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What do you know about mistletoe?

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Sometimes you come across something so hideous that you just have to keep looking, Regina thinks horrified. She blinks, blinks again, but the appalling scene doesn’t disappear. She takes a tentative step forward. And another one, turning her head from left to right to take in the abominations she passes. It’s like a car accident. It’s horrible, but your eyes are glued to the scene and you can’t seem to look away. Her heart pounds in her throat.

“What the hell is going on here?” she shrieks out in horror when she hears voices from down the hall. “Why is that ghastly inflatable Santa outside jeopardizing the property prices?!”

And not just that hideous Santa, slightly waving in the wind. The door of town hall has been wrapped with a ribbon not even bordering on tacky. In the hall, monstrosities of Christmas decorations have been hung on the wall, stretching endlessly. There’s a fake head of a moose prominently at the end, fake wreaths, tacky garlands with repulsive decorations as far as the eye can see. Two giant lanterns filled with ornaments stand tall next to the entrance of the assembly hall where the party will take place. And this is only the hallway. 

“Hi, Regina!” Mary Margaret says chipperly, “we’re just preparing for our Christmas party tonight.”

“Party?” Regina barks. “Do you think this is festive? I’d expected better from someone who organized balls for a living.” She wrinkles her nose in disgust. The blinking red, green, yellow, and blue lights give her an instant headache. 

After returning from Neverland, Mary Margaret had assumed the mayoral position. However, it soon became clear that she had no experience with all the paperwork whatsoever, so Regina was reinstated as the Mayor, with the compromise of Mary Margaret becoming the deputy mayor. Sharing the office during the days that the younger woman isn’t teaching in school has demanded deeper reserves of patience and commitment, but at least the town’s affairs are in order.

When Mary Margaret got wind of Christmas and its associated parties, she had immediately volunteered to host a Christmas Party. After all, she had said, after Regina, Greg, Tamara, and Neverland, it would be good for the people to have something to look forward to. Townhall was the only place big enough to host most of the town’s folks, so it was quickly settled that the party would be held there. Regina hadn’t objected. It had gotten Mary Margaret out of the office the past few weeks to prepare. And Regina had, when the preparations started and the noise had distracted her, opted to work from home.

Right now, she wished she hadn’t. This must be a joke. 

“Well,” Mary Margaret retorts, “Henry helped me look for decorations. I’ve never celebrated Christmas before. You know, because someone cursed us into reliving the same day over and over again.” Regina doesn’t acknowledge the blunt accusation, but her child advising these horrors -

“Henry?” She snorts in disbelief. “I decorated our house every year for him. He has more taste than this.”

“So, you don’t like it,” Mary Margaret concludes, looking a little hurt.

“Don’t like it? It’s like the reindeers flew over and vomited all over this place! It’s even worse than Granny’s!” Regina barks, outraged.

“I heard that,” comes Granny’s growl from inside the community hall. Regina scowls. 

“Well, I like it,” Mary Margaret protests. “I googled-”

“What? Tackiest Christmas decorations? How not to decorate? Or maybe-”

“I like it, too!”

Regina recoils as she hears her son’s happy voice. “I found the plush moose head grandma liked on eBay. Isn’t it awesome ?” he says, beaming at both women.

She looks at her son, aghast. Some things apparently are ingrained in genetics, she thinks miserably. She thought she’d raised him better than this, hoped she’d given him a decent example.

“Henry, there’s good taste and apparently, Mary Margaret’s taste,” Regina huffs, before turning back to her former (or well, after this ordeal, maybe still) nemesis. “I thought you wanted to host a distinguished Christmas ball, not some kind of grotesque, shabby, lowlife, tacky Christmas party where people get insanely drunk and barf all over your lawn. Which is town hall’s lawn, in this case, in case you hadn’t noticed.”

“You never run out of adjectives, do you, Madam Mayor?” an amused voice sounds from behind her, and Regina whirls around, finding the town’s sheriff standing behind her. Emma has a tiny smile on her face, hands shoved deep in the pockets of her abhorring red leather jacket. 

“Don’t tell me you approve of this version of hell,” Regina snaps at Emma. Emma’s eyes glimmer. 

“Hm, I don’t know. Maybe some mistletoe here and there to make it really shabby-”

A gasp startles them both, and they turn to Mary Margaret as one. “Mistletoe! I knew we were forgetting something!” 

