We Can Love Again

The Love of a Family

Three days spent trapped inside a hospital was far too long for Regina. Whale forced her to stay in bed for most of the day, causing her perpetual boredom. The boys visited her at least once every day, and Robin stayed with her for a fair amount of time; but even he couldn't stay by her side forever. He had convinced Will to take control of the shelter for the next couple of days as they prepared for Caroline's first arrival home. There was a lot to be done cleaning wise- Regina wouldn't settle for anything less than having the entire house disinfected, down to every last doorknob.

Being completely bedridden made Regina think back to her days spent living in Leopold's castle. Things were so excruciatingly boring there, she had counted every last bit of silverware in the kitchen- quite often, too. She hated being alone for so long.

Listening to herself think was the worst punishment she could think of. There was still a slight pain in her midsection, but at that point she didn't care. Her energy was slowly returning to her, and she couldn't have been happier.

"I wrote my cell number down here in case you need to contact me about anything," Whale instructed, finishing to scribble things down on a sheet of paper. "She needs to be fed ten to twelve times a day, about every two hours or so. Other than that, a few diaper changes every once in a while, and you're both free to enjoy the rest of your lives."

The sarcasm in his voice was inevitable. Regina tried hard not to roll her eyes at him; she knew how to care for babies. It seemed like just recently she brought Henry home from Boston.

"We will definitely need to ask you questions in the future," Robin said, before his fiancé had the chance to speak.

Whale seemed amused by the couple's urgency. "Well, I'll let you two take her home. I told Blue to start up the ambulance to get the heat going. Make sure to take things really easy around the house, your body is still healing."

Rolling her eyes, Regina began to tap her foot anxiously. "I can walk just fine."

Sure she was still exhausted, like she had just woken up from a deep sleep that didn't do her body a single bit of good, but the former queen didn't care.

The weather was still absolutely horrible outside- bitter wind blew right in their faces as they got in to the vehicle. Robin made sure to keep his daughter close to his chest, the bitterness unable to reach her due to the amount of blankets she was wrapped up in.

The both of them were just about bursting with excitement; they had been waiting for the day they got to take their child home for the first time, to introduce to her the joy and coziness she would grow up with.

"So the boys are waiting at home then?"

Robin gave her a nod. "And they're both less than impatient. Roland called me about seven times in the past half hour wondering were we were and why we were taking so long."

As Regina stifled back a chuckle, Mother Superior glanced at them through the rearview mirror. "You two realize that your car is still parked at Granny's, right? You'll need it once this snow melts."

Regina gave her a softhearted shrug. "One of these days one of us will go down there and get it. Until then, Caroline needs to see her new home."

The ride seemed longer and longer by the second as they approached their white house. When they got there, both Robin and Regina gave Blue the most genuine of thank you's, before turning to face their house, their child tucked securely in his arms. The house was a mansion; huge, spacious, with an austere sense of design. It was pretty, yes, but for the longest time it just seemed like a hollow shell to Regina. Now, in the past year, the house had turned into a sanctuary, where it was okay to laugh, to make mistakes, and to be yourself.

Regina gazed at the house and closed her eyes for a moment, just a moment, to fully capture the moment in her mind, down to the way to the numbness her cheeks felt as the wind graced over them, like waves softly receding from the sand.

"Are you ready for this?" She heard Robin ask, causing her eyes to open.

She smiled faintly and blew out a sigh, letting out a definite "yes," as she did so.The doors opened, and the three of them entered, entered into the chaotic mess that was their family. But they loved every second of it.

"Mommy, Daddy!" Roland yelled, soon racing towards them with his arms opened wide. He hugged Regina's legs as tight as he possibly could; he had missed her so much.

"Are you going to show Caroline the whole house like you did for me?"

His mother ruffled his hair. "Of course! She's even waiting for her big brother to show her around."

The four day old baby got the complete tour of the house led by an ecstatic five year old boy. It was comical seeing him as a little tour guide, giving full descriptions as to everything that happened in the room they were in. He did this until they reached the room at the end of the hallway, one that used to belong to his uncle.

"Roland, why don't you and Henry finish cleaning the kitchen. I think Daddy and I can do this room."

He seemed a tad bit disappointed, but he obeyed, and followed his brother down the stairs.

It seemed like a moment if truth, opening up the door to her daughter's nursery. All the beauty, all the perfection was there waiting for them, things that would have gone by unnoticed if she hadn't opened it.

"Well Caroline, this is your room."

They both stood in the middle of the room for a moment, their minds captive of memories that the paintings on the walls beheld; it was their beginning, the beginning of their second chance. It was small, peaceful, and absolutely perfect.

Robin gently set her down on top of her changing table, taking a second to take in the sight of her- she was here, she was real.

Regina couldn't wait to soothe her to sleep in the rocker by the window, were the stars shone so bright overhead. She couldn't wait to feed her, to bathe her, to give her all the love she possibly could.

"She seems right at home," Regina remarked, almost in a whisper as she glanced down at the precious sight before her, tears swimming in her eyes.

"Why wouldn't she?" Robin asked tenderly, placing a kiss on her temple, "we gave her the best life possible. She can't wait to start living it."

It was then she reminded herself how much she loved the man beside her, and how she never wanted to let him go.

"She's probably hungry, and most likely needs a diaper change-"

"Regina, sweetheart, you should rest," he cut her off with a lighthearted chuckle, "I can care for her while you draw yourself a nice, warm bath."

She seemed hesitant to the offer, but the idea did sound lovely.

"Are... Are you sure?"

He nodded; he knew exactly what he was getting himself into when he dove head first into a relationship with a once evil queen.

"Alright then. I love you," she smiled, leaning forward to give him a delicate kiss, doing the same to Caroline. The infant stared up at her in wonder, with big brown eyes full of such innocence and curiosity. She then slipped out of the room, leaving the two alone in the nursery.

Robin proved successful in changing her first diaper and feeding her again, as he was certain he would be. He changed her into a purple onesie he remembered Regina had picked out a month prior. Then, he took her in his arms once again, and headed back downstairs to check up on how the boys were doing. Surprise hit him when he heard loud shrieks of laughter carried through the halls, followed by the pitter patter of bare feet across the tile floor.

"Now, what's going on in here?" Robin inquired, raising an eyebrow at the scene in front of him. Henry had a spray bottle in his hand that was aimed towards Roland, who had water drenched over the front of his shirt, a wicked smile on his face. The two children stopped what they were doing immediately after hearing their father's voice, frozen in mid action as they stared at him.

"We, uh, got distracted," Henry attempted to say, though it sounded rather weak.

Robin slowly made his way over towards Caroline's baby carrier, gently setting her down in it and lifting the carrier up so it now rested on top of the kitchen table, where the baby now had a clear view of what was going to happen.

"Doesn't look like cleaning to me," he said, giving Henry a disapproving look as he reached his hand towards the plastic spray bottle, gently coaxing it out from his hold on it.

"Sorry," he said softly, his face showing signs of defeat.

However, the stern expression on Robin's face quickly turned into a boyish grin as he gave his son a quick spray to the face, before he could react to it.

"Dad!" He exclaimed, rubbing his eyes and instantly fighting him for it. Roland squealed with laugher as he joined in the game, though it proved impossible to get the spray bottle back from their father.

The laughter traveled through all ends of the house, making all the hard times it faced in the past seem to disappear entirely, only leaving the good memories behind.

What good memories they were.

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