in which emma remembers that fairy tales are shitty
Emma wakes up with her nose and mouth smushed into something soft, and warm, and smelling of ginger and sweat, and a hand tucked under a full, heavy breast, and is so goddamn pleased about the whole situation that for the first time in six months, the first thing she does in the morning is smile.
It’s just… about goddamned time.
From smiling, she progresses to a wide, toothy grin, and then further to a gentle, gentle kiss, and then another, and finally lifts her head to actually look at Regina, and she can’t help but grin again, and kiss again, further up her shoulder blade and then, carefully, along the curve of her neck. When Regina makes a sound—a low whine, a grumble, who knows what it is, it’s adorable—and rolls her shoulder, Emma feels like her face might just crack in two and that would be all right.
“Hey, sleepyhead,” she murmurs, and reluctantly moves her hand from Regina’s ribs to brush her dark hair away from the side of her face, smooths the strands splayed straight up across the pillow down and back. Regina’s just so pretty, even when she’s still half asleep, even when there’s a wet spot on the dark blue pillowcase where she clearly drooled, even when last night’s eyeliner is smudged all around her lash lines. She’s so damn pretty and Emma doesn’t know much about much but she knows it’d be criminal not to tell her so. “Hey, beautiful, open your eyes for me.”
She didn’t think it would really work, but then Regina’s pretty, pretty eyes are opening and meeting hers and there’s so much light and warmth in her sleepy gaze that Emma kind of sighs, the way the driver’s seat in the Bug sighs every time she gets in, and grazes her thumb over Regina’s mouth, and—hell with it, follows her thumb with her own mouth and yes. It’s just as good as the night before. Kissing Regina is as good as she remembers and better than she’d imagined (and wished and prayed and dreamed).
Regina turns towards her, into her arms, and then their casual naked spooning is no longer spooning and certainly not casual but definitely still naked. Definitely, because as Regina turns, her leg slides between Emma’s and God, she’d be embarrassed about waking up this wet if she hadn’t woken up with Regina.
As is, she kind of whimpers into Regina’s bottom lip, and desperately grabs at that glorious ass to pull their hips together, and from the warm slickness against her own thigh she’s got a pretty good idea of where this should go in the next ten minutes.
Three of Regina’s fingers scratch up and down her sternum and then a long, slow, diagonal upstroke straight to a nipple, and shit, the flash of pain from a sharp tweak followed by gentle, teasing rolling—Emma might not last ten minutes. Hell, she might not last five.
Regina’s other hand is fisted in her hair and she isn’t sure if their kiss is getting stronger or if the world is actually falling away into dust but this, this moment right here, is the best morning of her life.
There’s a clatter from downstairs—someone else is up, apparently, probably David, and Emma struggles to make a mental note to keep quiet—and a distant voice yelling words but Regina is in her arms and kissing back again, and anything else can wait.
Except apparently it can’t, because those magic fingers at her breast turn into a solid push against her breastbone, and when she looks into Regina’s pretty dark eyes, she can see every wall going back up. One by one, they all snap into place.
“Hey,” she murmurs again, because maybe—maybe it’s like a spell, maybe she just has to say the right words in the right tone with the right intent and they can have this. “Hey, ignore that, there’s always clatter in the morning.”
But Regina’s disentangling their legs and sitting up, running a hand through her hair—almost to her shoulders, now, and Emma vaguely misses the short and flippy look—and looking around the room, and if there is a spell, Emma’s missed her chance to cast it. “I should go,” Regina finally says, and her voice no longer has that cute and sleepy roughness to it. The quick rise and fall of goosebumps across her chest, over each of her perfect breasts, isn’t about the anticipation of Emma’s mouth on her but instead about the shock of cooler air as the blankets drop away from her body.
“You don’t have to,” Emma says, and when a muscle above Regina’s shoulder blade twitches just before she turns to actually look at Emma, she know’s it’s already done. Her life hasn’t been an exercise in futility for nothing, though, so she falls onto her back, stretches an arm behind her head and gazes back at Regina. “Stay for a little. Stay for breakfast.”
If she hadn’t seen all the walls locking in, she’d mistake Regina’s expression for one of gentle pity. “Emma. This was—nice, but—“
“Nice?” Emma repeats, like she isn’t watching two years of dreams evaporate in front of her eyes.
Regina smiles and it’s a bad smile. Not real. “Good,” she amends, and maybe they should’ve just stuck with nice. “But… ill-advised.”
