So after spending close to a week working on this, it's finally done. I was trying to think of something Christmas-y to write and for whatever reason this happened. It's kind of inspired by my last birthday when I twisted (almost sprained) my own ankle and was stuck on the couch all day. Apologies if the ending seems a bit rushed. By this morning I just wanted to be done with it. Also un-betaed, so sorry for any typo ninjas. Hope you all had a great holiday and that the new year is great! And remember, reviews are love. =)
"This is all your fault," Regina snapped. She was leaning heavily on Emma's shoulder so as to avoid putting weight on her newly-wrapped ankle.
"How the hell is it my fault?" Emma demanded. She looked over her free shoulder and saw Henry grabbing the crutches out of the backseat of the Benz. "You got those okay, kid?"
"Yeah," he called back.
"It was your idea to go ice skating," Regina replied. "I never would have fallen if not for your suggestion."
"I thought it'd be something fun to kill time before the party. I didn't know you never learned to skate."
"Well maybe if you had bothered to let me interject, I…"
"Hey! You had plenty of chances to say something and you didn't, so I assumed…"
"You assumed what? That my silence meant it was fine for you to drag me out to the middle of the rink and…"
"You know what, you're the one who fell and I…"
"Stop it!" Henry cried, catching up to his mothers near the front door. They both stopped dead and looked at him. "It doesn't matter whose fault it is. It happened and now we just need to deal with it, so stop arguing already."
Emma and Regina had the grace to look a bit ashamed as Henry slipped in front of them to open the door, the crutches in his hand. When he got inside, he stepped out of the way so his mothers could get inside. Emma helped Regina to the couch and sat the brunette down. Regina winced as she turned and lifted her ankle onto the stack of pillows Henry had set out.
"You okay, Mom?" he asked.
"Fine, Henry. I'll be fine. Would you grab that blanket off the chair for me?"
"Sure." Henry grabbed the blanket in question and draped it gently over her.
Emma sighed and pulled her cell phone out of her pocket. "I'm going to go call my parents. Let them know we're not coming to dinner tonight."
"No," Regina said from her place on the couch. "Don't do that. We can still go to dinner."
"Regina, you heard Dr. Whale, right? You didn't just twist your ankle. It's sprained. You're not in any shape to go to the party tonight, even if you did want to use the crutches. I'll just give them a call and we can hang out here for the night."
"No. Take Henry then. I don't want to separate you from your family on Christmas Eve."
"You're my family too now," Emma reminded her. "And there's no way I'm leaving you alone on Christmas Eve either. My mom'll get over it."
"Fine," Regina said a little too quickly.
Emma opened her mouth to retort, but a look from Henry made her shut her mouth. "I'll go make the call then."
"You're not coming?" Snow's voice was more concerned than anything else. "Oh, Emma, is everything all right?"
"Yeah, it's just, we went ice skating and Regina fell and sprained her ankle. Whale said it's not a good idea for her to use it for a while and I don't want to leave her alone on Christmas. Will you guys be okay without us there?"
"Of course. Just make sure Regina's alright. We'll just come by tomorrow and see you if that's okay."
"Yeah. Sounds good."
"Alright then. Get some sleep and tell Regina I hope she feels better."
"I will. Merry Christmas."
"Merry Christmas, Emma," Snow said. "We love you."
"Love you guys too. See you tomorrow."
Emma clicked off her phone and tossed it onto the bed before collapsing onto the blankets herself. She lay there for a minute just staring at the ceiling. A sudden crash from downstairs snapped her out of it though and she raced into the living room to find Regina collapsed on the floor next to the couch. A vase from the coffee table was in shards next to her.
"You stubborn bitch," Emma murmured. "You couldn't stay put for five minutes?"
"What happened?" Henry asked, racing back into the room. "I just went to use the bathroom and I heard a crash."
"I was just going to get some ice and I…I fell," Regina said quietly. Emma leaned down to offer an arm and a few choice words, but the look on the brunette's face was weak and pained, so she held her tongue.
"Are you okay?" she asked gently.
"I'm fine," Regina snapped. She settled herself on the couch again and set her ankle back on the cushions. Emma draped the blanket back over her and noticed how small and childlike she looked.
