Work Header

i'll be home

Chapter Text

“Mom! Get up, it’s Christmas!”


Henry had always been excited on the Christmas morning and him growing up had not calmed him down. He was insistently knocking on Regina’s bedroom door, all the while yelling loudly. 


Regina wanted to roll out of bed and get ready for the day but her bed was feeling so incredibly comfortable. She burrowed deeper into the soft pillows and closed her eyes.


Henry moved from her door to the one just down the hall. His knocking was just as frantic but instead of calling his Mom, he was calling for his Ma. 


Regina was blushing all over again when she was thinking of how yesterday had gone. 


The two woman had napped on the couch, tightly wrapped around each other for the better part of the day. It felt like years worth of exhaustion had laid itself on them and they were more than happy to succumb under its force. 


Regina had always thought Emma would be a restless sleeper, tossing and hogging covers. But the blonde had barely moved from her spot the entire time. Her breathing had been calm, her glasses a bit wonky on her nose and her body warm. The nap had truly been glorious. 


Emma had awoken before Regina did because when she blinked open her brown eyes, she was looking directly into Emma’s green ones. There was not a sliver of panic or hesitation in them which shot down all of Reginas worries and allowed her to enjoy the remaining closeness.


They could hear the TV in the background as Henry was still going through his list of movies. There was no sun peeking from behind the curtains anymore as the outside world was enfolded in darkness. 


Emma had asked her sweetly how her sleep had been, like this was something that happened between them often. Their conversation afterwards had been sweet and innocent, like they were years younger and this was the first time they were flirting with another person. 


At some point Henry had dramatically reminded them that he was indeed in the room and he, as their son, didn’t want to hear such lame flirting. Emma threw a pillow at him afterwards and they reluctantly untangled themselves so Regina could go and make them a small dinner. 


Henry had turned in early in anticipation of the following day, but Regina didn’t miss the attempted wink he tried to shoot her way from behind Emma’s back. Regina felt like she had taught Henry everything but sadly neither of them could wink to save their lives. It didn’t stop him from trying though.


After Henry had made it safely upstairs and closed his door, Emma and Regina had set out all the gifts under the tree. Their interactions had been like they always were; teasing and snarky, but there was new softness to it that made Regina’s chest expand. The way Emma was with her was sweet and caring, but she never stopped using the nicknames she had come up with over the years nor did she never miss a chance to tease her. 


Loving someone who felt such comfort and freedom around you was otherworldly.


They had parted for the night at Regina’s bedroom door where Emma put her arms around Regina for a tight hug. Regina couldn’t resist and gave the blonde another kiss on her cheek but much closer to the corner of her mouth. The eye contact that followed was electric and Regina was sure this was going to be the time they kissed properly for the first time. 


But then Emma was slowly backing away, smiling all the same and gave a signature awkward wave by the guest bedroom door before stepping in and closing the door behind her. 


“Mooom! Get up!” 


Regina groaned louder than before and called out. “Henry, it’s too early for you to be up. Can you come and ask me again in 15 minutes?”


The door opened and Henry stood there with his arms crossed over his chest and unimpressed look on his face. “Mom, it’s Christmas. You know what this means.”


“I do indeed, but that doesn’t mean we couldn’t delay breakfast and presents with 15 minutes.” Regina yawned and snuggled further under her duvet.


“Yeah, what she said, kid.” Emma said behind Henry as she leaned her sleepy head on his broad shoulder and let out a pathetic yawn of her own. 


“You guys are the worst.” Henry rolled her eyes but it was clear he could at least find some humour in it. 


“It’s two against one, sweetheart. Snuggle in.” Regina wiggled to the middle of the bed to make some room. Henry made a show of gathering speed before jumping on the bed and getting comfy on the spot Regina had left for him. 


Regina draped the duvet on top of him and they both got comfy with a sigh. Regina closed her eyes for a while but when nothing happened, she opened them again. 


