A Little Red Christmas
Fandom: Once Upon a Time
Pairing: Regina/Ruby –Red Queen
Rating: PG (mild swearing)
Disclaimer: I do not own anything remotely connected to these characters or Once Upon a Time. That joy belongs to ABC. This story is for entertainment (I hope) purposes only.
Summary: Granny and Ruby decide to give Regina a Christmas. Whether she likes it or not.
Author's Note: I have no idea where this came from but here it is. This isn't episode or even season specific so I don't think there are any spoilers. I did take some liberties with canon though. For example, the reason Regina banned hunting wolves in the forest. I kind of ignored Graham for my own purposes.
Also I see people in other stories referring to Granny as "Eugenia" but after a search it doesn't seem her name has ever been given, so I sort of had to take a different road.
Lastly, I also had planned to have a morning after scene but the muse simply wasn't having it and wanted it to end where it did so I apologize for that and if the characters are OOC.
And off we go. I hope you like it. This is unbeta'd so even though I've re-read numerous times, all mistakes are mine.
"Are you sure you want to go through with this?" Granny Lucas asked her granddaughter.
"Of course I do," Ruby replied. "Why would you ask that?"
Granny rolled her eyes. "Well, maybe because we've been sitting in Regina Mills' driveway for five minutes and your hands are clutching that steering wheel so tight, I'm thinking you're going to break it."
Ruby instantly released her grip but refused to get out of the car. "Maybe you're right Granny. This is probably a monumentally stupid idea that will get us killed or turned into something slimy and gross."
Granny studied Ruby for a long moment. "Look here Red," she finally said, well aware of what was making the young woman so skittish. "I can't say that I'm jumping for joy that you've got it in your head to woo the Evil Queen of all people but…"
"Wait, what?" Ruby asked horrified. "I don't…it's not like that," she lied.
Granny smirked. "You never could lie worth a damn young lady. I've seen how you look at her when she comes into the diner. Especially since the curse broke and her son decided to live with Emma."
Ruby sighed. "Okay so what If I do like her. It's so incredibly wrong. I mean, after everything she's done to Snow and everyone else, she's the last person I should be attracted to."
Granny nodded. "True enough. Regina Mills has hurt a lot of people over the years, but we all know that with few exceptions, people aren't born evil or good. It's how they're taught that sends them down one road or the other."
"I guess," Ruby said unconvinced.
"Ruby, all of us have gone dark at some point over the years, including Snow White if you recall, but we always had people who cared enough to talk us down and bring us back," Granny pointed out, hating see the dark flash of remembered guilt in Ruby's eyes, but she continued.
'It's taken me a while to get past my own resentment of the things she's done, but it's obvious that Regina had some horrible things happen to her in her life. Unfortunately the only people she had to teach her were Cora and Rumpelstiltskin who not just caused those things to happen, but taught her only one way to respond to them. I truly believe she became evil because she didn't know there was an option."
Ruby thought about her own past and wondered, after everything she'd done, where she would have been if it hadn't been for Granny and Snow and the rest of her extended family. "That sucks," was all she was able to think of to say.
"Sometimes the only difference between good and evil is a single kind word," Granny said, "and I think that maybe you could be that for her. If you can get past that prickly demeanor of hers"
Ruby was shocked by Granny's sudden tacit approval of her feelings for Regina and almost encouragement to act on them, but decided not to push it so she fell back on her usual sarcasm.
"You realize that's the most you've ever said at one time, right?" She grinned.
Granny sighed with exasperation. "So are we going to sit out here until New Year's or go bring Christmas Cheer to the Storybrooke Scrooge?"
Ruby grinned. "What the hell. I've had a good life."
Regina had known the moment the car pulled up in the driveway and she walked to the window to see who dared interrupt her private little pity party and on a snowy Christmas Eve afternoon to boot. She recognized the hideous red Camaro immediately. It stood out and begged to be noticed just like its perpetually underdressed, free-spirited owner.