Regina should call her a parrot. Regina should do something, say something, to get them back to who they are so maybe Emma can try a not-spell again, so maybe Emma can save this.
Instead, Regina gives another gentle, unreal smile. “Unsustainable, Emma. It couldn’t last, not with… not with our circumstances. Not even long enough for breakfast.”
“Oh,” she says, and stares at the ceiling while Regina gets out of bed and retrieves her clothing from around the little room. If this is the last time she’s ever going to see Regina naked, she should be paying attention, but staring at the shoddy white plasterwork is just about all she can manage. “I guess I see your point.”
“I’m glad,” Regina says, and appears in Emma’s peripheral vision, almost fully dressed. “I don’t—we’ve finally found something that works for us, for Henry, and I just…”
“Don’t want to rock the boat?” Emma offers, because it wouldn’t be her life if she didn’t actively contribute to her own failures.
“Because of Henry.”
Slowly, slowly, Emma nods, finally drags her eyes away from the ceiling to look Regina over. One last chance to take in her body and the flashes of skin like she has a right to be looking. “Okay,” she says, and it comes out almost cheerful, almost easy. “Yeah. I get that.”
Because she saw the walls go up, she knows that it’s not just relief in Regina’s eyes. That there’s something else behind it, but—walls, walls, walls for miles and miles. “Great. Do you remember where my blazer went?”
She remembers pinning a blazer-wearing Regina to the stairs but groping a blazer-less Regina against her bedroom door. “Still downstairs, I think,” she says, and sits up, reaches over to the chair where her sweats from two nights ago are piled. “Here, I’ll walk you out.”
“David’s up already,” she explains, struggling to pull her beater on over her head. “I say something quick and easy about you stopping by early to pick up something of Henry’s, boat stays rock-free.”
“Right,” Regina says, and Emma wants to kiss the sad smile off her face forever. “Thank you.”
Sure enough, the red blazer is lying on the stairs where they’d left it, and it’s only when Emma’s already passed it back to Regina that she sees Snow at the kitchen counter, cup of coffee against her lips and a frown on her face that deepens as Regina’s boots come into view. And then it’s just an expression of pure shock as Regina gets further down the stairs, pulling the blazer on over her black scoop neck, and shit.
She should’ve gotten the blazer and made sure Regina was fully dressed before leaving the room. She should’ve thought about how David sings Queen songs in the morning. She should’ve worn an actual shirt and zipped up her hoodie so that the scratches on her upper chest and the bites on her neck weren’t in full view of her mother.
Regina freezes at the foot of the stairs, eyes locked on Snow, and Emma steps forward quickly, heavily, using all her weight to shake the metal stairs and jolt Regina out of her stupor. “So, he’s got the school paper on Tuesday, so I’ll pick him up Wednesday morning?” she adds, brushing past Regina and opening the front door for her.
“That works,” Regina manages, and even gives her a smile. “See you then.”
“Take care,” she offers hollowly, and forces herself to close the door and not watch Regina make her way down the building stairs.
Snow’s voice is tremulous and vaguely horrified and all Emma can really think about is the ugly plaster on the ceiling of her room. “Yeah, Snow?”
It takes a long time for Snow to get another sentence out. “Did—Did Regina spend the night?”
She can’t exactly lie with badges of glory throbbing on both sides of her neck. “Yeah, Snow. But it’s nothing.”
“It’s nothing? Emma, she’s—“
“Yeah, Snow. It’s nothing,” she says again, heavily and with something chipping away at the low ranges of her voice. “Won’t happen again.”
As she stomps up the stairs, she thinks she hears Snow mumble, “Oh.”
in which snow has learned nothing in forty years
This, Emma thinks, definitely one-hundred-percent qualifies as rocking the boat.
She’s been so good. So good, for weeks. Almost two months. She’d tried, so hard, that first week, to just be normal, to be exactly like they were three days earlier. She’d offered casual smiles and terrible jokes and been so, so careful to not touch and not stare and not burst into tears on the spot and it hadn’t meant anything. It all meant nothing, because at the end of that agonizing week, Regina had sent her a text—a goddamn text—saying that Astrid had offered to step in as Emma’s magic teacher and wasn’t that wonderful.