Emma was still standing in the doorway and she was fidgeting nervously. The brunette knew if it was her standing there she would be feeling the exact same way so she decided to offer reassurance.


“That also includes you, Miss Swan.” 


Just like Henry, Emma didn’t have to be told twice. She rounded the bed quickly and climbed into the bed on Regina’s other side, effectively sandwiching the former queen in between her and Henry. An arm snaked around Regina’s waist and she unconsciously pressed her body closer to Emma’s who was now flush against her backside. 


“If you guys are going to be gross, then I’m out of here.” 


“Shut up, you little shit.” Emma’s sleepy voice said as she hugged herself closer to Regina. 


Regina felt so happy in this moment and she pressed herself tighter against Emma, eager to feel the blonde’s body against hers again. They had been a family for a long time but how their dynamic worked really made it sink in.


It was unsure how long they stayed in the bed, each of them drifting off at least for a bit, but when Regina opened her eyes for a second time she felt much more rested. Henry had disappeared somewhere, no doubt getting downstairs ready but Emma was still here, tightly snuggled into her back, seemingly dead asleep. 


Turning carefully in Emma’s hold, Regina pressed her forehead against the blondes and inhaled deeply. They had laid like this on the couch yesterday and she had graved an opportunity to do this again. 


It was unclear to the brunette where they stood in terms of their relationship. They kept doing this but neither of them had made a proper move or brought anything up in a conversation. Regina was normally someone who would face things like this head on but she found herself hesitating. There was so much at stake here, and not just for her but for Emma and Henry as well.


“Do we have to get up yet?” a muffled grumble could be heard and Regina opened her eyes. Emma hadn’t opened her eyes but her breathing had quickened, signalling she was in the land of the living for now. 


“Henry is waiting, and while I appreciate his attempt at making breakfast, he has also inherited your cooking ability.” yes, snark was good so early in the morning.


“You try to insult me but not being able to cook has scored me endless meals at your place.” Emma pointed out and it was indeed very true; the blonde woman dined in the mansion more often than not. 


“None the less, I think it might be wise for us to get up.” Regina didn’t really want to untangle herself from Emma’s body but there was a day to get started on.


“I will miss cuddling you, though.” it was said so quietly but Regina caught it. It was a first actual acknowledgement of their physical closeness and Regina could feel her face warm up with sheer delight. She pulled slightly away from Emma so she could meet her eyes. Their bodies couldn’t even fit a hair in between them, but now they were at least able to look at each other. 


“I will miss it too.” she whispered earnestly, itching to finally close the distance between their lips. But before she could, Emma spoke again. 


“Maybe we can do some more of this later tonight?” there was confidence in Emma’s voice and Regina found that wildly attractive. Everything about Emma was like a magnet and she was helplessly pulled closer with each new thing the blonde woman said or did. 


“I’d like that.” Regina was sure the blush had covered her entire face by this point but she couldn’t bring herself to care. They would have having a first family Christmas today and afterwards she would get a chance to be wrapped up in Emma’s embrace. 


Without saying anything more, they got up and made their way downstairs where Henry was just about to start with pancakes. Instead of taking over, Regina stood next to him, guiding him through the motions of cooking breakfast. He was a fast study because of course he was. 


Emma was sitting on the breakfast bar, looking at the two brunettes and smiling from ear to ear. 


As breakfast was being served by excited Henry, he reminded them that as soon as they were done there would be the next important step to their day and that was opening presents. It was evident that the teenager had seen the pile of presents waiting for him under the tree, his whole family having gone insane in spoiling him rotten this year. 


Emma and Regina cleaned up while Henry went to get everyone blankets around the tree. He had also promised to start a fire just the way Regina had taught him couple of years ago. Regina could feel her mouth turn downwards when she thought about the small boy who would sit on her lap and watch the fire for ages while she was reading to him. Gone was that small boy and here was this proud, tall, independence seeking young man who was getting ready to fly from their mansion shaped nest. 