"Alright, well, just take it easy. You heard Whale. That's a Grade II sprain. You have to keep it as still as possible for a few days and then brace it and use the crutches for the next few weeks. It's not going to heal right if you keep trying to use it."
"I know, but I'm not about to be waited on like some invalid. I'm perfectly capable of…"
"Of what?" Emma demanded. "Of messing up your ankle permanently? Because that's what's going to happen if you're not careful."
"What about magic?" Henry asked, interjecting before either of his mothers could say anything else.
"What do you mean?" Regina's face was etched with confusion and a hint of concern.
"Can't you just use magic to fix your ankle?"
"Healing magic has never really been my forte," Regina said. "Even if I knew the correct spell, I don't know if I'd be able to do it right. It's not worth the risk."
"I'll go grab some ice and we can figure out something for dinner, okay?" Emma asked. Regina and Henry both nodded shortly and Emma retreated into the kitchen. It was 6:15. By now they should have been eating Christmas dinner at the Charmings' apartment with friends. Instead, she was pouring ice cubes into a bag for Regina's ankle. That woman could be impossible on a good day, but to be immobile and injured? This was going to be hell. Emma sealed the bag and brought it back into the living room. Henry had disappeared and Regina was trying to reach the remote on the coffee table.
"Henry cleaned up the vase?" Emma asked noting the lack of ceramic shards on floor.
"Good. I brought you some ice."
Emma faltered with the makeshift ice pack in her hand. "Do you want me to put it on or…?"
"I'll do it." Regina sat up and took the ice. With a grimace and a quiet moan she set it on her wrapped ankle. It took effect almost immediately, numbing the area and making the pain more bearable.
"How about Granny's for dinner?" Emma asked. "I'll run down and pick it up."
"You want your usual? Grilled chicken salad?"
"No, I think I'll have a hamburger actually," Regina said after a moment.
Emma's eyes widened in surprise. She put a hand to her chest and gasped. "Is the queen actually asking for a hamburger? Has the world gone mad? What's next? A side of fries? A milkshake?"
"I don't appreciate your sarcasm," Regina snapped, narrowing her eyes. "And as a matter of fact, a milkshake sounds wonderful right now."
"Henry!" Emma called up the stairs. "It's the apocalypse! Come quick!"
Regina rolled her eyes as Henry came racing downstairs. "What do you mean?"
"We're getting food from the diner for dinner and your mom asked for a hamburger instead of her rabbit food," Emma explained.
"Really?" Henry's eyes widened and he ran to the couch so he could see his brunette mother.
"I've eaten hamburgers before," Regina said defensively. "Is it really so surprising?"
"Oh relax," Emma said. "We're just messing with you. Henry, what do you want to eat?"
"Can I get a burger and fries?" Henry asked.
"Sure. I'll go and pick it up." She looked at Regina. "You stay put until I get back. No walking or moving or anything. And keep the ice on it. Henry, keep an eye on her. Make sure she doesn't try to move and get her anything if she needs it. I won't be long."
"Okay." Henry said with a smile. "We'll be fine."
"Alright." Emma shot one last warning glare at Regina before heading outside, the front door closing behind her. Henry sat down in the chair next to the couch and looked awkwardly around the room.
"Sweetheart?" Regina's voice was softer than it had been a moment ago. When he turned to look at her, there was a pained expression on her face. "Can you run and grab the Tylenol out of the bathroom and get me a glass of water?"
"Yeah. Sure." Henry stood up and ran down the hall to the bathroom. He found the bottle and shook two pills into his palm. He grabbed a cup from next to the sink and filled it with water before returning to the living room. He handed the water and pills to Regina who swallowed them quickly.
"Thank you, Henry," she murmured, leaning back against the pillows and closing her eyes.
"Does it hurt?" he asked after a pause.
She opened her eyes and turned her neck to see him better. "Yes." There was no sense in lying, after all. A dull throbbing was ever present and any movement sent a flash of fresh pain up her leg. "But I'll be alright once the medicine kicks in."
There was another long period of silence before Henry spoke. "You know, this is the first Christmas Eve since I was little that we haven't made cookies for Santa together.
A hint of a smile flickered across Regina's face. "You can ask Emma if she wants to help you when she gets back."
"Yeah, but it won't be the same without you."
Regina sat up a little bit more and thought for a moment. "Well then we'll just have to make some together, won't we?" She pushed herself up as much as she could without disturbing her ankle and tossed the blanket over the back of the couch.
