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We Still Have Love To Give You

Chapter Text

“Emma!”

Henry bowled into her, nearly knocking her off her feet. She distinctly noticed her mother dashing off to save her dad from his cursed sleep. She glanced over at Regina who seemed to be in pain.

“Welcome back.”

Emma was surprised, but then again, stranger things had happened. Like getting sent into a vortex with her mother into a fairytale land. With trolls. And Disney princesses come to life. Well, technically Mulan wasn’t a princess, and Emma was pretty sure Mulan would sock her one for even suggesting that she could be remotely similar to Aurora. Emma can’t help but be jealous of Aurora, but it is all her fault for not letting Mary…. Snow White mother her like her nearly-the-same-age-as-Emma-mother wanted to. Like Emma also wanted her to.

But enough of that. Regina is still looking at her. With a wistful look. Ah, Henry.

“Thanks.”

“She saved you!” exclaimed Henry, squishing her ribs with his surprisingly strong grip.

Despite all of the conniving theatrics of Madame Mayor, she was definitely a loving mother to Henry. Emma felt a bit wistful herself now.

“Let’s go. Mary – Snow is…” began Emma.

“Saving Prince Charming with True Love’s Kiss!” yelled Henry, pulling her along.

Emma barely managed to wave at Regina, indicating that she should join them.

-----

 

“Emma? What are you doing out here?”

Emma barely registered David, no, Charming as Regina and Ma – Snow were often calling him, sitting down beside her. Although Emma noted that Snow White seemed to call Charming David half the time. And there they sat, on the steps leading to Mary Margaret’s apartment.

It had been a few days now. Since they had returned. Since Emma had been watching her own mother stroke the feverish Aurora’s hair in the late afternoon. Emma wanted to put her own head in Mary Margaret’s lap. In Snow White’s lap. In her mother’s lap.

“Emma?” Charming tentatively placed a hand on Emma’s knee.

He blinked in surprise when she turned to face him with tears threatening to burst forth from her eyes.

“I want my Mommy!” she cried, launching herself into his side.

Charming held his little girl close, stroking her hair. He murmured softly to her to calm her down, wondering wildly if he were capable of lifting her up in his arms to carry her inside. He was half glad that they had been able to work out a amicable schedule of having Henry half the time at their place and half the time at Regina’s because really, if they all thought about it. Regina was not ever going to hurt Henry. And Henry… Well, that boy was still so suspicious of the Mayor that he wouldn’t listen to any bullshit she might try to wheedle into him.

Charming didn’t like it, nor did his wife, but Emma had convinced them that it wasn’t fair to Regina and after all. Henry had asked her to save Regina. He still loved his mother, regardless of whether she was the Evil Queen or not. Emma believed that Regina was trying to be good and he wanted to support his daughter. She was so like Snow in that regard, often looking to the goodness of others, with that wry sense of suspicion. Hmm, maybe not so much like Snow then…

Charming was also a little taken aback at Emma’s wording. Even after the big reveal, she had been so averse to calling them Mom or Dad. She usually stuttered from David to Charming or from Mary Margaret to Snow. Not that it mattered, not after that big speech he gave the whole of Storybrooke.

His little girl was in pain. That gave him the strength to lift her up. He used his foot to push the door open after he managed to rest parts of Emma on his arm, allowing him to just twist the door knob.

“Snow!” he called, over the slight sobbing.

Snow White rushed out from the bathroom.

“David! Emma! Oh, Charming what happened to her?” asked Snow, placing a hand on Emma’s shaking form in his arms.

Charming settled all three of them on the couch.

“I’m not sure. I found her sitting out in the stairwell…” Charming started to explain.

Emma shifted suddenly, twisting to clutch at Snow’s blouse.

“Mommy!”

That cry hurt Snow so badly. Her heart clenched and she had no idea why. Was this what it felt like to hear your child in pain?

“Oh my baby, what’s wrong?” asked Snow.

Emma looked at her, but continued to cry. Snow couldn’t help but cry herself. She instinctively just held Emma tighter against her, pressing the side of Emma’s face against her chest. If possible, she wanted to transfer all of her warmth to her child, to show her just how many loving hugs she had built up in her.

Charming felt so out of his depth, but he knew that having her legs across his lap, with her body all twisted couldn’t be comfortable for Emma. So he gently manoeuvred her so that she was in Snow’s lap.

It was clear to him now why Emma insisted on Regina still being a part of Henry’s life. Apart from the deceit and lies, she had raised him well. Emma hadn’t grown up with any loving parents to show her how it is done. Regina at least had her father who loved her, or so he gathered from his discussions with Snow back in their land.

He was glad that Emma had turned to him at all initially, but he could tell that a mother’s love and comfort was what his little girl need most of all now. The pain of the loss of his own dear mother came back to him at the thought. He placed a comforting hand on Snow’s shoulder.

“She needs you. She needs her mother.”

-----

They had sat their on the couch like that, shifting only slightly so that Emma was properly cuddled up in Snow’s arms, with Charming spooning the both of them.

Charming was the first to stir, blinking his eyes rapidly to rid the sleep from them. He tilted his head and noticed Emma sucking her thumb, with Snow’s arms around her protectively.

He barely stopped himself from chuckling when he heard a very loud rumbling. He was pretty sure it had come from Emma’s stomach. Clearly it had been loud enough to rouse Snow out of her own slumber. Charming bowed his head to place a kiss on her furrowed brow.

“Is it thundering?” asked a bemused Snow.

“Nope, just our hungry offspring,” replied Charming.

Snow smiled at this, but grew solemn soon after.

“Do you have any idea what brought this on?” she asked.

Charming sighed.

“No, I still haven’t a clue. Did anything else happen over there?” contemplated Charming.

“Nothing that would cause her to burst into tears. Do you think we should ask Dr Hopper?” suggested Snow.

Charming rubbed the back of his head.

“Let’s just see how she is when she wakes up first,” replied Charming. “I’ll make something for the three of us to eat.”

The sound of sizzling and the smell of bacon and eggs entranced Emma from her slumber. She snuggled into Snow’s warm embrace. A hand started stroking her hair. She made a muffled noise against Snow’s shoulder.

“Emma? What did you say honey?” asked Snow very gently.

“Mm hungry, Mommy,” came the soft reply.

Snow inhaled at the voice, so unlike the Emma that she had come to know and love. This Emma sounded so small and child-like.

“I am too Emma. Aren’t we lucky that Daddy is cooking us lunch?” she asked.

Emma sniffed the air and scrunched up her face, “Smells like breakfast.”

Snow and Emma perked up at Charming’s laughter coming their way.

“That’s cause Daddy only knows how to make breakfast!” chuckled Charming.

Emma laughed. Snow just smiled at her husband. It was true. While Charming did have some knowledge of cooking food, taught to him by his mother, they were all breakfast related meals. His mother had taken care of any meals that occurred after the sun had reached its peak in the sky. Once he became Prince James, he never had a reason to cook, nor could he, least the servants became suspicious in the change in nature of their Prince.

“Want pancakes,” muttered Emma, as Snow lead her to the table.

“But Daddy makes such good bacon and eggs! Look, he even made toast soldiers! You can dip them in the boiled egg,” said Snow.

Indeed, Daddy had made two boiled eggs, some scrambled eggs, a fried egg and a poached one. He didn’t actually know what Emma preferred. He knew that Snow liked boiled eggs best because she could dip in the toasty bread. That was the main reason that he made the buttery soldiers. But… he also felt that his daughter might enjoy them too.

Charming asked Emma which egg she wanted. They watched as she scrutinized each egg. Snow gasped as she violently stabbed the yolk of the fried and poached eggs. Charming just laughed again.

“Daddy.”

“Yes Emma?”

“Eggs dead.”

“Guess you don’t want the fried egg or the poached egg then?”

Emma stuck out her tongue at them.

“I’ll eat them,” said Charming.

He offered her some toast and she turned her head. Snow tried to coax her into eating some bacon.

“Don wannit!” cried Emma, picking up the bacon and throwing it across the table.

“Emma!” admonished Snow.

Emma started crying. It wasn’t loud and it wasn’t big scene, but straightaway Snow regretted it. Her daughter’s eyes were imploring her to forgive her. She sighed as Charming got up to take care of the unwanted bacon.

“Emma, baby, why did you do that? Daddy worked had to cook lunch for us.”

“Smells.”

Charming humoured his daughter and sniffed the meat. He scrunched up his nose, exactly the way Emma had before.

“Eewww! I can’t believe I cooked this! Why didn’t you two tell me it was smelly earlier?”

Snow blinked in surprise.

“You smell bad, Daddy! Dat’s why!”

He sniffed under his armpit and made another face of disgust.

“Yuck! You are right! I am stinky!”

He lumbered over to her with his arms outstretched, “So this is a perfect time for a hug then isn’t it, Emma?”

Emma shrieked with laughter and pushed her arms against his chest, tilting her head away. Charming rubbed his face against her cheek.

“No Daddy! Itchy!”

“Oh, I’m sorry honey. I didn’t shave today.”

He let go and winked at Snow, who just sighed again. He leant down to whisper in her ear, “We both know she’s hungry. Let’s just eat, I bet she’ll start once she gets tired of watching us eat.”

Sure enough, Emma began whining when Snow cut off the top of her boiled egg, ate it and then dipped a toast soldier into the gooey yolk.

“What’s the matter, Emma?”

“Mommy, hungry!”

“Then eat some of the lovely lunch Daddy cooked for us.”

“Mommy!”

“Yes, Emma?”

“Want Mommy’s.”

Charming laughed into his cuff.

“Okay baby. Let’s share,” replied Snow, offering her yolk coated toast soldier to Emma.

Emma bit down eagerly, chewing with a big smile on her face.

“Mmm! Mmm!”

“My good girl,” Snow praised her daughter and then dipped the rest of the toast into her egg and fed herself.

“More!”

Charming picked up Emma’s fork and offered it to her, “Aren’t you going to feed yourself?”

“No Daddy!”

Snow leaned over and arranged Emma’s breakfast to look the same as her own.

Emma opened her mouth happily, accepting another bite of yolky toast.

“Mommy, mmm!”

And so, Snow alternated between feeding her stubborn offspring and herself. Charming eventually joined into the fun and fed Snow himself. And then Emma got jealous and demanded both parents feed her too. Because of this Charming managed to convince Emma to eat one measly piece of bacon on top of a piece of toast.

-----

Snow kissed her now messy child. She retrieved a clean handtowel, dampened it and then began to gently wipe the yolk and crumbs from Emma’s face.

“That’s right, hold still my beautiful girl,” Snow praised her for not fussing.

“Are you full Emma?”

“No more Daddy!”

“Okay. How about you and Mommy go watch some tv then?”

“TV!” squealed Emma, dragging Snow by the hand.

Emma made Snow sit first. Once Snow had chosen her spot, Emma laid down on the couch, face in Snow’s lap with arms around her torso. Snow bent down to kiss her daughter on the top of her head.

If this is what Emma needed, then this is what they would do for her. After hearing about the bad homes and abandonment by numerous foster families, it was the least they could do for their baby girl. Snow turned her head from the couch and shared a look with Charming. He mouthed ‘I love you both so much’.

This was all she needed now, a chance to rebuild her family.

 

THE END

Chapter Text

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…..

 

------

 

“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.

 

-----

 

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.

Chapter Text

“Oh, David….”

“Hear me out Snow. She’s sucking her knuckles more and more, right?”

Snow nodded reluctantly. She knew that Emma was still getting used to the idea that they were okay with her need for Baby Time. And she was quite sure that prior to Baby Time, Emma would be struggling with the fact that Baby Time was something that she could have. She wasn’t entirely sure if giving Emma a pacifier now would be such a good idea.

“How should we broach this with her though? As Emma or as Baby Emma?” asked Snow.

Charming scratched his head.

“Probably not a good idea to bring it up with Emma, but if she transitions midway sucking on it…” Charming trailed off.

Snow closed her eyes.

“It’s necessary. That is all the reason she needs,” said Snow.

Charming inhaled and then exhaled heavily, nodding at her.

“On another note, it is adorable,” commented Snow.

Charming grinned at her, “Knew you would like it.”

“How could I not?”

Snow traced her finger over the heart situated between the words “I” and "Mommy”.

“Is that what I think it is?” came a strained hiss.

“Now Emma…” began Charming, hands out in front of him as he spun around on the spot, and wishing he had heard the door open.

“Put it away! Ruby and Henry are right behind me!”

Snow held her tongue about Ruby actually knowing about Emma’s Baby Time and dropped the pacifier into her pocket, just as Henry’s excited chatter grew louder. Red was Snow’s best friend after all. She of all people knew what it was like to have another side of you.

Ruby was first in the door, walking diagonally so that she could still give Henry her full attention without walking into the door.

“And then you see a gif that has Batman surfing on Superman!”

“What’s a gif?”

“You don’t know?”

Ruby shook her head. Henry sighed. He looked at the other adults around him, even though he knew he shouldn’t have bothered as they too shrugged at him.

“I thought you were the cool one,’ lamented Henry.

“Hey…!” Ruby huffed.

Snow giggled and encircled Ruby in a hug.

‘Batman riding on Superman just wasn’t part of catching criminals, okay?’ added Emma, feeling oddly ashamed since she had not suffered from the lack of external influences as the citizens of Storybrooke had.

‘Well, at least you know who Batman and Superman are! Grandma definitely does not!’ exclaimed Henry.

Snow just smiled at him. Henry kept her gaze curiously, but then realised that no one else was making a peep, felt strangely uncomfortable, and then had to look away.

Charming burst out laughing.

‘Grandma doesn’t need to know about Batman and Superman. She has her own super powers,’ groused Henry.

While Charming distracted Emma and Henry, Snow directed her best friend to the kitchen.

‘Would you mind taking Henry to go see a movie? There is a child appropriate one showing now, isn’t there?’ requested Snow.

Red gave her a grin, ‘Sure, not a problem, if anything I can tell the theatre manager that Queen Snow White requires his services by specially showing a Disney film if they don’t have any kid friendly flicks.’ She regarded Snow for a moment and became serious. ‘Trying that something new today are we? Emma didn’t seem too happy earlier.’

Snow sighed.

‘Yes… The knuckle sucking, it hasn’t improved. Her skin will suffer soon if we don’t do something about it,’ explained Snow, she retrieved the pacifier and showed it to Red quickly.

‘Ah…! That explains the face,’ remarked Red.

‘What face?’

‘The face I have when Granny asks me to work an extra shift.’

‘Then you think she’ll agree?’ asked Snow, anxious hope lacing her voice.

‘Yeah, we don’t like it, but we know we gotta do it,’ replied Red.

Snow hugged her best friend in relief.

Red winked at her before exiting the kitchen, ‘Hey Henry, are you free now? I want to watch a movie and have no one to go with.’

‘Can Emma come?’

‘Err… Yeah, if she isn’t busy…’

Emma quirked a brow at her mother’s frantic gesturing, so she glanced at her father who simple mouthed “stay” over Henry’s head.

‘Sorry kid, I’ll go with you both next time. Got some work I have to take care of before tomorrow,’ said Emma. ‘You can have popcorn, but don’t have anything sugary though, or your Mom’ll kill me.’

Henry tackled Emma’s waist, ‘Thanks Emma!’

He bounded out the door.

Before following Red gently wrapped her palms against either side of Emma’s face, ‘Now you be good for your Mommy and Daddy, okay? Otherwise you aren’t getting any treats from Aunty Red.’

