They were making all the kids at the school go home early due to the freak snow storm. To keep things from getting absolutely chaotic, the teachers were instructed to keep all their students in their respective classrooms until their parents came to get them. The roads were said to be getting very hazardous though, so not many parents were able to make it all the way to the school.
Henry was fairly used to this ordeal- he wasn't scared. Maine was unpredictable like this on a regular basis during the end of winter. He just did what he always did, which was talk to his friends about video games, occasionally pulling out his Nintendo and playing something mindless. Still, this was Roland's first time in a situation like this. Henry asked his teacher if he could go see how he was doing, but she told him that nobody could leave, not without a parent. So he sat back down at his desk, trying to take his mind off his little brother.
After an hour or so passed, about three quarters of his classmates had left with their mom or dad. Henry didn't want to start worrying, but he did anyways. His mother always came and got him as soon as she could- he told himself the roads were probably really bad. Then he remembered that his mom couldn't drive. But he had another mother and two fathers available to pick him up too; where were they?
Through the only window in the classroom, all that could be seen was pure white. Henry couldn't remember the last time he had seen the weather so horrendous. The classroom was beginning to get boring, mostly because all of his friends had left. Their moms offered to take Henry home, but he shook his head and told him that his mom was coming. He worried about Roland more and more as he sat there in his desk, wondering how he was handling all of it.
His teacher finally offered him her cellphone after there were but five kids left in the room. Thankfully, he had memorized all of his family member's numbers. Some of the calls went through, and others only had static on the other end. But none of them answered.
"They're probably just stuck on the road..." He attempted, though that excuse was getting old.
His teacher didn't know what to say, so she gave him a comforting smile and went back to grading papers. Henry set his head down on his desk, feeling something form at the pit of his stomach- maybe it was just anxiety- but it didn't feel good at all. The boy stayed like this until he heard a rushed voice call out his name.
Popping his head up, he was surprised to see none other than Mother Superior standing at the door, her baby blue shawl speckled with snow.
"Mother Superior... What are you doing here?" Henry asked, "did my mom send you to pick me and Roland up?"
Standing up and fetching his backpack, he made his way to her, only to see urgency in her face.
"Henry... We got a call around an hour ago from Emma- your mom- saying that your mother started having labor contractions. That's all we know. She's having the baby, if she hasn't already."
The twelve year old's face paled substantially. "What do you mean you don't know? Isn't she at the hospital now?"
Blue glanced down at the boy sympathetically. "The call came from Granny's diner. They weren't at the hospital when I was there twenty minutes ago, so as far as we know they're still at the diner. The traffic is all jammed up outside Henry, nobody's been able to drive in this storm. There isn't any way to get her to the hospital-"
"There has to be a way!" Henry exclaimed, panic filling his vision, "she had to be okay, so does my sister!"
"I know, I know, we're doing everything we can do get down there." She told him, putting her hands firmly on his shoulders. She had no intentions of telling him that there was no possible way to get there, except by walking.
"I walked here, and we're both going to walk back- the hospital isn't far from here at all."
"But what about Roland?" Henry asked immediately, "he has to come too."
Blue sighed. "Nova is coming to get him, but she's running a little late- and there's no way to get a hold of her-"
"I'm not leaving my brother, he needs me!" Henry shouted, wrenching himself from her grip on his shoulders and taking off down the hallway. Overhead, the lights flickered dangerously, threatening to stay off for good. Blue was yelling his name, but he wasn't listening. He kept running and running until he reached Roland's classroom in the preschool wing of the school. Opening the door carelessly, he ignored the teacher's protests and took hold of his brother's hand, pulling him back out into the hallway. The child burst into tears when he saw his older brother, wrapping his arms around his middle and squeezing as hard as his little arms could.
"Hey, its okay, I'm here now," Henry soothed, "Blue is going to take us to the hospital right now."
Roland tear filled eyes looked up at his inquisitively. "Why?"
He took a shaky breath. "Because... Mom's having the baby now."
The detail of her not actually being there was spared from being told.
"Little sister?" He asked, trying hard to keep himself from sniffling.
Henry shot him a small smile. "Yeah, our little sister."
By then, Mother Superior had caught up to them. "Boys, we need to go."
There wasn't another word said- the trio simply took off down the desolate hallway.
"Is it still snowing outside?" Granny asked Emma, who was feverishly pacing back and forth the small room that contained a small refrigerator and extra food storage.
"Uh, yeah, last time I checked," the blonde muttered, just about ready to take her chances outside- she figured it was better than hearing Regina moan every few seconds.
"Are you okay?" Granny asked again, while setting several blankets down on the ground and instructing Regina to shift onto them.
"Am I okay?" Emma repeated, "yeah, I'm perfectly fine. Just trapped in a diner during a snowstorm," she replied bitterly, "with a woman who's about to give birth all over your clean floor!"
"Shut up Emma!" Regina hissed back at her, causing Robin to put a hand on her shoulder to calm her down.
Granny rolled her eyes, sitting herself down next to Regina. "You all just need to calm down. Yes we're stuck here, but we're all going to make sure your baby is completely fine."
Snatching a blanket for herself, Emma wrapped it around her body and tried to slow her breathing. Granny was right.
"It's so cold, I think I can see my breath," she said, just as Regina leaned forward and stifled another cry.
"Are you sure you can't use any magic on her?" Robin asked, true desperation showing in his face.
Emma slowly shook her head. "I-I don't know a lot of spells. And I wouldn't want to risk hurting the baby."