“You do know that mistletoe is poisonous, right?” she snaps, but Mary Margaret has already rushed out the door, probably to get the wretched plant from Moe’s flower shop.

God damnit. “Happy now?” she snaps. “Now the entire building will be a gigantic trap of people lurking, waiting to ambush-”

“Is it really poisonous?” Emma frowns.

Regina sighs impatiently. “Very much so. If you ingest it, it can cause drowsiness, vomiting, and even seizures. You won’t die from it, but your animals will. We’ve lost many a horse that ate it.”

“Huh,” Emma hums. Didn’t know that.”

“Well, now you do. Since you’re the instigator, I’d kindly suggest you keep Mary Margaret from spreading that weed in town hall,” she growls. “I have no need to be ambushed by a drunk midget or one of the other town’s morons.”

“Tell me, Regina, when did you become such a Grinch? Didn’t you and Henry celebrate Christmas together?” Emma ignores Regina’s tone of voice completely.

Regina nearly snorts in disbelief at that outrageous question. “We had eloquent decorations, thank you very much. Very tasteful. Not these abominations.” She waves at the hallway, shakes her head, starts to move away towards her office. “I know how to celebrate Christmas, and how to decorate for it, Miss Swan. These,” she waves in the air, “are the most horrifying decorations I’ve ever laid my eyes on. Wait -- is that tinsel on that Christmas tree?!” The outrage now evident in her voice, she turns around once more to face Emma to see if she agrees, hand already on her office door. 

“I guess she went all-out, huh?” Emma says goodnatured. “It’s not really my style, but-”

“She should be arrested,” Regina huffs, which makes Emma roll her eyes, shake her head and turn. Regina watches the departing sheriff and she opens the door. 

Freezes.

Shrieks in horror.

“You like it?” Henry asks from behind her, Mary Margaret standing closeby, “I helped decorate your office!” 

God, why did she promise her son not to tell any more lies? She decides to not say anything at all, utterly appalled by the display in front of her and is almost relieved when he’s being called away by Granny. “See you later, mom!” 

Her entire office is decorated with flashy, colorful Christmas lights, blinking feverishly. In the corner stands a fake tree that is rotating, turning in circles, carrying the ugliest ornaments and garlands she’s ever seen - topping the ones in the hallway by far. This can’t be an innocent mistake, this can’t be the result of simply having the worst taste in the world -- this must be some sort of revenge. She never thought Snow White to be passive-aggressive, but this proves it.

She slowly enters her office, eyes shooting to the large table nearby, on which the tackiest of tacky Christmas villages has been put on display. There’s music coming from one of them, multi-colored lights blink towards her and some of these figures are moving. A growl escapes her throat as she makes her way to her desk -- and nearly jumps when the Santa doll placed on it starts to move and sing and dance loudly. 

This is it. This is as much as she can handle. She grabs the doll and snaps its neck, causing the music and movement to still instantly, and drops down in the chair behind her desk. At least beheading Santa gave her some satisfaction, she smirks before she tries to block the flashing lights from her view and starts on the stash of paperwork in front of her. Much to her surprise, she manages to get some work done.

“Wow.”

Roughly pulled from her concentration, Regina looks up. The sheriff stands on the threshold of her office, blinks at the horrible Christmas decorations. “What happened here?”

“Your mother happened,” Regina snaps as Emma moves forward with a stack of piles under her arm. 

“You don’t say,” Emma murmurs before her eyes fall on the beheaded Santa on Regina’s desk. “You, um, want to talk about it?” She hands over the pile of files and Regina puts them to her right and she waves at the doll.

“No. Unless you want to discuss ways to kill your mother,” Regina grunts.

“It’s your office,” Emma points out, “Can’t you just, I don’t know, wave your hand and poof the decorations to your likings?”

“Eloquent as ever,” Regina scoffs. “Henry helped decorate it,” she sighs then, shoulders sagging in defeat. “He’ll be offended if I change them.”

After Neverland, she and Henry have grown a little closer again. He’s allowed to spend time at her house again, and they’re slowly starting to trust each other once more. But it’s soon, way too soon to betray his tentative trust by destroying his hard work with one flick of her wrist.

“I understand your dilemma,” Emma mutters, staring at the hideous tree in the corner. “Honestly, I didn’t know anyone could have a taste as bad as this. I’m sorry I passed those genes from my mother to Henry. Oh! And I saved you from this.” She shows Regina a strand of mistletoe. “Hung above your threshold,” she smiles sheepishly. “I thought I’d remove it.”