"But Emma said…"
"I never said I was going to get up, did I? Run and get the ingredients and we'll make them on the coffee table. You can put them in the oven when we're done."
"Really?" Henry's eyes sparkled with hope.
"Of course," Regina said with a laugh. "It'll be good to get my mind off of being stuck here. Now go or we won't have time."
Henry nodded and raced into the kitchen. He hurriedly grabbed a mixing bowl, spoon, measuring cups, flour, butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, and sprinkles. As an afterthought, he grabbed the radio from the corner of the counter and brought that in as well. He set the supplies on the coffee table and plugged the radio in. Christmas carols played in the background as he turned on the oven before running back into the living room and sitting down on the floor across from his mother.
Regina adjusted the ice on her ankle and moved to reach the table better. "Okay. Do you remember where to start?"
"What are you doing here?"
"Well hello to you too, Ruby," Emma said as she walked into the diner.
"No, I didn't mean that. It's just, shouldn't you guys be at Snow's party by now?" the waitress asked.
"Nah. Turns out Regina can't ice skate. She sprained her ankle and can't walk, so we're staying home to make sure she doesn't hurt herself anymore," Emma replied, sitting on a stool at the counter. "Aren't you guys supposed to be there too?"
"Granny's cleaning up in back and then we're heading over. What can I do for you?"
"I need three hamburgers, three orders of fries, and three chocolate milkshakes," Emma rattled off.
"Sure your girlfriend's going to be okay with you ordering her actual food instead of a salad?" Ruby asked with a raised eyebrow.
"Of course she is. I asked her before I left."
Ruby giggled. "You are so whipped."
"I am not!"
"Yeah you are. I've seen whipped cream less whipped than you." Ruby finished scribbling down Emma's order and tore the paper off of the pad. "Granny, Emma needs some food for her mistress."
Emma rolled her eyes. "Shut up, Rubes."
Granny came to the window to grab the order slip. "Don't you have a party to be getting to?"
"Regina sprained her ankle so they're staying home," Ruby explained.
"That's terrible," Granny said. "Is she alright?"
"Stubborn, annoying, tired, stressed, high-strung, and overall a pain in my ass. Her ankle will be okay though."
Granny cracked a small smile and took the order into the kitchen. "It'll just take a few minutes to cook everything."
"Want a beer while you wait?" Ruby asked, heading for the bar.
"Yeah, why not." Emma grabbed the beer the brunette held out and took a swig. It was going to be a long night.
"Do you remember when you were little and all you wanted to do was taste the batter?" Regina asked as she cracked an egg into the bowl. "You used to make such a mess trying to stick your fingers in the bowl."
"Well it tasted good," Henry said with a shrug. He stirred the batter and grabbed the sprinkles. "Is your ankle okay?"
"Fine, dear." Regina couldn't help but smile a little at his concern. She couldn't remember the last time he had been genuinely worried about her. She looked up and saw his skeptical gaze. She reached across the coffee table and stroked a finger along his cheek. "I promise I'm fine. The Tylenol's kicked in and the ice is helping. If I need anything else, I'll tell you. Okay?"
They fell silent as Henry poured some sprinkles into the batter and mixed. "I'm sorry," he said quietly.
"What are you sorry for?"
"For not caring when you hurt your ankle in the fire," Henry said after a moment. It was only one short 'I'm sorry', but Regina didn't miss the weight that it held. It wasn't just an apology for his former lack of concern. It was heavy with regret from all the times he hadn't cared.
"Oh, sweetheart, come here," Regina said. She opened her arms and Henry stood up and walked around the coffee table to the couch. He collapsed into his mother's arms, jarring her ankle as he did so. "Ah, careful."
"It's alright," she said around a soft laugh. "I love you, my little prince."
"Love you too, Mom."
They stayed there for a few long moments wrapped tightly in each other's arms. Finally though, they came back to reality. "Why don't you run in and get the cookies in the oven so they'll be ready before Emma gets home."
"Alright. Will you be okay until I get back?" Henry asked seriously.
"You'll just be in the next room. If I need you, I'll let you know."
Henry stood up and grabbed the batter to bring it into the kitchen. Regina relaxed against the pillows, adjusted the ice pack again, and closed her eyes as Silent Night played in the background.
