Hot Chocolate Christmas Encore: Shards

John and Emma hoisted Mary's gift into the bed of his truck.

"Thanks for keeping this for me." His boss tossed him a grateful grin. "Mary would have found it at the station or apartment."

"I was happy to," he assured her, moving around the side of the truck.

To come face to face with his soon-to-be ex-wife.

"Hello, David," she said quietly.

"Kathryn…" His eyes snapped to Emma who was looking back and forth between them, leery.

"Uhh…" the sheriff began, "I'm gonna…go get a coffee to-go from Granny's. Can I get you one?"

"Yeah, thanks," John confirmed.

Emma hurried off, not at all interested in getting in the middle.

"So," John turned back to Kathryn, "how was your Christmas?"

She hugged her arms tighter to her chest. "Good, Regina invited me over."

"That's…good," he didn't like or trust the mayor but he knew that the overbearing woman had been a good friend to Kathryn.

"What about you?" she asked.

"It was really good." The corners of his lips curled up at the memory of the day before. He nodded in the direction Emma had gone. "I went to a gathering at Emma and Mary's place."

"So…you weren't alone?" Her expression and tone seemed to be a strange mix of relief and disappointment. He supposed he shouldn't be surprised.

"No," he shook his head. His fingers tapped a soft beat on the driver's side door; his eyes cut to Granny's hoping to see Emma so that he could have an excuse to break from this awkward meeting.

"I was wondering…"

He turned at her soft voice; she was looking down.

"Perhaps we could get together for lunch? If you're not doing anything." Kathryn looked up at him hopefully.

John frowned. "Kathryn…I don't think –"

"Or coffee?" she added, a little desperately.

He closed his eyes. "Why are you doing this, Kathryn?"

She bit her lip. "I – I miss you, David," she said, her voice somewhat pleading.

"You agreed to the divorce," he reminded her, "it's being finalized."

"I know," she said breathlessly, stepping closer to him. He took a step back. "But I don't want that! Please, David, I want to try and fix this. Fix us. I want us to –"

"Kathryn, stop," he said firmly, cutting her off; holding a hand up.

She shifted back, biting her lip, tears pooling in her eyes.

John drew in a deep breath. "Kathryn… It's been months, and I haven't remembered anything." A tear slid down her cheek, but he forced himself to continue; he couldn't allow her to continue to cling to hope, when there was none. "I don't know who David was, but he's gone. I'm sorry, but I'm not him." She gave a little sob. He continued in a softer, compassionate voice. "You need to stop looking for him in me. Mourn him, and move on with your life." He turned to his truck to open the door.

"Like you have, John?"

He went still and then looked at her over his shoulder.

She gave him a tight smile. "I've been hearing people referring to you by that name." Pain tightened her features. "Was our life so horrible that you didn't even want to keep your own name?"

His hands tightened on the doorframe. "No." He turned back to her. "It had nothing to do with you or what life you had with David. But I'm not him and his name doesn't feel right for me," he explained. "I never wanted to hurt you, Kathryn, but continuing to lie to you and pretending that everything was all right would have been worse." He shook his head. "I won't lie to you and say that I'm not moving on; I am, but I don't have years of memories to hold on to. I know that you're going to have a harder time of it than me, and that's the reason why we shouldn't really be around each other for a while, because I don't want you to continue to cling to the possibility that David may come back, because he isn't. I'm sorry."

She gave another sob and then ran off down the street.

John hung his head, on hand gripping the driver's side door. "So, am I a totally horrible human being?" he inquired quietly. He looked up at Emma, who appeared from the other side of the building, where she'd been lurking, waiting for him and Kathryn to finish talking.

"Nah," she shook her head, "it had to be done." She handed him his coffee. "I think all the more of you for making things so clear for her and making sure not to string her along."

He gave her a cheerless half-smile. "Thanks."