“So what happens after we open presents?” Emma asked as she wiped her hands on a towel.


“Well, Henry goes on massive overdrive because he wants to try absolutely everything he got. Knowing our families there will be several games wrapped up and ready to be consumed so it’s safe to say that will keep him occupied.” Regina reached for the towel and wiped her hands as well. 


“Maybe he will let me join.” Emma looked so hopeful. “I got him two of them after all.”


Regina rolled her eyes but stepped closer and reached for Emma’s hand. Lacing their fingers together she leaned closer and pressed her mouth against the other woman’s ear.


“I’m sure there is something else you could be doing rather than yelling at a TV when our son kicks your ass, hmm?”


Regina could feel delight blooming in her chest when Emma took a stuttering breath. The normally shiny green eyes had darkened looking like the deepest of forests of their old homeland. 


“Holy shit, Regina.” the pale cheeks were flushed red, her breathing just slightly laboured. Regina was drinking in Emma’s response, delighted over her reaction. 


“Come along, dear. Our son awaits.” without giving Emma any more time to recover, Regina took off towards the living room, not checking was the blonde following. But from the slapping of slippers against the floor, it was clear that Emma was only few steps behind her. 


Henry was always the one to divide presents but this was the first time there was a third person huddled with them around the Christmas tree. He read out loud every tag even when most things were for him. Neither woman couldn’t hold in their smile as Henry was getting gradually more and more excited with each present he put to his pile. 


“And this is for Mom and the last one is for Ma.” 


He handed them their presents before looking expectantly at Regina. He resembled a puppy with his huge eyes and Emma snorted. It was clearly something that happened every year though because Regina smiled gently and said.


“Go ahead.”


It was impressive how Henry managed to make wrapping paper fly so high. Considering his pile of gifts was quite impressive, he managed to go through it in less than 15 minutes. And while he was going through his gifts with such speed, he made sure to put everything beside him neatly and include the card he got with each one so he knew who to thank for what.


Emma and Regina spend more time watching him than opening their own presents. But gradually they started going through their own piles. 


It wasn’t too hard to guess from the shape of the present, but David had gotten Emma her very own sword, having mentioned it was time for her to learn how to be a Charming. 


Snow had put together a collection of recipes from the old world and bound them into a book for Regina. The older woman turned the pages in awe, already planning on making some of these dishes in the near future. 


Emma hoped beyond hope none of them included any chimera meat, because that might become the first time she ever turned down Regina’s cooking.


They both had gotten something from each of their family members, everything quite spot on and mostly quite useful, except maybe the drink mixing book Ruby had gotten Emma. Regina had snatched it from Emma before scoffing. Emma wasn’t sure but it sure looked a lot like jealousy to her. 


Henry however gave them something that made both of them tear up.


He had given them a book that closely resembled his old storybook but most of the pages were blank. The first opening however had his refined writing and a picture taped on the page next to it. As the women leaned closer, their eyes misted over as they gazed on three smiling faces of their family. It was a quick selfie Henry had insisted they took after finishing decorating their Christmas tree. They were all mushed together and you could see the tree in the background.


Henry had written an explanation in the beginning.


I wanted there to be something we could start collecting our memories into. And what’s better than a storybook, right? I love you, moms and I can’t wait to document our adventures.

Henry could see the effect his gift was having on his mothers and he came closer so they could hug him. All three of them hadn’t hugged like this since the last villain and it felt a bit foreign as there was no one trying to kill them. 


As Henry went back over to his pile of gifts, Regina was ready to unwrap her last present. They hadn’t agreed on getting each others gifts, but Regina had seen Emma’s handwriting in the card attached to the small package so she had saved it for last. She had no idea what the other woman could possibly want to give her, but she was excited to find out. 


