"Wait, slow down," Robin sighed, confused at her flustered look, "is something wrong with Caroline?"
Regina didn't even know how to respond. A million things were swirling around her head like a cyclone, making her feel faint. "I- I think she has magic," she stuttered, trying hard to regain her breath. "I saw her use magic right in front of me. We have to call Whale... Right now."
His eyes narrowed as he tried to comprehend what she was saying. "Magic? How does that even work? Is it... Hereditary?"
"I, I don't know," Regina sighed, starting for the phone.
Robin took the omelet off the stove and turned off the heat before heading upstairs to check on his daughter. She was still on top of her changing table, the front buttons on her onesie still undone from where Regina had left her.
"How come you didn't tell us you have magic?" He asked gently, doing up the buttons. It was hard to picture his little baby girl doing any sort of magic; but he knew Regina wouldn't dream up something like that.
Picking her up in his arms, Robin headed back downstairs.
"Whale, I'm serious- she used magic right in front of me! You have to come down here right now!"
There was a slight pause on the other end of the phone. "I honestly don't see why this is such a big deal," the doctor admitted, "magic is something that's hard to work with. It's a good thing she has it, because not many people do."
She clenched her teeth together hotly, trying hard not to lash out on him. "My daughter has magic inside of her! Your tests didn't catch that, didn't they? I can't live without knowing she's perfectly okay."
"Fine, I'll be there in a few minutes," Whale sighed, hanging up the phone and grabbing the keys to his car.
Regina leaned her body against the counter, feeling hot tears begin to form in her eyes. Her fiancé gave her a sympathetic look as he slowly rocked their baby in his arms.
"I don't understand why you're so worked up about this," he said calmly, choosing his words carefully. "What's so bad about her having magic?"
Slowly turning around, she gave her daughter a long, hard look, transfixed on the pure innocence in her eyes.
"Because magic is power," she began, rather shakily, "it ruined my life because I had it tempting me. We... We were fine without it, Robin, we were happy. I don't want to take that chance."
He let out a heavy sigh, hating to see the pained look in her eyes. "I get it. But you don't need to be scared, because I'll be right here with you. Whether we want to accept it or not, Caroline has magic, and there's nothing we can do about that. You just need to have more trust in yourself," he added softly, waiting until he caught her eyes before continuing, "because I trust you."
Giving him a tender smile, she stepped forward and kissed him softly, never wanting to let him go.
Next thing both of them knew, there was a knock at the door. Regina walked swiftly towards the door, opening it up to reveal Doctor Whale and non other than Rumplestiltskin himself in the thawing outside world.
"I came as fast as I could," the doctor explained, looking completely frozen in his simple white hospital coat.
She couldn't help but give Rumple a slightly odd look as she allowed him inside, wondering why in the world he was there with him.
"You took me up on the offer really fast," he remarked, gazing around her house as she led them towards the living room, "I honestly didn't think you'd have any questions. You seem like you know what you're doing."
She didn't even want to begin on how much of an understatement that was.
"I called Rumple and told him about the situation, because I absolutely have no idea how to work with magic."
The three of them met with Robin and the baby; suddenly, their baby had turned into the center of attention.
"And you have experience at detecting magic?" Regina asked, already knowing the answer was yes.
Rumple studied her daughter for a moment before answering. "I've had... Experience before, with babies. May I hold her?"
Out of pure instinct, Regina's heart clenched in her chest. Robin nodded, gently passing their child, swaddled in a light green blanket, over to the former Dark One. She knew he was striving to be good, but the treacherous past the two of them shared still remained fervent in her mind. All she could do was watch helplessly as he held her sinless little girl with his bloodied hands and try to keep a straight face while doing so.
To further her surprise, Rumple smiled down at the infant, his eyes never leaving hers.
"What, what is it?" Regina was quick to ask, her hand finding Robin's instinctively for solace.
There was a moment of silence between them still as the imp studied her daughter.
"Regina, did you know I was there the day you were born?" He asked, so calmly she didn't even realize he was addressing her at first.
The woman blinked a few times. "I... No. I didn't know that. What does that have to do with my daughter?"
