Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended. All characters and places belong to the creators and producers of Once Upon a Time.
A/N: Season 5 AU, disregards the Dark One plotline completely, save for character backgrounds revealed. Set December 2015 - September/October 2016. Rated T for now, may increase to M in later chapters.
by beautyofsorrow and E.G. Potter
Emma Swan didn't put much stock in birthdays. At least, not until her twenty-eighth, when a wide-eyed boy showed up on her doorstep and announced he was her son. Five years later, her special day brought an engagement ring, a handsome pirate, and the promise of happily ever after. Two months later in the bathroom at the sheriff's station, one word on a plastic stick sent that future careening down a path she hadn't intended.
A knock on the door made her jump. "Emma? You okay?"
Stuffing the test and its box back into the brown paper sack they had come in, Emma turned on the sink to wash her hands. She felt more like a guilty teenager now than she ever did at 18. "Yeah, Dad, I'll be out in a minute!"
"Your mom called," David said through the door. "Wanted to make sure you were still on for lunch."
Shit. She tried to quell the rising panic in her throat. "Yeah, I'll call her back in just a sec." Shoving the bag in her purse, Emma groaned. This was not how she'd wanted to start her Monday.
Friday rolled around slow and sleepy and full of snow. Emma spent the morning with her head in the toilet, having called in to the office to beg off with a migraine.
"Feel better, Em," her dad had said. "I've got everything under control."
Around ten o'clock, Henry poked his head into her room. "Mom? Are you okay?"
Emma lifted her head from the bed where she'd been watching I Love Lucy reruns. "Henry? What are you doing home?"
Her son wandered in, clad in pajama pants and an old sweatshirt of Neal's. "Christmas break started yesterday, remember?"
"Oh." Crap. "Yeah, kid, I'm okay. Just a migraine. Wanna get the tub of ice cream and join in on the reruns?"
"Sure!" Henry bounced out of the room – as much as his lanky limbs could bounce – and Emma sank back to the bed. This threw a wrench in her plans - by a lot. Still, by the time Henry made it back to the room with a gallon of Dutch chocolate ice cream and two spoons, she'd wiped the frown off her face and moved to make room for him on the bed.
"Thanks, kid," she said, accepting a spoon. She dipped it into the carton and took a tentative bite. (The last thing she wanted to do was puke her guts up again).
"Is this the conveyor belt one?" Henry mumbled around his own mouthful of chocolate.
Emma grinned and turned back to the TV. "Yup."
"Oh good, it's my favorite."
They snuggled for two episodes and did a number on the ice cream before Emma stirred and sat up. "Since I'm a horrible mom and have totally ruined your lunch, do you want popcorn?"
"Yeah that sounds great." Henry tore away from the TV to look at her. "Do you want me to make it? Since your head hurts."
"No it's okay, I've got it. I'm feeling better. Are you done with the ice cream?"
Henry handed her the carton and spoons and she carried them into the kitchen, snagging her phone on the way out of the room. One missed call – from Killian. Probably calling to tell her they'd gotten delayed in the harbor again. She'd call him later. First, she dialed her mother.
"Hey, Mom, can you do me a huge favor? Also don't freak out."
"Emma? What's going on?" her mother's voice had upped an octave, a sure sign she was on the verge of freaking out.
"Calm down, I just need you to make me a doctor's appointment." Emma grabbed a bag of microwave popcorn, frowned, and then stuffed it back in the pantry. The real stuff would take longer and give her more time to talk.
"Doctor's appointment? Aren't you old enough to take care of that yourself?"
"Yeah, well – " Emma juggled the oil, popcorn pan, and container of Orville Redenbacher before finally managing to land them on the counter – "I would, except Henry's home and I don't want to tip him off just yet."
"Tip him off? Oh my god, Emma, are you pregnant?"
"Mom! You promised you wouldn't freak out."
"You are. You are pregnant."
"Maybe," Emma cautioned. "Probably. Well, okay, definitely, unless I'm completely wrong." She flipped on the burner and settled the pan on the stove, pouring oil and three kernels into it before slapping on the lid.
"Oh my god, you're pregnant."