She could feel eyes on her, Emma no doubt wanting to see her reaction. She lifted her gaze and smiled reassuringly towards the blonde, before she carefully tore the wrapping paper away. 


What fell on her lap was a small white bunny and an envelope. Regina was feeling very confused but she didn’t voice her thoughts before she could examine this gift more closely. The bunny was small, just big enough to fit her palm. It looked like it had been held onto before, but it was still in good shape. Setting the bunny into her lap she reached for the envelope. 


Pulling out a piece of paper, she met Emma’s nervous gaze before reading what the blonde had written.




I thought long and hard what to give you but it was hard to come up with something you already don’t have. I mean you have magic, you can just poof things out of thin air! You deserve the world, but instead you have given me, us, that without asking for anything back. You gave me your memories of raising Henry and I have never been able to find a way to even begin to thank you. But that gave me an idea.


What you are holding in your hands is the sonogram I got when I was expecting Henry. I don’t know why I held onto it all these years but I did. Now it’s yours. I wanted to share what I could about the beginning of our son. And the bunny is the toy I bought for him after I got out of prison and whenever I thought of him, I held onto his tiny paw. I never regretted giving him away because I knew he was better off without me, that I was giving him his best chance. And I was right. You are the best mother anyone could ever ask for and I’m so happy Henry found his way to you. 


Merry Christmas.


Love, Emma


Regina didn’t realise she was fully crying before there was a hand on her shoulder. She tried to focus her blurry eyes on the face of the woman who was leaning towards her, concerned and alarmed. Henry had also come closer, but he still kept his distance, not wanting to overwhelm his Mom any more.


“Regina?” Emma asked as she sat down in front of Regina and moved her hand from her shoulder to her face, willing her to look at her. “Have I done something wrong?”


She knew it had been a bit of risk and while she had thought Regina might like receiving something from the earliest phases of Henry’s life she really hadn’t thought Regina was going to be crying her heart out either. She exchanged worried looks with Henry but focused back on Regina as the other woman was slowly calming down. 


Regina was looking down on her lap, her sole focus on the slightly wrinkly black and white picture that very clearly showed a shape. She smiled widely, before looking up at Emma and Henry. She turned the picture towards Henry and laughed.


“This is how small you were. Can you believe it?” 


She sounded so amazed that Emma couldn’t help but laugh. Oh gods, she wanted to kiss this woman silly. 


Henry reached for the photo, holding it delicately all the while examining it. He looked curious, most likely never having seen anything like it before. He then looked at his Mom again, seeing the emotions swirling everywhere around her. He smiled and gave the photo back to her. 


Regina pressed the photo gently to her chest before turning to Emma. Her eyes were shining and the smile could not be wiped away. With her other hand, she carefully snaked her hand behind Emma’s neck and pulled their foreheads together. 


“Thank you.” she whispered. “You have no idea what this means to me.”


“I think I have a pretty good idea after seeing your reaction.” Emma joked, loving the easiness of their closeness. Every time they touched it felt so right, so good and she hoped they’d never stop doing this. 


“You found the way to give me the perfect gift.” Regina pulled back and waved her hand. The sonogram was now enclosed in a photo frame that was no doubt there to protect this one of a kind treasure. 


With another wave, both the frame and the small bunny disappeared and appeared on top of the mantle. Satisfied with her actions, Regina reached for the neatly wrapped small package that was near where Emma had sat opening her presents. It was the one from her. 


Regina shared a nervous look with Henry, having asked Henry for his opinion before going through with this. He nodded, smiling widely. 


Regina handed Emma the small package and sat back, looking at her expectantly. 


Now it was Emma’s turn to be nervous because she hadn’t been able to come up with anything for Regina to give her. There was nothing that she truly wanted, not anymore as she had gotten her wish.


“What is it?” she couldn’t help but ask as she shook the small gift next to her ear and tried to listen for any possible sounds that would give away what Regina had gotten her. 


