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The Queen's Knight

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Emery lifted the ax above his head and swung it down to split the log sitting on the stump into two. The pieces fell to the ground and he lodged the blade of the ax into the stump. Emery picked up his shirt and wiped the sweat from his face. The summer heat was unbearable, but he had to get out the house. He and Regina had been spending too much time around each other. He dropped his shirt on the ground and up his water skin, taking a long drink from it. He drew in a deep breath as he put the cork back into the opening and let it out. Emery removed the ax and set up another log to split.

He and Regina were staying at his house south of the main castle. They had been there for the last week because the stress of the castle was causing Regina to have premature labor pains. Though the baby was due to come any day now, Emery didn’t want her to be stressed out. However the longer Regina remained pregnant the more miserable she became. After Regina had snapped on some poor handmaiden who didn’t deserve her wrath Emery had suggested they come to house. At first Regina had been against it but on their first night there Emery had pampered her and continued to do so each night thereafter.

Emery had no problem with pampering and taking care of Regina, he enjoyed doing it, but he also couldn’t wait for her pregnancy to be over. Regina had turned into a woman he didn’t recognize. She whined, cried, and if Emery even glanced at her the wrong way she would blow up at him and he couldn’t do anything about it. She was carrying their child. Emery sighed. When he got frustrated with her he would sit in the baby’s room to remind himself why all this was worth it. The baby’s room had been completed a month ago. They had turned the spare room in their chambers into a nursery and had furnished it with some of the best furniture in the kingdom. The room was supposed to become Emery’s office, but he figured this was a better use for it.  Going into the nursery would always cause him to smile because soon he would have a child and Emery couldn’t wait to indulge their every whim.

Other than preparing for the baby and taking care of Regina, Emery was still adjusting to his role as king. The first month hadn’t been so bad, but after it had passed a whirlwind of problems arose for the kingdom. Currently he and the council were dealing with Regina’s tenacious desire to absorb King Stefan’s kingdom, and the mounting tensions with the kingdom of Arendelle. Emery knew Regina had been planning to conquer Stefan’s kingdom since the beginning of the war, and was going to do so once she took care of Snow, but the way the events occurred with Snow caused the plan to deviate. But she still wanted to conquer the kingdom and expand her own. Emery didn’t like the idea, and neither did the council. Having just ended a ten year war didn’t make the move feasible. It made even less sense because tensions with Arendelle were getting to a crucial point.

Queen Elsa didn’t respect Regina and it caused Regina to loathe her, but the real reason why tensions were mounting between the two kingdoms was because King Stefan had gone to see Elsa and she had interfered with several of the kingdom’s trade agreements. The numerous factors were going to bring everything to a boiling point and Emery knew it would lead to war. He just didn’t know if it would be one the Mills kingdom could win because Arendelle was across the sea. The navy didn’t have the experience in dealing with a distant adversary and neither did the army. Emery could order both branches to run drills until kingdom’s military collapsed, but it wouldn’t make up for the lack of experience.

Emery and his generals had gone over a number of scenarios, and they were confident about the army and navy’s abilities, but they weren’t certain of the outcome. There were too many variables. Elsa being a sorceress who commanded ice magic was the biggest variable they were dealing with and Regina wasn’t helpful. She was ready to sail across the sea and get the damn war over with. In her own words she said Elsa was no match for her. The Arenedell situation had led to a number of arguments between Emery and Regina and they had agreed to table it until after the baby was born. The Stefan thing, however, was something Regina wouldn’t let go of and Emery already had the army on standby to conquer the neighboring kingdom.

Emery started to collect the split wood. Being king held no appeal to him especially since two wars loomed on the horizon and he still had to rule. Emery sighed. He wanted to be hunting with Joe and Henry or possibly taking Regina off to some distant land where the two of them could truly relax but it wouldn’t happen - at least not for awhile. Emery stacked the wood in the holder near the house and headed back to where he was chopping it. He was supposed to go to the village and join Neal and Graham at Ollie’s tavern but Regina hadn’t been feeling well and her pregnancy pains seemed to have worsened, so he wouldn’t be seeing them tonight. He would be doing things a loving husband did for their pregnant wife.

“Emery,” Regina shouted from the front porch of the house.