"Will you stop saying that?" Emma glanced toward the bedroom, but Henry hadn't emerged. "So can you do it?"
"Make the appointment," Emma muttered into the phone.
"Oh, right. Yes, I'll make the appointment. Do you want in today?"
"If possible. Try for around three, I'm gonna see if Regina can take Henry for a while. That way he'll be distracted and not ask questions. I hope." She checked the pan, but the kernels hadn't popped. Still not hot enough.
"Three p.m. I got it."
Emma winced at the enthusiasm bubbling in her mother's voice. "Hey Mom?"
"Try to be discrete about it. I really don't want the whole town to know I'm pregnant before Killian does."
"Emma!" Somehow, Mary Margaret managed to sound scandalized and wounded at once. "I can keep a secret."
"I – yes, I know you can. But Storybrooke is a small town and you know how word gets around."
"Well, this is one word that won't get around."
Emma frowned. "Okay. Thanks. I think."
"I'll text you when I get the appointment."
"Okay, but just the time. I don't want Henry to – "
"Get suspicious, got it. I can't believe you're actually pregnant."
"Oh. My god, if you don't stop saying that – " But her mom had already hung up. Emma sighed and dropped her phone on the counter, then cursed because she was burning the popcorn.
"Mom? Is everything okay in there?" Henry's voice sounded muffled from the bedroom.
"Everything's just peachy!" Emma yelled back, waving frantically to dissipate the smoke. And to think that she was going to be a mother again. And this time to a baby.
"All right, buttery, fresh, and slightly burnt popcorn!" Emma announced, plopping back on the bed by her son. "Which one is this?"
Henry buried a hand in the popcorn bowl. "The one where Lucy finds out she's having a baby."
Emma felt the color rise in her cheeks. "This one is good," she said, taking a handful of popcorn. "Ricky's face is priceless when he figures it out."
Her phone buzzed, and Emma pulled it out of her pocket. 3:15! See you there! :-)
Okay, she told herself. Now to take care of Henry. True, he was old enough to stay by himself, but she didn't want him asking questions. Hiding her phone behind her leg, Emma texted Regina.
The reply came quickly. Why?
Just call me, okay? She typed with an impatient huff.
"You okay, Mom?" Henry shot her a look. "You've seemed kind of… out of it today."
"Yeah, kid, I'm fine," she fibbed. "My headache's just coming back."
The phone buzzed on the bed, two short and one long, indicating a phone call. Emma snatched it up. "Regina! Hey!"
"Cut the crap, Emma. What's so important that I had to call you in the middle of the day? And why aren't you at work?" Typical Regina, brusque and impatient as hell.
"No, I don't have a problem with Henry spending the night tonight," Emma said, praying Regina would follow along. "He's on Christmas break, so he's got all the time in the world."
Regina sighed, sending a spray of static across the line. "Fine, but you owe me an explanation. Not that I mind, you're just never eager to get rid of him."
"No problem, Regina. See you in a bit."
Emma hung up the phone with a smile. "What d'you say, kid? You up to spending the night with Robin and Regina?"
"Sure," Henry smiled genuinely enough, but he had one eyebrow raised as if he was trying to figure her out. He rolled off the bed, taking the bowl of popcorn with him. "I take it you want me to get ready now?"
"I knew I loved you for a reason."
They piled into the bug around 2:30 and pulled up to Regina's house a full thirty minutes before Emma was set to meet her mom at the hospital. Even so, Regina was already out of the house and waiting, squinting and shivering despite being wrapped in her winter coat.
Emma put the bug in park and let the engine idle as Henry clambered out of the car, tossing an I love you, Mom! over his shoulder as he went. She smiled and shook her head, then jumped at Regina's sharp tap on the window.
"Shit, Regina, you scared me," Emma yelped, rolling down the window.
"I certainly hope you don't kiss our son with that mouth," Regina remarked, leaning down to pin Emma with her trademark glare. "Why are you dropping him off so early? Not that I'm complaining, but do you and the pirate have a hot date tonight?"
Emma tensed her grip on the wheel and sighed. "No, I have an appointment with Dr. Whale in half an hour."
