Disclaimer: I do not own Once Upon a Time or any recognizable characters

AN: This isn't SwanQueen, but I've always been interested on what Regina and Henry's relationship was like before he realized he was adopted and was given the book. There will be several stories like these posted in the near future, and if you have any ideas you would like to see come alive, leave your suggestion in a review or a PM, and I'll see what I can do. Happy reading!

Growing Up: Coming Home

Regina Mills paced her study furiously. The hardwood flooring beneath her Louboutin heel was sure to indent the pathway of her constant back and forth travelling. It was rare for the former Evil Queen turned Mayor to be nervous, but she could feel emotions welling up inside her that she had not felt since her teenage years and briefly during her reign as King Leopold's wife. Nervousness, fear. . .hope. It twisted her stomach into a series of knots.

She peered out the window looking over her walkway for what seemed to be the thousandth time that day. Nothing. Where was he? She continued her pacing, preparing herself for the worst. Perhaps it was just a carefully crafted prank on the expense of the Mayor. She wouldn't put it past the former deal maker to pull the wool over her eyes just to see her suffer.

It had been curious when Mr. Gold mentioned the idea of Regina adopting just months prior. He toyed on her emotions by constantly reminding her how big and lonely her mayoral mansion got whenever she returned home at night, and perhaps a child of her own could ease the loneliness. She had initially scoffed at the idea, but as she traversed the streets of her town seeing children with their (assumed) parents, she felt a missing piece in her soul that could very well be filled by a child.

Making up her mind, Regina had contacted the pawnbroker and a deal was quickly struck. It seemed almost too easy, but then again, she had complete control over her town, so why wouldn't it be? She continued her pace, thinking the worse of the man she had made the deal with. If he wasn't good on his word –

A knock sounded on her front door.

Regina inhaled sharply as she halted her movements. Quickly straightening her outfit, she almost ran to the door, calming her final steps to not seem too eager. With a turn of the knob, there standing on her porch was the pawnbroker with an unusually wicked smirk plastered on his face. The smile went unnoticed to the Mayor as her gaze focused on the blue blanket wrapped around the little baby boy. Her little baby boy.

"Is that him?" She asked, almost breathless.

"I should hope so unless I've got the wrong lad," Mr. Gold said as he gently handed over the 3-week old baby to Regina.

Her focus continued to remain on the baby as the giant smile slowly forming on her face continued to grow. "He's beautiful."

The boy squirmed in her arms in an attempt to find a better groove. The Mayor rocked him gently as she made her way inside the house, leaving the door open for Mr. Gold to follow. Her heart leaped when the bundle in her arms nuzzled closer into her warmth.

"The paperwork seems to be in order, Mayor Mills. Just sign right here to notify you have the babe now, and I'll take care of the rest," the older man said pulling out a piece of paper from his jacket pocket.

Regina looked up scowling at how like a business transaction Mr. Gold was making it seem. This was much more precious than one of Gold's deals. She looked down at the baby again and immediately felt the emotions swirling around her increase tenfold. This was her chance to finally have a family of her own, to love and be loved. The fear that she would once again be denied her chance of happiness dwindled as the baby in her arms smiled in his sleep.

"Today, Ms. Mills," Mr. Gold said impatiently. He smirked at the glare the Mayor threw his way and offered to carry the baby.

"Not on your life," Regina snarled as she expertly maneuvered the babe to her left arm and signed the adoption form with her right.

As soon as the paper was back in Mr. Gold's possession, Regina was carefully inspecting her new son, counting his toes and fingers and pressing kisses to his tiny palm.

It was strange for Mr. Gold to see Regina so affectionate. He had been aware of her little affair with the stable boy and knew that once upon a time, the fabled Evil Queen was capable of love, but to see her with this newborn, caressing his face so softly and looking at him with so much love, made him grin inwardly at the events that would eventually unfold. It would hurt, and it would hurt her bad, but she didn't need to know that. There was a small matter he needed to deal with first.

"He is quite handsome," Mr. Gold commented. "Have you picked a name?"

"Henry," Regina answered reverently with no hesitation.

"Henry." Mr. Gold repeated, the makings of a smile twitching on his face. With a nod, he limped out of the mansion leaving Regina and Henry alone.

As soon as the older man left the house, Regina began swaying softly and humming a tune one of her nannies used to sing to her as a child. She danced her way to the stairs and was careful to make sure she didn't miss a step in case anything happened to the precious bundle in her arms. Moving past her master bedroom, she shouldered open the nursery she had converted her spare bedroom into.

Hues of blue striped walls lit up the usually black and white house. Horses and knights bordered the ceiling and the floor while a castle was prominently displayed on the main wall overlooking Henry's crib. Letting the baby sleep in his crib wasn't an option to Regina since she refused to let him go. Instead, she twisted the mobile above the crib allowing it to play the soft melody of Mozart as she took a spot in the rocking chair in the corner beside the window.

"I have been waiting for you for a long time, sweetie." The Mayor cooed, stroking his face with a finger. "I'm going to protect you, and keep you safe, and love you so much."

She kissed his head, bringing him closer to her face. "I won't hurt you."

Regina was content to just sit in the rocking chair as Henry slept until he started to fuss. The peaceful quietness that once surrounded the nursery was now consumed by an irritable cry. It jarred Regina out of her blissful daze and panic immediately set in her bones.

She stood and rocked him gently, trying to recall the many books she had read on parenting and children the months prior. Her mind whipped through the possible problems. Was he too tightly wound? Was he sick? Oh God, if he was sick. Suddenly her mind clicked to a more realistic solution.

Crossing the room, she gently laid the crying baby on top of the changing table. His wails became louder as soon as he was out of Regina's warmth. For Regina, however, the cries seemed to be like a timer and an act of judgement. The longer Henry was crying, the worse of a mother she was.

She quickly removed him from his swaddle and removed his newborn onesie. Diaper, wipes, baby powder and cream ready, she changed his diaper in record time with only one fumble when the boy curled away at the sudden cold of being naked. The blue blanket in which he arrived in was swaddled tightly around him again, but when Regina replaced him on her chest, his crying persisted.

Food. The Mayor mentally rolled her eyes at her own idiotic forgetfulness. "Hush, now. Momma's going to get you some dinner."

Traveling down to the kitchen with Henry in her arms, Regina warmed some formula and continued to rock the sobbing boy while they waited. The tune she hummed to him before seemed to calm him down significantly, but the hungry boy still whimpered every now and then. Finally, she grabbed the bottle and went back to his nursery, settling down in the rocking chair before she gently pressed the nipple to Henry's mouth.

She exhaled relieved when he started suckling and calmed down. And to think, the Mayor almost panicked. She smiled softly as her son guzzled down the milk, and within ten minutes, he had finished his bottle. She nuzzled his face and muttered against his cheek, "Such a good boy, Henry."

She smiled, mimicking the one on her son's face when she pulled away. She smiled at the thought. She was a mother now. She had always wanted to be one, and here she was with a newborn in her arms staring up at her with so much love and hope in his eyes. For the first time since Henry had been home with her, he opened his eyes and stared up at his mother. Green eyes met brown, and Regina couldn't contain the ache in her chest as she finally reveled in her happily ever after.