We Can Love Again

One Big Happy Family

She hadn't realized how much she had missed out on Snow's infamous Thanksgiving dinners. It didn't take long for everyone to show up; they all came in with smiling faces, all bringing some sort of food item with them. The last time Regina had been inside Snow's apartment, it had been when she had just found out about her baby dying. Then, everything about the home felt solemn and empty. But now, it was quite the opposite. Laughs and lightweight conversations filled the air, people were chatting away on empty stomachs, eagerly awaiting the delicious meal they all knew was on the way.

Both of Regina's children got the day off from school, and Robin easily kept the closed sign on the front doors of the animal shelter. She couldn't persuade Roland to leave his puppy behind at the house, so she reluctantly agreed to bring the beagle with them.

"There's a lot of people here, Mommy." Roland remarked, clutching her hand as they began slipping past the crowds.

"I know. We have a big family, don't we?"

The citizens of Storybrooke had always somewhat annoyed her, how they all adored Snow White and Prince Charming. Though now, Regina understood why they loved them- they were completely selfless, friendly to everyone, and full of such comfort and solace. They really did deserve the kingdom.

"Hey Mom, did you make some of your food for dinner?" Henry asked, smiling when he saw her.

His mother nodded. "Granny and I made apple turnovers for dessert," she told him, with a flash of pride.

"Awesome!" He beamed, reaching out to hug her. "I missed you. Mom, Killian and I have been thanking of game ideas all weekend."

It was then she realized how tall he was getting.

"That's great! Are you having fun?"

Henry gave her a pointed look. "Of course I am! Oh, Dad, Killian's looking for you. He said something about... Beer pong?"

The mention of it made Robin's attention snap back into focus. "I completely forgot we were doing that," he remarked, "will you be okay Roland?"

The boy nodded, already scanning the room for his best friend.

"Be careful," Regina told him, giving him a dubious look. Robin left in pursuit for the pirate, and Roland quickly went off once he found Alex. That left Regina and Henry both stranded amongst the sea of familiar faces. But it didn't last for long, not if Charming had anything to do with it. He introduced the both of them to a young couple with matching smiles on their faces, Jack and Jill. They were both more than interested to hear the story on how the once evil queen transformed into a caring mother.

Regina was never the most sociable girl; her mother had made sure to hinder her interaction with children her age as much as possible. She enjoyed getting to know people who were actually interested in what she had to say, but it happened so little it was a struggle to know what to say. Thankfully, Henry helped her out as much as he could. And after a few minutes of chatting, unbelievably, Regina could say without a doubt that she had made two new friends.

"Do you think Will is here? Ruby invited him." Henry asked, a sly smile on his face.

"Well, if she invited him, he'll be here alright. Why don't you start looking around?"

With a nod, Henry was soon swallowed up by the sea of people around them. On the far side of the apartment, David, Killian, and Robin were carefully aligning plastic cups in a large triangle, all of them filled about halfway with beer.

"We're gonna need one more person if we're going to play..." Charming stated, sweeping the room for second before spotting his grandson.

"Henry! Get over here; we need one more player if we're going to play!"

Robin gave him a surprised glance. "Are you sure about that?"

"I'm not going to let my grandson drink, if that's what you're imposing."

Henry made his way over, an excited yet confused look on his face. "How do you play?"

"Well lad, it's simple," Hook began, "all you have to do is try shooting these balls into the cups over there. When someone on your team misses, then it's the other team's turn. In the end, you drink out of all the cups that have balls in them. The team with the most wins."

Henry tilted his head down to catch a look at the strange liquid inside the cups. "Okay, well... Who's team am I on?"

"I call arrow man!" The pirate announced, seeming quite enthusiastic about it. "You seem like you'd have the best aim."

Robin made a face. "I'm honored, but you stink like oil- no offense. That's all you ever do, work at that mechanic shop."

Killian waved his hook in front of the man's face. "Well, what is a man with a hook for a hand supposed to do in a town like this? Apparently there's no jobs in captaining a pirate ship."

Henry bounced one of the ping pong balls impatiently on the table. "Are we going to play or what?"

He found out quickly how competitive the game was. They all took turns throwing the balls at the opponents plastic cups until one of them would miss. Whenever a ball bounced, Robin and Killian would both swat down the ping pong balls so they would fly off in all different directions. The game was quite fun, but also very heated; lots of people were slowly drawing in to watch due to all the noise they were making. Neal watched from the sidelines as his son and Prince Charming battled against the pirate and the outlaw. It was an extremely close game to call. Robin was a very good aim, and so was Killian. Surprisingly, Henry did do, which made them both want to dominate over the twelve year old. Everyone watched in suspense.

"David, we said we weren't playing beer pong!" Snow's voice sounded from behind, looking with a sudden shock as she noticed her grandson playing right beside him.

Charming couldn't tare his attention away from the game, for he and Henry only had a few cups left. "I'm not going to let him drink any!"

She scowled. "This game is so tacky- it's Thanksgiving, not guy's night!"With that, she caught one of the ping pong balls in midair and threw it over into the kitchen, resulting in four simultaneous groans of protest.

