A Christmas Nightmare
“Here we are,” chirped Mary Margaret as she opened the door of the cabin in which they were going to spend their first villain free Christmas together as a family. One big happy family, or at least that is how Emma imagined her mother probably saw it.
Emma had secretly been dreading this getaway for months. Being cooped up in a confined space with her parents, young Neal, Zelena, baby Robin, Henry and Regina wasn’t how she pictured her perfect Christmas. She’d much rather have spent it with just those last two people: Henry and Regina at the mansion by the fireplace and the Christmas tree she’d surprised Regina with.
She had driven past Moe French’s flower shop with Henry when they had spotted the massive tree. They had shared a look and Emma knew that tree was meant to be theirs. Well technically, it wasn’t her tree at all because it was clear to her from the start that a majestic thing like that needed a proper living room to stand in. So when the weekly family dinner at mansion rolled around Emma brought the tree instead of a bouquet of flowers (which perhaps in hindsight would have been more fitting for a dinner invitation).
Yet as much as Emma would have wanted her Christmas to be spent differently, she was supposed to be the perfect daughter. Mary Margaret wouldn’t take no for an answer and when she’d somehow convinced Regina, Emma saw no other choice but to just go along with it. When entering the cabin, she noticed it was quaintly decorated, but thankfully spacious enough for that many people.
Henry immediately stormed towards one of the bedrooms, Neal followed him as fast as his small legs would allow him. Neal had taken quite a shine to Henry now that he was getting the hang of video games and had noticed that Henry was a true expert. It was clear that Henry, although he was reluctant to admit it, adored taking care of Neal and protected him like an older brother.
“THIS ONE IS OURS!” Henry yelled.
“No shouting Henry,” Regina immediately said.
“Sorry mom,” Henry responded in a less loud voice.
“So that room’s taken, this one with the patio doors looks pretty wicked to me.” Zelena said inspecting the room at the very back of the cabin.
“We’ll take the one next to that, won’t we David?” Mary Margaret asked, although her tone of voice left no real room for discussion.
Emma looked around the cabin in search of two additional bedrooms but couldn’t locate any.
“That just leaves you and Regina. There is a smaller cabin next to this one, just a few yards left of ours and then you’re there,” Mary Margaret said far too chipper.
Emma glanced at her mother with confusion, normally she’d have a response at the ready for everything, however she looked gob smacked and it was Regina who responded: “Seriously?! You’ve invited me along to your ‘perfect’ Christmas just to kick me out at the first minute?”
“No, Regina, of course not, don’t be so silly. They were out of big family cabins, so I booked two smaller ones. This one and the one next door, I’m certain you’ll love it! It’s got a little fireplace and everything and as I said it’s only a few steps from here so you’ve got the best of both worlds. Some distance from the kids and yet close enough not to miss any of the fun.” Mary Margaret said as she handed a set of keys to Regina.
“Outrageous, you expect me to leave Henry here with you idiots?” Regina said.
“So Regina’s right? You’re kicking us out?” Emma said finally regaining her voice, stepping in before a possible fireball would light the cabin on fire.
“The opposite sweetie, we’re giving you some peace and quiet. See it as our special Christmas gift.” Mary Margaret said with a wink which somehow made Emma very uncomfortable. She always felt weird when Mary Margaret called her sweetie, perhaps because she used her motherly voice when talking to Emma whilst they still looked the same age.
“Fine, I can feel when I’m not wanted.” Regina said, storming out of the cabin.
“Wait Regina!” Emma shouted after Regina. She hated that Regina believed that she somehow still wasn’t a part of this family. Emma followed the older woman until they were standing in the middle of the significantly smaller cabin.
“I can’t believe I let myself be dragged along by you insipid bunch of idiots!” Regina accused Emma, who started to get seriously irritated herself as well.
“Well, in case you didn’t notice I’m not part of the ‘main bunch’ either,” Emma retorted impatiently.
“They probably wanted someone to make sure I don’t burn the place down like the evil queen that I am,” the dark haired woman bitterly spoke.
