Feather of a Swan
For some reason, the trip back to Storybrooke seemed to much shorter.
Veronica slept for most of the ride, but twenty minutes before they reached Storybrooke, the girl woke up. She didn't cry or fuss, simply looked around like she was fascinated by the new surroundings.
And Emma was completely in love with the little girl already. Who knew it was possible to fall in love that quickly? One look at the tiny girl, and bam, Emma was done for.
Regina looked at Emma and Veronica every so often, and Emma found new meaning to the word "family."
,,Damnit," Regina muttered and brought Emma out of her trance like state.
,,What?" Emma asked and tore her gaze away from Veronica.
,,My phone. Again. Do mind...?"
,,Sure," Emma said and quickly retrieved the brunette's phone from one of her pockets.
,,Who is it this time? Henry or Snow?"
,,It's Lucy," Emma grinned. Several members of their entire extended family had been texting them consistently throughout their little journey, asking about the baby.
,,Tell her we'll be home in twenty minutes."
,,I will. Tell you what, kid. Your family will kidnap you as soon as they see you," Emma dead-seriously told Veronica.
,,Let's hope not," Regina frowned. ,,Our children do have a bad record of getting kidnapped."
Emma had only meant it as a joke, but she could see what Regina meant. ,,No one is gonna take her," the blonde assured and squeezed Regina's hand. ,,I doubt there's any more villains left out there."
,,Don't jinx it," Regina muttered. ,,There's always another villain out there."
,,Not if I can help it." Emma said firmly. Her maternal instinct had woken up anew, and she was ready to take any potential villain down.
,,Careful," Regina half-chuckled. ,,You look a bit like me on my bad days."
,,Did you just make an evil queen joke?" Emma teased, and Veronica gurgled.
And then Emma's phone beeped. This time it was David. Again. And the way he referred to Veronica as his granddaughter, made Emma's heart swell a little.
,,I think you are the most awaited baby in human history, Ronica," Emma chuckled to the baby.
,,Again with the nickname," Regina warned. ,,At one point, someone is going to overhear it, and mistake it for "Roni"."
Emma shrugged. ,,Would that be so terrible?"
,,She's a baby, miss Swan. Not a bartender with a questionable accent and a fondness for cigarettes."
,,And a knockout fashion sense," Emma deadpanned.
Emma chuckled. Regina Mills, queen of sass and witty comebacks had been reduced to "shut up". That was a bit funny.
Veronica seemed to agree, for the baby gurgled again and Emma ran her finger through her thin baby hair. Her hair was light, but not as light as other babies' hair was at that age. Emma suspected that their daughter would grow up to be a brunette.
,,Do you think her eyes will stay blue?" Emma asked Regina.
,,Hmm. Difficult to say. Maybe. But it said in the papers, that her mother had green eyes, so maybe..." Regina didn't finish the sentence, and she didn't have to. Emma already knew what she was thinking. If Veronica grew up to be a brunette with green eyes, she would look an awfully lot like both of them. Emma really liked that idea. Really, really liked it.
,,Storybrooke in five minutes," Regina announced and smiled.
,,Almost home," Emma told the sleepy bundle in her arms. ,,I think there are quite a few people who are eager to meet you."
Veronica gurgled sleepily, and Regina chuckled. ,,Fascinating comeback, darling."
And just a few minutes later, the Mercedes crossed the town line, and Emma felt a flash of warmth as her magic returned.
,,All good?" Regina asked.
,,Do you remember who you are?"
,,Do you remember who I am?" Regina teased.
,,The love of my life," Emma said plainly and adjusted Veronica in her arms.
Regina rolled her eyes, but didn't protest, and Emma was sure she saw a little smile.
They drove through town, and after a little discussion, they decided to head home at first and get Veronica settled in, unpack and stuff like that.
,,The "presentation" can wait a little longer," Regina quipped.
,,What, we're going to hold her out from a cliff and make half of Storybrooke praise her?"
,,The praising part sounds fine, but mention our daughter and cliff in the same sentence again, and I will do something terrible," Regina threatened.
,,I'm trembling, Madam Mayor," Emma sniggered.
,,Don't underestimate me, miss Swan," Regina said silkily as they pulled up in front of the mansion.
,,That's not working anymore, sorry."
,,Nope," Emma grinned. ,,I don't find that one bit intimidating anymore. I find it seductive."
,,Shame on you," Regina said calmly, and clearly that had been her intention all along.
That only made Emma's grin widen and the blonde nudged Regina as they excited the car and walked up to the mansion. None of them wasted time with their baggage, Regina simply snapped her finger, sending their bags away in swirl of purple magic.