Red winked at Snow again and exited, leaving Emma in a silent spluttering rage at the baby voice aimed in her direction. Snow sighed at Red’s penchant for teasing finally rearing its head.

Well, at least it was good for Emma to know that it wasn’t just her parents accepting his aspect of her. Right? Snow resolved to get Red to be present at some of Emma’s future Baby Time, so that one day she could take her up on her offer to babysit.

‘Ruby… knows?!’ Emma near squeaked.

‘Yes, Aunty Red will come and visit and play with you sometime. But now, we are going to have a talk,’ said Snow, addressing her daughter as though she were addressing a student who was opposed to the idea of homework, deciding to introduce the pacifier to Baby Emma.

Charming couldn’t help but still be amazed at how quickly Emma would transition when Snow used her teacher voice.

‘Don wanna,’ came the stubborn reply, punctuated with a fist being brought up to pouting lips.

Charming lent down and caught the fist.

‘Uh uh, Baby. This is what Mommy is talking about. Sucking your fist is no good,’ began Charming.

Emma tried to tug herself out of her father’s grip, but to no avail. So she plopped down on the ground and glared at him instead.

‘Bad Daddy!’

‘Emma, honey, look at me,’ said Snow. ‘Daddy had a very good idea actually. Look at what he got you.’

She presented the pacifier to her offspring who eyed it suspiciously from her sitting position on the floor.

‘What that?’

‘Your dummy.’

‘Mine?’

‘Yes, Baby. Would you like it?’

Emma reached for the object, and took it from Snow’s open hand. Emma still had a frown, even as her parents sat down behind her, and she snuggled against them.

‘Dis is Mommy’s!’

‘No Baby, that’s yours.’

‘Dat says ‘Mommy’!’ exclaimed Emma, pointing at the words on the back of the pacifier.

Snow giggled and kissed her baby on the cheek.

‘Emma, it says “I” and then there’s that heart in the middle and then you see Mommy. It means you love Mommy,’ explained Charming.

‘Oh.’

‘Yeah.’

‘Love Mommy.’

‘That’s why I bought it.’

‘Dank you Daddy,’ said Emma, leaning over to hug him.

‘You are very welcome, Baby,’ said Charming, returning her hug.

Snow gently took the pacifier from Emma’s hands and positioned it at her daughter’s mouth, ‘Open up, Baby.’

Emma did as her mother requested and automatically closed her lips around the plastic nipple.

‘Guess she didn’t need as much convincing as we thought, huh?’ whispered Charming.

As Emma yawned around her dummy, Snow touched her cheek.

‘Are you tired Baby?’

‘Mommy.’

‘Mm, then let’s get you changed and we’ll have a nap.’

Charming stood up and then picked up his daughter with some difficulty. He huffed at himself. Time to go to the gym, old man.

Once Emma was secure in his arms, he followed his wife into their room where a set of puppy print pyjamas waited for Emma.

Chapter Text

Dressing Emma in her pyjamas took longer than Charming had anticipated. The reason being it took five minutes to convince his daughter to leave his arms to get changed. Then, once her clothes had been removed, she had clutched on to Snow who had been sitting next to her on the bed.

‘Look, Baby, puppies! You like puppies don’t you? Let’s put them on!’ whispered Charming.

Emma regarded him with a sleepy look, opened her mouth and dropped her pacifier.

‘Mommy.’

‘I know Baby, but you gotta put some clothes on. Don’t want you getting a cold now.’

With a little coaxing from Charming, and soft humming and kisses on the head from Snow, they managed to get Emma into her pyjamas a limb at a time. As Charming finished buttoning up his daughter, Emma leant over and kissed him on the nose.

‘Daddy!’

‘Yes, Emma?’

‘Daddy nose cold!’

Snow laughed into Emma’s hair. Charming smiled at Emma and then rubbed his nose against hers, ‘I need your help to get a warm nose!’

Emma squealed with laughter and rocked side to side in Snow’s lap.

‘Steady there, or you’ll rock yourself and Mommy off the bed!’

‘Weally Daddy?’

‘Yeah, and then I’d have to go searching for you both under the bed. Which I will, because…?’

‘Daddy will always find Mommy!’

‘That’s right Baby,’ said Snow, casting an adoringly gaze towards her True Love.

He leant over and kissed her soundly, only breaking away to laugh because Emma had reached up between them to tickle his chin.

‘Daddy! Your chin itchy.’

‘Is it just me or do I get teased more?’ asked Charming, before looking down at his daughter. ‘Are you saying I need to shave?’

‘Well… It can be a bit scratchy sometimes,’ commented Snow.

‘Itchy!’ insisted Emma.

‘Can I shave tomorrow?’

‘….Okay.’

‘Thank you, Baby.’

‘It’s time to sleep now. Close your eyes, Emma,’ said Snow, sliding out from under her daughter.

‘Mommy!’ Emma yelled, sitting up from under her covers.

Snow sat back down quickly, alarmed at the panic so evident in Emma’s voice.

‘What’s the matter?’ asked Charming.

‘Dun wanna sleep here. Want Mommy,’ whined Emma, once again shoving her fist into her mouth, and the rest of herself against Snow.

Charming had to tug gently for at least a minute before he was able to remove Emma’s fist from her mouth.

‘Ha!’ he declared in a breath as he popped the pacifier in its place.

‘Okay, Baby. You can come sleep with us,’ said Snow, pressing a kiss on Emma’s forehead.

Charming sighed and smiled at his family. He was careful to bend his knees just as Snow was about to hiss the reminder at him. Charming scooped his daughter into his arms. She snuggled against his chest, tickling his arms hairs as she exhaled around her pacifier.

Snow nabbed the rabbit printed polar fleece blanket that had been tucked under Emma’s duvet, and then followed them into her and Charming’s own room.

‘I’m glad we moved and made a place our own here in Storybrooke,’ she commented, leaning against Charming’s back after he had deposited their offspring in the middle of their bed.

‘Yeah, it’s no castle, but it’s been great not sleeping in the living room,’ replied Charming.

Snow blushed at the memory of her daughter and grandson walking in on them. At least it had been during the cuddles and not during the actual sex. Although Emma’s expression would have made you think they had been going at it against the wall or something equally as scandalous to little eyes.

Emma made whimpering noises and fidgeted in her sleep. Snow settled herself on Emma’s left, lying on her side so that she could slide a hand under the blanket and rub her daughter’s stomach in an attempt to calm her down from the night terrors. Emma scooted closer and grabbed on to her blouse.

Snow wondered if they were from Emma’s childhood or from the near past and present. She would have to be patient. She would certainly listen should Emma decide or want to tell her about her life before she found them, but she was not going to force her. Even after they had established a friendship, even after Mary Margaret had opened her home to Emma, it was very rare for Emma to talk about herself.

They heard knocking.

‘That’s probably Ruby and Henry back from the movie,’ said Charming, leaving the room to let them in.

He almost laughed at the sight of Ruby cradling a sleeping Henry. A snoring and sleeping Henry. Legs akimbo and all.

‘Movie not all that great?’

‘It was good. He was actually awake during the whole thing, and we were going to leave when the credits came up, but he insisted on staying in case the editors had left in a bonus scene or extra material. But of course, he fell asleep during that,’ explained Ruby.

‘Okay, hand him over before he rolls out of your arms, and you can go visit Snow in our room. Emma’s sleeping, but I know you want to see her in a Family Time moment.’

Ruby happily deposited her charge into David’s arms, going as fast as she could without running. A chance to see her extended family happy? Yes please.

‘Hey Red,’ said Snow softly.

‘Hey,’ Ruby returned the greeting. ‘Aw… Look at her, clinging onto your top like that.’

‘Where’s Henry?’ asked Snow, using her other hand to brush Emma’s hair off her face.

‘Already joined his mother in the dreamland. Charming went to put him to bed.’

‘Thanks for taking him for a movie. She really needed this. She still thinks there something wrong with her for needing Baby Time,’ said Snow.

‘Glad to help. So you call it Baby Time, and David calls it Family Time. What does Emma call it, Snow?’ asked Ruby.

‘I don’t actually know. It’s just another thing I wish I knew about my daughter,’ Snow answered wistfully.

Red gave her best friend a supportive squeeze on the shoulder.

‘Charming chooses his dummies well, I see,’ she commented. ‘She looks so cute!’

‘Oh, you should have heard her hiss at us when we had it out and the three of you had returned,’ said Snow.

‘Oh I did,’ replied Red, wiggling her ears.

Snow giggled.

‘She seemed angry with you knowing about her Baby Time, but not really angry. Like she’s just being angry because she thinks she should.’

‘Ah, once I get to really spoil her, she’ll stop complaining.’ Ruby yawned. ‘Ah man.’

She checked her watch.

‘It’s only 10:00. I must be getting old.’

‘You? Never. The day you get tired before midnight is the day I have children calling me Great Grandma.’

Ruby regarded her friend with a smirk, ‘Ah, the way life has been going, I wouldn’t be surprised if that somehow occurred in the near future.’

‘Forget I said anything,’ replied Snow, deciding that it wasn’t good to tempt the fates.

Ruby leant over and kissed Emma on the forehead.

‘Sleep well, little Emma. I’ll be back before you know it, with treats in hand,’ she whispered.

Emma murmured in her sleep, ‘Tweats.’

Snow and Red looked at each other, eyes tearing up with grins, so wanting to laugh. Ruby kissed Snow on the cheek and then slipped out of the bedroom. She found Charming emerging from Henry’s room and punched him on the arm playfully before letting herself out.

‘Hey,’ protested David, rubbing his arm. ‘Werewolf strength.’

Chapter Text

Henry was one of those children who awoke with their torso leaping up in to the air to meeting the morning. Unfortunately for Regina, she had discovered this trait for the first time when she had bent over to kiss him awake. Needless to say, a five-year-old’s forehead can take on forehead of a former Evil Queen any day. Henry had knocked her out silly. Regina found herself coming around flat on her back on the floor of his bedroom, with Henry straddling her and petting her face very gently while saying “Mommy?” in a hushed voice.

This morning was no different, beside the lack of an unconscious mother at his bedside.

Henry blinked

Henry backed up a little.

“Is Emma okay? Why is she sleeping in your bed? We all have rooms now. Shouldn’t she be in her bed? Are there bugs in her bed? She hates the colour of the cover I chose for her, doesn’t she?” he did not seem to realise he was rambling.

Snow breathed a sigh of relief when she checked on Emma and found her still asleep. Charming sat up slowly.

“Listen, Henry. Sometimes, it’s hard being the Saviour,” began Charming.

Henry whipped his attention to Snow when she added, “And 28 years is an awful long time to be away from people who love you.”

Henry looked down, looked at Emma, stared pretty hard at her pacifier, but then looked at his grandparents and then nodded.

“Yeah…” he responded softly. “I had Mom… Emma said she had no one.”

“That’s right, Henry. We just want to be here for her now, and this is one of the ways we can be here for her,” explained Snow.

All three of them whipped their attention to the whimpered noise coming from the subject of their conversation. Emma was shifting and making a very unhappy face. Snow immediately leaned down to kiss her baby on the forehead, murmuring softly, ‘It’s okay Baby. You’re okay. Mommy’s here.”

Henry couldn’t make out what Snow was saying to Emma, but he could see that Snow was rubbing circles on Emma’s stomach. He tilted his head, vaguely remembering his own Mom doing that for him when he was younger, and sick. Young and sick. Maybe Emma was sick after all? But it seemed that Snow knew what she was doing, and if Emma had both her Mom and Dad looking after her, she’d definitely be okay, because his Mom had looked after him all on her own. He let out a breath he didn’t know he had been holding when Emma’s face relaxed from the tummy rubbing.

He scratched his head, not sure of how to excuse himself.

Charming saved him from the awkward silence, ‘You okay to feed yourself breakfast this morning?’

Henry nodded, ‘S’okay if I watch cartoons with my cereal?

Charming and Snow laughed softly.

‘Yeah, it’s okay for a Sunday, kid. Just don’t tell your Mom,’ agreed Charming.

Henry responded with a knowing look before disappearing, closing the door neatly behind him.

Charming blew out a breath through his teeth, ‘That… went better then I had hoped for.’

‘But he’s always been an understanding child,’ said Snow.

‘That’s true,’ agreed Charming.

‘But… he clearly hasn’t really caught on, and that is best for now, I am sure Emma will be thrilled to hear that he only saw her sleeping,’ said Snow.

‘Mm… Best not to mention the pacifier though?’ asked Charming.

‘Well, Henry didn’t really mention it himself. But maybe that could work in our favour. If he mentions to her that he saw her using it, she will realise that this won’t affect him all that much. At least, not if he’s slowly introduced to her needs,’ explained Snow.

‘Well, I know for sure that he did not miss it. He stared awful hard at it, but it looked like he ended up just ignoring it?’ said Charming, trying to figure out his grandson’s expressions that he’d seen.

‘Henry is more perceptive than we realise. When I was just his teacher, he would constantly surprise me with some insights he would make in class,’ replied Snow. ‘He did after all deduce that we were all from his book.’

‘That’s true. And I guess he’s just happy that Emma’s happy, right? I don’t think I could handle Emma suppressing all this need if she thought that Henry thought badly of her,’ commented Charming.

Snow regarded their offspring with a sad look, knowing that her husband spoke the truth. Emma did tend to refuse herself simple little indulgences if she thought that others wouldn’t like it. Sure, she was stubborn and determined when it came to the big things. Regina could testify to that.

She was very proud of her daughter, of how she turned out despite her life from the moment she came into this world and how she was able to let them all recapture a little of what was lost to them so long ago.

‘Well, let’s just tackle that troll when we get to that bridge,’ said Charming.

Snow rolled her eyes at him, and then they shared a smile.

 

TBC

Chapter Text

Running about in the meadows with random animals was nice, but the sun was starting to fade. And she could hear Mommy and Daddy calling her. Emma glanced up at the shock of clouds forming all above her. She blinked at the raindrops falling down, covering her body in a chill.

‘No,’ whispered Emma.

She looked about her; the rabbits had gone back into their burrows, the birds into the trees and the wolves into their dens. And Mommy and Daddy’s voices were fading away.

‘Come back,’ she said, a littler louder than before. ‘Daddy, wait!’

Not a sound, not a peep. She was there all on her own. And then came the crack, ripping through the silence, accompanied by a knife of lighting, bursting to life before Emma’s very eyes.

She fell backwards, landing on her butt. She clenched her eyes tightly and covered her ears.

‘Mommy!’ screamed Emma, near jumping out of bed from the force of exiting her nightmare.

She blinked rapidly and looked about her. She was in a room, Mommy and Daddy’s room. But where were Mommy and Daddy?
Emma squeezed her eyes shut, and then opened them again very slowly. No. Still alone. She listened very carefully, picking out the sound of running water. She threw herself off the bed, almost tripping over her own feet as she landed. The corridor was empty, but the water was louder here. Emma hurried over to the bathroom. The door was not quite closed, cracked open just enough. Emma hiccupped away a cry of relief as she heard Snow White humming in the shower. She watched her hand land on the door.

Could she open the door? Would Mommy get angry? Maybe Mommy wanted to be away from Emma now. Maybe Emma had been bad and Mommy wanted her to leave but was too nice to say so. Maybe leaving Emma alone was her way of telling Emma nicely that she couldn’t be her Mommy anymore. Maybe it was too weird. Emma wasn’t like other babies.