"Was I really gone that long?" Emma asked as she walked into the living room. Regina blinked her eyes open and saw the blonde holding a bag of food and a tray of take out cups. Henry was clearing the cookie mess off the coffee table.
"I must have just fallen asleep. Henry, are the cookies done yet?" Regina asked.
"Cookies? What did I say about getting up?" Emma demanded.
"For your information, I didn't get up," Regina snapped, narrowing her eyes. "We made them in here."
"They need another few minutes," Henry said. "Can I have my burger now? I'm starving!"
By eight o'clock, Emma, Regina, and Henry had finished their food. Emma had gotten kicked three times for commenting on how something was seriously wrong with Regina for eating unhealthy food, but all was forgotten when Henry brought the cookies out on a Christmas tree-shaped plate.
"These are really good," Emma said.
"Always the tone of surprise," Regina replied.
"No I mean..." Emma caught the brunette's playful smirk and slapped her good leg. "Shut up. I'm serious."
"Mom and I have been making these every Christmas Eve for as long as I can remember," Henry said.
"Well they're really good. Now what do you guys say to a movie?"
"Depends on what the movie would be," Regina responded around a bite of cookie.
"Elf?" Emma suggested as she scanned the DVD cases next to the TV.
"Works for me," Henry said.
"Okay, Elf it is then." Emma slid the movie into the DVD player, grabbed the remote, and sat back down on the floor next to Henry, making sure to stay out of range of Regina's kicks. The movie started and she leaned back against the couch. Regina absently started running her fingers through the blonde curls. The screen and the twinkling bulbs on the Christmas tree where the only sources of light in the room. It wasn't long before they were all completely relaxed.
"Emma." Regina poked the blonde's back sharply and whispered again. "Emma."
"Huh?" Emma blinked and looked around. Henry was asleep, his head resting on her shoulder and she felt a sharp pain as Regina poked her again. "What do you want?"
"The Tylenol's wearing off," Regina said through gritted teeth.
"Oh. Are you okay?" Emma asked, flicking off the TV.
"No. It hurts." Regina's face was twisted in a grimace and she was blinking back tears.
"Alright. I'll run and grab you something. I'll just be a second." Emma stood up and hurried to the bathroom to rummage through the medicine. It didn't take long to find the Tylenol. She grabbed the bottle and went back to the living room where Regina was pushing herself upright. "Give me a second to go grab you some water and you can take them." But by the time Emma had filled a glass in the kitchen, Regina had already opened the bottle and dry swallowed two pills. "Damn. You okay?"
"I will be in a minute," Regina replied, gratefully grabbing the water and falling back against the cushions. "Is Henry asleep?"
"Yeah, but you don't need to worry about him right now. I'll get him up to bed. Are going to sleep down here tonight?"
"Do I have much of a choice?" Regina swiped at her eyes with the back of her hand.
"Well helping you up the stairs would be a nightmare and if you're in bed, there's a good chance I'll accidentally kick your ankle or you'll turn it the wrong way. Plus Henry'll probably wake us up at the crack of dawn to open presents anyway," Emma said. "But it's your choice."
Regina thought for a moment. "I think I'll stay down here."
"Good choice." Emma picked up the now-empty water glass and walked to where Henry was sitting. "I'll get the kid up to bed and grab something comfier for you. Just give me a few minutes." She nudged the boy until he blinked one sleepy eye open and groaned. "Bedtime. Say goodnight to your mom and we'll go up, okay?"
Henry nodded and pushed himself up slowly. "G'night, Mom," he murmured.
Regina reached up and gave him a quick hug and a kiss on the forehead. "Good night Henry. Sleep well."
He nodded and followed Emma upstairs. After a few minutes, she came back downstairs with a pair of Regina's silk pajamas, a robe, a couple of pillows, and a warmer blanket. "Alright, sit up and start stripping."
"Excuse me?" Regina asked, narrowing her eyes.
"You heard me. You need to take your clothes off or the comfy pajamas thing really doesn't work. I'll help you get the pants on, but I think you can handle the top yourself," Emma said, tossing the gray silk shirt at the brunette. She reached for the button of Regina's jeans and carefully slid them down, exposing black lace panties and tanned hips. Regina managed to slide her good leg out on her own, but Emma had to work the other pant leg over Regina's wrapped ankle. "Well it looks like the swelling's going down a little bit."