Regina's eyes widened. "Oh my god, you're pregnant." Once the initial shock had passed, she smirked. "Did Guyliner poke a hole in the condom?"
"Regina!" Emma hissed, face flushing less from embarrassment and more from the realization that it was probably true. "Shut up. And stop laughing at me, you aren't the one facing a second unplanned pregnancy."
Regina contained her laughter, but only barely. "Sorry. It's just funny. Do you need me to go with you?"
"My mom's meeting me there, but thanks." Emma glanced at the clock. "I should probably get going."
Regina grinned and straightened up, stepping back from the car. "Charming's going to blow a gasket when he finds out."
Emma groaned. "Seriously. Shut up."
"I'm not bouncing."
"You are too," Emma protested. "You're worse than a child." She sighed and flipped the page in her magazine hard enough to wrinkle the paper.
"You seem remarkably calm about all of this," Mary Margaret remarked, more than a bit suspicious.
"Yeah, well, trust me, I'm not," she muttered. Emma blew out a breath. "Seriously Mom, stop bouncing. I can't concentrate, it's like sitting next to Tigger."
"Sorry," her mother said, crossing and uncrossing her legs. "I'm just excited. It's not every day you find out you're going to be a grandmother."
"You're already a grandmother," Emma sighed, snapping the magazine shut.
"Yes but this is different. I'll be here for this one."
Emma's stomach clenched.
"Have you had morning sickness?"
"Only today," Emma admitted. "I spent my morning worshiping the porcelain bowl."
Mary Margaret made a face.
"So when did you start suspecting?"
"Well…" Emma rubbed a hand along the magazine's cover. "I took a test on Monday."
"You took a test? And you've waited this long to tell me?"
"Mom, please, I'm begging you, act natural."
"Natural?" Mary Margaret hissed. "How can you expect me to be—"
"Ms. Swan?" The nurse poked her head around the door leading to the exam rooms.
Thank God, Emma thought. She loved her mother, but there was only so much a person could take. She surged to her feet and flashed what she hoped wasn't a nervous smile.
"Right this way, Ms. Swan," the nurse chirped. "Oh—Mrs. Nolan!" Her smile split into a grin, then wavered and fell to a frown. "Or is it still Ms. Blanchard?"
Emma glanced at her mother.
"Well actually I'm not entirely sure," Mary Margaret admitted, pulling her purse onto her shoulder. "We've been too busy saving everyone's lives to really think about it."
"Sometimes I wonder if my life will ever be normal," Emma muttered, then followed the nurse into the exam room.
Two bottles of vitamins, a sonogram, three printed pictures, and one awkward exchange with the doctor later ("You'd think it would stop being weird after three years, but no" Mary Margaret remarked), the two women found themselves back in Emma's car, one exuberant and the other exhausted.
"If I didn't know any better, I'd say you were the one expecting," Emma sighed after the chatter finally stopped.
Her mother blushed. "We're not trying right now, so don't worry."
"You're not trying right now?" Emma closed her eyes and slumped over the steering wheel. "What did I ever do to deserve this life?"
"Can I see the pictures?"
"You just saw them!"
"I know, but I want to hold them," Mary Margaret exclaimed a little too excitedly.
"Mom, you know you can't—"
"—tell anyone, yes, I know." Mary Margaret paused, then shifted to face Emma more fully. "Look, Emma, I understand the need to keep this a secret."
"Very secret," Emma couldn't help adding.
"I get that you want to talk to Killian," her mother continued, ignoring the interruption, "and I promise, I won't breathe a word of this to your father. Or to Henry. Not even to Neal."
Emma smiled. "Thanks, Mom. I appreciate it." She handed over the pictures, which Mary Margaret accepted with a reverence that made Emma's stomach twist into knots. I'm going to have a baby, she thought. An actual, real-life baby. One that doesn't go away.
She startled free from her thoughts. "Sorry, what?"
"I was just asking if you remembered when Dr. Whale said you're due."
"Uh, August fifth, I think,"
"Are you okay?"
"I'm fine," Emma assured her. "Just tired, that's all."
