We Can Love Again

Meeting Caroline

"Really, I'm fine," she persisted when they tried to give her more painkillers. They made her nauseous, and she didn't want to feel worse instead of better. "What are they doing to do with her?"

Blue was carrying her daughter away. It was then she realized that she hadn't been more than a foot away from her until then, and it made her uneasy.

"We have to give her a few shots," Whale explained, "just to make sure her immune system is in check."

They had replaced her stained dress with an unruly hospital gown, one Regina Mills did not want to be caught dead in.

"They're all here waiting for you- they have been for hours now. All of them are relieved that you're alright." He explained, ubdoubtable sarcasm in his voice.

Regina was surprised by this. They all truly cared about her, so much that they all came to see the baby. It all seemed too good to be true.

"Right now, you just need to close your eyes," he said, turning towards the machine to her right. "You'll feel drowsy here in a few seconds. Just count backwards from ten, and let yourself slip under. We'll wake you up when she gets hungry again."

His words seemed to become like echoes in her mind.

The new addition to your family will bring you even more joy.

Roland leapt into his father's arms when he saw him. He had never been more scared in his life, not since their last day or two in the Enchanted Forest. The boy was under the impression that his mother was going to die, and his little sister would freeze by the time anyone got to them. But Robin reassured him again and again that they were both fine, and that they were both excited to see him again.

"Can we go see her?" Henry asked, finally shrugging away from Neal's side.

Exchanging a glance with Nova, Robin nodded. "Come on then. Just be quiet and listen to me when I tell you to do something."

Both boys nodded, and Robin bent down to pick up Roland.

"Wait, can we see her too?" Snow asked, Ruby, Will, and Charming alongside her.

Robin found himself in a tight spot. Yes, they were family, but he wasn't in the mood for crowds. He wanted to spend time with his sons, his fiancé, and his child- no one more. But, of course, he couldn't have that right now.

"I guess," he finally replied. In his mental absence, Killian, Neal, and Tinkerbell had joined them.

Caroline was placed on top of a small examination table, having just received three shots from Mother Superior. She was now dressed in a small white onesie with a pink hat covering her head. Once everyone saw her, the squeals began.

"Oh my goodness! She's so precious!" Ruby almost yelled, before getting a firm nudge by both Snow and Robin.

"Sorry," she whispered, though the noise already made the baby squirm her little legs as she glanced up at all the new faces.

Henry peered down at her, his eyes filled with wonder. He gently rubbed his fingers along the sole of her tiny foot.

"I wanna see her," Roland whispered up at Robin, tugging at his shirt. He took hold of his arms and lifted him up.

The boy was welcomed by a pair of sleepy brown eyes on a small face.

"What's her name?" Snow asked, near tears as she took in every inch of the new baby. She was so absolutely perfect in every way.

Robin took a deep breath. "Caroline. Regina wanted to give her a name that fit in both this realm and the Enchanted Forest." He then shrugged. "We both liked it."

David smiled. He would've never guessed Regina would choose that name.

"I can't wait for her to try on all the cute little clothes we got her," Ruby grinned, though once she saw Robin's exhausted face she rethought her words. "Once everything gets settled, that is."

"And once Regina gets back on her feet," he added, just as Caroline closed her eyes again, clenching her fingers together to make a tiny fist.

She was seven pounds, three ounces. He loved every part of her, from her itty bitty toes all the way up to her button nose.

Feeling a slap to his back, Robin snapped out of his thoughts to see Killian giving him a hearty smile.

"Look at you, daddy of the year." He remarked, "you've certainly had a long day. Want me to grab you a coffee?"

Robin nodded, knowing he would probably pass out in a matter of minutes.

Roland felt a happy lift to his heart when he looked at his new little sister, so innocent and small it was hard to believe she was finally here. Henry felt the exact same way- it was hard to tear his eyes off her. They both had a little sister now.

The fairy had wanted to give the baby some space, since everyone else had been awaiting her arrival for months it seemed. She felt extremely guilty for not knowing Regina was even pregnant until now, though there was nothing she could do about that. There was a huge sense of pride growing within her; seeing that baby lying there so peacefully made her remember meeting Regina for the first time and telling her that she needed love in her life. Then she denied it. And then she finally accepted it. That baby was the product of true love- the love they had.

She liked to believe it was all because of her, but Regina pulled her own weight to start the relationship. There was a time when Tinkerbell believed Regina had failed, that she didn't want to the happiness in her life. Obviously she was wrong.

Killian set himself to work on trying to get the coffee machine to work in the pathetic excuse for a food court the hospital had to offer. It was more like a room with a few chairs, some overripe bananas, a microwave, and a coffee machine that made strange sounds. Emma had always made him coffee in the mornings, so his knowledge was based on watching her place the cup in the slot and add in the cream packets- none of that was easy to do with a hook for a hand.

Once he was almost sure he got it done correctly, he turned around to catch the sight of Emma, who's face was still pale, a traumatized look reflecting in her eyes.

"I've been looking for you Swan," he started, his words making her jump like a skittish cat.

Her face softened when she saw who it was. "Oh hey," she muttered, before noticing the cup in his hand. "You got me coffee?"

Trying to wipe the surprised look off his face, Killian reluctantly surrendered the cup over to her. Robin could wait a little bit longer.

"Aye, I've been worried about you," he said, which wasn't a lie. He knew she probably wasn't feeling well due to the alcohol she consumed the previous night; watching a baby being born right before her eyes couldn't have helped.

"Today's just been a horrible day," Emma said, taking a long sip of the coffee before stepping forward to wrap her arms around her boyfriend. "I'm just glad it's over. Good job on the coffee by the way."