Rolling her eyes, the former queen crossed her arms across her chest and looked at the blonde. “How about you open it so you don’t have to ask?”


Emma tore into the wrapping with same gusto as Henry had and she was left holding a black box. She hesitated only for a beat before opening it and when she did it was her turn to be left speechless and fighting down her tears. 


In a middle of the box, laid a key. It wasn’t just any old key, as it was very similar to Henry’s key that she kept borrowing from time to time. This was a key to the Mifflin Street 108.


“I know this might seem a bit quick and out of the blue,” Regina started and to her credit, her voice was only wavering a little. “but this is something that feels right for us, for Henry and I. You are part of our family and we would love to have you here with us permanently.”


This was already so much to handle but what completely disarmed Emma was what Regina finished with. 


“Stay with us, Emma.”


The blonde wasn’t sure what kicked her boldness in high gear all of a sudden but before she knew it she had surged forward and crashed her lips against Regina’s. 


Without them noticing, Henry scooped some of his gifts into his arms and left the living room, understanding that this was not where he was meant to be right now. Where he was meant to be was in his room, in front of his TV, testing out his new games. 


The kiss started off a bit messy, both of them trying to get their frantic breathing under control. As Regina’s hand made it to Emma’s face, they both calmed, letting their mouths explore. 


Emma’s lips were much softer than Regina had anticipated, the feel of them against her own downright criminal. Whatever day dreams she had had about this moment didn’t make the reality any justice. Kissing Emma was like breathing and she hoped this meant they were going to be doing this for a long time. 


Maybe even forever. 


“Regina.” Emma moaned against her lips and Regina could feel her entire body shake. Not only was she hopelessly in love with the woman she was currently kissing, but she wanted her. With every fibre of her being. 


With that realisation, she broke the kiss hastily. Emma hadn’t even opened her eyes but Regina looked around worriedly. She had almost forgotten they had kissed in front of their son, but right now he was nowhere to be found. Some of his things were missing, so he had definitely made it upstairs.


Not wanting to waste another moment, Regina attached her lips back on Emma’s before the blonde had a chance to complain. Now she pushed forward, sitting comfortably on Emma’s lap. Everything became more, their bodies pressing together, both of them hungry for the other. If they were to go any longer they’d be having their first time in front of the Christmas tree.


“Regina, Regina.” Emma panted as she pulled away from their steamy kiss. Her lips were a bit swollen, but she felt so alive. Kissing Regina was - for the lack of a better term - fucking awesome.


“Yes?” Regina felt like a young girl once more, unburdened by her past and horrible deeds. She felt like she once had in her parents estate, young and in love. Carefree like she hadn’t been since. 


“I love you.” considering it had felt like one of the most scariest things ever prior to tonight, right now it felt like the easiest thing to say. Emma felt like laughing because why had she been worried? Looking at things now, she felt stupid for worrying in the first place.


Regina always looked beautiful, but she was otherworldly when she smiled. Each smile directed Emma’s way went into a special place in her heart, stored away like treasures. And now there was the most brilliant smile spread across her face, as she pressed a sweet kiss on Emma’s waiting lips.


“I love you, too.”


The kiss that followed the words was gentle, full of promise. They were going to talk, but that was for later. Right now the only thing they wanted was to love each other, because they had wasted years. This had really turned out to be a Christmas that changed everything.



Emma knew the she was cutting it very close and she was abusing absolutely every speed limit while racing home. She had only stopped a few times to fill gas and to have a cup of coffee so she wouldn’t fall asleep on the wheel. 


It was already six in the morning and Henry was going to be up in an hour. Emma was unsure how much more she had left, but she just kept driving. She had been playing her trusty playlist for the most of the trip but the closer she got, the more she needed the quiet so she could think.


Seven o’clock came and went and it was nearing eight when Emma could see the familiar sign ahed. Pressing the gas pedal she raced across the town line. 


