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Christmas With The Mills'

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For the first time in the six years since Emma Swan came to Storybrooke, she was invited to Christmas dinner with Regina and Henry. She wasn’t the only one who had been invited as her parents and little brother had been invited along as well. In fact, she found out soon after responding to the RSVP that many others had been invited too. The invitation itself had been left on her desk, a small red envelope that smelled of candy canes and apples. The invitation was quite impressive too with immaculate cursive and calligraphy lettering.

You have been cordially invited to the Mills’ household for a fabulous feast on Christmas Day, with presents and cocktails to begin promptly at noon and dinner to be served at six. Please RSVP by the twelfth of December.

- Regina and Henry Mills

Emma hadn’t thought twice about checking yes on the RSVP that she hand-delivered to Regina at the town hall the very same day that she received the invitation. She didn’t show up with just the invitation either, she showed up with their usual lunch she’d stopped at Granny’s to pick up on the way. Lunch with Regina had become a regular thing, more so ever since Hook had left Storybrooke nearly a year before after Emma had rejected his marriage proposal.

They didn’t talk about it. Ever. In fact, Regina was the only one who didn’t bring it up once after he’d left. It was Emma’s parents who brought it up from time to time, and thankfully, Regina had always miraculously been around when that happened and saved her from having to listen to her parent’s lubricous ideas on how to amend things with Hook.

Regina was the only one who knew that Emma didn’t want anything to do with him ever again. Regina was the only one who respected Emma’s wishes not to speak of him or the past. Regina was the only one who gave Emma hope that one day she would find someone else, someone worthy of being with someone like her.

Emma had been spending a lot of time with her son and his adopted mother. Nearly every day she ended up at the Mills’ mansion for dinner and on weekends when she wasn’t working, she spent her time with both of them, always keeping busy, always staying for dinner and earning her “keep” so to speak by helping Henry do the dishes afterward. But never had she been invited to spend Christmas with them as in the years before, if they weren’t saving the town or each other from one thing or anther, they had always shared the holiday with Henry.

“You’re like a divorced couple,” Ruby had said one day to Emma. “You share your son like divorced couple’s do. You share custody of him, Em.”

“He’s sixteen. He wants to spend time with both of us. And for the record, we’re nothing like a divorced couple, Ruby.”

“If you say so, Em.”

That particular conversation had stuck with her for months, but it didn’t bother her the way she knew it should. Ruby was a little bit right, she and Regina did act like a divorced couple when it came to Henry and the time they spent with him, though that year things had changed considerably and Henry spent more time at the mansion than he did with Emma in her house and mainly because Emma too had been spending more time at the mansion with both him and Regina.

She had heard people talking in town, hushed whispers floating around whenever the three of them were together. Some people speculated that they thought Emma had all but moved into the Mills’ mansion and was keeping it a secret by pretending to still live in her own home. Others spoke of a secret relationship, a romance blossoming between her and Regina, and again, while it was something that should have bothered her, it didn’t.

Two days before Christmas, she skipped her daily lunch with Regina in favor of wandering around the shops on Main Street in search of gifts for her son and his other mother. She had already finished shopping for her parents and little brother, along with gifts for friends, but when it came to Henry and Regina, she was at loss at what to get either of them. Henry was easy enough, a teenage boy with a penchant for comics still at sixteen, but she couldn’t just get him comics and clothes were too boring as a Christmas gift. Regina, on the other hand, was impossible.

What do you get a woman who could have anything she wanted with a single snap of her fingers and an incantation to magically make it appear? Though she knew she didn’t actually use her magic that way—nether of them used much magic in the last year since life had quieted down and became normal—it was still that very logic in her mind as she scoured the shops in search of the perfect gift for a former queen.

Jewelry was too intimate, as her father had told her that morning before she said she was at loss at what to get Regina. Clothes, Regina didn’t need any more clothes and she’d never be caught dead wearing the clothes that the shops in Storybrooke carried anyway. The woman didn’t need anything in particular, not that Emma knew of, and she definitely didn’t have use for any of the knickknacks she came across in Gold’s shop either.

“Looking for anything in particular?” Belle asked as Emma poked around the shop mindlessly. “Emma?”

“Oh, I don’t know. I’m looking for a few gifts.”

“Little last minute, isn’t it?”

“Nah,” Emma chuckled. “Last minute would be on Christmas Eve just before everything is closed.” She turned to look at some of the magical items kept locked in a glass case that was protected by a powerful spell Gold had cast on it. “What do you get someone who has everything already or can just magic up whatever they need?”

“You’re looking for a gift for Regina,” Belle stated and she smiled warmly from where she stood by the register. “She likes jewelry. A woman can never have enough jewelry. I speak from experience, of course.”

“Isn’t that too intimate?” Emma asked, remembering what her father had said that morning. “I mean, jewelry is what couples buy each other as gifts, isn’t it?”

“Not particularly,” Belle replied. “You and Regina are close now, aren’t you?”

“Yeah,” Emma nodded. “Closer than we’ve ever been before—not like that!”

“Not like what?” Belle asked innocently.

“I hear people talking,” Emma muttered. “We’re not, you know…”

“Oh, I know that. I just meant that you two are really close friends now. Best friends. It’s very rare that I see one of you without the other.”

Emma rolled her eyes and moved to another glass display case that held many different types of jewelry that had been brought over with the first curse. But none of the pieces inside the case spoke to her or even suited Regina. Maybe buying Regina the perfect gift was out of the question. Emma sighed in irritation and waved goodbye to Belle on her way out of the shop.

It had started snowing in the time she had gone into the pawnshop and she pulled out her knit cap and pulled it on as she walked down the sidewalk, the snow crunching softly under her boots. She shivered at the chill in the air and headed down to Granny’s, a sudden craving for a hot cup of hot cocoa leading her there. She entered the diner with a smile on her face when she spotted Regina sitting in their usual booth and sipping from a cup of tea with the Storybrooke Mirror open in front of her and a few bags and packages under the table by her feet.

“Hey,” Emma said as she pulled off her hat and shrugged out of her jacket before she took a seat across from Regina. “Last minute shopping?”

“Yes,” Regina nodded without looking up from the paper. “Just finished up, actually. It’s a relief knowing I don’t have to worry about crossing everyone off on my list. Are you on your break, Sheriff?”

“Uh,” Emma stammered as she shook her head. “No, I have the afternoon off actually. I was just out uh, window shopping.”

“Any luck?”

“Nope.”

“Leaving it to the very last minute again, are you?”

“Not by choice,” Emma muttered under her breath before she flagged down the waitress and motioned with a few fingers to bring her usual hot cocoa over. “There aren’t many options here, is there?”

“What do you mean?” Regina asked. “For gifts?”

“Yeah.”

“What are you looking for?”

“I don’t know.”

“Okay,” Regina drawled out and she shut the paper and pushed it aside. “Who are you buying for?”

“You and Henry.”

“I told you, dear, I don’t need anything this year.”

“I can’t show up on Christmas without a gift for you, Regina.”

“Honestly, Emma, just you spending Christmas with us is enough,” Regina said and the smile that she flashed sent a warm shiver down Emma’s spine. “Perhaps you can come earlier and help me prepare some of the food?”

“Isn’t my mother coming to help you do that?”

“Yes,” Regina said with a playful roll of her eyes. “She’s insisted she help out with the food. Who am I to say no to a little bit of help?”

“Right, and what am I supposed to do?” Emma asked. “I’m not too good at that kind of thing, Regina.”

“Nonsense. I’m sure you can prepare finger foods that we’ll have laid out for our afternoon cocktails. There is no cooking involved, just preparation.”

“That I can do.”

“Now, as for Henry’s gift, there is something I need to discuss with you,” Regina said as the waitress brought over Emma’s hot cocoa and left. “I know he only has his beginner’s permit, but I thought—”

“You want to get him a car for Christmas?”

“Emma—”

“You’re the one that was freaking out about him getting his beginner’s permit in the first place and now you want to get him a car?”

“Yes.”

“Are you crazy?”

“Perhaps, but he will need a car one way or another.”

“Regina, we live in a small town. He doesn’t need a car. He can walk like all the other kids his age or borrow one of our cars if he really needs to.”

“You said months ago that he would need a car of his own,” Regina said with a challenging glint in her eyes. “Now you’re saying you don’t want him to have a car?”

“You’re the one who—”

“I know, but that was then, this is now, and Henry has proven to be an excellent driver, Emma.”

“Well, he did learn from the best,” she chuckled lightly and winked when Regina just rolled her eyes at her. “What?”

“Nothing.”

“So, about this car?” Emma asked. “It’s not like brand new or anything?”

“New enough, dear,” Regina replied. “I was hoping we could gift it to him together seeing as it is a rather big gift to be giving.”

Emma groaned. “How much?”

“How much what?”

“How much do I owe you? Half is what you want me to pay, right?”

Regina shook her head and pulled out her phone. After she swiped at the screen a few times, she turned the phone to Emma. “This is what I picked out for him,” she said as she showed Emma the picture of a slate gray full-sized sedan that looked fairly new. “It is perfect for a first car and the safety ratings were better than some of the other vehicles available.”

“It’s a Chevy Impala.”

“Yes,” Regina nodded, her brow furrowing in confusion. “Is that bad?”

“No, no, just…” Emma trailed off as she looked at the picture of the car again a little more closely. “It looks like something an old lady would drive, Regina.”

“Does it?”

“Kind of?” Emma shrugged. “How much?”

“I thought we could help him pay insurance,” Regina said. “Not the full price, but most of it. At least until he can find a job that he can pay for the cost himself.”

“No, for the car? How much do I owe you?”

“Nothing, dear. Michael owed me a favor and this is what I got in return.”

“You want to gift Henry a car you got for free? From both of us?”

“Is that a problem?”

“Not at all,” Emma said and she sighed in relief. “So…that just leaves you,” she said after a moment. “What do you want for Christmas, Regina?”

“Oh, any little thing would be fine, Emma. I don’t need anything, as I said.”

“Hey, I’m fishing for ideas here! You gotta give me something to work off of, Regina, because I’m fresh out of ideas.”

Regina chuckled lowly and it sent another warm shiver down Emma’s spine. Emma wet her lips before she took a sip of her hot cocoa and tried to push that tingling feeling she felt deep in her core at the sound of Regina’s laughter. It had been happening a lot, a lot more than she was willing to admit, and why wasn’t something she wanted to be thinking about while sitting in front of Regina either.

“I saw this gorgeous necklace in Gold’s shop,” Regina said after she spent a moment thinking. “It’s black steel with—”

“The red ruby things?” Emma finished for her. She’d seen it but she had no idea that Regina had her eye on it. “You like that?”

“Yes. It is simply gorgeous, simple too. Reminds me of the days I dressed down in the Enchanted Forest,” Regina replied and she had an almost whimsical look on her face, one that disappeared quickly and was replaced with a frown. “What?”

“Nothing. Nothing,” Emma muttered and she took another sip of her cocoa. “Do you really like that necklace?”

“Yes,” she nodded. “Though I may have dropped a hint to Henry about it in hopes he would get it for me this year. I believe he may have forgotten as it’s been weeks.”

“Maybe he got you something else? Something better?” Emma offered hopefully, mostly in hope that Henry wouldn’t get Regina that necklace so she could at least have a gift that Regina wanted to give to her on Christmas. “What time do you want me over?”

“Pardon?”

“On Christmas? To help with…things?”

“Oh,” Regina said and she chuckled lightly. “Your mother is planning on coming over around ten.”

“In the morning?”

“Yes, dear, in the morning. It’ll give us two hours to prepare before the guests start to arrive. I know I said promptly at noon, but you know how most people are when it comes to parties.”

“Right. Okay. So, when are we giving Henry the keys to the car? Don’t you think we should give him his gift before anyone else is there?”

“Hmm, yes, that would be much better I suppose. Why don’t you come over at nine and we’ll open and exchange presents, just the three of us?”

“Nine?” Emma groaned inwardly. “That’s early. I’ve been working early shifts all week! I have two days off. Technically. Is it that bad I just want to sleep in?”

“You want to sleep in on Christmas instead of spending time with your family?” Regina asked and Emma didn’t miss the slight blush that tinged Regina’s cheeks before Regina tried to hide it from her. “Nine, Emma. I’ll tell Henry you’re coming for then. Do try to be prompt, will you?”

“Sure.”

“Now, there is something else I want to talk to you about, Sheriff,” Regina said, her tone instantly changing from friend to mayor in an instant. “It is a matter of that paperwork I have been waiting on for the last two weeks now.”

Emma groaned and resisted the urge to slam her head down on the table. Leave it to Regina to turn a casual conversation into work on the turn of a dime.

[X]

Regina wiped her wet hands on the dish towel, sighing as she heard Henry slam the front door on his way out after she had very specifically asked him not to. It was one of the many perks and downsides to having a moody, hormonal teenager in the house that only wanted to spend time with his friends and his sort of girlfriend. Regina wanted to keep with the tradition of playing games with one another on Christmas Eve, but Henry had been invited over to the Tillman’s for a party Nick and Ava were hosting for all their friends.

As much as she had wanted to tell him no, she couldn’t at the same time. Henry finally had a group of friends for the first time in his life that weren’t adults, and while his friends were technically nearly thirty years older than him, they were still just a bunch of sixteen-year-olds wanting nothing more than to experience a normal teenage experience as they could get.

Regina was deeply relieved that Henry had found friends after not having any for most of his life—partially because she never allowed it and for a lot of that time, partially because the curse never allowed it. Yet, she did not want to spend Christmas Eve alone and it wasn’t all that different from the previous year when Henry had gone to spend it with Emma and the Charming’s.

After helping herself to a healthy glass of pinot noir she’d opened shortly before dinner to allow it to breathe, she retreated to the study where, with a flick of her fingers, she had the fireplace lit and soft jazz playing from the ancient turntable that was in the far corner of the room. She sat on the sofa facing the door and sighed heavily as she swirled the wine in the large glass a few times before taking a sip.

The sound of the doorbell startled her and nearly made her spill her wine on her pristine white blouse. She stood up in a huff and took another sip of her wine before making her way to the front door. She wasn’t expecting any visitors and it wasn’t often the doorbell rang with someone she wasn’t expecting either. She paused to take a sip of her wine before opening the door to find none other than Emma Swan standing on her front step.

“Hi,” Emma grinned as she gave her a little and albeit an awkward wave.

“Hello,” Regina replied. “And to what do I owe the pleasure of your unexpected visit, Miss Swan?”

“It’s Christmas Eve.”

“Yes. It is.”

“Henry texted me like an hour ago and said he was going to a party?”

“Yes, you just missed him,” Regina replied and she shivered at the chill of the cold air rushing into the house. “He left not even ten minutes ago.”

“I know. I passed by him on my way here. Can I come in, Regina? It’s really cold and I brought refreshment,” Emma said and she held up the cloth bag she held in her right hand. “Wine. I thought we could have a few drinks tonight together? I mean, if you want to, that is.”

“I’ve already started,” Regina said and she stepped aside to allow Emma to enter the house and she shut the door rather quickly. “Did you drive here?”

“Nah, I’ve already had a few beers with Ruby at Granny’s before I came here.”

“I see.”

Regina watched Emma as she removed her boots, her jacket, and promptly placed them in the closet before Emma led the way into the kitchen to put the four bottles of wine she’d brought over into the fridge. She smiled to herself as Emma grabbed a wine glass out of the cupboard and helped herself to the pinot noir that was open on the counter. They had shared many nights of having a few too many drinks with one another, especially over the past year, and Regina kind of really loved that Emma just made herself at home, on those nights they drank and any other time really.

Emma sighed loudly after taking a sip and she turned to Regina with a crooked smile. “This is really good,” she said and Regina couldn’t help but laugh. “This is probably a thousand times better than what I brought over.”

“I have about a dozen bottles left of the wine I brought home from Camelot.”

“You brought wine home from Camelot?”

“I may have stashed a few dozen in Granny’s and I know I wasn’t the only one. In fact, it was your mother’s idea.”

“Really? How come this is the first time I’m hearing about this?”

“Sometimes your mother can keep a secret,” Regina chuckled. “Shocking, I know. I was certain she would’ve said something to someone by now.”

“A few dozen bottles, huh?”

“Maybe more than a few,” Regina shrugged. “And I may have told her there aren’t any left in my supply. She’s bringing a few bottles over for dinner tomorrow.”

“That’s really kind of evil!” Emma giggled.

“Clever is the word I prefer,” Regina said with a wink. “How do you like it?”

“It’s really good. Different. I remember trying to find a wine here that tastes like what we had in Camelot but I could never—and all this time you had dozens upon dozens of bottles! You and my mother!”

“I’ve been trying to make them last, dear,” Regina replied with a light shrug of her shoulders. They sat on the same sofa in the study together and Regina turned to look at the fireplace and inhaled the soft scent of the wood burning. “Do you think I should’ve but a tree in here too?”

“The tree in the den,” Emma replied. “It’s perfect in there, isn’t it? You always put it in there. It wouldn’t be the same if it wasn’t in the den.”

“Yes, I suppose you are right. I have always put it there since I have had Henry.”

“Did you celebrate before you had Henry?”

“No,” Regina said quietly. “Who would I have celebrated with? Besides, we never celebrated Christmas in the Enchanted Forest. We celebrated the winter solstice in a very similar way.”

“We should celebrate that too.”

“It would’ve been days ago,” Regina said. “Besides, it wouldn’t be fun for the children as the adults are the only ones who enjoy that celebration.”

“Let me guess, lots of drinking?” Emma laughed and Regina nodded. “Maybe when Henry is of legal age to drink we can celebrate it too?”

Just knowing Emma was still planning on being around that long warmed Regina’s heart and gave her hope that this little family they had was going to be forever. It took her a long while to accept that she was a part of Emma’s family just as Emma was a part of hers. They were best friends, co-parents, and their dynamic worked well considering how things had begun years before. If anyone had told her when she first met Emma Swan on that fateful night that Emma would be coming for dinner almost nightly, coming to her office for lunch every day, and spending a lot of time with her and Henry as a family, she would have surely killed them—or tortured them at least.

Her feelings for Emma Swan were clear as day. She was in love with the woman and she had been for longer than she cared to admit. When she had realized that she was in love with Emma, it had come to her suddenly one night after Emma and Henry had finished up the dishes after dinner and Emma settled down at the dining room table to help Henry with his homework. It was just a normal moment, one that had happened many times before, and even now Regina wasn’t sure what had been so different about that night, but she had seen Emma in a whole new light.

It had made her realize that her feelings had been there for a lot longer than that night. Those feelings had been there for a very long time…since Neverland, but it took her longer than that night to realize that too.

“Regina?”

“Hmm?”

“What do you think?”

Regina looked at Emma for a moment then realized she was waiting for an answer to her question. She took a sip of her wine and nodded. “I think that is a wonderful idea. But,” she paused as she raised an eyebrow. “I don’t want Henry to think he’ll get double the presents if we celebrate both.”

