Title: Caught Painting a Dotted Line (4/?)
Fandom: Once Upon a Time
Pairing: Swan Queen (Emma Swan/Regina Mills)
Spoiler/Warning: Up till 1.21 – An Apple Red as Blood. Canon till 1.21 with slight AU happenings, veers off canon after 1.21.
Summary: Regina is pregnant. Henry eats the turnover. And there is angst, and forgiveness is not really on the horizon right away. Or something like that. I've never written a worse summary in my life.
Disclaimer: This is purely fictional. I own none of it.
A/N: Hi you guys. The next chapter *finally*! I'm sorry I made you guys wait for so long but I believe no chapter is better than a half-hearted chapter. Also, jobs and life and stuff happened. And it took me quite some time — almost a month, really — to work out all the details, and then one day everything fell into place, and I rather like how it did. This chapter dedicated to le Wife because that day was her birthday. xD Also this chapter is much longer than my usual ones so I hope you don't get bored by the end. A big thank you to all those who've reviewed, favorited or put this story on their Story Alerts. It means a lot to me, even the anon reviews (which I can't personally reply). As always, feedback would be highly appreciated. xD
Regina only realized what she had let slip when she saw the expression on Emma's abruptly silent face, and a feeling of horror washed over her. She closed her eyes and sighed, already wishing she could take back the words.
"Nothing, Miss Swan. I think it would be best if you remove yourself from my room right now."
"Oh, no, you don't get to do that. I'm not going anywhere until you explain to me what you meant by 'my baby'… it can't be—"
"You're right," Regina cut in. "It can't be. It's not."
"Then why did you say it?"
"Oh, don't you know," Regina snapped this time. "I'm drugged — delirious, out of my mind — take your pick."
Emma glared at her, Regina glared back, not ready to give in. But Emma was at an advantage, she was standing and it was easier for her to look down.
"If you want to continue this staring contest, you better sit down. I'm getting a crick in my neck from all this looking up."
"No, my neck is really beginning to hurt."
"You're lying," Emma repeated. "You're neither drugged nor delirious."
"Fine. I'm not. I just want you off my back."
"Regina!" Emma's voice was taut, running out of patience.
Regina took a deep breath and looked up at the white hospital ceiling.
"Emma, please," she said, voice lacking any bite this time. "Please, just go."
She saw the Sheriff's eyes widen a little at the sudden change. "But how can this be?"
"How do you think? Magic."
"I — this is insane. You are saying that your magic made this happen?"
"Well, I wasn't the only one involved — your magic had a lot to do with it."
"I — have magic?"
"Well, unless I'm the Virgin Mary and this is Immaculate Conception, I don't have any other explanation at all. Because I haven't been with anyone except you since Graham."
"Regina," Emma began in a reasoning tone, like she was trying to make Regina see sense. "I admit the sex was good, but I don't think it was miraculous enough to make a baby — this is ridiculous!"
"Well, you better believe it because that miracle did occur!"
"Are you sure you're not just trying to pin this on me?"
"I can take a paternity — or in this case, a maternity test if that'll make you believe. You might not have faith in magic, but you have faith in science, don't you?"
"Who's to say you won't get the results faked?"
Emma snorted. "Forgive me if I find that hard to believe!"
Regina felt anger bubble in her stomach once again. "Fine! I never asked you to believe me, anyway! In fact, if I remember correctly, I asked you to leave!"
"You can't very well make a comment like that and expect me to leave!"
"Well, why don't you tell me what kind of comment I can make to make you leave?"
Emma grabbed the small rail at the end of Regina's bed and bent over it, staring at the mayor.
"Stop playing games, Regina."
"I'm not playing any games," said Regina, voice tense with anger.
"Then tell me who the father is!"
"You're so blinded by your own virtuous self-righteousness that you can't see the truth even if it's staring you right in the face!" Regina spat at her. "And you call yourself a believer! A Savior!"
Emma gripped the rail so hard, her knuckles were white, her face twisted into a snarl.
"You don't get to talk about the truth!" She said, enunciating each word so hard and clearly that it was scary.
It made Regina falter for a moment but then she regrouped readily. "And what gives you the right to say that?"
