I haven't had a weirder idea for a long time. But whatever.
This is not like your funny funny fic, okay? And it's not a typical Christmas!fic either.
Also Swan Queen.
Don't have a beta, all mistakes are mine. What is not mine though, is Once Upon a Time.
Regina tried really hard to release the tension in her temples but massaging them with her fingers would betray her condition and she was not one for showing weaknesses, and using magic was out of the way because the others would immediately notice. So what she settled for was casting the woman on her right an exceedingly mean look.
Emma shrugged apologetically in response. This wasn't how she'd pictured the evening either but what was done was done. Finito, no way back.
They'd wanted a quiet family dinner with Henry stuffing himself with too much pudding, a habit from his childhood he hadn't exactly outgrown, probably Emma choking on a bone from the Christmas turkey and Regina observing all of this with an amused smile. Instead the house was now practically bursting at the seams and still somehow strained.
Because of course Snow and Charming wanted to spend the holy night with their daughter and grandson (and yeah… Regina or whatever). But then Neal was Henry's father so he had to be there as well. Rumpelstilstkin and his girlfriend Belle's presence was also obligatory because Rumpel was Neal's father and they had lived so much time apart and other sappy shit. And after all Hook had helped so much in Neverland which was like four years ago but who counts, and he was always kind of alone and nobody should be alone on Christmas. But then Tinkerbell was also alone and besides the pirate insisted there was something special between the two of them, and everybody politely ignored the smitten looks he gave Emma because if such a dignified man says he's in love with the fairy and not with the savior, you better believe him.
So yes, instead of three there were ten people on the table all of who had hated each other in the past (or still did) either because their own relationship hadn't gone well or because they'd ruined the other's relationship with a third person.
You gotta love family reunions.
The most important thing was Henry was happy (probably because he already knew his Christmas present was going to be this very expensive computer game he'd wanted so much but still…). So both Emma and Regina and everybody else along the way just had to grin and bear it, for the sake of the boy.
"More turkey, dear?" Regina couldn't restrain her affectionate smile towards Emma even though she was still kind of mad at the blonde for not being categorical enough with her parents and co. and telling them it'd be only the reeeal close family.
Emma nodded, her cheeks bulging, full of mashed potatoes. "Yuf, 'Gina." Half of her food flew out of her mouth and landed right on Gold's always perfectly ironed shirt. "Sowwy." She waved apologetically a hand in front of his face.
He gave her an uptight smile in return and gave Belle a look which said 'You see what I have to go through?'. She just grinned at him and discreetly cleaned the garment with her napkin.
The silence filled the room once again. Everybody gave each other odd looks then Neal decided to speak up.
"So, uhm…" He coughed awkwardly. "Emma, how's it goin' with ya? Still… adjusting to this life or…?" He blushed like crazy and immediately shut his mouth after the murderous glare Regina sent his way.
Emma was still too engrossed in her meal to get the subtle hint.
"Naw, I'm fine," She replied with a careless shrug after she swallowed her bite (Rumpel was very grateful for that). "Like what do I have to adjust to-" She stopped mid-sentence after she saw her girlfriend's face. A frown appeared on her forehead.
Regina gave a nonchalant snort but her eyes had darkened. Neal had bowed his head, clearly feeling guilty and uncomfortable. Snow was shifting in her seat and Charming put a comforting hand on her shoulder.
Emma had moved to the mayoral mansion more than a year ago, after she had dated Regina for almost three years. It was a decision both of them had pondered upon one hell of a time and if it wasn't for Henry's endless support they would probably still be on the 'bickering-and-not-so-secretly-eye-sexing' level. The Charmings had thrown a tantrum (or more accurately Snow had screamed and fainted and her husband had bustled around her), Neal had showed his dog pout in a silent protest (which didn't help him at all) and Hook had gotten drunk and slept with a very depressed and still magicless at the time Tinkerbell (the odd part was she got her magic back after that night). But it was supposed to be kind of okay now.
Some other citizens of Storybrooke still had a hard time accepting it. But fortunately even more lead by Ruby and Granny supported them. 'I mean, the looks you two gave each other since day one – totally a silent mating call.', as the waitress had obligingly explained to Emma.
