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Regina eyed the monstrosity as though it might at any moment burst into flame. Or perhaps break out into dance and song, it was hard to say just what sort of magic the giant box with all its little knobs might contain. Oven, they called it. In theory she had all the knowledge she needed to learn how to work it but that didn’t make it any less alien.

Unfortunately they were going to have to become intimately acquainted if she was going to survive this strange new land.

Cooking. Even back home she would have been lost. She hadn’t so much as set foot in a kitchen since she had been a small child, sneaking sweets behind her mother’s back and harassing the maids. The ability to feed one’s self hadn’t been the sort of skill her mother felt a lady should be bothered with, even less so when she had become queen. A snap of her fingers and things just appeared. Literally, if she was in the mood for it.

There were no servants here, nor magic. Just a big empty house and a kitchen full of things and a head full of knowledge that she had no practical ties to. 

“I can do this. It can’t be any harder than the car.” 

Which was a joke, truly, because not a mailbox in town had been safe when she’d finally worked up enough courage to push down the pedal and make the thing go. 

She grabbed one of the little black dials and turned it, the little ball of anxiety she was nursing swelling with every click but then the little blue flame wooshed to life. She almost could have laughed in wonder.

This technology thing wasn’t so different from magic.

Later, surrounded by the wailing of every smoke detector in the house and ineffectively attempting to chase the fumes out the window with a waving towel she was forced to reevaluate that assessment. 

Granny’s became her crutch of choice.


She cursed the day he was old enough to want solid foods. There was only so much diced up vegetables, hot dogs, crackers and cheerios a child could eat. Eventually he would have enough words to complain and she would be expected to provide something more pleasing to the palette. 

Her adventures into macaroni and cheese resulted in many a charred pot of mush and her attempts at scrambled eggs were abandoned when she realized she’d somehow scraped the bottom of the pan to such an extent that the yellow yolks were littered with black shavings.

There was, at least, no shortage of apples. Regina experimented with every apple based dish known to man, eventually realizing that baking was more to her tastes; after the assembly stage and throwing it in the oven little could go wrong as long as she remembered to pull it out on time, and it was fortunate that Henry seemed to enjoy it. It was lucky too that her son was so taken with the diner; he never recognized the treat for the smokescreen it was. 

When she discovered lasagna, it felt like a stroke of luck and genius. It was simple enough she was hard put to screw it up and there was so much that could be done with it; Make it with meat, make it without, make it with different types of cheeses, add different spices. It became a game to see how many different combinations she could make and if Henry ever noticed how limited their diet was he was kind enough not to say.


Have dinner with me, she’d said. Let me cook for you. She wasn’t sure what she’d been thinking. Honestly she wasn’t sure that she’d been thinking at all; When Emma looked at her with those big green eyes and smiled that smile, so like Henry’s, all her logic seemed to fly out the window. It made her do stupid things, like starting petty arguments over just what shade of red the Sheriff’s jacket was and kissing the infuriating blonde in the little alley behind the diner to make her shut up. 

So she made lasagna for perhaps the one hundredth time and could think of nothing more new to do with it than to add some red pepper flakes; If she was lucky it would add just enough kick to make it not completely horrible. The Sheriff was after all a woman who would be most easily wooed by means of her stomach. 

The first bite was torture, watching unpainted pink lips wrap around the fork and the barest flash of a tongue. When the blonde’s eyes fluttered shut Regina was literally on the edge of her seat, waiting to see if Emma would spit it out, or, god forbid, choke

Then, “This is awesome.”


“Oh yeah.” She grinned teasingly around a mouthful that was much too large and it spoke of just how far the former Queen had fallen that Regina actually found it endearing. “Did you really doubt that it would be? Everything you do is perfect.”

Her mask was firmly in place, eyes rolling. She couldn’t examine all the things she’d failed to do perfectly with any degree of seriousness; there lay madness. “Hardly.”

“Hey.” Emma was suddenly leaning across the table to grasp her hand, the unfamiliar feel of skin on skin both strange and wonderful. “You made it just for me. Even if you’d burned it I would love it.”

She swept the softest of kisses across Regina’s knuckles and the knot of tension that’d been pooling in the Mayor’s belly fluttered away in a rush of butterflies and electricity that was the closest thing to magic she’d experienced since a squalling three week old Henry had been placed in her arms.

The red pepper flakes became her favorite.