"What in the world is that?" Killian made a face as the gelatinous blob slid out of the can.
"It's called cranberry sauce," Emma said. "And now we slice it."
"A sauce, by its very nature, cannot be sliced. This looks nothing like sauce."
"It's good. Trust me."
"Henry!" Snow called out. "Can you get those two extra chairs from the attic? This turkey is ready."
"Here, let me help you," David said, clearing the counter so that Snow could set the turkey down. "Is that too heavy for you?"
"I lug a seventeen pound infant around all day, every day," she reminded him. "I think I can handle a twelve pound turkey."
"Where do you want the mashed potatoes?" Regina called out.
"Close to me!" Roland said.
She tapped his nose fondly. "You may have to fight Henry for them."
All heads suddenly turned as baby Neal let out a healthy squall.
"I've got him!" Robin said.
"He's not due for a feeding for a while," David said. "You can put him in his bouncy seat."
"Bouncy seat?" Killian looked confused.
"It's a seat...and it bounces," Snow replied. "Babies like it."
"All right, everyone!" David called out. "Let's get this bird on the table!"
They all took their seats as the last of the bowls and platters made their way to the table. Emma poured a glass of wine for the adults and fresh cider for Henry and Roland, and Snow lit the candles in the centerpiece. David cleared his throat, bringing all eyes to him.
"Emma tells me that this meal is an old tradition here, born out of people who were thankful to have survived harsh circumstances together. I can't think of a more appropriate holiday for all of us." He paused a moment for the laughter and murmured agreements that rang out around the table.
"So on this day of thanksgiving," David went on, "I think we should take some time for each of us to share what we're thankful for. I'll go first." He looked across the table at his wife and then his gaze shifted to Emma and Henry. "Today, I'm thankful for my family."
Baby Neal chose that moment to let out another lusty cry, and David set his wine down, picking up his son. "I'm even thankful for the loud ones!" he laughed. "Snow, it's your turn."
Snow smiled, taking her son from David and settling him on her lap. "I'm just so thankful that we're all together. No matter where. Henry?"
Henry nodded, setting down his cider. "I'm thankful that Grandpa talked you into getting a second pumpkin pie from Granny's," he grinned. "Oh, and family. That, too."
"Good to know we rate behind the pie," Emma smirked.
"I've had that pie," Killian remarked. "The boy has a point."
"Mom, it's your turn," Henry said, turning to Regina. She smiled at him, then picked up her wine glass.
"I'm thankful for second chances," she said. Killian raised his glass, leaning across the table to clink it to hers. "I'll drink to that."
Robin raised his glass as well. "I think we can all probably drink to that."
"Hear, hear!" David agreed. "To second chances!" Everyone drank and everyone laughed again. Regina turned to Robin, smiling.
"Oh I have much to be thankful for," he said. "Roland and I have found a good life here, with good friends and so much more." His eyes shifted to Regina on those last three words, and there was a long, charged pause as he and Regina only had eyes for each other.
"Roland," David said, clearing his throat a bit. "What are you thankful for?"
"Mashed potatoes!" Roland said, rubbing his tummy and eyeing the bowl sitting in front of him. "Can we eat now?"
Robin reached out, ruffling his hair. "Soon, Roland. Let everyone else take their turn."
Roland turned to look at Killian. "Hurry up!" he begged.
Killian laughed along with the others, then he realized they were all looking at him and expecting an answer. "Well, I'm thankful for my devilish good looks, of course," he said, quirking a brow. Emma elbowed him somewhat less than discreetly and he set his wine glass down. He looked around the table. "I'm thankful for..." his eyes shifted to Emma and suddenly, for the first time in all of his entire existence, words fled him.
He stared at her, then he swallowed hard. He opened his mouth, took a breath, and then closed it, swallowing hard again.
"I'm thankful for..." he began again, but his voice broke. "Bloody hell." He reached for his wineglass and took a fortifying swig. He wished it were rum. And they were all still staring at him. He set the glass back down, and Emma's hand gently closed over his arm, on top of the table. He turned his head to look at her again, and she gave him a smile that warmed so much of him that had been cold for so very, very long.
"You know what I'm thankful for," he said to her, a bit huskily.
"What about you, Emma," David broke in, a little bit too loudly.
Emma gave a start, then pulled her eyes away from Killian's. She looked slowly around the table at her parents, her brother, her son, her friends, and finally, at Killian. She gave a hard swallow of her own, and Killian's eyes crinkled as he turned and reached for her hand, lending her his quiet strength.
"All of it," she said. "I'm thankful for all of it. The good, the bad...it all made us who we are and made us appreciate each other even more."
"Well said, Emma," Snow agreed, raising her glass. "Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!"
"Happy Thanksgiving!" the table answered her, except for Roland.
Laughter rang out again as Robin ladeled an enormous portion of mashed potatoes onto his son's plate, and turkey was sliced, and stuffing was passed. And later, after the table had been cleared and Henry took Roland upstairs to play video games and the other adults gathered around the table for coffee, Killian sat down on the couch and Emma joined him, groaning over her full stomach.
He pulled her into him, settling her back against him as he brought his hand down to rub slow circles on her belly.
"Mmmm.." she sighed. "That feels so good."
"I'd offer to rub the rest of you, but I'm having a hard time keeping my eyes open, love."
"That's the tryptophane," Emma yawned.
"Tryptophane. It's a chemical found in turkey. Makes you sleepy," she mumbled.
"It's working," he yawned back.
She settled herself in, snuggling further onto his chest. Killian smiled lazily, stroking her hair off her face and kissing the top of her head.
"Go ahead and take a nap, Swan," he said sleepily. "You're safe enough here. I'm too tired to try anything."
There was a pause and he thought she'd fallen asleep, but then she took a breath and answered him.
"I always feel safe in your arms."
He kissed her head again, wrapping his arms around her more tightly, and in a few moments, they slept.
Some time later, Snow stood over them, motioning David to join her.
"Do we wake them?" she whispered.
"They're out cold," he said, leaning in to look closely at Emma.
"I'll just get a blanket and put it over them," Snow said, heading for the closet in the hallway. She came back and unfolded the quilt, settling it over the both of them before she straightened up, sliding an arm around her husband.
"They look good together, don't you think?" She looked up at David.
David slid an arm around her shoulders. "It pains me to say it, but she looks perfectly content."
"She does, doesn't she?" Snow sighed, putting her head on her husband's shoulder. "Come on, we should get to bed."
She pulled her husband along and Emma shifted, burrowing into Killian a little further. He adjusted, rolling into her a little more and sliding his arm around her back. His eyes didn't open, but his lips found her forehead sleepily before slumber pulled him down again.
And in the dim light, Emma's lips curved as she dreamed of pirates.