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Fretting Over the Fate of Dinosaurs

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Snow and Regina were watching one another warily, Charming and Henry were chasing one another around the house with cans of silly string, and Emma was leaning back into the couch, a hand on her very full stomach, content. Archie’s party hat had started to list on the side of his head and Ruby was checking out Regina’s liquor cabinet, and it was maybe the best birthday party Emma had ever thrown.

“Presents,” Henry screamed, racing past with Charming hot on his heels, and Emma looked over to the little pile sitting on a table beside Regina’s fireplace.

“Yeah, Regina, come on,” Emma said, putting enough challenge in her voice to draw Regina’s attention away from Snow. “Presents.”

She caught Regina as she moved by, pulling her down on the couch and wrapping herself around her despite the way Regina stiffened. “You’ll get your real one later,” she whispered, allowing herself a kiss to the corner of Regina’s mouth. “Later, after Snow and Charming take Henry home with them for the night.” Her smile turned lecherous for a moment. “Its safe word is birthday cake. By its, I mean mine, and I’m afraid I’ve been very, very naughty Ms. Mills.”

She found Regina’s sharply indrawn breath intensely satisfying.

“And head’s up, my mom got you a juicer. She thinks they’re the best thing on earth. Charming is going to turn orange if she makes him drink any more of her carrot juice creations. Try not to mock it, please.”

Regina managed to untangle herself and stood, smiling politely at her politely waiting guests. “Come along, dear,” she said, pulling Emma up after her. “And what else did you get me? I think I see something there with your name on it.”

Emma grinned. “A first edition, signed copy of Wicked.”

Regina’s eyes narrowed. “I see you have been very naughty, Miss Swan,” she said with just enough of a growl in her voice for Emma to wonder if she should be genuinely worried. “We’ll rectify that later.”

Regina at her birthday party was a pair of designer jeans that actually looked like they’d been worn more than once. She was one of Emma’s button-down shirts, thrown on in error when Henry knocked on their door to let them know that the first guests to the party were an hour early, soft and molded to her curves as if it had been tailored for her.

Emma watched as she opened Henry’s gift, a gorgeous bracelet that he’d picked out and Emma had worked extra shifts to pay for, her smile as wide and uncomplicated as Emma had ever seen it. Everyone seemed to beam along with Henry as she snapped the clasp into place and held out her wrist for inspection for a moment before pulling him into a crushing hug, her own brilliant smile starting with Henry and ending with Emma.

At Henry’s urging, Emma joined the hug. She felt bold for a moment, with Regina smiling at her so openly and her parents looking on with approval and joy, and she closed the distance between them for a soft kiss. Henry rolled his eyes and Archie blushed, but Regina kissed her back.

At least she’d talked Snow out of getting the silver picture frame with ‘Welcome to the Family’ engraved on it, though the picture Ruby snapped of the moment would have been perfect for it.