"Doesn't feel like it," Regina muttered as she buttoned her pajama top.
"Well it is. You can ice it again tomorrow and you might be able to start moving it in a few days."
"The sooner the better."
Emma eased the silk pants up Regina's legs and carefully readjusted the stack of cushions her injured ankle was resting on. "Yeah, well, don't push it. I've had my fair share of sprains and if you don't rest it, you risk some serious damage. Oh, I grabbed these too."
Emma grabbed the two walkie talkies from the blanket and set one on the coffee table close enough for the brunette to reach. "This way if you need anything during the night, you can just tell me and I can get it."
"No problem." Emma set a pillow under Regina's head and draped a warmer blanket over her. "You good for now?"
"I think so."
"Alright. I'm going to bed then." Emma leaned down and planted a soft kiss on Regina's lips. "Try and get some sleep, okay?"
"I will. Merry Christmas."
Emma flicked off the living room light as she passed the switch and headed upstairs, ready to fall asleep.
"Ma, wake up."
"Huh?" Emma rolled over and blinked one eye open to see Henry standing next to the bed shaking her arm. "What time is it?"
"It's almost eight o'clock, but it's Christmas so get up!" He tugged at her arm and she groaned.
"Alright, I'm getting up. Give me a minute and we can go down."
Henry settled for one last tug before racing back to his room. Emma threw the blankets off and winced as the cold air hit her legs. She had piled pillows and blankets in the bed around her to substitute the mass and warmth that Regina usually provided, but all she had succeeded in was all but cooking herself alive. She rolled out of bed and grabbed a sweatshirt from the closet along with a pair of fleece socks. When she reached the hallway, Henry was waiting for her, practically bouncing with excitement.
"Can I go down now?"
"Well…" Emma pretended to deliberate for a second. It was kind of funny watching him squirm. "Yeah, go ahead," she said finally. "Just be quiet. I don't know if your mom is still sleeping or not. If she is, you get the honor of waking the dragon."
"Last one down is a rotten Christmas cookie!" Henry whisper-yelled before taking off down the stairs. Emma grinned and followed.
It wasn't until she reached the bottom of the stairs that she noticed the smell of chocolate and cinnamon in the air. Henry was too distracted by the array of presents under the tree to notice what Emma did when she came in; Regina was gone.
The sound of soft carols and someone humming drifted out of the kitchen. Emma followed the sounds and found Regina balancing on her crutches and leaning over a griddle full of pancakes. A pot of what had to be hot chocolate bubbled on the stove and the brunette made her way over to it with a grace that Emma didn't expect from a woman on crutches for the first time.
"What the hell are you doing?" she asked. Regina jumped at the voice and turned around.
"I was making breakfast like I do every Christmas," she replied.
"You're not supposed to be up. Whale said give it at least two days to keep the swelling down before you can be walking."
"Actually, what he said was to keep it iced and elevated for several hours a day and to avoid direct use for four to six weeks. I'll rest it again after I finish making breakfast."
"You are…so infuriatingly stubborn," Emma started. "You can't let yourself be taken care of even for just a little while. I could have made breakfast. I could have…"
Regina quieted the blonde with a careful peck on he lips. "There are many reasons why I love you, dear, but your cooking is not one of them. I'm just finishing up in here. You and Henry can start opening gifts and I'll join you in a minute."
"You're on the couch for the rest of the day after this." Emma started to walk back to the living room, but then she remembered something. She paused in the doorframe and turned around. "Oh, by the way. My parents are coming over later." She walked away before Regina could say anything, but she heard the way the spatula hit the counter and grinned. "Alright, kid. Ready to see what you got?"
"Ma, you wanna come outside and try out my snowball launcher with me?" Henry asked excitedly as he gulped down the last of his cocoa. He was sitting at the coffee table next to a mound of new toys, books, and video games. Crumpled wrapping paper lay all over the floor and Emma was thoroughly enjoying watching Regina twitch as she looked at the mess.
"Sure, kid. Go get dressed and head outside. I'll come out in a few minutes."
