To The Rescue
Regina couldn't believe she was actually here. Her little Caroline was just about the tiniest thing she had see seen, and she had stolen her heart from the second she saw her. It made all the pain worth it, though her abdomen still ached and her body begged her to close her eyes and rest. She couldn't bring herself to do it though- that would mean giving up time that could be spent with her daughter.
There still was an issue to address between the three- now four- of them. The cold. The entire diner felt like it was thrown into Antarctica, everything was frigid and there seemed to be no escape from it.
"Will she be okay?" Regina asked, figuring that newspaper wouldn't be the best to keep a newborn warm.
Granny glanced down at the infant, smiling a bit when she saw her little brown eyes curiously stare up at her.
"Skin to skin contact is pretty important, with or without the weather. She should be okay if she gets lots of your warmth. We should take you and her to the hospital as soon as possible though, just to make sure everything's running okay inside of her. But she's breathing fine, has a good heartbeat, I'd say she's perfectly healthy."
Emma gently brushed the tip of her finger along one the baby's chubby cheeks. "She's getting tired," the blonde remarked, standing up and brushing her jeans. "I'm going to see how bad it looks outside."
It felt like she hadn't been in the foye of the diner in about ten years; certainly longer than two hours. Of course, it was still completely empty, with only a fallen broom, shattered glass, a puddle of orange juice accenting the room.
Emma was rather hesitant to open the doors up, but when she did, she saw a couple stray snowflakes still falling from the sky, along with about four feet of snow covering over every inch of the outside world. Nobody was out shoveling, or doing anything. The power was still shot, that was obvious. Emma wondered how in the world they were going to get a car driving through those streets in order to get to the hospital. Granny's wasn't the best place for a baby that was less than half an hour old.
Placing a hand on Regina's shoulder, Granny interrupted the woman's thoughts. "I know you've been through a lot, but there's one last thing you have to do. That baby has to get essential nutrients, and the only way for that to happen is to..." She gestured towards her breasts, which caused Regina to give her a look of understanding. "Okay... To be honest I don't know how to even start with all this."
Robin inhaled sharply, awkwardly glancing between his fiancé and the woman that had delivered his child. "I can go help Emma if you'd rather be alone-"
"Robin, don't be ridiculous. I want you to stay." Regina reassured him, putting a hand on his arm. That seemed to be enough for him.
She gently unzipped the zipper of her dress down a few inches in order to comfortably let out one of her breasts from her bra.
"Don't worry, she'll know what to do." Granny said encouragingly.
She was right. It was like a switch went off in Caroline's little head- her mouth instantly found her mother's breast and began to suck. Regina was surprised such a tiny baby could have so much force.
"She'll be hungry pretty often within the first two weeks or so. She'll want to be fed during all hours of the day, which is why I gave you that handy pump not too long ago. Don't think this is all her job, Robin."
The man shook his head vigorously. "Of course not. I'll be looking forward to waking up at three in the morning for the next few months." He smiled, having absolutely no sarcasm in his voice whatsoever. Regina wondered how she was lucky enough to have him as a future husband.
She bent her head down and watched her eat, capturing her eyes with hers for a moment, noticing a certain sparkle in them. It was then that she realized that she had Robin's exact same eyes. Seeing this made her smile.
They were all quiet for the next little while as they watched her, listening to her emit small grunts as she continued to suck. Robin rubbed her back gently, still finding it hard to believe that his daughter was here, wrapped in nothing but newspaper, in the back of Granny's diner. He watched Caroline intently until she finally let go, snuggling her head close to her mother's chest and closing her eyes, drifting asleep almost instantly. Regina nudged Robin's side and sent him a small smile.
"Do you want to hold her?"
He nodded, and she slowly passed the warm bundle of newspapers into his arms, trying not to wake her as she did so. Granny then wrapped a blanket over Regina's shoulders and stood up.
"I'm going to get you both some water, you stay put."
Before she could start off for the door, Regina stopped her.
"Granny? Thank you."
The older woman looked down at the little family sitting on the floor of her restraint with a smile on her face.
"Anything for my two favorite customers." She said, walking off before her emotions got the better of her.
Once she got the couple their glasses of water, (using plastic cups this time) she went off to find Emma, who had wound up inside the closet, dragging out hefty bags of salt that the woman hadn't seen in over ten years.
"What are you planning to do with those?" Granny asked, watching her pull out one after another.
Emma gave her a look. "To clear the roads, of course! I figured it's kind of my duty since I'm sheriff. You should try calling the hospital, maybe the phone lines are working again." She told her, suddenly wondering if Henry and Roland were still stuck at school. She hoped not. Henry was supposed to have the next three days with her. Part of her wanted to call Killian and have him make sure the boys were safe, if they weren't already. The ache of not knowing what was beyond the diner doors was starting to get on her nerves. She just hoped everything would work itself out soon.