Mary Margaret studied her for a moment longer before nodding and murmuring, "okay. Let's get you home."
Emma smiled a smile she knew didn't reach her eyes and started the car.
"Did you hear that?" Killian asked, pulling his arm from around Emma's shoulders. "I think someone's at the door."
"This had better be good," Emma growled, fighting her way out of the blanket they were sharing and praying that bad news wasn't waiting on her doorstep.
More knocking, this time louder and more insistent.
"I'm coming!" Emma yelled, unlocking the deadbolt and then the smaller lock on the knob. She pulled the door open to reveal Henry - dressed in sweats and a T-shirt and no winter coat - flushed and out of breath.
"Hey, Mom," he panted, tossing a look over his shoulder.
"Henry, what the crap, you almost gave me a heart attack!" Emma pulled him into a hug. "Kid, you're freezing, where's your coat? Why didn't you call? Where are your keys?"
Henry shook his head at the barrage of questions while Emma closed the door and locked it.
Killian appeared at the end of the hallway. "Everything alright, love?"
"Well, I hope so," she said. "Come on; let me make you some hot chocolate while you spill. You were supposed to be at Regina's until tomorrow."
"Yeah, I know," Henry said, following Emma through the living room and into the kitchen. He stopped when he saw the abandoned popcorn and blankets and the movie paused on the screen. "Oh. I'm not interrupting anything, am I? I can go to Grandma and Grandpa's if I need to..."
"Lad," Killian cut him off. "Your mother and I were just watching a movie, which we will all do together, once you've clarified your random appearance on the doorstep without your keys and phone."
Henry sighed, running a hand through his hair. "I got in a fight with Robin...which led to a fight with Mom." He sat down at the bar and Emma handed him a cup of cocoa. "I left my keys and wallet in my room, I guess, and my phone's dead, so...I started walking this way, but Leroy was on his way home from the diner and gave me a lift."
"Well thank goodness he did, otherwise you would have frozen," Emma chided, sitting beside her son. He looked so grown up with his head down and hands folded around his mug. It reminded her of the way Neal used to cling to his first cup of coffee, every morning at eight when they'd roll out of bed and pack up the hotel room or hit up a roadside diner if they'd slept tangled in the back seat of the bug. "Do you wanna talk about it?"
"Not really," Henry sighed. He took a half-hearted sip of cocoa and leaned against her arm.
Emma kissed the top of his head and Killian moved to put a hand on her shoulder. "All right then," she said. "Go put on some PJ's and come join the Star Wars party."
Henry smiled, hugged her, and then slipped off to his room to change clothes. As he disappeared down the hallway, Emma sighed and fell back against Killian. "This mom thing is never going to be easy, is it?"
"No, love, I'd say not. But for all his faults, he's still a good lad. I mean, it's not as if he's run off and done anything drastic."
"Yet," Emma finished, only half-teasing. She sighed and slid off the barstool. "I guess I should call Regina and let her know our son switched houses for the night."
"Swan, I must say, you handled that admirably," Killian said, leaning against the headboard of their bed.
Emma sighed, running a hand through her hair. During the movie, Henry had fallen asleep on the couch, his head in her lap. Killian had carried him up to bed shortly thereafter, but Emma still couldn't shake her uneasiness at Henry's arrival.
"I just, I don't know Killian, I feel like I've failed him." She paced in front of the bed, arms folded across her middle.
Killian frowned. "How on earth have you failed him?"
"This - this fight with Robin. It never would have happened if I hadn't given him up."
"Quite right. But I'm willing to bet my good arm that you would've had a few spats of your own had you kept him."
Emma shook her head. "But what if I had been there for him? What if I hadn't given him up?" The last few words choked and stumbled as she sank onto the bed. Killian rolled over, moving to sit beside her and snug an arm around her shoulders.
"Love, if you hadn't given him up, do you think you would have met your parents?"
Emma shook her head, a single tear traveling the length of her nose. Killian speared a tissue from the nightstand and offered it to her with his hook. She laughed softly and accepted it.
"I know - everything that happened happened for a reason," she sighed, wiping her nose. "I'm just. I'm scared."