Henry stood up and raced upstairs, leaving his mothers alone on the couch. Regina had a new Evil Queen mug from Henry and a box of chocolates and an apple-scented candle from Emma. The blonde, meanwhile, had a new beanie courtesy of Henry and a pair of red leather boots from Regina to match her jacket with the logic that 'If you're going to wear that awful thing anyway, you might as well match.'
"You're going to go outside with him?" Regina asked. She was back on the couch with ice on her ankle. Emma was sitting on the chair.
"I was going to just to make sure he didn't shoot his eye out or something," Emma said. "Why? Did you want me to stay in here?"
"No, it's alright. You can go."
The two women fell silent for a moment, but then Regina spoke again. "I think there's one more gift for you under the tree."
"Did I forget to put it under there?" Regina craned her neck to look under the tree and sure enough, the gold wrapping paper twinkled in the corner. She waved her hand and the rectangular package appeared in her hand in a puff of purple smoke. She handed it to Emma with a smile. "Merry Christmas."
Emma wasn't one to unwrap things delicately, but something about whatever this was felt different and she took her time peeling back the shiny paper to reveal a simple brown book. She looked questioningly at the brunette who motioned for her to open it. Emma flipped the cover open and her face lit up. It was a photo album. Each page contained a different picture of Henry when he was little. There were birthdays, Halloween costumes, Christmases, first days of school, missing teeth, and even just ordinary pictures of him playing. Regina appeared in a lot of the photos too. It was strange to see her looking so relaxed and-dare Emma even think it-having a good time.
"I'm sorry I'm in so many of them," Regina said. "Graham took a lot of them and I couldn't find many of just Henry."
"It's…wow," Emma said. "I love it. Thanks." She flipped through the pictures and smiled. "Wow. Henry was a cute kid."
"He was what?" Henry asked, coming down the stairs.
"You were adorable," Emma said. She closed the album and set it on the coffee table. "You going outside?"
"Yeah. Are you coming too?"
"Actually, I think I'm going to hang out in here for now. Your grandparents will be here soon and I think your mom's head will explode if this mess doesn't get cleaned up. Have fun though."
"I will. Call me in when Grandma and Gramps get here."
"Be careful, honey," Regina called as the boy ran to grab his jacket. "It's icy outside. I don't want you to slip and fall."
"I'll be fine, Mom." Henry grabbed the snowball launcher from the top of his mountain of presents and raced outside.
"I swear, if he falls and hurts himself…"
"Then both of you will be laid up and I'll have to deal with two people too stubborn to rest like they're supposed to," Emma said with a hint of a smile in her voice. "Do you need any more meds yet?"
"No, not yet," Regina said. "But my ice is all but entirely melted and I'm hungry."
"Alright, I'll get you something. What do you want? Pancakes? Apples? The souls of the innocent?"
"That's not funny. I'll have some pancakes."
"Yes it was and I will get you some pancakes." Emma grabbed the ice pack from Regina's ankle and retreated into the kitchen where she filled a plate with pancakes. She also grabbed a garbage bag from the cabinet under the sink and a package of frozen peas from the freezer. Making her way back into the living room, she said, "Here you go. The ice cubes I put in last night aren't totally frozen yet, so you can make do with this for now."
"Coffee too," Regina said, grabbing the plate and the bag of peas.
"Not even a please?"
"Well I would do it myself, but I've been sentenced to involuntary bed rest."
"Oh, don't pull this crap."
"I don't know what you're talking about."
"This whole 'I'm being held here against my will so I'm going to make life hell for everyone around me' crap. Is this about me not telling you about my parents coming or something?"
"It's not that." Regina sighed and ran a hand through her hair.
"Then what is it?" Emma asked. Regina didn't respond. "Come on, just tell me."
"I don't like this."
"This," Regina snapped, gesturing at her body. "I'm stuck here and it hurts to move and I'm still in my pajamas and your parents are coming over and no doubt they'll find some way to…why are you laughing?"
"I'm not laughing," Emma said. She put a hand in front of her mouth to block a giggle. "It's just, not once have I ever actually seen you like this and I don't really know what to make of it." She got a glare in return. "No, I mean, when you're sick or something, it's different. You just want to sleep and take it easy, but for you of all people to be fully conscious and unable to move, well that's gotta be hell, right?"
"That's an understatement."
"Look, Regina. I know it's like asking the sun to stop rising, but just try to actually relax. The sooner you do, the sooner you'll be up and around again. Okay?"