,,Home sweet home," Emma told the sleeping Veronica.
,,Can I..?" Regina asked and gestured towards the baby in Emma's arms.
,,Regina, she's also your daughter," Emma laughed as she handed the baby to Regina. ,,You don't have to ask."
,,Point there. Hello there, baby girl. What do you think of your new home so far, hmm? Can you be happy here?"
,,Of course she can," Emma said and wrapped an arm around the brunette. Seeing Regina with Veronica, made the blonde soft in ways she had never imagined. It was indescribable. Nothing would ever be more beautiful than this sight.
And Emma actually had to look away when Regina kissed Veronica's cheek.
This. This is my family.
,,You okay?" Regina asked and put a hand on Emma's shoulder.
,,Mmm. Better than okay."
,,Just a little overwhelmed?" Regina said gently. ,,Because that's perfectly fine."
,,No, I'm alright," Emma assured and lied a tiny bit. Because she couldn't quite find the words to tell Regina just how much this meant to her, and how she had found something she didn't even knew she was missing in the first place.
,,What do you say, quick nap for Veronica and then a surprise visit to Granny's?"
,,That sounds great," Emma nodded. ,,Let's get her upstairs."
And so they did. But there was a surprise waiting for them in the nursery, and Emma's jaw dropped when she spotted it.
,,What the hell?"
,,No profanity when our daughter is present," Regina scowled.
,,Sorry. But seriously?! Who did this?" Emma wondered loudly and looked at all the pink, helium filled balloons saying "it's a girl!" floating in the nursery.
,,I suspect your mother," Regina said dryly.
,,You think so?"
,,She was a bandit for several years. She wouldn't get stopped by something as trivial as a locked door," Regina drawled as they put Veronica down in the crib.
,,This is a bit extreme," Emma observed and poked one of the pink balloons. It didn't deflate in the slightest.
Veronica didn't seem to agree with her mother's statement and tilted her little head as she looked at the floating object above her.
,,I think our daughter like them though," Regina commented. ,,All the more reason to just let them be."
,,They'll probably deflate in a couple of days anyway."
Veronica yawned, (probably one of the most adorable things Emma ever had seen) and then the little girl fell asleep.
,,Our cue to leave I guess," Emma said.
Regina nodded, but didn't seem too keen on leaving their baby just yet, so for a moment or two, neither women left the nursery.
I'm never gonna get tired of this.
But Emma knew that Veronica would be just as fine sleeping alone, and honestly, Regina looked like she could need to sit down for a moment.
,,Come on," the blonde gently insisted.
Regina didn't react.
,,Regina, come on," Emma said again and gave the brunette a little nudge. ,,She's still here when we come back."
Regina nodded but only reluctantly left the nursery.
They headed downstairs again, and ended up on the couch. Regina leaned her head back and closed her eyes.
,,Tired?" Emma asked and took her hand.
,,Mmm," Regina said and appeared to suppress a yawn. ,,It has been a long day."
,,A very long day," Emma agreed. ,,Probably the longest in my life."
,,Mm," Regina said again, and this time she actually yawned.
,,You know, the world wouldn't stop if you took a nap."
,,I don't need one," Regina denied.
Five seconds later or so, her head lolled back as she fell asleep.
,,Of course you don't," Emma half-chuckled and moved a little so Regina could have some space.
That only resulted in Regina ending up with her head in Emma's lap, and the blonde briefly froze before she relaxed once more. If this was comfortable enough for Regina, then it was comfortable enough for her. In fact, it was more than comfortable. Of all the positions Regina could have slept in, this was definitely Emma's new favorite. The brunette looked so small when she was asleep, and this gave Emma the perfect opportunity to stroke Regina's hair without any interruptions or scowls about being silly.
This was highly somnolent, and maybe she should try to get some sleep herself. There probably would be a lot of sleepless nights now that Veronica was here, and who knew, maybe this was Emma's last opportunity to get some uninterrupted sleep.
Regina mumbled something in her sleep. She actually did that a lot. Emma would never have guessed that Regina was prone to talk in her sleep, but more than once, the blonde had been woken up in the dead of night by Regina who was saying something in her sleep. And sometimes, Emma didn't understand what she was saying, and she kept forgetting to ask Regina about the language she was sometimes speaking in her sleep. Because it definitely wasn't English. Kinda sounded like Spanish, but not quite. Either way, it sounded absolutely beautiful. A bit like foreign music.
