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When I cook dinner and I burn it black, you better say you like it like that

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Thanksgiving dinner was not going as planned. Alice had her heart set on surprising Will with a full-blown feast for two upon his return home, but so far, nothing had turned out properly. The cranberry sauce ended up sour her first try, and when she added more sugar and boiled it again, the sauce ended up scorching in the saucepan because she forgot to stir it, and top of it all, it refused to gel. She'd put too much milk into the creamed corn, boiled the potatoes too long, and burned the piecrust while somehow managing to simultaneously undercook the filling. The gravy was too salty, the yolks of the deviled eggs were more like sloppy blobs rather than the delicate swirls they were supposed to be. She'd made lemon bars, but forgot to put in a baking sheet over the pan, and had no way of taking them out without scooping the whole thing out into a mess of crust and lemony filling. At least it tastes all right, Alice tried to tell herself. At this rate, all they would have to eat for Thanksgiving was corn bread, the only thing that had turned out to be both passably appealing in both looks and taste. Well, that and maybe the turkey that was still in the oven, the turkey that had no stuffing, because Alice had fully recognized her inability to make a proper stuffing and then actually stuff the turkey halfway through the endeavor.

Alice dusts her hands off on her apron. Surveying the kitchen, she tries very hard not to collapse on the ground right then and there. The stove is crusted with the burnt remains of cranberry sauce and gravy, the counter is sticky with smears of lemon filling, the sink is piled high with potato and carrot peelings and dirty dishes and utensils, the bowl of the aborted attempt at making stuffing lay abandoned on the island and the entire kitchen is magically dusted with a fine layer of flour. Alice half-heartedly tries to adjust the scraggly strands that had escaped her bun, but gives up when she realizes that she was only succeeding in smearing flour and grease all over her hair.

When the timer rings, Alice edges towards the oven with great trepidation, armed with a pair of oven mitts and a dishrag. The oven isn't spewing smoke, which isalways a good sign. She gingerly pulls the oven door open, heart hammering as she frets over the state in which the turkey might be. She peers anxiously into the oven, relaxing slightly when the turkey appears to be in order, the skin a shining golden-brown like the ones she saw on the telly. The aroma is pleasing, warm and salty and savory, and with every second that passed without an obvious sign of disaster, Alice's hopes rise a little. Tightly gripping the edges of the pan, she carefully sets it on the counter and takes a moment to admire the products of her labor before sliding a knife out of the block and begins cutting into the turkey, gloating over the smooth slice of the knife through meat.

Until she hears the unmistakable rasp of steel meeting ice.

Alice stops in disbelief, then saws down furiously in vain, the inside of the turkey frozen solid. Desperately, she starts cutting elsewhere, trying to find a spot where the meat wasn't permafrost, and failing spectacularly. With an infuriated shriek, Alice flings the knife to the side and slides down to the floor, curling into a fetal position and sniffling quietly.


She has failed again, and this is another thing that she must make up to Will, another thing on the endless list of things. Will has saved her from Bethlem, helped her find Cyrus, gone back to the one place he never wanted to go back to, just for her, brought her to Storybrooke, gave her a home, introduced her to wonderful friends like Ruby and Belle, found her a job at the school where she could tell children stories and take them on adventures all day, taught her how to use the telly, the phone, the cell phone the computer, the stove, and a million other things, took her shopping with very little complaint, brought her forget-me-nots for no reason at all, carried her drunken arse home and didn't yell at her for ruining his beloved jacket, braved Mr. Gold's shop to get her that dress she wanted so much, even though she was drunk out of her mind at the time and probably wouldn't even have remembered that the dress existed at all the next day, and he loved her, even though she was nothing but bloody trouble for him. And she couldn't even make him a bloody Thanksgiving dinner. She truly was utterly useless and undeserving of Will. A voice in Alice's head (a voice that sounded suspiciously like Will's, to be honest) scolded her and demanded that she get herself together and pull herself up by her bloody bootstraps, but Alice chose to ignore that most irritatingly-correct voice and continue moping on the floor which, if she stayed long enough, would hopefully swallow her up. Yes, she would do that.

 



"Alice, I'm home!"

Silence.

Will gingerly sets the plastic grocery bags down by the door and steps warily through the living room, set on edge by the lack of response.

"Alice?"

His heart begins to pound uncomfortably in his chest, a twisting feel of dread crawling up from his stomach and wounding around his heart like...like the unfortunately-familiar feeling of fingers wrapping around his heart and squeezing.

"Alice, this ain't bloody funny no more," he calls out, fear creeping into his voice, and his nerves aren't helped at all when there is no Alice jumping out from a closet, gleefully crowing that she's scared him and wasn't that fun?

A quiet whimpering from the general area of the kitchen reaches his ears, and Will is nearly sent into a full-blown panic.

"Alice!!!"

He charges into the kitchen, fully prepared to take on any intruder, when his heart freezes and plummets. The kitchen is not unlike a war zone in terms of sheer chaos and disarray. Clearly, there was a massive struggle here, and Alice was most likely dying somewhere right now. Or. Already dead. Bloody hell, that was clearly congealed blood streaking the stove. But there was no sign of Alice anywhere, yet the muffled whimpers continued.

"Will...?"

His heart leaps at this sign of life.

"Alice!"

Will runs behind the island to find Alice curled in a fetal position on the floor, still sniffling. He crouches down, brushing the hair out of her face.

"Alice, love, what happened? Are you alright? Where are you hurt, tell me where you're hurt."

"I'm...I'm not hurt...I'm alright..."

Will tries to pull Alice up to a sitting position, but she seems so dead-set on being one with the hardwood floor that he settles for lying down behind her instead and throwing an arm around her.

"What's wrong, Alice? Who did this?"

"I just wanted to make a bloody Thanksgiving dinner," Alice wails quietly, turning to bury her face into Will's chest, hands clutching to the front of his shirt. "I wanted to surprise you with a turkey and pie and mashed potatoes and gravy like they had on the telly, but it just went...it just went all wrong..." She trails off miserably, opting instead to snuffle into Will's shirt and breathe in the smell of his aftershave.

Will softly strokes the back of Alice's head in what he hopes is a soothing fashion.

"Alice, love, you know you didn't have to."

"But I wanted to...," Alice mumbles. "I wanted to thank you properly for everything, and making Thanksgiving dinner seemed so fitting, but clearly, I can't cook." Her voice becomes less despondent, more exasperated, and Will takes this as a good sign.

"I think that's fairly obvious, Alice."

Alice half-heartedly swats Will's shoulder and he grins and kissed her lightly on the forehead.

"There's the Alice I know and love. Now. Why don't we get up off the floor and eat some bloody Thanksgiving dinner?"

Alice sniffles one last time and pushes herself up.
"But we've only got cornbread and...and maybe that sorry excuse for deviled eggs," she finishes lamely, pointing at the tray of eggs on the counter.

"And that, Alice, is where you're terribly wrong," Will declares, rising to his feet and pulling Alice up with him.

"What...how..."

"Wait here."

Will runs off to the front door and returns laden with bags and a huge covered tray.

"Will, is...is that...," Alice stammers disbelievingly, wide-eyed and pointing.

"The very last one," Will gloats. "Had to fight off three harpies for it, but here we are."

"But how did you..."

"Alice, love, I've got more to thank you for than you do to thank me for."

Alice beams and runs to Will, who sets the turkey down just in time to catch her in his arms.

"Oh, also I was sort of expecting you to try to make Thanksgiving dinner and make a bloody mess of it. You're bloody awful at cooking."

"Will!!!"