“He’ll be off at college by then anyway. He’ll come home for the holidays to spend it with both his mother’s and his family and he’ll hopefully say that being with family is present enough, yeah?”

Regina laughed. “Dare to dream, Miss Swan, but this is our son you’re talking about. I doubt very much he’ll grow out of wanting presents on holidays and birthdays for as long as we’re alive.”

“Probably. It’s Henry, after all.”

“Speaking of, the car is here, ready for the big reveal tomorrow morning.”

“It’s here? I didn’t see it?”

“It’s in the garage and there is a cloaking spell just in case Henry decides to venture in there for whatever reason. We cannot give him the keys to his car without having it here, can we?”

“No, I guess not.”

“Did you get everyone on your list?”

“Yeah, barely,” Emma nodded. “You?”

“Yes, of course.”

“Even me?”

“Yes.”

“What did you get me?”

Regina laughed and gave Emma a gentle poke in the shoulder. “You’ll have to wait until the morning, dear, just like everyone else.”

The truth was, Regina wasn’t sure she wanted to give Emma the one gift she’d bought for her in front of anyone else, and that one gift she’d planned on giving to Emma late on Christmas depending on how things went throughout the day. Yet, with Emma here now, it gave her a chance to speak to her alone, to confess her feelings, to just lay it all out on the line, to hell to what would happen if Emma did not take her confession well.

The gift itself hadn’t cost much at all, but it was an official set of keys to the house. She was going to ask Emma to move in with them, as she did seem to spend the majority of her time there anyway. But, a part of her wanted Emma to share her bed and not take over the spare room as she was planning on suggesting.

“Emma,” Regina said as she turned more to face the other woman. “There is something that I need to talk to you about.”

“Did you change you mind about me coming over early tomorrow morning for presents?”

“No.”

“Okay. What is it? Is there something going on with Henry you haven’t told me about? Is he having sex?”

“Emma.”

“What? He’s been on and off with Violet all year. You can’t tell me they’re not having sex already.”

“This has nothing to do with Henry,” Regina said and she took a few deep breaths to stay calm and to push the thoughts of Henry and his girlfriend out of her head that Emma had put in there. “And for the record, Henry is not having sex. I had this discussion with him just the other day and he informed me that Violet has taken a vow of abstinence until marriage.”

It was hard not to laugh at the exaggerated sigh of relief that fell past Emma’s lips. Emma’s relief was mirrored by Regina’s, but it still didn’t stop the worry both women had when it came to their son. She could tell by the way Emma’s eyes glazed over that she had definitely had more than a few beers with Ruby as she had claimed to, but Regina wasn’t going to call her on it, not when she was just enjoying being in Emma’s presence with the fire burning and a glass of delicious wine.

“So?” Emma asked and she stared down into her glass. “Should I go grab the bottle and we can have a refill?”

“We should wait, dear,” Regina replied. “I’d much rather have this discussion with you with a clear mind.”

“Oh?”

“Emma, the thing is…” Regina trailed off and a sudden bout of nerves hit her all at once. She shook her head and tried to smile while shaking off the nervousness. “I wanted to talk about us.”

“Us?”

“Yes, us,” Regina said simply. “Emma, you are my best friend.”

“You’re mine,” Emma grinned. “Wait, are you breaking up our friendship or something?”

“No,” Regina chuckled and she shook her head. You idiot. “Emma, we have known each other for six years and we’ve been through a lot together. I honestly don’t know what would’ve happened if we hadn’t pulled through everything together. Even in the last year—”

“Don’t jinx it, Regina!” Emma exclaimed and she nearly put a hand over Regina’s mouth but stopped short and let her hand fall on Regina’s shoulder. “It’s been nice not having to battle something or save the town or each other. Don’t fucking jinx it.”

Emma was serious and Regina just nodded. She took a sip of her wine and cleared her throat. Her nerves were heightened as Emma gave her shoulder a gentle squeeze before letting her hand fall to the space between them on the sofa.

“As I was saying, I don’t know what I would do without you in my life, Emma. You mean an awful lot to me,” Regina said and she frowned because things were not going quite as she had originally planned. “What I am trying to say, Emma, is that I love you. You are a part of my family as I am a part of yours.”

“I love you too, Regina. You are my best friend, my family and—”

“No, Emma,” Regina sighed. “I am in love with you.”

“You’re what?”

Regina swallowed thickly. That was not the reaction she had been hoping for, but then again she knew it was awfully presumptuous to believe that Emma may just have the same feelings for her. She had tried to prepare herself for heartbreak, as she was so used to experiencing all throughout her life, but she didn’t want this to end up the same way as all the others. She wanted Emma Swan, she wanted her more than she had ever wanted anyone else, and she wanted their relationship to grow, to blossom, to become her happy ending she’d been waiting for.

“I’m sorry,” Regina said when Emma didn’t say a word, didn’t move. “I shouldn’t have said anything at all.”

“Wait, let me get this straight,” Emma said and her voice was low and a little shaky. “First you tell me that you are in love with me and then you apologize?”

“Yes?”

Emma shook her head. “Why would you apologize?”

“Perhaps it is because I shouldn’t have said anything at all.”

“And you call me an idiot,” Emma chuckled lowly and she moved to place her nearly empty glass on the coffee table before doing the same with Regina’s glass. She took a deep breath as she took both of Regina’s hands in her own. “Regina, do you think you’re the only one who has these feelings? Do you think you’re the only one who keeps wondering if you should admit the truth about your feelings? Because you aren’t the only one, god, you definitely aren’t the only one.”

“I’m not?”

“I have feelings for you, very deep feelings for you,” Emma said and she licked her lips slowly as their eyes met and locked in a heady gaze. “Everyone has been talking around town. There have been rumors, gossip, that maybe we’re in a relationship and keeping it a secret from everyone, and I thought that hearing these things was making me think I had these feelings for you, but it only got me thinking.”

Regina stayed silent because she knew Emma needed a moment to collect her thoughts, to think before she spoke for once. She just glanced down at their joined hands and a small smile curled over her lips as she ran her thumbs over Emma’s lightly and felt Emma do the same.

“I feel these things around you, things I’ve never felt for anyone before, and for the longest time I’ve tried to ignore them because I didn’t want to lose what we have together. You’re my best friend, Regina, and what we have now is good. It works. Henry is happy, we’re happy, everything is good, right?”

Regina nodded and suddenly her mouth felt very dry. Emma had a way of talking about things in a roundabout way and she was trying to brace herself for rejection, disappointment, and heartbreak.

“After I saw you yesterday, I got thinking about a lot of things today. I thought about us, about what we have, about what could be, you know? I had no idea you felt the same way as I do,” Emma said and a smile slowly curled over her lips as their eyes met again. “I didn’t know if I was ready to fall in love with anyone again, not after Hook, but I realized something today.”

“What did you realize?”

Emma took a deep breath and laughed softly. “It’s kind of crazy.”

“Try me.”

“I think—no,” Emma said with a shake of her head and she gave Regina’s hands a gentle squeeze. “I know I’ve been in love with you for a long time, probably longer than I can admit, too.”

“Neverland.”

“What?”

“Neverland,” Regina repeated. “I have known I was in love with you since we were in Neverland, Emma.”

“Really?”

“Yes.”

“Neverland?” Emma let go of Regina’s hands then. “Really?”

“Yes, Emma.”

“When in Neverland?”

“The first was when you jumped into the water to stop us all from bickering and fighting,” Regina replied. “Then there were countless of other little moments, but at the time I was very much in denial. I think the one moment that really made me feel those feelings very strongly for you, was when you admitted you were an orphan. That you were a lost girl just like all those boys on that island. It made me realize that as different as we are, we are a lot alike in some ways as well.”

“You fell in love with me because I admitted to being an orphan?” Emma blinked in confusion. “Let’s not mention the conundrum that the whole reason I was an orphan in the first place was because—”

“Of me. I know, but that was not the sole reason, Emma. I saw you for who you truly were for the first time and I realized that you truly loved Henry as I do. I saw the strength you held inside of you, not just as the Savior, but also as Emma Swan. I saw your weaknesses and the power you had to try to break free of them once and for all. I saw a lot of things I never saw in you before then, and when we returned to Storybrooke I had thought for sure things would go right back to the way they had been before.”

“They didn’t, not really,” Emma replied. “I stood up for you.”

“One of many times you did without a second thought.”

“I’ve never seen you as the Evil Queen, Regina.”

“As you’ve told me many times over the years.”

“I’ve only ever seen you as Regina.”

“I know,” Regina grinned, unable to help herself as her heart began to race quickly. “You were the only other one who ever saw me as Regina aside from our son. I think knowing that, it made me hope that one day you would feel the same for me as I do for you.”

“Why didn’t you tell me before?”

“When would I have told you, Emma? After Neverland, Hook was in the picture and it was just one thing after another after that.”

“Not to mention you were with—well, you know,” Emma stammered, trying not to say his name. “We’ve never had good timing, have we?”

“With each other? No,” Regina replied sadly. “And I was supposed to be the one confessing, dear. You ended up with some of your own confessions.”

“Well, I was thinking about this all day,” Emma said with a slight shrug of her shoulders as the grin on her face widened. “For the record,” she said quietly. “I came over here planning to tell you. I didn’t have a plan per se or a speech, but I figured I could just wing it, wait for the right moment or something, you know?”

“Is that why you came over buzzed from a few beers with Ruby?” Regina asked and the look on Emma’s face gave it away. “You needed liquid courage, Miss Swan?”

“A little bit, yeah.”

“Why?”

Regina smiled at the adorable look on Emma’s face. She reached for her glass of wine and downed what was left before magically retrieving the bottle from the kitchen. Emma let out a grateful sigh as she grabbed her glass and Regina filled both before settling back on the sofa, her whole body almost turned towards Emma.

“I don’t know, I guess I was afraid of what would happen,” Emma finally answered. “It’s been a long day, okay. I had a lot to think about and figure out.”

Regina laughed and swirled the wine in her glass. “I should say that this is not how I expected my evening to turn out. I was fully prepared to spend it alone with Henry off at that party. Have a glass of wine or two before putting out the presents after Henry returns home and head off to bed.”

“When is he coming home?”

“I gave him a curfew for midnight, so,” Regina said as she glanced back at the clock on the mantel. “Four and a half hours from now.”

“So, you’re saying you want me to leave before Henry gets home?”

I want you to stay, Regina thought, but knew that was much too forward and much, much too soon to bring up. “It is up to you,” Regina said after a moment. “We do have an early start to the day as you were complaining about before. Is nine really too early for you, dear?”

“Yeah!” Emma said with a laugh. “I’ve been up at five every morning for weeks. I didn’t even get to sleep in this morning since I got a call just before six. Leroy again. Wouldn’t leave The Rabbit Hole when Claudia was closing so she ended up calling me in to take care of him. Wouldn’t it be easier if I just stayed here tonight?”

“Here?”

“You have a guest room that never gets used,” Emma muttered. “Or is that too presumptuous of me to assume you’d want me to stay over tonight?”

“I planned to make Henry and I breakfast at seven, so you are more than welcome to stay and join us.”

“Seven?” Emma groaned. “On Christmas morning, of all days, you want me to wake up before seven?”

“You not only eat like a child, but you act like one at times too, Miss Swan,” Regina said lowly, trying to keep a straight face and failing the moment Emma pouted. “See? Just like that, dear. That is the perfect example.”

Emma shook her head and she furrowed her brow before using a conjuring spell to magically make her overnight bag appear by the sofa along with a dozen of meticulously wrapped gifts. With a satisfied grin, she turned to look at Regina.

“You know, sometimes magic does come in handy.”

“Indeed.”

[X]

Emma splashed some cool water on her face and blindly reached for the soft towel that was on the rack by the sink. While she and Regina had been drinking wine, now on their second bottle of what Emma had brought over, they hadn’t talked about what they had both confessed to one another, their conversation focused on Henry and their plans for New Year’s Eve.

She was curious as to why Regina decided to tell her how she felt, why tonight of all nights when Emma had just randomly turned up at her door. Emma knew she would be alone most of the night with Henry off at the party with his friends and that was the sole reason she had decided to show up in the first place. The other was how she was going to tell Regina how she felt about her and that had caused her to have a few too many beers with Ruby at the diner before she worked up the courage to walk to the Mill’ house.

When she had come to the utter realization that she was hopelessly in love with her son’s adoptive mother, it had come to her early in the morning after a long, restless night. Of course, she had known before that point, but she had always spent more time and energy in denial. Denial was easier. Denial was safer. Denial was…lonely as hell.

She had spent a majority of the day completely distracted with a hundred different thoughts of Regina and how she was going to confess her feelings for the woman. At first, there was fear, fear she would lose her best friend, fear that things would change between them and that they wouldn’t have the happy little family dynamic that they had gotten used to with Henry. There was fear of rejection, of not being wanted, of being pushed away, chased off even. Then there was the fear of what her parents would think, what her friends would think, and the rest of the town too.

It had been Ruby who reminded her during that first beer they shared together at the diner that everyone already thought the two of them were in a secret relationship anyway. It was Ruby who informed Emma that her own mother had been talking about her and Regina, hoping that one day they’d both open their eyes and see what was right in front of them. Her own mother!

So most of her fears were wiped out by the end of the second beer, but by the third, she was growing increasingly nervous because she had to see Regina the very next day and spend the whole entire day with her and their family and their closest friends. By the fourth beer, she had talked herself into going to see Regina and bring along some wine too since it was something normal for them. She knew earlier that day that Henry was going to a party and that Regina would be home all alone.

Ruby had all but dared her to confess her feelings, though she hadn’t planned on saying that she was in love with Regina, just that she had some deep, strong feelings for her. She hadn’t really had much of a plan at all, but the slight buzz she had when she left Granny’s made her feel a little more confident than she truly was.

She had spent the whole day thinking about all the times those deep feelings had been stirred up and all the times she had ignored them. There was always something going on since she arrived in Storybrooke, so much that there were times she couldn’t just take a step back and reflect. Her therapy sessions with Archie over the last year had really opened up her mind to everything and he had been helping her get over a lot of deeply stemmed issues from her childhood and even some of the things she’d had to deal with since discovering she was the Savior.

They spoke about Regina from time to time, but never how she felt about her, though she had admitted to Archie that she loved Regina. He never questioned her further on that declaration, just told her it was a natural course since they had become good friends and were co-parenting Henry.

Her next session would be a doozy that was for sure.

“Emma?” Regina called out tentatively before knocking on the door. “Are you all right in there?”

“Yeah,” Emma replied. “I’ll be right out.”

She ran her fingers through her hair and took a good, long look at herself in the mirror before she walked out of the powder room to find Regina waiting out in the hall for her. Emma stopped as she took in the sight of Regina, every inch of her, her eyes dragging along as she allowed them to freely roam around her body. Regina was, without a doubt, the sexiest woman Emma had ever known, and now that their feelings had been confessed and were very much mutual, she didn’t find the need to try to hide the fact that she found Regina incredibly attractive.

“Would you like to help me put the presents under the tree before we have another glass, Emma?”

“Sure. Of course.”

“Come with me,” Regina instructed as she turned on her heels and headed for the stairs. “I’ve put most of the presents in the attic. I even had to resort to using a cloaking spell because our son is a little too curious for his own good.”

Emma chuckled and followed Regina up the winding staircase and then down the upstairs hallway to the stairs that led up to the third floor. Emma could feel the spell as they reached the top of the third floor and she chuckled again as Regina recited a simple incantation that revealed the pile of presents she had laid out.

“Regina, you—we got him a car, I think he’ll be good with that as his only present you know?”

“These aren’t just for Henry, dear,” Regina said and she started to hand Emma a few boxes, piling one on top of the other. “These are for everyone. Even you.”

“Couldn’t we just magic these downstairs and under the tree?”

“And ruin the fun?”

“Says the one who is not holding six presents that weigh a ton!” Emma groaned and she laughed when Regina winked at her. God, she loved that woman, and now that she could openly admit it to herself, she was seeing all the signs that Regina felt the same way that she had been so blind to before.

“Magic should not be used carelessly, Emma. Did you not learn anything from the lessons I gave you years ago?”

“Oh, I learned a lot, especially when you let me almost fall to my death when the bridge collapsed.”

“You didn’t die,” Regina stated as she stacked a pile of much smaller boxes before picking them up. “You learned a very valuable lesson that day, Emma.”

“Sure. If you say so.”

Emma didn’t bother to argue the fact that Regina had magically retrieved that bottle of wine earlier which would fall under the classification of using magic carelessly. She had learned to pick her battles with Regina a long time ago and that wasn’t one of them, at least not today it was.

“Did you not get Henry anything else?” Regina asked as they made their way down the stairs together. “You don’t think that giving him a car is enough, do you?”

“Of course I got him something else, Regina,” Emma replied. “I got him some new comic books—”

“He is not a child anymore.”

“I know that,” Emma said and she frowned. “These are collector’s items. Not to be read kind of deal. He’ll appreciate them, Regina.”

“Anything else?”

“He’s been writing a lot more lately,” Emma said and she followed Regina down the hallway before they descended the stairs down to the main floor. “I picked up a gorgeous, leather-bound journal for him and a fancy pen that will never run out of ink.”

“A magic pen?”

“Well, the package says seven years, so it’s a seven year pen,” Emma laughed and even though Regina was in front of her, she knew the woman had just rolled her eyes. “After you told me about the car, I wasn’t sure what to get him. How can I top that present, Regina?”

“It’s not a competition and besides, we are giving him the car, Emma.”

“Right.”

“I got him some new clothes. That boy still hasn’t stopped growing.”

“Clothes are boring.”

“But a necessity and you know it is like pulling teeth trying to get him to go to the store and buy new clothes. There is nothing wrong with getting him clothes for Christmas.”

“I never said there was anything wrong with it, just that getting clothes for a present are boring presents, especially for a sixteen-year-old boy.”

Emma could practically feel Regina’s irritation as they worked together to lay out the presents under the beautiful tree in the den. Two more trips later and there were over a hundred presents of all different sizes laid out under and around the tree. Emma’s were there too, obvious in the different type of wrapping paper and style that Regina had used for her presents, but in an odd way, they looked like they truly did belong there. Emma smiled as she stared down at all the presents. Henry was a lucky kid to have a mother who loved to spoil him every once in a while.

She watched Regina perform a simple cloaking spell to hide the presents until the morning. She almost asked why Regina didn’t do that before when she felt the barrier and knew that even someone without magic, like Henry, would’ve been able to feel it if he so much as walked near the Christmas tree.

“Why don’t we finish that bottle in here?” Regina asked once she’d dimmed the lights and the only light came from the sparkling lights on the tree. “It used to be mine and Henry’s favorite thing to do on Christmas Eve.”

