A/N: So this idea initially came to me as a one shot, but I felt like it could continue and as I wrote I did come up with some ideas for future chapters. So, I am marking it complete for now, but if there is interest and inspiration I may continue this story in the future. So be sure to let me know if you like it! And big big big kisses to my darling michaelawaffles for the edits, you are amazing!
A sound unfamiliar to the mansion roused Regina in the middle of the night. The pained gasps of someone dry heaving carried down the hall, and immediately she jolted upright in bed, springing to attention at the worry that her son had fallen ill. Another heave, another gasp, and it became clear that the poor soul was no young boy, but a grown woman. Realizing Henry was fine, Regina tried to be annoyed by the disturbance, set on reminding her boorish tenant tomorrow that some people in this house are trying to rest, thank you very much.
Pillow fluffed and neatly tucked back beneath her head, Regina closed her eyes, intent on salvaging what remained of the night. A pathetic whimper sailed through the quiet house and, much to her dismay, Regina found that Emma Swan being the culprit did little to dissuade her concern. Begrudgingly, or at least partially so, she lifted herself out of bed and switched on the lamp, allowing her eyes just a moment to adjust before trudging down the hall. Emma did have a tendency for saving Regina's life; she could at least see what was wrong with the cumbersome fool in return.
The door was open, so Regina didn't bother to announce herself, striding into the bathroom like it was her god given right. Wrapped almost tenderly around the porcelain bowl was the expected pale body with messy golden locks. The woman who now slept each night in the room one door to the left of Regina's own, a pain in her ass and the bane of her existence. The thought to trace a comforting hand over the girl's back crossed Regina's mind, though that would be far too familiar a gesture, especially after... Everything else.
Instead, Regina stood up a little taller, despite her companion's attention being turned elsewhere. Emma really didn't deserve any sympathy right now, not when it seemed clear that she had brought this upon herself, and so Regina hardened her tone as she reprimanded, "If you're going to live here, you're going to have to learn to be more mindful of others. Binge drinking is no excuse to cause such a ruckus in the middle of the night." Hands snapped reflexively to her hips when she received no reply. "What if Henry were to find you like this?"
"Fuck you, Regina," Emma groaned, twisting just enough so that she wasn't speaking directly into the toilet bowl. "I'm not drunk."
"Is it the flu?" Regina's asked, the edges of her tone softening a bit with concern for this woman's well-being. Emma woefully shook her head.
"Well, what is it then?" Regina snapped a little more harshly than intended, finding sympathy difficult to muster at this late hour. "Because I swear to god, if you tell me that you are pregnant–"
She stopped short when terrified, wide eyes turned to face her, watching the color drain from Emma's already grey complexion. Regina's gut twisted with an agonizing pull and, for just a moment, she thought she might need to take up the same position as the woman crouched before her.
"You're pregnant?" she whispered grimly. Emma's only response was to turn and retch into the toilet again.
Regina told herself she had no right to be hurt. It was none of her business what Emma did with her time – or her body. Just because Regina was content to play house with her son and his mother didn't mean Emma would be satiated by the same at all.
"Who's the father, then?" Regina demanded, not caring that it shouldn't concern her, feeling bitter that their family hadn't been enough for Emma. She needed to know, even if there wasn't any answer that would alleviate the rock now settled firmly in her gut. Someone had infiltrated their domestic bubble, bursting it wide open to make room for themselves. Emma wasn't the only one who would be stuck for the rest of her life with the imbecile responsible for this. Regina would, too. Their son would. Their family.
Dear god, she caught herself hoping, please don't let it be the pirate. Please, please, not the pirate.
"I..." Emma stuttered, finally turning away from the bowl, catching her breath as she wiped her mouth. "I don't know."
"You don't know?" Regina gasped indignantly. "How many possibilities could there be?" She didn't understand when Emma could have found the time for so many trysts that she wouldn't know the father. She didn't understand why. She didn't understand.
"None!" Emma shouted back, then flinched, both women falling silent as they listened for signs that their son had been roused by the commotion. The entire point of this arrangement had been to give him a stable living environment, and that didn't include waking up to his mothers fighting in the middle of the night. All remained quiet and they sighed in relief, Emma finally rising from the ground as they resumed their conversation in hushed tones.
"Ms. Swan," Regina hissed, "truly need I remind you of the birds and the bees?"
"Don't 'Ms. Swan' me!" Emma spat back with equal disdain. "I'm serious, Regina. The only person I've been with even remotely recently is..." she lost her bluster, casting her gaze sheepishly to the ground as she muttered, "Well, you know." Regina did know. She knew exactly what Emma meant, but they never spoke of it. And they certainly wouldn't now.