Killian pulled her closer and kissed her temple. "Emma, love, why are you scared?"
"Because I'm pregnant."
Killian's breath left him in a rush; to Emma, it sounded like he'd been hit by a tidal wave. "How did that happen?"
Emma shot him a look. "You of all people should not need that answered."
"I thought we were being careful," he protested.
Emma jumped up and resumed pacing. "We were," she sighed, "we are,but they're not always...effective."
The pirate grinned.
"Do not make a joke right now, Killian Jones, I am not in the mood for high seas innuendo."
Killian grabbed her hand and halted her pacing. "Emma - you're serious about this, right? We're really having a child?"
"Yeah," Emma exhaled. "I went to the doctor this afternoon." She reached for her purse and the pictures tucked inside. "This is called a sonogram. It can look inside so you can see how the baby's developing."
She sat beside him and handed him the photographs.
He took them, looking suddenly concerned. "You're not...you're not pregnant with three, are you?"
"God, no!" Emma exclaimed. "Why would I be pregnant with triplets?"
"Well - there are three."
"Three photographs," Killian gestured, splaying the pictures on his knees.
"Ohh. Okay. No, those are just copies. One for us, one for my parents once I tell Dad, and then Mom insisted I get another for the scrapbook."
"It's - never mind. Not important." Emma tilted the picture so she could see it. "The baby's not very big yet – I'm only eight weeks along – but it's right there. See?" She ran her finger around the small, oblong object the doctor had had to point out to her four times.
Killian was silent for a long moment. "Love...why does our child look like a bean?"
Emma laughed, her first genuine laugh in what felt like a year. "How about we research that later?" she said, taking the pictures and laying them on the bedside table.
"Aye, that sounds like a good plan," Killian agreed, meeting her gaze with shining eyes. "Have I told you recently how much I love you?"
Leaning toward him, she caught his lips with hers and kissed him, deep and long. "So you're not mad?" she asked once they broke for air.
Killian pulled back as if shocked. "Mad? Emma, why would I be mad at you? You're carrying my child!"
That was all the assurance she needed – for now. She took his hand and laid it against her still-flat belly. "Our child," she amended.
He returned her smile. "Aye, lass. Our child."
"Why are your cold feet on my leg?"
The pirate chuckled. "Because I had to go to the bathroom and it's bloody cold in this apartment."
Emma cracked her eyes open and squinted at the sudden inpouring of light. "It's Maine. In December. Get used to it."
Killian hummed deep in his throat and wrapped his arms around her, pulling her close. "I guess I'm lucky to have my own personal heater then."
"Oh, stop," she shot back, more playful than angry. She yawned. "What time is it anyway?"
"About ten minutes til your boy comes asking what you're making for breakfast." A grin spread across his face, making Emma acutely aware of just how long it had been since he'd shaved.
"I guess that means I should get up then."
Killian gave her a quick kiss. "You're such a wonderful mother, my love."
"Shut up, Mr. I'm-going-back-to-sleep."
She flipped a pillow onto his face, then pulled it off and rested her head on his chest. "Hey, Killian?"
"Don't say anything about the baby to Henry yet, okay?"
Killian glanced down at her briefly before nodding and settling deeper into the pillows. "I think that can be managed. Anyone else on that list?"
Emma bit her lip. "My dad."
Killian's laugh welled from deep in his chest, shaking them both. "Aye, I'll avoid telling the Prince I've impregnated his only daughter."
She left him, still laughing, dragging the pillow off his face while she pulled on pants and headed for the kitchen.
"Mom, are we gonna get a Christmas tree?" Henry asked, shoveling syrupy pancakes into his mouth.
Emma froze, fork halfway to her mouth. "Um, honestly, I hadn't thought about it," she mumbled. "I'm not much of a holiday person."
"What the devil is a Christmas tree anyway?" Killian asked, setting a fresh cup of cocoa in front of her.
"In this land, people buy evergreen trees, set them up in their living room, and decorate them with lights and other, well, shiny things, and then put their gifts underneath them until Christmas day," Emma explained. "It's weird, I know, you just have to roll with it."