The unsettling feeling of magic surged through her body, leaving her breathless and everything blurred. Blinking furiously she tried to get herself under control so she wouldn’t end this trip wrapped around a tree. 


It only took few minutes before she turned her car to a familiar street and headed towards the end where a huge white mansion was standing. 


Parking her car to the curb, Emma stepped out and stretched her body. It had been a long drive and while her muscles where sore it was worth being here this morning. Emma almost ran to the black gate that separated the sidewalk from the lush front yard of Mifflin Street 108. The walkway that followed led to the porch and while walking Emma couldn’t help but smile at the numerous times she had walked towards this house.


Not every visit led to smiles and happy memories, but after their rocky start each visit had gotten increasingly more happier. But right here on this walkway everything was set in motion and Emma’s life changed.


While the history between Regina and her was difficult at times, Emma had always cherished their connection from the very beginning. Regina Mills had always been so layered, brilliant and so utterly fascinating. 


In a black and white world, Regina was like a rainbow. 


As Emma walked towards the house, she tried to catch a glimpse of either Regina or Henry through the windows but she was out of luck. They were most likely still having breakfast in the kitchen and those windows were pointed towards the backyard. 


Regina had a doorbell but Emma had always knocked. She could hear her girlfriend before she could see her. Regina was having a conversation with Henry about something and her tone indicated that she was displeased about their current topic. It was rather surprising considering what day it was and how it usually took proper effort for Henry to do something to annoy his mother. 


“Henry Daniel Mills, this is the absolute last time I will-“ and the door opened to reveal a curly bedhead, a set of flannel pyjamas and bright red slippers. 


Regina’s mouth dropped open as Emma gave her a silly grin and a small wave. “Hi.”


“Emma.” Regina whispered, her eyes never leaving the blonde standing in front of her. Breath. Another. “Emma!” she rushed forward and threw her arms around Emma. 


Emma wrapped her arms around Regina’s waist, hoisting the smaller woman off the ground and pressing her fully against her body. To steady them, Regina wrapped her legs around Emma’s thin waist. 


“You are here. How did you- I don’t understand.” Regina was laughing against Emma’s lush hair, struggling to form her thoughts into actual sentences. Just hearing the other woman laugh made Emma hold onto her even tighter. 


“I promised I’d be home for Christmas, didn’t I?” Emma smiled and pulled back enough so she could nuzzle their noses together gently. 


“You did.” Regina smiled so brightly Emma was sure the former queen would be complaining about her sore cheeks come tomorrow. Guiding Emma towards her with a hand on her cheeks, Regina pressed their lips firmly together, unable to hold in her moan. 


Emma didn’t think anyone had ever missed her like this before and she was in verge of tears while she held onto Regina and kissed her with everything she had. 


“Mom, where did you go? I wasn’t done making my point and I-“ Henry appeared in the doorway but stopped cold when he saw the scene unfolding before his eyes.


“Ma?” he suddenly sounded years younger and Emma broke apart from Regina to turn towards their son. She spread her arms open and Henry launched to hug her. Emma had never considered herself a hugger before Henry knocked on her door in Boston.


Her showed affection so effortlessly and there was a huge amount of it to go around, and Emma wanted to thank Regina for one more thing when it came to raising Henry.


“See Mom?” Henry said as he pulled back to stand between his mothers. “I told you she was going to make it.”


“You are the Truest Believer for a reason, Henry.” Regina smiled at him and ruffled his hair. He tried to duck away out of teenage grumpiness but his smile was giving him away.


“Now, are you two allowing me to freeze to death after driving all this way to surprise you for Christmas?” Emma was truly freezing as she was once again not well equipped for the chill of December. 


Regina rolled her eyes before taking Emma’s hand into her own and pulling her towards the open door, Henry skipping in front of them. When they finally stood inside the door, Regina turned and wrapped her arms around Emma’s waist.


“Merry Christmas, my love.”


“Merry Christmas.”