"Rumpelstiltskin," Regina blurted out after a brief, awkward silence. Emma stared at her incredulously. "No not... Not that. Not the father. But I am certain that you are no Blessed Virgin Mary. Rumple will be able to help, I'm sure of it."
"Fine," Emma conceded, more readily than Regina expected. Then again, it was the middle of the night and she just spent god knows how long getting sick. Perhaps she was just exhausted. "We can go see him in the morning. Goodnight, Regina."
But Regina wouldn't be sleeping much at all the rest of that night. She felt like someone scooped out her insides and forced her to swallow them, leaving a painful lump in the back of her throat, in her chest, in the pit of her stomach. Hollow, yet ready to explode.
She couldn't let this ruin their carefully constructed life, already so precariously balanced. Regina wouldn't let this be the thing that brought everything crashing down. They would go see Gold in the morning. She would figure this out.
"We have a problem," Regina announced curtly, storming into Rumpelstiltskin's shop with all the subtlety of a hurricane as Emma tried in vain to keep up behind her.
"And a good morning to you as well, your majesty," he replied with a saccharine grin. Regina ignored his sarcasm, not exactly willing to play nice, but also careful not to do or say anything that might cause him to immediately turn them away. This whole situation had her entirely on edge, and her lack of sleep didn't make it any easier for her to remain courteous.
"Emma's pregnant," she said through gritted teeth, hoping to convey the severity of the situation without having to say more.
That, clearly, was not what Rumpelstiltskin expected to hear, and Regina swore she saw a momentary flash of hurt in his eyes. She wondered if it pained him to know that Emma's second child was unquestionably fathered by someone other than his son, knowing the man had gone to his grave still loving a woman who had now obviously moved on. Poor fool, Regina scoffed to herself as she thought of Neal, ignoring the strings of empathy that tugged on her heart at his plight. Rumple, of course, gave nothing more of his feelings away than faint surprise, infuriatingly aloof as ever.
"Do I offer my congratulations or condolences?" he asked Emma directly.
"That depends," Regina interjected, outwardly ignoring the other woman's vexed expression, uncertain if it was the interruption or her comment that sparked it. "We need you to tell us who the father is."
"My, aren't you the busy girl?" Rumple remarked with cavalier superiority. Emma visibly bristled.
"Not that it would normally be any of your business," she spat, hormones apparently making it that much easier to ruffle her feathers, "but no. I've been the exact opposite of busy, actually. I haven't been with a man since..." Emma paused, becoming flustered as she attempted to calculate. "It's been a long time, okay?" she finally gave up with a dramatic sigh.
"That is quite puzzling, now isn't it?" Rumple agreed, still a bit snide. "I do love a good mystery. Let us see what we can uncover."
Both women watched in anticipation as the man behind the counter retrieved a crystal ball, of all things, and made his way around the barrier to Emma before setting the item down on the display case next to them. "May I?" he inquired, gesturing towards Emma's still-flat stomach. The woman's eyes flicked nervously to Regina, who gave a quick, subtle nod of encouragement, silently reveling in the way Emma had turned to her – trusted her – for even this one small support.
Rumple's palm pressed gently against Emma's abdomen, and both women recoiled instinctively at the touch. The very idea of anyone putting their hands on Emma was enough to make Regina's skin crawl, but she forced herself to shrug the feeling away. Clearly, someone else had touched Emma Swan far more intimately than this. Regina was going to have to get used to that.
With one hand still resting on Emma's stomach, Rumple placed his other on the crystal ball and turned his attention towards the magical item. Whatever he saw inside the orb remained invisible to Regina, so she focused her attention on Emma, who still appeared wildly uncomfortable with the intimate contact. Like she might take off his arm at any moment. Regina offered a comforting smile, as if to say should the man try anything funny that she would sever his limb herself. Emma relaxed a little and Regina's smile turned inward, proud she could have this effect on the woman.
The elation was cut short when Rumple let out an amused cackle. While Regina couldn't see his face, the fact that he found anything about this situation humorous at all sent a chill down her spine.
"Why, Regina," he sneered, retracting both hands as he turned to face her. "All these years, and I never knew you had a taste for the fairer sex."
It was all Regina could do to suppress the urge to blush. It's not like this was news to Emma, obviously, but something in the pit of her gut that said that the timing of his discovery couldn't be just a coincidence.
"That is because it was not, and is not, any of your business," she snapped back with all the indignation she could muster. "Nor is it in any way relevant to the current problem."
"Indeed, your preference is of little concern to me," he replied, unfazed. "But it is most certainly relevant."
Regina shook her head in confusion, growing more perplexed as she watched the other woman's eyes go wide.