"Are you going to get my coffee or not?" Regina asked in response.
"I'm going, I'm going," Emma said, putting up her hands in mock surrender. "Stay put. Don't move until I get back."
"We're here!" Snow's voice rang through the house as she and David stepped into the foyer. "And we brought presents!"
Regina looked at Emma who was picking the last of the crumpled wrapping paper off of the floor. "You did lock the door last night, right?"
"Well, I may have given them a key in case of an emergency or something." Emma didn't look up, but her cheeks were tinted pink.
"You gave the two idiots a key to my house and I'm only just finding out about this now?"
"In here!" Emma called. Regina rolled her eyes and pushed herself up as much as she could. As an afterthought, she snapped her fingers and her pajamas were replaced with a red sweater and a pair of jeans. Snow and David walked into the room just as the last of the purple smoke disappeared.
"Merry Christmas," Snow said, enveloping her daughter in as much of a hug as she could manage around her seven month baby bump.
"Hey guys," Emma said. "Merry Christmas."
"Where's Henry?" David asked.
"He's outside. I'll go get him."
"I'll get him. Don't worry about it." David headed to the door leaving the three women alone.
"How's your ankle, Regina?" Snow asked sweetly.
"Fine, dear." Regina had given up her fight to sit up straight and settled for propping her head up on an extra cushion. "You look well."
"Thank you. We missed you three at the party last night."
"We would have come, but I couldn't trust Her Majesty not to hurt herself even more," Emma said.
"I'm right here," said Regina.
"That's why I said it. Drink your coffee."
"I wonder what's taking Henry and David so long," Snow mused. She set a few wrapped gifts on the coffee table and sat down in the chair.
"I'll go check," Emma said. "I have to throw this out anyway." She grabbed the garbage bag filled with wrapping paper and walked into the kitchen.
Snow shifted in her chair and moved so she could see Regina better. "How are you?" she asked.
"I'm fine," Regina snapped back. There was a long pause before Snow giggled quietly. "What are you laughing about?"
"Nothing," Snow said. "I was just thinking about that summer that I fell off of my horse and hurt my leg."
"You remember that?" Regina asked. "You were asleep for the better part of two months."
"I don't remember all of it, but I remember hearing you come into my room and telling me stories and singing to me. And you used to take my hand just like this." Snow leaned forward and grabbed Regina's hand. "And you'd rub circles into my palm with your thumb." As she spoke, she started rubbing the older woman's hand. "I remember I was in a lot of pain, but that always helped. It made me feel safe and even though I was trapped in bed, it didn't seem so bad.
Regina's eyes were closed and a smile tugged at the edges of her lips. "Yes," she whispered. She could feel the last dose of Tylenol wearing off, but Snow was right. Something about the gesture made her feel better. "Thank you."
All of a sudden, the back door opened and Emma, Henry, and David tramped inside, stamping snow off of their shoes.
Snow dropped Regina's hand and stood up. "What took you all so long?"
"We have to get a snowball launcher," David said, taking off his snowy coat. "That thing is amazing."
"I know, right?" Henry said excitedly. "Mom, when you're better, you have to come out and try it with us."
"We'll see," said Regina. "I think your grandparents had some gifts for you too."
"Of course. Just let me see which one is yours." Snow grabbed the topmost present from the stack and handed it to Henry.
"And these are for you two," David said, handing the other two gifts to Emma and Regina.
"You didn't have to do that," Regina said.
"Yeah," Emma said. "Especially since we kinda don't have anything for you guys. We were supposed to go shopping before the party yesterday, but when everything happened, it kind of slipped my mind."
"Don't worry about it," Snow said with a dismissive wave of her hand.
Henry finished tearing the paper off of his gift to reveal a cracked, leather-bound copy of Grimm's Fairy Tales. "Awesome! Thanks!" he exclaimed. He hugged each of his grandparents in return before sitting on the floor and flipping through the pages.
"Woah." That was all Emma could say when she unwrapped her shining sword. "This is so cool. Thank you guys."
"That was my first sword," David said. "I thought you might want to have it."
Emma unsheathed it and hefted it in her hand. "Not in the house," Regina said. "I don't even want to think about the damage you could do with that thing."
"Relax," Emma said. "Aren't you going to open yours?"