That was where Emma Swan was wrong. The hospital was in complete chaos- none of the nurses knew what to do. They had received her call about the baby coming more than two hours ago, and they still weren't able to get any vehicles out to the diner. What made things worse was the fact that the Charmings, Neal, Killian, Will, Ruby, Henry, and Roland were all sitting in the waiting room, all anxious and stressed out. David asked Whale every few minutes if they had heard anything new about their situation; Whale was just about to strangle him.
"I want Momma!" Roland sobbed, disregarding all the comfort his uncle was trying to give him as he cried into his shirt.
"Roland, they're trying to get to her. We just have to be patient." He repeated for the hundredth time, just as Snow came in with a tray of hot chocolate, as well as another visitor- she was blonde, short, and small.
"Guys, I hope you remember Tinkerbell." Snow announced, handing her a cup of cocoa.
"What made you arrive at such a convenient time?" Hook asked, causing her to send him a pretentious smile.
"Blue said I could come and visit sometime, so I did. Can someone explain to me why everyone is cooped up here in this strange building?"
David took a deep breath. "Well, this is a hospital for starters- like an intermarry from back at home. Regina... She's having her baby right now, but with the snowstorm and everything, she, Robin, Granny and Emma are stuck at a diner. Emma called in while the phones were still working and told the doctor here that she started going into labor. We don't know what the situation is now, but they're trying to send someone out there now so they can bring her and possibly the baby back here. It's... Kind of crazy, I know. But welcome to Storybrooke."
Tink blinked a few times, registering the words in her head for a moment before responding. "I didn't even know she was pregnant. Last time I saw her, she was being hounded by a hundred angry villagers."
She then followed Snow towards a few empty chairs, sitting down and holding the warm cup of hot chocolate between her palms. There was obviously a lot of stress in the room; most everyone was stone silent, phones resting on their laps, staring into space as they tried to ignore Roland's crying.
Waving her hand, Tinkerbell used magic to give the boy a nice, warm blanket to cover his body with.
"You look cold," she told him softly, giving him a smile, "don't tell me you've forgotten who I am already- it hasn't been that long."
The five year old shook his head slowly, tears still shining on his face.
"That's a relief," she said, about to bring up the baby when she realized it was probably a sensitive topic. "So... What's changed since the last time I've seen you two?" She asked, noticing Henry a couple chairs down, resting his head on his father's shoulder. They were silent for a couple seconds, but Roland finally spoke up.
"I have a puppy now," he sniffled, wiping away his tears with the back of his hand and pulling the blanket closer around him.
"Really? I bet it's a cute little puppy," Tinkerbell said, finally receiving a small hint of a smile from the boy.
"Her name is Jupiter and she's a beagle." Roland explained in a small voice, his expression suddenly turning questionable as he turned around to face his brother. "Henry, do you think Jupiter will like the baby?"
He gave him a look. "Of course. She'll finally have someone her size to be around."
His logic seemed flawless in the younger boy's eyes.
Then, the doors opened, revealing Doctor Whale and Mother Superior, both not even bothering to hide their stress about the situation.
"The weather is finally cleared up, though there's still snow everywhere," Whale told them, before David got the chance to ask his infamous question.
"Can you send an ambulance down there then?" Ruby asked, her face having concern written all over it.
Whale gave a hesitant reply. "The roads are still covered in too much snow. But, I think I can make it by walking," he said, in hope of relieving some of the anxiety in the room. He patted an oversized satchel he had slung around his white coat. "I put in here everything I need for the situation in this bag... No matter what the situation may be."
Henry then noticed a big silver item clutched in his hands; whatever it was, it didn't look very good.
"When will you be able to get her back here?" Slow asked, realizing she didn't say 'her and the baby'.
"As soon as we can," Blue answered, "but we could use your help starting to clear the roads."
Everyone seemed to practically jump at that offer.
"I'll go get the shovels," she said, turning around and heading back out. Whale gave them all a slight nod and followed her out, fetching his coat and starting for the front door.
Whatever it took to get her back in safe hands.
Emma was still outside, facing the bitter cold in her red leather jacket and a hat her mother had made for her. It wasn't the best feeling in the world to not feel a bone in her body, but she was determined to get the roads cleared so she could get the hell out of there.
The wind was still blowing relentlessly, causing the piles of snow she had already made to collapse back onto the road. Part of her wanted to cry.
But then she caught sight of someone running towards her; whoever it was, their head was bowed to keep away the snow, and a satchel swung against their side as the person continued to run.
"Whale?!" Emma shouted, distinguishing him quickly by his white coat.
He shouted something back to her, but the wind muffled it. She ran towards the door and opened it, waiting until they were both safely inside to close it.
"It's about time," Emma retorted, watching him shake the snow from off his hat and rub his hands together.