He looked back at the house over his shoulder. Regina stood on the front porch and her hand was firmly planted on her overgrown stomach. Emery frowned a little. She had been sleeping soundly when he came out to chop wood. He headed for the porch. “My love, you are supposed to be napping.”

“I was napping, but I woke up to a sharp pain and the bed was wet beneath me,” Regina explained as she grimaced in pain. “Emery, I think the baby is coming.”

Emery’s eyes widened as time froze. The baby was coming. His baby – their baby was coming. It couldn’t be right. The baby wasn’t supposed to come for a while. Emery thought they had more time. The midwife said it would be another two or three weeks. The baby… “The baby is coming?”

Regina nodded. “Yes, the baby is coming.”

He gestured in the general direction of the castle. “We are forty-five minutes from the castle. I have to prepare the carriage and, and, and – You can’t have the baby now.” Emery drew in a deep breath and tried to control some of his anxiety.

Regina opened her mouth to argue with him, but she groaned in agony instead. The sound shook Emery from his stunned state and he rushed onto the porch. He rubbed her back and whispered, “It’s okay, my love. I’m right here. You and our baby will be okay.” He kissed her temple. “It’s okay, Regina. We have to get you into the house.” Regina nodded and Emery guided her back into the house. He helped her onto the couch and said, “I’m certain we have enough time to get back to the castle before the baby is ready to be delivered.”

Regina shook her head and grunted. “It’s too late.”

Emery’s eyebrows furrowed. “How is it too late?” Regina pressed her hand to the side of her stomach and groaned. Emery went into the kitchen and poured water into the bowl. He got a clean rag and went back into the living room. He moistened the rag and wiped Regina’s damp brow with it. “Regina, how is it too late?”

Regina drew in a deep breath and slowly let it out. “I’ve been feeling the pain for a while now. I thought it would pass, but it hasn’t.”

Emery nodded. “Okay, okay.” He tried to figure out what to do next. He had never delivered anything in his life. He took a deep breath. Emery would figure it out as he went. He got up and said, “I have to get pillows and blankets.”

“For what?” Regina asked as she tried to breathe through the pain.

Emery bit his bottom lip and replied, “For the delivery of the baby.” Regina gawked at him and Emery ran his hand over his hair and explained, “We don’t have enough time to get you back to the castle if what you say is true. The only thing we can do is have them here.”

Regina continued to gawk at him. “Have you lost your mind?” She shouted. “I am not having our child in this filthy hovel you built. Where do you propose I have this child?” Emery glanced down at the floor. “Oh you have lost your damn mind, Swan.”

“I said I would get blankets,” Emery exclaimed. “Why are you fighting me on this? You are about to give birth to our child.”

Regina grimaced as she got up from the couch. “I know what I am about to do, Emery, but I will not be giving birth on the floor of this filthy hovel.” Regina narrowed her eyes at him and snapped, “Find another solution.”

Emery glared at her. “Your majesty, this is our only solution unless you would like to give birth outside.” Regina scowled at him and she was about to argue some more, but she held onto her stomach and cried out in pain. “My queen, this is no longer a discussion,” Emery said as he helped her back onto the couch. “It looks like you will be having our child in this hovel. I have to go get blankets and pillows.” He pressed a kiss on her forehead. “I’ll be back,” he murmured.

Emery rushed up the stairs to their room. He collected pillows and blankets off the bed then he went in the room which served as their bathing room to get a number of towels from the cabinet in there. He ran down stairs and found Regina resting her head against the back of couch, a grimace on her face as she went through the pains of labor. Emery began to lay out the blanket and mid-way through he saw Regina glaring at him. “Yes, Regina?”

“I can’t believe you’re making me have our child on the floor of the house you built,” she said as she continued to glower at him.

Emery piled a few pillows on top of each other then moved to help her off the couch. He pulled her up and smirked. “Look at it this way, we will have a funny story to tell our child when they are older. You can even use it as leverage against them.”

Regina glared at him. “Oh, I will use it every chance I get.” Emery began to untie the loose fitting linen pants she was wearing. Regina swatted at his hands and he held them up as she exclaimed, “What are you doing?”

Perplexed, Emery pointed at her pants and replied, “Helping you out of your pants.”

She scoffed. “I am giving birth I am not an invalid.”

Emery stared at her for a second then shook his head, muttering to himself, “Didn’t know I would be fighting a war when you gave birth.” He sighed. “Regina, my love, please let me help you.”

