“Emma do we have to go.” Henry pouted. He followed after her from the cabin to the truck while she loaded their bags.
Emma smiled at the shaggy haired boy. “We talked about this buddy.” She brushed his hair out of his face. It had taken a lot of convincing to get Henry to go to bed the night before. After two tantrums and a lot of crying he’d finally agreed to sleep with the promise that they’d return again. “Mommy and I both have to get back to work and we have your birthday to plan for, remember.” She went back to the cabin knowing he’d follow as he’d done the last three times she’d come out to the truck.
“Yeah, but I just like it here and I like living with you and mommy.” He pouted.
Emma stopped and turned to face Henry, seeing just how sad he was for the first time that morning. “What do you mean Hen.” She placed her hands on his shoulders bringing him closer.
“I heard you and mommy talking, you said your house was ready.” His lower lip trembled as he fought back the tears that wanted to desperately fall.
“Oh buddy, is that what this is about,” she asked. “You think I’m moving back to my house.” Her heart broke for him. It was no wonder he didn’t want to leave, why he’d given them such a hard time the night before.
He nodded, tears in his eyes. “I like you staying with mommy and me. I don’t want you to leave. I love you.”
“Oh Henry, I’m not moving out, we were going to surprise you but it looks like we should have talked to you. You and mommy are going to live in my house.” There was no point in keeping it from him anymore, not when the thought of losing her was hurting him so much.
His eyes lit up. “We are,” he asked.
Emma nodded with a smile, she was glad to see the big smile on his face. “Is that okay,” she asked knowing it was more than okay for the young boy.
He nodded excitedly. “Yes,” he squealed, giving her a tight hug.
“Next time you’re upset about something, you need talk to mommy and I, okay.” She kissed his cheek, picking him up and carrying him back inside.
He nodded. “Okay Ma.” He gave her a sloppy kiss on the cheek.
Emma walked back into the cabin with Henry in her arms. “Get Ember’s bag and we’ll hit the road.” She set him down. “Truck is loaded.” She wrapped her arms around Regina’s waist resting her chin on the brunette’s shoulder.
Regina rested her back against Emma’s chest contently. “I see a certain someone is no longer pouting.” Henry had been pouting all day, getting him out of bed that morning had been quite a battle, though nothing compared to putting him down the night before.
“He overheard us talking last night, about the house being finished, he thought I was moving out when we got back.” She explained Henry’s earlier mood. “I kinda had to give away our surprise,” she told her apologetically.
“It’s alright darling, I’m just glad to see him happy.” It was rare that Henry threw a fit, she was glad he had a good reason for his meltdown. “As much as I am looking forward to starting our lives fresh and in a new home, I am sad to be leaving this place. It’s been nice having you and Henry all to myself.” Regina hummed. “This week has been nothing short of perfect.” Regina herself hated to go back to their busy schedules. She’d gotten used to having Henry and Emma around all the time.
“We’ll come back,” Emma promised. “Now come on, I wanna get home before dark.” Emma kissed Regina’s cheek.
“I’ll buckle our son in while you get our fur baby.” Regina gave her a light peck on the lips. “Come on Henry,” she called out to him.
A few hours later the trio and their canine companion pulled into the garage of Emma’s house.
“How did my car get here,” Regina asked, her SUV was parked inside the garage beside Emma’s truck.
“Oh, I asked the guys to bring it over once I got the call the house was done.” Emma acted as if it was no big deal.
Regina could never get used to Emma’s thoughtfulness. She always went out of her way to do things for Regina, while they weren’t grand gestures they were enough to make her heart happy. Regina appreciated the little things, from Emma’s comforting hugs, random flower deliveries to waking up early with Henry on her days off so Regina could sleep in. “Thank you darling.” She leaned across the center console, giving her a quick kiss.
“You’re welcome. We should get inside before someone falls asleep.” Emma was eager to show Regina and Henry the inside of the house. She had a surprise for the both of them and could not wait to see their reactions.
“Wow,” Regina gasped. “When did you get the place furnished.” She looked around at the living room and dining room area. The furniture, while different, was very similar to the ones at her house. If she didn’t know any better she’d have thought she’d been the one to decorate it.
“I got help from everyone at work and Kathryn.” She shrugged. Everyone had been more than willing to help. “There’s more,” Emma whispered, no longer able to contain her excitement. “Wanna see your room Henry,” she asked the tired boy.