Emma leaned her head back and closed her eyes. This was nice. More than nice. This was what peace felt like. Actual peace. Not just those rare moment she had experienced when there wasn't a villain around.
The blonde's thoughts soon slipped into the most pleasant of dreams as exhaustion swept her into dreamland.
When she woke up again it was to the sound cooing near her ear. Emma slowly opened her eyes, a bit disorientated at first, but then she saw Regina sitting in the couch with Veronica in her arms. Both mother and daughter seemed to enjoy this little moment.
,,Look at that, my darling," Regina cooed. ,,I do believe your mother is awake."
,,Barely," Emma joked as she came into a sitting position. ,,How long has she been awake? How much have I missed?
,,Only for five minutes or so," Regina said and chuckled warmly as Veronica grabbed her finger.
,,Well, she definitely got more beautiful while I was asleep," Emma quipped and tickled Veronica's tiny little foot. The baby squirmed and cooed at that.
A knock on the door interrupted their little moment, and Emma jumped to her feet.
,,Five bucks that's your mother," Regina joked.
But it wasn't. It was Henry, and he was grinning broadly as Emma opened the door.
,,So? Where is she?" he said with no further greeting.
,,Couldn't wait any longer, could you, kid?" Emma chuckled.
,,Nope," Henry grinned back. ,,I want to meet my sister."
And then he shuffled past Emma and walked straight into the living room where Veronica was cooing once more.
When Emma caught up with her son, Henry was already holding his brand-new sister. And fawning adorably over her.
Emma shared a look with Regina. Henry was already done for. Completely taken in by his little sister.
,,What's her name?" Henry asked, never taking his eyes off the baby.
,,Veronica," Emma and Regina both said in unison.
,,Veronica Swan-Mills, your grandmother is gonna go nuts," Henry solemnly told the baby, and Emma chuckled. She could vividly picture her mother's reaction to the baby. Mary Margaret would most likely gush even more than Henry was doing right now.
,,She's a knockout," Henry grinned widely and shifted Veronica in his arms. ,,I'm keeping her."
,,I'm sure Lucy would be delighted to hear that," Regina said dryly and went into the kitchen to fetch a bottle for Veronica.
,,Are you kidding me, Lucy would never let go of her again," Henry laughed.
,,So I take it you like your new sister, kid?" Emma chuckled.
,,I love her," Henry said firmly.
Just like that. No hesitation whatsoever. Emma's heart swelled again. Henry had handled all of this so well. And not once had he found it weird that his mothers had fallen in love.
,,You look happy," Henry observed and smiled at Emma.
,,And I am, kid. I really am." Emma said, and truer words had never come out of her mouth.
,,Mom not too hard on you?" Henry teased.
,,I heard that," Regina scowled as she emerged from the kitchen.
,,Woops." Henry chuckled.
,,Don't make me ground you," Regina deadpanned and snatched Veronica from his arms.
,,Do I need to ground you too, sweetheart?" Regina drawled, as she fed Veronica the bottle.
,,Rude," Regina said and shot the blonde a mocking look.
This time both Henry and Emma laughed, and Regina didn't look one bit amused by that.
,,Glad I'm such a big source of amusement to you two," the brunette scowled as she continued to feed Veronica.
Emma chuckled again.
,,You are lucky I love you," Regina muttered and wiped Veronica's chin.
And that little statement honestly made Emma ridiculously happy. Regina wasn't very keen on public declarations of love, so just casually saying it in front of their son was something big. Or possibly just a slip up on Regina's behalf. One could never know.
,,Are you two ever gonna show the little wonder?" Henry asked and gestured to Veronica. ,,Grandma has been on edge since you left."
,,Well, maybe we should end her sufferings, then," Regina smirked. ,,Feel like going to Granny's, miss Swan?"
,,Yep. I'm starving," Emma grinned. ,,What about you, kid? Wanna come?"
,,Sure. I left Lucy there anyway." Henry replied.
So Emma took Veronica while Regina put on her coat, and the baby cooed softly. Emma couldn't help but smile at the sound. ,,Hi there, little bird. Are you getting sleepy again?"
Very appropriately, Veronica yawned, and her little face twisted.
,,All set?" Emma asked when Regina returned with the newly bought car seat for Veronica.
Emma bundled Veronica up in the baby blanket, and then she placed the baby in the car seat. And the blonde felt quite triumphant when she managed to buckle the little seatbelt in the first attempt.
,,Mommy's awesome," she told the baby, and now Regina was the one who was chuckling.
The little family headed to the diner, Henry went a bit ahead of them, and Regina was about to hand the car seat with Veronica to Emma, so she could use her hands to push the door open.
