Not as it Seems

39

It was Christmas Eve and it had been snowing all day. Regina had done all of her holiday shopping a few weeks prior, so she took the time to spend with Emma. Emma and Regina were baking cookies for Santa when Emma asked, "Mommy what did you ask Santa for?"

Regina looked up at Emma and smiled, "I can't tell you yet. We have to wait until christmas day."

Emma whined and said, "Mooommm, please, please, please! tell me tell me!"

Regina chuckled and said, "Alright I will tell you a little. I asked Santa to bring me an amazing daughter, who has blonde hair and green eyes, and the biggest heart I have ever seen. Do you think you can guess who it is?"

Emma smiled and looked at Regina, "Is it me?"

Regina smiled and said, "nuh, not telling. Not until tomorrow. You have already weaseled that information out of me, no more."

Emma sighed, "Fiiinne"

Regina shook her head and said, "You have been spending WAY too much time with Kathryn if you are already sighing at me."

Emma just smirked up at Regina and said, "Aunt Kat said, I am a mini me, or KIT for short."

Regina lifted a eyebrow and laughed, "A what?"

Emma smiled and sounded it out, "A Ka-th-ryn in tra-ining"

Regina could only laugh harder and roll her eyes, "Oh of course you are."

Emma and Regina smiled at each other and went back to their cookie tasks, Regina shaping the sugar cookie dough and Emma sprinkling the colored sugar on top.

When the cookies were in the oven baking Emma and Regina began cleaning up. Emma was at the sink trying to wash her hands which was still very difficult since she needed to keep her cast as dry as possible. Thankfully the bulky plaster would be off within a week.

Regina wiped off the counter and turned to see Emma with her tongue sticking out in concentration trying to wash her hands of the sugar. Regina smiled and walked over to Emma, "Need some help sweetheart?"

Emma looked at Regina and nodded.

Regina smiled and helped Emma to wash the last of the sugar off her hands.

When Emma, Regina, and the kitchen were all cleaned, and the cookies were cooling on the stove, Emma and Regina sat down at in the living room and watched A Charlie Brown Christmas, and Home Alone 2.

Regina loved this, the simplicity of sitting on the couch on Christmas Eve, with her daughter snuggled into her side watching some of her favorite holiday movies.

Emma fell asleep half way through Home Alone 2 and was snoring softly. Regina smiled and kissed the top of Emma's head before finishing the movie. It was 9:30PM when the movie ended and Regina decided to go upstairs and put Emma to bed.

Regina lifted Emma and smiled at being able to feel the little extra weight that Emma has put on since being with her. Regina thought back to when Emma first came to live with her, and how skinny, sad, and malnourished she looked. Now Emma is still quite small but looks healthy and happy.

Regina carried Emma upstairs and tucked her into bed. Regina gave Emma one last kiss goodnight, and closed the door.

Regina got herself ready for bed, but just sat in her chair near the window and watched the snow fall until around 11:45PM, when she decided to go to sleep.

(LB)

The next morning Regina was woken up by the pitter patter of small feet and the creaking of her door. Regina pretended to be asleep and waited for Emma to come closer.

Regina could hear Emma whisper from the door, "Mommy."

It took everything Regina had to not sit up and smile at Emma. Regina waited and waited. She could tell Emma was thinking about what she should do. Finally her mind was made up.

Emma walked to Regina's bed and tapped Regina's bed, "Mommy, wake up."

Emma then stood on her tippy toes and put her nose to Regina's and waited. Regina smiled and opened her eyes. She was greeted with sparkling green eyes and Emma's smiling face.

Regina quickly lifted Emma and plopped her down on her bed and tickled her, all before Emma could pull away. Emma erupted into laughter and giggles.

Regina stopped only when Emma laughed out a, "Merci Merci" knowing that she meant Mercy.

Regina sat up and leaned against her head board and pulled Emma into her lap as their laughter died down.

Emma turned in Regina's lap and gave her a kiss on the cheek, "Merry Chistmas"

Regina smiled and gave Emma a kiss on the head and said, "Merry Christmas sweetheart."

Emma gave Regina a tight hug, which Regina returned. When the hug broke Regina smiled and asked, "So what do you want to do?"

Emma shrugged and said, "I dunno. I never had Chistmas before."