“Sure,” Emma smiled at her. “I’ll go get the wine and—hey!” Emma laughed when she saw the bottle and their glasses sitting on the coffee table. “What was that you said about using magic carelessly?”

“I meant you using magic carelessly, dear,” Regina chuckled lowly and she settled down on the plush couch with a heavy sigh. “Thank you for your help.”

“So, you’ll use magic for the wine, but not for the presents? We made three trips, Regina, and you made me carry the heaviest ones!”

Regina laughed again and Emma felt that wonderfully delicious and warm buzz course through her body as she settled down on the couch beside Regina. She watched the twinkling of the Christmas tree lights cast shadows on Regina’s face and suddenly all she could think of was kissing the woman next to her. Just thinking of how soft Regina’s lips would be, what she would taste like, how she would kiss, it had her heart racing in seconds.

After their declaration that they definitely had feelings that were more than just friendly, neither had made the first move to take things to the next level. Emma felt like she was in middle school all over again and gathering up the courage to kiss someone for the first time. She wasn’t sure where they stood now. Would Regina reject her or would Regina accept that move and allow Emma to kiss her the way she was dreaming of in that very moment?

Emma’s palms felt sweaty and her lips suddenly dry, but she didn’t reach for her wine glass and noticed Regina had yet to do the same. Was Regina waiting for her to make the first move? Of everyone Emma had ever kissed, she had never thought twice about it, but then again, she’d never fallen in love with someone like Regina Mills before either.

“Isn’t it beautiful?” Regina whispered and it broke Emma out of her trance.

“Yeah.”

“The tree, Miss Swan.”

“I’m looking at something far more beautiful than the tree,” Emma said and even in the twinkling light, she could see the slight blush that crept over Regina’s cheeks and she grinned. “So very beautiful.”

The wine had given her that extra bit of courage she knew she’d lack without and she reached out to gently cup Regina’s face with both hands. She could feel the heat from Regina’s flushed cheeks as she stroked her thumbs over them lightly. Slowly, ever so slowly, she leaned in to kiss her, her lips wavering as the nerves suddenly took over and she nearly stopped short of pressing her lips against Regina’s warm ones.

Emma’s heart was racing so quickly that she was sure she was about to have a heart attack, but when Regina grabbed at the back of her neck and pulled her in closer to kiss her fully, the nerves all but flew out of the window so to speak and Emma melted into the kiss completely. It was slow and tentative, soft and lingering. And it only made Emma want more. She needed more.

Regina moaned as Emma parted her lips and ran the tip of her tongue over Regina’s bottom lip. She felt Regina smile before she parted her lips and allowed Emma to deepen the kiss. Emma could taste the wine as she kissed Regina thoroughly and the wine tasted a thousand times better just lingering on Regina’s lips and tongue.

Regina tangled her hand in Emma’s hair and tugged gently, pulling a soft, whimpering moan past Emma’s lips. Emma moved her hands down to grasp onto Regina’s hips and she pulled her closer to her, sliding her the last few inches along the couch cushion and stopped herself from pulling Regina onto her lap. Regina, however, had other ideas and Emma pulled back from the kiss with a surprised gasp when Regina moved to straddle her thighs.

“We’re not going too fast?” Emma whispered as she stared up into Regina’s darkening eyes. “Regina?”

“We’re just kissing,” Regina whispered back. “Just…kissing.”

Regina pulled Emma back in for another kiss and there was nothing slow, soft, or tentative about it that time. Regina kept her right hand at the back of Emma’s neck and her fingers tangled in her hair and with the other, she reached for Emma’s hand and placed it on her hip, a silent plea for Emma to touch her. The moment Regina moved her left hand to rest on Emma’s shoulder, Emma smoothed both hands over the curve of Regina’s hips and tugged at the white blouse she had tucked into her slacks.

The sudden need to feel Regina’s skin under her fingertips was too overwhelming and her arousal was building with the erotic dance of their tongues that just continued to intensify. Emma tugged at Regina’s blouse until it came free from the waistband of her slacks and she smiled into the kiss as she smoothed her palms over the soft skin of Regina’s lower back.

The full body shiver that followed was one that Emma wanted to feel again and from the way Regina moaned and tried to press her body hard into Emma’s despite their position, only urged Emma to take things just another step further.

“Emma,” Regina murmured as Emma trailed light kisses along her jaw and down her neck. “Emma…”

“Do you want me to stop?”

“No.”

Emma smiled against Regina’s soft skin and inhaled deeply before lightly nipping at her pulse point that was racing just as hard and fast as her own heart was. She slipped her hands further up Regina’s back, marveling at how soft and warm her skin was and she needed to feel more. She stopped when her fingertips brushed against the edge of Regina’s bra and she slowly swept her hands back down her back as she nipped lightly at her pulse point before moving to lick along her exposed collarbone. She leaned back and stared at Regina’s chest and the straining button of her blouse before she reached up to deftly flick it open, exposing just a tiny bit of the white lace bra she wore underneath.

“Emma.”

“Do you want me to stop?” Emma asked again and when Regina’s breath hitched, she flicked open the next button, further exposing Regina to her suddenly very hungry gaze. “Regina? Do you want to stop?”

“No.”

Emma undid the third button and leaned forward to kiss along the swell of Regina’s breasts, taking her time as she focused on the way Regina’s body reacted. With the tip of her tongue, she teased it under Regina’s bra, tasting the slight saltiness to her skin, and it only made her crave so much more, but before she could take it one step further, Regina tugged hard on her hair and pulled her back up for another kiss, one that was all lips, teeth, and tongue.

The moment Regina bit her bottom lip and sucked hard was the moment she lost the last of her self-control. Her libido was raging and her body reacting to every moan, sigh, gasp, and whimper that fell past Regina’s lips.

But, even with her inhibitions unrestrained because of the buzz from the wine, Emma knew she had to put a stop to things before they went too far. With a gentle bite to Regina’s upper lip, she pulled back from the kiss slowly and exhaled. She felt Regina tremble as she ran her hands over Regina’s hips, urging her body to stop giving into temptation.

Then, in an instant, she found herself drowning in Regina’s dark, lustful eyes, and she all but threw out the last of her restraint and self-control as she crushed their lips back together in another hungrily wanton kiss. She moaned when Regina tugged at her light gray sweater and they parted only long enough for Regina to pull it over her head and left her in only the thin tank top she wore underneath. Though the room was warm, Emma could feel her nipples hardening into stiff peaks. She shifted under Regina’s weigh and grasped onto Regina’s hips, torn between pulling her impossibly closer and pushing her away to put a stop to everything.

Instead, Emma found a burst of confidence that came with a strong wave of arousal and she picked Regina up slightly, turning to lay her back on the couch as she hovered above her with one knee between Regina’s partially spread thighs. She leaned back and casually slipped the hair elastic off of her right wrist and pulled her hair back to put it into a loose ponytail. She took a moment just to look down at Regina’s flushed face and kiss-swollen lips before she leaned down to kiss her again.

Regina hooked a leg around Emma’s hip and pulled her flush down against her. She felt Regina smirk against her lips and she pulled back just enough to stare into Regina’s eyes.

“If you’re going to be bold, Emma, don’t hold back.”

“I thought we were just kissing?” Emma whispered and the laugh that came from Regina was husky, low, and incredibly sexy. “Right?”

“Yes, but…”

“But?”

Regina rolled her hip against Emma’s thigh and the move took Emma by surprise. Emma gasped as she could feel the heat radiating off of Regina through their clothes and her mind became hazy and murky with longing desire. Emma grasped at the couch cushions as she rolled her hips down, seeking out more contact with Regina even with the barrier of their clothes in place. Regina reached up and slipped a hand behind Emma’s neck, urging her down for another deep and passionate kiss. The harder and deeper they kissed, the more they moved against one another and Emma could barely control her libido.

With one hand, she ran her palm down Regina’s outer thigh and around the curve of her ass. She squeezed a little to test the waters and the breathy gasp she felt against her lips only made her want more. And more. And more.

Emma pressed her thigh harder between Regina’s legs and her arousal continued to course through her body quickly. Her body reminded her just how long it has been since she’d been intimate with anyone and she groaned into the kiss as she fought with what her body wanted and her subconscious that was screaming at her to slow down. To stop.

God, she didn’t want to stop.

And neither did Regina as she slipped her hands under Emma’s tank top and scratched her short, manicured nails across her back. To her, it was an unspoken plea to continue, to take yet another step, to test more waters. Her body stilled as Regina’s palms slowly slipped up her back, around her sides, and possessively cupped her braless breasts. Regina’s thumbs glided over her hard nipples and Emma moaned, her back arching and pressed her breasts into Regina’s hands.

Even as a bottom, Regina was quickly showing her she was in control. She pushed Emma back until Emma knelt between her legs and she sat up, slowly moving her hands down to the hem of Emma’s tank top, her eyes asking permission. Emma licked her lips and helped her, pulling off her tank top and she tossed it to the floor. Regina’s heady, hungry gaze as she stared at her bare breasts and hard, taut nipples was nearly enough to send Emma over the edge.

“Just kissing, right?” Emma murmured as Regina leaned in to pepper feather-light kisses along the top of her breasts just below her collarbone. “Regina.”

“Just. Kissing.”

Emma’s eyes slid shut at the feel of Regina languidly dragging her tongue along a hard nipple. The instant Regina wrapped her delectable lips around the hard peak and sucked, Emma knew she was so far gone and she knew there was no way in hell she wanted to stop now. She needed to know what Regina’s lips and tongue felt like everywhere. She ran her fingers through Regina’s hair a few times before grasping the back on her neck and urging her back up to her lips for another kiss.

Slowly she stood up from the couch, pulling Regina with her as they kissed wildly. She blindly undid the last of the buttons on Regina’s blouse and all but tore it off of her, eliciting a gasp from Regina when she tossed it to the floor. She pulled Regina closer to her as she ran her palms up Regina’s smooth back, stopping when she reached the clasp of her bra.

With a grin mid-kiss, Emma deftly flicked it open and she pulled the lacy bra free, letting it drop to the floor as Regina began to back her up away from the couch. Emma held her close, loving the warmth and softness of Regina’s bare upper body against hers, needing and wanting, craving to feel more. She gasped when her back hit the frame of the door leading to the foyer and Regina was relentless as she trailed her lips along Emma’s jaw and down her neck to suck at her pulse point while her hands roamed freely over Emma’s breasts and abdomen.

Regina grinned as she leaned back to look at her and the longing and desire were so very clear in her eyes. Emma had never seen her look sexier than she did in that moment, and god, she needed Regina. In every single way.

Regaining some control, Emma wrapped her arms around Regina and started towards the bottom of the staircase. Neither said a word as they stumbled across the foyer together. It was Regina who reached for Emma’s button on her tight jeans just as they reached the bottom step and Emma toed her way out of her shoes as Regina fumbled with the button. Still, they said not a word and Emma just winked when Regina finally got the button and zipper undone and she started to walk backward up the stairs.

Regina growled and Emma wiggled her eyebrows and watched her kick off her heels and come up the stairs after her. They barely made it to the landing before they were kissing again and Regina was desperately grasping at Emma’s jeans in an attempt to get them off. Emma slowed the kiss down to just a lingering of their lips and gasping breaths mingling and she helped Regina slip the tight jeans down over her hips. She stepped backward while stepping out of the jeans, leaving her in only a pair of white socks and black lace panties.

Emma reached out to grab onto the waistband of Regina’s slacks and they crushed their lips back together in another heated kiss. Emma fumbled to find a zipper, a button, a clasp, anything and Regina chuckled lowly as she suddenly pulled back from Emma’s lips and shook her head.

Emma tried to steady her breathing as she watched Regina reach to the left side of her pants just over her hip and she pulled down a delicately hidden zipper and gave a little shake of her hips that allowed her slacks to fall down her legs and pool at her feet. Regina simply raised an eyebrow at Emma appreciative gaze and reached for her hands as she led Emma up the stairs wearing only heels and a barely-there white thong.

“Fuck,” Emma murmured under her breath as Regina turned around to walk ahead of her and she was treated to the delicious sight of Regina’s perfectly sculpted ass. “Wouldn’t it be quicker if we just…”

“If we just what?” Regina asked as she glanced over her shoulder. She winked as she stepped out of her heels on the third step to the top and Emma scrambled to catch up the feet steps she’d fallen behind. “Are you coming, darling?”

Arousing warmth spread through Emma at hearing Regina call her “darling” and she just nodded as she caught up to her at the top of the stairs and wrapped her arms around Regina from behind. Her lips easily found their way to Regina’s bare shoulder and she ran her hands over the smoothness of Regina’s bare abdomen, each step leading to Regina’s bedroom feeling like it was taking an eternity. Regina placed her hands over Emma’s and guided them up to the swell of her breasts and Emma sucked on the junction between her shoulder and neck as her palms slid over hard nipples.

The moan that fell past Regina’s lips vibrated through Emma’s whole body and straight to her core. She trailed her right hand down Regina’s abdomen, her fingers lightly tickling over her skin and she pushed Regina up against the wall in the hallway just as her fingers skimmed over the top of her barely there thong. Emma held her breath as she deftly slipped her fingers inside and through the very closely cropped hair over Regina’s pubic bone. A slight roll of Regina’s hips encouraged her to continue on her descent and as she slipped her fingers through Regina’s folds, her legs buckled at the feel of just how wet Regina was for her.

“Emma.”

God, she loved the way Regina said her name like that, all husky and low, her voice thick with arousal. She continued to kiss and suck along Regina’s neck and shoulder as she slicked her fingers through wet, hot heat, her movements confined by the tight thong and their current position. She rolled a hard nipple between her forefinger and thumb before slipping her hand out of Regina’s thong.

“Emma,” Regina murmured as Emma lifted her hand and Regina turned to watch her as Emma slipped her fingers into her mouth to taste Regina’s arousal that coated them completely.

Emma moaned at the taste of her, musky yet sweet. She grinned at the feral look in Regina’s eyes and she barely slipped her fingers out of her mouth before Regina was spinning around and claiming her lips once again. Emma slipped her hands down to grasp onto Regina’s ass and Regina gasped in surprise when Emma effortlessly lifted her up into her arms.

“Bedroom,” Emma murmured against her lips. “Now.”

She felt Regina nod as she kissed her deeply, her hunger for the woman desperately needing to be sated. She took a few steps down the carpeted floor and stopped, allowing Regina back down to her feet. Regina pulled back from the kiss with a sensual smile dancing over her kiss-swollen lips and she reached for both of Emma’s hands and blindly led her to the open doorway of her bedroom.

The moment they stepped past the threshold, neither held back any longer. It was all passion, all need, all hands, lips, tongue, and teeth. The short walk from the door to the bed had them both fighting for control and Emma landed on her back on the bed suddenly.

“Damn,” she chuckled as Regina moved to straddle her thighs. “Like to be on top, your majesty?”

“Yes.”

“I can work with that.”

“Good.”

They kissed soft and slow, a stark contrast to the frenzied kissing that had happened just moments before, and when Emma tried to tug down Regina’s thong over her hips, Regina pulled back and shook her head no. Without a word, Regina gave her a look, a warning, and Emma let her hands fall to her sides against the mattress as Regina dipped her head down to kiss along her neck.

Regina teased her tongue along Emma’s skin and made a slow descent down to her breasts and her achingly hard nipples. With the first swipe of Regina’s tongue over her left peak, she suddenly knew what it felt like to be worshiped. Her whole body was buzzing and it wasn’t just from the wine anymore, but from the driving need for more, to be touched by none other than Regina Mills.

And Regina didn’t seem to be in a hurry, laving at one nipple with her tongue before teasingly pulling at it with her teeth in a way that sent wave after wave of unadulterated arousal through Emma’s body. Emma clenched her fists at her sides and then gave up on holding back as she placed her hands on the back of Regina’s shoulders and urged her closer. She dug her nails into Regina’s skin as Regina scraped her teeth over her sensitive nub.

“Regina,” Emma moaned out almost breathlessly. “Jesus…”

Regina hummed as she sucked on her nipple before she languidly dragged the tip of her tongue across her breast to the other. She hummed again before wrapping her lips around Emma’s aching nipple that was straining, starving for attention. She teased her with her tongue and teeth and Emma scratched her short nails over Regina’s shoulders as she felt her panties growing damper with every flick and every bite and every hard suck.

Regina lifted her head after a few minutes and licked her lips with a longing desire in her eyes. Those few seconds gave Emma a moment to wonder how they had gone from just kissing downstairs to practically naked on Regina’s bed. Of course she knew how, but her brain was foggy from the wine and she was drunk on the heavy arousal that continued to course through her body.

Emma ran her hands over Regina’s shoulders once more before sinking her fingers into Regina’s thick, short hair, and she pulled her down for a kiss. She had hoped to distract Regina long enough to roll them over so she could do what she had dreamed of so many times on lonely, quiet nights alone in her bed, dreams she wished she hadn’t been in denial about all that time. But Regina was ready for just about anything, including Emma’s failed attempt to take control.

“Eager?” Regina purred and Emma moaned as Regina settled her weight on her lower abdomen. “Patience.”

Emma could feel how wet Regina was through the barely there thong she still had on and it only served to turn her on to the point of no return—not that she wasn’t already there already or anything. Emma shook her head and exhaled sharply as Regina moved to kneel between her legs.

“When you look at me like that,” Emma murmured as Regina’s eyes swept along her nearly naked body. “It’s hard to be patient, Regina.”

Regina chuckled throatily and she moved her hands until they were both hovering over Emma’s panties. Emma inhaled sharply when she felt the slight tingle of magic and then glanced down to see that Regina had magicked her panties away. Regina was bold as she swept her hands up Emma’s inner thighs and slowly parted her legs wider, revealing Emma completely to her hungry eyes.

Regina raked her eyes over Emma’s body appreciatively before she lifted her right hand to her lips and licked her fingers slowly. With a grin, Regina slipped her hand between Emma’s thighs and slicked her fingers through Emma’s folds. She felt Regina tremble at the first touch just as she did and Emma tried to resist the urge to beg Regina for more.

Her hips betrayed her and buckled at Regina’s soft yet sure touch. She closed her eyes at Regina’s hum of approval and Emma silently thanked the Powers That Be that she had groomed thoroughly that morning in the shower. She stilled when she felt Regina’s hot breath against her abdomen just below her navel and exhaled a shuddery breath when Regina placed a single, feather-light kiss to her skin. Her fists balled up tightly at her sides and she grasped at Regina’s soft duvet as Regina placed another light kiss to her skin just a little lower than the last.

Emma moaned, her whole body betraying her as nothing but need took over completely. She was on the verge of losing every last ounce of her control, of resorting to begging Regina just to touch her, kiss her, lick her, and fuck her.

“Gina,” Emma murmured. “Regina, please.”

