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This Means War

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This Means War

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         Ruby shifted in place, her black knee-high boot making the crunchy top layer of snow crackle beneath her feet. She had set up the perfect base of operations, near the corner of the building at 108 Mifflin.

         Her werewolf sharpened senses allowed her to hear much of what was going on inside, from the thumping walk of Henry as he ran down the stairs and into the kitchen, to the sizzle of an egg on a skillet. She settled into a crouch, knowing she wouldn’t have to wait long until her target left the safety of her home.

         Ruby looked down at the arsenal in front of her, and used her gloved fingers to space out her weapons more evenly. Regina had been asking for this, and she wouldn’t hesitate to have her revenge.

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          Regina picked up her purse from the table, and followed Henry toward the front door. She stopped him there, making sure he had his bookbag and all of his homework before she opened the door and let him out, following behind to lock it up.

          “Okay, Henry, I will take you to school, but Emma and Elsa will pick you up so you can spend the night at their apartment. I’ll see you tomorrow after school.”

          “Yeah, yeah, I know, mom, you’ve only gone over it like ten times with me,” Henry groaned, and pulled up his hood as a gust of icy wind buffeted against them.

          “Emma may allow you to get away with the sassing, but I will not, Hen-“

          A sudden flash of white in the corner of her eye caught her attention, and she turned her head toward it… just in time for a fluffy snowball to explode in her face as it hit her square on the nose. She could hear Henry suck in a breath next to her, and she reached up to carefully wipe her face, with her gloved fingers.

          After she cleared the snow out of her eyes, she saw the culprit – Ruby Lucas – crouched near the corner of her house, hair pulled back into loose pigtails that were tucked into her fluffy winter coat. Her lips were curled in a wide grin that bared her teeth, making her look much like the wolf she was.

          Regina’s eyes narrowed in fury as the woman took snowballs into each hand and hurled them one after another. Regina twisted to the side, allowing them to pass her. Her glare turned to Henry when he finally gave up trying to contain his laugh.

          “She got you good, mom - way to go Ru-“

          His own exclamation and humor-filled expression disappeared when the next snowball whacked him in the chest and exploded upwards into his face, leaving him blinking away melting bits of snow from his eyelashes. “Ruby! Why’d you do that?” He dove into the small snow bank that had been formed by shoveling the walk, and ditched his bookbag when Ruby began hurtling her snowballs at a faster pace.

          Henry looked up at his mother, who smirked evilly, and he returned the expression with a smirk of his own. Regina waved a hand, and in a puff of smoke, a towering pile of snowballs appeared in front of them. Henry grabbed several and began to pitch them at Ruby.

          Regina had other plans, and formed another pile. This one she levitated into the air until there were close to thirty snowballs hovering in front of her. She heard Ruby mutter an ‘Oh, crap,’ the second before she swatted her hand forward, sending all of them at full speed toward the now frantically-dodging werewolf. She cackled when she heard Ruby shriek after getting hit by several.

          It didn’t take them long before she and Henry got into a rhythm, and finally cornered the woman on the yard with a crisscrossing barrage, long enough for Regina to form a larger snowball, close to the size of a cantaloupe, and send it in and arc toward the other woman.

          Ruby had no chance to dodge – not even seeing it – and she yelped as it smacked into her back, and made her lose her footing. She skidded face-first in the snow, and Henry cheered at their victory. Regina shared a wide smile with him and then he hugged her.

          After nearly a minute, Ruby still hadn’t moved, and Regina felt a twist of worry in her stomach. When she continued to lie motionless, Regina carefully stepped into the snowy yard and walked toward her, barely hearing Henry’s question asking if they’d hurt her.

          “Ruby?” She realized too late that it was a trap. She had already neared the woman, and realized she could see her jean-clad legs tensed.

          Ruby leapt up and hurtled into Regina, tackling her to the ground and knocking the wind out of her. “Gotcha!” She crowed, straddling on either side of Regina’s stomach.

          Her hand darted out, grabbed a surprised Henry’s leg, and gave it a yank, pulling him into the snowdrift with them. Then she bent over above Regina, splayed her arms out in the snow on either side of her head, and swept them inward, covering Regina’s face with a sudden wave of snow.

          Gloved fingers helped her clear it away a moment later, and Regina found herself with a numb face, looking up at the flushed cheeks and wide smile of Ruby. White clouds puffed from her mouth as she looked down at Regina, and her hands moved away from her face and pinned Regina’s arms down above her head.

