I was looking at close up pictures of Emma's nursery and was inspired to make this off the little details.
Snow hadn't been lying when she returned from the Enchanted Forest after the curse broke. Emma's nursery was truly in shambles. Ruby could remember how much hard work and dedication went into putting it together. David and the dwarfs had built the crib. The unicorn mobile was a gift from Cinderella and Thomas. All of the toys had been picked out by the three of them. Geppetto had taken a break from carving the wardrobe to make a beautiful dollhouse with tiny wooden dolls that resembled the dolls and Snow. There was a prince charming doll, along with plenty of other princess ones and stuffed animals. They had purchased an abacus and other things their new daughter would need as she grew. The three of them had put everything up together. There was a place for everything. As always, Snow had a method to her madness.
Now, that was all for nothing. The crib was turned on its side. Most of the toys had fallen off the shelf and were destroyed. Stuffed animals had footprints dragged across them. Porcelain dolls had cracks in their skin. A teddy bear that never had a chance to be snuggled was already missing an eye as if Emma had loved it her whole life. The unicorn mobile had ended up in Gold's shop and hadn't made it back after Pan activated the destruction on the town.
Lost forever, just like so much of their lives.
Ruby knew that their second child could not sleep in this nursery. Snow had already selected a second room for them. Even so, Ruby wanted to try to make this old one look at least a little presentable. She couldn't bare the thought of the place they had put so much work into in such a state.
As she picked up the broken toys, she moved them into two boxes: one for repair if they looked like they could be and one for those that were too far gone. She looked at the shelf where some of the toys still stood standing. The dollhouse and the tiny wooden dolls had survived. She could see a sheep stuffed animal not far behind them, which brought a small smile to her face. David had found it at a market stand and insisted on buying it. He may have been a prince, but he would never stop being a shepherd at heart.
"We'll take her to visit farms when she's growing up, so she can learn how to feed the animals," he had told his wives.
Another dream that died that awful night in this nursery.
Ruby's eyes looked upwards on the shelf. The alphabet block they had once purchased were scattered everywhere. Stuffed in the corner was a familiar doll. She picked it up and flicked off the dust. It was handmade, wearing a blue dress and red cape. The doll had dark hair and tiny eyes. Ruby gave it a watery smile as she remembered back to how this toy in particular came to be.
Red poked her thumb yet again. "Ow!"
David looked up from his book while Snow stopped rubbing lotion on her stomach. "What are you doing, Red?" he asked.
"I'm trying to make a cape for this doll." She held up the naked figure. "But it's not working out like I thought."
"A cape, huh?" David wiggled his eyebrows. "And just why would that doll need a cape?"
Ruby rolled her eyes. "She has a prince charming doll, not to mention that lamb you bought for her. Geppetto made the castle and the representation of Snow. I just want her to have something of me."
"I think that's a sweet idea," Snow piped up.
"I'm just not an expert at knitting and sewing like Granny is."
"She's going to love it no matter what," David said. "Because her Mama made it."
Ruby held the doll close to her, thinking about how excited she had been to give it to her daughter. They knew the curse was coming but they were doing everything in their power to stop it. They had hope they would get to raise Emma. In the end, not only had she never gotten to sleep in this nursery, she had never gotten anything from it.
It wouldn't feel right to give this to the new baby. She'd make he or she something else. In the meantime, she'd save this. She had to have hope that she hadn't seen her pup for the last time.
Christmas in Storybrooke was a huge deal. In the Enchanted Forest, they had the winter solstice with the legend of Father Christmas but that was it. Ruby had to admit she much preferred the holidays in the small town in Maine. Main Street was decorated with bright lights and figurines. They had several festivals and parties to celebrate.
One holiday that was similar in both the Enchanted Forest and Storybrooke was Hanukkah. Ruby hadn't grown up celebrating it but once she married Snow, she converted. They all agreed their future children would grow up celebrating the holidays that came with both the Catholic and Jewish religions, since David's family came from the former. Eva's family had a beautifully handcrafted menorah that was passed down from generation to generation. Luckily, it had ended up in Gold's shop. The holiday season after the second curse, he had given it to the Lucas-Charming family free of charge, claiming he couldn't picture charging them for something like that.