He eventually tore his eyes away from the child's. "You see, looking into a newborn's eyes gives you access into the path their life will take, their destiny if you will. I held you in my arms before your father even got a chance to. And I saw everything you were going to overcome in your life- I saw the power in your eyes, just like I see now in this child."
His gaze became hesitant as he turned his eyes towards Robin. "But this, your love with him, this child... I never saw that coming."
The words hung in the air; Regina didn't know how to react to them. Somehow, her lips turned upward in a rather prideful smile.
"It's because I chose my own destiny," she said smugly, causing a flicker of amusement to cross her mentor's face.
"Yes, well, I can tell you this- your child will become very powerful, with proper instruction of course. Magic is hereditary, if it is strong enough in the parent. But this child possesses something I've seldom seen in my years," he continued, causing tension to build up in the room they were in. "She has raw power inside of her, and it will only get stronger as she grows. It's power that can only come from true love."
The words refused to make sense in her mind. Regina simply stared back at him.
"I'm sorry, did you say true love?"
Rumple nodded, Whale standing beside him, looking more awkward and out of place than ever.
"No, that's... Ridiculous," Regina muttered, her gaze glazing over.
Beside her, Robin raised an eyebrow. "What, you can't possibly believe that we have true love?"
His fiancé's eyes widened as she realized what she had said. "That's not at all what I meant- it's just... True love is Snow and Charming's thing. They have it, not me."
She didn't want to go into detail on how dirty she felt sometimes when she recalled back to all the cruel things she had done to those in her kingdom. There was no way she could have true love as strong as her stepdaughter's; it seemed too far from right.
"Well, you do," Rumple confirmed, "another product of true love. Who knew."
For a moment, Regina thought her emotions would get the better of her, and she would completely break down in front of their guests.
"How... How do we keep her safe?" She asked solemnly, doing what she never thought she could ever do again- trust him.
Rumple thought for a moment, allowing Robin to take back their baby. "I suppose I could make something that could control her magic, but it'll take time. It would be something like the bracelet Greg Mendel used on you."
She exchanged a look with Robin, who gave her an approving look. "I think that would work. We don't want her burning down the house in the middle of the night. Do you, uh, know what my mother used with me when I was a baby?"
The man shook his head. "Cora wouldn't let me see you. We made a deal to let me be there when your were born, and that was it. I'd imagine she used plenty of enchantments around the castle- those can be dangerous, though."
Taking a deep breath, Regina forced herself to ask her next question. "Is there any way to... Take her magic away? Completely?"
Instantly, Robin gave her a surprised look, as did the two other men with him. Before Rumple could create a response, the outlaw gave Whale Caroline to care for as he placed his hand on the center of Regina's back.
"We'll be right back; I need to have a talk with her really fast." Robin explained, leading her down the hallway pretty much against her will.
She absolutely hated being treated like an inferior child.
"What the hell was that?" He asked, irritation creasing his brow as he looked down at her, "you're willing to just... Take away her powers?"
Regina scowled at him; this was the last conversation she wanted to have with him.
"You've never experienced magic yourself, you're in no place to question why I want to ensure our child's future for the better."
"Our child Regina, she's just as much mine as she is yours." Robin said briskly, cutting her off. It was on a rare occasion he got this mad with her. "I have a say in this too, and I believe she should be able to keep her powers. It's a gift; it makes her special. She can learn how to use it, just like Emma did."
It proved to be difficult keeping their voices down. "Magic is dangerous... It ruined my life, you know that."
"No, people ruin lives," he corrected, giving her a stern look. "And I know you'll never let that happen. You said it yourself, you want to give our daughter her best chance. To do that, we have to let her choose her own her own destiny."
She groaned, realizing that he was using her own words against her. There was no way she could compete with that.
"I... I guess so... Nobody said parenting was easy."
She could feel Robin's heat on her let up on her as she succumbed to his will.
"Nope," he said in agreement, glancing over his shoulder towards the two men they had left behind in the living room. "But we have each other. So that's that then, she's keeping her magic?"
Letting out a small smile, she nodded. "A mother teaching her daughter how to control her inner magic- sounds too perfect to be true."
The both of them returned, showing not a trace of the contention they had just a few minutes prior.
"Well, your daughter is completely healthy, I didn't have any doubts otherwise."
Whale said, putting his stethoscope back into his bag after he handed the baby off to Regina.