She cleared her throat, moving to the other side of the truck and pulling the passenger door open. "Now, let's get going; Henry's probably already there."

As they opened the door to the apartment they heard the pounding of small feet coming toward them. Henry burst into sight; grinning as bright as the sun upon seeing them. "Mary they're here!" he yelled.

"No need to yell, Henry," his teacher gently chided as she stepped around from the kitchen. She gave John and Emma a warm smile. "The cocoa's ready, Henry and I will grab them; you two head over to the tree with all of…" she gestured with her finger at the load of presents they were carrying, "this."

Emma carefully lugged her gift to Mary, while John balanced the boxes of his own gifts to them, over to the Christmas tree where a few others were already sitting. Henry scurried back to the kitchen, grabbing two mugs off of the counter.

Mary turned to go back to the kitchen but stopped. "Henry, you left your backpack on the floor," she called to him, bending and picking the item up.

The boy poked his head around the corner, an apologetic look on his face. "Sorry, Mary."

She gave an affectionate, exasperated sigh, tilting her head in the direction of the couches. "Bring the cocoa over; I'll take care of this."

"Ok!" he chirped, dashing off to do what she told him to.

Mary lifted the bag to hang it on a hook by the door when a flash from the open from pocket caught her eyes. She frowned, opening the pocket farther. "Henry, why do you have a shard of glass in your bag?"

He poked his head back around. "Huh?" but his face cleared almost instantly, remembering. "Oh, yeah! I found that in the mine."

Emma glanced at her son with raised eyebrows. "Why'd you keep it?"

He shrugged, carefully lifted two mugs from the counter and slowly made his way over to the couches. "I thought it might be important."

Emma rolled her eyes fondly, John chuckled and Mary shook her head, reaching into the back pack; her fingers closed around the shard.

She couldn't breathe. She couldn't breathe! It was too enclosed in here… There was no room. No air to breathe. She couldn't move. Where was he? He promised to always find her… Where was he?

John's head shot up at the soft plop of the backpack hitting the floor from Mary's suddenly nerveless grasp. "Mary?" he was on his feet in an instant and at her side only a heartbeat later. "What is it?" He settled a hand on her shoulder, cupping the hand that held the shard in his other.

Her heart was still beating far too fast at the fear and panic residual from the flash she'd just had. Mary shook her head, working to clear whatever that was; she brought her free hand up to her forehead. "I – N-nothing…" She swallowed thickly, trying to slow her pulse. "I'm fine. I don't know what that was…"

John slid his hand from her shoulder to cradle her cheek. "Are you sure you're all right?"

"Yes," she assured him.

He let his hand drift from her cheek to cup the back of her neck; he gently took the shard from her with his other hand. He finally looked away from her to examine the piece of glass; he held it up, the winter sun flashed off of the surface.

Nononononononono… This wasn't supposed to happen! She was supposed to roll her eyes and call him "Charming" for the rest of their lives. He was supposed to find her every day of their lives.

"John…" Mary's hand interlaced with his on her shoulder.

He squeezed his eyes shut, turning his head to the side, trying to breathe through the overwhelming panic and grief from the flash. He shook his head, trying to clear it. "I'm fine," he assured her, opening his eyes; he gave her a tight smile.

"You guys ok?" Emma looked at them with some worry.

"Fine," they repeated together.

She raised an eyebrow, but nodded. "Ok…" She grabbed the other two cocoas and headed back to the couches. "Come on, before Henry decides to not wait for us to open gifts."

The couple glanced at each other, and then the glass again; it glistened innocently in the light.

Mary hesitantly took it from him; when nothing happened she gave him a smile. "Go on; I'll be there in a moment."

His thumb stroked the skin just behind her ear. "You sure?"

She smiled at him, reaching her free hand up to wrap around his wrist; she turned her head and ghosted her lips over the inside of his wrist. "Yes." A teasing smile pulled at her lips and her eyes met his with a daring that was appearing with increasing frequency; it was strangely familiar to him and every time he saw it his heart leapt with a joy that he didn't understand.