"Everything, oh, everything, Regina, don't even get me started on that! My whole damn life so far gives me the right!" Emma's voice began to break a little. "I don't know why, I don't know what you wanted — but do you have any idea what you have done to me? Do you?" And even though she seemed to be trying very hard, there was no stopping the tears this time. "Was that the revenge you wanted? Did it make you happy, Regina? Sending a baby away into the unknown, leaving her to fend for herself in a system that — in a system—" she stopped, voice choked.
Regina looked away. "You weren't supposed to — they weren't supposed to be able to send you away! I came for you," she said, looking back at Emma, voice softening. "I wanted you."
Emma let out a short, humorless laugh. "And is that supposed to make me feel better? You and everyone else were frozen in time, I wasn't! You don't even know the things I went through!"
"Oh, dear, no one knows the things the other person goes through," said Regina, but her heart wasn't in it, her voice lacked conviction. It must have been the hormones because why else would she be feeling like this? Like she had done something horribly, horribly wrong, something that she could never make right no matter how hard she tried. She knew that already. It wasn't news to her, and it hadn't bothered her for years — not like this. So what was different now? Why was Emma's face making her feel like this, like her heart was breaking into tiny, tiny pieces? Why were Emma's eyes making her want to — it must be the damned hormones!
Emma shook her head. "What do you get from pinning this on me, Regina? What do you want?"
"I don't want anything," Regina said tiredly, and in that moment she felt like the boy who had cried wolf so many times that when finally the wolf came for him, nobody listened when he called.
"Then why are you telling me this?"
"Because it's your right, you are the mother—"
"I am not—"
"Listen to me and tell me, you can tell, right? Tell me if you think I'm lying when I say that this baby is yours," Regina said, looking her right in the eye.
Emma glared at her for a long moment before turning around and storming out of the room.
Emma banged the door behind her on her way out. She told herself it was the fury she had felt ever since last night finally boiling over, but deep down the anger signified so much more and that made her angrier still. She stalked the length of the corridor, not even bothering to look who or what she was bumping into, too blind to see how people were jumping out of her way. Enough was fucking enough. Damn this place and Regina and the stupid curse; all she wanted was to take her son and flee, run away to some place where there'll be no curses or poisoned turnovers or magical babies — the fuck was Regina thinking! As far as power plays went, this one was pretty lame. It was a well-known and given fact that she wasn't an emotional person, and her maternal instincts were pretty stunted — did Regina think she would pass off her pregnancy as magical and Emma would forget everything, fall at her feet, and fawn over her growing belly and whatever thing was in there? No effing thank you. She was barely learning to be the mother of a ten-year-old, she could not handle a baby right now — especially if that baby belonged to Regina.
She pushed the door with much greater force than necessary, only to find the huge, panicked eyes of the above mentioned ten-year-old staring at her, and all the anger inside her drained suddenly and abruptly, making her feel empty and strangely bare. But then the relief on seeing him awake, alive, all right filled her chest with lightness.
"Hey, kid," she smiled to let him know that it was okay and then walked forward to sit beside him on his bed and pushed back his hair from his face. "How're you feeling? Did you sleep well? You didn't have bad dreams, did you? Are you hungry?"
The barrage of questions made him laugh, and Emma smiled. "I'm okay," he said. "I feel fine, and I'm very hungry!"
"Good," Emma said. "That's good."
He smiled at her and then, "Emma — how's the — my mom?"
"She's—" Emma started and sighed. Infuriating, insane, unbelievable, evil, absolutely fucking crazy. "She's all right now. She even came to see you here," she said before she could stop herself.
"She did?" Henry's eyes were huge. "Can we go see her? I mean," he said, looking at her thunderous expression. "You're taking me with you, right? So I'll say goodbye?"
"Yeah, okay," Emma said defeatedly. "I promised her I would, anyway."
He leaned back into the pillow, looking relieved, like he had been ready to fight his point and Emma wondered if he actually would have.
"Emma," he said again after a while, expression very serious. "What's wrong with her?"
"I — well — she—" Emma floundered.
"Is it magic?" he asked earnestly, and Emma looked at him, amazed at this kid's ability to believe in wondrous and impossible things.
"Is it because of me, because you woke me up? Is she going to die?"
Okay, not so much amazing, maybe.