Regina grits her teeth. “If it doesn’t proliferate on itself, people will do it instead,” she huffs.

“Mistletoe proliferates?” Emma frowns, looking at the mistletoe in her hand in wonder. 

“Yes, Miss Swan, it does,” Regina says, a little annoyed. “Mistletoe is a parasitic plant. It steals water and nutrients from other plants before eventually killing them and it spreads like wildfire. I once had to cut off an entire branch from my apple tree to get rid of it.”

“Huh. I never knew,” Emma says, impressed. “You seem to know a lot about it. What else do you know?”

Regina smirks. “It’s original meaning is ‘dung on a twig.’”

Emma shakes her head, laughing. “You’re making that up.” 

“Would I ever? The original name was mistaltan. Mistal means dung. Tan means twig. Dung on a twig. That’s what you’re ambushing each other to kiss under.” Regina shakes her head in disgust. 

“Ew.” Emma scrunches her nose. “I’ll never be able to look at mistletoe again without knowing this.”

“Sometimes, ignorance is bliss,” Regina agrees, placing her hands under her chin and when Emma doesn’t go away but shuffles a little in her spot, Regina sighs impatiently. “Is there anything else, Sheriff Swan?”

“Are you attending the Christmas party tonight?” Emma quickly blurts out.

To her surprise - and delight, because an uneasy sheriff is always fun to watch, right? - Regina sees Emma's cheek turn a little pink. “Unfortunately, I am,” she answers with a sigh. “As mayor, I have to make an appearance.”

“Of course,” Emma agrees, a smile around her lips. “Well, I’ll um, let you to it and I’ll see you tonight, then?” 

“I suppose you will,” Regina answers with a sigh and Emma turns, almost flees the office, and Regina can’t help but wonder what that was all about. She gets up, stretches her hands behind her head, and rolls her head to alleviate the tension in her neck. A short bathroom break, and then she wants to finish the final files for today before she goes home for dinner and a change of clothes. Henry will be staying at the Charmings today, so it’ll be just her. 

But when she opens the door to the toilets she recoils in alarm, as a small Christmas display of a tiny Santa on ice skates starts moving and singing. The article has a motion sensor that starts blaring loudly whenever someone enters, apparently. And inside, she finds Christmas toilet paper. “You have got to be fucking kidding me,” she cries out. This nightmare just won’t end.

 

~*~

 

It has taken her a while to prepare. She dreaded the party, and not only because of the horrendous decorations. Even though things had mildly improved after they returned from Neverland, most of them would still gladly see Regina go. And yes, she had to show up as the mayor of the town, but that doesn’t mean she has to enjoy it. It only means that she’ll show them that she’s not backing away. She’ll raise her chin and will show these second-class royals who she still is.

She sighs, looking at herself in the mirror. The long, burgundy velvet dress hugs her body in all the right places. It shows enough cleavage to be a stern reminder of the Evil Queen’s but not enough to make it as tacky as the Christmas decorum down at town hall. Her shoulders are bare, but the off-shoulder sleeves provide enough warmth during the evening. Her makeup is impeccable - lipstick matching her dress, dark kohl and mascara lining her eyes. 

It’ll have to do, she thinks, and she turns, lifts her hand, and waves in a circular movement to teleport herself to Town Hall.

“Jesus fucking Christ,” Emma cries out, startled, as Regina materializes right next to her in the hallway. “You scared the crap out of me.”

"Always a pleasure,” Regina smirks, while her eyes travel over Emma’s outfit. She wears a tuxedo, she sees to her surprise, hair up in a high ponytail with a few bangs framing her face. Natural makeup completes the picture - and god, is it warm in here, or is it her? Regina’s palms are a little sweaty, all of a sudden, and she curls them into fists quickly.

“You look amazing,” Emma says, sounding a little breathless and when Regina studies Emma’s face to see if she’s mocking her, the blonde shows nothing but silent admiration. Good. For some reason that Regina can’t put her finger on, it’s important that Emma likes the way she looks - she doesn't know why, but that's how it is. 

“Thank you,” she smiles, “you clean up nicely yourself, too, sheriff. I’d never expected a tuxedo to look this good on you - but it does.” 