No. No, it wasn’t wonderful, it was shit. It was absolute shit because Emma’s apparently more of a failure than she’d ever thought herself and couldn’t even manage to stay genuinely friendly towards only the most important woman in her life. Couldn’t keep her stupid idiot useless feelings from bursting out of her and fucking them up and fuck, she couldn’t even do the one little thing that Regina asked of her and now—
Now she walks Henry to the gate when she drops him off, but no further, and now there’s a group text thread for Henry to keep them both updated about his schedule but no individual messages, and now she sometimes sits in one of the shitty chairs at the convent and lights all the votives to the Virgin at once while Astrid tries to coach her on something neither of them know anything about.
Or sometimes she sits at home with a beer and a tennis ball and sips one and throws the other until her brain is dull and registers nothing but the thumps of the tennis ball on the brick wall.
But this? This is not a beer and it’s not a tennis ball and it’s not a group text and it’s not a fake magic lesson and it is therefore rocking the goddamn boat.
Snow looks at her nervously, hands clenching and unclenching like she feels compelled to reach out and touch her, and Emma’s pretty sure that if that happens, she’s gonna throw a punch.
“You saw what?” she asks, and calmly puts her beer down on the floor.
Slowly, slowly, Snow exhales shakily, nods like she’s steeling herself. “I saw Regina buying a pregnancy test.”
Dragging the hand still moist from the condensation on the bottle over her face, Emma takes two very long breaths. “Okay. Why are you telling me this?”
Snow frowns, and cocks her head, and vaguely reminds Emma of a Care Bear. “Well—I—this is something you should know!”
A Care Bear, but without the inner light that makes them care.
Maybe she’s lost her mind.
She feels eerily calm. Like there should be alarm bells going off all around her but instead everything is muffled and quiet. “Why should I know?”
“Because—because you’re Henry’s other mother and you should know!”
“Okay.” Eerily calm, and she thinks maybe she should leave the room. The apartment. Maybe leave town until she isn’t so calm about this. About how much this—how much it everything. “But you just took her chance to tell me herself.”
Snow starts to respond, and then stops. Her mouth hangs open, and Emma stares at her. Stares at her, and thinks that she should really be getting her keys and going now.
“So why did you tell me, Snow?”
“Because it means she’s cheating on you!” Snow bursts out, and then holds her breath again. And then, predictably, and shouldn’t that be fucking tragic by now, words start rushing out of her. “I know, okay? I know you lied to me and said it was nothing and it’s okay, I understand, I forgive you, you were scared and I probably looked very judging and it was just a bad moment for all of us, but—Emma, look at yourself. Look at what sneaking around and hiding and lying about all of it is doing to you!”
… Like a demented, possessed Care Bear. A Scare Bear?
She’s way too calm, and she needs to find her keys, but instead she picks up her beer again, because she should really have something to carry her through this. “We’re not sneaking around, Snow.”
“Oh, sweetie, you don’t have to keep hiding,” Snow sighs, and kneels next to her. “I don’t care if you’re gay.”
Emma blinks at her, and wonders if changing beer to whiskey will put her even with Jesus.
She needs to go.
But instead she tightens her grip on her beer and fixates on a point just past Snow’s head, on a divot in the brick work and how, as imperfections go, it’s a pretty nice one. “Bi. Actually. And I’m not sneaking around with Regina. It was a one-time thing. Which would be consistent with what I told you to start with. Do you remember what that was, Snow?”
“What was it, Snow,” she interrupts, and she feels a little less calm. She really should go.
Snow stares at her with wide-eyed naiveté. “But—but you’ve been so—“
The moment everything clicks is visible. Practically audible. And then Snow sits back and lets out a soft, “Huh,” like her lack of anything resembling conscious thought is just unfortunate.
Emma is fully aware of which hand has the bottle and which hand has the tennis ball but she still flinches when the bottle shatters against the opposite wall. Flinches and that’s it, that’s all her calm needed to fucking flee her.
She wants to shake Snow. She wants to hurt Snow. She wants to hold her by the scruff of her neck and shout Look what you’ve done, Snow until maybe mere regret can be enough to open a time portal.
She wants to go to Regina and ask who was less complicated, or maybe just a better person. Who, in the end, was worthy of her.
She’d been so good. She’s been so good. She’s kept it all down and away and now—now she can’t. Now she can’t, because forty years and a dark heart and a split heart and everything else and her mother still hasn’t learned that Regina’s secrets aren’t hers to tell.
And Emma, Emma’s not good enough to pretend she doesn’t know this, now. Emma… she’s just not. She tries. She tries as hard as she can to be good enough, but she already knows that this is the little fact that will drown her and she’s not good enough to let it.
