A/N: Hello there! Come on, readers, we've almost reached 600 reviews! I can't believe it! You guys are so perfect! Thanks again! :3
And keep asking questions! We're not done yet!
A reader said: "Now all that's missing is a love for Marian... Whale maybe?"
You're forgetting that Viktor is dating Ruby is this story... But I'm working on it. I'll find her someone, I SWEAR!
Addie asked: "Thea was defeated by the Atlanteans? I'm a bit confused."
She was "deafeated" in the small fight they had with the gang and the Atlanteans. But she's still out there, waiting to attack.
Also, there seems to be more and more people addressing the fact that I'm making mistakes concerning the symptoms Regina has as she is pregnant. Sorry if I keep doing those, readers, but I've never been pregnant (yet) and so I'm trying to find my...data...anywhere I can. And apparently, the baby bump starts forming around the tenth week, or so I read. So sorry if that isn't accurate. :/
34. Ninety-sixth sunset
Regina was prepared to spend the evening alone. She was resolved to swallowing a whole pack of ice-cream in front of her television, no matter what the program, and wait for Henry to come home.
Her son had finally decided to ask Grace out, and if the prospect had made Jefferson cringe, Regina – and Snow with her – had not been surprised in the very least.
So, while her near-fourteen-year-old was out for a movie with his long-time friend/future girlfriend, she was alone for the evening, something that hadn't happened in a while.
Usually, there always was someone to stay with her, either Henry, Snow, Tink or Elsa, since she had come out of the hospital.
But that night, most of them were out on their own. Henry with Grace, Snow with her charming family, Tink and Elsa together, and she...was not invited.
In other times, she would not have minded, but now...things were different.
She was pouring herself a glass of lemonade to bring in front of the telly when she felt some sort of tug, something strange, near her stomach.
She knew it was far too early to feel her baby girl move, but that feeling she just had was too close to her womb for her to ignore.
She put the glass down and put both her hands on the small but growing baby-bump adorning her stomach, and leaned down as in confidence. "Is that you, darling? What are you doing in there?"
There was surge of energy cursing through her veins, and then Regina closed her eyes with the power of it, just as a hand outstretched before her and a cloud of blue appeared in-between her fingers, flying over in the room before it faded into nothingness.
Regina gasped, her eyes going to her belly once again.
It was impossible.
She called the first person she thought could help her in this situation, ironically the one person who couldn't care less about her pregnancy: Rumpelstiltskin.
The wizard arrived soon after in his own cloud of purple, smirk and tux in place.
"What is it you summoned me for, dearie?"
Regina was sitting at the counter, her hands shaking on her belly, and her eyes met his grey ones with utter concern. "Something happened earlier. I think it's the baby."
He arched a brow and walked to her, outstretching a hand but stopping just before he could touch her. "May I?" She nodded, and his fingers touched her skin softly.
Rumpel gasped and his hand jolted away from her as if he had been burnt.
He looked puzzled for a moment, then giggled in a parody of his scale-skinned self. "Well well... I did not expect that!"
Regina felt her blood froze at the almost greed in his voice. She knew what it meant with him. "What is it?"
"Well, I'm sure you suspected it after that little outburst earlier, but it seems your child has magic. And powerful magic at that. No wonder the Atlanteans want you to defeat the witch."
Regina stood, hand still protecting her stomach, and she felt the same surge of energy, albeit a little fainter, than earlier. "Why so soon? I'm not that far along!"
Rumpel seemed to ponder her words. "I may be mistaken, but your child seems to be reaching the point where it has a conscience. I think it – or she, I believe? – might be trying out her powers."
"But what for?"
"You yourself have lost some of your abilities, since you discovered you were pregnant, am I correct?"
Regina gritted her teeth but nodded. "I have yes. Why does it matter?"
"Well, I may been mistaken here too, but I think your daughter is channelling your powers to...how to say that...amplify her own."
Regina's fingers played on top of her chemise thoughtfully. "Is it dangerous?"
"If like earlier you can't control what magic she sends you, yes, it can be. But we both know you have dealt with far worse." He smirked. "I dared not believe that a child, born of True Love and having a magical mother on top of it, could be that powerful, but I was thankfully mistaken." He retreated in the room as if to leave in a more natural way than when he arrived, but stopped in his tracks, looking at her again. "I'd be very careful if I were you. If that Thea learns of your child's powers...she might come after you."
Regina nodded, a lump forming in her throat. "Understood."
Rumpel nodded again then, in a whirl of his hand, disappeared the same way he arrived.
Regina didn't have time to ponder what this all meant that the doorbell rang.
She knew for a fact that no one could be visiting that night, and that Henry would not be home until much later.
In her mind, only one person could come to her door at that hour, and she was not certain she was ready to see him after what she had just learnt.
But when a small voice called her name on the other side of the door, she realised who it was, and the urgency in the voice made her all but slam the door open.
"Roland? What are you doing here?"
The little boy's eyes were red with tears, and he didn't even answer before he launched himself in her legs, knocking the breath out of her.