“Yeah, thanks,” Emma says and she’s beaming at Regina and Regina doesn’t really know why that sends funny feelings down to her lower belly, so she averts her gaze. To the abominations of Christmas decor. She curls up her lip in disgust and sighs deeply, accepting the unavoidable.

“Let’s go inside, shall we?” and she wants to step inside but Emma grabs her by her arm. 

“Wait.” She nods up, and Regina groans as she follows the blonde’s gaze. 

“I told you it was a parasite,” she grumbles upon seeing the mistletoe. She sighs as she glares inside. Sidney, Killian, and Neal are looking quite smug from the other side of the door, ready to ambush any unsuspecting lady who enters the hall. “Do you know,” Regina says to Emma, “that Mistletoe was hung above the door to keep witches and ghosts from entering their house? It’d be a great excuse to go home, curl up in a chair with a nice glass of wine, and-”

“Nope, you’re not getting out of this one, Madam Mayor,” Emma says with a smirk, letting go of Regina’s arm and instead, hooking their arms together. Regina probably mishears the soft sigh escaping from Emma’s lips, but the blonde’s warm body heats up her own as well. As if it wasn’t warm enough as it was, already. She suppresses the urge to wave herself some cool air.

“Fine,” Regina sighs, and she flicks her wrist. The mistletoe that hung above the door seconds ago is now held between Regina’s thumb and index finger. She hands it over to Emma, who frowns.

“What do I have to do with it?”

“As long as you don’t eat it, I don’t care,” Regina smirks. Emma shrugs and shoves it in her pockets, and she grins as she sees the disgruntled looks on the men who’d been waiting to ambush anyone venturing inside.

They soon need to separate - unfortunately, Regina thinks and she’s surprised by her own thoughts. Her son comes to her and formally invites her to dance. Regina, who hasn’t danced in ages, gladly accepts. Henry always was a great dancer - he’s had a great teacher, she thinks with some pride - and she knows that within a few years, he’ll sweep the women off their feet with his skills. 

“Next year, you should help decorate, mom,” Henry tells her, voice lowered. “Snow didn’t really know how and I helped her but she kept choosing these weird flashing things and I didn’t want to hurt her feelings, but they’re super-ugly.”

“Huh,” Regina says, surprised. “What about the reindeer head?” She nods towards the hallway and watches him in suspicion. 

“Grandma squealed when she saw it, so I ordered it for her and she assumed that it was my pick. It really wasn't.” He looks a little pained. “She wanted rotating trees because it would be a pity if you couldn’t see the lights and ornaments at the back of the tree. But I really like our decorations at home better.”

“You have no idea how happy that makes me,” she says with a relieved sigh, looking at the hideous fake Christmas tree standing prominently in the middle of the hall. It’s decorated in white, pink, purples, and golden tinsel and has twinkling colored lights. And honestly, it’s not even the worst she’s seen today. But if Henry dislikes the decorations as much as she does, maybe... “Do you think I could…” She wiggles her fingers.

Henry smiles, turns his head to see if he can see Snow and when he can’t, he says in a conspiratorial tone, “You can only use your magic for good, remember?”

She bends over. “I think this will qualify as good, don’t you think?” she winks.

Henry’s eyes shimmer. “You know they’ll realize it’s you,” he hisses with a smirk.

“I suppose. But they will thank me for it.”

Henry shrugs. Nods. And Regina lifts her head, smiles, and lifts her hand. With one wave, the decor has changed and a collective gasp (and one outraged shriek) escapes from the audience - and, to her surprise, a standing ovation. Not directed at her per se, but at the tasteful decorations. Regina smirks, satisfied with the makeover. Much better.

The now-real tree is harmoniously decorated with soft, warm white lights (the non-blinking kind), red and silver balls, and other ornaments, complete with red and silver garlands. Christmas pieces of spruce branches, pinecones, red ribbons, and holly cover the walls. The lights have turned off and the area is now covered in candlelight from a large number of candles around the hall. And unbeknownst to them all, her office has been purged of everything Christmas and is now it’s old self again, she thinks with a pleased nod.

“Much better,” Henry hums. Regina smiles. 

“I agree,” a voice comes from behind her, and Henry’s eyes light up when he sees his birth mother. “Can I cut in?” she says to him. 

“Certainly,” Regina answers. She’s not really eager to give up her dance with Henry, but she’s trying and doesn’t want to claim him the entire evening. She makes a small courtesy to her son which earns her a smile before he turns to his other mother.

