We Can Love Again

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Days were starting to pile up on one another. For Regina, things were no longer a struggle, apart from her separation from Robin, of course. She used to live life on such a strict, by the book routine- now that she had more family members added to the mix, the former queen realized that she could actually enjoy herself when she wasn't as strict. It was mostly Roland that got her out of that; he was always filled with cheerfulness and excitement, two things she wasn't used to at all.

Regina's mind filed through these things as she flipped through the pages of a fashion magazine Ruby had given her a few days prior. She had about five other ones spread out on top of the covers on her bed, making her feel like a self obsessed teenager.

Already she was undeniably bored; she didn't need to take fashion advice from people all over the world. How the young woman did it twenty four seven was beyond her understanding.

Absentmindedly, she brushed her hand over her stomach, slightly surprised when she felt something odd, something she had never noticed before until now. There was a small, hard bump at the base of her abdomen.

The magazine was long since forgotten as she rested her head against the wall and smiled warmly to herself. In fact, she couldn't stop smiling. There her little baby was, growing bigger and bigger everyday.

Regina swung her legs off her bed and took off downstairs. Her kids were both on the carpet floor of the living room; Henry had Roland pinned down, tickling him whenever he got the chance. The four year old was laughing so hard his face was a bright shade of red.

"Hey guys, I can see the baby now!" Regina declared, almost bubbling over with excitement. The boys looked at her in surprise. "See?"

Henry stood up and squinted his eyes at her stomach, soon putting on a confused smile.

"What?"

Henry let out a small laugh. "It just looks like you're getting chubby."

She made a face at him as Will burst out laughing. He gave the twelve year old a high five.

"Well congratulations, you're pregnant," Will smirked.

Regina scowled at him. "Let me be happy for a minute, it won't kill you."

"Fine, I'm happy for you Regina."

"When will the baby be here?" Roland asked, jumping up to give her a hug.

"We've been over this, not for a couple more months," she told him, ruffling his hair. "Why don't we do something fun to celebrate."

Henry beamed. "Can we go swimming mom? It's really hot outside today!"

Regina shrugged. "I guess, do you want me to drop you and Roland off?"

"No! No swimming!" Roland shouted, scowling profoundly up at her.

Regina almost laughed. She forgot about his extreme fear of water.

"Roland, you need to go so you can finally learn how to swim like a normal boy your age."

"Hey, good idea- teach the kid how to swim," Will said, "sounds like fun. Guess I'll come along."

She raised her eyebrows, sending him a sarcastic look amidst Roland's protests. "No, you have a job to get to, remember?"

"I'm still adjusting to my new living space, so happens."

"You've been living here for three weeks," she countered, honestly not surprised. "They'll fire you one of these days."

Roland was on the verge of tears. "I don't want to go swimming!"

"You're being ridiculous; the only way to get over your fear is to jump right into the water." She sighed, wiping away his tears with her thumb. "If you want, I'll go with you."

This brought an end to his sniffles. "Really?"

Regina absolutely hated swimming pools. She took Henry whenever he wanted but never once would she have even dared actually swimming in one.

"Sure. You can see my chubby self in a swimsuit." She shot Henry a dark look. "For one day only. Because I love you."

Roland obeyed when she told him to up upstairs and change into his trunks (with Henry's help of course). Regina wasn't all too thrilled about the idea, but she dug out her old swimsuit she had used only once in the past. Henry's comment stuck in her mind as she examined herself in the mirror. She thought it was odd she didn't notice the baby bump until now; it was pretty evident now that she realized it was there. Nevertheless, she threw on a thin coverup and headed back downstairs. Henry was successful in getting his brother in his swim trunks. Even Will had his on.

She rounded up her boys into her car and drove off towards Storybrooke's one and only swimming pool; nothing but a poor, shabby little rectangle in Regina's mind. Roland had to get over his fear of water though. She remembered Robin trying to coax him into the lake by their house one day- he wouldn't budge. This time though, she was determined to make some sort of breakthrough.

After properly smothering sunscreen on both of her kids, Regina pulled her hair back and slipped on some sunglasses. It had to be about ninety five degrees outside.

"You ready Roland?" She asked him, taking his hand in hers.

He shook his head stubbornly. "I don't like water!"

Regina sighed, trying to find a way to get through to him. "You like taking baths though! This isn't any different."

"It's harder to drown in a bathtub," Will interjected, earning himself a whack on the arm.

"You'll be fine. I promise."

Henry took off towards the pool, taking no time in jumping into the water and creating a big splash.

"See? It's easy."

Roland still seemed hesitant about it. "Too scary," he mumbled.

As they neared the edge of the ripping blue water, Regina could sense Will's desire to shove her in the pool- she knew it was coming. So before he had the chance, she shoved him in first. She and Roland stepped back as he collided with the water, making an even bigger splash than before. Will popped his head up as Henry began laughing.

"What the-" He just about chocked on the water that had gotten in his mouth. "Regina!"

She grinned back at him. "You said you wanted to go swimming..."

He scowled, splashing the water around him towards her. "I'll get you back, hope you know that!"

"We're here for one reason, and that's to get Roland in the water."

She set her bag down and took off her coverup, dubiously dipping one of her toes in the water. The thought of hundreds of people sharing one single pool made her cringe. Things may have changed since she was Queen, but some of her old habits sure didn't.

"Mommy you promised you would go swimming with me!" Roland protested, catching the look on her face.

Regina sighed. "Fine, but you have to get in too."

She lowered herself down and stuck her legs in the water. "Don't even think about it Will."

The water was cold, but it felt nice against the heat.

"Come on Roland, just jump in and I'll catch you." She held her arms out towards him.

The boy glanced around the pool, peering down at the rippling water like it was going to hurt him.

"I'm scared..."

"If I can get in this pool willingly, I think you can jump in." Regina told him, trying to keep her cool.

"I'll catch you, I promise. You'll be safe."

Her words were comforting to him. He planted his feet firmly on the hot concrete and took a deep breath. A few seconds, splashing followed.

Roland had his arms securely around her neck as he slowly reopened his eyes.

"You did it Roland!" Regina smiled, giving him a kiss on the cheek. "I knew you could."

Henry bobbed his head up and splashed his mother from behind, making her shriek with surprise.

"Henry!"

The boy burst out laughing. "It's summer, we're supposed to be having fun!"

Regina set her jaw, lifting Roland up and handing him over to Will.

"Okay then, let's have some fun, Henry."

Not a soul in Storybrooke was oblivious to the screaming and laughing that came from that pool for the rest of the afternoon.

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