The mood which hadn't been ecstatic to begin with, was quickly dropping lower and lower. Henry, feeling something was off, immediately opened his mouth.
"Hey, hey, guys. It's Christmas, high spirits and all that stuff. Stop being so crabby." Even for his sixteen years he was still the same cheery and loving boy… only in a teenager-y way.
Emma nodded. "Yeah, the kid's right. Let's talk about something cool."
"So uh…" Tinkerbell's cheeks flushed as her all commensals looked at her. "Henry, how's school?" She decided on a safe topic.
Henry groaned but everybody else seemed very interested, almost a little too much.
"Yeah, how's school?" Snow echoed.
"Ya grades good?" Neal poked his son with his elbow.
"You've got a girlfriend?" Hook asked teasingly.
The tips of the boy's ears became rosy.
"You guys are sooo much fun I just can't." He huffed. "School's fine, my grades are fine, can we change the subject?"
"And a girlfriend?" The pirate chirped in insistently.
Henry pretended he hadn't heard him.
"It's Christmas, can't we really find a normal topic to talk about?"
"What about that girlfriend Hook's been asking about?" Charming mused, more to himself than to anyone else.
His grandson gulped audibly and practically shoved a bowl in Emma's face.
"You want more salad, ma?"
The blonde gave him a surprised look.
"No, kid, thanks."
Hook grinned almost maniacally.
"I think this lad here got himself a damsel and is embarrassed to admit so."
"God no!" Henry burst all of a sudden. Belle spilled soup on her dress. "Would you stop repeating that?! I don't have a damn girlfriend!"
People froze mid-morsel, taken aback by his outburst. Emma and Regina exchanged puzzled glances.
The pirate looked remorseful.
"Gee, I'm sorry, chap. Didn't mean to offend you. I just thought a fine boy like you would have someone to-"
"I do." Henry replied, almost too quietly.
Hook knit his eyebrows bewildered. Neal blinked just as confused.
"But you said-"
"I said I didn't have a girlfriend." The boy said, eyes stubbornly glued to his half-full plate. "But I do have someone."
Silence. Realization eventually dawned on the adults' faces.
"Oh God." Emma murmured. "Oh my God." She breathed heavily. Henry gave her a jaded look. "My baby's in love!" A giant smile illuminated her face.
Regina's mouth twitched upwards.
"Why didn't you say earlier?" She asked lowly.
"I was afraid of your reaction." The boy admitted.
Rumpelstiltskin looked genuinely abashed by this confession but Belle kicked him lightly under the table and he managed a distraught nod of approving, supposedly.
Henry glanced at his father shyly. "Dad?" Neal's face was unreadable. "Dad, are you mad?"
The man remained still.
"Who's the guy?" He demanded eventually. Henry paled visibly by the tone of the older male.
"I know who he is!" Emma's eyes shone brighter than the sun. "Nicholas, the auto guy's son, am I right?" She looked at Henry for approval and he nodded almost imperceptibly. "These two became best friends as soon as they laid eyes on each other. You either become best friends or best enemies but you always end up together." She smirked at Regina who eventually permitted herself a real smile.
Henry grinned at his mother's enthusiasm but his happiness quickly vanished at the still hard look on his father's face. "Dad…" His voice trembled as he spoke. "Please, say something, I-"
"How long have you two been together?" Neal asked, his eyes throwing daggers.
Henry's face flushed desperately once again.
"Nine months." He muttered sheepishly.
"Nine months?!" Emma practically erupted. "You've hidden this for nine months?! What the hell, kiddo?"
"I was scared, ma!" He snapped at her kind of impatiently. "I saw how everybody reacted to you and mom and I couldn't bear the thought of any of you turning your backs on me! Nick is nice to me and makes me feel good… makes me feel loved." Now his whole face and his neck were bright red. "And he was okay with waiting for me all this time to muster courage to tell you."
"You didn't tell us, we practically pushed you into it!" Emma repined still indignant about it. "And I doubt he was okay okay with it." She added a moment later.
Regina placed her palm on the blonde's forearm.
