A/N: This chapter, I think, answers what some of you have been addressing in the early hours of this story: how will Regina act with Marian? The muse came back for a few hours during which I produced the most I could. ;)
Keep asking questions, don't be shy, I don't bite...much. :p
RhizOneill, Galxychld, Vampress2802 and most of you asked: "When will Robin find out Regina is pregnant with his child?"
A little further along the line. When someone will notice and won't be able to shut up about it. ;)
And thank you all for the kind words and the love. It means a lot to me! 3
24. Forty-eighth dawn
Regina had trouble sleeping that night. She kept picturing Kida's face in her dreams and her foreign words that sounded like threats on all that she loved in this life and the other.
So when her eyes snapped open at merely five in the morning, she took it as her cue to get up and forget about sleep.
She poured herself a cup of tea and sipped it absent-mindedly, her hand going regularly to her stomach. Her thoughts often went to that first encounter with the Atlanteans, when their leader – Kida, now that she knew her name – had touched her belly and had seemed to like when she felt.
What would they want with her unborn child?
As often, whenever Regina thought about the life growing inside of her, she thought about its father.
Robin had been there for her the previous day, not thinking for a second before saving her. And he had seemed so pained, so relieved, when he had seen her alright.
But had had to leave her again, for his son was ill.
Her heart hurt a little at the thought of little Roland ill. But he didn't need her, had never needed her, not really, and certainly not since his mother had returned from the dead.
This brought another thought, one of the evening before her abduction, when Roland had spoken about his parents' latest feud.
Robin had left his family early, stating he was off to fight 'baddies', when instead he had spent the early morning alone at Granny's. What could that mean? Was he truly as unhappy as she was with this all ordeal? Was it the cause of his proximity to her, that he could not get himself to forget her?
She shook her head and put the cup down. No, she could not think those things.
It didn't matter.
When six rang, Regina could not pace any more in her living-room, so she grabbed her coat and decided for an early visit to Granny's, then maybe a quick hello to Henry before he went to school from Emma's new flat by the docks.
Then perhaps, she'd go visit baby Neal.
But when she opened the door and went to lock it behind her, a voice erupted from the pavement, making her jump slightly.
"Good morning, Regina."
She whirled around, her hand going to the heart, then rolled her eyes upon seeing who was her visitor. "What the hell, Jefferson! You scared the hell out of me!"
He chuckled darkly, fingers still fidgeting with a thread and needle – really, who did that at six in the morning? – and his blue eyes met hers in a fairly serious manner. "Sorry 'bout that. But you aren't walking through this town alone anymore."
Regina rolled her eyes again and went to pass him, but he followed, of course. "I can fend for myself."
"You forget they managed to numb your powers."
At that she stopped. He had a point. So she turned to him, suddenly gritting her teeth. "Whose idea was this?"
He smirked. "Who do you think?" He paused, letting her ponder, and when Snow's name was on her lips, he answered his own question. "Your boyfriend."
Regina eyes widened. "Robin?"
"Who else?" He paused again. "Oh, but Snow White was very annoyed she hadn't time to voice it herself, apparently." Another pause. "We all agreed with him."
"All meaning?" She started walking again, heart throbbing in her chest. He wanted her safe still, and he didn't even know about the baby.
"Snow, Charming, Emma, Tink, Elsa and myself. Hook was the only one to emit a veto. But that's not surprising."
"No, it's not." She smiled a little. "So I really do have friends."
"I know, weird, right?" He chuckled, and she soon followed. "Anyway, where are we heading?"
"Granny's. I need myself to socialise a bit."
"Good thinking, Madam Mayor."
Granny's wasn't crowded when they arrived. Only a few lonely customers were already sat, including Leroy, who was so tired that he didn't even bother sending Regina a harsh word as he usually did upon seeing her in his vicinity.
Regina and Jefferson went to sit in their by then usual booth – and it was strange for her to realise that, indeed, they two had started some sort of pattern – and ordered two cups of tea. The Hatter looked so british it didn't even surprise anyone anymore. He only lacked the accent, to be honest.
They were in the middle of a conversation about their offspring – Grace had apparently made it clear to her father that Henry was 'only a friend' but had started dressing far more feminine anyway – when the door leading to the rooms opened and revealed a part of the Hood family.
Roland, true to his habit, ran to Regina, who smiled widely and made him sat on her lap. "Are you better darling?"
He nodded, his little nose red. "I only got a cold."
"Oh, a cold! But I bet a little cold can't win over you, fierce warrior you are!"
He chuckled delightedly, then looked over to his mother who had been standing there awkwardly, witnessing the woman who had almost ended her life acting so cosy with her son.
Regina too looked at her, and with the price of a very difficult effort, she smiled at the other woman. "Would you join us?" Jefferson almost choked in his tea and she sent him a harsh glance.