"No, of course not! And it's not magi — I mean — well," Emma hoped Regina had already had the whole 'birds and bees' talk with him cause this was proving to be difficult to articulate. "She is — that is —" In the end she settled for, "You are going to have a little sister — or brother, maybe." And wondered why she had said that, because hadn't she just taken him back from Regina? And any children she now had were none of their — Henry and Emma's — concern, right? But she watched as her son's face lit up like a Christmas light.
"She is going to have a baby?"
"Yeah, kid, she is," Emma said, wondering why hadn't she said that instead of bringing in all that sentimentality.
"That's awesome!" he said.
"Really, kid?" Emma barely managed to not roll her eyes or sigh as he nodded vigorously.
"I've always wanted a little sister! Or brother!"
And Emma understood the childish need for companionship, she did — hadn't she gone through the same thing for years before she totally gave up on it? — but her son couldn't have chosen a worse time to express it. Regina's words were still fresh in her mind, and so was their argument; it was right there at the back of her mouth like the bitter taste of bile, so she toned down another sigh and mussed up his already untidy hair.
"Hold down a bit on the enthusiasm, kid, okay?"
His face fell and she felt bad, but then he nodded like he understood.
"She's still the Evil Queen, isn't she?" And then he suddenly sat up straighter. "You don't think the baby will be evil, too, Emma? Like — like Chucky?"
Emma's heart sank suddenly down to somewhere around her navel, and really, she shouldn't care — Regina and her Evil Spawn can do whatever they want, right? But Henry looked so wide-eyed and worried that she couldn't stop herself from reassuring him.
"That's ridiculous, Henry! I mean — she brought you up and you aren't evil."
"But I was adopted. I was the Savior's son!"
"Really, kid, you weren't with me for ten minutes before they took you away. She was with you for ten years." He nodded, looking relieved. "And where even — how do you know about Chucky? I don't believe Regina would've let you watch it!"
"No, I read about it."
"You read a lot of nonsense, kid," Emma tried to sound stern and failed miserably. "And, anyway," she suddenly frowned, "Chucky was a doll, wasn't he?"
"All the same," Henry dismissed it. "Small and evil."
"Enough," Emma smacked him lightly on the arm, and then immediately soothed the sting with a caress. "No more talk about evil babies, okay?"
Henry relented. "So when can we go?"
"Well, as soon as Dr. Whale checks you and pronounces you fit, we'll pack your stuff here and be off to Mary Margaret's—"
"No, when can we go see my mom?"
This time Emma couldn't help the sigh that escaped her lips. "I — we'll go see her right before we go home. Now, sit here and I'll see about some breakfast and then work on getting you home, okay?"
The rest of the morning went smoothly enough. Henry ate like he had been starving for the past week, and Dr. Whale pronounced him well and fit to go home, effective immediately.
The first setback came when she was packing his stuff: it was pitifully little, and Emma realized that she would have to talk to Regina about getting Henry's things from his room unless she bought everything new — which just wasn't practical. Still, anything that involved talking to Regina left a bitter taste in her mouth, and for a moment she was strongly tempted to actually buy everything new. But the idea was discarded as quickly as it was considered, because she didn't even know the things a ten-year-old needed. And not that she didn't trust Henry, but no respectable ten-year-old doesn't lie to their parents to wheedle out a few extra advantages, and Emma was already operating at a handicapped position here, she did not want to make it worse.
The prospect further dampened her desire to talk to, or even see Regina, and it was with a lot of trepidation that she made her way to Regina's room, Henry's backpack on her shoulder, and his small, clammy hand holding her's in a painfully tight grip.
"Maybe this is a bad idea," he said, voicing her thoughts. "Maybe we shouldn't."
Emma looked down at him and sighed. "Don't go all cold feet on me now, kid. You wanted to go."
"But she's the Evil Queen!"
"Well, I promised the Evil Queen I'd bring you over. And good guys keep their promises, don't they?"
"Are you sure she isn't angry with you?" He asked.
"Well, yes, but what if she is? What does it matter?"
"I just don't want her hurling fireballs at you."
Emma wanted to laugh at the absurdity of it, but the possibility was too real to be actually funny so she just managed a half-hearted chuckle.
"Well, I'll take it when it comes," she told him. "Though I don't think she can do magic here. And I don't think she will, even if she could. Not in front of you, at least. Now buck up, okay?"