He nodded and followed after her as she led him down the hall. He squealed once he entered the room and Emma turned the light on.
“What do you think little man,” she asked, though she knew he loved it by the way he ran over to his bed and looked at the Paw Patrol characters on his walls, then to the stuffed dalmatian, toy fire trucks and miniature firehouse in the corner of the room.
Emma stiffened when she heard Regina sniffle, feeling she’d overdone it she turned to Regina. “Regina I’m so sorry, was this not okay, was it too much,” she asked.
Regina chuckled, of course Emma would think the worst. She shook her head. “Emma of course it’s okay, you are so thoughtful, and caring, and you have made our son very, very happy.” She pointed to Henry who was happily laying on his firetruck shaped red bed with fire department bedding. “These are tears of happiness Emma, you darling, you make me, make us,” she corrected. “So happy.” She reached up wiping the tears that had spilled onto Emma’s cheeks. “I know why I’m crying, why are you crying love.”
Emma laughed. “I’m just really happy too.” She turned her cheek into Regina’s palm, kissing it. “I love you, so much.” She pulled Regina into a deeper kiss.
“Ewwww mommies.” Henry made a grossed out face sticking his tongue out. “Stop making kissy faces.”
The two adults pulled apart resting their foreheads together. “How about we finish looking at the rest of the house.” Emma suggested.
“I know you want me to stop saying it Emma, but you are truly amazing. I don’t know what I did to deserve you.” Regina looked down at Emma hours later as they lay in bed. Emma had managed to furnish the house and get all the essentials they’d need until they could get the rest of their things the following day. They planned on going back to their old house the following day to salvage whatever hadn’t been ruined by Leo and the gasoline.
“I honestly wasn’t sure if you’d be upset. Afterall, I made a lot of decisions without you.” Emma chuckled.
“Normally I’d advise against that but you did well darling.” She hovered over her, showering her face with kisses.
A few weeks passed and the family of three settled into a new routine in their new home. Emma and Regina returned to work and Henry to school. There was a new peace that surrounded them, Regina was far more relaxed and open with Emma and things finally slowed down at the station. While Regina still worried about Emma every day that she left for work she was comforted knowing that Leo would not be putting her in the dangerous situations she faced routinely on shift.
“Henry,” Emma yelled down the hall for the birthday boy. “Uncle James is here.” She was sure that would have him sprinting to them. He’d been anxiously waiting for James to come pick him up for a new tradition of birthday breakfast and shopping for a gift of his choice.
“Uncle James,” he squealed as he ran into James’ open arms.
“Hey buddy, ready to get the day started,” he asked as he picked the boy up, giving him a tight hug.
“I’m ready, I didn’t eat breakfast.” He had been adamant about not eating anything, not even a snack. He had not wanted to ruin his appetite, a phrase he’d heard his mother use many times in the past.
“Good, you’re going to love the pancakes at the place we’re going.” He set him down to talk to his moms. “We’ll be back at one.”
“Thank you again James.” Regina still couldn’t believe Henry had gone from having only her as family to having a second mom, several aunts, uncles and cousins that loved him and treated him as part of their family.
James wrapped an arm around her shoulders and pulled her to his side. “Think nothing of it, Henry and I will see you ladies later, and Kathryn should be here in about an hour or so.” He kissed the top of Regina’s head and gave Emma a quick hug. Once Henry said his goodbyes the duo set off to eat.
“You okay,” Emma asked worriedly.
Regina nodded, wrapping her arms around Emma. “It’s still overwhelming having a family.”
“I know the feeling.” It had all been new to Emma too when David and Mary Margaret had first taken her in. For the longest time she’d waited for them to send her back to the system and abandon her like everyone else, it had taken some time for her to realize that they were it, they were her new family.
James returned with Henry at exactly one, as promised.
“Mommy, Ma,” Henry yelled for his moms. “We’re home,” he called out, trying to find them.
James looked down at his phone, pretending to check his messages. “Looks like they’re in the back yard, come on.” He led him towards the back of the house.
“Surprise,” everyone yelled as he stepped onto the back porch.
Henry gasped and turned to James. “Uncle James, it’s my birthday party,” he squealed excitedly. “Did you know,” he asked.
“I sure did buddy, now go say hi to everyone.” He gave him a gentle nudge towards all his friends.
Henry ran to his mothers. “This is so awesome. Thank you.” He hugged them both before joining his friends at the firetruck shaped bounce house.