Regina hummed as she placed another kiss, one just shy of the strip of closely cropped hair just under her pubic bone. Her eyes flew open and she leaned up on her elbows to watch as Regina made a slow descent those last few minuscule inches to where she wanted to feel those lips and tongue most. She was greeted with the most erotic sight of Regina moving further down her body and between her legs, one that not even her wildest fantasies held a candle to. This moment blew apart any fantasies she had in the past the involved Regina, this moment didn’t even come close to the things she’d imagined.

This was better. So much better.

Regina slipped further down and kissed along her inner thighs, alternating between one and then the other as she teased her fingers over Emma’s sensitive clit. As she exhaled against her cunt, Emma resisted the urge to sink her hands into Regina’s thick hair and she watched and waited with bated breath as Regina leaned forward those last few inches and took her first taste.

It was enough to send her body into overdrive and Emma gasped and moaned breathlessly as Regina licked the length of her once more. Emma trembled as Regina pulled back with a teasing smirk dancing over her moist lips. She turned to Emma’s right thigh and bit hard enough to leave a mark but not hard enough to hurt. It only served to turn Emma on tremendously more and she grasped at the duvet and fell back, her arms giving out.

Regina moaned as she dove right back in, her tongue no longer teasing as she licked Emma’s cunt thoroughly, hitting the right spots the first time as if she’d done it a thousand times before. She wrapped her lips around Emma’s throbbing clit and slipped two fingers inside her with ease and it was nearly enough to send Emma tumbling over the edge in ecstasy.

Regina stilled almost completely, holding her on that edge but not allowing her to succumb and fall over, as she was more than ready to. Emma moved her hands to Regina’s head and threaded her fingers through Regina’s hair, coaxing her to continue.

Emma’s whole body was thrumming in pleasure as Regina moaned, the vibration causing her clit to twitch and throb. Regina pressed Emma’s thighs further apart and continued to lick and suck her clit as she slowly, steadily slipped her two fingers in and out. Each time Emma was about to tumble over the edge, Regina would resume to teasing her endlessly until she tugged on Regina’s hair, silently begging for more. After the third time of bringing Emma nearly to the edge, Regina was relentless as she pumped her fingers inside of Emma and sucked hard on her clit, bringing her over the edge quickly as her orgasm crashed through her body all at once.

“Regina!” Emma cried out, her back arching off the bed as Regina thrust her fingers deep inside of her and kept them there as Emma rode out her intense orgasm.

Emma collapsed after a few minutes, her body deliciously spent and yet, despite the intensity of her orgasm, she was already craving more. Regina teasingly licked at her sensitive flesh as she withdrew her fingers excruciatingly slowly, drawing out each tremor as they continued to flutter through Emma’s entire body.

Regina hummed as she moved to kneel between Emma’s legs and she licked her lips in a wickedly sinful way. “Delicious,” she purred. “Simply exquisite.”

Emma sat up slowly and reached out for Regina, pulling her down onto her lap as their lips met in a slow, sensual kiss. She grinned against Regina’s lips as she maneuvered her around with ease until Regina lay on her back and Emma hovered just slightly above her. She moved to lay at Regina’s right side as she ran her hand lightly down Regina’s smooth abdomen. She parted from the kiss to catch her breath as her fingers skimmed along the slight dip just above Regina’s hip.

“May I return the favor?” Emma whispered and the way Regina’s eyes darkened with lust had her growing wet again. “Yes?”

“Yes.”

Emma laughed lightly and shook her head before she captured Regina’s lips in another slow, deep, passionate kiss. It was only then that she realized they weren’t fucking, they were making love, and it was something she had never experienced before in her life. It was thrilling just as it was a tad intimidating, but pleasure and lust and the desire, the urge to consume Regina and worship her was overwhelming.

With a teasing tug on Regina’s thong, she began to trail her lips down Regina’s jaw and down the smooth column of her neck. She could feel Regina’s pulse racing as she let her lips linger there and she inhaled deeply before sucking at Regina’s pulse point just hard enough to leave a slight little bruise. As she moved down her neck, licking, nipping, and sucking lightly, she quickly grew addicted to the way that Regina’s skin tasted and she wanted more.

Emma didn’t feel the need to rush, but the need to take her time and taste every inch of Regina that she could. She focused on the way Regina’s breath would hitch when she reached a particularly sensitive spot just below Regina’s collarbone. She lingered there, teasing at that very spot with her lips, tongue, and teeth until Regina cried out into the quiet of the room and grasped onto Emma’s shoulders in a silent plea for her to continue.

Emma tugged teasingly at Regina’s thong once more, slipping the tips of her fingers under the waistband and down along the side until she felt the soft brush of Regina’s trimmed hair hidden beneath. She moaned as she slipped her fingers free and ran just a single fingertip down over Regina’s pussy through the thin material, gasping in delight when she could feel just how wet Regina was for her. Because of her. She wasn’t just wet. She was soaked. She ran her finger over her once more and grinned against the soft flesh of Regina’s left breast as Regina’s body trembled at the soft touch.

“Emma,” Regina murmured. “Don’t tease me.”

“You have a double standard, don’t you?” Emma chuckled as she lifted her head to look into Regina’s eyes. “You can tease me but I can’t tease you?”

“Emma.”

“Patience, my Queen,” Emma whispered. “Patience. Let me love you the way that you deserve to be loved.”

“I want you to fuck me the way that I need to be fucked,” Regina said with a low growl that sent a jolt of arousal through Emma’s body. “Emma.”

“No,” Emma whispered and she dipped her head down to tease her tongue over Regina’s semi-erect nipple. “You need to be loved, Regina. Fucking can wait until after I’m done showing you and giving you all that you deserve and need. After, I can give you what you want.”

“Emma…” Regina sighed out as Emma wrapped her lips around the semi-erect nipple and sucked hard. “Gods, you have no idea what you are doing to me right now, do you?”

“I have an idea,” Emma murmured around the hardening peak and she ran her fingers over Regina’s center once more, eliciting a pleasurable sigh past Regina’s lips. “I have a very good idea.”

Emma let her palm slide up Regina’s abdomen as she licked languidly over one nipple before moving to the other. She truly couldn’t get enough of the way Regina’s skin tasted and she didn’t know how much longer she could wait to fully taste her, all of her. It didn’t matter that Emma barely could remember her brief encounters with random women from her early twenties, women she’d met in bars while drunk and looking for a good time. It didn’t matter that she felt inexperienced because she had a feeling that no matter what she did, no matter how she touched Regina, loved her, that Regina would enjoy every last second of it and then some.

Emma lifted her head to look up into Regina’s eyes and she grinned at the lustful look in Regina’s eyes. She could spend hours just staring at the woman in the state she currently was in, but as she moved to kneel between Regina’s legs, she could feel the heat coming off of her body in waves and she could feel the need along with their magic, the connection they had through their magic, more than she’d ever felt it before. It was intoxicating, but not as intoxicating as the taste of Regina’s skin beneath her lips as she trailed feather-light kisses down her abdomen.

Regina trembled beneath her as she licked at a particularly sensitive spot to the right of her navel. She trailed a hand down the side of Regina’s hip and teased her fingers under the waistband of Regina’s thong. She inhaled deeply, her nose filling with the sweet smell of Regina’s skin and the hint of Regina’s arousal she could smell more clearly as she moved lower. She shifted on her knees and leaned back as she hooked both thumbs under the waistband and eased them down. Her eyes met Regina’s once again and Regina lifted her hips up off the bed a little and placed her hands over Emma’s to help her slide the thong down.

She tried to still her own trembling hands as she pulled the thong down, her eyes trailing down Regina’s beautiful naked body languidly. She swallowed thickly as she shifted on her knees and let her eyes linger on the closely cropped dark hair that slowly was revealed as she slipped the thong down lower ever so slowly. The scent of Regina’s arousal slowly wafted into the air and she inhaled the scent as she dipped her head down to place a lingering kiss just above the line of hair on Regina’s pubic bone.

It was quiet, save for the breathy gasps that fell past Regina’s lips with ever lingering kiss Emma placed on her mound. Emma held her breath as she pulled the thong lower, watching as the thin material stuck to Regina’s wet skin just a little and she exhaled sharply as she pulled them further down her thighs. Regina’s hands were still on hers, her fingers stroking along the back and her wrists lightly. She leaned back and lifted Regina’s legs off the mattress and pulled the thong off completely before haphazardly tossing it to the floor behind her.

“Emma,” Regina whispered, her voice sounding almost needy and desperate.

“You are beautiful,” Emma murmured under her breath. She kissed the inside of one knee before moving to the other, and when Regina trembled again, she smoothed her palms up Regina’s inner thighs as her legs fell back to the bed and she spread her open, devouring her with her eyes. “So fucking beautiful.”

The sight of how wet Regina truly was had her mesmerized. She could see her just glistening as her hands neared the apex of her thighs. The scent of her arousal was so strong that Emma could practically taste her. She kissed the inside of one thigh and moved to the other as she ran her thumbs over Regina’s bare, wet folds. The way that Regina moaned and gasped only edged her on more and it was the way that Regina said her name again that gave her all the confidence she’d been lacking before in closing that last little distance between them.

From the first tentative lick, Emma’s heart began to race wildly, and she licked the length of Regina’s cunt boldly as she spread her lips with her thumbs to get a thorough taste of her. She focused on the way that Regina’s body reacted very closely, finding those sensitive spots with relative ease. It was clear after a few minutes that Regina responded to a different approach than the one she’d used on Emma before. She didn’t respond well to penetration with Emma’s fingers, but with her tongue, it was a whole different story and Emma was so sure that if Regina tugged on her ponytail any harder, she’d yank out her hair.

Emma used one thumb to circle over Regina’s hard little clit while she spread her folds with her other fingers and plunged her tongue inside her clenching, hot hole as deeply and quickly as she could. She sucked at the soft flesh, tasting more of Regina as she did, and Regina nearly bucked her off the bed as she cried out her name and moved her hands to grasp at the duvet cover instead.

Regina came hard within minutes, much quicker than Emma had. Emma made a mental note as she watched Regina’s body twitch from her sudden orgasm to tease her as Regina had done to her the next time. As Regina came down from her high, Emma sucked and nipped at the skin of her inner right thigh, marking her.

She nuzzled her face just below the spot she’d marked and she slowly crawled up Regina’s body until she could dip her head down to claim Regina’s lips in a slow, sensual kiss. Their tongues swirled in a slow dance together as Regina wrapped her arms around Emma and pulled her flush on top of her, both moaning as they became immersed within one another.

“This is turning out to be the best Christmas ever,” Emma whispered into the kiss.

“Yes, indeed it is, darling.”

A delicious shiver ran through Emma’s body at the way Regina called her darling, and she kissed her thoroughly until they both broke apart gasping for a much-needed breath.

“Merry Christmas, Regina.”

“Merry Christmas, Emma.”

Emma squealed as Regina suddenly rolled her over and straddled her hips with an almost evil glint in her brown eyes. Emma bit her bottom lip as Regina slipped a hand between their bodies and slicked her fingers through Emma’s folds teasingly, the suddenly hungry look in her eyes telling Emma that they were far from finished.

They were only just beginning and in more ways than one.

[X]

Regina wasn’t sure what time it was when she opened her eyes, but it was still dark and she knew it wasn’t quite morning yet. She stretched out under the sheets and smiled as she felt the warmth of Emma’s body against her back. Her body was deliciously sore and she could still faintly feel the few love bites that Emma had left behind too.

Regina couldn’t even remember when they had fallen asleep, but she remembered every second of the few hours they completely ravished one another. Being with Emma was unlike anything she had ever experienced before and even now, as her body protested just the slightest of movement, she still wanted more. She wasn’t sure she’d ever quite get enough of Emma Swan, especially not after the night they’d just shared.

She sighed as she slowly eased away from Emma’s warm body and turned to lay on her back. Emma was laying on her side with her back to her, but it didn’t matter since Regina knew she wasn’t one to cuddle—she had said so in the sleepy moments before exhaustion had taken over and they’d given into the pull of sleep. She watched Emma for a moment, watched the steady rise and fall of her torso as she slept soundly, and she resisted the urge to reach out to smooth her hand along the expanse of Emma’s bare back.

Driven by the need to quench her thirst, Regina slipped out of bed and grabbed her gray robe off the back of her closet door and slipped it on. A quick glance at the clock to find it was nearly six o’clock had her in a sudden panic.

She hadn’t heard Henry come home last night.

They had most of their clothes strewn about in the den.

Regina quickly walked out of the bedroom and she was careful to shut the door quietly behind her before she tightened the belt on her robe and made her way down the hallway to Henry’s bedroom. Another wave of panic washed over her when she found his bed was empty. She headed downstairs and her panic briefly subsided when she saw his boots that he’d left by the front door. She headed for the kitchen and stopped short in the doorway when she saw Henry sitting at the island counter sipping from a glass of orange juice while the coffee maker just began to brew a fresh pot of coffee.

“Good morning,” Regina said quietly. “Merry Christmas, Henry.”

“Merry Christmas, Mom.”

“You’re up awfully early,” she said as she made her way to the refrigerator and pulled out the bottle of orange juice. “Are you excited about today, dear?”

“I couldn’t sleep,” he said with a nonchalant shrug. “What are you doing up so early, Mom?”

Regina frowned and grabbed a clean glass to pour a glass of juice that she nearly downed right away. “I guess I couldn’t sleep any longer,” she said once she placed the glass down on the counter.

“And Emma?”

“She’s still sleeping,” Regina said and she felt her cheeks grow hot as Henry just stared at her and raised an eyebrow. “What? That honestly doesn’t surprise you, does it, dear?”

“No, but the fact that she stayed over last night does,” he replied. “Mom—”

“We had a few drinks last night,” Regina said quickly. “She decided to stay over since she’s going to be joining us for breakfast this morning.”

“So, she stayed in your bed?”

Regina’s cheeks grew hotter and she poured a little more juice in her cup. “Yes,” she said as she turned away from Henry to put the bottle back in the fridge.

“Mom,” Henry said as he was suddenly standing right behind her and he placed a hand on her shoulder. “It’s okay,” he said lightly. “You’re happy, right?”

“Yes.”

“Is this the first time that this happened?”

“What are you talking about?”

“You know,” Henry said with an awkward and uncomfortable shrug. “You and Ma having sex.”

“Henry, I—”

“Mom,” he sighed. “I heard you two when I got home last night. You weren’t, you know, exactly quiet or anything. I’m not a little kid anymore.”

“I know you aren’t,” Regina said and she shook her head, strangely not feeling as embarrassed or as in denial as she thought she’d be. “And yes, it was the first time. We talked last night about a lot of things.”

“You told her you are in love with her, didn’t you?”

“How do you know that?”

Henry chuckled and pulled her in for a tight hug. “Mom, I see the way you look at her, the way you both look at each other all the time. I’m just happy that you finally told her.”

“Finally?” Regina asked and she pulled back from the hug to look up into Henry’s eyes. “What do you mean finally?”

“You’ve been in love with her for a long time.”

“I have.”

“And she has been too,” he smiled. “Don’t ask me how I know, I just do. You’re both my moms and I know more than you think I do.”

“Sometimes you know too much for your own good, Henry.”

“Yeah, Ma tells me that too all the time,” he laughed and he hugged Regina tight once again. “Did she tell you too?”

“She did.”

“And?”

Regina couldn’t help but smile and melt into the hug her son was giving her. She couldn’t quite remember the last time he’d hugged her like that, like he didn’t ever want to let go. She inhaled deeply and scrunched her nose at the awful smelling cologne he’d worn to the party the night before, cologne he was convinced would make him seem more adult and attractive to his girlfriend. She hadn’t had the heart to tell him it didn’t quite suit him and that he’d put a little too much of it on either.

“And I think you need to have a shower, dear.”

“Mom.”

“As for Emma?” She said as she stepped back and ran her fingers through her hair. “The feeling is mutual if you must know.”

Henry smiled and for a moment he looked like he was a little boy again and not the man he was becoming. “What happens now?” He asked and Regina shrugged. “Is she going to move in here with us?”

“I don’t know, Henry.”

“Are you two going to date?”

Regina laughed and reached out to ruffle his hair. “I think we’re beyond the point of dating, dear, but yes, I believe that’s the route we’ll take.”

“Is she your girlfriend?” Henry asked and Regina sighed softly. “What?”

“I don’t know, Henry. We didn’t really talk much about those things,” Regina said and she swallowed thickly as she turned her attention to the coffee maker as the pot finished brewing. “I think we should keep this between us for now.”

“You mean just the three of us?” Henry asked. “You don’t want anyone else to know that you two are—”

“Not until Emma and I have talked about this,” Regina finished. “So, I would appreciate it if you would not mention last night or what we’ve just talked about to your grandparents or anyone else today. Is that clear?”

“Crystal,” Henry grinned. “But I think everyone else already knows.”

“What do you mean?”

“I don’t know, people talk,” he shrugged. “Everyone already thinks you two are together anyway. You guys spend a lot of time together, and like I said, I can see the way you two look at each other and I’m not the only one.”

Regina shook her head as her face flushed once again, but not in embarrassment, but because it had been obvious to everyone else but her and Emma for quite some time that they were in love with one another. Henry gave her one last hug, one that didn’t last as long as the previous one and he kissed her cheek with a smile.

“Go back to bed, Mom.”

“But I—”

“It’s still early.”

“I know, but I should—”

“Go back to bed,” Henry said insistently. “I’ll start breakfast in a few hours.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yeah, I can handle it,” he said and he gave her a little push towards the doorway. “Go back to bed with Ma. I’ll uh, just you know, come and knock on your door when breakfast is almost ready.”

“Thank you.”

Regina shook her head as she walked out of the kitchen and headed for the stairs, but she made a quick detour to pick up their clothes from the living room before heading upstairs to her room. Once inside, she placed their clothes on her chaise lounge by the window, stripped out of her robe and crawled back under the warmth of the covers beside Emma.

Emma stirred as she slid up behind her and Emma turned to look over at her with a sleepy smile. “Hi.”

“Hi,” Regina said softly. “Merry Christmas.”

“Merry Christmas, Regina,” Emma whispered and when Regina leaned in to kiss her, Emma pulled back. “I’ve got morning breath.”

“I don’t care.”

Emma moaned as Regina kissed her deeply. She slipped a leg between Emma’s in an attempt to get closer to her, but Emma’s hand on her hip stopped her. She sighed as she pulled back from Emma’s lips.

“What’s wrong?”

“What time is it?” Emma asked. “Early, right? Why are you awake? And why do you smell like Henry?”

“It’s just past six,” Regina replied. “And Henry is already awake.”

“Oh.”

“He knows you’re here,” Regina continued. “And that you spent the night here in my bed.” She paused to see Emma’s reaction, but Emma was still only half-awake. With a small flick of her fingers, she turned the bedside lamp on the dimmest setting and she smiled as she took in the sight of Emma’s beautiful, sleepy face. “He knows,” she said after a moment. “About us.”

“Did you tell him?”

“I didn’t have to.”