"Dear, calm down. You were just as unsure if not more." She reminded her reproachfully. Now it was Emma's turn to blush.
Henry sent his mom a thankful smile and turned back to his father.
"So what do you say, dad?" He managed eventually.
Neal just sat unmoving in his chair for a couple of minutes.
"Girls don't attract you like… at all?" He asked and that was the first time emotion overpowered his efforts to stay lukewarm. A plea.
Henry's insides twisted but he had to be honest. He owed it to them and most importantly, to himself.
"No, dad. I like only guys. More specifically, I like only Nicholas."
Neal kept the strict face for a minute of two more. Then his features softened just a little.
"Alright." He sighed.
Henry immediately perked up.
"Alright? As in you're fine with it?" He breathed, hope in his voice.
"Not quite yet. But I will be." The man conceded. "I need some time."
Silence settled once again. Hook took a small bottle out of the pocket of his leather coat and unscrew the cap.
"Well, our laddie found another laddie then." He declared solemnly. "Let's drink to that." And he lifted the rum to his lips.
Tinkerbell gave an awkward thumbs up in a lack of a better show of support. Charming reached over Snow's shoulder to tap his grandson's.
And just as the dinner threatened to become its slightly more boring and less tense self, a feminine shriek split the quietness in half.
"Are we just going to sit here and pretend that this is okay!?" Snow White protested eagerly and her small fist hit the table mercilessly.
Charming looked goofily at his life.
"Snow-" He started but she made a disdainful hand gesture in his direction.
"Don't you even dare, David! All of you are such hypocrites! How can you smile and just shrug it off and- and-" Her face became almost purple with rage.
"Mom-" Emma mumbled but Snow interrupted her as well.
"And you, Emma! You seem the happiest of all! You look perfectly okay with the fact that your son is gay!" The pixie haired woman spit the word like it was the worst insult imaginable.
Henry shrank in his chair.
Belle's mouth opened in a silent gasp.
"That's because I am." Emma's face was stone cold and if Snow knew better, she would have stopped. But anger had literally blinded her at the moment.
"Yes, really!" Regina interfered, seriously starting to get pissed off by her ex-stepdaughter's behavior. "Henry's our son and we love him no matter what!"
"You love him because you managed to ruin him just the way you've ruined yourselves!" Snow White spouted back.
This time Belle's gasp sounded through the whole room. Rumpel wrapped protectively an arm around her shoulders. Neal also got a headache, worse than Regina's initial one. Hook hefted the bottle to his mouth, for a much longer gulp. Tinkerbell pressed herself into his shoulder. Charming just sat there, not knowing how to react.
Emma's eyebrows knit dangerously over her eyes. Regina's fists clenched almost challengingly.
The still not opened bottle of wine in the middle of the table exploded screwing everybody's clothes up.
Henry got up without a word and putting his jacket and his shoes on the go, ran out of the house.
Regina's voice absolutely lacked emotion when she opened her mouth.
"Leave my home now."
Snow's mouth gaped like a fish out of water, like she'd just realized the heaviness of her words.
"I-I… I didn't…" She looked around helplessly. "I didn't mean…" Her eyes met her daughter's. "Emma, I just-"
"You heard Regina." The blonde's words echoed, apathetic and hollow. "Get out."
Emma inhaled, the cold air making her cheeks puff, and pushed the doorbell. She waited a bit, tapping her foot impatiently, and rang again. And then again.
"Gretel, open the door." She heard a gruff voice from the inside, then some light steps coming closer.
A pretty blonde girl opened the door.
"Oh, hey, Emma." She smiled a little. "Merry Christmas."
"Same to you, kid." Even though Ava Zimmer was almost twenty years old and just as tall as Emma, the woman couldn't help but remember when all three of them were just kids. "Is my son here?"
"Yes, he's upstairs with Hansel." Her face suddenly became uneasy. "I meant-"
"Yeah, yeah, I know they're a thing. Can you just tell him I'm here, please?"
"Okay." The girl turned around and ran to the second floor.
A minute later a masculine shadow appeared. Emma held her breath but it wasn't Henry.