Her calm is gone and she’s not good enough to get it back but right now? Right now she’s not strong enough to do anything but draw her knees up to her chin and shake, and shake, and shake.
in which regina admits they blew up the boat
In the end, what she does is get up, wash her face, grab her jacket and start walking.
Because in the end, the only thing that matters is that—however it happened—Emma knows that Regina may be thinking about taking a pregnancy test, and since the only person granted emotional access to Regina is their fourteen-year-old son, Regina may be thinking about taking a pregnancy test alone.
So it doesn’t matter if being there and thinking about it burns Emma up from the inside out. Regina shouldn’t have to be alone for this. And maybe she’ll just send her away. Maybe she will want to do this on her own. Maybe whoever this guy is, maybe he’s good enough and maybe he’s there. Maybe he’ll be there for her.
Emma just needs to be sure that Regina isn’t forced to be alone for this.
The walk is good. Long, and agonizing, and more than once she leans over someone’s hedges and dry heaves, but good. She puts one foot in front of the other and it’s simple. She’s capable of that much.
There are lights on all over the house and she can hear Regina yelling for Henry to turn the lights off when he leaves a room, she swears it, and it’s just such an easy representation of everything she wants, everything she’s about to be reminded she can’t want, that she drops, right in the middle of the front walk, into a crouch, presses the heels of her hands into her eyelids and fucking screams for everything she’s going to lose.
She doesn’t process the sound of the front door opening quickly enough, so when she finally looks up, Henry is standing in the doorway, backlit like the sweet boy he is, gaping at her. “Ma?” he asks, and steps onto the stoop in just his socks. “Ma, did you—was that scream you?”
“You heard a scream and you opened the door to it?” she manages to ask, and rubs at her eyes. “Did I teach you nothing?”
He crosses his arms and glares at her. “Answer the question.”
“Oh, no,” she deadpans, and knows that alarm bells should be going off again but this is Henry and Henry is theirs, “the teenager without a driver’s license is going bad cop on me. Whatever shall I do.”
Henry glowers, and finally rolls his eyes. “Fine. Be that way. Are you coming in?” She manages a smile, and takes two steps forward, and then he keeps going. “Mom just tried to call you. Were you already on your way over?”
She fumbles for her cell phone in a burst of frenzied movement and Henry’s gaze gets heavier, more suspicious. All of her pockets are empty, though, and now her heart’s beating triple time because Regina called her.
“I—I don’t have my phone,” she stammers, and oh, God, Regina called her. “Do you know why she called?”
He shrugs, follows her into the house and closes the door. “She said she felt weird just before dinner, like she caught a bug or something. But she went to the store and got medicine so I don’t know. Maybe she wanted you to come pick me up?”
Medicine. Maybe Snow saw the box wrong. Maybe Regina just bought TheraFlu or something. Maybe this is a nightmare with an end.
She turns at her name to see Regina, one hand stretched back to linger on the study door, and how she ever thought she’d be strong enough to be selfless, she doesn’t know. Because there’s Regina, still in her dress pants and blouse, hair up in a haphazard ponytail and a pen tucked behind her ear and Emma’s just done for. Done for. “Hey,” she manages, and immediately wishes she could take it back. Because hey isn’t hey; hey is ginger and sweat and a murmur and a kiss and the thirty seconds when she believed in happy endings.
“I—I just called you,” Regina says faintly, and frowns. “How—“
“I don’t have my phone. I was already on my way here.”
Henry is looking between the two of them as if he might figure out what exactly devolved between all of them if he only could catch the right words, so Emma tries to be who these two—these two who she needs so much—need her to be. “Can we talk? Privately?”
Something flickers in those dark, pretty eyes, and it’s so bright and deep that she feels another scream vibrating in her ribs. “Yes,” Regina says, and her eyes snap to Henry. “Sweetheart, would you please go upstairs? After you turn off all the lights.”
“No arguments, Henry.”
Grumbling, he shuffles up into the foyer and goes to turn off the lights in the dining room and the living room. His absence from the space between them makes both her and Regina stare at the floor until he’s finally starting up the stairs with a grumbled, “Two moms, they said. It’ll be fun, they said. Won’t be weird at all, they said.”
There’s a low gurgling in Emma’s stomach that she’s sure is her heart dissolving in acid, because God. One little instruction and she fucked it up so bad. “Where to?” she asks, and finally takes the two steps to be on the same level as Regina.