Regina's heart clenched and said, "Well you will have Christmas every year from now on. So how about we make a tradition starting today. What do you think?"

Emma nodded but then turned her head to the side, "what's tadition?"

Regina chuckled and said, "Tra-dition. Its something that is special that you and me can do every year, from now on."

Emma smiled and nodded, "I want a tadition!"

Regina smiled and said, "Me too. So on this tradition what do we want to do?"

Emma put her finger to her mouth in thought, the same way Regina does when she is thinking, and said, "I want pancakes and hot chocolate!"

Regina smiled and said, "ok pancakes. Then what? presents?"

Emma's eyes went wide looked shocked, "We get presents!?"

Regina nodded and smiled, "Yup!"

Emma nodded and said, "Ok, presents first, then pancakes and hot chocolate!"

Regina nodded and loved how presents for a kid always seemed to trump everything else.

Regina and Emma brushed their teeth and went downstairs.

Emma went into the living room and gasped, "Mommy look! Santa came! He brought more pezents and he ate the cookies!"

Regina smiled and gasped in mock shock at the new presents stashed under the christmas tree in the corner. Waking up at 3:10AM to place the additional gifts under the tree and the late night snack was with out a doubt worth it, seeing the smile on Emma's face and the joy in her eyes.

Regina walked into the living room and sat on the floor next to Emma. Emma was just looking at all the new gifts not knowing where to start. Regina knew Emma was overwhelmed, so she decided to help her out, "Here sweetheart open this one."

Emma smiled and took the gift that was perfectly wrapped in Mickey Mouse wrapping paper, "YAY! A new bear, I'm gonna name him... Henry! Like Abulto!"

Regina smiled and teared up a little, seeing Emma so happy and naming her new bear after her father, whom she looked up to so much as a child, was truly one of the best gifts imaginable.

Emma then went under the tree and pulled out a present that was balled up and covered in wrapping paper and tape. Regina smiled and took the gift from Emma. Emma said, "Open it Mommy!"

Regina smiled and nodded. When she opened the gift she started to tear up. Inside the heaps of wrapping paper was a string necklace with pasta shells and lettered beads. The letters in the middle spelled 'Mommy'. Crumpled and tucked inside the wrapping paper was a picture. Emma had drawn a picture of herself, Regina, Ruby, Kathryn, Cora, Henry, Granny and Teri all standing together holding hands and smiling. At the top of the picture in Emma's messy scrawl was the words, 'My fameley'

Regina looked up at Emma and had tears in her eyes. Emma looked at Regina shyly and asked, "You like it mommy?"

Regina wiped her tears and smiled, "I absolutely love it. Come here."

Emma grabbed her bear and gave Regina a big hug. Regina squeezed her tight and kissed her head. Regina gently put the necklace on smiled at Emma before handing her her next gift.


Two dolls, three sweaters, a pair of sneakers,a new tea set, a remote controlled car, and four new books later Emma and Regina were cleaning up the living room of wrapping paper and beginning to make breakfast.

Regina made her famous Apple pancakes and like always Emma drowned them in syrup. Regina and Emma talked during breakfast, and Regina told Emma that Nona, Abulto, Ruby, Granny, Graham, and Kathryn were all coming over to the house to have dinner. Emma smiled and was practically vibrating with excitement.

It was only 12:00PM by the time they finished breakfast and cleaned up so Regina decided to join Emma in watching some television.

Regina and Emma snuggled under a blanket on the couch and watched Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and A Miracle on 34th Street.

When both movies were finished Regina and Emma got up to start dinner.

Regina decided to keep it simple and made her famous lasagna, with a apple crisp for dessert.

Emma helped, as much as she could with only one arm, but mostly sat up on the counter and watched Regina.

When everything was done Regina looked at the clock and gasped, "Geez, time flew! Everyone will be here in 35 minutes! We are still in out pajamas!"

Emma just giggled while Regina rushed to clean up the kitchen.

Regina finished and looked at Emma, "And what is so funny missy?"

Emma giggled some more and said, "You Mommy! You run around like a chicken with no head!"

Regina lifted a eyebrow and tickled Emma on the sides, but keeping her close so she didn't fall. Regina stopped and when their laughter died down she ask, "And where did you learn that saying?"

Emma smiled and said, "Granny. She said that to Wolf!"

Regina smiled and thought, Of course it was Granny and Ruby who taught Emma that phrase.