“Regina, you know that no one looks at you that way anymore,” Emma answered with an exasperated sigh. “ You’re overreacting.”
“Oh am I? Because this surely is a vote of confidence on your mother’s behalf.” she said sarcastically.
In the midst of their bickering Emma suddenly stopped as she looked around the cabin. They were standing in the middle of the room that didn’t look anything like a cabin, but rather a hotel room. There was a small seating area with the promised fireplace that Mary Margaret had mentioned, but it had no rooms adjacent to it apart from what looked like a bathroom. Emma looked to her left and with a sinking feeling in her stomach she realized… there was only one bed.
The family dinner had been tense, as both Emma and Regina had tried to figure out another configuration of the bedrooms but every attempt they made proved unfruitful. So at the end of the evening Regina kissed Henry goodnight and Emma ruffled his hair before they retreated to their own cabin.
“I could just sleep on the floor, no problem at all,” Emma said as Regina was unpacking her suitcase, carefully placing her immaculately ironed blouses into the dresser next to the bed.
“Don’t be so silly miss Swan.”
“I’ve slept in more awkward spaces, like the bug for instance, I’m pretty sure the floor here is a comfort level higher than my car.” She shrugged and smirked, feeling slightly awkward.
“I will not have you sleeping on the floor. We are two adults here and we can share a bed this big together,” Regina said using her mayor voice to end the discussion.
When Regina was in the shower Emma realized the full extent of the situation she had found herself in: she would have to share a bed with Regina Mills. Truthfully, in the beginning they had wanted to kill each other, but over the years something had shifted. Emma felt like the other woman truly understood her. During the last years, it had always been Regina who saw through her many -basically impenetrable- layers.
The family dinner at the mansion became the thing Emma looked forward to most of all every single week. And it wasn’t just because she got to spend some extra time with Henry. When she was at Regina’s she experienced something she’d never felt before: a sense of home. In addition, Regina was smoking hot and as much as Emma tried to suppress her thoughts about this particular matter, she simply couldn’t when Regina would bend over in one of her tight skirts. Or, when she would re-apply her lipstick after dessert. And due to some twisted trick of fate Emma now had to remain totally unfazed by Regina lying right next to her.
‘Oh god, what if I start spooning her in my dreams?’ Emma thought, slightly panicking. ‘Or worse, I might accidentally grab one of her boobs, she’d kill me before I can even mutter an apology’. It was in the midst of Emma’s panic that Regina re-emerged from the bathroom wearing a negligee that left little to the imagination.
Emma’s jaw visibly dropped.
“I hadn’t expected having to share a room,” Regina said with a smirk which revealed she’d seen Emma gaping at her.
“I… yeah, sure. No problem.” Emma said with a slightly strained voice. Because that is what normal people wear when they sleep.
“Just so you know, if you steal the covers halfway through the night, I’ll kill you for real. You’ll wish you’d never been born,” Regina said in a tone of voice that would sound threatening to everyone but Emma who by now knew Regina through and through. Deep down this was Regina’s way of easing the tension and expressing she was okay with the situation.
“I wouldn’t dare.” Emma responded with a warm laugh. She hadn’t noticed that her muscles had tensed before they relaxed a little.
Regina gracefully slipped under the covers and Emma noticed she herself hadn’t changed for bed because she’d been too busy overthinking. She grabbed some clothes and all but ran towards the bathroom to change and brush her teeth.
After talking some sense into herself whilst staring into her reflection in the mirror Emma decided she could do this. The lights in the room were dimmed and Regina’s breathing was steady, she was already asleep.
Emma lifted the covers on her side of the bed as quietly as she could, almost afraid to wake the other woman. She felt the warmth of Regina’s radiating from the body beside her and heaved a deep sigh. This was going to be a long night.
Emma awoke to Regina tossing and turning in bed. She was about to get really pissed off at Regina for hogging all of the duvet when Emma noticed the woman next to her was shaking. The shaking quickly turned into sobbing. “Regina, are you awake?” Emma tried, but when she got no response, she reached out to squeeze Regina’s shoulder.