"Things have been a mess down at the hospital," he panted, "your Dad was practically breathing down my neck until we came up for a solution for how to save you guys. Now, where is she?"
Emma smiled and pointed all the way towards the back of the diner. "They are all in there. Regina had the baby."
He gave her a surprised look. "She did?"
The blonde nodded. "As far as we know they're both fine. You can go see them."
Granny had lit some candles to fill the dark spaces with at least a little bit of light. Regina had moved so her back was up against one of the walls, almost asleep by the time he came in. Robin was still holding Caroline, who was still fast asleep, his fingers gently caressing her minuscule hands.
"Well it's about ti-"
"I know, I know," Whale replied, glancing down at the infant. "May I see her?"
Her eyes were still closed; she had been in a deep sleep for a while now. He checked her heartbeat and blood pressure with what little equipment he had, making sure she was breathing properly. When he was finished, Whale took a deep breath.
"Quite honestly, I'm surprised you were able to deliver her in a room like this," he remarked, seeing all they had was a couple blankets and a refrigerator in the corner. "You all should be lucky she has no health issues. She seems perfectly fine."
He had been prepared for the worst, bringing things like small dosages of oxygen and respirators.
"She needs to be fed," he said, taking out a cloth to finish wiping her clean.Granny smiled. "Already done. Regina's a natural at it, too."
Flushing, the woman nodded. "It was all thanks to Granny. She knows what she's doing."
Whale gave the older woman a look. "I never pegged you as a midwife," he said, "the hospital could use someone like you."
Granny let a modest smile slip through. "Thanks for the offer, but I have a diner to run."
He then took a velvet pink blanket out from his bag and unraveled it. "Well, it was worth a try." He smirked, gently setting the baby down on top of the blanket.
"I thought she could use something a little more comfortable than newspaper."Both Regina and Robin watched the doctor as he properly swaddled their child, covering her head to toe in the warm blanket before passing her back to Regina.
"I should go see how Emma's doing," Whale said, reentering the foyer to see her continuing to shovel the road. She was making some progress too, giving him a slight surge of hope.
He grabbed one and entered the frozen outside world, toughing out the struggle in order to be rescued. The weather was improving remarkably; the phone lines were finally working again. Calling Blue, he told her that the baby was fine, and that Regina was recovering. They needed a source of transportation as soon as possible.
The salt bags were dispersed after the snow was gone to melt the ice that coated the ground.
Emma still felt horrible; she wished then that she hadn't been a part of the activities that went on the previous night. Her ebbing hangover mixed with the flourishing anxiety over childbirth, making for a very unpleasant savior. She just wanted to go home so she could take a few pills and jump into bed so she could forget everything for the next few hours.
"You're not used to dealing with newborns, aren't you?" Emma asked, almost out of breath as she heaved another load of snow off to the side of the road.
Whale paused for a moment to adjust his hat. "Nope, not many people have babies here in this new realm. But don't tell Regina that."
He knew her all too well as the 'protective mother' type.
"Oh, I won't," the blonde replied, thinking for a moment about her mother and father. If their child hadn't miscarried, Snow would probably have it soon.
"How is everyone holding up at the hospital?"
Whale blew out a sigh. "Well, last I was there, Roland was hysterical, Henry was near tears, Ruby complained about being cold... The list goes on. I suppose they'll all dub down once they know Regina's okay."
Emma knew she had to prepare herself for everyone to be codling that poor baby. Not that she wasn't for all the cuteness, but it would get old really fast.
"Is Neal with Henry?"
The man nodded. "He was. Along with Robin's irritating brother."
Fighting a smile, Emma turned her eyes up to see a pair of glowing headlights coming along the road, the engine making sounds of protests as it slowly made its way towards them.
"Hey, they're finally here!" She exclaimed joyously, beginning to wave her arms up in the air.
It was the happiest feeling in the world to see other signs of civilization again; to her, it felt like ages since she had seen her family.
When the ambulance pulled up towards them, the two of them took off back into the diner to fetch the three that were still inside.
"Mother Superior is here!" Emma told the new parents, who both seemed to have relieved looks on their faces, "we can finally head over to the hospital."
Robin handed Caroline over to Granny, turning back to his fiancé. "Are you ready to head back into the cold?" He asked, though the answer had to be a yes.
Regina just wanted to get out of there, same as Emma did. She wasn't overly fond of hospitals, but if that's where she needed to go then that was that. So she nodded, and let him gently take her in his arms, hissing in sudden pain from her middle as he did so.
"I'll get you there. I promise," he soothed, walking towards the door to the diner, where Blue and a couple other nurses prepared the back of the ambulance. They instructed Robin to set her down on a makeshift bed, offering blankets to all of them as they entered.
Granny set the infant down on top of her chest; Regina gingerly placed her arms around her and closed her eyes. It was like ending of a nightmare, and the beginning of something new.