Regina lifted Emma off of the counter and placed her on the ground, "Well this chicken has her head back on, so go upstairs and pick out the outfit you want to wear while I get your bath ready."

Emma nodded and took off towards the stairs. Regina is interested to see what outfit Emma decides on, since it is always a surprise with Emma.

Emma picks out a grey dress with a little red belt and her patent leather shoes, the outfit is similar to the one Regina had in mind for the evening.

Emma sees Regina standing in the doorway and asks, "This ok mommy? I wanna look pretty like you do."

Regina smiled and knelt in front of Emma, "Sweetheart you are always pretty, no matter what you wear, ok, always remember that."

Emma smiled and nodded. Regina stood up and said, "Alright lets make this a quick bath so we can get you ready."

40 minutes later both Regina and Emma were clean and in their Christmas outfits.

Regina had just finished braiding Emma's hair when the doorbell rung. Emma jumped up and ran for the door, with Regina right behind her.

Regina called out to Emma, "No running on the stairs!"

Emma slowed down when she heard Regina's voice call out to her, which allowed Regina to fully catch up. Emma took ahold of the banister and slowly walked down the stairs.

The bell rung again just as Emma made it to the bottom step. Emma stood up on her tippy toes and opened the door.

Cora, Henry, Ruby and Granny were all standing on the other side of the door smiling.

Regina was behind Emma and pulled the door open allowing everyone to enter the house, "Merry Christmas!"

Cora and Henry entered first with a basket of cheeses, wines, grapes, and caviar. "We picked up a little something for appetizers"

Regina gave them both a hug and took the basket, "Thank you, I will go set it out now."

Regina waved and smiled at Granny and Ruby before heading into the kitchen to set out the appetizers her parents brought for the evening.

As soon as Ruby and Granny had entered Emma jumped into Ruby's waiting arms, "Wolf!"

Ruby nuzzled Emma's cheek and said, "Pup! I haven't seen you in FOREVER!"

Emma laughed and said, "Wolf I sees you yesteday, member!? Mommy let me got a chocolate shake and french fries!"

Ruby smiled and said, "I know but I missed you, and yesterday seemed like forever ago!"

Emma smiled and gave Ruby another hug, "I missed you too Wolf!"

Granny said her hellos and joined Regina in the kitchen to see if she needed any help.

Ruby put Emma back on the ground before also heading into the kitchen. Emma ran over to Cora and Henry and gave them a big combined hug.

Emma smiled and said, "Abulto! Guess what?!"

Henry smiled and thought for a second, "Hmmm... You aren't really 4, almost 5. You are 4 almost 40!?"

Emma giggled and Cora just laughed at the little joke.

Emma shook her head and said, "I have a Henry too! Mommy bought him for me!"

Henry and Cora looked at each other confused. Cora asked, "You mean Regina got you a dog?"

Emma shook her head, "No, she said not this year. Maybe when I more respontible. Mommy got be a bear! You wanna see him!?"

Henry nodded his head and said, "Of course! I need to meet this other Henry."

Emma smiled and ran upstairs to get her new bear.

Cora and Henry joined everyone in the kitchen while Emma ran upstairs to get her new bear.

The door bell rang again, this time it was Kathryn. Regina opened the door and gave Kathryn a hug, "Merry Christmas."

Kathryn followed Regina into the kitchen and greeted everyone, "Merry Christmas everyone!"

Everyone said their hellos and Emma came back down the stairs. She gasped and smiled, "Aunt Kat! Merry Chistmas!"

Kathryn loved that name, "Hi Mini me! Merry Christmas!" Everyone chuckled at Kathryn's nickname for Emma, even Regina laughed a little as she rolled her eyes.

Emma then turned to Henry and pulled on his hand, "Come on Abulto, Henry is in the living room watching cartoons! He's really excited!"

Henry smiled and was lead into the living room by Emma.

The women left in the kitchen just smiled and laughed.


Regina placed the appetizers on the breakfast bar. Everyone sat down and began chatting.

Cora turned to Regina and said, "When Emma mentioned Henry I thought you bought her a dog."

Regina shook her head and chuckled, "No. But trust me if Emma could do magic that bear would be turned into a puppy. Maybe in the future."

Everyone glanced at each other giving and smiled, hearing Regina talk about a future with Emma brought smiles to all of their faces.