"Oh, do not tell me..." Emma drawled, words heavy with the weight of having seen and heard too many ridiculous things for one lifetime.
Rumple's serpentine smile only grew at the plea. "It would seem that congratulations are in order to you both."
His final statement hit Regina like a punch in the gut. She felt faint. There was no way what he was saying could be true. She didn't have that... that ability. She couldn't be the one responsible for this. Emma would be furious. It couldn't be her.
"That's impossible!" Regina shrieked, quite nearly on the verge of panicking. "It's... It's preposterous!"
"What's preposterous is the Enchanted Forest's lack of sexual education," Rumple sighed. "Let's have a little lesson, shall we?"
Regina rolled her eyes. "I am in no mood for–"
"Fill in the blank," Rumple cut her off. "Magic is about what?"
There was no way Regina was going to go along with his game. "This is ridiculous," she huffed, certain it was just another of Rumpelstiltskin's lies.
"Emotion," Emma jumped in, begrudgingly humoring the man when Regina refused. They glared at one another briefly, each silently accusing the other for their lack of solidarity in this moment. "Magic is about emotion."
"Well done, Emma," Rumple cheered condescendingly. "A+ for you. Question two: What part of the body is most involved in the expulsion of magic?"
He stared at Regina pointedly with an expression that said, "You might as well answer now because I could wait here all day." Regina rolled her eyes again.
"I suppose the hands," she sneered, placing her own petulantly upon her hips.
"Excellent!" Rumple clapped sardonically. "And now, for extra credit: How might one woman go about pleasing another woman in the bedroom?"
Suddenly, the dots connected. As much as those words coming out of his mouth made her cringe, and as much as the question felt entirely inappropriate, Regina was stunned silent. She gaped at her hands in utter disbelief.
"You're actually saying I got knocked up because Regina finger fucked me!?" Emma's sharp tone and crude language pulled Regina out of her haze.
"Emma!" she gasped, mortified by the blatant admission of what they'd done, of what they could barely acknowledge even in the privacy of the home they now shared. Emma had the good sense to look at least slightly apologetic for her outburst.
"It would appear so," Rumple replied, doing little to hide his amusement over their predicament.
They weren't even a couple, Regina agonized, the weight of dread settling over her chest. It had just been one night. One lonely, lustful night that was never supposed lead to anything more. One night. That's what Emma said. What were they going to tell people? What were they going to say to their son?
"Regina and I are going to have a baby," Emma said again, as if repeating the idea aloud might help her comprehend it.
"A daughter, in fact," Rumple offered smugly. "Given the lack of a Y chromosome, the child will undoubtedly be female."
"A daughter?" Regina whispered to herself, the specificity making everything suddenly very sharply real. She had often wondered what it might be like to have a little girl. Images of baby dolls and tea parties and dark curly hair tied up in bows flashed through Regina's mind. Or maybe she would prefer comic books and climbing trees like her brother, running away as Regina chased after with a comb in her hand. The possibilities of who she might be were many, but she was very, very real.
"Oh, so now the rules of science apply again?" Emma's sarcastic comment brought Regina back to the present. She didn't miss the way the girl's hand came up to steady her stomach, nor the shuddering breath that followed. Of course Emma would try to mask physical weakness with bravado.
"Sheriff, you're looking a bit green," Rumple said, sending Regina a caustic grin as he added, "Not that I blame you."
"Save it, imp," Regina snapped, hoping the man couldn't sense her fear that she might indeed be the cause. She focused on Emma, wanting so badly to reach out and touch her in comfort, though unsure it would be well-received. "Are you alright?"
"I'm fine," Emma insisted, inhaling deeply through her nose again. "This morning sickness is just really kicking my ass."
"The restroom is down the hall, dearie," Rumple stated with a distinct lack of sympathy. "If you're going to be ill, I'd request you do it there."
Emma looked as though she were about to refuse, until she was forced to choke back a heave. "Excuse me a minute," she wheezed as she fled down the hall.
Regina debated whether or not she was expected to follow. She went to check on Emma the night before, when she was merely Regina's sick roommate. Now, she was the woman who carried Regina's child, and she thought perhaps that made it her duty. Then again, it's not like Emma was her lover. In the end, Regina determined the woman would likely rather be left without an audience anyway.
"I have to ask," Regina began as Rumple secured the crystal ball back in its case. "I have light magic, but I also have dark magic. The baby, is she..."
"Worry not," Rumple replied, "the child is a product of light magic."
There was relief in hearing those words, but Regina still worried. There was so much darkness lurking in her past, in her heart, and even her magic. The thought that she might pass any shred of that on to her innocent daughter was terrifying.
"How can you be sure?" she asked in a fearful whisper.