Regina was thinking very fast. There was no one in the street, so Roland was alone. But why? Where were his parents? Had something happened? No, she could not think that... But she needed to be sure...
She let Roland cry a little more before she knelt in front of him and tried a comforting smile. "Hey... It's alright, I'm here. What happened? Are your Papa or your Mama ill?"
Roland sniffed and shook his little head. "I ran away."
Regina's eyes widened at that. With a final glance in the faintly lit street, she closed the door and took his coat off, putting it to the side. "What do you say to a hot-chocolate?"
Roland looked up, his eyes still red. "I'd like that."
She nodded and lead him to the kitchen, her thoughts buzzing.
Why had Roland run away from his parents?
He had told her once before that Robin and Marian fought often, and that he did not like it, but...to what extent that he'd leave?
Or maybe Marian had finally decided to leave her husband, and Roland had taken that toll on himself?
She had to know...
When he was safely tucked under a blanket, a mug of hot-chocolate in hand and his eyes finally retrieving their healthy white colour, Regina brought an arm over Roland's shoulders, a small smile tugging at her lips.
"Will you tell me what happened, darling?"
His big brown eyes looked up at her, and he looked down sadly. "Mama doesn't want to live with us anymore."
So her suspicions had been right... If Marian had told her almost a week prior that she'd leave the household and Robin behind, it had taken her longer to take the big step, hurting husband and son in the process.
"But she still loves you, you know that, don't you?"
Roland looked back at her, eyes wide. "She does?"
"Of course she does. She is leaving your Papa because they are fighting too often and know it upsets you."
"But...I don't want her to leave. I want to live with my Mama!"
Regina smiled softly. "I know, darling, I know... And you will. Listen to me," she took a deep breath, pondering quickly if it was her place or not to explain such things to a boy who was not her son, "sometimes, people that are married feel like...they don't love each other like they used to. Your Papa and your Mama still love each other, but not like before. So they fight. And your Mama doesn't want the fighting to hurt you, so she decided to go and have a home for herself...and you."
Roland's eyes had welled with tears again. "But I don't want to choose!"
Regina planted a kiss on his forehead. "And you don't have to. Look at Henry. He has me, and Emma. Sometimes he is here, sometimes he is with her."
She paused, looking as the kid pondered her words. "So I can do like Henry?"
"So you can do like Henry. And you'll be fine."
He nodded, sniffing his tears away.
There was a quiet silence during which Roland sipped the rest of his cacao, then, as he settled the mug down on the table, he turned to her, suddenly much more serious than what she was used to.
"Gina...why is Mama angry at you?"
Regina's eyes widened. "She is?"
He nodded. "She said that she was leaving because of you... Papa was not happy."
Regina sighed. So Marian chose to play the "other woman" card to leave her husband. Somehow it didn't seem like the right move...
She looked down at Roland again. "She knows I love your Papa very much."
Roland's eyes lit up. "So she doesn't want you to be sad like you were when she came back with Miss Emma?" Regina nodded, a soft smile on her lips as she realised her sadness had not remained unnoticed by this clever little man. "My Papa loves you too very much."
Regina looked up, hiding the tears welling in her eyes, but did not answer.
Two small arms wrapped around her shoulders and brought her down for the best hug she had received in a while.
She held onto Roland tight, revelling in the comfort he gave her for the past months, and she kissed his mop of hair as he pulled away, surprise written on his face.
His round eyes fell on her stomach, and with a frown, she watched as his tiny hands met her skin, and his fingers splayed on her baby bump.
Roland looked up at her with a grin. "You have a baby in you, Gina?"
Regina was about to answer when a question made its way in her mind. One to be addressed at once. "Have you seen many pregnant women, Roland?"
He grinned wider. "Mama took me to work once. There was a lady with a baby in her. But her belly was bigger."
Regina chuckled. He was so clever. She nodded. "Yes, Roland. I have a baby in me."
His smile never faltered as his head got down and his ear pressed against her skin, as if he was listening to a little voice that'd arise. He giggled. "I can hear."
"What do you hear?"
"Like your heart."
Regina grinned. "Yes, it is her heart."
She nodded. "It is a girl."
Roland was smiling wider and wider again, but their moment was cut short as the doorbell rang again, followed by a series of powerful knocks.
Regina sprang to her feet to open the door and fell nose-to-nose with a very concerned Robin.
"Regina! I'm sorry I'm disturbing, but-"
She raised her hands to stop his rant. "He is here." She moved to the side, revealing Roland who had followed her.
Robin sighed in relief and stooped to bring his son in his arms, his hand cradling his head as he closed his eyes. "Thank God! Why did you leave?"
Roland looked utterly shamed. "I...I-"
Regina crossed her arms. "He was in shock. As any other child would be in his situation."
Robin's eyes met hers, her blood starting to warm up under this gaze, and he bowed his head slightly. "Thank you for taking care of him."
She nodded back. "Anytime. You know that." She reached for Roland's coat and handed it to Robin, who took it gingerly.
He opened his mouth to say something, but stopped himself, instead sighing before turning around to leave. "Goodnight, Regina."
Next chapter: Roland lets something slip...