what he'd heard was her shout, "Turn up the volume Charming."
He approached the window and as he opened it he could hear what her mother was talking about. Disregarding the old tune, he looked outside but almost slipped out of the window in surprise when he saw both his mothers in between the narrow path between the garden. They were not dancing, but swaying slightly. Both women had a faint smile on their faces and couldn't take their eyes off of each other. When Emma dipped the other smiling lady and leaned in, Henry averted his gaze but that was a bad move. Henry almost shuffled out of the sill again because this time he saw, behind the hedges on the street, his grandparents dancing around a small boom box.
Henry, for the life of his, just could not see the connection between dancing and kissing because soon Charming was attempting the same. He mouthed 'gross' and quickly closed the window, drawing the curtains just to be sure.
He picked up his pencil and went to complete his homework in an abnormally fast speed because he didn't want to spend a single moment upstairs tonight. Oh tonight was definitely going to be a celebratory night and Mifflin Street was never going to be the same again.
Just to know somehow you are near.
The overpowering feeling
That any second you may suddenly appear!
People stop and stare. They don't bother me.
For there's no where else on earth that I would rather be.
Let the time go by, I won't care if I
Can be here on the street where you live.