Marian looked uncomfortable to say the least, but after seeing her son was excited about this breakfast in the Queen's company, she nodded. "Thank you." She sat next to Jefferson, her eyes still locked to Roland who had started telling Regina how he had learnt how to count to twenty at school.
The Queen failed to notice the pained look on the other woman's face.
It probably was the most awkward moment in all of Regina's life.
Roland took every opportunity given to him to talk to her and tell her about the marvels he did everyday and how he missed her and wanted to go for an ice cream with his Papa like they used to, but every now and then, Regina's gaze would meet the woman's across from her and she would frown upon seeing the conflict there.
Surely Marian knew by then that Regina and Robin's relationship had been more than friendly. Surely she did. But even if she tried to convince herself the archer had told his wife, the hurt and painful surprise in the maid's eyes told her that she knew nothing.
And that everything she learnt was a blow to the heart.
So for once, Regina felt for the woman.
At approximately seven, the front door opened again, revealing this time Snow and David, minus their newborn.
The princess's eyes widened when she saw Regina's company, but she sat nonetheless beside her and Roland and enquired on the little one's health.
Marian was by then squeezed between Jefferson and David who started an animated discussion about the quality of coffee and tea at Granny's, and she was by then lost, forgotten from all conversation.
So Regina took another deep breath and forced herself to look at her, and address her, if not friendly, at least civilly.
"So...I guess it is hard to adjust to this town and time. How are you coping?"
Marian met her eyes, slightly surprised by the look of it. She stammered "Uh, I-I-I have help. Roland knows a lot about this world. He teaches me."
Snow met Regina's eyes, emphasising the use of 'Roland' instead of 'Robin'.
The queen turned back to her for now ally. "But I bet the shower is an experience you appreciate."
At that Marian tried a small smile, albeit still shy, obviously still considering Regina for the Evil Queen she once was. "Yes, that is a very agreeable thing you've invented."
"Oh, it wasn't us, but indeed, it is really agreeable."
Snow turned to her friend, sensing the conversation to be at a dead end of boring. "Are you coming to see Neal today?"
"I thought I might. Where is he by the way?"
Snow smiled. "Doc and Happy wanted a go at it."
"And you trust the dwarves with your child? I'm impressed." She smirked.
Snow swatted her on the arm. "Doc brought Emma to life, should I remind you!"
Regina smiled more fondly. "I know you like them. I just don't."
"Good you don't have a say in the matter then." She took a sip of her coffee and smirked.
Roland then tugged on Regina's scarf from his perch on her lap, his big brown eyes wide. "Gina? Is Neal your baby too?"
The Queen shook her head. "No, darling. I'm his godmother."
"What is a godmother?"
"A person that cares a lot for the child and takes care of him when his parents are not there."
He nodded thoughtfully, then looked over at his mother. "Mama?" her eyes met his, "can Gina be my godmother?"
Marian gasped softly, and Regina sent her a sorry smile. Both women remained silent, but thankfully, Roland was soon distracted by the newest addition of the diner, his father.
The temperature seemed to have dropped a few degrees more when Robin's eyes fell on the table and its composition. His blue gaze first went to Regina, then snapped at his wife as if he was afraid of having being caught.
"Are you ready for school, little man?"
Roland nodded and sloppily kissed Regina's cheek before jumping off the booth and hurrying to his father who was carrying his little school bag. He tugged on his father's sleeve as if wanting to reveal a secret. "Gina is my godmother now."
Robin's eyes met Regina's, who tried a smile to tell him her apologies. He smiled back, genuinely this time. "Is she now?" he chuckled. "I bet she will be a very good godmother to you." He then nodded at the table. "I am sorry if I can't join you. This one needs to go to school." And he exited the diner, Regina's gaze following him until he had disappeared on the other side of the door.
"You really love my son."
The Queen's gaze snapped back to the woman facing her, and she nodded slowly. "I do. He is easy to love."
Marian seemed sad, as if she had understood something she didn't want to know. She stood, and David let her pass. "I will leave you now. Thank you for the company."
Snow stopped her. "Where are you going? Are you not waiting for your husband?"
Marian shrugged. "He never comes back to me. I think he'd rather go to work."
"But...you don't have anything to do!"
"No. But I'm used to it. Being the wife."
Regina frowned. Her feminist side sprang up before she could stop herself. "I thought you were some kind of nurse back then."
Marian didn't ask her how she knew, merely nodded. "Yes, I was."
"Then you can be useful. Go to the hospital, offer your services to Dr Whale. He'll find you a job, and you can make your own destiny." She paused. "Tell him I've sent you."
Marian's eyes widened, then, slowly, carefully, she smiled. "Thank you very much, Your Majesty."
Regina shook her head. "Call me Regina, please."
Marian nodded then took her leave.
Snow's fingers closed around Regina's. "I'm proud of you."