“Don’t. I’ll be good I promise. No!” Regina said in between tears in a fearful voice.
With a careful touch Emma took hold of both Regina’s shoulders to gently shake her awake.
“Look at me Regina, it’s okay.” Regina opened her eyes and was met with a tender and warm gaze. “I’m here. You’re safe,” Emma said soothingly, cupping her cheeks with both hands. She delicately stroked Regina’s face in a round comforting motion, fingers just barely touching her skin. Regina leaned into the caress and it evened out her irregular breath.
The nightmare faded to the background and now, it was just the two of them.
Emma brushed away Regina’s tears and it was as if Regina looked at her for the first time.
“That’s it, breathe,” Emma hummed softly without seizing her movements.
“Emma… please.” she choked out.
“Don’t worry.” Emma responded still softly looking into Regina’s eyes, her hands gently releasing her face. Regina, however, grabbed one Emma’s hands with firm determination and slid her own hand over Emma’s, carefully placing it back onto her cheek. Regina looked at her expectantly. Emma blinked before she gazed back, dumbfounded. Did she really…?
Emma’s eyes darkened as she leaned forward in what seemed like slow-motion, until her lips brushed Regina’s. Holding her breath, hoping she read the signs correctly she held still. But Regina smiled into the kiss before deepening it, flipping Emma over on the bed, straddling her. An involuntary moan escaped Emma’s lips upon feeling Regina’s thighs squeezing hers.
When they came up for air Emma reluctantly asked, “is this really what you want?”.
“Positive, very much so,” Regina breathed as her mask of indifference she normally wore was nowhere to be found.
“Thank god!” Emma replied before kissing her once more.
It didn’t take long before clothes were shed, and they were free to explore each other without restrictions. Whereas Emma had been the one who’s touches were gentle and soft, Regina now firmly took hold of Emma’s wrists and pinned them to the bed with full force. It took Emma by surprise, but she was not going to complain. With a trail of open-mouthed kisses Regina started her descend across Emma’s squirming body.
When Emma woke up the next morning, she felt Regina’s arms firmly wrapped around her waist. The alarm was blaring on full volume but all she wanted was to remain in this position forever. Emma turned off the alarm, which caused Regina to groan in discomfort.
“Stay,” she muttered, her voice still deep and raspy.
That one word eased all Emma’s worries that perhaps Regina would regret their night together. She desperately wanted to respond with ‘forever’ but bit her tongue, knowing that a comment like that would most definitely scare Regina away. So instead she simply said, good natured: “Good morning, sleepyhead.”
“Just five more minutes” Regina answered, closing her eyes once more.
“Are you certain that’s what you want?” Emma asked before kissing Regina passionately.
“I guess I could make an exception,” Regina said with a smirk, now fully awake.
They’d shared some more kisses as they both got dressed and right as Emma was about to step out of the cabin Regina stopped her.
“Should we talk about this?”
There it was… the moment Emma had dreaded. Regina had changed her mind and didn’t want any of this anymore. She felt her body tensing up, before turning around to meet Regina’s eyes.
“Right, I understand. I’m glad it happened, but I also get it that you don’t want anything more. I mean you are you and I am… well me. I knew it was impossible, it’s just that I’m so happy it happened. Wait, did I take advantage of you? Please tell me I didn’t. Oh god… what did I do? You were in distress after your nightmare and I totally just planted one on you. I’m the worst person ever…”
Regina had crossed the room and shut Emma up by placing her index finger to her lips.
“You are such an idiot sometimes,” she fondly said. Emma didn’t dare to look Regina in the eyes.
“Do you really think you took advantage of me? Oh darling, if anyone took advantage it was me. I fully had my way with you, and you know it,” Regina said with a wink.
“So you’re not mad?” Emma asked now raising her eyes to look at Regina again. The older woman looked… amused, she thought surprised.
