Two years later…
Emma sighed as she rubbed her small, expanded stomach. She couldn't believe Neal had talked her into having another baby. She'd only ever wanted one – and David was enough of a handful right now with his 'terrible two's' stage, and tendency to want to explore every single inch of the palace and grounds, which led to stresses Emma never thought she would experience.
"Emma, is everything okay?" she heard her mother ask from behind her.
Turning to the other woman, Emma smiled a little and nodded. "Yeah… Mom, I'm fine. Just… I guess still in shock that we're having another baby."
Her mother gasped. "Emma… you just called me…"
Mom. She had. It was the first time she'd called the ebony-haired woman in front of her 'Mom' without having called her 'Mary', 'Mary-Margaret', or some combination with Mom randomly added into it.
"Mom…" she whispered, embracing the woman. "God, that feels so good to say…"
Her mother began sniffling and Emma could tell she was crying. "It feels so good to finally be able to hear it from you, Emma…"
Emma smiled. She had a family. The family she'd always dreamed of – parents, a husband, and children.
Okay, so she may have pictured siblings as well, but considering she was twenty, and only ten years younger than her mother and father… she was okay with being an only child. As long as she had people that loved her.
Which she did. She finally, finally did.
"Are you sure you're alright?" her mother asked. "You seem a little pale."
Emma nodded. "Sorry… I've just been.. having issues with morning sickness today. That's why Neal and… and Dad… took David out riding today… for a couple hours at least." She didn't want David to see her like that.
"Oh sweetheart… I'm sorry. Are you sure you're alright?"
Emma nodded. "Don't worry. It's going away."
Her mother looked up, into the distance. "Red's supposed to be on her way over with Graham. Have you heard any horses yet?"
Emma shook her head. "Not yet, sorry…"
Her mother smiled. "I'm sure they'll be here soon."
The air around them was no longer tense, nor was it an air of a mentor-student relationship. Now… Emma had a feeling this was a mother-daughter relationship. Finally.
"Hey Mom…?" Emma said softly.
"Yes, Emma?" the woman replied.
Emma bit her lip, not sure how to broach the subject. "Would you like to… help me with the baby's… nursery and picking out names?"
The smile that graced her mother's face made Emma's own heart light up with joy. She couldn't wait to get started.
"I'd love to, Emma…" Snow said. "Your father can build a crib… like he did for you."
Emma had seen that crib… though it was one of the few things that looked better in the book than in person, considering the crib had been destroyed when the curse hit. It infuriated her more than anything that her parents weren't able to use it, that she had to grow up thinking that her parents abandoned her on the side of a highway, hating her and the fact that she existed.
She had to breathe out her anger, and her mother hugged her. She didn't want to think about that, because her parents were here, they loved her, they wanted her… and she knew they were never going to let her go.
"Thanks, Mom…" Emma said softly, a neigh being heard somewhere in the distance. "Someone's coming."
Emma looked up with a smile as she noticed Red and Graham riding toward the castle, the woman's baby bump very clear, her face contorted in discomfort. Emma smiled a little in sympathy. She'd never ridden a horse while pregnant with David, but she couldn't imagine it was very comfortable.
Graham helped Red down from the horse and smiled. "Greetings, ladies."
"Hello Graham, Red…" Snow said with a smile, going to her friend and hugging her.
"You're looking well, Red. Are you getting anxious about the baby?" Emma asked.
Red nodded ."Very. We've got everything ready… it's just a waiting game now."
Emma smiled a little. She knew that feeling well. "Sorry Red… but don't worry. It'll be here before you know it."
"Yeah, I know. We've only got a couple of weeks to go."
Emma laughed. "That really doesn't mean anything, Red. You could go at any moment."
Red let out a whine that sounded more canine-like than human. "Are you kidding me?"
"Sorry Red, but she's right," Snow said. "If she hadn't been earlier than Doc thought, she never would've been able to break the curse. I'm surprised Granny didn't tell you that part of the deal."
The Curse wasn't something that was spoken of often anymore, due to the terrible, unhappy lives people had to live under Regina's rule.
"Well she did," Red sighed. "I was hoping she was kidding."
"No such luck, I'm afraid," Emma chuckled, hugging her. "Don't worry."
