At least I'm not in high heels, Emma thought, resolutely lifting up what seemed like yards of floofy skirt as she walked to Regina's room. "Babe, you ready? I'm ready. I'm ready… in my costume… for the trick or treating."
Regina's voice resonated from behind the door. "Is this your subtle way of asking me how you look?"
"I look fine," Emma said preemptively. "But isn't it just weird how Halloween has become some kind of swimsuit competition? I mean, who are we dressing to impress? As long as we like how we're dressed, what's wrong with not being sexy? That's not what Halloween is about. Who said women should be obligated to put on a striptease at the end of October?"
Behind her door, the ruffling of Regina putting on her costume slowed to a stop. "How bad is it?" Regina asked.
Emma sighed. "Just get out here."
The door opened a crack. Regina poked her head out. She looked at Emma. She looked at Emma hard.
"Don't laugh!" Emma said warningly.
Regina's smile was almost splitting her face in two. "You're going to need a better incentive than that."
"One giggle and you don't get any until the holiday season is over. And you know first thing tomorrow, the tinsel is going up."
Regina forced herself into a grimace that kept her mouth mainly in check. "Say what you will about my reign, but I saw to it that Thanksgiving held sway over November, not Christmas. Speaking of Christmas, does your husband Mr. Claus know that you're here?"
"I'm not Mrs. Claus!" Emma protested. "I'm a—" she muttered the last two words.
"You're what now?" Regina asked, smiling widely. Smiling was allowed.
"I'm a f—a fa—"
"I'm a fairy princess," Emma said morosely. When her shoulders drooped, so did her gossamer wings.
"Can you say that again?" Regina pleaded, digging for her cellphone. "I really want to set that as your ringtone. Every time you call, 'I'm a fairy princess! I'm a fairy'—"
"My mom made it for me!" Emma jabbed.
"And that was a sufficient reason to cause a one-woman rhinestone shortage?"
Emma looked away. "And David promised me two hundred bucks if I'd wear it."
"Ah, ample money to buy enough tequila to let you forget you went as Gay Liberace for Halloween."
"Liberace was gay."
"Yes, but he was in the closet. If he'd been out, that's how he would dress. I mean, my God, Emma, where did Snow even get enough fur for that cape? Have any zoos gone missing?"
Emma put her hands on her hips, after taking a moment to find them through the tutu. "Yeah, what's your costume, wiseass?"
After one last little adjustment, Regina stepped out of her room. "For my costume, I decided to go as another strong, independent, and royal woman: Wonder Woman, in fact. Obviously, I made a few modifications that come from valuing historical accuracy over the male gaze. The pteruges go with the Greco-Roman theme and prevent me from walking around in my underwear, while this single leather shoulder strap makes far more sense than fighting crime in a tubetop. But I think it's still quite becoming. What do you think, Emma?"
"I, uh… I mean, that's… it's really…" Suddenly worried someone had lit her face on fire, Emma looked at herself in the hall mirror. Nope, her face was just turning as red as an Indian in a racist old Disney cartoon.
Regina sashayed over to Emma. "I know I look good, dear. But of course, you have all night to figure out how to show me your appreciation of my costume." Her head tilted to the side. "And I have all night to figure out how to get you out of that… thing. Tell me, how do you feel about small, controlled fires?"
Henry was going as one of the Power Rangers—not the Megazord as Emma had thought, but apparently nowadays the Rangers had animal heads on their chests much as a Zord would. This disturbed Emma somewhat.
The first stop on the family's trick-or-treating was the Charmings, because as soon as they'd hit that house, Emma could take off her crown.
"But it looks so good on you, Emma," Regina protested. "Like you were going to ride a motorcycle, but had to improvise safety gear out of a disco ball."
"Til Christmas, Regina. If you so much as chuckle…"
"Oh, I'm not finding this funny. My comments are more a coping mechanism than anything else."
"We're here!" Henry said, running up to the Charmings' front porch. He rang the doorbell excitedly.
A moment later, the outdoor lights came on. Emma frowned. Why hadn't the lights been on before? Then she saw Mary-Margaret come to the door not wearing a costume.
"I'm sorry," she said, "but David and I believe in a traditional Halloween, not the one of this strange new world we're in."
Beside her, David nodded. "We like to keep the All Hallows' Eve in Halloween. We do have nuts and apples, and a bonfire in the back to ward off evil spirits."
Mary-Margaret linked her arm with David's. "And we've left out food for the souls of the dead… in case you see any of them walking around."
"I think I'm looking at two now," Regina commented bitterly.
Emma poked her in the ribs. "C'mon, guys, you've gotta have something sweet around. It's Halloween!"
Mary-Margaret's brow furrowed in a way Regina found disturbingly reminiscient of her girlfriend, while David scratched his head.
"We do," David said at last, "have Pop Tarts. That okay with you, chief?"
"Yeah!" Henry said.
A minute later, they were walking away, Regina checking the Pop Tarts as if they might have razor blades inside them. "These are wonderful treats if you happen to be hauling a toaster around…"
"Well," Emma said, "we kinda do."
"Kinda?" Regina asked.
"Y'know…" Emma made a gesture. "Fwoosh!"
"Oh. Right." Regina raised an eyebrow. "Seriously?"
"If you do, I'll let you laugh once at my costume. Once."