She scowled at him moment longer but it was short lived when an intense labor pain hit her. Regina’s hand wrapped around Emery’s arm and as her nails cut into his skin she swore at him. “I swear to every deity in existence we are never having sex again. I will castrate you myself before I let you get me pregnant again.” Emery’s eyes widened at the threat but it wasn’t as alarming as the magic which started to go through him.

Emery began to get warmer and soon he started to sweat. Whatever magic Regina was sending through him it wasn’t a good type of magic. Emery gritted his teeth and said, “Regina, breathe and control your magic.” Regina ignored him and Emery felt like he was going to combust. Soon her pain subsided and so did the magic Regina had been sending into him. Emery drew in several deep breaths and removed her hand. An angry burn in the shape of her hand was seared into his skin. Emery cringed.

“Oh, Emery – I – I –“ Regina stammered as tears began to form in her eyes.

Emery took hold of face and placed a firm kiss on her lips to silence her. He ignored the excruciating pain coming from his arm. He broke the kiss and rested his forehead on hers. “Do not apologize, my love. You are going through so much right now. I hold nothing you say or do against you.” He gave her another kiss and pleaded, “Now, Regina, please let me help you.”

She nodded and Emery let out a relieved breath. He gave her forehead a kiss then helped her out of the pants she wore. She lay down on the pile of blankets he had made up. Once Regina was settled Emery retrieved several basins of water and rags. He may not have birthed a human child before, but he had seen enough animal births. This couldn’t be too different. He picked up the moist rag which hung on the edge of the bowl and wiped Regina’s brow. “I’m going to see how everything looks.”

Regina nodded. “It should happen soon. I feel a lot of pressure and pain.”

Emery took several deep breaths. He wanted to panic, but Regina needed his help and so did their child. He kissed her cheek and moved to where he was situated between her legs. Emery drew in a deep breath, closed his eyes, and opened her legs. “You cannot close your eyes, Emery Swan!” Regina yelled. She groaned.

Emery’s eyes flew open and he apologized. “Sorry, sorry. I-I-I’ve never done this before.”

Regina groaned again. She lifted her head and looked at him. “Ride back to the castle and get the midwife. Then ride back here. I’ll be fine.”

Regina dropped her head back and Emery said, “No, Regina. I’m not leaving you by yourself.” He drew in another breath and forced himself to look between her legs.

Emery tried to keep his face neutral, but the effort wasn’t necessary since nothing seemed out of the ordinary. He hummed. He honestly didn’t know what he was looking for. Emery bit the inside of his lip and asked, “What do you feel because I don’t see anything.”

“You don’t see anything?” Regina repeated incredulously. “If your child thinks it can torture me for hours and not do anything they have another thing coming.”

Emery didn’t know what she meant by that. He sat on his haunches and shrugged. “Maybe I should go get the midwife.”

“You should have done that twenty minutes ago,” Regina yelled as she went through another labor pain.

Emery moved to where her head rested and got the damp cloth to wipe her brow. He kissed her temple and whispered, “It’ll be okay, Regina. You can get through this.” She groaned and Emery held her to him.

For the next hour Emery checked to see if anything changed with Regina’s delivery and nothing happened. Then Regina let out a great shout and Emery moved to see if this would be the moment. When he opened her legs Emery’s eyes grew wide. He could see the top of the baby’s head. Panic set in. “Regina, I can see them. I can see our child.” Regina groaned in pain as she pushed their child out of her womb. Emery picked up a towel and got ready to retrieve the child as they exited their protective confines.

The birth of their child happened so quickly Emery hadn’t seen whether the baby was a boy or a girl. He was too worried about Regina and getting her through the rest of the birthing process. He placed the baby on her and went to work on disconnecting them from her. It didn’t take long for the afterbirth to pass through and when everything settled Emery sighed. A small smile formed on his face as he looked at his and Regina’s child.

Emery cleaned up everything the best he could and took it into the kitchen. He washed his hands and went back into the living room to join Regina and their child. Emery knelt onto the floor and fixed the pillows so she could rest comfortably. Emery ran his finger over the baby’s tiny arm and ginned. He had a child. Regina cleared her throat. “He’s beautiful.”

The comment pulled Emery from his blissful thoughts of being a father and he focused on the small baby in Regina’s arms. “What, my love?”