"MAMA!" a familiar, loud voice shouted from the forest. Emma looked up, spotting her son on the horse, Neal behind to him, doing the actual steering of the animal. She couldn't see her father, but she could tell that he was behind Neal and David's horse.
"Hi sweetheart," Emma said as they stopped in front of her, the woman taking David into her arms, the boy wiggling and squirming in delight. "Did you have fun with Daddy and grandpa?"
David nodded eagerly. "Yes! Papa and Grandpapa got into a sword fight! Grandpapa won."
Emma and Snow laughed as the elder David and Neal got off their horses.
"I let him win. He's old you know, Davey," Neal teased.
"But Grandpapa said you were old, Papa!"
"Oh did he now?"
David nodded eagerly. "He diiiiid!"
Her father didn't seem to be paying attention, deep in conversation with her mother. Emma chuckled. "Both of them are old, aren't they, David?"
Again, her son nodded. "Yessss."
Neal gave her a pout. "Emma! You're supposed to be on my side!"
Emma grinned. "I'm not on anyone's side when it comes to this," she told him with a wink. "I like letting my little boy have fun."
"Oh come on Emma!"
Emma merely shook her head, taking David into the palace. "So little boy… I think it's time for you to have a bath after that ride."
David squealed, squirming hard in her arms. "No bath!"
"Ohhh yes!" Emma replied, taking him into the bath room, grateful that the fairies had figured out how to do indoor plumbing in this world, like they'd had back in the Land Without Magic.
David struggled again, wanting to get away from her as water began filling up the tub. "But Mommy!"
"I don't want a bath."
"I know you don't. But I'll bet Grandma is going to make Grandpapa and Papa take a bath too," she replied, managing to wrestle David from his clothing. "I'll make this quick, David. Promise."
"Emma?" she heard her father call.
"In here, Dad," she called back, holding David tight as she washed him down. "Just trying to David up a little bit."
Her father was grinning as he stepped into the room. "Red's gone into labor."
She questioned why he was smiling at something like this considering this was something painful and horrible for a woman to go through.
"And this is something to smile at because…?" she questioned with a quirk of an eyebrow.
"Because it's not my hand that's going to be squeezed until it's broken."
Emma stared at him as she pulled David out of the bath. "Really?" she asked. "That's the only reason?"
Her father shook his head. "No. Because their baby will be the first one born in our world in twenty years."
The past two years had been filled with war and rebuilding. Children weren't exactly on anyone's mind. However… once they'd finally finished making their world safe again, people couldn't keep their hands off each other.
She and Neal included.
"Yeah… it will, won't it?" she said with a slight smile as she re-dressed David into some clean clothes.
"Yours will be the first royal born here in twenty years. After yourself, of course…" her father said. "Still can't believe I'm old enough to be a grandfather."
Emma grinned and tilted her head. "You think that's weird, try picturing being only ten years younger than your parents. That doesn't exactly happen every day."
Her father let out a sigh. "Yeah. That's true. But maybe I would've had more time with them if that had been the case."
"Oh Dad…" Emma said, hugging him. "If it helps… Neal and I were talking about names last night… we decided to name the baby Ruth if it's a girl… after your mother. Ruth Eva Swan-Cassidy."
He smiled. "Thank you Emma…" His lips pressed against her head. "You are the most remarkable person."
Emma shook her head. "No… I'm not, Dad. I'm just Emma."
"'Just' Emma? Sweetheart, you saved our lives. You broke the curse, and you helped us get home. If that's not remarkable, I don't know what is," her father told her with a smile. "Plus… you'll inherit the kingdom one day."
The words had shivers shooting down her spine. The thought of running a kingdom was something she tried to avoid, but… she knew she couldn't avoid it forever. After all, this was what she was born into. It was her birthright… and something she would be trained to since birth if her parents hadn't been forced to give her up thanks to Regina's stupid curse.
"I know but… it's just hard to think that I could so something so… incredible and suddenly gain a family and group of friends that loved me, when all my life I thought my parents abandoned me."
"We never would have," her father murmured. "Not if we didn't think it was your best chance."
Emma nodded. "I know that now. Thanks for giving me my best chance, Dad."
"Anything for you, Emma. Anything."
And, six months later, Princess Ruth Eva Swan-Cassidy of the Northwest Kingdom was born.