With All My Heart
Neal got the call about Henry coming over just seconds before there was a pounding at his apartment door. His twelve year old son was practically in shambles- tears stained his face and he looked exhausted from running the entire way.
"What's up Henry, are you upset?" Neal asked, as calmly as he could. Will had told him he was angry; and he didn't blame him.
"No," the boy scowled, walking in to the small apartment without another word.
Neal closed the door behind him and joined him on his couch. "Does this mean we get to spend tonight together, you and I?"
"Can't I just live here with you? I don't want to go back." Henry grumbled, attempting to wipe off the smeared tears that stained his face.
Neal put his hand on his back comfortingly. "Well you technically live here every other weekend," he told him, "and you have Emma too. Plus Regina and your brother."
"It's always depressing over there!" Henry let out an exasperated sigh, "all she does is cry. And that's all she and Roland will do unless my other dad ever comes back."
Neal knew it was a struggle for all of them. It didn't help that the Charming's apartment had turned into a void of depression as well. And then there was him, Neal Cassidy, who lived by himself and only had Henry to look forward to twice a month, after returning home from long, painful hours at work. He no longer had Emma as a lover; Neal had to let her go. Thankfully, they still remained friends.
"But hey, you've had some fun moments here, right?"
Henry cast his eyes back down to his hands. "Maybe some... Robin made my mom happy again, even if he isn't here. I like it when she's happy."
"See, that's something positive. Not everything is depressing and sad, Henry."
"But... What if he never comes back? Then what?" The words sounded bitter as soon as they left his mouth. "I... I don't know if I could take care of mom, Roland and the new baby."
There really wasn't an answer for that question. He was twelve years old, he wasn't ready for that kind of responsibility. Neal had to live without his dad, accepting the fact that he would never return. Never would he want that burden on his son.
"There's Will too, you can't loose faith in him so quickly."
Inside, Henry felt bad for the way he treated his uncle. He knew he was trying; he knew he had a difficult life, too. Even after months of living a few doors down from him, it didn't seem real that his dad had a little brother.
"I know he's trying," he got out, finally lifting his head up to meet his father's eyes.
Neal smiled, knowing he was making progress. "Hey, how about we play on my new Xbox, that'll cheer you up."
He knew it would work, for Henry's face brightened up ever so slightly. "Okay, thanks for letting me stay over, dad."
Neal gave him a look. "You're my son! You're welcome anytime, no matter what."
And he knew he meant it.
Regina hadn't even realized it was Friday. Her day had turned so sour, all the joy of the weekend slipped right through her fingers. She didn't want to do anything- she didn't see the point in doing anything fun on their Friday night. Roland and Henry were both gone, which meant she had no more worries for the few hours she had left.
"You're never going to believe this, but I actually got another job the other day!"
Will announced to her, sounding proud of himself.
Regina really didn't believe it. "Really? Where?"
"You know that little pretzel shop at the end of Main Street?"
"You work there now?" She asked, "that place is practically falling apart!"
Will sighed. "It's not as bad as it sounds!"
Rolling her eyes, Regina set her keys down on the table. "Well I'm glad you're working again."
Will smiled. "My shift starts in a half hour, I better head out."
He leaned forward and gave her a peck on the cheek, snatching her keys from the table and twirling them around his finger.
"You have your own car!" She demanded, scowling towards him.
"Oh come on, just this once!"
Then she remembered it was now the weekend, so she thought, what the hell.
"If you do anything to my Mercedes I swear you won't live to see another day."
Will took that as a yes. He beamed, taking off for the front door in a flash. Regina heard the door slam shut behind him- she swore he was less mature than her four year old sometimes.
Seeing she had her entire house to herself, Regina traveled up to her bedroom, were she began running the water to her bathtub, making sure to keep it nice and warm as the water began rising. She always loved taking baths, but all the times she had in the past was always when she had magic. Things were a thousand times harder when she had to actually dig out her bubble bath soap and wait for the tub to fill, in contradictory to merely snapping her fingers and having one prepared just like that.
It was nice to let loose and relax though, even if it took more effort from her. She felt a weight lift from her as soon as she pulled her hair back into a bun and stepped out of her clothes. The water felt perfectly warm to the touch.
Regina used to take baths all the time when Henry was young and took naps; she had nothing else to do while she waited. Here, now, it was quite the opposite- she had too much to do, and things always got worse no matter how hard she tried.
The warmth immediately calmed the tension in her back, though, along with pretty much every other part of her body. Roland's words stuck to her, his soft yet excited, "can you feel it?" causing her to think about the baby again, despite how much it hurt.
Her hand found it's way to the small curve of her stomach, the constantly growing bump where her unborn child lay- and where Snow's didn't.
She could feel it. The beat was strong and steady, yet seemingly fragile. Her baby was alive and it was getting bigger with every passing day.
Tears ran glossy over her eyes as she stared down at the white mountains of soap that surrounded her.
"I haven't exactly been the nicest to you lately," Regina spoke, "I'm so sorry..." Her child wasn't even born yet and she was already apologizing.
"I take back what I said, I do want you. It's been a dream come true to have a baby with someone I love; you are the greatest gift I could ever ask for. Even... Even if your father doesn't get to see you... I will be your mother and I will love you with all my heart."
As soon as Regina released those words, she felt another weight lift from her, making a calmness rise within her. She let her head rest on the cold porcelain behind her, closed her eyes, and thought of paradise- twin horses galloping side by side across an endless green field.