“Oh,” Emma said with a slight frown and she trailed her fingers over the dip and curve of Regina’s hip lightly. “I take it he didn’t react badly then, huh?”

“Not at all. In fact, he insisted I come back to bed with you.”

“Does he know we, you know—”

“He heard us last night when he got home.”

“Shit,” Emma murmured as she moved to bury her face into Regina’s neck and Regina couldn’t help but laugh. “That’s not awkward at all.”

“He’s fine with us being together,” Regina said and she just reveled in the feel of Emma snuggling into her. “Emma?”

“Is he going to tell anyone?”

“Do you not want anyone to know?”

“I don’t know,” she murmured before she leaned back to look into Regina’s eyes. “Do you want anyone to know?”

“What is there to know, Emma?” Regina asked and she cleared her throat. “We haven’t talked about this yet.”

“Didn’t exactly get a chance to last night after we ended up in here,” Emma chuckled throatily. “What is going on between us, Regina? We’re, you know, together, aren’t we?”

“Is that what you want?”

“Yeah. You?”

“More than anything.”

“Yeah?”

Regina smiled as she nodded her head. “Yes, darling.”

“Mm, I love it when you call me that.”

“Darling?”

“Yeah.”

Regina smiled and she loved having a moment like that with Emma. She could already envision many more little moments like that happening between them, but she wasn’t fooled as she knew that with the good moments there would be the rough ones, ones where they’d argue and fight and Emma would end up sleeping on the couch in the den or in the guest room. The thought of that had Regina chuckling to herself.

“What’s so funny?”

“Nothing, darling,” Regina said softly. “Let’s go back to sleep.”

“Weren’t we supposed to have breakfast this morning?”

“It’s still too early,” Regina replied and she closed her eyes as Emma laid her head down on her shoulder. “Henry is going to cook breakfast for us this morning.”

“It’s a good thing he knows how to cook,” Emma said and they both laughed before sighing and settling into each other. “Regina?”

“Hmm?”

“I—” Emma’s breath hitched and Regina kept her eyes closed as Emma’s fingertips danced along the side of her abdomen. “I just want you to know that I love you too. I may never say it enough, but I don’t want you to forget it. Ever.”

“I won’t, darling.”

“I will show you as much as I can,” Emma continued and Regina smiled as she reveled in the feel of Emma’s fingertips moving higher up her side and teasing at the soft skin of her breast. “How about we don’t go back to sleep?”

“Just the other day you were complaining about coming over so early on your day off,” Regina said and she shook her head. “What changed?”

“Aside from the fact that I’m in bed with you and you’re naked?”

“We’re both naked, dear.”

“Point is,” Emma laughed and Regina opened her eyes as Emma lifted her head to look at her. “Last night was probably the most amazing night of my life.”

“Probably?”

“Well, the way I figure it, there is gonna be a lot more nights like last night, right?” Emma asked with a grin. “A lot more.”

“Is that right?”

“Damn right, babe.”

Regina quirked an eyebrow. “Babe?”

“Too much?” Emma laughed and Regina shook her head again. “You’re too refined for something like that, huh?”

“You were saying?”

“Last night was amazing,” Emma said and Regina smiled warmly. “I kind of didn’t want it to be over, you know?”

“I absolutely agree with you there.”

“So, my question is, do you want to pick up where we left off before we fell asleep?”

“Well, my question is, Em-ma, is can you handle being the bottom and be quiet?” Regina asked as she moved with ease to push Emma onto her back and she straddled Emma’s hips. “Hmm? Can you?”

Emma’s laugh reverberated through her body and Regina dipped her head down to capture Emma’s lips in a deliciously passionate kiss. Emma certainly wasn’t shy in touching her and she loved the way that Emma’s hands felt on her body, strong and sure, her touch teasing every sensitive spot that she could reach. As they continued to kiss slow and deep, Regina could feel that wonderful burn building deep in her core, one that had been satisfied and exhausted over and over again just a few hours before.

Regina pulled back from the kiss with a small gasp as Emma grabbed onto her hips and pulled her down hard against her pelvis. They stared into one another’s eyes as they shifted just a little until Regina could feel Emma’s heat and feel her wet cunt sliding against her own. She was surprised at how sensitive she still was from the hours they’d spent making love, but still she wanted more and her body was practically aching for release.

Distracted, Regina let out a small squeal as Emma suddenly flipped her over onto her back. She ran her fingers through Emma’s hair that was still partially in a ponytail and she shook her head. Emma just grinned as she leaned back and pulled her hair free before tying it back once again. With a wiggle of her eyebrows, Emma slipped under the covers quickly and spread Regina’s thighs, wasting no time in licking the length of her pussy hungrily.

It was a struggle to keep quiet as Emma’s tongue filled her. She grasped at the sheets before throwing them off of Emma, wanting to see her and not just feel her. Emma glanced up at her as she teased the tip of her tongue over her clit and Regina gasped and moved her hands to Emma’s head, holding her still, silently begging for her to stay right where she was and to pay nothing but sweet attention to the sensitive bud that was suddenly starving for stimulation.

“Emma.”

Emma moaned as she wrapped her lips around Regina’s clit and sucked hard enough for Regina to cry out and gasp loudly. She threw her head back and bit her bottom lip to keep quiet, a feat she quickly lost when Emma deftly slipped two fingers inside her with ease. She tried and failed to keep quiet, wave after wave of pleasure rushing through her as Emma wasted no time in bringing her tumbling over the edge.

Regina found it quite unbelievable that Emma had made her come undone so quickly, unbelievable but impressive. Her body quaked as her orgasm rippled through her steadily and Emma languidly licked over her sensitive skin, teasing her tongue over her clit and inside her hole.

"Emma," Regina murmured as she shook her head, her body too sensitive from the quick and powerful orgasm she'd just had. "Darling, I need a moment."

Emma exhaled sharply and the warmth of her breath made Regina jump at how pleasurable it felt against the heat of her cunt. She tried to push Emma away to no avail as Emma seemed to be quite comfortable between her thighs, sneaking in a teasing lick here and there just to make Regina's whole body react once more.

"Emma," Regina sighed out. "I really do need a moment."

"Okay," Emma whispered and she gave her one last, long lick before crawling up her body with a salacious grin dancing over her lips. "Hi."

"Hi."

"I could definitely get used to waking up like that."

"As could I," Regina admitted as a blush crept over her cheeks. "It's a shame we cannot spend the day in bed."

"Such a shame."

"But," Regina said as she wrapped her arms around Emma and pulled her down on top of her, loving the weight of Emma on top of her. "Henry is going away for that trip up north with your father for New Years..."

"Yeah," Emma laughed. "Whatever shall we do to pass the time?"

"You have to work."

Emma pulled a face. "I know. I can get Mulan to cover for me. She owes me anyway."

"For what?"

"Covered for her a few nights a while back."

"Why?"

"I really don't want to talk about this when you're in your post-orgasm glow. Can't we just bask in the moment?"

"I'm basking," Regina chuckled as she smoothed her hands down Emma's back and grasped at her ass playfully. "I'm basking wonderfully."

"We have to work on our pillow talk, babe."

"I don't mind it," Regina said and she leaned up to close the last little distance between them to kiss Emma senseless. It was a kiss that nearly took their breath away and Regina sighed happily as she leaned back and let her head fall back onto the pillow.

"It is us," Emma said after a moment. "This is really happening, isn't it?"

"If it's not, I'll be sorely disappointed."

"Regina, you have had nothing but disappointment in your life," Emma said and she shook her head, silencing Regina before she could say a word with a sound and sure kiss. "You have come so far since I have met you, you have stayed on this path of redemption you don't always get credit for, but I know you and I know you, Regina, I know there is so much good inside of you and I have seen it. You are the most selfless person that I know and you have so much love to give inside of you that to know I am one of those people you care for that deeply it means, I mean there are really no words to describe what that means to me. What it means to be loved by someone like you."

"You deserve to be loved fully, Emma. I still feel responsible for you having to endure the life you had to live before Henry found you."

"It isn't your fault."

Regina shook her head. It was a heavy conversation to be having so early in the morning while they were in bed and naked together, not to mention the fact that Regina was still in her post-orgasm glow. They'd had that very conversation before months ago after sharing two bottles of wine, but it was so very different now. Everything was beginning to take on a whole new meaning.

"We aren't who we used to be," Emma continued. "We have all changed and become the people we are right now. I wouldn't trade this life for anything now."

"Neither would I."

"Definitely wouldn't trade this moment for anything either."

Regina laughed and shook her head. She was seeing a side of Emma she had never seen before and she loved it. She wanted to see this side of Emma all the time. Regina stared up at Emma and smiled lovingly before she took control and she ended up on top. They still had a little over an hour before breakfast and she was determined to make the most of it.

[X]

It was hard to keep her hands to herself, hard not to try and steal a kiss, but she mostly contained herself as she watched Regina show Henry how to properly flip an egg in the pan. Emma couldn't resist stealing a piece of bacon though and by the third one, Regina was using the spatula to swat her hand away from the plate and Henry just glared in annoyance. Once the eggs were done, Regina sent him to set the table in the dining room and Emma quickly found herself pinned up against the edge of the island and Regina's lips on hers.

Her hands went down to Regina's ass and she pulled Regina impossibly closer to her as the kiss deepened and became almost frantic and needy. Emma moaned softly when Regina suddenly pulled back and shook her head. A few seconds later Henry walked back into the kitchen and stopped short just inside the doorway to look at both of them in disbelief.

"You know, you don't have to hide it," he said and Emma looked over at Regina in confusion.

"Hide what?"

"The fact that you two want to kiss each other," Henry replied. "I'm not a little kid. I think I can handle seeing my moms kiss each other once in a while."

"Henry—"

"Oh, and you guys really need to work on being quiet or use a spell or something. I may be grown up now, but I really don't want to hear my moms having sex. Multiple times. Don't even get me started on the fact that I know you two showered together and that wasn't all you were doing in there."

"Henry Daniel Mills!" Regina said tightly, though the blush on her cheeks made her seem far less intimidating. "Finish setting the table. Your mother and I want to give you your gift before the others arrive."

He didn't need to be told twice and he grabbed the plates off the counter and walked into the dining room with a hop in his step. Emma grinned as Regina turned to look at her and she reached out to grab at another piece of bacon and when Regina tried to slap her hand away, she pulled Regina into a tight embrace.

"You heard the kid, we don't have to hide that we want to kiss each other."

"Emma, breakfast is ready."

"I know."

"It's going to get cold."

Emma laughed and with a simple twirl of her fingers she looked up at the doorway leading into the dining room and at the mistletoe she'd made magically appear. She maneuvered Regina over to the doorway and pointed above them.

"Mistletoe," Emma said softly. "You can't deny me a kiss when it is tradition to kiss the one you are standing under the mistletoe with."

"And if I do?" Regina asked but she was only teasing as she loosely wrapped her arms around Emma's shoulders. "Is there any dire consequences? Bad luck? I'm not too familiar with this mistletoe tradition."

"Bad luck I think," Emma said with a shrug. "Wouldn't want to risk it, do we?"

They shared a simple and sweet kiss beneath the mistletoe, both fully aware that Henry was watching them with a dopey smile on his face. When Emma stepped out of their embrace, she yelped as Regina smacked her ass as she walked away. Henry just shook his head and took his usual seat at the table while Regina used a bit of magic to bring the food out to the table.

Emma took a seat between Regina and Henry, her usual spot when she was there and it just went without saying that she sat between them. They filled their plates with food and ate in relative silence. Emma ate until she felt like she was bursting at the seams and she helped Regina clear away the table while Henry started the dishes.

"Henry," Regina said as she and Emma entered the kitchen together. "How about we wait to do the dishes until after we give you your present?"

"Are you sure?"

"Yes," Regina smiled. "Come, it's in the den."

Emma followed them to the den and she leaned against the door frame while Regina retrieved a small box from under the tree. She was excited for Henry since getting a car was a huge deal for a teenager. Henry took the small present and looked at both of them curiously before he opened the unwrapped box.

"Keys?" Henry asked in confusion. "Are they for your car, Mom?"

"No, but they are your car keys, dear."

"What?"

"Come, get your coat and boots on," Regina said and she led the way to the front door. "Would your hurry, dear? One would think that getting a car for Christmas would be exciting."

"What!" Henry exclaimed. "You got me a car?"

"Did we lose you somewhere?" Emma laughed as she pulled on her old red leather jacket and opened the front door. "Come on, kid, let's go check it out!"

"Holy crap!" Henry laughed as he took off ahead of them and headed around to the garage.

"I think he's excited," Emma said as she and Regina followed Henry, their hands almost instantly reaching for each other. "You don't think its too much, do you?"

"If it is, it is a little too late to take it back now," Regina replied and she moved to snuggle into Emma's side. "It's awfully cold this morning."

"You know what would make this the most perfect Christmas ever?" Emma asked and Regina shrugged. "Snow."

"Your mother?"

Emma laughed and let go of Regina's hand to wrap her arm around Regina's waist. "No, not my mother. Snow. As a kid, I never got much of anything for Christmas, but when there was snow on Christmas morning, it was the best gift ever. I don't know."

"Holy crap!" Henry called out from inside the garage and Emma led the way in and she didn't let go of Regina as they watched Henry walk around the car a few times just shaking his head in disbelief. "You really got me a car?"

"We did, dear."

"Can I take it out for a spin?"

"Now?" Emma asked, but her question was more directed at Regina. "When are my parents supposed to be coming?"

"In an hour," Regina replied and she turned to their son. "Of course you can take it for a spin now, dear. Just around the block."

"Just the block?" Henry groaned. "Mom, can't I drive around town for a bit?"

"Alone?"

"Yeah?"

"Henry," Emma said and she let her arm drop from around Regina's waist. "You know you can't drive alone yet, not until you pass your driving test in a few weeks and get your full license."

"Come on, Ma, it's Christmas. It's not like anyone is out driving right now or anything."

"I'm the sheriff, kid," Emma reminded him. "I can't let you knowingly break a law."

"Grandpa let me drive his truck when I was eleven!"

"Totally different situation, kid," Emma replied and he rolled his eyes in such a Regina fashion that Emma couldn't help but laugh. "Let's go back inside and clean up and then we'll take the car out for a spin, okay?"

"Fine, but if you're both coming, you guys have to sit in the back," he said and he ran his hand over the smooth line of the roof on the driver's side. "And we're going to take it for a spin for an hour. Deal?"

"Half an hour," Regina said and from the look she gave him, he didn't bother to try to argue. "We will discuss the terms of your car while we do the dishes."

They headed back inside to do the dishes together, Henry washing, Emma drying, and Regina putting the dishes away. It was an almost flawless system and it had Emma feeling like they had done that a hundred thousand times before that morning. It felt natural and right. It made her feel as if she was right at home there with Regina and Henry and it was a feeling she was not used to at all. She didn't try to fight the urge to steal a kiss or two from Regina before the dishes were washed, dried and put away. The best part was that Regina let her steal those kisses and she even stole a few of her own.

Henry listened to the terms they both laid out for him for his new car. Until he had his full license, he would not be allowed to drive the car alone. He would have to find a job after school to pay for gas and when summer came, he would be solely responsible for paying insurance on his own. He agreed to their terms without any protest.

They barely had walked out the front door when Emma spotted her father's truck coming down the street. Henry saw it too and groaned, but Regina just insisted the two of them go on without her and she would stay behind with Emma's parents and Neal until they got back home.

Henry could hardly contain his excitement as soon as he and Emma were in the car. He turned the engine over and let the car warm up before pulling carefully out of the garage. He stopped at the end of the driveway to show his grandparents his gift and David ended up joining the two of them for a quick spin around town while Snow and Neal went inside with Regina to start preparing the food.

"This is some gift you two got him," David said from where he sat in the back seat.

"It was Regina's idea."

"Really?" He laughed. "I would've thought she'd hold off on buying him a car for another year or two."

"Yeah, I thought the same. She is just full of surprises sometimes."

"That she is," he smiled and he reached out to place a hand on Emma's shoulder. "Is everything all right, Em?"

"Of course it is. Why?"

"You seem a little out of it."

"I didn't get much sleep last night."

"Yeah because they—"

"We were up all night wrapping the last of the presents," Emma said quickly to cut Henry off and she cast him a glance to warn him not to say a word. "I crashed at the house last night and was up pretty early too."

"Really?" David asked. "Emma, is there something you're not telling me?"

"Dad, I—"

"Moms are in love."

"Oh?" David asked curiously. "With who?"

"Each other," Emma answered and she playfully punched Henry in the shoulder. "You just couldn't keep it to yourself, could you, kid?"

"I'm sorry!" Henry said and he came to a slow stop at a stop sign. "The car is great and all, but I got something even better for Christmas. You and mom ending up together."

"I was wondering how long it would take you two," David chuckled and he leaned forward to place a kiss on Emma's cheek. "You have my blessing."

"We're together, Dad, not getting married or anything."

"One day?"

"I don't know," Emma said under her breath. "I hope so, but," she paused to look back at him and then at Henry who still hadn't pulled away from the stop sign. "But, I don't think that we're there yet. Maybe one day, but I'm not so sure when. I don't even know if that is something that she wants, you know?"

"Your mother is going to be excited to find out she was right all along."

"What?" Emma asked. "Right about what?"

"About you and Regina," David replied simply. "She mentioned quite some time ago that she knew you two would end up together. She kept hoping it would happen and now that it finally has, I owe her twenty bucks."

"Why?" Henry asked. "Did you two have a bet or something?"

"Something like that. She said it would be Emma we'd find out from that you two were together and I said it would either be Regina or we'd find out by catching you two."

"Catching us doing what?"

"Kissing or something along those lines."

"Great, my parents made a bet on my love life and knew before I did that Regina and I would end up together. Is there anything else I need to know?"

"Aside from the fact that your mother has already started planning your wedding?"

"Seriously?"

"No," he laughed. "But don't be so surprised if she does once she finds out that you two are together now."

"You don't think Mom will tell her, do you?" Henry asked.

"No, I don't think so."

But Emma wasn't so sure. She knew how close her mother and Regina were now and the fact that the two of them could talk about anything with each other. Regina wouldn't come out and tell her mother, but she wouldn't put it past her mother to ask a million different questions until Regina told her everything she wanted to hear.

[X]

“A car?” Snow asked as she struggled to hold onto Neal’s hand as she followed Regina into the house. “Isn’t that a bit too much?”

“Not necessarily,” Regina replied. “He is sixteen and he will be getting his full license in a couple of weeks. Michael owed me a favor and I got the car in return. Emma thought the same thing, actually, that maybe it was too much.”

“Neal!” Snow called out and she started to run after Neal as he ran into the den.