He knew that the grin he was giving her revealed how much her look had piqued his "interest".

Her eyes glittered with humor and she gently pushed him in the direction of her roommate and student. "Go."

"You sure? I could –"

She gave a partially stifled giggle. "I'm sure you could, now go on!"

He chuckled and allowed himself to be relegated to the couches with the other two.

Mary, meanwhile, picked up the backpack and hung it up; she dropped the glass shard into a change bowl on the counter. She then went to join them by the Christmas tree.

"Now, Henry," Mary began as she sat down beside John, "why don't you distribute the presents."

"Sure," Henry hopped up from where he was sitting beside Emma and hurried over to the tree.

The three adults watched the child running back and forth between each of them and the tree with indulgent smiles.

He stopped next to the last and largest "package"; it was wrapped in a green cloth, tied at the top with a red ribbon. He checked the tag and turned to his teacher. "It's for you, Mary."

"Really?" she tilted her head to the side, glancing around the room as she stood to move next to the gift. "Who's it from?"

"Me," Emma volunteered, looking down.

Mary smiled at her brightly. "Thank you, Emma."

The sheriff shifted a little uncomfortably. "You haven't even opened it yet."

The dark haired woman shook her head. "Don't you want to open one first, Henry?"

He shook his head. "I want to see what Emma got you."

She glanced at the other two who gestured her to go ahead. She sighed and turned back to the gift with a smile. "Ok." She untied the bow and brushed the cloth off; she gave a soft gasp at what was revealed. "Oh, Emma…" It was an old bedside table that was in a bit of disrepair, but obviously a lovely piece.

"It's not much; I know how much you like restoring old furniture and I thought you might like it," Emma rubbed a finger nervously over the handle of her mug.

Mary looked at her roommate with a bright smile. "I love it."

The blond woman let out a relieved sigh. "I'm glad."

"Thank you," her friend said.

"You're welcome," Emma grinned.

"Now," Mary moved over to the couch again, "Henry, you next."

"Ok." He headed over to his small collection of packages and picked up one. "It's from John." He sat down and began tearing the wrapping paper off. "Oh, cool!" He set the chess set box on the floor before opening it to reveal the detailed pieces that were carefully painted. "My own chess set!" He hopped up and ran over to hug John. "Thank you!" The child wrapped his arms around his neck; John's heart squeezed at the sensation. For some reason there was an ache, as if he'd been waiting two lifetimes for tiny arms to embrace him.

The man chuckled. "You're welcome, Henry. Now you can practice at home."

Henry reached over, pulling a package out of John's pile and extending it to the man. "Open my gift, John!"

He grinned, accepting the present. "All right." He carefully tore away the paper. "Henry… Thanks." He grinned as he lifted the object for the others to see; it was wooden desk plaque that read: Deputy Sheriff John. Holding it up John caught sight of the back and he tossed his head back with a laugh; at their confused glances he turned it around for them to see. "A.K.A. Prince Charming" was carved in the back.

Emma groaned, rolling her eyes; Mary shook her head with amusement.

Henry grinned at them all broadly. "Marco helped me carve it."

John leaned down and gathered the boy into a hug. "It's awesome, Henry, thank you."

The boy hugged him back enthusiastically. "You're welcome."

They pulled apart they all turned to Emma.

"You're turn," her deputy informed her.

She rolled her eyes. "All right." She picked up one wrapped in paper bag that had been drawn on, like John's.

"That's from me!" Henry informed her proudly.

"Really?" she grinned as she carefully unwrapped the thin gift; she went stock still.

"Do you like it?" he asked anxiously.

She lifted the revealed gift to look at it properly. It was a picture frame with spaces for photos each year of school; Henry at different ages grinned up at her. She swallowed hard. "It's wonderful, kid." She extended an arm to him; he instantly accepted the invitation and hugged her tightly. "Thank you."