The pirate beamed as she said this, the smile soon vanishing when he saw Snow and Charming coming towards them.

"Parents- six o'clock," he muttered, causing her to quickly step back from him.

"Emma! You're okay!" Snow exclaimed, throwing her arms around her daughter.

"Yeah, I'm fine," the blonde reassured, feeling strangled by her grip.

David put a hand on her shoulder. "Have you seen the baby yet?"

Hearing this, Emma got an image she did not want to see again. "I saw her when she was covered in placenta- Granny made me help pull her out," she tried hard not to shudder in front of them, suddenly feeling sick.

"I'm... Sorry." Snow replied distantly, giving David a look. "Well I suppose we can go home now, I mean, we could, if the roads weren't so bad. If only we knew someone who had magic that could transport us back home."

Emma gave her mother an extremely unimpressed look as she looped her arm around Killian's. "Don't be ridiculous, Regina needs your company for a while."

"Oh, and Robin wants you to get him some coffee," Killian added smugly, before he and Emma disappeared in a billow of purple smoke before her parents could even protest.

There was a knock on her door. Maybe it was just her imagination, but she swore she heard it. Regina had been on so many medications the past few hours, she couldn't tell what was real and what wasn't. But she opened her eyes anyways, only to see someone standing right in front of her hospital bed. Though her eyes were slightly blurry, she could see the person had blonde hair pulled into a bun.

"What are you doing here Emma?" Regina grumbled, only half conscious and honestly not sure if she were still asleep or not.

The woman standing by her bedside laughed for a few seconds; Regina didn't understand what was so funny.

"Regina, I'm not Emma," she said, trying to catch her breath, "it's me, Tinkerbell."

That snapped Regina out of her fog. She blinked a few times, hardly believing her eyes. "Oh my God! What are you doing here?" She exclaimed, extending her arms out towards her. Tink took no time in leaning down to wrap her own arms around the woman's neck.

"Blue said I should visit, so I did!" She smiled, looking her over. It had been just about eight months since she had last seen her. In those months, her hair had gotten longer, her expression more worn out, and, if possible, her smile got even brighter. Not to mention the fact that she had a child.

"I didn't know I came at such a bad time, though," she said, "I didn't mean to make things more hectic than they already are."

Regina shook her head. "No! If anything, this was the best time to show up. I really missed you! What've you been up to?"

She thought she was going to burst with excitement. It was such a sudden surprise to see her friend again.

"Being with other fairies, learning how to expand my magic," she told her, rather proudly. "It was fun, but I needed a little break- so I thought I would stop buy and see how you were doing."

As considerate as she tried to sound, Tink still felt guilty for not knowing a thing about the pregnancy. She figured Regina would want to spend all her time with her new baby and her lover.

Regina's face melted into a sweet smile. "Have they let you see her yet?"

The woman returned the smile. "Yes, I have. And I have to say, she looks a lot like you. They put her in an adorable little pink hat."

"You really think so?" Regina asked, a hopeful light to her eyes, "I really hope she does."

Sitting down on the bed, Tinkerbell nodded. "I can't believe you went through of that just a few hours ago," she said truthfully, "when I got here, Snow dragged me into this hospital as soon as she saw me. They were all worried sick about you and your baby."

Regina closed her eyes briefly. How crazy it was that her mind registered all the traumatizing events that had occurred early that morning as something that happened years ago. "It could've been worse, I guess... I'm just glad Granny was there. Robin, too."

The fairy could sense the pain in her voice as she spoke. Taking her hand, she smiled. "Hey, at least you're both happy and healthy. You have a daughter now Regina, how does that feel?"

"Amazing. More than amazing. Perfect really," she replied, thinking about the day she could take Caroline home to her nursery.

"It's all thanks to you."

Tink flushed, her fair skin blushing slightly. "Well, you know what they say- never give up on anyone, no matter how resilient they are."

She then noticed the ring on her finger, making Regina remember that she didn't know about the wedding.

"Robin proposed to me right before things got... Complicated." She explained, glancing down at the sparkling ring herself with a pleasant smile. "We're planning on getting married in the summer. It gives us a few months to plan while taking care of Caroline and the boys. You need to be there for it!"

Putting her hand on her chest, the blonde gave her an excited look. "I would love to! I suppose that means I'll have to stay here in Storybrooke for a while."

She had only been in the new realm for a few hours; there were so many new things to take in. The clothes, the people, the culture, everything. Regina seemed so comfortable in Storybrooke- she certainly wasn't the cold hearted queen she had met years ago.

"Yes! I can get you accustomed to everything in no time." Regina had to stop herself- it scared her how much like Ruby she was becoming.

"Thankfully, both of your sons remembered me," Tinkerbell said, "I feel like that awkward aunt the kids only see at family reunions." She paused for a moment, seeming wary of her next words. "Henry did talk me into getting coffee with his father, though."

Eyes widening, she couldn't help but let her head fall into her hands. "Oh God, I'm so sorry," she muttered, "Henry's been trying to find Neal a girlfriend for a while now."

Tinkerbell chucked. "No, it's fine. I said yes- I mean, why not? Neal seems like a really sweet guy. I've always felt sorry for him ever since Emma started going out with Killian. It's only coffee."

Regina gave her a long, hard look, friend to friend. "Are you sure?"

"Yes, I'm sure. My gosh, I worked so hard to find you your soulmate, it's about time I tried to find one."

She smiled. "You deserve it, Tink. I can't thank you enough for all you've done for me and my family."

And what a wonderful family she had.

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