Emma had never celebrated Hanukkah and Ruby loved getting to watch her daughter do it for the first time alongside their 3-month-old son. It was months after the second curse had broken and things were finally returning to some sort of normal. Henry, Regina, Roland and Robin came by as well for the first night since Regina had celebrated Hanukah with Leopold and Snow during their marriage.
Despite it being their first Hanukkah in Storybrooke, they wanted to follow the same tradition that they had in the past. They exchanged gifts with one another for some of the nights, while giving to charities that they felt important on the others. It had been a tradition that Eva had started a little after Snow was born and her daughter wanted to keep it up with her own family.
However, this was the first night of Hanukkah and the family had agreed upon sentimental gifts. Snow had repurposed the unicorn mobile into windchimes for Emma. David had crafted a beautiful wooden frame to put his favorite picture of him and Emma standing in front of the sheriff car for her. Ruby knew immediately what she wanted to give her daughter, but she just wasn't sure if she was going to be okay with it. It was a bit childish, but it was something that Ruby had wanted to give her daughter for 29 years.
When time came to exchange presents, it was a bit hectic given their large family. Ruby watched as Emma teared up at her new windchimes and grinned widely when it came to the picture frame which include a quote to remember to enjoy "the moments". Her packages sat awkwardly in her hands. Eventually, everyone else was busy with each other, so Ruby pulled Emma aside.
"If you hate it, I still have a few nights to make up for it," Ruby only half-teased.
Emma chuckled. "I'm sure it's fine."
She unwrapped the first package which was a storybook that Ruby had made with the help of Henry. Inside was the real story of how both Ruby had met Snow, then how Ruby had David and how they all became a couple. The Author had left it out of the official version of the storybook for some reason and she wanted Emma to have it. It ended on them finding out they were expecting their first child.
"Mama, this is beautiful," Emma said, flipping through it.
"Henry drew the pictures," Ruby admitted. "My artistry skills are not that high. But I wanted to give you this to go along with it. It also has a story."
She handed Emma the second package and watched her unwrap it. Emma tilted her head when she saw the doll.
"You got me a version of you?"
"I made it when Snow was pregnant with you," Ruby explained. "You were meant to have all these toys that represented us as your parents, so I did this. When we all were back in the Enchanted Forest last year, I found it in your old nursery and tucked it away. When we got back to Storybrooke and your mom went looking for the mobile, I found it."
"This was always meant to be mine?" Emma asked in wonder.
"I know you're too old to play with it now, but to me it goes with the book. It's a part of our story, Emma. It's a part of how I connected to you, even when you were in Snow's womb. I had all these plans for you and I want you to know they don't stop just because I didn't get to raise you…"
Emma cut Ruby off by pulling her into a hug. Ruby let out a deep breath and hugged her tighter.
"It's perfect," Emma said. "I love it."
"My present's kind of lame in comparison."
"Emma nothing you get me could be lame."
Emma pulled away from her, gently setting her presents to the side. She picked up a medium sized package and handed it to Ruby.
"Ironically, Henry helped me with my gift as well."
Ruby took off the messy wrapping paper to find a basket. Inside of it was a bag of coffee grinds, a Guns N' Roses CD, a bottle of red hair dye for streaks and finally, a packet of gummy sharks.
"It's all stuff that made me get to know you under the curse," Emma explained. "We used to get coffee together when you worked at the sheriff station. We'd listen to rock music in your Camaro. Mom said you were thinking about highlighting your hair again, like you did under the curse so I threw that in. And the gummy sharks were from when we saw that movie together, the first time we bonded after the curse broke. That was the candy you picked."
A watery smile flew across Ruby's face.
"Oh, and Henry helped me pick the basket. I was going to wrap them individually but he said Little Red Riding Hood would need one."
Ruby laughed in spite of her tears. "Of course he did."
She pulled Emma back into her arms. Maybe she didn't carry Emma in her stomach, but there was no doubting that their bond was strong enough to last any curse that came their way.