Killian raised an eyebrow but said nothing, turning back to his peanut butter and pancakes.
"That's kind of what Robin and I argued about last night," Henry admitted, pulling another pancake from the stack at the center of the table. "Mom told him about our traditions but he wanted to make some changes and I lost my cool. Though, it made me think about how we should have some traditions, too."
Emma smiled. "I think you might be right, kid." She caught Killian watching at her and felt his hand on her knee, squeezing reassuringly. "All in favor of Swan-Jones holiday traditions, say aye!"
The mirth in Killian's eyes suggested she would never live this down, but the thought only made her smile as twin aye's rang out in the kitchen.
"Where are we going again?" Killian inquired from behind her. His innocence was endearing, as was his willingness to sit in the backseat after Henry had called shotgun.
"A Christmas tree lot. It's a place where people grow evergreens so when Christmas rolls around, saps like us can pay to chop them down and drag them home to decorate."
"The holidays of your realm are certainly…something," the pirate allowed. He was bundled in an old leather motorcycle jacket and the scarf Emma had made for him when her mother insisted she learn how to knit. (They had spent a month of lunch breaks at Granny's, bent over knitting needles while listening to Granny complain about the quality of this realm's yarn.)
"Did you bring an ax?"
"I texted Grandpa!" Henry announced as he opened the door and plopped into his seat. "He said they'll meet us there and bring the tree home for us."
Emma rolled her eyes. "My father, the lumberjack," she muttered. "All right, let's get this show on the road before all of Storybrooke gets involved."
They were halfway to the lot before she realized her mistake. "Crap!" she slammed on the brakes.
"What is it?"
"Cash - I left it on the nightstand."
"Can't we use credit?" Henry asked.
"No, this place only takes cash or check, and I forgot to order more checks last week," Emma sighed as she made an illegal U-turn and accelerated down the street.
"I'll get it," Henry volunteered as they pulled up to the apartment.
"Thanks, kid," Emma said. She blew out a breath and put the car in park. "I'm going to make a terrible mother," she groaned as Henry disappeared.
"Nonsense," Killian soothed. "Everyone's forgetful. Especially when they have a handsome pirate distract - "
"The nightstand," she explained, fumbling with her seatbelt. "I left the sonogram pictures on it. He's gonna see." She shoved out of the car and ran for the apartment.
"Henry?" she yelled, not knowing what she'd do when she found him, not caring because not ready, not ready. I'm not ready to explain to my kid he's gonna be –
She crested the doorframe and stopped. Henry looked up.
"Mom…?" He held up the pictures.
"Shit, kid, you weren't supposed to see those."
Henry paled. "You're not...you're keeping it, right?"
"Of course! I just...wasn't ready to tell you. I mean, I was, but I wanted to do it right."
"You're not making any sense."
Emma sighed and sank down on the bed. "C'mere, kid. Next to me. I promise I won't bite."
Henry eased down beside her, still gripping the pictures, eyes wide and more than a little jolted. "So...you're pregnant."
"Yes. And I was going to tell you, I swear. I only found out yesterday, and Killian and I...we're still sorting things out."
"He's not mad, is he?"
"No. No, he's...happy. Very happy, in fact."
"And you are, too, right?"
Emma opened her mouth. "I - yeah, kid. I'm happy." She smiled. "I'm really happy. But it was unexpected and I'm reeling and I really didn't want you to see me fall to pieces like this."
Henry put a hand on her shoulder and squeezed.
"Sorry for ruining your Christmas," she winced.
"You didn't ruin my Christmas."
Henry shook his head. "I think this is pretty cool, actually. I mean, I'm gonna be a big brother. That's a pretty awesome present, if you ask me."
Emma felt all the tension drain from her shoulders and pool on the floor. "I really don't deserve you, you know that?" She pulled him into a hug.
"Killian's probably wondering where we are," Henry said eventually.
"Yeah and I left the car running."
"Does he know how to turn it off?"
"We should probably rescue him."
"-before he does something stupid," Emma finished. She stood up. "C'mon kid, let's go get us a tree."