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We Still Have Love To Give You

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It had been a couple of weeks since The Episode, or so Emma referred to it in her head.

There had been two other instances since then, but they had been very small. The first had been Emma waking up in the middle of the night, fresh from a nightmare. Leaving Henry in her bed, she had raced from her room to Snow and Charming’s bed in the living room. She crawled up under the covers from the bottom of the bed, wriggling in between the two of them, sobbing all the while. Snow had encircled her straight away with one arm underneath them, then her other rubbed soothing circles on Emma’s belly. Charming had slept the rest of the night on his side, with his arm slung across the bodies of his most important ladies and with Emma’s fist clutched around the bottom of his shirt pulled towards her. Luckily for him his daughter slept with her entire body under the covers so he was not in danger of any frosty chills against his stomach.

The second time had occurred when there had been a thunderous storm over Storybrooke. Henry had initially believed there was more trouble brewing from Regina, but as his lids blinked shut round about eleven at night he no longer cared. It seemed Henry had no problem with the cracks of thunder and the shock of lightning that flashed in the window. Emma on the other hand, Snow had found, shivered and twitched with each crash and flare. It was soon after that she started crying and Charming had to carry her to their bed, cuddling her close and tight, murmuring her eye softly.

Emma vaguely remembered these moments. She wasn’t entirely sure how her mind could separate the experiences so that they seemed to be distant memories.

Charming had taken to calling it Family Time.

And of course, Snow had been referring to it as Baby Time. To Emma’s face. Emma had given one of her famous fishy mouth gaping expressions the first time she heard it, glad that neither had talked about it in front of anyone else, especially not Henry.

Snow White then proceeded to pout at her and squeezed her face between her palms, telling her that what had happened was nothing to be ashamed of.

“I’m glad it happened, Emma. We never got a chance to be a family, and now we can,” said Snow, leaning in to kiss Emma on the cheek.

Emma squirmed away.

“Dad, help me out here,” said Emma.

What she did like was the fact that she could now call them Mom and Dad with no stutter. It was weird, but yet so wonderful.

“I agree with your mother,” said Charming, gesturing with his mug towards his wife.

Snow White beamed at him and then took it as a go ahead to cuddle Emma close once more.

“It’s okay to need me, baby. Mommy’s here for you,” said Snow.

Emma blinked rapidly. She still couldn’t get used to her mother saying that just quite yet. It was one thing to hear it when she was in her…. other mindset, compared to right now. But it was true. Snow and Charming are here. Now. With her. She doesn’t need to look for them anymore. She can just need them now.

Snow stops herself from reacting to the reluctant sigh from her daughter, because it is worth hearing that bit of doubt when Emma snuggles into her embrace. She leans over Emma’s head to kiss her husband.

Charming is being Sheriff today. He wants to give Emma the day off. She needs it after having to face down Rumplestiltskin yesterday, after he once again defied Belle’s wishes to be left alone.

He ruffles Emma’s hair, silently laughs at her huffing, and then kisses the top of her head.

“Don’t worry about today. I’ll look after the Sheriff’s station. You just focus on being good for your mother,” said Charming.

“Have a good day at work,” said Snow, and then she turned to regard her daughter. “Why don’t you go have a nap?”

It wasn’t really a question. More of a suggestion. A very strong suggestion. The kind that mothers make. With that tone that they will always know better than you.

“I don’t need a nap,” declared Emma, wincing as she realised how whiny that sounded.

Snow just gave her a mothering look.

Emma frowned. Fine, reason would have to do today.

“It’s the morning. I woke up, what? Only two hours ago,” continued Emma.

“You got out of bed two hours ago, it does not mean that you had been sleeping. I can tell. If you want, you can have a nap on the couch. Come on, I’ll sit with you,” replied Snow.

She reached out and took her daughter by the hand. Emma reluctantly followed.

Well, she was still a bit tired. She had stayed up pretty late because Henry kept radioing her and telling her how cool she looked standing up to Mr Gold. Up until she heard Regina scold Henry for still being awake. Emma laughed tiredly at Henry whining at the former Evil Queen that there was so much more for him to discuss with Emma. Regina then interrupted him to point out that Emma was undoubtedly exhausted from such a standoff. Emma bid them both goodnight when Henry made his embarrassed apology over the air. In her mind she vowed to buy Regina one of her weird health freak smoothies the next time they were both at Granny’s Diner.

Emma blinked herself awake from her musings when she realised that she was lying down, her head in her mother’s lap once more.

“Try to get some sleep Emma. I won’t let you run yourself down, not anymore. You’ve done enough for Storybrooke for now. Let your father be the caretaker for a little while,” murmured Snow, stroking Emma’s hair lovingly.

That just made Emma think about her hair colour. She sure didn’t take after Snow White and her raven locks. Charming had blonde hair, but it was more sandy brown in comparison to her bright blonde waves. Not that it mattered. It was just weird. Like how she was a Princess weird.

Emma sucked in air noisily and stopped fighting her eyes from shuttering close. Her mother’s hand was very soft and very comforting. Her general warmth was even more so. It certainly was conducive to…..

 

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“Emma? Emma, honey. Time to wake up. It’s lunchtime now, baby.”

Emma pouted and wriggled about, kicking out her limbs.

“Mmphh! No Mommy!”