“I think this was a success.” Emma stood in front of Regina, her hands resting on Regina’s hips.
Regina turned around in Emma’s arms resting her back against Emma’s chest. “I believe you’re right.” The pair watched their son as he ran around the yard playing with his friends and family.
“You lovebirds are just so darn cute,” Killian teased the pair.
Emma glared at him while Regina just smiled. “Thank you for coming Killian.” Killian was one the few that had come that didn’t have kids.
“Of course Love, I wouldn’t miss little man’s birthday. He’s family after all, as are you.” He winked at her and walked away.
Emma was shocked but not surprised by his sentimental comment. Killian was a pain in the ass but he valued his family and friends above all else. They teased each other a lot but she knew at the end of the day, if she needed anything, he would be there for her in an instant. With Regina occupied by Mary Margaret, Emma found James, finally alone, without five or six kids climbing on top of him. “How did it go this morning,” she asked him. She was sure Henry had a great time.
“It was good. He’s an amazing kid, you know I love spending time with him. That little boy could not stop talking about you, he sure loves you.” Henry had talked about Emma the entire time they were out. “I’m not sure if I should tell you this, but he didn’t want to get a gift, he said that what he wanted for his birthday I can’t give him.”
Emma stared at him questioningly, she wasn’t sure what there was that Henry could possibly want that he didn’t already have. “Did he say what he wanted,” she asked.
“He wants you guys to be a family.” He watched as she tried to figure out what he meant by that.
She didn’t say anything for a short while. “But we already are a family.” Henry already called her mom, they lived together. She wondered what it was exactly that Henry was looking for.
“Look around you.” James pointed at the families that had come to the party. “What do you notice.”
Emma looked at all the adults that had come with their kids. “They’re married,” she commented, it was all making sense. “He wants us to get married,” she asked.
“He didn’t say it but I wouldn’t put it past him. How do you feel about that.” A year ago he didn’t think he’d ever have a conversation with Emma about getting married and settling down with a family, but then again, he never thought he’d be in a committed relationship either.
She knew exactly what he was thinking and he was right. Had someone told her a year ago she’d be thinking about marriage she’d have laughed in their face. “I think I’ll be able to give him just that, but not today.” A plan was already beginning to come together. She’d have to have a talk with Henry when Regina wasn’t around.
“Did you have a good birthday my little prince,” Regina asked Henry as she and Emma tucked him in.
He smiled tiredly at his parents and nodded. “Bestest birthday ever.” He yawned and burrowed into his many stuffed animals and curled around Ember. It had taken some convincing for Henry to allow them to put his tougher, larger toys beside his bed instead of in it. “I love you mommies.” He lay an arm over Ember hugging her. “I love you Ember.” The dog wagged her tail and licked his face before resting her head on his pillow.
“We love you too little prince.” The duo kissed him on the forehead and kissed Ember on the head before exiting his room, leaving his bedroom door cracked.
“Henry and I would like to take you to dinner.” Emma held Regina close as they lay in bed.
“What’s the occasion,” she asked, the pair taking her out wasn’t rare but there was always a reason. The occasions varied, a bad day at the clinic, a thank you because she’d taken care of Emma and Henry when they’d gotten sick, or her favorite just because dinners. Because they both loved her and wanted her to know it. She had a feeling this was Henry’s doing, she’d seen the pair sitting together and talking for some time during the party. They didn’t make it a habit to go out, she was never one for eating other people’s cooking, not when she could make the meal herself at a decent price and she knew for sure the cleanliness of it but Henry always insisted she deserved a break from cooking and Emma deserved a break from washing dishes.
“A thank you for an awesome birthday party.”
“Well in that case we should be taking you out to dinner, you put in as much work as I did,” Regina replied. This had been one of the best and biggest birthday’s Henry had and that was all thanks to Emma and the family that had taken them in as their own.
Emma pretended to think about it for a second before nodding. “I guess you’re right,” she joked. “How about we make this a just because family dinner then.”
“That is a grand idea dear.” Regina kissed her cheek.
“Ma.” Henry came into their bedroom a few minutes after they’d fallen asleep with Ember right behind him. “Are you awake,” he asked, his face an inch away from hers. “Ma,” he whispered again when she didn’t respond.
Regina nudged Emma and sat up. “What’s wrong Henry, did you have a bad dream.”