Daddy definitely didn’t want her anymore. She didn’t even know where he was.

Emma shook her head. But Mommy loved her. She had said so herself. But that had been so long ago... And after Emma had said it… Right? Oh no! Maybe Mommy was upset because Emma hadn’t told her she loves her in so long? Maybe that’s why Mommy and Daddy had left her all alone. She didn’t want Mommy to think that she didn’t love her.

Emma pushed the door open with a cry, ‘Mommy!’

‘Emma?’

Snow turned as she heard the shower door being opened. She was too shocked to cover herself up. But she saw no one. Then she looked down as she felt arms and a warm torso encircle her left leg.

‘Mommy! I love you, Mommy! Mommy, I’m sorry!’

Snow White crouched down to hug her distraught child. Emma had her eyes clenched and was chanting over and over again that she loved her Mommy and that she was sorry. Sorry for what, Snow did not know.

‘Emma? Baby, it’s okay. You’re okay. I’m okay. We’re okay.’ She kissed Emma’s head, pulling her against her own body as close as possible. ‘Calm down, Baby. Mommy’s here.’

‘Mommy!’

‘Emma, what is it Baby? What happened?’

‘Mommy! I’m sorry, Mommy!’

‘Why Emma?’

Snow pursed her lips. Something was definitely wrong. Emma didn’t usually take this long to calm. The last time she remembered Emma crying for this long was when they first encountered her baby side. What could it possibly be? The crying was beginning to get to her. It hurt to hear Emma so, and thus Snow stopped trying to rein in her own tears.

Emma was still sobbing as she clutched Snow against her. Then she noticed that Snow’s body was shaking. Because of the water falling down on her she couldn’t hear anything, so she looked up. Mommy was crying!

‘Mommy! I’m sorry, don’t cry Mommy!’

‘Emma, I’m sorry, I don’t know how to help you,’ Snow sobbed back.

‘Muh, muh Mommy! I l-l-l-ove hu-you! Aaah!’ Emma couldn’t stop the tears, and watching her mother sobbing just caused Emma to cry even harder.

They clutched and cried into each other; Emma out of fear for her Mommy getting fed up with her and leaving her, and Snow out of frustration from not knowing what to do.

And this was how Charming found them once he had returned from dropping off Henry at Regina’s.

Charming had stepped into the shower and switched off the water. Some how he had managed to get Snow started on drying herself. He busied himself with getting Emma out of her wet clothes and dried with a giant fluffy towel. It was new, one that he and Snow had picked out for Emma just a few days ago.

He was worried at the fact that once they had stopped crying, he couldn’t get either one to say a word to him. Charming poked himself in the cheek. Well, there was no time for that right now. He’d have to just ignore it and get them dried and dressed. And in bed. It was a new morning, but sleep was probably the best idea right now. It was clear by the way their chests were heaving and their eyes were fluttering that their crying had exhausted them. And maybe if he could wrangle the uncooperative can opener, he could warm them up some soup. He did okay with a stove if it was just heating something up. And maybe some toast soldiers and runny eggs. Yeah, Emma still loved those.

Charming picked up Emma and had to gently pry her tight hold from his shirt as he laid her down on his and Snow’s bed. She wasn’t crying anymore, just sniffling unhappily. It wasn’t good, but it was better. He made sure she was hugging a pillow. He turned to find Snow behind him with her focus on Emma.

‘She wouldn’t stop crying, Charming. She couldn’t stop. What have we done to our daughter?’ whispered Snow, eyes widening.

He clutched her face in his hands, ‘Snow! Don’t go there. What matters now is we’re here for her now and we can get through this. Together.’

She finally looked up at him, teary eyed, but a determined look now graced her features. She nodded, kissed him on the cheek and made her way to curl her body around Emma protectively.

‘I’m gonna make you something to eat,’ said Charming softly.

Snow shook her head.

‘Later. Stay with us now.’

‘Ok.’

Charming lay down on his side, next to Emma on the opposite side and snuggled up close, reaching over to rest his hand on Snow’s shoulder. Snow bent her head to kiss the back of his hand.

 

TBC....

Chapter Text

Emma woke up groggily, and in dread and a cold sweat. She could feel the sheets sticking to her. She felt a twinge in her bladder. It was dark. And she had to pee. Right now!

She scrambled desperately out of parents’ warm embraces. Charming grunted at the disturbance next to him. Snow was jostled awake, but she stayed silent, not wanting to distract her child and cause an accident. She lay back down, but did not close her eyes.

Hands spread out and questing kept Emma from bumping into the not yet familiar walls. As she touched the tank of the toilet, she flipped herself around, sat down and sighed in relief as she let go.

This relief was fleeting as she felt wetness seeping into her pajama pants.

Now Emma was really awake. She reached down with shaking hands and felt the lid of the toilet on top of the toilet seat. Emma let out a whimper as she sat her own wet mess. The smell of urine hit her nostrils and she whimpered again. She wanted to move, to get herself clean, but this feeling, this sense of screwing up threw her into a time she had thought she’d left behind along with her childhood.

She was bombarded with memories of angry adults hissing at her that she was too old to be wetting the bed, and how they wish they had never chosen her since clearly she had no self-control. Who had to clean up after her? Them, of course. Who had to get up early tomorrow? Them, of course. Who kept her clothed and fed? Them, of course. Who was a dirty, ungrateful little beast? Emma, of course.

 

Snow White leapt up once more as she heard Emma crying. She had only gone to the bathroom, what on earth could have happened? She hadn’t heard any crashes. Snow extricated herself from her blanket and made her way to the bathroom.

The smell of ammonia hit her, which combined with the sight of her child weeping miserably once she had switched on the light, gave her a good idea of what had happened.

‘Oh Baby,’ murmured Snow, straight away moving to hug and kiss Emma.

Emma made half-hearted attempts to wriggle out of her grasp.

‘No, Mommy. I’m smelly and dirty,’ came the barely heard and very disgraced whisper.

‘Emma, you will never be too smelly or dirty for Mommy to hug. Now, let’s get this bath running and get you cleaned up. This is an easy fix,’ said Snow, plugging up the bathtub and switching on both taps.

Emma finally looked up at her.

‘You’re not mad Mommy?’

‘Not one bit, Baby. Everyone has accidents,’ said Snow, caressing Emma’s cheek to encourage to look away from the mess.

‘Ok,’ came the very small reply. ‘But not Mommy.’

‘Yes, even Mommy, Baby. And especially Daddy! Remember when he spilled the soup?’

Emma let out a half-hearted laugh.

Snow kept hugging Emma until the bath was half way full, and nice and steamy. She helped Emma undress and began to undress herself. She noticed Emma blushing furiously and chuckled to herself. She pressed another kiss to Emma’s forehead.

‘Come on Baby, bath time,’ said Snow, holding Emma’s hands and making sure she didn’t slip as she stepped over the tub’s edge. ‘Move forward a little, Emma.’

Emma complied immediately, hunching her body, trying to take up as little space as possible, even though the warm water felt very nice, ridding her of the clammy cold from her chilled body. She tensed further when she realised that Snow really did mean to join her.

The water rose, covering more of her as her mother sat down behind her. With Snow’s smooth and impossibly pale legs settled around her, Emma dared not move. She nearly jumped out of her position as Snow sighed in relief and wrapped her arms around Emma. Snow pulled back gently, until Emma was nestled against her chest. Snow kissed the back of Emma’s ear to try and reassure her daughter, but the sensation of her Mommy’s very nice breasts pressing against her back was filling Emma with all sorts of funny feelings.

‘Mm,’ protested Emma, trying to move away.

‘Emma, relax, Baby. It’s okay. You can just lay back and relax now,’ said Snow in a soft measured tone, the one she had used before back in the Enchanted Forest and she was meeting an animal for the first time.

Emma settled down, although it took a good ten minutes of Snow rubbing her belly with one hand and the other arm wrapped around her opposite shoulder, before she really let herself just lay against her Mommy.

It felt really nice, and almost immediately she tensed up, remembering all the times she had something really nice happen, only for it to be taken away from her. Like sweet things. For someone who grew up like her, Emma gorged on the sweet things around her whenever they were made available to her. She never, ever left a hot chocolate unfinished, or a crumb of cake, or a drizzle of chocolate sauce, or a drip of melted ice cream. It might be warm, but it was still good and sweet. Any piece of crockery once holding dessert was licked clean. Some foster parents found this barbaric, while others found it adorable. To start with. In the end, all of them would get embarrassed if she did it in public, all soon ending up despising her for making them look like they didn’t feed her enough.

But now… Right now. Mommy was here. And Mommy wasn’t mad. She even said so. And she trusted Mommy.

Snow kept her hold, still rubbing the soft skin of her daughter’s stomach and waited for Emma to relax again.

‘That’s right Baby. You’re okay,’ murmured Snow again. ‘Mommy’s going to clean you now, okay?’

Emma made a little whining sound and tucked her face into her right shoulder.

‘Baby? Will you let Mommy clean you? We’ll go slow, and I’ll tell you as I go. How does that sound?’ asked Snow again.

Finally, Emma nodded. Snow smiled and pressed a kiss to Emma’s exposed neck.

‘Thank you, Baby.’

‘Mommy.’

Snow slowly reached for the sponge near her head and moved it back and forth across the soap that had been sitting next to it. Once it was nice and lathered up, she paused.

‘Arms first.’

Snow gently brushed the sponge over Emma’s left arm. She let out a mental sigh of relief as Emma made a small humming noise, but did not react otherwise. She continued to the other arm, down to the hands and back up to the shoulders, mentioning each body part as she went.

Snow told Emma to sit forward now that she was going to wash her back. Emma did so reluctantly, now fully immersed in the scent and warmth of Snow White.

‘Legs now, okay, Baby?’

Emma looked in front of her, wiggling her toes in a moment of enjoyment. She had thoroughly enjoyed the back scrub. Emma tensed again when Snow started on her thighs. Snow waited and then proceeded to her feet, requesting that Emma throw a leg over the other, as unfortunately Mommy didn’t have stretchy long arms. Emma giggled a little at this image.

She tickled Emma’s sole as she finished the last foot.

‘Mommy! Dat tickles!’

‘What a good Baby I have. And now she’s all clean.’

Emma swelled at the praise.

‘Snow? Emma? What happened?’

Emma’s good mood deflated in a snap. Daddy. They had woken up Daddy. He was going to be mad.

‘Daddy, it was me! It’s my fault! Please don’t be angry,’ begged Emma, already in tears because she knew she had disappointed her Daddy by wetting herself.

‘We had a little accident, and we were just cleaning up,’ explained Snow.

Charming was devastated that his daughter thought that he was going to be mad at her over something so trivial. It broke his heart to know that someone had instilled this fear into his beautiful child.

‘Oh, Baby. Emma, honey, no. I’m not mad. I was just worried. I woke up and was all by myself. No Mommy, no Baby, I got worried,’ said Charming, crouching down to her level.

He cautiously reached a hand over and rubbed Emma’s head.

‘You’re our good Baby. We love you so much,’ he said.

‘So so much,’ agreed Snow.

She looked at her husband and tilted her head. Charming blinked and then just realised that they were both in the bath. And naked. He cleared his throat and stood up, going to find a nice big fluffy towel.

‘Time to get out of the bath Baby, it’s getting cold, and I don’t want you getting sick,’ said Snow. ‘Look, Daddy’s got a nice dry towel ready for you.’

Charming wrapped the towel around Emma’s form.

‘Want me to dry you?’

Emma nodded, just nearing the end of her sniffling. He couldn’t help but smile at her adorable little pout, bottom lip all jutted out. He could tell she was confused, but was glad that she didn’t think he was lying to her. Well, at least he didn’t think so.

Charming playfully shook Emma as he rubbed her dry, taking care to bunch up the towel and pat her dry in certain places. She laughed a little and wrapped her arms around him.

‘Love Daddy,’ she said simply before she let go.

He beamed and looked at Snow, who could only smile back at his infectious glee. He’d never get tired of hearing that.

‘Love Mommy,’ said Emma, voice even more sure now, as Snow encouraged her to lift her arms so that she could drop her pajama top over her.

Charming glanced over at the clock. Nine pm. He yawned. Emma had been looking at him and yawned in response.

‘Come on then, bed time again,’ said Snow.

Well, had this been a normal day, they would be going to sleep around this time anyways. Best to try and get back into their usual sleep pattern.

 

TBC....

Chapter Text

‘No Mom! You’re always telling me what to do. If I don’t want to eat the spinach, I don’t HAVE to eat the stupid spinach. Emma would NEVER force me to eat the stupid spinach!’ yelled Henry.

Regina sighed, tearing up once more as Henry abandoned his unfinished dinner and ran to the front door, slamming it on his way out for good measure. She and Emma had come to an amicable decision to share Henry, but she was still on shaky ground with her son. In fact, her relationship with Emma was much better than what she currently had with Henry.

She supposed she was at least grateful that he had stopped calling her Regina and reverting to calling her “Mom”. It didn’t make it hurt any less when he looked at her like she could only do evil though.

He was often hot and cold with her, sometimes loving and then at other moments just blasting hatred at her at the slightest push. She had thought that he had calmed down a lot more after she had absorbed the curse allowing Snow and Emma to return to Storybrooke. That had near killed her and she had actually been grateful when Henry had decided to spend a whole two weeks at the Charming household, allowing her to recover her strength in the relative comfort of their home without worrying him. She had held a brave face while in Henry’s presence and as soon Henry had trotted off with Emma’s arm in his, Regina had tentatively made her way into her car, just collapsing into the driver’s seat. She had to rest a good hour before she was confident enough to drive the five minutes back to her house.

For that whole week she had slept on the lounge, unable to make it up the stairs, and also, the kitchen was closer by, for the moments when she was strong enough to make herself some broth, and gradually more substantial food as the days went by. Emma had apparently been worried about her in the first few days, Regina found out after her first call to check up on Henry on the fourth day of her recovery.

‘Geez Regina, I though something had happened to you. I was about to come over and check up on you myself,’ Emma had said.

‘Well, at least someone cares,’ Regina had replied with just a sliver of amusement.

‘He’s a kid. They are all like that, right? He’ll miss you and will want to remind himself of just how much you love him. He’ll be back before you know it.’

Regina had paused at this.

‘Why so cordial, Miss Swan?’ Regina had not been able to stop herself from asking.

Emma had made a strange noise and had then replied, ‘I’m tired of our fighting. Aren’t you? We’re safe and sound now. Can we just keep it that way and just kind of… share Henry?’

‘I’m tired too,’ Regina had admitted. ‘That’s sounds like a good plan, Miss Swan.’

‘You’re his Mom Regina. Always will be, even with me in the picture. I get that now.’

‘Thank you, Miss Swan.’

After a beat Emma had quietly added, ‘You don’t sound so good. Are you okay?’

‘I will be,’ was the only answer Emma received before Regina had pressed the end call button.

She almost believed it when she said it.

-----

 

Snow and Emma jumped in their seats, Snow’s hand poised just in front of Emma’s mouth with a spoonful of baby spinach ready, as Henry noisily barged in.

Snow watched in horror as her daughter’s face changed from happy to terrified in seconds. Henry stopped ranting about the unfairness of Regina forcing gross vegetables on him as soon as Emma started bawling.

