A/N: Some happiness and angst up ahead, all in one chapter! You've been warned!
Also, to all those who are shipping Mad Queen because of me... ^^ Prepare yourselves. Regina and Jeff will spend a lot of time together in the foreseeable future. ;)
And keep asking your questions! Always happy to answer them!
TiaLuna asked: Is the baby bump just invisible, but people can still feel it if they touch it, or will it be completely undetectable?"
Completely undetectable. Although those knowing it's there will see it.
NejaF asked: "When will Robin find out?"
Not until much later... And he won't be pleased. ;)
Addie asked: "That baby's got super magic powers, doesn't it?"
First, as I said yesterday, stop reading my bloody mind... ^^ You're guessing most of my plot as you go, really is freaky. XD But yes, the baby has super magic powers. As to why and what, we'll know a little further down the line.
lulu2613 asked: "Why wasn't Belle there?" (when Regina announced the big thing)
Well, Regina doesn't quite trust her, and I think Rumpel would keep the secret, even if, eventually, the librarian might find out on her own.
14. Fifteenth dawn
The following morning, Regina was content. Her morning sickness had come back to her, but now that she knew what had provoked it, it was no more than a disturbing thought that would pass with time.
That morning, she took a particularly long time to dress and make herself look presentable.
If not for someone else, for herself.
Henry had decided to go back to Emma's the following week, now that Regina was better and that she had found something to fight for.
He had greeted her with a kiss on the cheek and a hand on her stomach, as well as one of the biggest grins she had seen on his face.
If this made her son happy, then she would be too.
When she walked him to the bus stop, Regina felt the inhabitants' eyes on her, and she knew why. As well as being dressed as if for a date – the flowing red dress she wore that day was far too thin for a chill like the one storming over Storybrooke – she knew the look on her face was no more that of a broken-hearted woman.
But she'd be damned if she told anyone why.
Jefferson and Grace were already there, and as they had soon taken a habit to it, Regina and the Hatter sat on a bench, watching as their children talked animatedly to each other. Regina also noticed that Grace had cut her chair shorter and told Jefferson about it.
He shrugged with a smirk. "She wanted to look more her age." He winked at her. "But I think she's taken a shine to your Prince."
Regina chuckled. "Who wouldn't?"
"Seriously, Regina. If your Henry harms my Grace, you'd better hide him well."
"You don't have to worry. I'll be the first to skin him if he did."
Jefferson smiled, and they resumed their peaceful waiting.
The bus arrived early, and after shooing their teenagers off to school, Jefferson offered Regina to buy her a coffee, since she wasn't due to work that day.
She accepted with a smile, and accompanied him to Granny's.
Jefferson, being the gentleman he once had been, placed a hand on the small of her back as they passed the door, and time froze.
In the same booth they had been the last time, sat the Hoods.
Robin's eyes, as if pulled in by a secret magnet, met Regina's for a split second before she averted her own, keeping the smile she had on her lips before she entered.
But she could feel his eyes fly over her and see Jefferson's hand on her, and her smile, and things clicking under his skull.
She would have smirked at the thought.
Jealous of the Hatter? If only he could be, if only it could claw at his heart the way it did when she saw his pretty little wife interact with him... If only...
As the last time, Roland ran to her, his little face smudged with chocolate.
The Queen gestured Jefferson to go forward while she stooped low, chuckling. "Roland, you have been eating like a baby pig again."
He pouted. "But I like Nutella."
She rolled her eyes. "Who doesn't? But it doesn't mean you have to put so much on your face! Who's washing the clothes afterwards, uh? Your mommy."
He made a face. "You are angry with me?"
"I could never be. But let's see." She whirled her hand in the air, and his face was suddenly free of any remaining trace of brown. "There. As good as new."
He grinned, planted a kiss on her cheek, and went back to his parents.
Her eyes followed him, and once she saw what had happened as she was focussed on Roland, she frowned.
Sometime along the line, probably when she had cast her spell, Marian had tried to stand, probably to stop the Evil Queen from harming her son. Robin had stopped her with an arm around her waist, and now, both spouses were looking at her, wide eyed.
She nodded in respect, her eyes never meeting those, fleeting, of the archer, and then she turned on her heels and joined Jefferson in the booth he had chosen.
"That was quite the show you pulled there."
She sighed. "That was not my intention."
"I know." He smirked. "What about a hot chocolate for you then? Coffee? Not so good."
She made a face and lowered her voice. "What part of 'I'm not telling anyone' didn't you understand?"
He chuckled. "Alright, I get it. A decaf for you then."
Regina sat back down, crossing her arms in victory.
About an hour after they had arrived, Robin, Marian and Roland left the diner. The little boy sauntered to Regina's side to kiss her once again and tell her he had eaten the rest of his breakfast carefully, and she congratulated him with a smile that didn't quite reach her eyes.
Her gaze fell to Robin's fingers entwined with his wife's, and she gritted her teeth.
Their eyes met for the briefest second, and she could have sworn he snapped his back to the door as if burnt.
"I have to go. I'm meeting with Elsa this morning."
Jefferson's brow furrowed. "Why? Is there something wrong?"
Regina shook her head. "No, nothing. I just promised to give her a tour of the town."
"Oh, I see..."
To the pause he made, Regina understood the latent words behind the silence, and she smirked. "I would have asked you to come, but I rather prefer having her full attention to myself..."
The Hatter's eyes widened, then he chuckled. "You are a right bitch, Regina."
"Unfortunately for you, I also know both parties quite well..."
"There is nothing going on. I just...she's so sad all the time, it reminds me of myself back in Wonderland. Far from home and those I loved..."
"Empathy. Oh, Jefferson, how changed you are..."
He snorted. "Not thanks to you."
"I take it as a compliment."
She smirked again, then stood, greeting him for the day.
Yes, on mornings like that, Regina almost felt as if she was back in the Enchanted Forest, before everything happened.
Before she became who she was for so long. Before she did everything she could to kill Snow...
When she had already met Rumpel, Elsa, Jefferson and Tinkerbell...
That thought alone sent a wave of guilt and pain through her.
What would have happened if she had gone through that tavern door all those years ago?