"Grandma!" Henry pouted, glancing back at David as if telling him to stop her.

"You have to help me get the food out and ready anyways. All of you need to socialize like normal people." Snow gave them all a taunting glance, waiting for them to disperse before cleaning up the mess they had made.

Before they left, each man quickly grabbed a cup of beer and tossed the balls out. Snow White won that round.

Regina could tell something was happening over on the other side of the room, but she didn't feel up to seeing what it was about. Too many people wanted to talk to her; most of them were people she had never seen before, or rather, bothered to notice. But they all knew her, Regina Mills, the pregnant, used- to- be ruler of their kingdom. Apparently, that made one famous.

Most of the questions were along the lines of her relationship with Robin, if she had any intentions of running for mayor again, or her plans for the wedding. Regina had to disappoint everyone she talked to on that question, because she and Robin agreed they weren't going to invest time into their wedding until their baby was born. They both wanted to give their baby their full attention.

People were also constantly shooting baby name ideas at her every which way- Bryan, Connor, Angelo, Dillon- they were all being thrown at her without warning. Everyone wanted the queen's baby boy to be named after them. Regina was getting tired of pretending the names; she wished all her conversations didn't have to be about herself. About two hours had gone by, and she was starving. She still didn't know where Robin was, or Henry, or Roland, or even Will. All she had with her was a baby who wouldn't stop jabbing her painfully in the ribs.

But then, she caught sight of her boy- Jupiter's high pitched barking gave it away. Roland was holding the puppy and petting her fur as he talked to someone beside him. When she saw who it was, Regina suddenly became uneasy. Rumplestiltskin.

"I always feed her twice a day because she's always hungry," Roland explained in his innocent, carefree voice, swinging his legs back and forth under the chair he was sitting in.

"Well of course, she's still a tiny little thing," Rumple told him, "she needs to grow. All living things need nutrients to grow."

The boy giggled as Jupiter began licking his face again. "I want her to stay little forever!"

Chuckling a bit, Rumple patted the top of Jupiter's head. "You'll grow into a fine young man one day too, it'll just take a little time. Everything takes time."

The man opened his hand to reveal a blue ball of magic, causing the child's eyes to light up with wonder.

When Regina saw the magic, she couldn't help herself from getting up and confronting them.

"What's... What's going on here guys?" She asked tentatively, keeping her eyes on the blue ball before her.

Instantly, Rumple transformed the magic into a small bowl of milk, which he slowly placed on the floor. The beagle practically jumped out of Roland's arms, beginning to lapping up the white liquid.

"Dogs love that stuff," Rumple told her, as if it were simple. He earned a slightly relieved expression from Regina, uncertainty still permeating through her eyes.

"Mommy, I like Mr. Gold. He knows a lot about dogs." Roland said, smiling up at her.

"I'm sure he does," she responded, with little energy to her voice, "sweetheart why don't you take Jupiter to the kitchen so she's not in everyone's way."

Roland nodded, scooping up his puppy and the bowl of milk before waving goodbye to Rumple. Regina took a seat down where he just was, taking a deep, irritated breath.

"You're looking lovely today, Regina. Pregnancy actually suits you well."

"Save it," she said, narrowing her eyes as she spoke, "I don't want you around my son. He doesn't need to be a part in your twisted games."

Rumple had missed seeing this side of Regina. When she got fired up, anything could happen.

"Well dear, today is Thanksgiving- you know, the time when family is supposed to get along?"

"Do you think I consider you family because you were in love with my mother? Or, maybe, because you've had every say in my life before I was even born?"

Maybe that was indeed true; but Rumple never planned the man with the lion tattoo. That was a path he never expected her to take.

"I'm family because I'm Henry's grandfather." He replied firmly, taking to delight the darkness that filled her eyes. "And, technically, I'm Roland's grandfather as well. I do care about them Regina-"

"You were planning to kill Henry because he interfered with your magic- don't lie. If it weren't for Tinkerbell getting us out of Neverland, he would probably be dead by now." Her voice lowered with annoyance. She didn't want to feel angry like this again.

"You just stay the hell away from my family; Robin, Will, Henry, Roland, this baby-"

"What's going on here?"

Regina looked up in surprise to see Belle standing in front of her, Will right beside her.

"I've been looking everywhere for you, dinner is about to start." Will said, taking her hand and helping her up, "I'm starving!"

Belle eyed Rumple strangely. "Is... Everything okay between you two?"

"Of course," Regina answered for him, sending her a slight smile, "hope you're having a good Thanksgiving."

With that, she and Will made their way to the ginormous dining table Snow and Charming had prepared, sitting down along the long row of chairs next to the rest of their family. The food looked amazing, smelling absolutely wonderful.

"I have so much to be thankful for," Robin said to her quietly yet tenderly, slipping his arm around her shoulders and resting his hand on top of her stomach. "I love our little family. So much. And I love you."

She had so much to be thankful for; never in a million years did she deserve a man like him in her life. But she fought to keep the anger simmered down inside of her; it left all the food she ate tasting nothing but bitter and distasteful.

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