Regina followed with a heavy sigh. She knew how exhausting it was to have a toddler in the house and it only served to remind her that it had been a very long time since Henry had been that young. She had a moment where she fell into a memory of when Henry was three years old and truly understood what Christmas meant, the excitement of that morning, the shock and the awe of all the presents that were around the tree, and the impatience when Regina had told him he needed to have breakfast before he opened all of his presents.

Regina was pulled out of that moment by a small and sticky little hand tugging on hers. She looked down at Neal and couldn’t help but smile at the little blonde haired boy. He had always taken a liking to her almost as soon as he could recognize certain people that were always around him. Why, she had no idea, but she could admit easily now that she had fallen in love with the little boy when he was still a newborn baby.

“Lots of presents!” Neal exclaimed happily. “For me?”

“Some, yes,” Regina smiled down at him and moved to pick him up, a feat that wasn’t so easy now that he was growing more and more every single day. “We have to wait for Emma and Henry and your father to come back before we open any presents, okay?”

“Open one now?”

“I think we should—”

“You open,” Neal said and he looked back at his mother. “Mommy, Gina open present now!”

“A present for me?”

“Yeah!”

“We have to wait,” Snow said patiently and she smiled when Regina and Neal both pouted. “We have to wait for your sister, for daddy, and for Henry, okay?”

“But I want Gina to open present now!”

Regina ruffled Neal’s floppy hair before putting him down on the couch. She grabbed the remote and turned on the TV, easily finding a cartoon acceptable for him and to preoccupy him long enough that he would forget about the presents, specifically the one he wanted her to open.

“Would you like some tea, Snow?”

“I would love some. Do you have any of that peppermint tea?”

Regina nodded as she led the way out of the den and towards the kitchen. “I picked up some more at the store the other day,” she said and she couldn’t help but laugh at Snow’s child-like squeal of happiness. “Though nothing has quite measured up to the way Cook used to make it, hmm?”

“Not even close,” Snow agreed. “But it’s close enough that it brings back some fond memories for me. Fond ones that are also sad ones. My mother used to always drink peppermint tea with me on the winter solstice. It was a tradition only her and I shared and one I had always hoped to share with my own daughter one day.”

“It’s not too late for that,” Regina said softly and she grabbed the kettle to fill it with water before putting it on the stove and she turned on the burner. “You could always have that tradition with Neal. Emma isn’t one for tea.”

“No, she’s truly not,” Snow said sadly. “I’m sure I can start another kind of tradition between the two of us, though most of the time she seems uninterested.”

“She’s not.”

“Well, I know that, but she has her own family now. She has you and Henry. You three have your own traditions.”

“Do we?”

“You have your whole family thing,” Snow said and she shook her head. “Right? You have your dinners together.”

“As do you.”

“I know, but it’s different. I don’t think Emma really truly sees us as her family, not the way she sees you and Henry.”

Regina smoothed her hands down the front of her red blouse and raised an eyebrow. She knew Snow well enough to know that she was digging for information and trying to be subtle about it and failing. Regina ran her fingers through her hair and turned to look at the kettle that was slowly coming to a boil.

“Also,” Snow continued and she cleared her throat as she pointed at her own neck just below her right ear. “I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but you have a bit of a love bite right there.”

“Excuse me?”

“That mark?” Snow said as she tapped on her neck. “I saw you just yesterday and it wasn’t there. Have you been seeing someone new?”

“No, I—”

“No?” Snow continued and Regina couldn’t stop the flush that rose up over her cheeks. “So, it’s Emma?”

“Snow—”

“I think we are beyond the point of denial, aren’t we, Regina?” Snow asked and Regina groaned quietly. “Emma stayed here last night, didn’t she?”

“Yes, but I don’t see how that is any of your concern, Snow.”

“Did she stay in your bed?”

“I—” Regina stopped when Snow gave her a knowing look and one that had Regina realizing that it was beyond pointless to try and deny anything. “Yes,” she said softly. “She did.”

Regina was completely unprepared for the hug that followed, though it wasn’t so surprising since it was Snow, and she knew that Snow had been hoping for Emma to find love after things didn’t work out between her and Captain Guyliner.

“Snow—”

“I knew something was going on between you two,” Snow said as she held firmly onto Regina’s shoulders. “I knew I just wasn’t imagining that you two were looking at each other like nobody else existed around you.”

“Snow—”

“I think I’ve known for a very long time that you two have had feelings for each other. You do have feelings for each other, don’t you? Romantic feelings?” Snow asked and her excitement was borderline annoying. “I know you’re in love with Emma, Regina, you have been since Neverland, haven’t you?”

“How the hell do you know that?”

“I just do.”

Regina rolled her eyes and lightly ran her fingers over the mark that Snow had noticed on her neck. She could feel the tenderness of the skin there and tried to think back to when it had happened. A small smile began to curl over her lips as she thought about how hot things had gotten in the shower between her and Emma and how distracted Emma had her that she hardly noticed that Emma had left a visible love bite behind.

Regina lifted the kettle off the burner when it started to whistle and busied herself with getting tea ready for her and Snow. It was almost comforting in a weird way to know that her feelings for Emma hadn’t gone unnoticed. Sure, it had taken years to get to where she was now and years for her and Snow White to move past their past and forge a friendship over the hardships they’d faced ever since Emma had come into town and into their lives.

“You’re not denying it.”

“Because it is true,” Regina said softly as she turned to look over at Snow. “Why would I deny something that is true?”

“You deny everything.”

“Not as of late.”

“That’s true,” Snow mused. “Why did you wait so long?”

“There were many reasons, one of the main ones being that I wasn’t ready to tell Emma how I felt about her. Hook came along right around the same time and swept in and swept Emma off of her feet. I never had a chance even if I had been ready to tell Emma at the time how I felt about her.”

“I think she’s been in love with you longer than that, longer than she realizes,” Snow said and Regina didn’t say a word. She wasn’t sure whether to agree or not. “I think it took Emma a long time to see what was right in front of her for years. She told me when she and Hook broke up that she hadn’t been happy. Not once. She said she was only with him because David and I wanted her to find her true love. When she told me that, that’s when I knew.”

“Knew what?” Regina asked and she handed Snow her cup of peppermint tea.

“That she was in love with you and didn’t know what to do about it.”

She sure knew what to do last night, Regina thought with a coy smile. “Sometimes we don’t know what is right in front of us until one day our eyes open and we see the whole world and everything in it in a whole new light.”

“To be honest with you, Regina, I’m kind of glad it’s you.”

“Really? I would have thought you would do everything you could to keep me from being with your daughter.”

“Maybe a few years ago, but not now, not after everything we’ve all gone through together and definitely not after you have proven yourself again and again.”

“Proven what?”

“That you are good,” Snow said. “That you have done nothing but follow this crazy path to redemption and proved that you really are good deep down. You care about everyone else in your life, Regina, you care so much and you love so very deeply. I think Henry was right when he said that Emma was going to bring the happy endings. Including yours and her own.”

“You think we are each other’s happy ending?”

“Yes.”

“You know, I’m not so sure that Emma is ready for anyone to find out about us, though Henry already knows,” Regina said and she picked up her mug and wrapped her hands around it. “And yes, I’m well aware of the rumors and the gossip that goes on around town, but as far as anyone is concerned, it is just that. Rumors and gossip. I would like it if you didn’t say a word to Emma about this conversation and let her come to you when she is ready for you to know about us.”

“Of course,” Snow nodded and the excitement in her eyes was too clear.

“And please, hold off on planning our wedding—”

“You want to get married?”

“I don’t know, maybe one day, Snow, but it is far too early for any thoughts of that now, don’t you think?” Regina asked and she tried not to laugh at the look of disappointment that flashed on Snow’s face. “Let’s just enjoy today, shall we? As a family, as we planned to, and please—”

“Don’t say anything,” Snow said and she gave Regina a little salute. “But…”

“But?”

“David and I have a standing bet.”

“Oh?”

“I told him it would be Emma that told us,” Snow replied and she shrugged nonchalantly. “David thought it’d be you, Regina. Or that we’d find out by finding you two kissing or…otherwise.”

“Otherwise?” Regina lifted a brow.

“Or something along those lines.”

“It’s a good thing you didn’t come over here about an hour and a half ago,” Regina said with a wicked grin curled over her lips and she watched Snow’s cheeks turn rosy pink. “You would’ve found out what that otherwise truly would’ve been.”

“Regina!”

“What?” Regina asked as innocently as she could muster. “You’re the one who made the bet, dear, I’m just clarifying some facts here.”

“What facts?” Zelena asked as she breezed into the kitchen with young Robyn in her arms. “Merry Christmas!” She exclaimed and looked at the toddler in her arms with a pointed look. “What do we say, Robyn?”

“Mewwy Cwistmas!” The two-year-old exclaimed around the thumb she had stuck in her mouth.

“What facts?” Zelena asked again. “Is that peppermint tea?”

“Help yourself,” Regina said with a wave towards the still steaming kettle. “When did you get here, Zelena?”

“Just now,” she replied as she set Robyn down on her feet and grabbed a mug from the cupboard. “The door was unlocked. I let myself in and magicked the presents into the den. I hope you don’t mind, sis.”

“Not at all. You were invited, though I believe the invitation said noon, sis.”

“I thought we’d come early and I could help you with the food,” Zelena replied. “But,” she paused as she eyed the few bottles of wine on the counter that Regina had yet to put in the refrigerator for later. “If you don’t need any help…”

“We can always use more help!” Snow squeaked out. “Maybe I should take Robyn into the den with Neal and watch them while you two do…whatever it is you are going to do.”

“Snow, you were supposed to help,” Regina said, but Snow was already rushing out of the kitchen with Robyn running after her. “Great.”

“So,” Zelena said as she poured the hot water into her mug. “What facts were you two talking about?”

“That is none of your business.”

“Isn’t it?” Zelena challenged. “I heard you two talking. Something about you and Emma and a bet that Snow and Charming have had?”

“How long have you been here?”

“Oh,” Zelena sighed dramatically and looked at the clock on the wall. “About ten minutes or so.”

“You heard everything.”

“I did!” She laughed. “You and Emma? Really? I thought you two were already shagging on the regular for years now.”

“We’re not—”

“Oh, so now you deny it,” Zelena quipped. “Regina, everyone knows.”

“Nobody knows anything.”

“Everyone knows,” she repeated. “I don’t know why you are denying it to me when you flat out admitted it to Snow. I thought we were better now? I thought we could talk? Share secrets and all that sisterly stuff we missed out on?”

“We’re not shagging.”

“Fucking?” Zelena asked. “Same thing, dear. Besides, I think you forgot to cover up that bite on your neck. It completely gives it all away, you know.”

Regina lifted her hand to place it over the mark on her neck. “We’re not telling anyone yet, Zelena, and I swear if you say a word when everyone is here—”

“I’ll only be confirming what everyone has been talking about for quite some time yet. Regina, dear sis, do you honestly think we’re all stupid and blind? We can all see the way that you and Emma look at each other. We know you two are batshit crazy in love with each other.”

Regina sighed heavily and took a sip of her tea, finding it still too hot to drink. She knew it was a waste of effort to deny anything to her sister, especially since Zelena had been eavesdropping throughout nearly her and Snow’s entire conversation. She tried to avoid looking at Zelena as she tried to take another sip of her hot tea, but the look on Zelena’s face was hard to ignore.

“What’s the problem?” Zelena asked. “Everyone already knows, Regina.”

“It’s not just up to me,” she replied. “I want to make sure that Emma is—”

“That she’s sure about you and her? That she isn’t going to decide in a few days or weeks, maybe even months that you aren’t what she wants? You are willing to be her secret sex slave—”

“No,” Regina snapped. “I am nobody’s secret sex slave. Where the hell do you get these things from, Zelena?”

“I have a toddler. I don’t get out much,” she replied with a small shrug. “I live through the lives of everyone else around me.”

“I don’t see any green.”

“I’ve been working on that,” she said with a curt nod. “I’m doing quite well if I say so myself.”

“Yes, it’s been a whole three months since you’ve nearly turned green again.”

“That’s a record!” Zelena exclaimed and she scoffed in annoyance. “I thought you would be far more supportive. You know I’ve been doing better!”

“You’re right. You have been doing better, Zelena,” Regina said sincerely. “But I do not think—”

“So, did you tell her that you’re in love with her or did she tell you first?”

“Zelena—”

“Oh, you told her!” Zelena exclaimed and like with Snow, the hug she suddenly found herself trapped in had her completely unprepared for. “Tell me everything!”

“No.”

“Mama!” Robyn squealed and for once, Regina was thankful for the interruption and almost impeccable timing the toddler had. “Mama! Presents!”

“Not now, sweetie,” Zelena said as Robyn ran into the kitchen. Zelena knelt down on the floor to get at her level. “We have to wait for everyone to get here, remember? We talked about this.”

“Fine,” Robyn pouted. “But I want presents!”

Regina counted down from ten in her head and Neal came running in by the time she made it to seven, demanding to open presents that very minute, neither child caring that they had to wait for everyone else to be there. Snow ran in just seconds later, frazzled as she mouthed “sorry” and tried to get the children to go back to the den to watch cartoons on the TV.

As far as Regina was concerned, this was turning into being one of the best Christmases she’d ever had since she decided to celebrate it with Henry when he was still just a baby. They had their own traditions, but this, despite the overall circumstances, was far better than anything she had ever imagined. For the first time in her life, she was spending the holiday with family, her family, and there was more love there than she ever thought she’d feel before.

It was simply the best feeling in the entire world and she knew deep down that this was just the first of very many that would leave her feeling that way.

[X]

“So, what do you think?” Emma asked as Henry pulled his car into the driveway and came to a stop behind Regina’s car. “You like it, kid?”

“Like is a weak word,” Henry replied. “I love it!”

“We can do a tune up together after our trip,” David said with a smile. “I can teach you everything you need to know to keep this car up and running.”

“Really?”

“We’ll make a whole day out of it.”

Emma smiled and got out of the car, hurrying inside since it had gotten colder in the last hour they were out taking Henry’s car for a spin around town. She slipped out of her boots and her jacket, putting them away in the coat closet before she headed up into the foyer. She saw Neal and Robyn in the den watching cartoons and she heard laughter coming from the kitchen.

She found her mother, Regina, and Zelena in the kitchen and was greeted by the smell of peppermint tea, but it took one look at her mother for Emma to realize that it wasn’t just the tea they were all drinking.

“Isn’t it a little early to be drinking?” Emma asked and all three women turned to look at her, their laughter dying off in an instant. “Seriously? I thought you guys were going to start cooking?”

“Oh,” Snow frowned and she looked at Regina and then at Zelena. “They said they could whip something up later. With magic.”

“Magic, huh?” Emma asked as she looked right at Regina. “I thought you said that nothing tastes better than homemade food? Now you’re going to use magic?”

“Only to help prepare it, not to actually cook it, dear.”

Emma just rolled her eyes and looked over at the nearly empty bottle of red wine on the counter. She lifted it up and took a sniff before grabbing a glass and pouring the last of the wine in it. With a shrug, she toasted the three women who were watching her curiously and she took a sip, scrunching her face at how warm it was, but nonetheless still delicious.

“How was the drive?” Regina asked. “You were gone for an hour.”

“It was good. Henry really got a good feel for the car. We didn’t realize so much time had passed,” Emma replied. “Dad said he’s going to teach him how to tune up the car after they get back from their trip.”

“Where is your father?”

“Probably in the den with the kids,” Emma said to her mother and she watched her grab on to Zelena’s arm and dragged her out of the kitchen. “What is up with you guys?”

“What do you mean?”

“You’re acting…weird,” Emma said skeptically.

“We’re just having a good time, a few laughs, nothing weird about it, darling.”

“Did something happen?” Emma asked and she backed Regina up against the counter. “Did you tell them?”

“Tell them what?”

“About us?”

“I did nothing of the sort,” Regina said and Emma watched her carefully and she shook her head. “What?”

“Nothing.”

Regina placed her glass on the counter behind her and reached for Emma’s and placed it beside hers. She smiled as she slipped her hands over Emma’s hips and pulled her in close. Emma felt a little nervous, but the need to want to kiss Regina was far greater in that moment. She closed the last of the little distance between them and kissed Regina softly.

“You told them, didn’t you?” Emma murmured against Regina’s lips, which tasted of merlot and a hint of peppermint tea. “Regina?”

“I didn’t tell them, per se,” she said with a small sigh. “Your mother confronted me and Zelena happened to be eavesdropping on that conversation.”

“So, they know?”

“Yes.”

“My father knows too,” Emma said and Regina just shook her head in disbelief. “I didn’t tell him! Henry did!”

“Henry told him?”

“It just slipped out,” Emma said and she tried not to laugh at the indescribable look on Regina’s face. “For the record, Regina, my father gave us his blessing.”

“Did he?”

“Did you know he and—”

“They had a bet,” Regina finished. “Your mother told me about it.”

“Isn’t that ridiculous?” Emma exclaimed and Regina just laughed as she nodded her head in agreement. “How did we not know about this?”

“It seems for once your mother was able to actually keep something a secret.”

“So,” Emma sighed and she ran her hands up Regina’s arms and over her shoulders. “Does this mean pretty much everyone who matters to us knows now?”

“Pretty much, yes,” Regina nodded and she gripped onto Emma’s hips a little tighter. “Are you all right with that, darling? I know this is still very new to us.”

“It’s new, but not really, right?” Emma asked. “I mean, you’ve had feelings for a long time for me and so have I, we just never actually told each other until last night. It’s new and it’s not at the same time. I wasn’t sure about telling anyone because I wasn’t sure what their reactions would be, but with the way that my parents reacted, I guess we have absolutely nothing to worry about, do we?”

Emma exhaled sharply as Regina just patiently listened to her babble on. Last night she hadn’t really thought about what would happen after they spent hours upon hours making love since her only focus had been on Regina. She barely had any time to think of it that morning either but knew more than anything that she wanted to be with Regina and that she wanted to see just where things would go between them.

“Absolutely nothing to worry about, darling,” Regina whispered and she pulled Emma in for another kiss. “We will just take things one day at a time, all right? No need to rush.”

“So, what does that mean exactly? Not rushing?” Emma asked. “Does that mean that we have to wait for another night like last night?”

“Gods, no,” Regina laughed. “Now that I’ve had a taste, I want it all and every night from this point forward. Are you against that?”

“Hell no,” Emma chuckled. “I want that too. I want you every day. I want you right now…”

“Emma.”

“Do you think anyone would notice if we snuck off for a little while?”

“Emma,” Regina sighed. “We are not having sex when we have guests in the house and yes, they will notice.”

“Can I at least kiss you?”

“You already have.”

“No, I mean really kiss you,” Emma murmured and Regina just shook her head as she laughed lightly. “Is that a yes?”

“Only under the mistletoe, dear.”

“What?” Emma blinked in confusion as Regina suddenly slipped away from their embrace. She groaned as she watched Regina wiggle her fingers by the unopened bottle of wine to remove the cork. “Neat trick.”