"You didn't exactly need all that equipment to find that out," Rumple told him, his voice filled with sarcasm.
Nevertheless, Regina was happy to hear it.
"So this is all sorted out then," Whale asked, "she's keeping her magic?"
Robin put a hand on her shoulder. "Yes. A way to control her magic so it's not so unpredictable would really be appreciated though."
The doctor exchanged a glance with the wizard, who nonchalantly gave the couple a nod.
"Well I suppose I'll be off then," Whale said, picking up his bag, "work at the hospital is never done."
Robin and Regina both said their goodbyes politely, and Robin went upstairs to put Caroline back down in her crib.
Rumple had honestly never had a moment alone with Regina since their venture to Neverland. He knew she didn't care for him, and he didn't blame her. Their past was so twisted that the beginning couldn't be seen clearly anymore. The dark one had seen her at her best times, as well as her worst. He had known her since she was a little girl fascinated by horses. And now, here she was, having had her own little girl.
"Belle is probably waiting for me back at the shop," Rumple began, using the most legitimate excuse he could come up with in order to leave.
Surprisingly, Regina didn't automatically lead him to the door. Instead, she seemed cautious, as if there was something she was afraid to tell him.
"I'll understand if you have to be back right now, but would you mind staying a little bit longer?"
He sent her an astonished look. "What for?"
"If my daughter can use magic, it's probably time to see if I can get mine back," she answered, with some of the wit he didn't know he missed.
"I hadn't been able to use magic at all since the beginning of my pregnancy. Now that Caroline's born... It wouldn't hurt to know if it's still possible for me."
Rumple studied her for a second, remembering his old trainee; he recalled what she struggled with, what she excelled at, and what fueled her passion.
"It's actually not as hard as it sounds, regaining magic," he told her, "the magic in your body has just been dormant for the last few months. You just need a way to reanimate it."
Regina sighed, staring down at her hands blankly. She felt like that lost schoolgirl again, and it made anxiety rush through her. "Just no... Anger this time. There has to be another way to do it."
"No anger," he reassured, finding her timidness slightly amusing, "love will do the trick, quite easily I might add. I used to think back to all the times I felt the most unloved, and transferred that into anger. But now, all I have to do is think of Belle, and how my life would crumble if I lost her. Love works a thousand times better than hate, contrary to what your dear mother always told you."
Thinking over what he had said for a moment, Regina soon found herself lost in her own subconsciousness. Her mother was so wrong for making her believe that love would get her nowhere. If only she could see her now.
"So how do I do it?" Regina asked, "just think about my family and... That's it?"
Chuckling, Rumple took her hands in his. "Almost. Just close your eyes, and think about something personal, something only a few people would know."
That was easy. Henry was a terrible insomniac. Before he had turned ten, and before they had started to grow apart, he would always be up reading a book, or looking at another comic book of his. They used to have the best conversations at three in the morning, Henry telling her all about the stories.
Roland loved to laugh. Sometimes, he would find the most serious of things absolutely hilarious. His little laugh made her day brighter, no matter what.
Robin was horrible at remembering to shave. Though he was getting better at not cutting himself, he always complained about how he and Little John went months without shaving, and everyone still loved him. But then she would lay down the law on not kissing him until he did, which got him fairly motivated. He proved to be a pain in the ass some days, but she loved him anyways, and that love was something she would cherish forever. Their baby was a product of love; in fact, the truest kind of love.
"Now- open your eyes." She heard him say, causing her to do so.
When she did, Rumple was nowhere to be found. Regina glanced around in surprise, scared she had done something wrong.
"Regina, up here."
Her mouth opened in astonishment. He was floating overhead in mid air, so high he almost touched the two story ceiling.
"Oh God! I'm sorry!" She called, sure that Robin was probably beyond confused up in the nursery.
"Did I do that?"
Before he answered, Rumple snapped his fingers, and in an instant was back down on the hardwood floor. "Indeed you did."
Just then, his cellphone went off in his pocket, unmistakably a call from Belle.
"Well I'll let you get back to her," Regina said, trying to contain her excitement. "Thanks for everything."
She could feel it inside of her, the familiar tingle of magic, the rush of power.
This time, she knew she could master it- protecting her family from harm. That was the only thing that mattered.