But Henry did not look much comforted or bucked up at all when she pushed open Regina's door and found her in a heated argument with Dr. Whale. They both paused upon seeing Emma and Henry, and then Regina waved a vague hand at the doctor.
"We'll resume this later, Doctor. I have visitors." She dismissed Dr. Whale, her tone brooking no argument.
"Madam Mayor," Dr. Whale began, his tone angry.
"This discussion is over for now, Dr. Whale," Regina glared at him, every inch the queen on that sterilized hospital bed, in that ridiculous hospital gown.
"Fine!" He almost snapped at her. "I'll wait outside. Don't think you're getting out of it!"
Regina waited until he had left, and the door was closed behind his back before turning and smiling at Henry — the smile that transformed her face every time, lending it a deceptive softness.
"Henry," she said simply, and the word held everything she wanted to say, everything she had to offer — love, care, affection, fear, pain, regret, heartache, a silent plea for forgiveness.
Emma nudged him forward but he stood rooted to his spot beside her, suddenly reticent, so she frog-marched him up to Regina's side and he looked up at her with wide eyes.
"Behave," Emma mouthed at him.
But in the end, you had to give the kid credit because he stood stoically by Regina's bedside and did not flinch when she reached out with a hesitant hand to touch him. Emma could tell she wanted to hug him, to hold him close, and despite her better judgment, she pushed him those few inches forward, right within Regina's reach, and when Regina hugged him, his arms went around her on their own and he hung on tightly, the trepidation of moments ago forgotten.
It was a little painful to watch how completely Regina broke down, then — because whatever the truth may be, Emma had established a long time ago that the love Regina held for Henry was as real and vast, as concrete as the Earth itself.
The first sob broke through, then a second and a third, and then they kept coming until Henry's whole body was shaking from the force of Regina's sobs. "I'm sorry," she whispered again and again in between them. "I'm sorry, I'm so, so sorry, baby, my baby, I'm sorry." Her hands clutched him tightly to her and her lips landed light and slightly frantic kisses all over his head.
And despite the fact that she knew the truth now, Emma found it gratifying to watch Henry burrow deeper into the woman, hold on tighter to her hospital gown as she broke down. In the end it was his hands that wiped her tears and stilled her sobs. But he also didn't tell her that it was okay, because it really wasn't; it was the furthest from okay that things could've been. But for those few minutes, the three of them let it slide. For those few minutes it was almost like — home. A little boy between his two mothers, a family.
"Emma's taking me home," he told her hesitantly when she finally held him away from herself to look at him, stray tears still leaking out the corners of her eyes.
She nodded at him. "I know," she said, combing back his hair with her fingers, and Emma was a little startled by the lack of any malice or resentment in her voice; there was only sadness, and a quiet determination. It was hard to believe she was letting go so easily, even harder to reconcile this with the woman Emma knew her to be. "She'll take care of you. It's — better this way, you'll be safe, and you'll be with all the —" her voice choked up again. "The good people. You'll be happy, yes, you'll see," she said, like she was telling herself more than him. "You'll be happy."
She took a deep breath, trying to piece herself together. "Now," she took a hold of his chin. "You'll be a good boy, and behave around Emma and everyone else, all right?"
He nodded in reply.
"And remember to brush your teeth every night, and don't forget to wash behind your ears, okay? And make Emma or Miss Blanchard recheck your homework — especially maths — every day. Don't eat too many sweets, and — and—"
She faltered as another teary deluge overcame her.
"He needs a nightlight," she said to Emma. "And sometimes he falls asleep while reading, leaving his flashlight on and it gives him a headache in the morning. You'll have to be careful about that, Henry, okay?" She turned her eyes towards him again. "Just — just remember that I love you, and whatever you think of me, just take care of yourself, all right? For me. Please? Promise me?"
His only response to that was a strange sob-like sound as he hurled himself at her to bury his head in her chest again and she held him close, rubbing soothing circles on his back, whispering, "It will be okay, you'll see. It's okay."
In that moment Emma realized just how much Henry actually needed Regina in his life. She had been a constant for ten years — as long as he'd been alive — and Emma could not imagine what it would do to him, such a huge and sudden change, even if it was one he had been craving for months. He didn't know how to live his life without his mom — Evil Queen or not — and Emma was sure he didn't even realize how much of a difference it would make to him, not having Regina there. Emma sighed. It was going to be more difficult than she had imagined.