Regina's attention went back to the box in her hand. She slit the tape along the side with one fingernail and started carefully peeling back the paper. Inside was a golden, heart-shaped pendent on a brown leather cord. Regina's eyes widened and she looked up at Snow. "Where did you get this?"
"I found it in my palace when Emma and I fell through the portal. I recognized it and thought you might want it back."
"I thought I lost this before your father died."
"What is it?" Henry asked, craning his neck to see.
"My father gave me this when I was a little girl. He told me it was a reminder that even though he was away a lot, he would always love me." There were tears quivering on Regina's eyelashes, but she swiped them away with her finger. "Thank you."
"You're welcome," Snow replied.
"Why don't you guys take some sugar cookies as a temporary present until we can go shopping for real gifts?" Emma asked. "Regina and Henry made them. They're really good."
"That sounds great," David said. "Where are they?"
"In the kitchen. C'mon."
"I'm coming too!" Henry called. He stood up and followed the pair into the kitchen.
"Are you okay?" Snow asked. She gently fluffed the cushion Regina's ankle was resting on and then sat back down and started rubbing the older woman's hand again.
"That's helping," Regina murmured as she ran her thumb over the pendent. "But you know what else would really help?"
"I'll grab you some," Snow said. She stood up and walked to the bathroom. A minute later, she returned with a couple of pills in her hand. "Do you need some water to take them with?"
"No, I still have some coffee left." Regina took the pills and chased them down with a few sips of cold coffee. "Thank you."
"You're welcome." There was a moment of silence before Snow spoke again. "You know, we've had our differences, but we're family."
"Can we not do this now?" Regina asked. She had a feeling she knew where this was going and she didn't want to have this conversation right now.
"I was just going to say that I don't want to dwell on what happened anymore. Neverland was enough to convince me that you've changed and now that you and Emma are together, I just want to move on."
"Are you just saying this because I'm hurt, or are you serious?" Regina asked skeptically.
"I'm serious. I don't mean that we can't still have conflicts, but for Henry's and Emma's sakes, I think we can put in the effort, right?"
"I suppose," Regina replied.
Emma, Henry, and David picked that moment to come back into the living room. David had a Ziploc bag of sugar cookies in his hand and one in his mouth. "These are really good. Snow, you have to try one."
"I'll have some at home. We should get going."
"Alright. Thanks for the cookies," David said.
"Thanks for the sword," Emma replied with a grin.
"It was great to see you three," Snow said. She hugged Emma and Henry again. "Feel better, Regina."
"Thank you. Merry Christmas."
"Merry Christmas," Snow and David called as headed outside. After a moment, the front door closed.
"That wasn't that bad, right?" Emma asked, turning to Regina.
"It could have been worse."
"Can we watch a movie?" Henry asked.
"Sure. What should we watch?"
Henry exchanged a look with Regina and smiled. "A Christmas Story is playing all day and Mom and I used to watch it every year."
"Works for me. Regina, you need anything before I sit down?"
"Not that I can think of."
"Alrighty then." Emma plopped down onto the chair next to Regina and Henry sat on the floor between them. Emma switched on the TV and started the movie. As the opening credits scrolled across the screen, she heard Regina's voice in her ear.
"So when can I get up?"
"When I help you up to bed."
"And when can I walk without the crutches?"
"Four to six weeks."
"That's forever," Regina said. If Emma didn't know her better, she would have thought it was a whine.
"I know, right? Small price to pay for falling on the ice. That's an easy way to break something, you know."
"Will you guys stop?" Henry asked. "It's Christmas. Can't you both just relax?"
"I can, but I'm not so sure about Her Majesty over here," Emma said, jabbing a finger in Regina's direction. "Relaxation goes against everything she knows."
"Again, I can hear you," Regina said.
"Again, that's why I said it."
"Moms." Henry was trying to be stern, but there was a hint of laughter in his voice.
"Alright, I'm sorry," Emma said. "I'll stop."
"I will too," Regina said.
"Great. Now let's watch the movie."
Halfway through the movie, Henry's eyelids were starting to get heavy. He leane back against the couch and yawned. "Merry Christmas, moms," he said before his eyes shut.
"Merry Christmas, kid," Emma replied, sleep creeping into her own voice.
Regina kissed her fingertips and pressed them against the boy's forehead. "We love you."