"Mary helped me," he told her.

Emma gave her roommate a shaky smile. "Thanks," her tone conveyed the depth of her appreciation to her friend.

Mary gently squeezed the blond woman's arm. "You're welcome."

The sheriff cleared her throat and looked away from them all uncomfortably. "Who's next?"

"Henry, you can go ahead," Mary told him, standing up. "I have to get the cinnamon rolls out of the oven."

"'Kay," the boy said.

"Need any help?" John enquired.

"Nope," she cheerfully told him, gesturing for him to stay-put.

Henry picked the next one.

"That's from me," Mary called from the kitchen.

He ripped the paper away and cheered upon seeing the present. "The Chronicles of Narnia! I've wanted to read these." He got up and dashed to the kitchen to hug his teacher around the middle. "Thank you, Mary."

She wrapped her arms around him in return. "You're welcome, Henry. Though, you might need to keep them here; the mayor might not want you to read them."

He nodded his head vigorously. "Ok." He then hurried back to the tree. "Your turn, John."

"All right…" he chose the smaller, boxier of the two remaining gifts; glancing at the tag. "From Emma." He smirked at his boss, who gave the look back to him. He unwrapped the gift and found himself half-laughing and half-groaning at the "My First Christmas" ornament.

Emma shrugged. "It is technically your first Christmas that you can remember," she pointed out with a grin.

"Thanks, Emma," he chuckled.

She nodded to him. "You're welcome."

Mary came back over with a plate full of still-steaming cinnamon rolls and set them down on the coffee table, where it was promptly "attacked" by the other three. Once they had all settled back, each with a roll, Henry grasped one of Mary's gifts and handed it to her.

"You're turn," he told her excitedly. "It's from me."

She smiled at her student sweetly as she removed the wrapping paper with care. "Oh, Henry…" she laughed, lifting up a handmade and painted birdhouse and feeder.

He hopped up on the couch next to her. "Marco helped me build it and pick paints that won't wear off."

She traced a painted-on sun before turning to the boy and giving him a tight hug. "It's lovely, Henry. Thank you."

"You're welcome." Once they released the hug he turned to his mother, scooping up the smaller of her two remaining gifts. "Your turn, Emma."

The blond woman took the gift with a half-smile; she glanced at the tag. "From John." She gave him a joking wary look as she began ripping the paper.

He chuckled, taking a sip of his cocoa.

Her jaw fell slightly at the item inside the box; she lifted it delicately out. "John…" It was a glass sun catcher, multi-colored stars hung down, sparkling in the light and painting colors on the floor.

He shrugged a little nervously. "I thought you might like it."

She cleared her throat. "Yeah…It-it's pretty nice."

A half-grin quirked at his lips; knowing that that meant she loved it.

She looked away from the object. "Thanks."

"You're welcome, Emma."

She cleared her throat again. "Uh, kid, I think it's your turn again."

Henry picked up his last gift; he looked up at his mother. "From you?"

She nodded, trying not to let on how nervous she was.

He tore enthusiastically at the paper and box. "Cool!" he cried, lifting out a pair of walkie-talkies.

"I thought they might be useful for Operation Cobra," she told him, relief evident in her voice.

John glanced at Mary mouthing, "Operation Cobra?"

She shook her head with amusement, shrugging.

Henry glanced back in the box and was soon setting the radios aside to reach inside again and pull out a framed picture. He stared at his for several moments before looking back up at Emma. "Is this me with you?"

Emma was biting her lip, an uncharacteristic gesture, showing just how anxious she was about this part of the gift. She nodded, "Yeah." She rubbed her finger along the mug's handle again. "A nurse took it after you were born and before…" she let her words trail off. "I have a copy; I thought you might like one as well."

He was still staring down at the photo; the next moment he was on his feet and throwing himself into his mother's arms. "It's the best. Thank you."