“Emma, Mommy’s made one of your favourite dishes! Guess which one,” Snow White watched for her daughter’s blonde head to pop out from under the blanket she had placed over her.

“Chocolate?”

“No, baby. Try again.”

“Icecream?”

“No Emma, think of lunch foods.”

“Chicken nuggets!”

“Not today, baby.”

“Why Mommy?”

“Because… we’ll have chicken nuggets tomorrow.”

“Oh… What’s lunch, Mommy?”

Snow White giggled and leant over to squeeze her daughter’s cheeks.

“I have the smartest baby in the whole world. I saw what you tried to do there, Emma.”

Emma blinked at her.

“Oh, alright. We’re having crabsticks, egg and shallots today!”

Emma raised her hands in the air and squeezed the air between her fingers and thumbs, “Crabbysticks!”

“Yes, that’s right, baby. Crabbysticks. I know you like the taste. What did you say they tasted like?” asked Snow.

“Mommy, it tastes like mmm!” exclaimed Emma.

Emma loved this dish because it made scrambled eggs taste great. Well, it looked like scrambled eggs, but it didn’t taste like scrambled eggs. She was pretty sure it was Mommy’s magic, but Mommy was pretty sure it was the crabbysticks. And well, Emma had to admit the crabbysticks did taste pretty good, and Mommy is usually right, so it had to be the crabbysticks making the scrambled eggs taste good. Mommy didn’t need the magic. She made mmm things because she loved Emma. Emma knew this because Mommy told her every day how much she loved her. And Emma loved her Mommy. And her Daddy. Emma couldn’t forget Daddy. Daddy did fun things like play wooden swords with her, although one time she got in a good hit and whapped Daddy on his head and Mommy hadn’t been so happy after that. Daddy whispered to her that they had better be sorry, pretend sorry or real sorry – any sorry really, because otherwise Mommy might not make dessert. And not having dessert, well, Emma couldn’t think of anything more horrible!

Snow had been quite pleased to find that Emma shared her love of shallots, onions and chives. Most of the children she taught when she had been only Mary-Margaret had expressed disdain towards the vegetables and their extended family. Leeks most of all. Snow suspected it had something to do with those Japanese cartoons.

And now, Snow was wondering why Emma wasn’t enjoying her lunch.

“Emma… Is the food not mmm?” asked Snow.

“Crabbysticks is mmm, Mommy,” replied Emma.

“Then why is my baby not eating?”

“Don’t wanna.”

“Why, baby?”

Snow waited for Emma to formulate her response, gently pulling Emma’s fist away from her mouth.

“Mommy?”

“Yes, Emma?”

“Taste more mmm when Mommy does it.”

Snow breathed in and held her tears. It wouldn’t do to confuse Emma. She poked some egg and crabstick together and then lifted it to Emma’s open mouth. Once Emma’s lips closed around it she pulled the fork out gently.

Emma kicked her legs under the chair, “Mmm!”

“I’m happy you are enjoying your lunch, baby,” said Snow.

“Mommy have some too! Share!” exclaimed Emma.

Snow laughed and did just that.

"Love Mommy," said Emma, matter of factly.

"And Mommy loves Emma," replied Snow, kissing her daughter on the cheek.

 

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Emma perked up as she heard the key turn in the front door. She raced her over just as Charming walked in.

“Daddy!” she exclaimed, throwing her hands up into the air. “Frabjous day!”

Charming’s grinned at his offspring and responded with hands raised also, “Frabjous day, my darling Emma!”

He passed her with a kiss to her cheek and then he then went to greet Snow with a kiss on the lips, parting with a whisper, “Frabjous day? Sounds familiar.”

“We were reading Alice in Wonderland,” came the answer.

“Ah.”

“How was work?”

“It was fine. Saved a few cats. Has she stayed…”

“She’s been having Baby Time all day. I’m so glad she’s been able to relax all day,” breathed Snow.

Charming looked over at their daughter who had furrowed her brow, not understanding why the attention had moved from her so quickly.

“That’s great, I’ve been looking forward to Family Time all day!” said Charming, turning to encircle Emma in a wrestly hug, resulting in Emma laughing and waving her arms about from under Charming’s armpits.

“Daddy!”

After some more tussling, Charming found himself sitting on the couch with Emma perched on the back of the sofa, her legs on either side of his head. She was holding tufts of his hair, rocking side to side with glee. Charming winced at the sharp tugs to his rather short hair.

“Ah!”

“Emma! Why are you attacking Daddy?” scolded Snow.

Emma let go of Charming’s hair promptly and gave Snow a sorrowful look. Snow looked at her expectantly. Emma dropped a kiss on Charming’s head and said, “Sorry Daddy.”

Charming rubbed his scalp and smiled at his daughter, “Just not so hard next time, okay honey?”

“Kay…” murmured Emma around her knuckles.

Snow grasped that fist in her hands and pulled it away from Emma’s mouth gently.

“No, baby, don’t suck your knuckles,” said Snow softly.

Charming noticed the look on his wife’s face. Emma must have been sucking on her knuckles more than just a few times today to warrant that look. And he did remember the knuckle-sucking happening several times during the last two moments of Family Time.

“Maybe we should get her a pacifier,” mused Charming.

“Maybe,” agreed Snow.

It was certainly a habit that would not be good for her skin, but they weren’t going to deny their daughter any sort of comfort. How Emma would react to that news once she was out of Baby Time, however, was another matter.