Emma looks a little puzzled from Regina to Henry. “I, um, meant-” she stutters, cheeks slightly pinkish when Regina eyes her questioning, but Henry laughs and pulls Emma away. Emma looks at Regina as long as she can before Henry claims her attention. It makes Regina feel a little uneasy but in a good way. She steps to the side and watches the both of them dance - or well, Henry’s dancing. Emma is stumbling. She can’t help but grin fondly at the scene. 

“Nice trick,” someone says next to her. “Maybe steer clear of Mary Margaret a little bit.” 

She quirks an eyebrow at the werewolf next to her. Ruby matches her gaze and Regina snorts. “I can handle Mary Margaret.”

“Oh, I know.” She follows Regina’s line of sight and smirks. “Can you handle her daughter, too?”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Regina sputters, and her head snaps towards Ruby, but Ruby just smiles - god, Regina hates that - and turns. 

“Good luck.” And with that, she’s gone. That was odd, Regina thinks, but fine. She doesn’t give it much extra thought.

The evening progresses nicely and she follows Ruby’s advice - she steers clear of Mary Margaret. Mary Margaret, who is clearly not amused with their sudden change of decor. She does know how to handle Mary Margaret like she told Ruby, but she doesn’t want to throw a scene in front of her son. In front of the entire town. 

Her son who, she sees, is now dancing with Grace, and who looks a little flustered. She smiles. He has a crush and she doesn’t know how to feel about that. He’s growing up but at the same time, she wishes he isn’t.

She sticks a little to the back of the room, doesn’t want to talk to people. Sure, the brave amongst the townsfolk have asked carefully if it was her who re-did the decorations, but a scowl quickly sent them on their way. One more round, she promises herself, she’s going to walk one more round through the room, and then she’ll go home. There’s nobody here for her, anyway.

Regina has lost sight of Emma a while ago - Killian’s asked her to dance very loudly and with a lot of bravadoes, the pirate way, and it made Regina wrinkle her nose in disgust. Emma can do better, Regina believes, than a one-handed wonder with a rum-problem. They’ve both disappeared from the hall and Regina feels a pang of worry in her chest, but she knows that Emma can hold her own. The pirate is no match for her. But it doesn’t stop here to let her eyes wander over the crowd to see if she can find a certain blonde in a tuxedo.

“Our son’s infatuated,” she then hears an all-too-familiar amused voice next to her and it nearly makes her jump. Her heart races in her chest as she throws an annoyed glance over her shoulder. Emma stares back, unfazed. “What, did I scare you? At least I’m not using magic.” She looks pleased with herself, and it makes Regina scoff.

“Did you dump your Captain Guyliner with his ogling eyes in a ditch somewhere?” Regina sneers in response and Emma shrugs.

“Did my mom kill you already?” Emma retorts.

“As if she could,” Regina snorts.

There’s a silence between them for a couple of seconds as they watch their son together. Regina shuffles a bit, feels a little uneasy. The silence turns awkward as it lingers on and she feels a little flushed. A little queasy in her stomach. Normally, Regina doesn’t have any problem walking away without excusing herself, but she finds herself rooted in the spot. Because even though Emma’s presence makes her anxious, it’s also… well, nice, in a way. For once, she doesn’t have any adjectives to add, she thinks wryly.

“Did you know mistletoe has no scent?” Emma then suddenly says, and Regina is roughly being pulled away from her thoughts, turns her head towards the blonde.

“Yes, I did, actually,” she replies, a little surprised.

“Which is weird, because there are all these scented candles and air fresheners and these mist thingies and they all say that they have mistletoe scent but that’s kinda bogus,” Emma continues quickly.

Regina smiles. “I suppose it is,” she answers dutifully. Emma is rambling, but at least she’s distracting Regina from her own awkward thoughts. 

Emma shrugs. “I thought I’d do a little research, as well,” she smiles sheepishly. “Say, why do you know so much about mistletoe when you hate it so much, anyway?”

Regina wrinkles her nose. “Too much time on my hands in a town in which time stood still,” she answers unapologetically. “To be honest, it was rather dull here for a long time. I had a lot of time to read all about this new world.”

“Fair enough,” Emma hums, and then she’s the one doing the shuffling. “So, uhm,” she says, and then blurts out, “do-you-maybe-wanna-dance?” she quickly spits out. Her cheeks flush, and her words leave Regina baffled.