          “Revenge complete,” Ruby said in a singsong voice. “This will be your fate from now on if you ever tell me I smell like wet dog again.”

          Regina sputtered indignantly below her. “That’s what this was about? You started a snowball fight because you smelled like wet dog and I related that fact to you?”

          Ruby raised an eyebrow, and shifted her grip on Regina’s arms into one hand, allowing the other to begin to gather snow up.

          Regina’s eyes widened, and she shook her head. “No, no, I’m sorry. I won’t say that you smell like wet dog anymore.” Her lower lip stuck out in a pout. “You’re evil. You made me think I hurt you.”

          Ruby’s eyes softened slightly, and her finger trailed down to tap Regina on the nose. “You should have known better than to fall for that, ‘Gina.” She leaned back above her, and buffed her nails against her coat. “I guess I’m just that good, though.”

          Regina rolled her eyes, and grabbed a handful of Ruby’s jacket, and gave her a yank downward. “You’re lucky you’re adorable and I’m willing to tolerate you because of that.”

          Ruby’s bright red lips parted, mere inches from Regina. “Mmmhmmm, I definitely am,” she muttered, and pressed a firm kiss to the lips of the woman beneath her.

          “Ugh, really you guys? Get a room!” Henry exclaimed next to them as he scrambled to his feet in the snow.

          Ruby pulled reluctantly away from the kiss, and matched her girlfriend’s previous pout as she looked up at Henry.

          “No puppydog looks, Ruby. Those only work on Mom. You guys are really gonna scar me for life someday, and I’ll never be the same again,” he grumbled.

Ruby’s mischievous green eyes trailed downward and met with Regina’s, and she inclined her head toward Henry. Regina slowly smiled and then nodded, letting go of the other woman’s shirt.

          This time it was Henry who was tackled, first by Ruby, and then dogpiled on further by his mother. The two women grinned at each other and then each started to tickle him and pepper his face with big wet kisses as he squirmed and laughed and tried to escape.

          “No! Stop it! You’re getting my face all slobbery!” He yelped, and contorted almost in half when Ruby’s fingers hit a particularly ticklish spot near his armpit. “No, not there Ruby, that’s mean! Don’t do this to me in public, you guys! What if one of my friends from school sees this? I’ll die of shame! Everyone will make fun of me! This is torture- I’ve got rights, you know, I’ll have Emma arrest you for violating the Geneva Conventions or something! Ahhhh! Oh my god Ruby, did you just lick me? No, stop, Ruby, bad werewolf, it’s not even close to the full moon, stop acting like a dog, that’s even worse than mom!”

          Their play was interrupted only by a twanging sound echoing through the cold winter air, followed by a hard thudding above them. All three looked up, only to see crossbow bolt quivering in the roof above them.

          “Oh, shit,” was all Ruby managed to say before the sheet of snow that had previously been pristine and undisturbed on the roof of Regina’s home, cascaded down on top of them.

          Three incredulous faces popped up out of the pile of snow moments later, and found the source of their predicament.

         Granny stood on the sidewalk, a smug look on her face. One hand was on her hip, and in the other dangled her trusty crossbow. When they looked at her, she swung crossbow up, rested it against her shoulder, and gave them a look that was clearly challenging them to even dare to try to retaliate.

         “Sorry kids, couldn’t let you have all the fun. Now clean yourselves up – Snow cancelled school over the radio, which I know you don’t listen to, so Henry can help me at the diner today while the two of you are at work. And I’m sure you other two can handle a late start to your day. I’ll have hot cocoa ready for you three at the diner when you get there”

With that she walked away down the street, whistling aloud as she did so, leaving the three in their snow pile, staring incredulously at each other.

“You’re paying for my roof!” Regina finally shouted down the road after her.

She fixed Ruby with a pointed look. “They call me the Evil Queen – if only they knew your grandmother.”

Ruby chuckled, and climbed out of the pile of snow, shivering as some of the snow slid down the back of her shirt. She held out a hand and helped Regina and then Henry from the pile. “Alright, we’ll find a way to pay her back for that one. But first – cocoa?”

Regina smiled, and slipped a hand into girlfriend’s hand and gave it a squeeze, and threw her other arm over Henry’s shoulders. “Let’s.”

 

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