Pushing down the disappointment that Henry hadn't changed his mind, Regina watched curiously as the woman and her passenger, Granny she assumed, made no attempt to get out. Her lips lifted in amusement, knowing that they were afraid to face the Evil Queen. She may have lost everything else, but if she still had the ability to terrify, well that was certainly better than nothing.
Finally the women got out of the car and Regina reluctantly made the decision to greet them. She wasn't sure what she'd been expecting when she opened the front door, aside from perhaps an irate old woman holding a cross bow, but seeing Granny standing there carrying a large box and Ruby coming up behind her carrying an even bigger box, wasn't even on the list.
"Merry Christmas Regina," Granny said pleasantly.
"Mrs. Lucas, Ruby? What brings you out on Christmas Eve?' she asked with the politician's artificial politeness that she'd become so adept at.
"We're selling girl scout cookies," Ruby offered with a playful sarcasm...
Regina looked at the younger woman her eyes taking in the tighter than necessary jeans and midriff baring sweater before meeting the teasing gaze with a lifted eyebrow. "Very amusing dear, though nobody with eyes in their head would ever mistake you for a girl scout," she murmured, for a moment forgetting Granny was standing right there.
"I'll choose to take that as a compliment," Ruby admitted with an unoffended laugh, grateful the frigid temperatures could explain her reddened cheeks and cool the fire Regina's slow once over had generated inside of her.
"Not to be pushy Regina, but this stuff is heavy," Granny prodded, not entirely comfortable with the way Regina had been looking at Ruby. She knew her granddaughter was inexplicably smitten with the rigid woman but she wasn't sure Regina was capable of seeing Ruby as anything but prey to be toyed with.
Against her better judgment, Regina stepped back to let Ruby and Granny enter before closing the door and leading them to the kitchen.
"What is all this?" she asked cautiously as her uninvited guests began to unpack.
"Christmas," Granny said bluntly as she placed the covered dishes on the counter.
"I'm sorry, what?"
"Christmas. You know, Deck the Halls? Presents? Santa Clause?" Ruby prodded happily, her heart fluttering at the extremely adorable look of confusion on Regina's face.
"I'm not a simpleton Miss Lucas. I know what Christmas is. I have a…had a son," she finished, her earlier dark depression starting to return.
"You still have a son even if he's not here," Granny said gruffly, reluctantly feeling sorry for the woman, knowing the only family she had preferred to spend Christmas with the woman who'd given him up and grandparents he only just learned he had.
Regina scowled. "Ok so obviously you're aware that Henry has decided to spend this Christmas with Sherriff Swan and her family. Is this your attempt at pity?"
Neither Ruby nor Granny were intimidated by the dangerous growl in Regina's voice. "Oh good God, Regina, unfreeze your garters," Granny stated bluntly drawing a gasp from Ruby and a surprised snort from Regina.
"You always were a brave woman Widow Lucas," Regina said, her anger easing somewhat.
"You may as well call me Granny," the older woman said with a half-smile.
"Must I?" Regina quipped, her usual haughtiness lessened by the gleam in her eyes. "Don't you have a first name?"
"I do, but I'll dance a waltz naked with Leroy before I tell anyone what it is," Granny replied as she finished taking the last of the dishes out of the box. "Now, why don't you show Ruby where to put these," she gestured at the other box sitting on the counter.
"And that would be…?"
"Presents Regina," Ruby said as if she were talking to a child.
"Presents?" Regina repeated numbly.
"Wow. Regina Mills speechless. Who knew that was even possible?" Ruby whispered loudly to Granny, earning a laugh from her and a glare from their host.
"Why exactly are you here?" Regina asked shortly, having no idea of what to make of these two women in her kitchen giving her orders.
"If you'll get out of the kitchen so I can get everything organized, I'm sure my granddaughter would be more than happy to fill you in," Granny said in her usual bossy manner, though there was something in her voice that seemed a bit off to Regina.
Ruby considered making another flippant remark, but the lost look on Regina's face stirred an almost protective feeling inside of her. It was sad and oh so wrong that someone could be so unused to kindness that she would question it when it was offered. "Come with me while I put these under the tree and I'll tell you."