She held him just as tightly in return. "You're welcome, kid."

Once they pulled away, Emma brushed a lock of hair back from her face, trying to hide how affected she was by everything. "So, who's next?"

"John," Henry informed her promptly.

"Right," the man said, setting down his mug and reaching for his final gift, from Mary, he cast her a grin as he tore the paper from it. He turned the book in his hands before opening the cover.

"It's a photo album and scrapbook," Mary explained, she twisted her hands together.

He gazed at the images on the pages, mostly candid shots: him playing chess with Sean or them teaching Henry to play, sitting around with his friends at Granny's, holding Alexandra, Mary and Henry dancing, John dancing with Mary, one of him and Emma leaning back against the patrol car talking over to-go cups, shots from when they decorated for Christmas, Christmas Eve and Day, so many moments, memories… He had known that he was building a new life with new memories, but he hadn't really realized just how many memories he had already made until this moment. He swallowed hard and then looked up at the nervous woman. "Thank you, Mary, I love it."

Relief spread across her face and she leaned forward now eager. "I started the first few pages, but there are more for you to use and you can add pages."

He grinned at her, catching her hand and lifting it to his lips. "It's perfect."

She smiled warmly at him, pink touching her cheeks. "You're welcome."

"Stop rolling your eyes as us, Emma," John told his boss, not looking away from the dark haired woman.

Contrary to what he just told her, Emma rolled her eyes. "As I told Mary, I'm not particularly fond of voyeurism," she told him sarcastically.

He cast her a look, as he allowed Mary's hand to drop. "How was that indecent?"

The sheriff gave him a droll look, tossing balled up wrapping paper at him. "You two just have to look at each other for it to be indecent."

Color flooded Mary's cheeks while John threw the paper ball back at her.

"So," Mary tried to redirect everyone's attention, "whose turn is it?"

"Yours," Henry answered her.

"Right," she picked up her last gift, "from John."

Emma gave a mock groan which incited John to throw another ball of wrapping paper at her.

Mary attempted to ignore them all, nimbly unwrapping the gift. She gasped. "Oh!" She skimmed her fingertips over the lid of the music box, tracing the snowflakes frosted into the glass. "It's so beautiful," she whispered, lifting the lid. A softly tinkling song flowed out; it was a soft, hauntingly beautiful melody that seemed in turns so desperately sad and so full of hope. She tilted her head thoughtfully. "The song…it's familiar, but I don't know what it is." She looked at him inquiringly.

He shrugged. "I also recognized it, but I have no idea what it is. I bought it from Mr. Gold; he said that he couldn't tell me the name."

Mary leaned over; she placed her hand on his chin, tilting his head slightly so she could press a kiss to the scar on his jaw. "Thank you."

He grinned at her, the amusement in his eyes matching hers as she pulled away; both remembering their comments about that particular scar.

She settled back onto the couch and looked to her roommate. "Last present, Emma," nervousness returned to her expression.

"Right." Emma picked up the last package, from Mary. She unwrapped and opened the box; she went still before lifting out the scarlet colored comforter inside. "Mary…" she breathed, tracing tiny white stars that were carefully embroidered into the visible corner. She looked up at her roommate. "Did you make this?"

Mary nodded, biting her lip. "Do you like it?"

The blond woman's fingers gently stroked the soft material; she swallowed. "Yeah. Thanks."

The teacher smiled. "You're welcome."

John, deciding to break the mood before Emma became uncomfortable, lifted his mug. "A toast," he said with mock bravado. The others laughed but lifted their mugs as well. "To a great first Christmas."


The song that the music box plays is the theme song for OUaT. I hope that you all liked it! Thankfully in a week OUaT will be BAAAAAAAAACK! :D I'm super excited for the new episode, learning Rumple's backstory and finding out who the new sheriff is going to be! Thank you for reading! Please let me know what you think of the chapter!

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