A lanky boy with unruly dark hair and fuzz on his jaw frowned at her. Nicholas Zimmer was at least 6'3'' tall and his brown eyes looked at her disapprovingly.
"Henry doesn't want to talk to anyone." He announced.
"Look, Nicholas, I know you're feeling overprotective and everything but he's my son and I have the right to talk to him, okay?"
The boy just kept looking at her under his eyelids with a "Don't bullshit me" look on his face.
"He finally decides to come out and you pour crap on him, like what kind of people are you?"
"No, you listen!" Nick suddenly roared, an almost animalistic look on his face. "I've waited five years, okay? Five years. Three of them for him to even notice me, then one more playing cat and mouse and him refusing to admit there's something between us and one more to finally get him to agree to have a relationship with me. Do you know he dated Grace, the hatter's daughter?" The only thing Emma could do was shake her head. "He even tried to get some from my sister. Doing all that so he could deny the attraction between me and him. I didn't give up. I waited. I knew there would come a time he would no longer be able to run away. So nine months ago he said 'Fine, you're right. We could be something. But I'm not ready to tell my family yet.' I said okay. It hurt but I waited. And now, just when I started to hope we wouldn't have to hide anymore, you guys took a giant shit on everything." He crossed his arms, showing that he had finished his speech.
Emma just stood there, both eyes and mouth wide open. Hell, what was she supposed to say now? Regina should have come instead of me, she thought. She's better with the talking stuff. Actually no. Her girlfriend's past begged to differ. Usually when the Evil Queen opened her mouth, someone ended up dead.
She took a breath.
"I support Henry." She responded eventually. "I don't know if you're aware but I'm currently in a relationship with Henry's adoptive mother." The boy acknowledged the information with a slight nod. "I went through a lot of shit too. Maybe even more." He raised an eyebrow 'As if'. "Yeah, 'cause everybody expected something of me. There were two men fighting for my love. My parents wanted me to be a princess or whatever." He rolled his eyes and Emma decided he liked the kid after all. "She was the only one who wanted nothing from me. Who was content with me being just… well, me. That's why I chose her." The blonde finished, simply shrugging. "And because she's unbelievingly hot." She added after a beat.
Nicholas wrinkled his nose but his eyes were glowing more softly now.
"I just want him to be happy." He admitted somehow shyly and his ears flushed.
"So do I." Emma smiled in return. "I've tried my best to make him happy so far and I always will. I hope you do the same."
The lathy boy set his jaw determinedly. "Always will." He repeated like an echo.
Regina had practically chased away the guests. Charming had gone out almost immediately after Snow. Hook and Tinkerbell vainly tried not to look overly excited that they were leaving. Belle sent the hostess a sympathetic glance before she and Rumpel had disappeared in a purple puff of smoke. Neal had insisted it was his right and obligation as a father to stay but a firm look from Regina (and probably the fireball in her hand) made him change his mind and toddle away.
So when Emma and Henry finally returned, the brunette was alone in the house scrubbing the turkey off the plates absent-mindedly.
She, of course, instantly threw the rubber gloves and the sponge after she saw them. She couldn't suppress the "Henry!" that escaped her lips, neither the greedy manner she pressed his body against hers.
He didn't say a thing, just loosely wrapped an arm around her small waste. She pulled back a little, taking his face in both hands.
"Henry, dear, are you alright?" She whispered, her eyes devouring his face.
"I'm fine." He replied tiredly. "I just need a good nap or… something." He backed away from her and crawled his way upstairs.
"It's gonna be okay, 'Gina, I promise-"
"You know Snow, she's kind of a bitch but she didn't mean-"
"You and me. Your parents' house. Right now."
Snow White strode around the small apartment like a lunatic. Her husband sat on a kitchen chair, his head eddying in multiple directions as a Chinese statue, trying to follow all her movements.
"Idiot!" The woman cursed out loud. "How could I be so stupid?"
"Well-" Charming started but she didn't even spare him a glance.
"I promised Emma I would try, I promised I will be there for her. I fucked up everything!"
"It just- it was just like- I got swallowed by this enormous… rage ball or something, you get me? I didn't want to say that!"