“Why - you’re asking me?” she says, eyes shining in disbelief. Faintly remembers that dance with Henry in which Emma cut in, thinks about the puzzled look on her face when Henry led her away. It can’t possibly… huh. Regina shakes her head lightly.

Emma smirks, not failing to notice Regina’s surprise. “Well, yeah. I’m actually surprised nobody else asked you. I guess you’re too intimidating, even in that stunning outfit.”

Now it’s Regina’s turn to feel the heat crawl up from her neck to her cheeks. She scrapes her throat. “Of course, Miss Swan. Though you’ll have to let me lead. I’ve seen you with both my son and that one-handed wonder, and as a daughter of royalty, you’ll need to do better than that.” She smirks. “Especially when you want to dance with a Queen.

“All right. Teach me, master,” Emma says with a smirk and a mock-bow, not offended at all. And Regina does. And while she steps on the dancefloor, shows Emma how to start, whirls her in her arms, she finds that she actually really enjoys herself. She normally doesn’t have the patience to teach adults, but Emma is different, even though she steps on Regina’s toes more than once. Emma is vibrant, her eyes are shining, her face slightly flushed because of the exercise and she laughs freely as she trips and nearly pulls them both to the floor. “Focus, dear,” Regina smiles amused. She feels warm, fuzzy, content, no -- happy, she thinks a little amazed. A little while ago she had thought the gathering to be dull, even worse than the royal balls in the Enchanted Forest, but right now, she is enjoying herself greatly and realizes that she doesn’t want to leave.

This moment may last forever.

And that thought startles her so much, that she abruptly lets go, earning a frown from Emma.

“What’s wrong?”

“It’s nothing,” she huffs, pulling her walls back up to mask her uneasiness.

Emma smiles deviously. “Did my new dancing skills sweep you off your feet?”

“Hardly,” Regina snorts, but she can’t look at Emma’s face. Emma, who places a soft hand on her upper arm, gently leading her away from the dancing crowd, and they step into the hallway together. It’s cooler here, and when Emma retracts her hand, Regina can finally heave a deep breath. “Don’t fret, dear. I am fine.”

“Well, yeah, but I wouldn’t be much of a Savior if I didn’t check if it was really so,” Emma simply retorts. Regina rolls her eyes, and Emma smirks. “Anyway, glad to see your sass is back.”

They slowly make their way to the exit because Regina feels warm, too warm, and needs the fresh air, and Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas Is You follows them out. The silence between them is like a heavy weight on Regina’s shoulders. Her skin tingles where Emma had touched her before - her arms, her hands, where their bodies had touched during their dance - and she is shaken up because of it. Wonders if she should talk about it, or hold her silence forever.

“Shit,” she hears Emma curse under her breath and it pulls Regina from her thoughts, raising questioning eyes at the blonde. They’ve halted at the threshold of Town Hall. Outside, little snowflakes have started to fall and it makes Regina shiver. “What?”

“Um, well…” Emma starts slowly, “did you know that in the early days, if a woman refused a kiss under the mistletoe, they were both doomed with bad luck?”

Regina tilts her head. “Actually… no. I didn’t know.” She smiles. But Emma looks up and Regina follows her line of sight. And her face falls.

“Oh. Shit indeed,” she murmurs. Emma lowers her head and smiles sheepishly. “I guess someone thought it was a good idea to hang a new one after you got rid of all the tacky decorations?”

“I suppose so,” Regina replies, glaring at the mistletoe hanging over them. Her heart picks up its pace, pounds in her head. 

“Well, do you want to be doomed with bad luck?” Emma’s eyes flash and Regina’s breath catches in her throat. She tries to swallow a lump in her throat away, but she finds that she can't. 

“Well,” she says, voice a little thick, “As the Evil Queen, I suppose bad luck is a way of life.”

“Hm. Maybe. But would you doom me to such a life as well, then?” Emma asks, and to her surprise, there's a devious smile on her face. “You know, maybe some of my good luck might rub off on you, instead.”

Regina narrows her eyes. Her insides are in turmoil - her instincts tell her to surge forward and get this over with; her common sense informs her that it is probably a very, very bad idea, and all the while, nervous energy coils through her stomach and makes her a little queasy. Her lips tingle in anticipation and her gaze flicks between Emma's mouth and her eyes.

“I - I… We…,” she starts, but can’t find the right words, and then Emma, who apparently draws a little strength from Regina’s inner conflict, takes her hands and takes a step closer. Regina can hardly breathe and looks up, wide-eyed, not really believing what is happening here.