‘Emma, Baby, Sweetie, it’s okay, it’s just Henry,’ said Snow, dropping the airplane spoon back into the bowl.

She got up and went to hug Emma tightly, shushing her and petting her hair.

‘Emma? Grandma? Why is Emma crying?’

‘Don’t worry Henry, Emma just… isn’t feeling very well right now.’

She turned her head and watched as his gaze flicked towards the airplane spoon and then back to Emma.

‘Emma?’

Henry approached Emma slowly, and then rapidly threw his hands into the air and backed away hurriedly as she started to cry more hysterically.

‘Don’t cry! I’m sorry! Don’t cry!’ cried out Henry, alarm fully gripping him now.

‘Henry! It’s okay,’ Snow tried to soothe him, but it was difficult with her little girl panicking in her arms.

Emma’s crying got louder, and then soon enough Henry began to cry too. Snow whipped her head back to consider her grandson, and then looked at her daughter once more. She would have laughed had it not been so awful hearing them both pour out their confusion in tidal waves of sound. It appeared to her as if they were perpetuating each other’s crying.

Luckily she wasn’t the lone adult in the room for long, as she heard a knock and a concerned female voice from the other side of the door.

Snow kissed Emma on the head and then went to open the door. She found Ruby with a brown paper bag in each hand on the other side.

‘Red.’

‘Snow! What’s going on? Why are they crying?’

‘You came just in time. I can’t calm the both of them on my own,’ replied Snow, greatly relieved at the arrival of her best friend.

Red sighed at the sight of Emma, who had turned in her seat and was clutching tightly to the back of the chair, alternating between whimpering for Snow and bawling some more. Once she had realised that she had Snow’s attention once more, she opened her hands with arms outstretched.

‘You’d best get back to your little girl.’

Snow managed to get Emma to stand up and follow her to the couch. She sat down, and Emma straight away sat on her lap, hugging her with her whole body, legs hooked around Snow White’s waist. Snow kissed the side of Emma’s head, whispering endearments and rubbing her offspring’s back constantly.

‘Mommy,’ said Emma.

‘Mommy’s here, it’s okay, Baby.’

Red placed her bags of food down on a chair and then sat down next to Henry’s slumped position against the wall and pulled him into a sideways sitting position in her lap and held him against her.

‘How is it that I’ve come over for movies and find you two crying your eyes out?’ she asked.

‘I d-d-don’t kn-kn-know,’ Henry managed to get out.

Ruby sighed and smiled at him, ‘ Come on, Snow seems to think that staying in the same room is just going to keep the both of you going.’

She led him to the bathroom and propped him on the closed toilet seat.

Ruby closed the door; glad that Henry’s sobbing was subsiding. Henry sniffed, narrowly stopping himself from wiping his nose on his sleeve.

‘Regina has you well trained,’ laughed Ruby, handing him a tissue from the tissue box sitting on the vanity.

She blinked in surprise as his features hardened at the mention of his mother.

‘She’s the worst Mom ever,’ he stated.

‘Look Henry, I thought you and Emma had decreed that Regina was going to have a new start,’ said Ruby. ‘As far as I’m aware, she’s been great, not doing any magic at all, she’s been going to all her sessions with Dr Hopper and spending time with you and Emma, right?’

‘She’s still forcing me to do things I don’t want to do,’ he replied.

‘Like what?’ asked Ruby. ‘Is she making you lie to Emma about something?’

‘She keeps making me eat gross things like spinach,’ groused Henry.

‘Seriously, Henry?’ asked Ruby, taken aback. ‘And here I thought Regina was trying to secretly teach you magic or something.’

‘Emma never forces me to do stuff I don’t want to do!’ exclaimed Henry. ‘She wouldn’t make me eat weird stuff.’

‘Honey, I’m glad you love Granny’s burgers, but you can’t have them day and night. That’s not healthy. Emma only lets you have burgers whenever you’re with her at the diner because she knows Regina’s already getting you to eat healthy,’ explained Ruby.

‘No, it’s because she knows spinach and broccoli are gross!’ retorted Henry.

‘Fine, whatever. I’m not one of your moms. Let’s just go out and see if Baby Emma has calmed down,’ said Ruby.

‘Baby Emma?’

‘Yeah, that’s what I’ve been calling her.’

‘And Grandma was calling her “Baby”, not always, just before.’

Ruby nodded, turning the knob of the bathroom door, ‘Charming does too, but only on special occasions, like now, when they’re at home, when they’re having Baby Time.’

‘But why?’

‘It’s something Emma needs. Snow said that they kind of mentioned it to you?’

‘Yeah, I didn’t get to talk to Emma about it though. She was sleeping.’

Ruby rubbed the back of her neck, ‘Yeah, well, she might just talk to you about it now. Well, a little later, anyways.’

‘Yeah, okay.’

Henry felt a pat on his back.

‘You ready to go back out?’

‘But what if I make her cry again?’

‘Don’t worry Henry, I’m sure it’s just because Emma wasn’t ready for you to know about her Baby Time. But don’t say Baby Time to her face, apparently she doesn’t call it that,’ said Ruby.

‘What does she call it?’

‘Sorry, I don’t know. I don’t think she’s named it herself yet.’

‘Oh.’

Ruby gave him an encouraging grin as she poked her head out the door.

‘Snow, can we come out now?’

‘Yes,’ said Snow, and then she turned her head to look at her daughter. ‘Baby, Aunty Ruby and Henry are going to come and say “hi” now, okay?’

Emma whined softly, ‘Mommy.’

‘It’s okay Baby, you know Aunty Ruby. And you know Henry. They both love you very much, and I will be here the whole time. Mommy will always be here for you Baby.’

Emma burrowed her face into Snow’s curly regrowth.

‘Emma?’ asked Henry tentatively, inching forward.

Ruby kept a warm hand on his back.

‘Henwy?’ came the soft and inquisitive reply.

He grinned, ‘Yeah. That’s me. What were you doing before I interrupted?’

‘Mommy made mmm!’ replied Emma, excitedly wanting to share her love of Mommy’s food.

Henry bit his tongue to keep from laughing since Emma was looking at him and talking from behind Snow’s shoulder. He didn’t think that Emma could be shy.

‘Henwy want?’

‘What were you eating?’

‘Mommy!’

Snow motioned for Ruby to bring the colourful spotted bowl over to them. Ruby kissed Emma on the head, who scowled at being interrupted, and held on to the bowl until Emma said ‘Dank you Aunty Ro-oby’. Emma always made an effort to enunciate “Ruby”, to show that she understood her desire to not be called Red. However, Snow did have the honour of being the only one who could call her Red without inducing the rush full of self-loathing.

‘Good girl,’ Snow and Ruby praised Emma simultaneously.

Emma beamed back at them happily, and then noticed that Henry was looking at her.

‘Look Henwy!’ she exclaimed, thrusting her bowl in his direction. ‘Mommy’s mm!’

Henry peered into the bowl.

‘Eurgh! Is that… spinach?’

‘I gather you don’t enjoy spinach, Henry?’ asked Snow with some amusement at her grandson’s just-smelt-baby-poop face.

‘It’s horrible! And it’s another thing my Mom forces on me!’ exclaimed Henry.

‘Mmm!’ hummed Emma back at him with an angry expression, waving her spoon at him.

‘Huh? Why’s Emma angry with me?’ asked Henry.

‘Spinach is one of her favourite vegetables. Y’know, because of Popeye,’ explained Ruby.

She knew this because the first time Emma ordered a burger, she had asked if she could have Granny put some spinach in it, rather than the lettuce. When Ruby had asked why, Emma had sheepishly admitted that she’d always tried to substitute her greens for spinach after she had seen several episodes of Popeye at one of her foster homes.

‘Is that right?’ asked Snow, kissing her daughter on the cheek, earning a delighted laugh.

‘Don’t lie to me!’ said Henry hotly.

‘Henwy!’ yelled Emma. ‘Popeye good! Aunty Ro-oby not lying!’

Snow and Ruby gasped in shock as she readied to throw her spoon. Ruby threw a hand out in front of Henry’s face. Henry jerked backwards in shock at the speed of her movement.

‘Emma! No, don’t throw your spoon at Henry!’ exclaimed Snow, grabbing the spoon back just in time.

Emma looked down in embarrassment.

‘What do you say to Henry?’ asked Snow, using a hand to lift Emma’s chin.

Emma looked at her with her face screwed up into reluctance.

‘Em-ma,’ said Snow, a soft warning lacing the syllables.

Emma huffed and then looked at Henry, who returned her gaze warily.

‘Sowwy Henwy,’ said Emma.

‘I’m sorry too, Emma,’ said Henry. ‘You really like spinach huh?’

‘Yeah! Mommy makes it mmm!’

‘Snow always makes yummy food for Baby, doesn’t she?’ asked Ruby, rubbing her nose against Emma’s.

Emma laughed and grinned, ‘Always!’

She then looked at Henry again, ‘Henwy wanna try?’

Henry made a face, but opened up his mouth. Emma looked at her mother, who gave her a warning look before handing over the spoon. Emma carefully spooned up some spinach and then popped it into Henry’s mouth.

‘Ee… eh, that’s not all that bad. Kinda sweet, actually,’ commented Henry after swallowing.

‘Emma does love her sweets, so, while she does like spinach, she’s most likely to finish it if I mix in a little sweet soy sauce,’ explained Snow.

Her point was punctuated by Emma happily handing back the spoon to Snow, who then proceeded to feed her more.

Ruby nudged Henry in the shoulder, ‘Why don’t you ask your Mom to try that next time. Garlic too, but I bet she already adds that, seeing as it’s good against colds and flus.’

Henry shuffled his feet, ‘Um. I gotta go. But can I come back and play with Baby Emma another time?’

‘Play?!’ exclaimed Emma, sitting up ramrod and eyes wide in Henry’s direction.

Snow made a face, ‘Oh, Henry I wish you didn’t say that.’

‘Sorry! I’m going now! Next time, okay, Emma?’ called out Henry, quickly closing the door behind him.

Ruby laughed at Emma’s annoyed expression.

‘Henwy lie. No play,’ muttered Emma.

‘No, Henry said “Next time”. You need to finish your dinner anyway, Baby,’ responded Snow.

‘Have you eaten yet, Snow?’ asked Ruby, walking towards the kitchen as if she already knew the answer, the rustling of her paper bags only grabbing Emma’s interest in passing.

‘No, I haven’t,’ Snow replied. ‘I guess you brought something to cook up?’

‘You know it,’ said Red.

‘Thank you, Red.’

‘Just promise that I get to play with the Baby as payment.’

‘Tweats!’

Snow sighed.

‘After your dinner!’

Chapter Text

It starts off small. Snow thought nothing of Emma asking her for kisses at least once a day, always during Baby Time, never when out of it. She could not be happier that her darling child wanted more affection from her. It made her feel just a little bit more special, since Emma never seemed to ask Charming for these extra kisses.

(Charming would argue that Emma seemed to have a grudge against his beard.)

‘Mommy!’

‘What is it my darling Baby?’

‘Kiss!’

‘Does my Baby want a kiss?’

‘Mommy kiss!’

Emma would present her cheek to Snow and Snow would do, as any mother would proceed to do, kissing Emma on her cheek. Emma would hug her in thanks and then Emma would proceed to tell her Mommy in excited babbling about the fun things she did/saw/thought about that day.

And then one day it happened.

‘Mary Margaret?’ came a very soft and tentative query.

Snow blinked and turned around, ‘Emma? What is it?’

‘Can I ask you something?’

‘You know that you can ask me anything, Emma.’

Something was wrong. Emma tended not to call her Snow anymore. Gradually, Emma had become more and more comfortable with calling Snow “Mom” and Charming “Dad”. Something was clearly bothering Emma if she was calling her Mary Margaret of all names.

From the tone of her voice, Snow felt like she was back in the time that they were cursed and Emma, after waking from a recurring nightmare about being abandoned, had near begged Mary Margaret to let her sleep in her bed. Of course Mary Margaret had never turned her away, even after some rather intimate leg tangling had occurred. Emma had always ended these moments of emotional dependence on her own terms. Mary Margaret had never experienced waking up to Emma still in her bed with sunlight streaming through the window.

There was that one time she awoke to Emma gently kissing her lips, and she had reciprocated for a short moment before Emma escaped to her room as soon as the primary school teacher had attempted to slip a hand up Emma’s shirt. Mary Margaret had touched her lips in wonder, a little flattered that someone like Emma could even have a smidgen of interest in someone like her. Of the little she knew of Emma then, she had known better than to bring it up again. So she never did.

‘I like kissing,’ Emma had piped up during one of their movie marathons.

‘Oh,’ had been Mary Margaret’s first reply. ‘Just kissing?’

‘Well, making out is good too. But nothing more than that,’ Emma had replied, blushing so hard Mary Margaret had been ready to dial the fire department.

And now, here was her Emma, her daughter using that voice once more. Snow willed herself to keep as calm as possible. She watched closely as Emma took a deep breath and then looked her in the eye.

‘Can I have a kiss?’

Snow exhaled, smiling in relief.

‘Oh Emma, of course, you can,’ she confirmed, stepping closer and placed a kiss on her daughter’s cheek.

‘Not that kind of kiss,’ Emma had breathed, so faint that it was only because Snow was so close that she heard those words.

Snow didn’t step back, but looked her daughter again. So close, she could tell that Emma was quivering with fear, but had a determined expression cemented on her face. Snow thought again of the time she had been Mary Margaret. And so, Snow did the only thing she could think of, and reached slowly to cup Emma’s face in one hand, using it to pull Emma’s face towards her, and once close enough, she kissed Emma’s lips with her own. It was soft, it was chaste and it was short lived. Snow moved her head an inch backwards.

‘Is that what my Baby wanted?’ she asked huskily.

‘Mommy,’ whimpered Emma.

‘What is it Emma? Tell Mommy,’ whispered Snow, keeping her voice measured so as not to break the spell of Emma asking her for things while being an adult.

‘Please kiss me again, Mommy,’ requested Emma, still shaking slightly.

It was a little jarring, to hear “Mommy” coming from Emma’s lips while not in Baby Time, but also evoked something from within Snow, and she did not quite know what to make of it. It was not unpleasant and it was not scary. It was so very new and would require her contemplation. But now was the time of action, to assure Emma that this was not going to make Snow abandon her.

Snow acquiesced, pressing a finger to lightly skim Emma’s lips before moving in again to kiss Emma. When Emma moaned softly, Snow took the opportunity to lick Emma’s top lip. This prompted Emma into snaking her arms around Snow’s waist, pulling her in closely.

Emma took the lead this time, drawing out Snow’s love and consuming it like a baby bird, tongue demanding more and more. She left Snow panting.

And in a dizzying moment, Snow found herself sitting on the sofa with Emma’s head in her lap. She could only take Emma’s silence as a request to process. She stroked Emma’s hair lovingly and did just that.

 

TBC....

Chapter Text

‘Mommy!’ wailed Emma, arms outreached towards Snow.

Emma’s Mommy was all dressed to go out. As a teacher, Snow knew that there was an overnight excursion coming up and she would be charged to lead it. It had after all, been her own suggestion, that immersing the children in a stay on a farm would better inform them of the importance of farming, and of the care of animals. Of course, she had suggested this excursion prior to the discovery of Emma’s unique needs.

As soon as she had told Emma that she would be away for a few days, she had immediately regretted it. She should have just said see you later, like Henry had. Then again, Emma wasn’t as attached to Henry in the same way that she was attached to her Mommy.