“Isn’t it?” Regina asked coyly as she topped up her glass. “Would you like some more, darling, or is it too early for you?”

“Ah hell,” Emma said as she grabbed her glass and held it out. “It is Christmas.”

“The best Christmas.”

“Definitely.”

[X]

After presents were opened and a few bottles of wine shared between the adults, and after the food was magically prepared and cooking, Regina finally found a moment to relax as the guests milled about and laughter filled the rooms, bouncing off the walls and creating that holiday joy she had longed for ever since she started celebrating the holiday for Henry.

Emma still hadn’t gotten the kiss she’d asked for in the kitchen earlier, but things had been so busy once all the rest of the guests had begun arriving that the two of them hadn’t had a moment to themselves.

Regina had never had her house so filled with people, with people she considered family and close friends—people who had all once been her enemies. There were a lot of moments where she paused to reflect and think of all they had been through to get to where they were right now, spending a holiday together and enjoying themselves completely. It was something Regina had never thought would happen, but it was happening and she continuously found herself just basking in the moment whenever she got the chance and the smile on her face never faded.

“Mom,” Henry said as he placed a hand gently on her shoulder to get her attention. “Grandpa is at the door.”

“What is he doing here?” Regina asked. “We didn’t invite him, did we?”

“We did,” Henry said with a slight frown. “You said to invite family and friends. He’s family so I sent him an invitation.”

“He’s not—”

“Mom,” Henry said as his frown deepened. “He’s family.”

“Fine.”

“Can I go let him in?”

Regina looked across the den at Emma where she was sitting with Ruby on the floor by the fireplace talking quietly amongst themselves. Rumplestiltskin was family, there was no denying that, but it was her personal history with him that made her very leery about including him in any family gatherings, especially those that had happened in the last few years. Belle had declined the invitation since she and her baby boy had been living in upstate New York since a few months before she’d given birth, but Henry had insisted they send her an invitation even though he had failed to mention he had invited Rumple too.

She knew nobody there wanted him to be there, but if it mattered to Henry, she knew she had to allow him to join them in the festivities. All it took was a look for Henry to hug her tight before he ran off to the front door to let his other grandfather into the house.

Regina could already feel the tension and she was determined to make sure that it remained the best Christmas ever. The last thing she needed was any problem and conflict when the day had already been going so well.

“Regina,” Rumple said when he strolled into the room and greeted her first as the room fell silent upon his entrance. “Merry Christmas,” he said as he handed her a small gift.

“Merry Christmas,” she replied, her voice tight. “Help yourself to a drink and some food,” she said as she waved over at the table that was filled with snacks and all types of drinks. She took a step towards him and lowered her voice. “Let’s not have any problems today, shall we?”

“Problems?” He asked with a quirked eyebrow. “Absolutely not. I am here because my grandson invited me.”

Regina turned the moment she felt Emma’s hand on the small of her back and she sighed softly in relief that Emma was there at her side in that moment.

“Hey,” Emma said with a curt nod. “Merry Christmas.”

“Merry Christmas, Emma,” he said, returning the curt nod. “Did you say there were drinks?”

Regina watched him stroll over to the table to help himself to some of the non-alcoholic punch Henry had made. She turned to Emma and leaned into her touch, finding a bit of comfort there in such a tense moment.

“Henry invited him,” she said and Emma frowned. “I had no idea.”

“Figured,” Emma replied and she rubbed her hand over Regina’s back soothingly. “If he starts anything, he’s gone.”

“Agreed.”

“You okay?” Emma asked.

“Yes.”

“Just tell me if you aren’t, okay?” Emma said and she smiled, hesitating as if she were about to lean in for a kiss before she stepped back and went over to join Ruby back on the floor by the fireplace.

It wasn’t long before the laughter started up again and people seemed to forget the man they hated most had shown up to put a damper on their day. Regina headed into the kitchen alone to check on the food that was cooking and found Granny standing at the stove and stirring a pot of homemade turkey soup she’d brought along. Regina smiled at the older woman, a smile that was returned with ease.

“It’s been a wonderful gathering today, Regina.”

“Thank you,” Regina replied. “Though we just had a guest arrive—”

“Gold,” Granny said bitterly. “Ruby told me Henry invited him.”

“Yes, unfortunately.”

“He’s family,” she said with an indifferent shrug. “He should be here no matter what past grievances there are between us and him. The holidays are supposed to be about spending it with family and friends, and putting aside our differences and grudges, along with letting go of the past.”

“If only it were that easy, Eugenia.”

“We can only try, can’t we?” She asked and with a coy grin, she winked at Regina. “After all, you and Emma overcame your differences. Don’t think I didn’t hear all about it earlier from Ruby and Snow. Oh, and Zelena too.”

Regina’s mouth fell open and Granny just laughed as she lightly patted Regina on the shoulder. She was at loss for words since she hadn’t heard anyone talking about her and Emma since the rest of the guests had arrived promptly at noon. Granny suddenly engulfed her in a tight hug, and like with Snow, she knew it shouldn’t have caught her by surprise as much as it did.

“You hurt her,” she whispered into Regina’s ear. “You hurt her, break her heart and I will not hesitate to hurt you. I’m still a sure shot with my crossbow, Regina.”

“I would never dream of hurting her or breaking her heart. Not ever.”

“Good,” Granny said as she released her and smiled warmly. “And if she hurts you, the same goes for her, family or not, you know what I’m saying?”

“Yes.”

“Now,” Granny said before she turned her attention back to the stove. “Out of the kitchen, Regina. You’re hosting us all here, the least I can do it keep an eye on all the food for you while you go out there and spend time with your family.”

“I can’t let you do that.”

“You will,” she said sternly and narrowed her eyes at Regina. “You are going to go back out there and spend time not only with your family but with Emma too. You two both deserve some happiness and love. Now is the best time to share it, don’t you think?”

“Thank you, Eugenia.”

“Stop it with that, I’m Granny to everyone always, even you. Always remember that,” Granny said and Regina just laughed as Granny shooed her out of the kitchen.

Regina walked out of the kitchen, nearly forgetting about Gold, as her only thoughts were now solely on Emma. She had barely made it out of the dining room before she ran into the very center of her thoughts, quite literally.

“Emma,” Regina chuckled as Emma grabbed a hold of her hips to keep them both from falling. “Where are you going?”

“Looking for you,” Emma grinned. “Hi.”

“Hi,” Regina replied. “You’re drunk.”

“Barely,” Emma said and she looked up with a half smile. “Mistletoe.”

“Indeed,” Regina said as she too looked up at the sprig of mistletoe hanging over the frame above them. “We can’t break tradition, can we?”

“Absolutely not.”

Regina loosely draped her arms around Emma’s shoulders and smiled as Emma almost immediately swept in for a kiss. She knew she could definitely get used to an unlimited supply of kisses from Emma every day and all day, every chance they could get. She melted into the kiss, losing herself to the softness of Emma’s lips and the eagerness of Emma’s tongue as it slipped past her lips. The kiss didn’t last for as long as she wanted, and when they parted, it was just barely, their lips a hairsbreadth apart, noses nuzzling, and foreheads touching, their breaths mingling as they came down from the short yet intense kiss they just shared.

Regina stole a quick kiss and then another. Each time their lips met, the buzz in her core grew more and more intense. Never in her life had she felt that desperate need for someone, not like she felt for Emma, and it had only grown more intense since they’d had sex—multiple times for hours on an end.

Guests, Regina reminded herself, we have guests in the house.

Yet, even that simple little reminder did nothing to stop her from kissing Emma deeply, so deeply that it elicited a reverberating moan out of Emma and the way that it felt only served to turn her on even more. But Regina was careful not to let her libido take control, and with much reluctance, she ended the kiss. Emma sighed and she too was reluctant to end the moment they were having. Regina just lifted a hand to wipe at the smudge of her lipstick that had been left behind just under Emma’s bottom lip.

Before she could turn her attention elsewhere, she knew they had an audience. She just stared into Emma’s eyes for a moment and smiled before she stepped out of their embrace and turned to face Snow, Ruby, and Zelena. Regina just held her head high, a firm smirk in place, and she strolled past the three women and into the den where some of the guests were gathering around the coffee table to play Monopoly together. As she took a seat in the armchair, she could hear Snow out in the foyer talking to Emma about her, but it was the drunken laughter that she heard a few minutes later that put her mind at ease.

She took a look around the room at her family, her friends, and then over at Gold who was standing by the table and sipping punch from a small glass. He smiled just a little at her and she returned it before turning her attention to Henry and watched him as he tried to explain the rules of Monopoly to the younger children that had gathered around the coffee table.

“Steal the money!” Neal shrieked and Robyn, wide-eyed, did what he said, grabbing the entire stack of the colorful money and the two of them ran out of the room with the other children following close behind them.

The adults in the room just laughed and Emma came in a few moments later with Neal and Robyn tucked under each arm and the Monopoly money in hand. She dropped the children onto the empty space on the couch and handed the money back to Henry with a wink. She walked over and perched on the arm of the chair Regina was sitting in and sighed heavily.

“The one day I have off I have to catch those two culprits,” Emma said with a shake of her head. “I can’t even have Christmas off, can I?”

“Sorry!” Neal said as he clamored to climb up on her lap. “I’m sorry, Ems.”

“Are you?” Emma asked him and she looked down at him with a very serious look. “You know that stealing is bad, right?”

“We were playing, Emma.”

“I know, kiddo.”

“Won’t do it again.”

“I hope not,” she chuckled and ruffled his hair. “Henry, why don’t you get a game out that’s a bit easier for the younger kids to play?”

“Like Candyland?” He asked with a subtle roll of his eyes. “Fine. Mom—”

“It’s still in the games cabinet,” Regina said and he got up to get the game out of the cabinet on the far wall. “Have you ever played?”

“Candyland? Of course I have. Who hasn’t?”

“I’ve never played!” Snow exclaimed and she grabbed Neal off of Emma’s lap and sat on the floor with the children. “How do we play?”

Regina turned her attention to Emma and subtly reached out to place a hand on the small of her back. Emma turned to smile at her and leaned into her touch as Regina’s fingers slipped just under the hem of her shirt and stroked along the soft, warm skin beneath. She was completely aware that all eyes were on them, but it didn’t bother her at all, not when her sole focus was on Emma.

The afternoon went by quickly after that, and once dinner was ready and laid out on the dining room table, most of the guests sat around the table while Henry went with the children to eat at the folding table Regina had set up for them. There were plenty of conversations floating around the table as everyone dug in and ate more than their bellies could hold. All throughout dinner, Emma and Regina couldn’t quite keep their hand off of one another, touching and caressing and teasing with promises of those very touches escalating into more much later in the evening.

The guests with young children were the first to leave about an hour after dinner was over. Granny stayed behind to help with the dishes and the clean up, and Gold surprisingly helped her out, drying and putting things away. By the time eight o’clock rolled around, the only guests left in the house were Ruby and Zelena. Regina had only just begun to feel the weight of the long day, not to mention the fact that she hadn’t had nearly enough sleep the night before.

After getting one last glass of wine, she joined Emma and Ruby in the den while Zelena put Robyn down to rest in the guest room since she wasn’t sober enough to drive home much less magic her and her daughter home for the night. Henry had retired to his room to play the new games he’d gotten for his Xbox from his grandparents and declared that he was not to be bothered until after noon the next day.

Regina took a seat in the armchair and smiled over at Emma as she relaxed into the chair. She took a small sip of her wine and took a moment just to look at Emma and she watched her as she and Ruby laughed and nearly fell over each other on the couch.

“This has definitely been a great Christmas,” Ruby said once they stopped laughing. “I cannot remember the last time I ever had so much fun.”

“Or got so drunk before three,” Emma added and that started up the laughter once again. “It’s a shame that Dorothy didn’t come.”

“She’s been sick for days,” Ruby frowned. “I should probably get back home and check on her. When I called earlier, she was sleeping. She only just texted me back and asked me if there were any leftovers to bring home. Which reminds me, you are coming to our party on New Year’s Eve, aren’t you?”

“Of course I am. After I get off work, so I might be a little late.”

“Regina?”

“Hmm?”

“Are you coming too?” Ruby asked. “I did invite you but I never heard back from you.”

“I—yes, I’ll be there,” Regina smiled despite the fact that earlier she had been thinking of many different ways to spend that specific day with Emma. Naked in bed.

“Perfect!” Ruby laughed and she stood up on wobbly legs. “I should head out. Don’t worry, Sheriff Swan, I’ll walk and pick up my car tomorrow.”

“Want me to walk you out?” Emma offered and Ruby shook her head no.

“I can manage, Em. Thank you for inviting me, Regina. It truly was the best Christmas! It’s going to be hard to top this one next year.”

“Indeed,” Regina chuckled. “Good night, Ruby. Merry Christmas.”

Emma got up and walked Ruby out despite the fact that Ruby had refused the offer. Regina moved to dim the lights in the room until the lights on the Christmas tree dominated the room, the colors dancing along the walls and furniture in a soothing pattern. With a flick of her wrist, she magically added a few more logs to the fireplace before it started to die down and she settled down on the couch and slipped off her heels, sighing in relief as she kicked them under the coffee table.

Emma returned to the den a few minutes later and she shivered slightly as she took a seat beside Regina. She let out a sigh as she leaned back and stretched out. Regina watched her and sipped her wine. Emma sighed again before turning to look at her and she just smiled.

“This really was the best Christmas, Regina.”

“It truly was.”

“I’ve never had this before,” Emma said quietly. “Being able to spend the day surrounded by family and friends. Thank you.”

“You’re welcome, darling,” Regina whispered as she had no idea what else to say. She did know how much the day had meant to Emma. “Why don’t you get a glass of wine and we’ll unwind a bit before calling it a night?”

“You want me to stay?”

“Yes. Do you want to?”

“Yeah,” Emma smiled. “Of course I want to stay, Regina.”

“Do you want to go to bed?”

“Well,” Emma drawled as she reached for Regina’s hand and intertwined their fingers. “It has been a long day.”

“It has.”

Emma took Regina’s wine glass out of her hand and she took a sip before placing it on the coffee table. She smiled as she leaned in to kiss Regina and it was a kiss that Regina had been waiting hours for. It was soft and slow at first until Regina sank her hands into Emma’s long hair and pulled her in impossibly close. It remained slow, but grew deep and passionate, so much that it reverberated through Regina’s body warmly.

She thought of how things had started just the night before and she couldn’t help but smile into the kiss and then moan as her arousal suddenly kicked up a thousand notches and coursed through her body like wildfire.

She wanted another night like last night. She wanted to wake up in Emma’s arms, in her warmth, to kiss away the sleepiness as they woke up and made love in the early morning light. She wanted it all and with the way that Emma kissed her, teased her lips with her warm, agile tongue, it felt like an unspoken promise that she would get everything she wished for, desired, and longed for. She wanted everything and Emma was the one offering it to her.

Pulling Emma with her without breaking from the kiss, Regina started to blindly walk backward through the den, careful not to stumble into the furniture on the way out. As they entered the foyer, Emma was the one to break the kiss and she exhaled sharply as she gripped tightly onto Regina’s hips. Emma’s eyes searched hers and Regina just shook her head and pulled Emma back into her, claiming her lips in a possessively fierce kiss.

They barely managed to make it up the stairs without falling over one another, but once they were at the top, Emma laughed quietly and took both of Regina’s hands in hers and they quickly, quietly, made their way down the hall to Regina’s bedroom. Regina stopped just short of the guest room and Emma looked at her in confusion, but she let go of Regina’s hands.

Regina nudged the partially closed door open and found Zelena and Robyn laying on the double bed together, sound asleep. She stepped inside the room and smiled at the two on the bed before using magic to turn off the lights and put the covers over their bodies. She turned and walked out, closing the door softly behind her and almost immediately Emma grabbed on to her and claimed her lips in another intense and passionate kiss.

They were quick to make it to Regina’s bedroom and Emma was already tugging at the buttons on her blouse before the door was shut behind them. Regina could hardly contain her arousal that thundered through her body, and her impatience came to fruition when they both were suddenly naked and their clothes neatly folded and stacked on the chaise lounge.

“Impatient?” Emma murmured against her lips as her hands swept down Regina’s naked back. “Not that I’m complaining…”

Regina laughed as she and Emma fell back onto the bed together on their sides and Emma was quick to push her onto her back and she straddled Regina’s hips. Even though the room was dark, Regina could see into Emma’s eyes clearly and the way that Emma was looking at her made her breath catch in her chest and her heart began to beat a little quicker.

Regina moaned as Emma kissed her again and they just melted into one another. The kiss felt comforting, warm, like they had spent a lifetime kissing each other just like that every day for hours at an end. She smiled as she thought of that being a very real possibility from the moment on, and she moaned at the arousal that continued to burn through her body as Emma’s hands began to wander. Emma suddenly broke away from their kiss and exhaled softly.

“What are you thinking right now?” Emma whispered.

“About you,” Regina replied. “About us.”

Emma smiled and she lightly ran her fingers along Regina’s left hip and up her side, stopping short just underneath her breast. Her touch was teasing yet sure, and Regina placed a hand over hers, encouraging Emma to keep touching her, guiding her to where she wanted that soft touch the most. Emma licked her bottom lip as her thumb brushed over a semi-erect nipple and she leaned down to capture Regina’s lips with another sensual and deep kiss.

They rolled over with ease and Regina grinned against Emma’s insistent lips. She gasped when Emma slipped a hand between their bodies and between her legs, her fingers sliding through her folds and into slick, hot heat.

Regina moaned as she leaned back and Emma deftly slipped two fingers inside of her. She rolled her hips and rode Emma's fingers slowly as she braced her hands on Emma's strong shoulders. She nearly stopped when she saw Emma looking at her intensely, but Emma thrust her fingers up inside of her to encourage her to keep going.

It was quick, mere minutes really, and Regina struggled to keep quiet as her orgasm rippled through her body. She grasped tightly onto Emma's shoulders, her nails digging into her skin, and she fell forward as her body quivered under her small yet powerful orgasm that continued to quake through her body. Emma stilled her fingers and kissed Regina lightly on the lips, once, twice, three times before she pulled back a little with a satisfied smirk dancing over her lips.

Regina didn't let her gloat for very long before she took the reins, forcing Emma's fingers out from inside of her before she began to lick, nip, and kiss her way down Emma's body. Every sensitive spot she nipped at elicited a breathy moan past Emma's lips and caused a delicious shudder to run through both of their bodies at once.

She teased her tongue over the soft, warm skin of Emma's thighs, nipping at her skin, further teasing her before she slicked her fingers through Emma's wetness, drawing out yet another series of breathy moans into the quiet of the room.

"Regina," Emma murmured as she slipped her fingers into Regina's hair and gripped on a little too tight. "Fuck, Regina..."