But Emma beat her to it and quickly stepped in front of her to open the door.
,,Very gallant, miss Swan. Thank you."
,,I'm basically your wife."
It just slipped out of her, and Emma didn't realize what she had said until five seconds after the words had left her mouth.
Wait, what the hell did I just say?! Nice. Good one, Swan.
,,I'll pretend I didn't hear you say that," Regina muttered, and after giving Snow a quick look: ,,And I'll pretend your mother didn't hear that either."
Emma just nodded awkwardly.
Regina handed the car seat with Veronica to Emma. ,,Excuse me for a second," and then the brunette went into the bathroom, leaving the introduction of Veronica to Emma.
The blonde went over to the table where her mother was already sitting, partly waiting for her husband who was fetching cocoa, and for Emma.
The pixie haired woman grinned broadly at the sight of the sleeping Veronica in the car seat. ,,So, can I meet my granddaughter now?"
,,Sure," Emma said and quickly unbuckled Veronica, scooped her up and then placed her in Snow's waiting arms.
,,Oh, she's beautiful," Snow gushed and rocked Veronica in her arms. ,,So beautiful. What's her name?"
,,Veronica," Emma announced proudly.
,,Suits her perfectly," Snow said, and Emma could see it immediately. She was bewitched by Veronica already. And quite the easy target.
,,So…" Snow said and lowered her voice as Veronica quietly went back to sleep in her arms.
,,"I'm basically your wife?" the pixie haired woman echoed and raised an eyebrow.
,,Oh." Emma blushed a little and cursed her ridiculous slip-up. ,,It just kinda.. slipped out."
,,I see. So there's nothing you want to tell me?" Snow asked plainly and brushed a little curl out of Veronica's face.
,,Definitely not," Emma said. ,,Absolutely not."
The tone more than suggested that her mother didn't believe her one bit, but Snow didn't get the chance to probe further. David returned to the table with two cups of cocoa, and he demanded to hold his brand-new granddaughter.
So Veronica changed hands, and Snow melted away at the sight of her husband holding a baby, and Emma really didn't want to know what her mother was thinking right now.
Veronica's name "got the stamp of approval" from David, and he announced that she was the most beautiful baby he had ever seen. Apart from Emma, of course.
Regina returned to the table just in time to witness Lucy asking to hold the baby.
,,Of course you can," Regina smiled. ,,Just be careful with her head."
,,I will," Lucy assured and David placed the baby in her arms.
,,She's so cute," Lucy beamed. ,,What's her name?"
,,Veronica," Emma said.
,,Veronica?" Lucy asked, completely understanding the "hidden" meaning behind the baby's name.
,,No, just Veronica," Regina corrected with a smile. ,,But you can call her Ronica for short."
Lucy only reluctantly gave Veronica back to Regina, and then the young girl looked up at her dad. ,,I want a sister."
,,Uh…" Henry said and rubbed the back of his neck. ,,I think you should ask your mom about that, kid."
,,Fine. I will," Lucy said firmly.
Emma bursted out laughing, but Regina turned her gaze to the ceiling. ,,I'll pretend I didn't hear that either."
,,There's nothing wrong with expanding the family," Emma sniggered and nudged Regina.
,,No. As long as I don't hear anything about it," Regina deadpanned.
,,Sorry, mom," Henry chuckled.
Emma couldn't help but laugh as Henry and Lucy disappeared over to nearby table.
,,This is really the night for strange information's," Regina observed.
Strange. Not "unwanted". Was that a teeny tiny hint, or was Emma overanalyzing again?
The blonde wrapped an arm around Regina who shifted Veronica in her arms and smiled at Emma.
Emma sighed. This was definitely the calm after the storm. After everything they had been through, after everything that had happened, every last fight between them, here they were. Together with their daughter. With Veronica who had been meant for them all along.
Regina squeezed her hand, and Emma was grateful for this moment. This moment of completely peace. All the important questions could wait until another time. There would be plenty of time to think about the future. Lots of opportunities to make life changing decisions.
But not right now, though. Right now, Emma was grateful for just being here, with Regina and Veronica, enjoying a quiet cup of cocoa at the diner before heading home after a long day.
Tomorrow would be a new day, and Emma could hardly wait.
((Gasp! This is where it all ends. With Emma, Regina and baby Veronica to tie them together. Again, thank you so much to all the people who have followed, favorited and reviewed. I've read every last comment, and it means the world to me. Thank you so much for liking this humble fic, I've had a blast writing it.))