"I don't have a tree," was the only thing Regina was able to manage.
"Well, we expected as much so we've got that covered as well," Ruby picked up the box and made as if to walk past Regina stopping when she was close enough to whisper in her ear. "I'm always very thorough you know."
Regina's eyes widened at the blatant innuendo and then she found herself grinning as she followed the brazen young woman out of the kitchen, making no attempt to avoid admiring the fit of Ruby's tight jeans.
"I've got to go out to the car to get the rest of the stuff," Ruby announced putting the box down in the foyer. "Want to give me a hand?" The predatory smile that lifted Regina's lips sent a shiver straight through her.
"Any time at all Miss Lucas," Regina drawled suggestively, smirking at the dumbfounded expression on the woman's face. If Ruby Lucas wanted to play then she should know who she was playing with.
Once Ruby's mind reluctantly left the gutter, she offered Regina a broad grin. "Careful Regina, I'm not usually one to pass up such a generous offer." Regina Mills may indeed be the Queen of Seduction, but Ruby could certainly hold her own.
Regina found herself chuckling as she followed the oddly charismatic woman to her car and waited as Ruby handed her another large box while keeping another for herself.
"At the risk of repeating myself, what is all this?" Regina asked as she led the way back to the house.
"You can't have a Christmas party without decorations Regina," Ruby said with a grin. "Now if you'll kindly tell me where we can put this stuff that would be great."
Regina fought her natural instinct to tell her to take the 'stuff' and her Granny and leave her in peace, but the almost childlike enthusiasm coming from the strange young woman wouldn't allow it. "I suppose the living room is as good a place as any," she instructed unenthusiastically.
"Try not to sound so excited," Ruby laughed as they put their boxes down and Ruby started going through the one she'd been carrying.
"Okay, so now do you want to tell me why you're doing this?" Regina said, leaning negligently against the door frame and hoping to present an air of indifference that she wasn't close to feeling.
"Only if you help," Ruby countered as she begun taking out some garland. "Got any tape?"
Sighing in surrender, Regina found herself helping Ruby place horribly mismatched but festive items around the room. "I do have my own decorations you know," she pointed out.
"Yeah, but what are the chances of you going to get them?" Ruby replied, as she finished stringing some green garland across the fireplace mantle.
"Have you considered that maybe I didn't want to celebrate this year?" Regina tried again, even as she pulled out a large, colorful Santa's Village snow globe. It was far removed from the sedate crystal decorations she usually put out, but she found herself reluctantly charmed by it and placing it in the center of the mantle while Ruby placed other holiday nick-knacks around her once elegant and dignified study.
Ruby placed a garish green pillow with "Ho, Ho, Ho" plastered across it on the expensive leather sofa and turned to look at the enigmatic woman.
"Yeah I did," she said seriously, "but I still didn't want you to spend it alone."
Regina's throat tightened at the sincerity in Ruby's eyes but she couldn't show weakness. She wouldn't. "That once more brings us back to why," she said, hoping her voice hadn't sounded as hoarse to the other woman as it had in her own ears. "And aside from pity, which I will never accept, I can't think of any possible reason you'd have for wanting to spend your holiday with me."
"That's why," Ruby answered simply.
"That makes no sense whatsoever," Regina scoffed. "And just what the hell is that?" She stared at the hideous little green tree Ruby had just pulled out of the box and placed on the coffee table.
"Well, I couldn't fit a real tree in my car and presents need to go under a tree right?"
Regina couldn't think of a single word to say to that as she watched Ruby setting up the pre-decorated artificial tree on an end table and wrapping a small red and green felt blanket around the base as if it were the most delicate tree in existence, all the while humming Christmas carols. It was undignified yet remarkably endearing and Regina let herself fully appreciate just how truly beautiful the vivacious woman really was.
"There," Ruby commented, feeling quite pleased with herself. She had felt Regina's intense gaze on her the entire time and it nearly had her spontaneously combusting on the spot. "Now we just need to put the presents around it."