He finally let go of Regina to look at her as she held his hands in hers.
"Emma says you're going to have a baby?" He asked her.
Regina looked at her reproachfully, "You told him."
"He was worried you were gonna die of some magical cancer or something because of him, I had to tell him," Emma said. "And anyway, he's a smart kid. He'd have figured it out eventually."
Regina dismissed her explanation with a look so eloquent and so reminiscent of the mayor that Emma almost smiled for a moment, before she turned her attention back to Henry, dark eyes softening instantly. "Yes," she told him, holding his hands in both of hers. "I'm having a baby."
"But you're okay, right?" He insisted. "I mean — there was so much blood!" His face paled at the memory, and this time Regina's glare made Emma flinch.
"You let him see me like that?"
"I tried to stop him," Emma said defensively. "And it couldn't be helped, it's not like you extended us the courtesy of passing out in a pool of blood somewhere other than his room!"
"Oh, forgive me for losing consciousness and almost dying by my near-death son's bedside!" Regina snapped at her. "Miss Swan, if that's the finest display of parenting you can show—"
"Oh, cut the crap, Regina, okay! I did not come here for a lecture on parenting. I'm not the one who just almost killed my son!" She hadn't really intended to say that, and she regretted the words when she saw the color drain from Regina's cheeks, but it was too late to take them back, and anger still burned in her heart, so she went on. "I brought Henry to see you as promised and that's done, so we'll be going now."
She reached out to take Henry's hand and Regina's arms tightened around him reflexively, and Emma could see she was very close to pleading.
"I — just —"
But it was Henry who stopped her. "I'll come see you again, and the baby," he told her, causing her to tear up once more. Emma allowed her a final hug and a kiss before snatching Henry away and marching him out of the room, anger making her stride fast until she realized Henry was almost running to keep up with her, and slowed down.
"They're going to be okay, right, Emma?" The fear in his voice made her stop and look down at him. It seemed kind of weird to hear Regina talked about as 'they', and it also amazed her a little, his capability to care.
"Of course, she's — they're going to be okay, that's one strong baby, even Dr. Whale said that!" And when he continued to look worried, she draped an arm across his shoulder, rubbing it soothingly. "Also, we're gonna keep checking on them, okay? C'mon, now, let's get going. Mary Margaret's made all your favorite things!"
"She's your mom, you know," he said as they started walking again.
"Oh, Henry. Can we do this some other time, please? One step at a time, kid, okay? And that one's a bit too big to take right now."
"I had no problem with you being my mother," he pointed out. And Emma wanted to say that he wasn't abandoned and left to fend for himself by the road — or amongst redwood trees, if August was to be believed — or had to spend eighteen years being rejected, traded, crushed in the foster system, or had run-ins with cheating little bastards at an age when the world was an alien and scary place, and the first bit of faux-comfort meant so much, or had a baby in the jail because of that, or spent the next ten years living the life of a restless nomad, too afraid to lay down roots, too afraid to get attached, to love. But then she looked at his guileless face and wide, innocent eyes, and decided that there was still time for him to learn that lesson later, hopefully much later, preferably never; he didn't need to know it all yet. So she just shook her head.
"You're a superkid, Henry, that's why. Me, I got issues, and — oh, shi — shu — shoot!" Emma remembered something that made her stop in her tracks and smack herself on the forehead.
"What happened? And I know all the swear words so you don't need to censor them."
Emma gave him a hard look at that. "We're discussing that later. I forgot to ask Regina about your stuff — listen, kid," she handed him her keys. "Go sit in the Bug, okay? I'll be right there — no, don't worry, I won't let her burn me to a crisp, okay?"
She watched him go, a tiny figure in a crowd of people, until he passed out of the doors of the hospital, and then she took a deep breath and turned around to go talk to Regina.
This time when she reached Regina's room, the door was ajar and loud, angry voices could be heard right outside and Emma came to a sudden stop as she heard — Regina and Dr. Whale! What was his deal, anyway, Emma wondered. Why was he — oh, God, he couldn't be — could he? She leaned forward to listen despite herself.
"—I am the mayor!" came Regina's disdainful voice.
"I don't care if you are the President!" Dr. Whale said. "I cannot allow you to do this to the baby, or yourself."
"What does it matter to you?"