Without missing a beat, Rumple replied, "Because you're in love with her."
Regina's stomach somersaulted upon hearing those words said out loud. "Emma?" she huffed. "I most certainly am not."
But it was a bold face lie and Regina knew it. She tried to ignore it, tried to force the feelings away, but she was. She was absolutely in love with a woman who hadn't the slightest clue. A woman who most certainly wanted nothing from her besides a roof, a co-parent, a one-time bed warmer and an occasional friend. Just five years and she would have been free, forced only to see Emma on holidays and family occasions. Now they were starting at square one and Regina resigned herself to the fact that she was doomed to never be rid of this woman - to spend eternity so very close to her, yet just out of reach.
Of course, Rumple saw through her lie just as easily as he'd seen through her charade. "Magic is about emotion Regina," he reiterated matter-of-factly. "And it wasn't Emma's magic that got her pregnant. Point of fact, she seems rather nauseated by the very notion that you were the one who caused this."
That stung. Regina felt the blush that had begun at the base of her spine spreading up her back and chest. He was being cruel and he knew it, using Regina's insecurity against her. She gasped sharply at the sudden pain in her chest, swallowing the lump forming in her throat. He'd landed a solid blow but Regina wouldn't let him see it, channeling her pain into anger. "Or maybe she's freaking out because the impossible just became possible and resulted in a child that nobody wanted!"
"Hey!" Emma's enraged voice at the door caused Regina's mood to shift immediately from anger back to dread. She turned to face the other woman, Emma standing with one hand placed protectively over her abdomen and a deep scowl on her face. "Don't talk about my kid like that."
"Our kid," Regina corrected, old heartache mixing with the new. "She is our child, Emma."
"Yeah? Well maybe you should fucking try acting like it." Emma stormed past them and out the front door. This time Regina did not hesitate a moment before following, sparing not even a nod in Rumple's direction as she fled.
"Emma, wait!" Regina cried out before jogging to catch up, surprised at how far ahead of her the woman was. "Emma, please, I'm sorry!"
Finally close enough to reach her, Regina softly grabbed Emma's shoulder and encouraged her to turn around. The stiff urgency immediately left Emma's body and she deflated. Regina's chest constricted as the girl turned to face her with angry tears still burning down her pale cheeks.
"I'm just getting the hang of this 'motherhood' thing with Henry, you know?" Emma sobbed. "I don't even know how to begin taking care of a baby. All I have are the memories you gave me, but who says I can actually do this? I just," she choked and sniffled again, "I don't want to do it alone."
"You won't," Regina told her, fervently wiping away the woman's tears and vowing that she would stay by Emma's side for the rest of her life if needed, no matter how much it pained her. "I promise you won't have to. We will do it together."
"You have to want her. Okay?" Emma pleaded. "She can't ever be unwanted."
Suddenly, Regina understood exactly what she said wrong - how her words must have sounded to the little girl deep inside of Emma, who never had a family or a home to call her own, and who repeatedly lost hope of ever being wanted or belonging anywhere.
"I do, Emma," Regina said firmly. "I want her, I promise you. I only meant that we weren't looking for this. But now that it's happened, I wouldn't take it back." The truth of her own words sunk in as she spoke them, and she realized just how badly she desired to be a mother to this little girl. Their daughter. Throwing caution to the wind, she wrapped her arms around Emma's waist, pulling the woman close and whispering into her hair, "I want her. I want her so very much."
Emma nodded her understanding into Regina's shoulder, gripping her back fiercely and holding on for a long moment until her breathing evened out. When at last Emma released her hold, it was with a sheepish smile as she wiped at the drying streaks on her face.
"Sorry," she murmured with an embarrassed chuckle. "I guess I'm a mess of hormones these days."
"It's quite alright, dear," Regina smiled tenderly, causing Emma's grin to widen.
"I should probably get to the station," Emma dawdled awkwardly. "I'll... see you at home?"
Regina nodded her agreement and before she could comprehend what was happening, Emma leaned forward and placed a chaste kiss at the corner of her mouth. Regina's stomach fluttered almost painfully, and her heart felt like it might explode.
"Thank you, Regina," Emma said shyly as she slowly backed away, turning to face Regina at the last second. "I, uh," she stumbled, "I'm glad, you know. That it's you."
Stunned by the sentiment and still reeling from Emma's kiss, Regina could only nod and smile gratefully in response. Emma shrugged, still grinning timidly as she tucked a strand of blonde hair behind her ear before turning and walking away.
This was one fine mess, for certain. Regina sighed, caressing the spot where Emma's lips touched hers. It was an absolute mess, and Regina was petrified to realize just how much she wanted it all.