[X]

It was shortly after midnight when Emma all but collapsed on the bed beside Regina. Her whole body was spent and satisfied and she inhaled deeply to try and catch her breath. Regina lay beside her, her hand stroking over her abdomen as she turned to look at Emma with a lazy and satisfied smile.

Regina hummed softly before licking her lips slowly. "Hmm, you never cease to surprise me, darling."

"Sixty-nine is a surprise?" Emma laughed as she moved to turn around to face Regina.

"No," Regina replied. "The fact that you make me cum so quickly every single time."

"Shouldn't be much of a surprise after last night and tonight."

Regina laughed and moved to drape an arm around Emma's middle as she snuggled up next to her. "So smug, aren't you, Miss Swan?"

"Maybe just a little, but I'm not the only one who is being smug here, Regina."

"Oh?"

"You know what you do to me when you do that thing with your tongue," Emma said softly and she shook her head at the evil grin that suddenly slipped over Regina's lips. "You know exactly what I'm talking about here and don't play innocent. You are far from innocent, babe."

"As are you."

"Never claimed to be."

"Neither did I."

Emma took one look at Regina and laughed. "I love you," Emma whispered and their laughter died off. "I love saying that to you."

"I love hearing it, darling," Regina smiled. "I love you too."

"Regina?"

"Hmm?"

"I know we've said it a lot today, but it has truly been the best Christmas," Emma said and she placed a finger over Regina's lips before she could say a word. "When I got that invitation a few weeks ago, I never thought that it would turn out this way. I don't know what I thought, actually, but I was hoping it'd change the way I look at Christmas."

"And has it?"

"Yes. Completely," Emma nodded. "I don't ever want to spend another Christmas or any other holiday without you and Henry."

"You won't."

"I won't?"

"No," Regina said and she slipped her hand up Emma's abdomen, between her breasts and up to cup her cheek. "Next year the invitations that are sent out will be from all of us."

"You, Henry, and me?"

"Yes."

"But you—”

"I know it was addressed as Christmas with the Mills'," Regina said and she stroked her thumb over Emma's jaw lightly. "But maybe next year it can be Swam-Mills instead?"

"What?"

"Emma, I don't want to rush this between us, but I also cannot deny the feelings I have for you or the need I have to want you here all the time, every day, every night, right here with me. And Henry. I want you here with us, where you belong."

"What are you saying exactly?"

Regina inhaled deeply and they never once lost eye contact despite the shift in the mood and the seriousness of their conversation post-sex. "I have been thinking," she said and Emma raised an eyebrow. "We have known each other for six years. We have been through a lot together, we have been to hell and back, quite literally, but we have proven to be a good team, one that always has each other's backs no matter what we are facing at the moment. I have come to depend on you as my best friend and co-parent. We have our disagreements and we always will, but I think that makes us kind of perfect for each other, doesn't it?”

“Regina—”

“I don’t know what our future is going to bring, but I know we are going to live through it together, one way or another,” Regina continued. “I just know that I want to spend it with you, Emma Swan.”

Emma placed a hand over the one that was still cupping her cheek. “What exactly are you saying, Regina?”

“Are you truly that stubborn and oblivious?”

“No,” Emma chuckled. “I just want to hear you say it.”

“I want you here,” Regina said. “With me and Henry. I want this to be your home. I want to make promises to you that I’ll never break. I want to truly share this life with you from this moment on, Emma.”

“Are you—”

“I am not asking you yet to marry me, I’m asking you to just be here with us, your family.”

“You want me to move in?”

“Yes.”

“Now?”

Regina laughed and leaned forward to place a lingering kiss to Emma’s lips. “Yes, now. Well, not right now seeing as it is the middle of the night and all,” she said with a small shake of her head. “Now as in whenever you are ready whether it is tomorrow or next week.”

“Okay.”

Regina moved to sit up and Emma followed and after Regina turned on the light on her side of the bed, she held out her hand and a set of silver keys appeared magically on her open palm.

“Before the other night, I had already had these made,” Regina explained. “I was planning to give them to you tonight depending on how today went actually.”

“You—”

“Before I confessed my feelings for you, I wanted you to be here with us. This is your home, Emma, and it’s been your home for a long time. Even if you didn’t feel the same way as I do, I would’ve asked you to move in. The guest room would’ve been yours, of course, but now…now I’m hoping you’ll share mine with me.”

Emma blinked as she let Regina’s words slowly sink in. Regina was going to ask her to move in before the other night had happened, before they had confessed their feelings for one another, before they’d spent hours upon hours making love. A smile slowly formed on her lips as she took the keys from Regina’s hand.

“This is—”

“It’s an offer for something I know you’ve wished for all your life,” Regina continued before Emma could say a word. “I want you to have a real home, Emma, a place where you belong, where you are always wanted. I want you to have the home and the family you had longed for, the home and family I know you still long for even right in this very moment. I want you to come home.”

“I am home.”

Regina grinned as she placed her fingers under Emma’s chin and pulled her in for a kiss. “Welcome home, darling.”

[X]

(One Year Later…)

Emma sealed the last of the invitations, smiling across the table at Regina who was writing down the addresses on the envelopes. Inside each red envelope was an invitation, one signed by the Swan-Mills family.

“Couldn’t we just deliver them with magic?” Emma asked and Regina sharply shook her head no. “You did last year!”

“I know, dear, but this year is different.”

“How?”

“Because we’re inviting our friends and family to have Christmas with the Swan-Mills family this year,” Regina replied without looking up from the envelope she was writing on. “And I would like to start a new tradition as well this year.”

“Which is?”

“Doing things the old-fashioned way,” Regina replied. “No magic.”

“Right.”

“Besides,” she continued as she placed the envelope with the address on it in one pile and grabbed another blank one. “This just isn’t an invitation to spend Christmas with us this year.”

Emma smiled warmly as she reached over to intertwine her fingers with Regina’s and she reached out with her other hand to run her finger over the diamond ring that was on Regina’s left ring finger. She lifted the hand and placed a kiss just above the ring. Their engagement had been kept a closely guarded secret for weeks and they had agreed when they started planning their first official Swan-Mills family Christmas Day celebrations that they would be sending out the notice that they were engaged and to be wed in the spring.

The engagement had happened so suddenly, but not without reason. Emma let go of Regina’s hand and smiled as Regina reached out to place it on her abdomen. They were expecting, a rather big surprise when Emma found out shortly before she proposed to Regina. They were expecting a baby that was due to arrive in May and the baby was the product of a magical pregnancy that happened when a magical cock spell went haywire on them one night a few months ago.

“We’ll wait until all the guests have arrived at the house on Christmas to announce our pregnancy,” Regina said and Emma smiled at her and leaned in for a kiss. “Though I suspect that your mother already knows.”

“How does she know? I haven’t told anyone! I even threatened Whale not to tell anyone. He actually shredded the results he had on my file because he was so scared I’d rip his—”

“Darling,” Regina chuckled. “Your mother is very intuitive. It’s almost obvious that you are with child.”

“How? I haven’t even started to show yet!”

“It’s the color in your cheeks,” Regina said and she lightly brushed her fingers against Emma’s left cheek. “It is the radiance that shines in your eyes. It is your insatiable appetite and your…odd cravings you haven’t been able to control as of late.”

“Odd cravings?”

“Peanut butter and ice cream, dear.”

“That’s totally normal!”

“You eat it with giant dill pickles instead of a spoon,” Regina said pointedly. “It’s odd and I’m positive that your mother isn’t the only one who has noticed. People talk.”

“People suck,” Emma muttered. “They need to mind their own damn business!”

“Not to mention those temperamental mood swings of yours that happen quite often too, darling,” Regina said with a soft smile.

“Anything else?”

“Aside from the fact that you are simply insatiable when it comes to sex?” Regina asked with a teasing smile. “No.”

“Let’s just keep that between us.”

“Keep what?” Henry asked as he strolled into the dining room. “What’s going on, Moms?”

“Nothing,” Emma said and she grabbed the stack of invitations to put the stamps on. “We’re just finishing up the invitations.”

“Cool,” he drawled out and he took a seat across from them. “Anything I can do to help?”

“You can take these down to the post office when we’re done,” Regina answered. “Did you finish your homework?”

“Yeah, I did, Mom.”

“Did you take out the trash?”

“Yep.”

“Are you working tonight?” Regina asked and Emma laughed at the annoyed expression on Henry’s face. “Henry?”

“No, I’m not working tonight. I’m taking Vi out on a date, remember?”

“Do you need any extra cash, kid?” Emma asked and she ignored the look Regina shot her. “I know you don’t get paid ’til next week and you just paid your insurance.”

“And bought some Christmas gifts too,” he added. “I don’t need much. I’m just taking her out for dinner and then for a drive.”

“A drive where?” Regina asked and he shrugged. “Henry Daniel Mills, I will not let you take your girlfriend’s virginity in the backseat of your car. She deserves—”

“Mom, relax,” Henry laughed uneasily. “You don’t have to worry about that. Trust me.”

“Oh, I worry. I worry a lot.”

“Regina,” Emma said and she frowned when Regina looked over at her with an angry look. “Regina, Henry and Vi already, well you know, did it.”

“What?”

“Ma!” Henry groaned as his cheeks flushed a deep red. “You promised you wouldn’t tell her!”

“When did this happen?” Regina demanded, her attention solely on their red-faced son. “Henry?”

“A while ago,” he muttered under his breath.

“Prom,” Emma blurted out and she held her hands up as two sets of eyes fell on her, both glaring, both scary. “What? At least you don’t have to worry about him taking Vi’s virginity in the backseat of his car, babe.”

“Mom, don’t worry, we were safe. We used protection,” Henry said quietly and Regina turned to look at him with a small sigh of relief. “Ma only knows because she broke up the party that night.”

“This happened eight months ago and you both kept this from me!”

“I don’t get why it’s a big deal,” Henry groaned as he got up from the table and crossed his arms defiantly over his chest. “You and Ma are keeping a few things a secret from me, at least you think you are.”

“Excuse me?” Emma and Regina both burst out together.

“I know you’re, you know, pregnant, Ma,” Henry said. “I heard you two talking a few weeks ago. I wasn’t trying to eavesdrop or anything. I just got up to get some water that night and heard you two. When were you going to tell me that you two are having a baby together? A magic baby?”

“Christmas,” Emma replied. “We were going to tell you and everyone on Christmas.”

“And when were you going to tell me that you asked Mom to marry you?” Henry demanded and Emma shrugged sheepishly. “You two used blood magic to hide Mom’s ring. I can see it, you know. Pretty sure Grandma and Gramps can too.”

“Shit.”

Regina frowned at Henry and sent a scolding look at Emma. “We weren’t trying too hard to hide it, dear,” she said and she got up from the table and wrapped her arms around Henry tightly. “We were going to tell you tonight, actually, before your date.”

Emma reached for the envelope they had sealed for Henry and handed it to him with a small smile. “Just a little something in there just for you, kid.”

Henry tore open the envelope and opened the letter that Emma and Regina had written him together. He smiled as he took out the ultrasound picture and shook his head.

“Moms, I’m happy for you guys,” he said and he pulled Emma to her feet to hug them both tightly. “Really, I’m so happy for you. For us. For our family.”

“We’re sorry that we didn’t tell you sooner,” Regina whispered and Emma rubbed a hand over her back when she felt her start to sob softly. “We wanted to surprise you.”

“It’s okay, I get it,” Henry laughed. “So, who is having the baby?”

“I am,” Emma said and Henry laughed again and hugged them both impossibly tight. “Ease up, kid.”

“So,” Henry said with a sigh and a smile as he let them go. “When are you announcing your engagement?”

“You’re not gonna ask us how it happened?”

“You asked Mom,” he said and he shook his head. “You asked her or else you’d be wearing the ring, Ma.”

“Guilty.”

“Everyone already knows, you know.”

“Is that so?” Regina asked and Emma slipped an arm around Regina’s waist and just smiled as she leaned in to place a kiss on her cheek. “And how does everyone already know, Henry?”

“They just do. There are a few bets going on too.”

“Again?” Emma groaned. “Seriously?”

“Seriously,” he chuckled. “Don’t worry, I’ll use the money to get you both something awesome for Christmas this year, promise.”

“You won?” Regina asked in surprise and then she narrowed her eyes at him. “You were the one behind this bet, weren't you?”

“Well yeah,” Henry laughed. “Needed to get that extra spending money for Christmas, you know.”

“You’re kind of clever,” Emma laughed. “And a little evil too, kid.”

“I get it from you guys,” he said with a wink. “I should go upstairs and get ready for my date. Vi is expecting me in an hour.”

“Do ease up on the aftershave this time, dear,” Regina said.

“Condoms are in the bottom drawer in the bathroom,” Emma added and she barely dodged away from the swat to the arm from Regina. “What?”

“He is not having sex.”

“I’m right here, Mom.”

“He’s only seventeen,” Regina continued. “What if Violet ends up pregnant?”

“I was pregnant at seventeen,” Emma reminded her. “I’m sure that if that happens, they’ll figure it out, but it isn’t going to happen. Right, Henry?”

“Right,” Henry nodded. “Not gonna happen. We’re careful. And can we never talk about sex like ever again? It’s weird.”

“Agreed,” Emma nodded but Regina just shook her head with a heavy sigh. “What?”

“Nothing, darling,” Regina said softly. “Go on and get ready for your date, Henry. You don’t want to be late.”

Henry suddenly wrapped them both in a tight hug. “I love you guys,” he said and Emma choked up a little as her unstable emotions started to fall into place. “I love you both so much. I’m happy we’re a true family now and that I’m going to have a little brother or sister next year. I didn’t think anything could top last Christmas, but this one is going to be even better.”

“It’ll be a Swan-Mills family Christmas this year,” Regina smiled. “It’ll be the start of a very new tradition.”

“Didn’t that start last year?” Emma asked.

“Officially,” Regina stated. “Officially the start of a new tradition.”

“How do you think everyone is going to react to the news?” Henry asked and he released them both as they turned to look at one another. “I mean, like I said, everyone pretty much already knows you two are going to get married, but I don’t think anyone knows that Ma is pregnant with a magical baby yet, well…”

“Well what?” Emma asked.

“Well,” he shrugged. “I think Grandma knows. When I went over there on Sunday for brunch, she was sorting through all of Neal’s old clothes and folding them and stuff. I asked her why she wasn’t going to get rid of them and she kind of sort of said that someone is going to need them next year.”

“She didn’t say who?” Regina asked and he shook his head no, but Emma’s superpower pinged and she playfully slugged him in the shoulder.

“Liar. What did she say?”

“She said she hopes it’s a girl,” Henry said as he started to back away from them slowly. “And she said she hopes it looks like Mom.”

“Me too,” Emma grinned and Regina turned to her with tears springing to her eyes instantly. “I hope our baby looks like you,” she said as she wrapped her arms around Regina. “Boy or girl, it will be one beautiful baby.”

“I hope so too, darling, but I want our baby to look like you.”

“Moms—”

“Blonde hair, gorgeous green eyes, maybe hazel like Henry’s,” Regina continued and Emma grinned dopily as she leaned in for a kiss. “And dimples,” she added. “Definitely needs to have your dimples and your adorable smile.”

“Moms, at least wait until I’m out of the room before you two start being all lovey-dovey and gross with each other.”

Both ignored Henry as they leaned in for another kiss, one that was slow, sensual, deep, and passionate. It made Emma’s body hum with arousal and she heard Henry groan as she moaned loudly. As soon as they both heard Henry running up the stairs, it was Regina who spun Emma around and pinned her to the dining room table.

“I can feel you,” she murmured breathlessly against Emma’s lips. “I can feel your desire, your longing.”

“That’s because I’m craving you right now, Regina.”

“Upstairs?”

“God yes,” Emma groaned and Regina wrapped her arms around her a little tighter and magically transported them to the bedroom. “So, do you think it’s safe to try that spell out again?”

“You want me to fuck you like I did the night we conceived?”

“No,” Emma said as she gently pushed Regina down on the edge of the bed. “I want to fuck you until you scream…”

“Before or after you’ve had your peanut butter and ice cream fix, dear?”

Emma knelt between her legs and cupped Regina’s face and smirked as she looked into Regina’s beautiful brown eyes.

“Both.”

[X]

A few days later, Snow grabbed the mail as she kicked the door shut and went through the envelopes until she found the one she’d been looking for, the red one, from Regina, Henry, and Emma regarding the upcoming Christmas Day celebrations. She dropped the rest of the mail on the table by the door before walking into the kitchen and ripped open the envelope.

You have been cordially invited to the Swan-Mills’ household for a fabulous feast on Christmas Day, with presents and cocktails to begin promptly at noon and dinner to be served at six. This year we are not only celebrating Christmas, we are also pleased to announce our engagement and to celebrate our upcoming marriage. Please RSVP by the twelfth of December.

Regina, Emma, and Henry Swan-Mills

Snow squealed loudly as she ran out of the kitchen and to the bedroom where David was sleeping after working a long overnight shift. She practically jumped on the bed and shook him awake.

“Charming, wake up!”

“Huh?”

“Wake up!” She yelled and he blinked his eyes open in confusion as Snow thrust the invitation into his face. “They’re engaged!”

“Who? What?”

“Emma and Regina!” She exclaimed. “They’re engaged!”

“We lost the bet,” David frowned as he sat up and took the invitation from her. “We lost.”

“Who cares! Our daughter is getting married!”

David smiled as he dropped the invitation on the bed and wrapped his arms lovingly around his wife. “Our daughter is getting married.”

Suddenly, happy tears sprang to Snow’s eyes and as the tears fell, David kissed each one away one by one. “Our daughter is getting married, Charming. She’s getting married.”

“I know.”

Snow shook her head and suddenly she burst out laughing. “She’s getting married!”

“Yes, I know,” he smiled, as patient as ever. He picked up the invitation and blinked as he read over it again. “Swan-Mills, huh?”

“Swan-Mills,” Snow repeated. “I like it.”

“So,” David said as he cocked his head to the side. “How long do you think before they tell us we’re going to be grandparents again?”

“They don’t know that we already know,” Snow laughed. “I honestly didn’t think that anything could top last year, but this?”

“This is going to be the best Christmas ever,” David finished for her.

“Definitely,” she grinned and she leaped off of him and the bed suddenly, her excitement getting to the better of her. “I need to call Ruby!”

“Snow—”

“I need to call Marco! He’ll need a few months to make the furniture for their nursery and—”

“Snow,” David said as he got up and gently cupped her face with his hands. “Let’s just wait until they tell us the good news, all right? Then you can go ahead and—”

“They’re getting married and having a baby!” Snow squealed and she ran out of the room despite David trying to stop her. “Oh! I hope it’s a little girl! Can you just imagine how adorable that baby will be? Oh! I cannot wait!”

David shook his head and crawled back into bed, but before he fell back asleep, he looked at the invitation again and smiled.

Christmas with the Swan-Mills family. He couldn’t think of any better ways to celebrate the holidays than with his whole family coming together finally as one. Officially.