‘Come on, Baby. Daddy’s still going to be with you the whole three days!’ said Snow, trying to ignore her Baby’s tears.

Charming watched the scene in a panic, knowing that if Emma didn’t stop soon, Snow would probably join in.

‘Baby, it’s okay, we’ll have heaps of fun and Mommy will be back before you know it. Come on, “What time is it?!”’ Charming desperately quoted the latest show that had Emma excited these days.

‘Daddy!’ wailed Emma. ‘Mommy going!’

Charming could only look at Snow in panic as Emma clutched at his legs and squeezed.

‘Mommy leaving!’ screamed Emma up at him.

Why didn’t her Daddy understand the severity of the situation?

Snow dropped her bag and rushed to Emma, encircling her in a tight hug, kissing her face all over.

Charming waved his arms about in an attempt to not keel over as Emma had not yet let go. Dignity, it’s been nice, old friend thought Charming, sighing in relief as his flailing hand caught purchase on Snow’s shoe rack.

‘Baby, Mommy is coming back. Mommy is not abandoning you. I am not abandoning you. I could never do that to you… Not again,’ said Snow, lips pressed against her sobbing child’s ear.

‘Mommy, no go. Please Mommy, no go!’ begged Emma, breaking Snow’s hold on her by twisting violently.

Snow stayed still as her offspring beseeched her with her tear-stained face and clutched at the front of her overcoat with shaking hands. Snow could only blink away her own tears, moving to press Emma’s head against her chest. Charming grabbed his freedom and crouched down, encircling Emma’s other side, placing his arms around Snow also.

‘I got you, Baby. We got you,’ he murmured into Emma’s hair.

He stroked Snow’s back too, trying to quell his wife’s shaking form. Well, he supposed that this had been inevitable. Snow had never been away from Emma’s side before while she was having Family Time.

‘Okay, Mommy, Daddy’s got this,’ said Charming softly, gently prising Emma’s tight grip from Snow’s clothes.

He and Snow White shared a look.

Emma let out a choked cry and tried to close her arms around Snow once more, but her Daddy was ready this time, grabbing her wrists, and closing his arms around them, as Snow threw herself backwards, out of reach.

Emma wailed again. Snow stood up slowly. Charming crossed his arms across Emma’s body, essentially making Emma hug herself as he hugged her too. Too exhausted to struggle, Emma just sat in his arms, crying softly and leaning against him.

‘Mommy…’ came the plaintive cry.

Snow wanted to get back down there and comfort her child, but she knew that this was for the best in the long run. Emma had to learn that Snow was never going to leave her again. Not like that. She had to be able to be apart from Snow for short periods of time, or else this whole new part of their lives was going to get extremely unhealthy very quickly.

‘Mommy will be back, Baby. I promise,’ said Snow.

She opened the door and stepped out, closing the door quickly to muffle the sound of her grieving Baby. She leant against the door, unable to move for a good minute. Once she had composed herself, she searched her bag for a wet wipe to remove her tears. She used another to pat her face. After another few minutes she knew that her face had calmed down enough to not alert Henry. She could fob off any residual redness to the biting cold.

Charming regretted not knowing any songs to hum to his little girl. Snow was the only musical one in this family. Well, only if you didn’t count Henry. He had some musical ability. Regina had, of course, decided that Henry ought to try playing the piano for a year at least. Lessons had been quickly forgotten the moment Henry brought Emma to Storybrooke.

Emma started shivering, despite the warmth of his embrace. The whimpering hadn’t stopped, but at least his Baby was too exhausted to wail. He spotted a blanket on the sofa. Without dislodging his precious cargo, he tipped them both over just enough for him to snag the corner of the blanket in between his middle finger and forefinger. Temporarily using one hand, he swung the blanket around himself, drawing the covers over Emma, enshrouding her in darkness, clutched against his chest. He leant down and nuzzled her hair.

‘It’s okay Baby. Daddy’s here. I’ll be here the entire time until Mommy comes home,’ he crooned at her.

‘Mmm,’ whined Emma. ‘Daddy… Want Mommy.’

‘I know Baby, but you see, Mommy has to go sometimes, but she will always come back. We will always come back for you Baby. I promise you,’ said Charming.

Unhappy with that answer, Emma just buried her face against his chest once more and resumed whimpering for her Mommy. She reluctantly accepted her pacifier when he offered it to her.

They sat like that for at least a good hour or so, before they heard the lock jiggling open.

‘Mommy!’ exclaimed Emma, dropping her pacifier and struggling out of Charming’s arms.

He groaned as all the feeling returned to his arms in the form of pins and needles.

He watched as Emma scrambled to the door just as it opened, revealing Ruby.

‘Aunty Roo-oby, where Mommy?’ asked Emma in a frantic voice.

‘Emma, she’s not back yet,’ replied Ruby, crouching down to hug Emma.

Emma slumped into her embrace and started crying once more.

‘Snow called me not long ago. She wanted me to check up on the two of you. She said Emma was in a bad way, and it looks like she’s right,’ said Ruby, regarding Charming with a cursory glance.

‘Yeah. This is the first time Emma’s had Family Time without Snow present.’

Charming sighed.

‘It kills me to hear her so unhappy, Rubes. I haven’t been able to let her go until now. I felt like… if I let go, she’ll run off or something,’ admitted David.

‘No matter how much she pines for Snow, you’re still her Daddy,’ stated Ruby, then dropping her head to speak softly into Emma’s ear. ‘And Emma’s not gonna run off from her Daddy, is she?’

‘Want Mommy.’

‘But Daddy needs you right now, Emma. Mommy needs you to look after Daddy.’

Emma’s sniffling halted as she considered this news.

‘Mommy want Emma look after Daddy?’

Ruby smiled gently, ‘Yes. Your Mommy called me, asking me to check that you were looking after your Daddy while she’s gone. And she assured me that she would be back as soon as the trip ended.’

Emma gave her a doubtful look.

‘Look at him, does that look like a Daddy who doesn’t miss Mommy?’

As Emma whipped her around to look at her Daddy, Charming quickly tried to look as woebegone as possible. She made a very peculiar face and organised her Daddy so that she could sit in his lap and crossed his arms diagonally over her shoulders, with her own wrapped around his.

‘Daddy hug,’ declared Emma, still rather sniffily, but no longer crying for the moment.

---

Regina visits because Henry asked her to. She is shocked, as Henry hadn't actually told Regina explicitly about Emma's state of mind. She takes it in stride as an upset Emma reminds her of an upset Henry when he was a toddler.

'Really Charming? Your wife clearly still has growing to do if she thinks that leaving you alone with a child is appropriate.'

Ruby raised a brow, 'And what are you doing here, Madame mayor?'

‘More importantly, how did you get in here, Regina?’ asked Charming.

Regina brandished her key, ‘For emergencies, remember? Don’t tell me you and Snow have already lost the spare key to my residence. Will I need to get the locks changed?’

‘No, sorry, I just forgot for a moment that’s all,’ conceded Charming, even now after all that has happened, he still doesn’t trust Regina sometimes, but he knows that she’s trying.

'Henry was concerned and sent me to check in on Emma, and for good reason it would appear.'

Charming bristled at the insinuation, 'I am fully capable of taking care of my daughter, thank you.'

'Indeed,' was Regina's sarcastic reply as she retrieve a tissue and then crouched to start wiping at Emma's wet and snotty face.

'No wipe!' complains Emma, a hand swatting at Regina's efficient cleaning of her face.

Regina sighs and stands up, 'You're right, this face needs to be washed. A tissue is not going to cut it. Follow me, Emma.'

Ruby and Charming watch dumbfounded as Emma did exactly that. They listened to water running and a few mild complaints of coldness, but soon Regina emerged from the bathroom with a clean-faced Emma in tow. She was even holding on to Regina's hand.

Regina smirked at him, 'Really Charming, your relaxed parenting style may be all the rage, but you have to provide stability for your child even in the little things, like how you speak to them. You can't always rely on Emma to be able convey what she needs. Sometimes you'll need to anticipate her requirements.'

Ruby stayed with them until after dessert. Granny had sent over burritos because she thought Emma might find a fun food more appetising. Regina kept her snide comments to herself as she left, leaving her own set of “helpful hints” for Charming to look over. For dessert there was custard. Something simple, yet comforting.

---

Emma didn’t cry as much during the rest of the day but she didn't sleep at all that night, Charming could hear her sobbing in the darkness. He went into her room and collected her into his arms, taking her to his and Snow’s bed, but even with Daddy's reassuring arms around her, there was a Mommy shaped void in Emma's Baby heart. He buys her a nightlight the next day – yes it was a suggestion on Regina’s list. And when Emma came home from work (Instead of his Baby, Emma awoke. And she seemed fine, so he let her go about her day. Perhaps she needed the distraction.), Daddy decreed that his Baby would be sleeping in Mommy and Daddy's bed from now on, even when Mommy came back from her trip. This one, he decided himself.

Maybe Regina had a point about providing more rules of sorts for Emma, but she was still his daughter. He would love and care for her in his own way.

Chapter Text

Charming is worried, Emma had come home, changed straight away and gone straight into Family Time mode. Normally he’d be thrilled, but in this case it might actually be unhealthy. Emma usually would let herself transition slowly. She didn’t even grunt in acknowledgement when he greeted her from behind the kitchen bench. Today was not one of his Sheriff’s station days. Today was his time at the animal shelter, so he had gotten home earlier than her. Charming decided to prepare one of Emma’s favourite dishes, soft-boiled egg and toast soldiers. At least it is a comfort food. And protein. Eggs have protein. Kids need protein. And a side of baby spinach. Snow would kill him if she were to find out that he’d let Emma go without eating any greens, especially since she actually likes baby spinach. Emma hadn’t complained about eating breakfast, so they had pretty much been eating a big breakfast for morning and dinner. Lunch was, of course, always Granny’s.

He stopped what he was doing to check in on her. He found her holding her pacifier and staring at it. Charming feels so stupid. He should have looked for that last night. It might have helped Emma get to sleep earlier. He knelt down next to her and gently guided her hand so that the pacifier entered her mouth. Emma instinctively started sucking on the plastic teat. It was vaguely comforting. He gave her Snow’s pillow to cuddle before he went back to his cooking.

The phone rang and Emma ignores it. It was not an important sound. It was not keys jangling in the lock. It was not Mommy coming home.

Charming turned off the stove and picked up the phone, glad to see the caller ID. Snow couldn’t bear to let another moment go by without checking up on her Baby.

‘Hey Snow, yeah, she’s been okay. Not great, but okay.’

‘MOMMY!’ Emma scrambled to clutch Charming’s leg, one hand reaching with grabby movements.

‘Yeah, Emma wants to talk to you. I love you too,’ he smiled, even with Emma on her mind; of course they still have room for each other. ‘Here, Emma, I guess you know who’s on the phone.’

He hands it to her and proceeds to go back to his dinner preparations.

‘Hey Baby,’ said Snow softly.

Emma cried out at the feeling of having Mommy’s voice wash over her. She couldn’t even form the word “Mommy”. Charming startled in alarm, and strode back over, only to have Emma race away from him to their room, leaping on to the bed and cuddling Snow White’s pillow to her. He exhales as his whole body relaxes from the relief. He ruffled Emma’s hair and kissed her on the forehead before leaving the room.

‘Have you been good for Daddy, Baby?’

Emma shrugged into the pillow. When no response comes, she says, ‘I dunno, Mommy.’

Emma closed her eyes and inhaled Snow’s scent as Snow decided to take the reins of the conversation for a little while, telling Emma about how the students had been learning about baby animals, and about Henry finding the largest pinecone she has ever seen.

‘And what have you and Daddy been up to?’

‘Aunty Ro-ooby came and Wegina came too. Aunty Ro-ooby feededed us and Wegina cleaned my face.’

Snow barely held in the laughter that wanted to explode out of her at the image, ‘Did Regina wipe Daddy’s face too?’

Snow wasn’t surprised, Henry had told her that he had called Regina and asked her to check up on them. Not that he didn’t trust his grandpa, but when Snow and Emma had been stuck in The Enchanted Forest, he had found spending time with Charming very different to spending time with Emma or Regina. It was just different with a Mom.

‘No…’ Emma frowned, suddenly in thought. ‘Maybe Wegina think Daddy’s face is itchy too?’

‘Maybe,’ giggled Snow. ‘Emma, would you like to talk to Henry too?’

‘Mommy!’ exclaimed Emma in a panicky voice.

‘I will ask him to give the phone back to me when you are finished talking to him, okay?’

‘Okay…’ replied Emma reluctantly.

‘Hey Emma!’

‘Henwy.’

Henry managed to keep Emma’s attention for five minutes with his tale about chirping chicks and oinking piglets before she was asking for Snow once more.

***

When Snow finally returned the next day, Emma followed her everywhere.


‘Mommy!’ exclaimed Emma, as she released the pillow and headed for the real thing.

Snow was thrown against the door from the force of Emma’s rush. Their combined weight led to Snow sliding down the door with Emma ending up in her lap. Snow pulled her child closer to her, resting Emma’s head against her neck. She whispered how much she missed Emma, how much she loved her Baby. She did not, and dared not, wince at the pain of Emma’s fingers digging into her hips. Instead with Charming’s help, manoeuvred them to curl more comfortably around her waist instead.

Charming sat down next to her, kissing her cheek. He scooted closer to warm Emma’s back, infinitely glad to see the rest of the tension leave Emma’s body afterwards.

 

Charming walked past the bathroom door, where Emma was currently sitting, and sighed. Snow had to use the argument that it was hard for Mommy to hug her Baby and go to the toilet at the same time.

With Emma clinging on to Snow like a baby koala, it was difficult for Snow to do much around their home. Charming didn’t mind continuing as they had been, but it was heartbreaking to see his Baby so afraid of her Mommy leaving again. They should have planned ahead and started small. They should have spent a few weekends getting Emma gradually used to the idea of time apart.

The pacifier and nightlight help in small ways. If Emma woke up at night, she had enough light to see that Mommy is there, even if she could already smell her, feel her warmth and touch her hair. The pacifier, of course, did what it has done for babies since its inception, it soothed.

Mornings were difficult. Emma spent near every moment at home in Baby Time mode. It wasn’t until there was one hour left to get ready for work, did she snap from Baby to Sheriff Swan. It gave Snow and Charming emotional whiplash, but they endured it. It was jolting for Snow to go from being warmed from Emma’s constantly cuddling to chilled from the wind of Emma rushing off without a word.

‘She’s avoiding a conversation,’ commented Charming, before following after his daughter.

He would have to take his own car. Emma would have already driven off before he’d gotten down the stairs.

‘I know,’ replied Snow sadly. ‘I wish I knew what to say to her.’

Charming didn’t have the heart to tell her that during his days at the Sheriff’s station Emma would actually sit on his lap and just hug him for a good half hour during lunch.

-----

Eventually Regina visited with Henry. She didn’t really protest too much. Any time spent with her son is time well spent, even if it was to be spent around the two idiots and their peculiar offspring. No one could have predicted that Emma’s life had come to the point that she needed a return to childhood to heal her from the abyss inside.

However, Regina doesn’t think that Snow and Charming are handling the latest hurdle well at all. In fact she thinks it’s downright unhealthy for all three of them. Snow and Emma especially. The clinging was a problem now, it would definitely become permanent if they didn’t do something soon.