“Can I kiss you?” Emma softly asks, a tiny but definitely smug smirk lining her mouth because of course Regina is looking at Emma’s soft, pink lips and she’ll be damned if she gives Emma the pleasure of winning this (is there even something to win here?) and suddenly, Regina leans forward and firmly presses her lips on Emma’s.

Emma inhales sharply as their mouths collide and teeth clash it makes Regina smile against Emma’s lips, before she lifts her hands to Emma’s face, cupping her cheeks and burying her fingers in her hair, messing up the ponytail as Emma deepens the kiss and grabs Regina’s hips, pulling her close. Tiny shivers run down Regina’s spine and up again to the base of her neck but it’s not from the cold. Emma’s tongue runs over her lips and Regina whines softly, opens her mouth to give Emma access. Emma’s hands trail up from Regina’s side to her back, up to her bare shoulders and her nails dig in Regina’s flesh, which draws a sharp gasp from Regina and she curves her body into Emma’s direction, pushing Emma backward until the blonde’s back hits the wall behind her. Her blood sings, her body rejoices, and heat runs through her veins and she’s falling so, so hard -

“Ugh, gross.” 

They let go of each other immediately and Regina stumbles backward so fast that it’s a miracle that she doesn't end up losing her balance. Both their heads jerk into the direction of their son, who’s watching them with a wrinkled nose. Regina lifts a trembling hand to her swollen lips, presses the other one to her stomach. 

But Henry smirks at them, his eyes shimmering with mirth. “I was gonna ask if I could sleep at mom’s place tonight because Christmas morning is always awesome but I guess we’re both going there?” He turns without waiting for an answer and bounces back inside, greeted by the climax of Miss Carey’s most famous song. 

Regina presses her back to the wall opposite from the blonde, and her eyes slowly drift to Emma, who looks as disheveled as she feels with a loosened ponytail and Regina's lipstick smeared on once pinkish lips. And Emma smirks, a new light in her eyes. Beautiful, intoxicating Emma. “Well? Are we?” She sounds a little out of breath.

“Are we what?” Regina asks, voice a little wavering.

“Sleeping at your place?”

Heat surges in Regina’s belly as Emma takes a few steps closer. There’s a storm raging in those bright green eyes that nearly take Regina’s breath away. But that glance also proves that her own raging feelings are mutual makes her bolder. 

“You do know that there probably isn’t going to be a lot of sleeping happening if you’re staying over, Miss Swan?” she purrs, as Emma closes the distance between them.

Emma’s breath chokes with anticipation and travels her fingers up Regina’s arms. “Hmm. I think I can live with that. God, Regina,” she sighs with a slight shake of her head, “do you know how long I’ve been wanting to kiss you?” 

“I don’t,” Regina murmurs, but the thought of Emma longing for her makes her weak in the knees (how hadn't she noticed?), “But don’t let me stop you from doing it again.” She leans forward, brushes her lips against Emma’s, and feels the electricity jump between them. Whatever this is, she wants it wholeheartedly and her hands slip under Emma's jacket-

“Regina?!” 

Snow’s voice sounds from afar, from the doors leading to the hallway and Regina smirks, but Emma raises her hand to touch Regina’s face and says, “Let’s not traumatize my mother even more tonight, shall we? You go home, I’ll fetch Henry.” 

She withdraws and Regina sighs, only a little disappointed, but filled with anticipation of what’s to come. “Fine.” 

“Oh, and Regina?” Emma says, right before she raises her hand to teleport herself out.

“What?”

“Merry Christmas. Can’t wait to unwrap my present.” Emma's smile is devious as her gaze travels up and down Regina's dress and she winks a promise. Her gaze turns Regina's blood into fire and she inhales stuttering as she teleports out with heat pooling in her lower belly, right before Mary Margaret rounds the corner.

This will be a merry Christmas, indeed, she believes, as she reappears in her bedroom, filled with anticipation. She swallows thickly, the memories of what just happened still vividly in her mind, and when she folds her hands against her chest, she realizes she's still holding something. She looks - she holds the mistletoe that had hung above the door, and with a little wiggle of her finger, it hangs above her bed. A smile tugs on her lips as she turns to exit the room and goes downstairs to wait for Emma and Henry.

Maybe, she muses, mistletoe isn’t so bad at all.