Regina chuckled. “I said he’s beautiful.”

“He? I have a son?” Emery questioned with a huge grin on his face.

Regina laughed softly. “Did you not see this when you pulled him out of me?” She moved to show him the baby’s lower half.

Emery shook his head and chuckled. “I didn’t. I was too worried about making sure you were okay.” He stared down at the baby in Regina’s arms in awe. “I have a son.”

Regina smiled at him and gestured her head towards the baby. “Would you like to hold him?” Emery smiled at her, his eyes full of tears, and nodded. She placed the baby in his arms and situated his arms so he could support his small body. “I have to say you make a handsome father, Swan.”

Emery chuckled as he watched the baby in his arm. He didn’t notice the wayward tear of joy which slid down his cheek. The little one grunted and he laughed softly. He brought his head closer to the baby and whispered, “You’re my son and I’m going to give you the world.”

Regina rested her head on his shoulder and Emery moved to where he could wrap his arm around her while he held the baby. Emery’s life had moments where he was happy and felt joy but this moment, with Regina and his son, the happiness he felt would never be forgotten. He kissed Regina’s head and murmured, “I love you.”

 She lifted her head and placed a soft kiss on his lips. “I love you too.” They sat in silence for awhile as they watched the new prince of the Mills kingdom adjust to life outside of the womb. Regina ran her finger over his dark hair and wondered, “What shall we name him?”

Emery was still in awe over the fact their child was a boy. “I’m not sure.” He chuckled and smiled at Regina. “He’s ours. He’s actually ours.”

Regina chuckled and gave Emery a soft kiss. “Yes, Emery, he is.” She rested her head back on his shoulde., “But he needs a name.”

Emery bit his lip and hummed. He then suggested, “How about we name him after his father?”

 Regina scoffed. “We will not. I do not think I can deal with a miniature version of you.”

Emery grinned and pointed out, “He has your hair though.”

“It could change,” Regina countered and Emery chuckled. The baby started to whimper. Regina sat up and took him from Emery. “You’re probably hungry after having such an exciting day. Being born on the floor of the hovel your father built.”

Emery shook his head and watched as Regina began to feed their son. He moved so he could hold her as she did. The baby had no problem latching onto her breast. He ate as if he had found the best meal on the planet. Emery snickered. “Someone has their pop’s appetite.”

Regina groaned. “Wonderful. We should start stock piling food now for when he’s older.”

Emery chuckled and Regina joined him. The two of them settled down and got caught up  in watching the sight of their son eating. Emery rubbed his head gently and a thought came to him. “What about Henry?”

“My father?” Regina wondered as she turned her head to look at him.

Emery nodded. “Yeah.”

Regina turned and smiled at the baby. “He would be over the moon about this.”

Emery chuckled. “Yes, I know, but I think it is a good way to honor a man who has done so much for the both of us.”

Regina looked at him again. “Are you sure about this, Emery?”

“Yes, my queen, I am sure,” he replied with a grin.

Regina turned her attention back to the baby who was latched to her. “Well little one it looks like we have a name for you.” She softly stroke his cheek and said, “Henry Francisco Mills the Second.”

Emery was taken aback by the name and he stumbled over his words as he went to object. “I – I – Regina I didn’t want to use the whole name. Only your father’s first name.”

Regina chuckled. “It’s too late.” She brushed the pad of her thumb over Henry’s cheek. “What do you think, my little prince?” Henry grunted in response as he continued to eat. Regina expelled an exasperated breath and let her head fall back against Emery’s chest. “He’s already acting like you.”

Emery grinned and ran his finger over Henry’s head. “That’s my boy.” He swallowed hard as his emotions got the best of him. “That’s my boy,” he whispered. Emery kissed Regina temple. “I love you and thank you for everything.”

Regina chuckled. “I love you too and don’t thank me yet. We still have to wait until he’s older. You may regret thanking me then.”

Emery laughed softly. He wouldn’t regret any of it. His life had become everything he had wanted, and more, all because of Regina and now they had a beautiful son. He loved everything about his life now. It was a far cry from where he was a year ago and Emery couldn’t ask for more. He gave Regina a gentle squeeze and watched Henry. In this moment, aside from Henry the First, Joe, and Ingrid; Emery had everything in the world which mattered most to him and it was all he needed.