She hasn’t been this close to her since that Good Night and the only thing that’s changed is that Regina won’t look at her. Won’t smile at her and look at her lips and touch her hands and her hair and her jaw, won’t tug her in by the chain of her necklace, won’t look at her. “Here is fine.” Regina gestures back into the study, waits for Emma to head in first before following and shutting the door behind them. “If you hear creaking overhead, that’s Henry on the stairs, so just point up so I know to stop talking.”
Regina’s clunky old laptop is open on the coffee table, and there’s stacks of folders and binder-clipped packets on either side of it, and her desk is littered with the smellier, older magic texts and scrolls, and Emma is just taking stock of the room, that’s all, but she can see the title of the webpage on the screen and whatever the hell gynogenesis is, she knows an infographic of fertilization when she sees one.
“You can sit, you know.” Regina’s across from her, now, scooping up the laptop and closing it, flipping some of the open packets of paper over to leave only blank white pages facing up. “I don’t—there’s a lot to say.”
“Yeah,” Emma says weakly, and wipes her palms on her jeans. “Um. I think—I’m pretty sure that, um, what I have to say will change what you have to say—“
“I could say the same,” Regina tosses back, and there’s the barest bit of spark and fire in her tone and eyes and the curve of her mouth and Emma sinks. Drops like a stone onto the couch and puts her head in her hands, and it’s only when Regina whispers her name for a third time that she can look up.
She has to be good enough, now, because Regina might need her.
“Snow told me,” she says, quietly, clearly. “She told me you bought a pregnancy test.”
Regina goes still. Regina goes stiff. Regina goes ashen and turns into stone.
“I’m sorry,” Emma whispers. “I’m sorry she… I’m sorry she did that to you again. I’m sorry she changed however you were going to handle this. But—I know her word isn’t worth much to you, but I think I made her understand how… wrong it was to tell me, and how important it is that she not tell anyone else.”
Regina’s hands—elegant, miracle hands—are clenched into fists so tight that she might be drawing blood. “She—told you?”
“Yeah,” Emma murmurs, and everything in her wants to reach across the table and take Regina’s hands, lace their fingers together, promise her it’s gonna be okay. “But—but that’s not why I’m here.”
Regina scoffs, and stands, and turns her back on Emma, goes to the wide window behind her desk. “She told you I bought a pregnancy test but that’s not why you’re here. Enlighten me, Miss Swan.”
Her voice, normally low and lyric and lush, is rough, cracks twice. Emma can’t take her eyes away from the dip of Regina’s waist. How it’ll disappear behind baby weight. How she’ll glow, the way everyone says pregnant women do but Emma’s never seen. How Regina will smile at her baby, some tiny wrinkled thing with her nose and eyes and please, please, please, no resemblance to the father. How her baby will learn to smile back.
“You don’t have to do this alone,” she whispers, and watches Regina’s whole body shiver. “Not if you don’t want to. Not a bit of it. Not taking the test, not not taking the test, any—any appointments you have to make after, anybody you want to tell. I—I had to. Do it alone, I mean. And I just—I wanted to make sure you knew that you don’t have to. If you need a sounding board or a ride to and from—whatever, or a four am craving gopher, I—I’d be there. For you. If you wanted.”
She’s screwed up again. She’s said something wrong, something terribly, terribly wrong, because Regina presses her forehead against the glass and then a hand, too. Those pretty, pretty brown eyes are closed so tightly that she looks like she’s in pain, and Emma wants to fix it. Whatever she’s done, whatever she has to do, she wants Regina to not have that look on her face.
“I—I said something wrong, didn’t I? I’m sorry. I don’t—I have no idea how this is supposed to work or what—what’s appropriate, but—it’s whatever you want, Regina. Whatever you want, however you want to do this, I’ll make it happen.”
Regina laughs, that not-laugh that’s always been about how much Emma doesn’t get it, and turns her head just slightly. There’s moisture under her eyes. “I have every confidence you will.”
Emma stays quiet, because she doesn’t get it, doesn’t have any idea what Regina means.
“I took the test already.”
“Oh.” Regina doesn’t offer more and Emma slowly stands up, shoves her hands in her pockets and shuffles towards the desk, stays on the opposite side of it. “Did you—did you look at it?”
Nodding, Regina turns her face away again.
That scream is back in Emma’s ribs again, punching into all the soft spaces in her gut, but—but this isn’t about her. “Can—can I know what it said?” she asks, softly softly softly, and when Regina’s mouth twists, she already knows.
And then Regina laughs, another not-laugh, and finally looks at Emma with her eyes shining behind tears. “That’s it? That’s all you have to say?”