He shook his head in the negative. “No, I need to talk to Ma.” He climbed onto the bed and settled in Emma’s lap. “Ma,” he whispered loudly. He leaned in cupping his hand around her ear. “I’m too excited to sleep, I can’t wait.”
“Henry, we agreed on tomorrow buddy.” Emma didn’t whisper, she was sure Regina had heard every word Henry had said. He hadn’t mastered the art of whispering yet.
“But my birthday will be over, please Emma, please,” he begged.
Emma looked at Regina’s questioning face for a second before standing up from the bed, keeping Henry in her arms. “Excuse us for a minute.” She carried Henry out of the room to talk to him privately.
Regina didn’t have a chance to respond as the pair exited the room. She sat in bed more confused than ever. She smiled at Ember who decided to make herself comfortable on the bed. “They’re up to something aren’t they babygirl.” She pet the dog.
Ember gave a half whine, half bark in response.
“That’s what I thought.” Regina was half tempted to go check on them but she knew Emma could handle whatever it was. Emma and Henry returned minutes later, Henry had big smile on his face and Emma, well Emma looked like she might be sick at any moment. “Are you alright darling, you look a bit pale.”
Emma chuckled nervously, she knew this was what she wanted, she was sure Regina would say yes, but she’d hoped to have more time to get over her nerves. “I’m fine love, Henry and I wanted to talk to you about something.”
“You do,” she questioned. She sat up and moved aside to allow the pair to sit beside her.
“Mommy.” Henry started, “I want us to be a family, and I know we’re a family already but I want us to be a real family.”
“Henry we are a family, a real family. What’s going on.”
Henry looked at Emma, when she nodded her go ahead, he climbed out of her lap and onto Regina’s. “Mommy, will you marry Emma.”
Regina’s jaw dropped as she looked between Henry and Emma. She had not seen this coming, sure she knew that one day she and Emma would one day get engaged, she just hadn’t expected that day to be today. “Emma,” she asked. She needed to make sure this was what she wanted, not something she was doing because Henry had asked.
“Hold that thought.” Emma held up a finger and stood up from the bed. She went into her nightstand and pulled out a small box that she’d tucked in the back of the drawer. “I’ve had this for a month.” She opened the box showing the ring to Regina. “We were going to do this tomorrow, but someone was too excited to wait and he wanted it as a birthday present.” She took the ring out and held it out to Regina. “Regina you know I love you and Henry, you are the family I have always wanted but never imagined I would actually have. You have given me something I thought impossible. Mary Margaret and David showed me that true love existed but I knew it was rare, I thought I could never have a fraction of what they have and I had come to accept that, I hadn’t expected to fall fully in love with someone, not the way I have with you. You, Henry and Ember, you are everything to me. I love every part of you with every fiber of my being, so what do you say, Regina will you marry me.” She held her breath as she waited for Regina’s response. She’d been worried she hadn’t prepared a speech but the words had flowed the minute she’d opened her mouth.
Regina was at a loss for words, Emma always told her she was better with actions than she was words but she was so wrong. She wiped at the few tears of happiness that fell. “Yes Emma, of course I’ll marry you. How could I say no to someone who has opened my heart to love again.” She extended her left hand out for Emma to place the ring on her finger. She looked at her hand for a second before cupping Emma’s cheek. “I love you Emma Swan, we love you.” She motioned towards Henry. “Thank you for loving Henry as if he were your own and for loving me like no one has before. After Leo I didn’t think I could trust anyone enough to give them not only my heart but that of my son’s. I’ve lived my life without you in it and I never want to live that way again.” She pulled Emma towards her and leaned in to capture her lips, Henry sitting between them with a grin on his face.
“Best birthday ever,” he repeated his earlier statement this time more enthusiastically. He hugging them both tightly. “Can we sleep with you,” he asked motioning to Ember. He was too excited to go back to his room, he wanted to stay with his moms instead.
Regina looked over his head at Emma making sure it was okay, she knew the blonde would want to celebrate, she knew she did. Emma smiled and nodded. “You two can stay, but you have to promise to go to bed.
“Promise.” Henry moved to lay between the pair.
Regina gave Emma another kiss before lying down.
“How are we going to top this next year,” Emma asked Regina a few minutes later.
“You can give me a sister.” Henry was ready with an answer.
Regina shared a look with Emma before nudging Henry. “Go to sleep Henry.” She extended her arm across his body taking a hold of Emma’s. They didn’t need to discuss their future plans tonight, they had their whole life ahead them.