"Deal." Regina held out her hand, summoning a fireball, and dipped the Pop Tarts in it to roast them nice and evenly.
"Don't look so glum," Emma said. "You always have wanted to use magic to get love and a family. This is working a lot better for you than the 'destroy the whole town' spell."
"Why do I find that heartening?" Regina asked.
Five minutes later, they were walking down Main Street, Henry running ahead of them to fill his pillowcase.
"Henry, stay in sight!" Regina called after him. "Do not cross the street, do not cross the street!"
"Like you wouldn't teleport any car going more than ten miles an hour to Budapest."
"Don't try me," Regina suggested.
Emma took her hand as they strolled together. It was a nice night. Everything was orange and brown, there were jack o'lanterns, an army of kids in costume, the loud music of a few house parties in progress… usually, the only time she saw things this Halloween-y, Michael Myers was about to kill someone.
It was nice, the small-magically-created-town life. Like something Norman Rockwell would paint if he got hit on the head.
"So you seem pretty cool with Halloween," Emma observed.
"I'm a villain. Well, retired," Regina added, before Emma could start in on her self-esteem. "It's a nice time of the year for me."
"I just figured you for one of those tiger moms who doesn't let their kid have sugar until they're in college."
"And I figured you'd be one of those moms who let their kids stay up all night watching pornography, because that's what they wanted to do when they were kids."
"Dude, I let Henry learn to use a sword. I'm a terrible mom."
"And I'm going to separate his candy into groups so he doesn't eat them all at once."
"That?" Emma could've laughed. "That is, like, barely overprotective. That's the Diet Coke of overprotective. Me, I'm the Smirnoff of slackerhood. I'm actually looking forward to tomorrow because all the candy is going to be on sale."
"Really? I thought you were just looking forward to tomorrow because you're going to be able to take off that costume."
Emma never would've guessed it when they'd met, but Regina was really good at getting a laugh out of her. "I don't think it comes off! Mary-Margaret's going to keep me in here forever!"
"Well, at least you look a little cute, then."
"No, you look like a Chihuahua dressed as Glinda the Good Witch."
"And you look like…" Emma pointed vaguely at Regina a few times. "Shit, why do you have to look so good?"
"Next Halloween I'll make you a costume, dearheart."
"You just want to put me in something sexy while you stroll around all butch."
"That is not true."
"What if I want to go as Spock?"
Regina grinned. "Spock can be sexy. He bagged Uhura, you know."
"Uh-huh." Emma looked up ahead. A group of older kids had Henry surrounded. "Crap."
Regina flicked out her hands, a pair of fireballs lighting her up on either side. "If my son loses so much as a Sweet Tart, your mothers won't be able to recognize you!"
"Well done, Wondy," Emma commented.
"They would've been if they hadn't run off."
The night wore on. Archie gave out full-size candy bears, Ruby was wearing something that made Regina cover Henry's eyes, but the only trouble they really ran into was Gold.
He gave them miniature toothpaste tubes and floss.
"You really are the Dark One," Regina opined.
"I'm sure with childhood obesity being what it is, you can see the wisdom in promoting dental hygiene over…" he sneered dismissively, "sugary decadence. Besides, it is the sparkly kind of toothpaste."
"Look at what I'm wearing," Emma gritted out. "Do I look like someone you should mess with?"
"No, you look like you're being attacked en masse by napkins."
"Hey!" Regina cried. "No one makes fun of her awful costume but me!"
"They seem like very fancy napkins," Gold added placatingly.
Regina was just reaching for her lasso when Emma grabbed her wrist. "I got this. Gold, last chance. Candy, or at least an apple with caramel on it."
Gold stared down the blonde. "I can throw in a brand-new toothbrush, since you're being so emphatic."
Emma stared back at him. Then she kicked his cane out from under him. He went down hard. Skinned a knee.
"Ha!" Emma pointed at him and laughed. "I've been wanting to do that for two years, but every time, I knew I'd look like the jerk! Well, you called kids fat! I'm totally justified! Regina, high-five!"
Regina high-fived her as Belle ran in to help him.
"You're both horrible people," she said, handing over some Mars Bars.
"That's why we make such a good couple," Regina fired back.
As Henry put it, it was sooooo late when they got back (9 PM). He burned through his sugar rush fast, falling asleep twenty minutes into Night of the Living Dead. It was R, as Regina noted disapprovingly, but Emma successfully argued that it was a 1960s R, which was practically PG-13 now.
They left Henry on the couch with a marathon of Disney Channel Halloween movies and went upstairs to have a sugar rush of their own. "Rescue me, Wonder Woman," Emma joked, then quickly actually needed to be rescued when she fell over and had a dozen layers of frills keeping her from grabbing onto anything. Regina ended up having to rip her out of the dress, but did quite enjoy that. And the good thing about Regina pretty much wearing a swimsuit for a costume was that, if a few bits were moved out of alignment, it could still be worn during… activities.
"So I don't know about you," Emma said afterward, pondering just how long she could get Regina to stay in that costume before it got weird, "but that was a pretty great Halloween."
"Yeah. Same here." Regina's head wrenched to the side. "Shit!"
"I forgot to summon the dark lord Samhain, as can only be done on this pagan holiday," Regina said, before casting a teasing smile at Emma.
"Oh well, there's always next year."