Granny placed her hands over Regina's knees and motioned Robin to come over to her.
"Now Regina. This will be very painful, but you'll get through it. Just do exactly what I tell you; think about holding her in your arms, don't think about anything else."Regina nodded shallowly, closing her eyes and resting her weight on her elbows. She already felt battered and bruised with pain, she didn't know how much more she could take.
Gingerly lifting up the hem of her already stained dress, Robin took hold of her underwear and slowly pulled them down her legs, tossing them to the side.
"Now- you comfort her as much as you possibly can. Make sure she doesn't panic... Just keep telling her how much you love her."
Nodding, Robin obeyed and turned his attention to Regina, soon realizing that his hands were trembling. He wiped the cold tears from her cheeks and ran his hands through her hair.
"What can I do?" Emma asked, seeming helpless wrapped like a burrito in her felt blanket.
Granny glanced up at her with a solemn look on her face. "I think I need you here helping me. Can you handle that?"
She then swore revenge on Regina, feeling incredibly nauseous. "I... I guess so."
Lowering herself down to her knees, she glanced over to Regina, who was desperately trying to hold back a scream that threatened to tear through her throat.
"You seem to be almost fully dilated," Granny explained, "it's almost time to start pushing."
Regina groaned, not believing what she was hearing. "I can't take this anymore, I have to push now," she muttered, clenching her fists together to take away the pain.
Granny laughed slightly to ease the tension. "Sweetheart, it'll hurt the baby if we start too early. I know your body wants to, but just be patient."
The thing was, Regina was in no position to be patient. She was beginning to sweat, and the sweat was just making her colder both inside and out. Her body was aching for a release from all the suffering. She had been tortured once by Greg Mendel; for a long time she believed that was the most pain she had ever been in. Now she realized how wrong she was.
Another contraction struck her, and Regina truly felt more pain than she had ever felt. Emma couldn't bear to see her in so much pain- it made her remember her experience having Henry, and it only brought unpleasant memories.
"Okay Regina... When I count to three, I need you to push," Granny said, as calmly as she could.
"Is she ready?" Emma asked, giving her a concerned look.
"Let's hope," she muttered back, quietly so the couple wouldn't hear. Robin was still soothing her as best as he could as Granny began counting down; when she hit one Regina squeezed her eyes shut and pushed as hard as she could, letting out a strangled sob as she fell back into her fiancé's arms. He wiped her brow and whispered sweet nothings in her ear as she cried, her chest heaving.
"Good, that was really good," Granny said, glancing again between her legs. She waited for another contraction to hit before demanding she push again.
The poor woman felt like she was just about ready to die; it probably would be better than enduring the pain she was feeling. She became less and less willing to push when the older woman told her to. Even Robin's encouraging words were beginning to wear off. She never stopped strangling his hand with her own.
She fought the darkness that was beginning to consume her and leaned forward, screaming vicariously as she felt more sharp douses of pain traveled across her body.
"Regina- I can see her head!" Granny exclaimed, causing Robin to glance up at them in shock.
"You're almost through, just a little more to go," Emma said, though she felt as though she could pass out at any moment.
"No- I-I can't do this," Regina moaned, her body feeling stiff as a board. Everything felt frozen; it was like she really was dead.
"Yes you can!" Granny persisted, "come on, just one more push! Then it'll all be over!"
Regina shook her head; her mind told her she couldn't do it. They had been playing this cruel game for about an hour, and she felt as though it weren't helping the slightest bit.
"Darling, I know you can do this. I love you, and I know you want to meet our child as much as I do. But you have to push," Robin said softly, brushing the stray hair from her face.
Regina looked up at his tear filled eyes, soon feeling an astounding comfort. She gathered all the breath she could find in the stuffy room and pushed with everything she had, until she fell back down to the cold floor. Her vision was filled with nothing but whiteness; for a second or two she truly believed she was dead. One thing was certain though- her body felt substantially lighter, as if something big had fallen out of her.Then, she heard it. A surprisingly loud, strangled cry from an infant. The noise gave her strength she didn't know she had- she had to see her.
"Do you want to do the honors Robin?" Granny asked, a delicate smile on her face as she offered him a small pocket knife from her pocket.
He seemed taken back, so filled with nervousness he didn't know what to do. But he gently took it from her and gazed down at his child for the first time. She was tiny and pink, covered in a newspaper for a makeshift blanket as she cried. Robin looked at Granny to make sure he was cutting the cord right. She nodded slightly, and he cut it completely. Robin smiled as he took in his first look at her, then realized Regina was still beside them. Crawling over towards her, he gently shook her until her eyes opened and she drew in a shaky breath.
"We did it," he told her, gently helping her up into a sitting position.
"I guess we did," Regina muttered, giving him a faint smile.
"Do you want to hold her?" Granny asked, gingerly picking up the baby and bringing her over to her mother.
Regina stifled a cry as she saw her; Granny placed her daughter in her arms, wrapped in nothing but a few sheets of newspaper.
"She's perfect... Absolutely perfect," she said, letting a few tears fall onto the baby's fresh pink skin.
The room suddenly didn't feel so airless anymore; that, or everyone simply stopped caring. Even Emma had to admit she was tearing up at the scene.
"So, what's her name?"
Regina exchanged a glance with Robin, taking a deep breath. "Caroline. Caroline Grace Hood."
Emma smiled. "That's a beautiful name."
It may have been freezing and they may have been trapped, but nothing could have made them happier.