"I don't have anything to put under it," Regina said quietly. "I gave Henry's presents to him yesterday so he could open them tomorrow morning."
"No problem. We have enough for everyone," Ruby said happily, opening the other box and taking out several small neatly wrapped packages.
"You…you brought me a present?"
Ruby nearly started crying at the expression on Regina's face. It was a whole lot of cynical suspicion with just enough childlike hope in her normally cold eyes to cause Ruby's heart to ache. "Well sure," she answered casually, not willing to make the proud woman self-conscious.
"I don't have anything for you," Regina stated stiffly.
"You're letting us have Christmas in your big fancy house," Ruby grinned. "That's pretty awesome."
Regina quirked an eyebrow. "Letting? I don't really believe I had a choice in the matter," she said drily, though both women knew she was lying.
Ruby finished putting the several packages around the tree and got to her feet. "Nope."
"And that's my granddaughter," Granny said with a resignation that was more fondness than frustration as she entered the living room. "She could out-stubborn you any day Regina."
Regina blamed her loneliness for the amused chuckle she released instead of the offended anger she normally would have unleashed.
"She could at that," she agreed.
"So, I have a ham, mashed potatoes, peas and some bread warming in the oven. Unless you're ready to eat now," Granny stated.
Regina shook her head, still utterly bewildered by what was going on in her own home. "I…yes, it's still fairly early and I'm not really that hungry."
"Damn," Ruby chimed in. "I bet Granny you would want to eat immediately just so you could get rid of us sooner."
Regina couldn't help but feel a twinge of doubt at that, wondering if they were wanting to leave as quickly as possible, but Ruby's broad smile had her sighing in surrender once more. "Well, I hope you didn't wager anything too valuable dear," she replied.
Ruby laughed. "Not at all. You're the most complicated woman I've ever met in my life Regina Mills and sometimes I suspect you do things just because you know we expect the opposite."
Once again surprising the other two women as well as herself, Regina simply smirked. "A former Queen has to do something to amuse herself."
Granny shook her head, wondering where this almost playful side of Regina Mills had been hiding and not the least surprised it was her granddaughter that brought it out.
"I suppose I should offer you something to drink," Regina offered. There was no need to forget her manners, she thought.
"Is it too early for the hard stuff?" Ruby asked rather hopefully.
"You're driving little Miss," Granny reminded her.
Ruby merely stuck her tongue out at the older woman before continuing. "Fine, I'll take a coffee. If you have any?"
"I believe I can manage that," Regina replied before looking at Granny. "That is, if I'm allowed to cook in my own kitchen?"
Granny simply huffed, startled to hear a soft laugh coming from the former Mayor. Yes, this was definitely going to be an evening for the record books, she suspected.
"So now what?" Regina asked placing the coffee tray on the living room table and feeling completely out of her element.
"Don't look at me Regina. This is all Ruby's shindig," Granny replied pouring coffee for each of them.
"Well, I brought some movies," Ruby added, "or we could…" she paused and looked out the window. "Oh I know. Let's go build a snowman!" she exclaimed excitedly.
"Good god no," Granny protested.
"Though it pains me to admit to it, I strongly agree with your grandmother," Regina said stiffly.
"Oh come on," Ruby urged, growing more excited by the idea. "Please?" She turned her best pleading look on Regina, surprised when the older woman sighed.
"This will be the only time that look works on me," Regina warned and then turned to Granny. "You are a stronger woman than I gave you credit for," she stated.
"I know," Granny lamented.
"Still, if I'm to participate in this ridiculous endeavor, than so are you," Regina informed the old woman.
Granny considered arguing, knowing she would win but suddenly the thought of watching Regina Mills building a snowman overcame any thought of staying warm and dry. "Oh alright," she got to her feet and all three grabbed their coats.
"Oh no, we are not doing this out front where the meddlesome neighbors will see," Regina stated mulishly when Ruby headed toward the front door.