Conversation was flowing when Ruby smiled and said, "I see you are wearing a Emma original."

Regina smiled and placed her hand to her new necklace, "yes I am."

Cora and Kathryn leaned in closer to get a better look. Regina lifted it a little so they could get a better look. They both, "Awwed" and said, "That is adorable!"

Ruby smiled and said, "She made it the day she stayed at the diner. Kid is good at hiding things and keeping secrets. Watch out when she becomes a teenager."

Regina groaned and said, "Nope. She is staying 4 almost 5 forever."

Everyone laughed.


When the clock chimed 5:45PM Regina began placing the food on the table. Regina then called everyone into the dining room.

Everyone was eating and laughing when the doorbell rung again. Regina stood up and said, "That must be Graham".

Regina went to the door and opened it. Regina gasped in surprise and pulled the unexpected guest into the house, wrapping him in a tight hug.

August smiled and hugged Regina back saying, "Merry Christmas Regina."

Regina mumbled into August's neck, "Merry Christmas!"

Regina looked up and met Graham's eyes, she silently mouthed, "thank you"

Graham just nodded, closed the front door, and entered the dining room, greeting everyone.

Regina let go of August and asked, "Are you ok? How are you here?"

August just smiled and said, "I am ok, I was released a little early for good behavior and for the holidays. Officer Turner pulled some strings and is allowing me to spend the holiday here with you and Emma. As long as I am back in Boston for parol by New Years."

Regina smiled and gave him another hug, "I'm glad you are here. Emma is going to be so excited."

Regina grabbed August's hand and pulled him into the dining room.

Everyone except Emma looked up and smiled. Regina cleared her throat and said, "Emma, baby, someone is here to see you."

Emma looked up and saw August. She dropped her fork and jumped out of her chair. Emma stood in shock with her mouth open.

August knelt down and said, "Come'er Em."

Emma sprinted towards him and jumped into his arms almost knocking him over.

August smiled and said, "Merry Christmas Em. We got what we always wanted."

Emma nodded into his neck and mumbled, "A fameley"

August smiled and nodded against her head, "Yeah, a family."


August and Emma finally pulled a part and sat back down at the table, everyone ate their food and talked. When everyone was stuffed and couldn't eat any more, they all moved into the living room. Emma was sitting on the floor with August playing with her new toys.

The adults were sitting on the couch talking amongst themselves and occasionally turning to watch Emma play.

Cora turns to Regina and jokingly asks, "So dear, are there any more surprises you want to bring forth?"

Regina looks at Kathryn and gives her a small nod before answering, "Actually yes."

Kathryn stands and goes to her bag pulling out a folder. She hands the folder to Regina and smiles before sitting back down.

Everyone is looking at the two with a confused look.

Regina calls Emma and August over. Granny and Kathryn move over a little so August can sit, while Emma stands in front of Regina and says, "yes mommy?"

August is surprised but happy when he hears Emma call Regina mommy.

Regina lifts Emma and places her on her lap and wraps her arms around Emma's waist.

Regina takes a hold of the folder and shows it to Emma. August gasps and tears are brought to his eyes. Regina looks at him a smiles, she then turns a little to ask Emma, "Do you know what this is Emma?"

Emma shakes her head, "no"

Regina smiles and says, "Well inside this folder is what legally tells the whole wide world that you are my daughter."

Emma's eyes widen and she looks at Regina, she softly asks, "You gonna keep me?Forever and ever?"

Regina has tears in her eyes and nods, "Yeah, I'm gonna be your mommy forever and ever. You will be Emma Swan Mills, is that ok with you?"

Emma smiles and turns in Regina's laps throwing her arms around Regina's neck and her legs around her waist and nods. "yes yes yes!"

Everyone has happy tears flowing, even Granny. Regina kisses Emma's head.

Regina places the folder containing Emma's adoption paper on the couch and tightly wraps her arms around Emma.

Cora stood and placed a kiss on Emma's head and then on Regina's, she whispered to her daughter, "Congratulations"

Regina never felt happier, or surrounded by so much love in her life; she never thought she was going to have a loving family.

But that is what this mix match of people is to her, they are her family. As different and crazy as they all are they are a family, and even though it may sometimes look like it doesn't work not everything is as it seems.

THE END


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