"And then I just had to open my abyss of a mouth-"
Snow stopped pacing around and turned to look him in the eye, her always-so-whipped-and-meek Charming.
"Did you really think that?"
She looked at him, eyes big and unbelieving.
"What do you mean, of course I-"
"No." The man shook his head. "Stop. Take a breath. Think about it, how you really feel about this whole situation. Now say it."
Snow stood in the middle of the kitchen, staring at the emptiness in front of her as emotions changed on her face: concentration, realization, denial, sadness, madness-
A purple cloudlet of smoke blurred the whole room only to show Regina's cheeky posture and Emma, staggering, still not used to magic (or this Harry Potter shit, as she called it).
"Huh?" Charming blinked perplexed at the new turn of events.
"God, 'Gina, there is a door for this!" Emma protested weakly, rubbing her forehead.
"This is swankier." The former evil queen shrugged.
"What if they were doing the nasty?" The blonde wrinkled her nose.
Snow and Charming eyed each other embarrassedly as if they wanted the ground to swallow them. Regina gave her wife a 'what the hell' look.
"Right now? I doubt it." She said after a while.
"Cause you haven't seen 'em." Emma was shaking her head like a dog that had just had water poured over him, trying to erase the unwelcomed memories from her mind.
Regina's face contorted disgusted.
"What in all heavens do you mean-"
"I believe you two came for a reason." Charming interrupted her surprisingly authoritatively, his whole face burning.
The brunette composed herself and nodded frowning. The blonde was obviously still making attempts of forgetting that one time when she and Henry had innocently entered the apartment, products for tacos in the paper-bag in Emma's hands and BAM!-there were her parents on that bed and- Hell, what did she do to deserve this?!
Regina's words interrupted her thoughts.
"We demand an explanation, that's why we're here." She said. "You said you were okay with us being together, you've been telling us for almost a year that you think we are a good family for Henry, that we raised him well, that we-"
"I'm not okay with it." Snow confessed almost soundlessly.
Her daughter and daughter-in-law puckered their foreheads at once. The pixie haired woman's heart sank. God, they're perfect for each other. But I… just can't.
"But-" Emma reminded a lot of a lost puppy, "but you said-"
"I lied." The small woman's eyes drop fecklessly. "I'm not okay with it. I will never be okay with it. I'm sorry."
Emma looked genuinely heart-broken, the pieces of the shattered illusion lying in her feet. Regina, sassy not-caring Regina, gulped heavily and almost choked.
"Why?" There were so many questions in her head and screams like Snow White, you little bitch, you keep lying to me, you always lie to me, you said we would bury the hatchet for Henry's sake, you said as long as Emma was happy you were happy, like all of your sentences begin with I,have you ever, just for a second thought about someone else and not you?
"Because." Snow inhaled slowly. "Because," She gazed right into Regina's eyes, determination and pain wrestling on her face, "you made me see that side of you when we first met. You made me believe you were good only to rip that impression forever later on. You ruined me, okay? You made me love you and it was impossible to hate you after that no matter how hard I tried. Because you killed my father, you tortured my husband, you threatened my people and you constantly made my life hell. But I still couldn't hate you. You were filled with loathing, you liked playing with me and not killing fast and clean. You hated me, you hated my family and my people. And then all of a sudden you fell in love with my daughter. And I can't hate you anymore and I can't forgive you because you love my daughter. And you love the child my daughter gave you. But you can't love me." The short woman stopped to exhale, respectively. "So you can't ask me to approve of your relationship. Or Henry's, for that matter. And I know it sounds selfish and stupid but that's the way it is." Her eyes went back and forth to the other two women's horrified faces. "I suggest you just go home."
Regina slowly turned her face to her girlfriend. Emma just stood, not moving or reacting or even breathing. Her green eyes were hazy with tears but the tears were not going to fall, they were like a dead body's.
Like she wasn't even there anymore.
The purple smoke hid Emma and Regina just as quickly as it had revealed them.
Snow suddenly broke down, right there in the middle of the kitchen. She fell on her knees and cried, cried like her life depended on it.
For everything she could have had. For everything she never would have.
And this time Charming didn't try to comfort her.
Erm... Review? :)