Title: 12 Days of Christmas - Day 3
Author: Shatterpath
Feedback address: shatterpath@shatterstorm.net
Date in Calendar: 24 December 2013
Fandom: Once Upon a Time
Pairing: Emma and Regina, eventually.
Rating: soft PG. Barely!
Date Written: December 2013
Word Count: still a work in progress!
Summary: (sing it with me now) For the Twelve Days of Christmas, my OUaT author gave to me...
Warnings: nope
Website: ShatterStorm Productions – Doggie Duo
Link to: http://bdkk.shatterstorm.net/
Archive: ShatterStorm Productions & AO3 only…all others ask for permission & we'll see…
Feedback: Constructive criticism is always welcome.
Advertisement: Part of the FSAC:DW13

Disclaimer: "Once Upon a Time," the characters, and situations depicted are the property of Adam Horowitz, Edward Kitsis, Kitsis/Horowitz, and ABC Studios. This piece of fan fiction was created for entertainment not monetary purposes. Previously unrecognized characters and places, and this story, are copyrighted to the author. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author. This site is in no way affiliated with "Once Upon a Time," ABC, or any representatives of the actors.

Author's Notes: I enjoyed the challenge of using the famous Christmas song for this! It took some finagling to get the verse titles right-- not to mention come up with an fic idea for a few of them-- but I enjoyed myself writing this. It was written just before the half-season finale, so keep that in mind. Much of my story will contradict the final ep.

Beta: ariestess

3 Hapless Fathers

"You should go give them a hand."

Somehow, Neal was almost expecting the voice, if not the general sentiment. Shooting David a faintly uncomfortable sideways glance, he wracked his mind for a comment that wouldn't encourage, but not directly discourage either. David and Mary Margaret were nice people and adored their odd family, but their view on love had a distinctly fairy-tale bent to it. Something Neal had lost long before giving up the name that once had been his.

The 'them' in question was of course Henry and his real parents.

It was bittersweet to watch the two women who meant the most to the boy interact with him and one another. It had somehow been decided that there weren't enough Christmas decorations on Main Street and even a clearly reluctant Regina had allowed herself to be swept up in the enthusiasm. Quite obviously chilled and out of her element, the smaller woman had been coaxed up a ladder to string lights while Emma played spotter and Henry fed up the cord. It was Norman Rockwell adorable.

And Neal knew without a shadow of a doubt that he would change the sweet dynamic irreparably.

"They're good," he awkwardly demurred to a puzzled David. "I'll catch up with Henry later. He needs them right now. It's great to see him look so happy."

A blast of wind made Regina grab the ladder suddenly and both Emma and Henry jumped to steady the ladder. Emma planted a booted foot on the lowest rung and crowded the smaller woman with her own body while Henry clung to the aluminum struts. A gloved hand reached down to tenderly stroke the boy's face and he beamed before she reached back to awkward pat Emma's hip.

"And Regina still doesn't trust me. I suppose I can't blame her on that one."

Neal was surprised to hear his own father's voice reply instead of the still puzzled David. "But she trusts Emma."

"Well sure..."

David's confident voice trailed off, his expression utterly confused as though he had no idea where the certainty had come from. Blinking, his mind clearly racing, he watched the intimate little scene with fresh eyes, eyebrows climbing up.

Neverland had truly changed them all.