Still, Emma is not her child, so she can only offer suggestions or her opinion if asked.

Henry volunteered to help set the table for lunch with Snow. This left Regina watching as Emma scrambled from her position next to the foot of the couch to follow Snow.

‘Regina, could you please help Emma to her seat?’

Regina sighed and threw a ball of light purple light at the Baby, who was currently struggling with sleepy legs. Emma glowed for a second and this disoriented her for long enough for Regina to scoop her up in to her arms and carry her to the table.

‘Ah!’ exclaimed Emma.

Regina looked at her, checking for any fear, only to discover a face full of wonder. She just managed not to drop the Baby as Emma removed her arms from clutching around Regina’s shoulders. Regina’s eyes widened as Emma threw her arms up and happily cried, ‘Up!’

Regina sighed with a smile, ‘Yes, Emma, up.’

Emma was soon in her seat, though not quite sitting, really just bouncing about in her chair.

‘Mommy! Up, Mommy, Emma goed up!’

Snow White regarded her daughter with bemusement, ‘Did you now?’

Snow gazed over at Regina questioningly but Regina still had her attention square on Henry who was recounting again how he was the one to find the lost piglet.

‘Who let the piglet out in the first place? I can’t believe that farmer had to rely on schoolchildren to do his job,’ stated Regina, WHS issues suddenly coming to the forefront of her mind.

‘Mom! Relax! Um… Well… Nick and I were the ones who kinda… forgot… to lock the gate…’ murmured Henry.

‘This comes from your side of the family, I hope you know, Snow,’ said Regina, just barely hiding her smile.

Snow smiled back at her, and then returned her attention to Emma who had opened her mouth already, expecting the spoonful of mashed potato a good five seconds ago, and thus had her brows furrowed in confusion.

‘Oh, Emma! Here, Baby,’ said Snow as she popped the spoon into her offspring’s waiting maw.

Henry stifled a giggle at Regina’s stern look. Emma can be pretty self conscious, so Regina’s had a talk with Henry about being careful what he says to Emma as she may misunderstand him, and explained that even a joke could upset her. As he’s well aware, she’s hard to calm down once she’s gotten distraught. No one wanted to hear Emma upset when there was no reason for her to be distressed.

He straightened up and was wide eyed as Emma directed her attention to him.

‘Henwy no hungry?’

‘Huh? Oh, I was just happy to see how much you enjoy your food, Emma,’ responded Henry quickly.

‘Mommy makes mmm!’

‘She sure does!’ agreed Henry, picking up his fork, shovelled some mash into his mouth and grinned at Emma with bulging cheeks.

He immediately regretted his actions as this induced a fit of giggles in Emma, who promptly snorted out the mouthful of juice that she had just attempted to swallow all over the both of them. The mothers had recoiled reflexively, just barely avoiding the spray.

Both Snow and Regina leapt up, grabbing tissues and hurriedly mopping both children.

‘Henry!’ said Regina, not full of scolding but shock.

‘I didn’t know she was drinking just then!’ spluttered Henry. ‘Mom, I can clean my own face!’

Snow tutted playfully, ‘Emma, why do I have a sticky Baby?’

‘Assident, Mommy,’ replied Emma bashfully.

‘I know, but look at you. I think a bath is in order,’ said Snow, taking in the juice stained t-shirt on her sticky-faced offspring.

‘Can’t we finish eating first?’ asked Henry.

Emma’s stomach growled in agreement.

‘Again, from your side of the family, Snow,’ said Regina dryly.

Snow just gave her a sighing smile as Emma grinned at them all, cheering for more mashed potatoes.

‘Mashie!’

Chapter Text

‘HAHAH! Oh, I wish I had been here to see that,’ guffawed David as Snow recounted the day’s events.

Emma ran a hand through her freshly washed hair, ‘Well, be prepared to hear all about it again from Henry. Apparently he’s been telling Ruby and Granny too. And Belle. And Archie.’

‘Oh?’ asked Charming.

‘Regina and Henry will be joining us here for brunch tomorrow,’ explained Snow.

‘Ah, sounds good.’

Snow side-eyed her daughter, not wanting to alert her to the fact that she was trying to gauge just how bothered Emma was that so many of Storybrooke knew about her Baby Time. She didn’t seem to mind. The only people who knew so far were nice people – well, Regina would claim to not be nice, but she was a special case.

Ruby and Granny were a given. Jiminy Cricket had re-embraced his human form, finding that people took his advice more seriously when not chirping at them. Even without doctor-patient confidentiality, Archie would never betray Henry’s trust. Henry had been so worried about telling Dr Hopper initially about Emma’s Baby Time, afraid that Emma would think he was betraying her. But Regina, Emma, Snow and Charming had sat down with him, explaining that if he needed to talk about Emma’s Baby Time, that it was okay. They all trusted Jiminy Cricket, and therefore trusted Archie. Henry was relieved that he was able to have someone outside of his immediate family to discuss life with. An adult someone, who had a good head on their shoulders, because he was pretty sure that confiding his concerns to Nicholas about introducing Emma to Spirited Away was not an option.

(‘Perhaps Spirited Away is too scary for Emma at this stage, Henry.’

‘Why?’

‘Well, Chihiro is separated from her parents, correct? That might trigger some bad memories for Emma; especially with what you’ve told me about the recent weekend school trip’s affect on Emma.’

‘Oh geez, I didn’t even think about that. Thanks for pointing that out, Archie.’)

As an adult, Emma was wary, never previously having had good experience with psychologists, therapists and their other brethren.
But of course, for Baby Emma, she had become okay with the idea because Emma and Pongo had become good friends. Emma had decided that was Dr Hopper was good in her books by default of association.

Now Belle, on the other hand, had found out completely by accident. Henry and Emma had gone to the library. While waiting for Henry to find the books he had needed to supplement his Googling for his latest assignment, Emma had wandered over to the children’s section.

Overcome by the sheer amount of books that she had missed out on reading as a child, she had surrounded herself with them. Belle had found her with a haphazard stack on her left hand side, signalling those of which she had consumed with great interest.

When Emma had realised that Belle was standing behind her, practically looming over her, she had been thrown into her Baby headspace, and promptly started cowering, babbling, ‘Not gonna tear the pages! Just wanna see the stories!’

Henry had rushed over, rapidly explaining the reason of Emma’s change in speech to the entirely confused Belle.

‘You can’t tell anyone! Oh man, I’m gonna be in so much trouble telling you! I gotta call Gramps! We gotta get her home!’ Henry had started panicking.

Belle had quickly put a reassuring hand on the shoulders of both children, ‘It’s okay. Henry, don’t worry. I’ll call David. You stay here and cuddle Emma. It looks like she would like one. Emma? It’s okay Emma, you can keep reading the stories. Why don’t you ask Henry to read one for you?’

She had spotted a copy of Graeme Base’s The Waterhole and grabbed it, handing it to Emma.

‘Emma, look at this, I love this book. You have to help me find all the froggies. Do you think you can do that for me?’

Emma had glanced up from hiding her face in Henry’s shoulder, taking in Belle’s calm face and then the colourful cover of the proffered picture book.

‘Yeah…’ Emma had murmured.

‘Thank you so much. What a good little girl. I’ll be right back after I call your Daddy, okay?’

‘Daddy? Okay,’ Emma had replied, giving Belle a very tiny, shy smile.

Belle had beamed at her, glad that her idea had worked. She had watched them for a moment, laughing to herself at Henry and Emma staring hard at the pages.

‘Hello?’

‘David? It’s Belle. Could you please come to the library and pick up Henry and Emma? No, nothing’s wrong, except Henry is worried and wants to get Emma back to your home because Emma’s in…. Operation Baby mode?’

‘AH! Yes, make sure they stay right there! I’ll be there real soon!’ exclaimed Charming.

Of course he had called Snow, wanting the back up just in case. Who else could handle Emma in a tight pinch but her favourite person in the whole world? He had picked her up from Granny’s and they had rushed over to the library.

‘Emma?’

‘Mommy!’ Emma had exclaimed, head shooting straight up at the sound of her voice. ‘Look! Froggies! Hiding hedgiehoggies! Daddy, look! The wabbit is hiding!’

Snow and Charming looked down at the book that had Emma excited.

‘That’s very good! Aren’t you my clever Baby?’ praise had fallen easily from Snow’s lips.

‘Very good Emma, I didn’t know there was a rabbit there,’ Charming had commented, ruffling her hair.

But now that Mommy had arrived, Emma had better things to do than locate animals in camouflage. She abandoned Henry and The Waterhole, and cuddled her crouching mother.

‘Uh… so, Belle,’ Charming had begun awkwardly.

Belle held up a hand.

‘No need to explain. I’m just glad that Emma is okay now,’ she had crouched down to address Emma, ‘Emma, you are always allowed to come and borrow books from the library okay? Here, I have a lollypop for you, for being such a good girl, helping me find the froggies.’

‘Tank you’ replied Emma shyly.

‘I think we’ll be borrowing that book today then,’ Snow had remarked, as Emma had tugged on Charming’s sleeve, waving the lollypop at him.

‘Pwease, Daddy.’

‘Oh, sorry Baby, okay,’ Charming had said, removing the wrapper and shoving it in his back pocket.

Emma had kissed him on the top of his cheek, reminding him that the rest of his face was itchy.

From then on, Belle always had a lollypop in her pocket for whenever she was around when Emma was having Baby Time. When Ruby had found out about Belle being in the loop, she had pouted, saying that it wasn’t fair that she was already plying Emma for affection with sweets. Belle had nudged her playfully while Emma, at that moment not having Baby Time, blushed furiously and accused the both of them of being way too generous with the sweets.

‘I’m either gonna have to go to the dentist or to a dietician. I don’t see why you feel the need to stuff me full of sweets.’

Both had replied that it was because she was such a cutie pie and pinched a cheek each, much to Emma’s outrage.

‘Hey!’

‘You always ask us for them anyways,’ commented Ruby, as she pulled Emma in close for a cuddle.

---

Regina is still a little weirded out by how normal they were all acting. Nevermind Emma and Henry on the floor chatting about ladybugs. What was weirding her out was how she and Snow were striking up conversation far too easily these days. Apparently both mothers were very eager to praise their respective children.

Right now they were comparing just how similar Emma and Henry are, such as both fall right to sleep if you pat their stomachs.

But the black and red, and yellow and black, and orange and black wings of ladybugs are only so interesting, so Emma gets up and toddles over to her mother and Regina, scanning their hands to see if there were any treats. She lets out a little grumble at the lack of treats.

She throws her arms up in the air in front of Regina, ‘Up!’

Regina raises a brow at Emma, who pouts in response and tries again.

‘Up, pwease! Pwease!’

Regina gets up, casts the weightless spell and then picks up Emma, settling her on her lap. When she is looking at Snow again, she realises that the sight of Emma being cuddled by Regina had placed a thunderbolt of jealousy on Snow’s face. It only lasts for mere seconds, but it was a powerful emotion. Regina offered Emma to Snow, knowing what her former stepdaughter would be asking of her soon.

Snow accepted Emma on to her lap, holding Emma close, with her chin on Emma’s shoulder.

‘Mom, did you use magic to lift Emma?’

‘Yes, but Henry…’ Regina began before Snow cut her off.

‘It’s okay, Regina. In this case, it is perfectly fine Henry. Regina, could you please teach me how to do that?’

‘Perhaps, Snow.’

‘Me too!’ exclaimed Henry.

‘Adults only, Henry,’ decreed Regina, relieved that Henry was not going to make a big deal about the use of magic.

‘Aw, Mom, why don’t I get to do anything fun?’

---

The next day while Charming was trying to distract his offspring with learning how to make bacon pancakes, (‘Of all the most unhealthy things to have for brunch!’ exclaimed Regina) Snow stood in front of the dining table with Regina. The former Evil Queen was quite impressed with Snow’s progress so far, but then, she knew that Snow was one of the most emotional people that ever flounced through the Enchanted Forest. Spell casting would come to her fairly easily with enough practice.

‘Good, now, see yourself carrying the object and how you feel in being able to hold the object. In Emma’s case, of course you are going to be ridiculously happy, knowing you. So move this table for me, thinking of how wonderful it will be for you to be able to pick up Emma and cradle her on your hip.’

That was exactly what Snow needed to hear. Regina watched on with a strange sort of pride as Snow’s hands emitted a white light at the table.

‘Go Grandma!’ cheered Henry, as Snow successfully picked up and put down the dining table with no troubles at all.

Snow whipped around to see her child, happily babbling away to her father about how Pongo’s nose being wet was a good thing and that Henry was full of interesting animal facts. Snow glanced at Regina with a hopeful expression.

Regina raised her brows and nodded. Filled with anxious glee, Snow strode forwards, bringing her hands up to aim the weightless spell at Emma. Once more, Emma was distracted by the glow surrounding her. Charming watched as Snow picked up Emma with ease.

‘Mommy!’ exclaimed Emma, wrapping her arms around Snow’s shoulders joyfully.

‘Ah, looks like a successful lesson then, Snow?’

‘Yes, Regina is a wonderful teacher.’

‘Now, don’t forget that the spell will wear off at different instances, depending on how much you charged up before releasing. It works out to be roughly five seconds of charging per minute of effectiveness,’ said Regina.

‘Emma, Mommy’s going to put you down now.’

‘Nooooo! Mommy, Emma UP!’ complained Emma as she was deposited back on the ground.

‘In a moment Baby, let me cast the spell on you again,’ replied Snow.

‘Don’t you want to learn too, Gramps?’ asked Henry.

David sniffed, ‘I can carry Emma just fine, thank you.’

Regina shared a raised brow with Henry.

‘You’ll come begging soon enough, dear,’ commented Regina.

 

TBC...

Chapter Text

Snow wakes up feeling different.

She can’t quite put her finger on it. Physically because Emma so clutched to her on one side and Charming was on her other. Both had their heads tucked next to either arm.

She blinks at a sucking sensation on her arm. Emma is nuzzling and mouthing her skin again. She has been doing that a lot more recently. Snow wasn’t too worried about it except for the marks that she leaves everywhere. She’d had to consult Ruby on the best foundation for her impossibly pale complexion, lest she worry or horrify the town. Ruby had begun scolding Charming for giving Snow so many hickeys.


‘Me?!’ exclaimed Charming. ‘We haven’t HAD se…. um… private time… in a while.’

He had whispered the last bit quickly, not wanting to risk making Emma feel bad. He knew she would blame herself. And well, it wasn’t entirely true. They’d had private time, but making out in the car for five minutes was not particularly permissive of the intimacy that would induce love bites.

Snow made sure that Emma had not entered the room before whispering, ‘Emma’s been getting…. specifically affectionate lately.’

‘Well, this is new. It’s just you getting them though, Snow?’ asked Ruby.

Charming did a quick check, not wanting to be explaining if Emma was finished in the bathroom.

‘Yeah. Well, as you know very well, I am bristly,’ began Charming, much to Ruby and Snow’s amusement. ‘And she’s always favoured her Mommy and Mommy’s soft skin.’

Both Emma and Charming mutter at the same time and shift their heads and Emma’s nose brushes against Snow’s nipple, causing Snow to inhale sharply.

She was sensitive there. So very sensitive.

She looked down, very careful to not reach up to touch herself, not wanting to wake the two loves other life just yet. Snow does not look at herself in the mirror much. She does not check out the size of her bust all that often either, but right now, they did seem… larger?