“Mad? No not at all. My dear Emma, I don’t regret a thing.”
“No, do you?” Regina asked. The glance of amusement was replaced with concern and Emma hasted towards a reply. “No, of course not.”
“Good. I merely wanted to discuss what we should tell the others.”
“Oh” Emma said feeling stupid for immediately jumping to conclusions of the worst-case scenario.
“Yes, ‘oh’ indeed,” Regina replied as she took hold of Emma’s hands.
“I would very much like to continue this, see where it leads us.”
“You would?” Emma said before quickly adding, so there could be no mistake about it, “so would I.”
Regina’s smile at that confirmation lit up the room and Emma had never seen anything so beautiful in her entire life.
“I think we should tell Henry first,” Regina thoughtfully mentioned, her smile slightly fading.
“He’ll approve,” Emma retorted immediately as she recognized the worries of Henry rejecting Regina all over Regina’s face.
Emma and Regina entered the main cabin together trying to hide their smiles.
Zelena immediately noticed them.
“Bloody hell, you’re up early, I wouldn’t have expected you till way after lunch!”
“What do you mean Zelena?” Regina asked confused.
“Oh nothing, nothing. Tell me Regina how are you today?” Zelena purred with a tone in her voice that Emma couldn’t quite place.
“Very well thank you.” Regina’s tone was slightly guarded.
“As I suspected.” Zelena said grinning like a Cheshire cat as she walked towards the kitchen.
Regina turned to Emma and in a whisper asked, “Did I miss something?”.
“I have no idea. She was being weird as hell.”
They didn’t really have time to dwell on the odd interaction as David walked towards them without saying anything. He just patted Regina on the shoulder and Emma on the back before walking away again.
Mary Margaret was next, walking up to them with such a gleeful smile that it was almost scary. “It worked didn’t it?!” she said.
“What worked?” Emma and Regina both dumbfoundedly asked in sync.
“Oh it definitely worked. I’m so happy for you!” Mary Margaret exclaimed, clapping her hands.
“Did you sniff too much glue trying to wrap all the presents Snow? Because you’re making less sense than usual.” Regina said.
Emma couldn’t repress her snorting laughter at Regina’s snarky comment.
Probably drawn to Emma’s laughter Henry ran towards them “Did it work?”
“Did what work kid?” Emma asked, looking at Regina in search of answers. But the brunette seemed as puzzled as she was.
“Oh my god, it totally worked!” Henry squealed.
“Henry sweetheart, will you please explain what on earth is going on?” Regina insisted.
“It was all Grandma’s idea,” he said looking just a little bit guilty.
“Mom, what did you do?” Emma asked Mary Margaret.
“I simply sped things up a bit, but given your glowing looks it seems to have worked. I lied yesterday when I said there weren’t any larger cabins, I specifically requested these. The two of you needed some time alone together after pining for each other for years. We simply couldn’t stand by and watch you two never figuring it out - look who were the real idiots, huh? - , so we decided to create the perfect circumstances for you to come together. This was my specially elaborately orchestrated gift. Merry Christmas!” Mary Margaret chipperly told them.
“You what?!” Emma exclaimed.
“I did not pine!” Regina huffed indignantly at the same time.
“Wait, you knew?” Emma added.
“You always have to stick your nose in my business don’t you Snow?!” said Regina.
“Wait, you ALL knew?” Emma asked as she spotted Zelena listening in from around the corner of her room and David from the kitchen.
Everyone nodded. Nobody had the decency to look even remotely guilty.
And then the most unlikely thing happened: Regina burst out in laughter. It was a deep bellied laugh and she merely said: “Thank you everyone,” before interlocking her and Emma’s hands, pulling her closer and kissing her firmly on the lips.
Emma heard a couple of squeals and an ‘eeeuw’ that could have been either Henry’s or Neal’s, but those sounds all faded to the background. All that mattered was Regina, standing right in front of her, kissing her. Emma could only come to one conclusion: this was the best Christmas ever.