"It matters, because I'm a healer! I cannot condone when someone willingly opts for suicide, especially when another life is—"
"Oh, please, spare me the clichéd platitudes!"
"Clichéd or not — you're not getting out of this hospital in this condition. Absolutely not!"
"You cannot order me around!"
"Of course I can, and you will listen to me if you want to keep this baby and preserve your health."
"I will sue you!" Regina raged. "You cannot force me—"
"I can — I will. I can give an opinion regarding the state of your mental health as your doctor—"
"You wouldn't dare!"
"I would if it means saving lives, I would." His tone was resigned.
"You have to let me go home, I cannot stay here!"
"You have three choices, Madam Mayor. Either contact the father of the child and call him here so that I can be sure you are taken care of."
Wait — so he wasn't! Emma breathed in sharply.
"Contacting the — other parent is not an option," Regina's voice lost some of its fierceness.
Emma noticed how she didn't say 'father'.
"Well, then, call another person here, who I can be sure will be with you, taking care of you through the rest of your term. It is imperative."
"I — cannot!" Regina said.
"There must be someone you can call."
"There is no one, why is it so hard to believe?"
"Everyone has someone—"
"Obviously not, or we wouldn't be having this pathetic discussion!"
"Then I cannot let you go home by yourself. You have to stay here for the next seven months."
"I'm the mayor — I cannot—"
"You are also pregnant — take a leave of absence!"
"And the town would run itself, would it?"
"The town can wait, the town is not having a baby!"
"It cannot — let's just end this ridiculousness, you prescribe me whatever vitamins are required, and I'll take care of myself, Dr. Whale."
"With all due respect, Madam Mayor, you cannot even go to the loo by yourself."
"I can so go—" Regina began hotly but stopped herself.
Dr. Whale went on, his tone heated. "I leave you alone for a moment, and you go off running in corridors! Nurse Hanson was worried out of her mind."
"Well, she did not look particularly bothered when I left," Regina bit back. "In fact, if I remember correctly, she was snoozing happily at—"
The doctor cut in. "Madam Mayor, let us not make this about Nurse Hanson's slumbering habits or work efficacy, shall we? The fact remains that despite my express instructions, you not only ripped off your IV and monitoring devices, but disregarding any measures for the safety of your baby and yourself, you chose to leave this room—"
He overrode her.
"—despite the fact that I had reassured you that he was fine, and given my word that I would bring him to see you when he woke up!" He sounded like he was presenting his case in front of a jury. "Jeopardizing your health and the baby's life!"
"Let me tell you, Madam Mayor — and I say this with utmost certainty — that this time in case of any unfortunate incident, if anything were to happen, the chances of your survival are grim, but the chances of your baby's survival are non-existent, however strong it maybe. I cannot trust you to keep your word after the stunt you just pulled, I cannot allow you to kill yourself."
"This discussion isn't going anywhere," Regina said tiredly, and sighed.
"No, it isn't, now I suggest you make that call — to the father or another concerned person."
"I can't do that!"
"Swallow your pride—"
"There isn't anyone," Regina seemed frustrated to the point of tears. "And Em — and the other parent won't — why can't you just let me be? I don't need anyone to take care of me."
"Yes, you do, so either you call someone, or let us do our job!"
Emma didn't know what made her do it but she stepped into the room, Henry's backpack held in front of her like a shield, and in that moment she understood a little of how Frodo must have felt when he offered to take the ring.
"I'll do it," she said loudly, too loud, making the discussion in front of her stop, making Regina and Dr. Whale stare at her.
"I'll take care of her," Emma found herself saying, and could not find a reason why she was.
A/N: Also, I'm sorry about the promised angst, I see this is going somewhere a little bit different than I had thought initially. It's just that every time I start writing pregnant!Regina, my mind goes into fluff overdrive — literally. I cannot help it. I want a SQ baby so bad, it's mildly disgusting and decidedly creepy. I would give my right leg for it. Okay, maybe not my right leg, but a pinky toe, for sure. I'm not overly fond of my pinky toes, anyway. All they do is stick out and get stubbed. :/
Regina's scene with Henry was my favorite to write so far, and also the most complex, because their emotions for each other are so complicated. Anyway, hopefully the next chapter will finally get them out of the hospital, but can't say where it's gonna lead them. :P Can't wait to hear what you guys think of this one xD