"Sure we are," Ruby argued with a happy grin. "Think about it Regina, what better way to screw with the neighbors than you of all people playing in the snow on your front lawn. They'll think you've finally lost it and drive themselves crazy wondering what you're up to."
Regina cocked her head and thought about Ruby's words. It was true and if there was anything she truly enjoyed since attempting to give up evil, it was irritating the 'good' citizens of Storybrooke.
"Alright," she agreed, surprising Ruby and causing Granny to laugh in approval.
"And maybe we should take bets on how long before the Sheriff shows up to investigate," Granny added.
Regina pictured Emma Swan showing up in all her self-righteous glory, assuming Regina was torturing Ruby and Granny only to find them playing in the snow. Just the image of the blonde giving herself a headache trying to figure out what was happening, would make the severe hit to her pride, worth it.
"Let's just get this over with before I change my mind," Regina simply said. However she was the one to lead them out of the house.
It only took five minutes before the first snowball hit Regina in the back of her head. She froze right in the middle of helping Granny pack snow and stood upright, turning to face Ruby with the most dangerous glare she could muster.
"Um…oops?" Ruby laughed nervously, feeling the first hint of fear of the formidable woman since they arrived.
"Oops?" Regina questioned coolly as she stepped closer to Ruby, impressed when the werewolf didn't even budge, despite the anxiousness on her face.
"Hm," Regina muttered, stopping a breath away from Ruby and before the waitress could blink, Regina summoned up a snowball of her own and slid it under the short sweater and against Ruby's naturally warm skin.
Regina surprised herself by the sincere laugh that escaped at Ruby's squeal. "Oops, it slipped," she taunted and then almost without her consent, her fingers stroked against the now chilled abs and her amusement faded at the way the muscles clenched beneath her fingertips and the small little moan Ruby released at the contact.
"Regina," Ruby began, her eyes lowering to the always tempting full lips that were even more of a turn on when lifted in an honest smile.
"Hm?" Regina murmured, diverted by the peculiar light in Ruby's eyes as they stared at her. If she didn't know better, she'd say that light was the wolf peeking through and wanting to come out to play and she found that oddly arousing.
"Hey, let go of her!"
All three women turned at the angry shout and braced themselves as Earl Monroe, one of Regina's more vigilant neighbors rushed across the street.
Regina reluctantly removed her hand from under Ruby's sweater and turned toward the man, her haughty, regal posture belying her petite, snow covered stature.
"You're trespassing Mr. Monroe," she stated coldly.
"And you're attempting to remove Ruby Lucas's heart, in broad daylight too," he accused.
"You're knowledge of the human anatomy is obviously lacking," Regina pointed out, drawing a snort from Ruby. "My hand wasn't anywhere near her hear. In fact, it was actually closer to her…"
"Oh good God Earl, you just settle down," Granny interrupted before Regina could finish that disturbing thought. "Do you really think I'd be allowing such a thing to happen to my granddaughter? Especially right in front of me?"
Earl flushed, obviously embarrassed that he'd failed to notice Granny standing right beside of the Queen and the waitress. "Yeah, well she could have put a spell on you or something," he stammered resulting in an eye roll from Regina and a snicker from Ruby.
"You do have magic fingers," Ruby whispered in Regina's ear, laughing at the hint of pink that appeared on Regina's skin which had nothing to do with the cold.
"Well, as you can see Mr. Monroe," Regina shrugged off Ruby's innuendo, "I've done nothing of the sort. We're simply building a snowman and unless you'd care to join us, feel free to scurry back home."
Earl's eyebrows lifted in near shock at the confession. He looked between the three women who stared him down stubbornly. Knowing he was defeated, he offered a last scowl before hurrying down the driveway with as much dignity as he could muster on the icy surface.
"See?" Ruby laughed, "Now he's going to be all agitated, having no clue as to what's really going on. Especially since he caught you with your hand up my sweater."
Regina stiffened at the humiliating reminder but the mischievous grins coming from Ruby and her grandmother had her sighing in resignation. Apparently she was doomed to spend Christmas with children after all.