She was about to panic when she noticed Emma’s mouth moving. They were small movements, and at first Snow thought that she was talking in her sleep, but that theory was blasted out of the water at the soft sucking noises that followed.

Snow blushed at the thought.

She liked that idea. Would Emma? Should she bring it up? Would Emma ever ask her for it?

Would Charming be an ass and pretend to be jealous?

Snow bit her lip to stop a laugh. She gently pressed a fingertip to Emma’s mouthing.

‘Mm… Mommy?’

Snow looked down at Emma’s eyes fluttering open, curious eyes greeting her. She extracted an arm from between herself and Charming, and then cupped Emma’s cheek, rubbing the smooth skin gently.

‘Hey Baby. Did you have a good sleep?’

Emma made a very contented sound, and then buried her face against Snow, stiffening at the moan from Snow.

‘Mommy?’

‘It’s okay, Baby. Mommy’s just a little hypersensitive. It must be getting close to that time of the month,’ said Snow, although they both knew she had just finished her period last week.

 

-----

 

‘You’re kidding! Well, I guess it’s possible, since you had Emma, and your boobs never got the action that they were promised,’ teased Red, playfully squeezing Snow in a tight hug.

Red holds Snow at arms length, confused at the squeak of embarrassment. Ruby’s gaze follows Snow’s eyes down to Snow’s shirt and realises that she had somehow squeezed her best friend so tightly that some milk had leaked out. Ruby lets go hastily, ‘Uh, Snow… I thought you were kidding…’

‘Red, why don’t you ever take me seriously?’

‘You’ll need to nurse Emma. That’s the only way to get rid of the milk and not leak so much,’ said Granny breezily as she walked past them.

Both went red in the face, highly embarrassed.

‘Good gods, ladies, it’s nothing new. How long do you think I’ve been on this earth? Get to the doctor if you don’t believe me,’ declared Granny, as she walked back past them again. ‘Ruby, am I paying you to chat?’

-----

‘Hm… Mm…’

‘Dr Whale, please just tell me what’s the matter,’ requested Snow, annoyed that the female doctor was not available to give her a check up, even though Dr Frankenstein had been wholly professional.

‘You are lactating,’ he said simply.

Snow rolled her eyes, ‘I KNOW that. But why?!’

‘Well, as far as I can tell, you’re not pregnant. So I can only assume that your body is catching up to the state it was in when we were all cursed,’ explained Dr Whale.

‘Are you saying that my body thinks that I’ve just had a baby?’ asked Snow, voice and face advertising her incredulity.

‘Either that, or I can only assume you’ve got a magical problem here. You are healthy. I can find nothing medically wrong with you.’

‘Right. Thank you for the check up,’ states Snow, promptly getting up and leaving Dr Whale’s office.

She had to find Regina. Now.

-----

‘Snow White. How wonderful to see you. In my office. At the busiest time of the day,’ drawled Regina, not even bothering to look up from her paperwork.

‘Regina, please, I need your help.’

Regina’s eyes widened momentarily at the jump in the electricity bill for the Sheriff’s station. She would be having a serious talk to Sheriff Swan about the overuse of air conditioning.

‘Indeed. And what is it exactly that you think I can assist you with, dear?’

‘I’m lactating!’

Regina paused in her perusal of the latest letter written by Marco demanding for action to be taken against the young vandals who continue to spend their nights messing with the letters above his shop rather than sleep. She closed her eyes for a moment, opened them again and then looked up at Snow White with the most political smile she could muster.

‘I’m sorry dear; I do believe I misheard you. Could you please repeat that?’

‘I’m lactating.’

Regina immediately looked back down at her stack of documents.

‘Go see Whale.’

‘I already did! He seemed to believe it was either my body finally catching up to its previous state from before you cursed us all or it was induced magically.’

‘Then clearly you should go speak with your magically errant offspring. I’ll have you know she’s been skipping her lessons again.’

‘I’m sorry for the inconvenience, but surely she’s been letting you know ahead of time?’ asked Snow.

‘Yes, of course, but that is beside the point. She needs to take her lessons more seriously and then we wouldn’t have you spontaneously bursting out of your blouses now would we?’

Snow let out a squeak of embarrassment as Regina pointedly looked at her chest. Indeed, all three top buttons had been popped.

‘We know that all of Emma’s magical abilities are linked to her emotions. I can only surmise this is just another one of her yearnings to be closer to you. Have you considered asking her if she would like to nurse from you?’

‘No… she’s not been too conversational when she’s in Baby Time mode ever since the school camping trip.’

‘Snow White. Please talk to your daughter. I know you and Charming love to let her do whatever she wants, but in this, you must put your foot down. How can you ever hope to do what’s best for her if you don’t even know what is going on inside her head? Learn from my mistakes. I listened to Henry, but I only listened to what he was willing to tell me. Sometimes as a parent you need to be more proactive, especially so in Emma’s case.’

Regina nearly stumbled backwards as Snow engulfed her in a rather violent hug.

‘You’re right, Regina. Thank you,’ said Snow White, somehow keeping her voice calm despite nearly cutting off Regina’s blood supply.

‘Yes, well, your gratitude is unnecessary. Now, may I continue on with running the town, or shall I take the day off and teach you how to sew as well?’

Snow went to exit the office, only to stop at the door frame.

‘Regina?’

‘Yes, Snow?’ came the exasperated reply.

‘I’m glad that we’re still family. I’ll always love you, you know?’

Regina looked up again. This time when she smiled, Snow felt herself warm, because this time Regina’s smile was genuine. It was small, but it was real and it was special.

‘I’m glad too,’ Regina replied softly before she cleared her throat loudly. ‘Now run along, dear. Some of us have arrogant carpenters to demoralise.’

Chapter Text

For the last ten minutes or so, Emma had been staring at the same page of a book that Henry had insisted was a must-read. She just couldn’t focus. Well, she still had two hours to kill before Henry would be returning from his day out with David. Much to Regina’s delight Henry had taken to horse riding like a natural. Much to Emma’s dismay the horse riding gene had skipped her generation.

Emma felt a sudden chill run down her back. She whipped around, finding Snow White looking at her with a serious expression on her face.

‘H-Hey… Mar-Mom… What’s up?’ Emma cringed at how awkward she sounded.

‘Emma, you know that you can tell me anything right? You can ask me anything. You can ask me for anything,’ said Snow.

Emma blinked and nodded as Snow moved towards her slowly.

‘Mom?’

Emma stayed very still as her mother came closer and slipped an arm around her. She shuddered slightly at the feel of Snow’s warm breath against her neck and the shell of her ear. Snow gently took hold of one of Emma’s hands.

‘And if my Baby wants something special…’ murmured Snow, smiling a little at Emma’s sharp inhale from having her hand moved to cover Snow’s breast. ‘…All she needs to do is ask her Mommy.’

Emma didn’t answer. She couldn’t. Did Snow White really just offer to let her suckle? She didn’t find it weird? Well, she couldn’t find it too weird since she let her kiss her…

‘Emma? Are you okay?’

Emma blinked, suddenly finding Snow White right in front of her with a hand to her forehead.

‘You… You don’t mind that I want to nurse sometimes?’ asked Emma tentatively.

‘Oh Baby, of course not. If nursing is something that you want, I want that too,’ replied Snow.

‘Won’t Daddy think I’m a freak?’

Snow’s heart fluttered at the small voice. Snow had actually already discussed the matter with Charming.

 

‘Well, if that’s what our Baby wants, I don’t see a problem with it,’ said Charming, confused as to why Snow would doubt him.

If she were to push, he would admit that he felt hurt that she didn’t trust him. But she had to be sure. If he had any reservations about it at all, no matter how tiny, she knew that Emma would pick up on it. She would take it as a resounding NO. And it would hurt her. Snow didn’t want Emma to be hurt at all if she could help it.

‘Charming, I’m more concerned about what Emma’s thinking. What she may be assuming.’

If it were possible, Charming’s brow just furrowed even more.

‘You’re right. I’m not thinking properly.’

Despite the solemnity of their current conversation, Snow couldn’t help but smile at him and then kissed his brow.

‘Should I say something to her?’

‘No, not yet. Perhaps if she asks, we will say something.’

‘Oh! It would probably weird her out if I were there while you two…. Er… Take care of things?’

Snow nodded, ‘Perhaps we could arrange for you to accidentally walk in and she’ll realise that you don’t have a problem with it.’

‘Second time though right? Your first time would probably be a bit too much for our Baby,’ commented Charming.

‘Yes, the second time would be better,’ agreed Snow.

A second time would have to happen because that would mean that the first time had gone well.

 

‘Daddy would never think that of you, Baby. He loves you as much as Mommy does, and I love you with all my heart,’ said Snow. ‘You are so important to us. Nothing you could do would make us love you any less.’

Snow watches as Emma twitches slightly and then moves forward. Snow moves forward too, allowing Emma to melt against her. She relished the feel of Emma’s arms wrapped around her tight, hands at her waist, and Emma’s face tucked into her shoulder.

Once she felt Emma’s grip tighten slightly, she pulled away and lifted Emma’s face up. She kissed Emma’s right cheek and then placed a soft kiss on the corner of Emma’s mouth.

‘Would you like to nurse now, Baby?’

‘Mommy?’

‘Only if you want, Emma.’

‘Please, Mommy.’

Snow White smiled at her offspring. She caressed Emma’s left cheek before she led her to the sofa. They sat down. Emma avoided Snow’s eyes, still not confident that her Mommy was okay with her desire.

Snow only let Emma be in a state of uncertainty for a few seconds before she gently captured Emma’s lips in a soft kiss. Emma let out a little whimper of relief before deepening the kiss. Snow smiled into the kiss, happy to feel Emma’s tongue questing gently against her bottom lip. Snow’s tongue met Emma’s. Without breaking the kiss, Snow took Emma’s hands in hers and guided them to her breasts.

Emma kissed her mother harder, worshipping her mouth as thanks for what she was about to let her do. It felt so good, to have someone love you so much that they would allow such a taboo.

Together they slowly undid the buttons of Snow’s cardigan. Snow moved her hands to gently stroke Emma’s as she let her daughter finish the last of the buttons. Snow broke the kiss as she felt Emma start to pull up her blouse. Emma engaged Snow in another kiss as the blouse was tucked behind Snow, but it was a short-lived kiss. Emma pressed her face against the soft skin of her mother’s stomach. She nuzzled Snow’s stomach and inhaled Snow’s comforting scent as Snow reached back and undid her own bra. It joined Snow’s blouse.

Snow reached down and cupped Emma’s face, lifting it gently to her chest. She pushed out her chest and bit her lip as she brushed a nipple against Emma’s slightly swollen lips.

‘Go ahead, Baby,’ murmured Snow White.

Emma kissed Snow’s breast before she sucked on the nipple softly. Snow breathed out at the sensation of milk leaving her nipple and into Emma’s mouth. The suction felt so good.

‘That feels wonderful, Baby.’

Once Emma tasted Snow’s milk her sucking strengthened, causing Snow to bite her lip again to avoid crying out from the sudden pleasurable pain. She didn’t want to scare Emma.

She kept one hand on the back of Emma’s head as she manoeuvred them both so that she was on the edge of the sofa, giving Emma room to lay out on the rest of it. Emma wrapped her arms around Snow’s waist. With her other hand, Snow stroked slow circles on Emma’s t-shirt covered stomach.

As the milk in Snow’s right breast came to a stop, Emma looked up at Snow. Her mother lent down to kiss her once more, conveying that she was welcome to suckle her left breast too.

After a few minutes, Snow felt her heart swell as she found Emma’s suckling fade away because she had fallen asleep. She gently laid Emma’s head down on her lap.

Moving very slowly to avoid disturbing Emma’s slumber, she dressed herself.

Snow looked up as she heard the door open. She smiled at Charming as he entered quietly.

‘Looks like everything was as you hoped,’ he murmured.

‘Yes,’ replied Snow. ‘Daddy, could you help me put our Baby to bed?’

Charming gently lifted Emma and cradled her against his chest, smiling at Snow White with glee as Emma murmured in her sleep and tucked her head against him.

‘Where’s Henry?’ asked Snow, once Charming had tucked their Baby in.

‘I dropped him off at Granny’s since he said he was ravenous. He’ll be staying at Regina’s tonight since he still hasn’t finished his project yet, most of it’s at Regina’s.’

‘Emma can nap for longer then. But we’ll need to wake her in half an hour for a bathroom break,’ Snow reminded Charming.

‘No problem,’ replied Charming.

Chapter Text

‘Do you hear that?’ asked Snow, as she jiggled the key in the lock.

‘Hear what?’ asked Henry, following her through the open door.

‘…can’t waiiiiiiiiit to be KIIIIIIIING!’ three voices, not quite in sync nor in harmony.

‘Oh wow, really?’ exclaimed Henry, racing into the living room. ‘You’re watching The Lion King without me?!’

‘Henwy!’

He laughed at the big colliding hug he received from Emma.

‘Hey Emma, have you been watching Disney all day?’

‘Henwy, yes! Mommy! Mommy! Mulan there! Mulan goed bam! Mulan saved China! Emma waved, but Mulan was busy.’

Henry grinned at Emma, enjoying her excitable chatter. His emotions regarding Emma’s situation had ranged from quiet acceptance to confused and scared, and then to full acceptance coloured with high amusement. He took this new situation as a chance to have a sibling. He did, after all, already have a parent, and then grandparents, but never a sibling. When he really thought about it, it was really cool having a little sister.

Emma would always be his mother, but he had decided that as long as she still loved him (which as far as he could tell, she still does, if her bear hugs whenever he visited were any sort of indicator) he was fine if she was happier as a baby. Well, most of the time. She still went to work with his grandpa at the Sheriff’s station, and still sat down to have Sheriff-Mayor discussions with his Mom. She still called him kid when she wasn’t in Operation Baby mode.

‘And just how did you convince Granny to let you have the day off?’ asked Snow.

Ruby grinned at her, ‘I just told her that my favourite niece needed some female company while her Mommy was at work.’

‘And?’

‘And I had to promise to handle closing the diner myself for a week.’

‘We’ll make sure to have dinner at Granny’s every night of that week to keep you company at closing then. Won’t we Emma?’ commented Snow.

‘Aunty Roo-ooby, yes!’

‘Ugh, thank you! Love you both so much! Mwah, mwah, mwah!’ exclaimed Ruby, attacking Snow and Emma with kisses.

Emma squealed and squirmed, but did not try to really get away.

A rumbling growl grabbed everyone’s attention, much to Henry’s embarrassment.

He grimaced as he met all their gazes and asked, ‘What’s for dinner?’

‘SKETTI!’ exclaimed Emma, throwing her arms up in the air.

‘Spaghetti it is,’ agreed Snow.

‘Did you guys watch The Lady & The Tramp?’ asked Henry.

Charming and Ruby nodded.

‘Guess I didn’t really need to ask,’ laughed Henry.

‘I’ll make sure to make meatballs then,’ commented Snow, kissing Emma on the head as she got up to start on dinner.

‘I’ll help,’ volunteered David, getting up to join his wife in the kitchen.

‘Mommy?’ called out Emma, her voice betraying her worry as she realised that neither parent was within her sights.

‘Mommy and Daddy are in the kitchen, Baby,’ replied Charming.

‘Making spaghetti!’ chimed in Snow.

Despite hearing their voices, Emma’s face started to scrunch up.

In a desperate attempt to curb the coming onslaught of tears, Henry waved his hands rapidly at Ruby, who responded by transforming into her wolf and curling circles around the giggling Emma until they both tumbled on to the sofa. Henry and Ruby managed to distract Emma with tickling fingers and snuffling noses.

After a good half hour romping about, Snow finally emerged from the kitchen and declared that ‘Dinner’s ready!’

Henry looked about tuckered out and Ruby was panting. Emma, on the other hand, was wide eyed and sitting up straight.

‘Sketti, Mommy?’

‘Yes, Emma, we’re having spaghetti for dinner.’

‘Sketti!’

After a mock race to the sink to wash hands, Charming settled Emma into her seat between him and Snow as Henry dished out the pasta and Snow heaped on sauce, making sure to give extra meatballs to Emma. Henry and Ruby settled themselves on the other side.

Emma alternated between eating from Charming’s fork and from Snow’s fork (but from her own plate, of course). Occasionally Ruby would throw a chunk of garlic bread into her open mouth from across the table (much to Snow’s horror). Charming laughed until Henry tried to do it himself and choked. After that Snow forbid any more dinner tricks, lest Regina find out and curse them into eating tasteless gruel for the rest of their lives to teach them the importance of respecting your food.

Henry let out a massive yawn and was promptly excused to go get ready for bed.

As the conversation turned to work, Emma began feeding herself with her fingers, turning her head at forks offered in her direction. Snow looked as if she wanted to intervene as Emma used her fingers to pick at the remains of her dinner – just a few strands of spaghetti and one meatball. Charming placed a hand on her shoulder. He smiled at her and she relaxed. Emma’s hands were clean.

Ruby giggled at the sight of Emma trying to eat a strand by holding one end high above her turned head. With her mouth open, she tried to lip up the other end of the spaghetti strand without luck. The adults watched Emma as she dropped the single spaghetti piece back onto her plate in disgust, only to perk up again when she realised that she could then suck it up from it’s position on the edge of her plate.

Snow smiled wider at her daughter as Emma picked up her last meatball very slowly and carefully lifted it up to offer it to her.

‘Don’t you want to eat the last one, Emma?’

‘Mommy.’

‘For me?’

‘Yes!’

‘Thank you, Baby,’ began Snow, only to be thwarted from retrieving the meatball as Emma had moved it away.

Charming chuckled, ‘I think she wants to feed you now, Snow.’

‘Looks about right,’ agreed Ruby after Emma tightened her grip on the meatball, fingers digging into the flesh.

‘Very well,’ murmured Snow, leaning down a little so that Emma could push the morsel into her mouth.

They all watched as Emma burbled in happiness and retrieved a strand of spaghetti, offering it to the rapidly chewing and swallowing Snow.

‘Thank you, Emma,’ said Snow, accepting the end of the spaghetti.

She nearly dropped it however when Emma tried to put the other end in her own mouth.

Ruby giggled at Snow’s blush while Charming smiled at his daughter and helped her achieve her goal.

‘There you go Baby, now you can spaghetti kiss Mommy.’

‘Aw! So freaking adorable,’ whispered Ruby, as Emma eagerly sucked on the strand and raced towards Snow’s face.

Snow decided to meet her halfway instead of risking another choking disaster. Emma kept her eyes trained on Snow’s as their lips met. Snow blushed harder.

Charming began wiping Emma’s saucy mouth, ‘Did you enjoy your dinner, Emma?’

‘Yes Daddy!’

‘Mommy did too!’ exclaimed Ruby with a laugh.

Chapter Text

Snow had to use both hands to stop the laughter from bursting out of at the sight of the love of her life and of her True Love.

They were dressed in matching outfits.

Matching cowboy outfits in fact.

Jeans adorned their legs, complimenting chequered shirts on their torsos. There were handkerchiefs around their necks and on their sweet little heads were tanned, wide brimmed cowboy hats. And of course she couldn’t look past their sandy coloured coats, tastefully adorned with trimming on the arms.

‘And where do you two think you’re going?’ she asked.

‘Mommy!’

She cuddled her excited offspring, and then turned an enquiring glance to her husband.

‘We’re going riding,’ said Charming.

‘By yourselves?’

Charming pushed his nose against the side of Snow’s head gently.

‘Don’t worry. Only Emma will be riding, and I’m only going to let her on a pony. Isn’t that right, Baby? You’re going to ride a pony.’

‘Pony! Mommy, Mommy! Pony!’

Snow had to laugh, ‘Oh, is my Baby going to ride a pony? What a brave Baby I have! You’re not scared, Emma?’

‘Daddy with Emma. Not scared.’

‘That’s right. We’re not scared of anyone,’ said Charming, pulling Emma’s handkerchief up and over her mouth.

‘What, no Sheriff badges? You must be my bandit Baby,’ said Snow, kissing Emma’s cheek and cuddling her more.

‘Just like her Mommy,’ said Charming with a grin.

‘Mommy!’

‘When are you coming back?’ asked Snow.

‘Hm, I guess we’ll finish up around one to grab lunch from Granny’s and bring it back here?’ suggested Charming.

‘Perfect, I’ll let Red know to have it ready,’ agreed Snow.

She kissed him, and then pulled away with a laugh due to Emma tugging on her shirt, vying for attention.

‘Mommy!’

‘Does my Baby want a kiss too?’

Snow leant towards her Baby, offering her cheek as Emma puckered up. Once a wet kiss had been planted on her cheek, Snow reciprocated, and then followed up with some nuzzling. Emma giggled delightedly and Snow beamed, forever grateful that Emma could let go and just enjoy this life they had made for themselves.

-----

‘Daddy.’

‘Yes, Emma?’

‘Bum hurts.’

‘Okay, thank you for the ride Mr Pony, but Emma and I have to go now,’ said Charming, scooping Emma into his arms off the pony.

‘Bye Mr Pony,’ said Emma.

She made a small whining noise as Charming placed her down, ‘Daddy!’

‘Just a moment Baby, I need to take Mr Pony back into his stable before we can go. Stay here, and watch me, just in case I don’t do it right, okay?’

‘Okay, Daddy.’

Charming pretended not to see Emma’s pout, ‘I will only be a few minutes, Emma.’

Charming closed the stable behind him and brushed his hands on his jeans, and then groaned at the sight of Emma with the remains of a mango or two splattered all over her face and clothes, ‘Ohh… Snow’s gonna kill me.’

‘I bet that tastes good, huh? Where’d you get that, Baby?’

‘Yeah, Daddy,’ Emma grinned at him, pointing to his left. ‘Dere!’

Charming grimaced as he realised that Emma had pulled a branch down, breaking part of it halfway off the tree. Farmer Cornish was probably going to try and rip him a new one. Emphasis on try, since the whole town knew better than to mess with Snow White’s family. Still, it wouldn’t hurt to apologise before the old man found out about the damage to the tree (and not to mention to keep it out of the papers, after her go at Regina’s apple tree, Emma had developed a reputation for being environmentally unfriendly).

But first, he had to stop Snow from getting mad at him.

‘Emma, next time ask Daddy for help if you want something okay? Or ask Mommy, or Regina or Aunty Ruby, okay?’

Emma was looking at the ground intensely; apparently the weed by her shoe was one that she had never seen before, ‘Yeah, Daddy.’

‘Emma, please look at me.’

After a few seconds, she did.

‘We’ll have to tell Mommy about this,’ began Charming, lifting a hand to stop Emma from protesting. ‘She won’t be angry, but we’re going to tell Mommy because we don’t keep secrets in this family. Also, Mommy was joking when she called you her bandit baby.’

‘Okay, Daddy.’

He crouched down so that he could into her eyes as she had dropped her gaze once more.

‘Emma, I’m not mad,’ said Charming, kissing Emma on her cheek. ‘I could never be mad at you. Mommy and I just want what’s best for you. Okay?’

‘Okay, Daddy.’

Charming smiled at her, because this time Emma smiled at him.

‘That’s my good girl.’

Emma threw her arms around him, cheek pressed against his ear uncomfortably, ‘My good Daddy.’

Charming suddenly remembered their sticky situation as it became clear that the evidence had started to dry them together.

‘Ow, Daddy!’

Charming sighed as Emma frowned at him mightily, rubbing at the patch of skin on her cheek that was a now a little red from being torn away from his own skin.

‘I’m sorry Baby. Let’s go get washed up, okay? Then we won’t be so sticky from your mango capers, hm?’

Their first stop was the water trough. The second was their bathroom at home. After a quick phone call to Ruby.


‘Rubes! Can you please do me a huge favour and distract Snow for an hour? I’ve got to take care of something messy!’

‘Charming, you idiot, what did you let Emma get into this time?’ laughed Ruby.

‘Mangoes.’

‘Where’d she get those from?’

‘Rubes…’

‘Okay, I won’t bother asking further.’

‘Thanks Rubes, I owe you one. We’re at home, so please keep her at the diner. Tell her our lunch plans have changed and we’ll just be later, but not to wait for us.’

‘Oooh-kay. Now that we’re both in some clean clothes, I can get these sticky ones in the wash.’

Emma didn’t reply except to giggle at the TV, attention focused fully on the antics of the banana guards. She failed to notice her father trip on one of her toys, sending him and the powder from the capless clothes detergent straight to the floor.

Emma sat up straight at the sound of her Daddy exclaiming “Shit!”.

‘Bad Daddy!’

‘Sorry, Baby. Ohhh no… Daddy’s been very clumsy. But we still gotta tell Mommy… Yup… Still gotta tell her… Oh boy,’ muttered Charming, mostly to himself, hastily trying to gather all the debris. ‘I just wanted to clean it up and fix it first….’

‘Daddy’s mess!’

‘Yeah, Daddy made a mess. You’re right.’

Emma giggled.

But when she became silent for more than 30 seconds he got a bit worried.

‘Oh, no, Emma, don’t touch that. Go back and watch Adventure Time, please.’

He smiled as she went off back to the TV. Half of the mess was in the bin when he heard toddling behind him.

‘Lolly, Daddy?’

Charming turned around from sweeping up the blue granules to find Emma crouching next to him with her hand outstretched. He had to chuckle at the expectant look on her face.

‘Oh, I thought you were offering me a lolly.’

He squeezed his eyes shut and grimaced at the sound of keys being placed on the key ring that was located inside their home.

‘I think I should offer you a spanking. Daddy, Daddy, Daddy. What have you and our Baby been up to today?’

‘Mommy!’

Snow White crouched down to take Emma into her arms, ‘My beautiful Baby. Are you going to tell me everything that happened today, Emma?’

‘Yeah, Mommy!’ replied Emma, kissing Snow White’s cheek noisily.

'David?'

'Yes, my love?'

'Why is there mango in Emma's hair?'

 

TBC....

Chapter Text

‘Is it just me or is Emma avoiding spending time with me?’ muttered Charming.

Snow turned to face her husband and had to bite back her laugh at the large ratio of bottom lip to upper lip currently plastered on his face.

‘Honey, she’s not avoiding you. She’s just… spending more time with me.’

‘I am super jealous I hope you know,’ muttered Charming, right cheek smooshed against his right fist, elbow resting on the side of the sofa.

Snow leaned over and kissed his unsmooshed left cheek, ‘I know honey, and I appreciate you not showing your jealousy in front of Emma.’

‘Did you know she didn’t even want me to read to her last night?’ he demanded, sitting up and twisting the top of his body awkwardly.

‘Well, it could just be we need to borrow some new books from the library, Charming.’

Charming sat back down, switching on the TV, ‘Yeah, you’re probably right Snow. I forget when we last went to the library.’

Snow had decided it was best not to tell her husband that she and Emma had already read the last book yesterday afternoon. She had meant to return those books and pick up new ones that afterwards but then there had been a minor emergency at the diner and she’d had to drop off Emma at Regina and Henry’s before rushing to help Ruby with the dinner rush.

Actually, now was a good a time as any to go pick out some new ones. She kissed her husband’s cheek, moving to leave him to watch Brooklyn Nine Nine - which Emma and Henry had gotten him hooked on, and got up to go collect the books.

‘I have an errand to run. Do you need anything from the shop while I’m out?’

‘Hahah! Huh? Oh, um, no, I don’t think so, thanks Snow.’

‘Ok, I’ll see if Emma wants to come with me, but if she doesn’t I’ll encourage her to come watch the show with you, okay?’

Charming paused the show and turned to face his wife, ‘No! Don’t do that, she’ll feel like she’s being forced and then spending time with me will be like a chore for her! I don’t want to be a chore! Chores suck. I’m her Daddy. I don’t want to become the annoying relative you barely know but have to kiss on the cheek at awkward family gatherings!’

Snow giggled, ‘Okay husband, I won’t implore our offspring to watch cartoons with her one and only Daddy, who, may I add, she told me just this morning she loved with all the “pegasuses” in the world.’

‘She said that?’ asked Charming, eyes tearing up a little.

Emma had really loved Pegasus from when they had watched Hercules. He remembers because she told him during each of the next five Baby Time sessions from then on.

‘Yes, silly.’

Snow kissed him again, and left him to the antics of Jake Peralta.

When Snow rounded the corner from the living room into the corridor to the bedrooms, she let out a little gasp at being bodily pulled into Emma’s room. She ended up landing pressed against Emma who had her back to the wall right next to the open door. Emma nuzzled her neck and murmured, ‘Mommy.’

‘Yes, Baby?’ breathed Snow.

Snow watched adoringly as her daughter tilted her head back slightly and then moved to cup the side of Snow’s face with her left hand. Snow turned her head to kiss Emma’s palm.

Emma leaned down the one inch that separated their mouths and kissed Snow tenderly. Emma slid her left hand down Snow’s face and body, and then rested both hands on Snow’s hips. Snow opened up her mouth at the feel of Emma nipping at the right corner of her lips. Snow hooked a finger from her left hand into Emma’s belt while her right hand moved between their bodies to stroke Emma’s stomach.

She couldn’t help but moan a little as Emma’s kissing grew in intensity, tongue flicking to touch the root of her mouth occasionally. For what seemed like a good few minutes, Emma ended the kissing session by pulling at Snow’s bottom lip and letting it go after Snow was forced to move her face closer towards hers. She dropped her hands to her sides.

Snow had to steady her breathing before she stepped back from Emma, also letting go. Emma seemed eerily calm.

‘Are you okay, Emma?’

‘Just really wanted to kiss you, Mommy.’

Emma leaned in closer and inhaled softly, tickling the hairs on Snow’s neck.

‘Is that all?’

Snow noticed the twitch in Emma’s jaw, signalling that she had clenched her teeth.

‘Got jealous.’

‘Jealous? Of who? Daddy?’

‘Yeah,’ huffed Emma.

‘That’s not fair Emma. Daddy gets just as much right to kiss me as you do,’ murmured Snow. ‘But you know what? Daddy’s been jealous that you spend more time with me than with him.’

‘Really?’

‘Really.’

Emma let out a small laugh.

Snow kissed Emma again.

‘I’m going to the library to change your books. Did you want to come with me, or would you like to watch Brooklyn Nine Nine with your Daddy?’

Emma frowned, Snow had put emphasis on “your Daddy”.

‘I’ll come straight back. I’ll be 15 minutes tops.’

‘Okaaay.’

Snow smiled.

‘My good girl,’ she whispered before leaning in to give Emma deeper kiss than the last, making Emma let out a little moan in her throat. ‘My very good girl.’

 

TBC