Not even a little bit, but what does anything Emma has to say even matter right now? “No,” she answers honestly, but when she sees Regina brace herself she just—she’s just not good enough. She’s not, so she takes the three steps around the desk to be just close enough. Just close enough to take Regina’s hand, and smile softly at her, and ask, “What do you want to do?”
Regina turns her head away again but doesn’t pull her hand away and the scream in Emma’s ribs twists in on itself and pushes. “What do you mean?”
Emma strokes her thumb across Regina’s knuckles, because she can, and Regina tightens her grip. “I mean,” she says, and she tries so hard to be gentle, “do you want to keep it?”
Regina recoils from her, pressing herself back against the window as if she’d throw her body through it if she could. “How can you ask me that?” she hisses, and Emma—she wishes she could just know, know with a look and a touch, what Regina needs from her right now, because this guessing and failing can’t keep happening.
“No—I—Look, I know how you feel about kids, but—it just… It doesn’t seem like this was something you were planning and if this isn’t something you want—I just—you shouldn’t have to. If it’s not what you want.” Emma tries for more words but her mouth is dry and her throat is tight and she misses the weight of Regina’s hand in hers. The warmth.
Some of the horror slides off of Regina’s shoulders, out of the space between their bodies, but Emma doesn’t move to touch her again. Slowly, slowly, they both sort of sag against their respective braces; Regina angles herself away, slightly, cheek pressed to the window, and Emma needs the desk to hold herself up. “It is what I want,” Regina finally breathes out, and sighs. “That’s half the problem.”
“Oh.” And then, before she loses her nerve to the scream in her ribs and the aching sadness pushing into her blood, Emma asks, “What do you want to do about the father?”
Shock spreads across Regina’s face—slowly, first in the eyes, then the brows, then slackening her jaw and mouth. “The father?” she repeats, as if—as if the word itself was absurd.
And God, she’s an asshole, but Emma feels the scream get a little softer at this clear proof that whoever this dude is, he won’t—he won’t be family. He won’t be part of Regina’s family and she’s not nearly good enough to be standing here but it’s the truth. She just—she wouldn’t be able to bear it. She wouldn’t be able to bear the idea of some guy lucking into Regina in his life when—when it took so long and so much for even this stalemate to be stable. Couldn’t bear the idea that carelessness or accident or whatever gave someone a permanent tether to Regina, to her heart.
No, that has to be… that has to be earned. Labored for. Risen to like—like the sun.
Regina is still staring at her like she’s stupid, and Emma tries to shrug, play it calm. “Do you want him to know? Do you want him involved?” She cracks a grin that doesn’t quite take. “As far as I know, paternity secrets in fairy tales don’t ever stay secret, but you could be the first.”
“You idiot,” Regina breathes, and starts to laugh. It’s only a little bit a not-laugh. “Oh, God, you absolute idiot.”
She’s just so confused and so relieved and so heartsick and Regina’s not-laugh is sounding more and more like not-crying. “Regina?”
“That’s why you asked about keeping it,” Regina says, and then her not-laughter drops away into silence. Emma just stares at her, because she’s so confused, and for a minute Regina just stares back. Looks at her like she hasn’t since that Good Night. “You—you came over here and—all of those things. You said all of those things. You said all of those things thinking—thinking a father.”
“I said everything I’ve said thinking of you,” Emma snaps, and here she is, being not good enough and to Regina’s face, to boot. “So maybe stop calling me an idiot unless you’re gonna tell me why—“
“It’s you, idiot,” Regina interrupts, and tacks on the idiot with a smile that’s so, so real. “The ‘father’ is you.”
Emma wants to tell her the joke isn’t funny. Emma wants to tell her that she knows she’s an idiot and not good enough but maybe just decent enough to not have to be toyed with like this. “Please don’t—“ and then she stops, because there are certain things she knows about Regina. She knows Regina is absolute shit at lying because she knows exactly how to wield the truth. She knows Regina does not take anything to do with children lightly. And she knows that Regina is just shy of being a certified genius, so—
“Why the fuck were you looking up fertilization?” she bursts out, and then Regina’s laughing again, that not-laugh not-cry, and Emma gets it. “Oh, holy shit on a stick, fuck.”
For just a moment, Regina’s laugh turns low and true and bright, but that doesn’t exactly soften the most asinine response to we’ve having a baby in human history, and Emma knows that. “I mean,” she starts, but can’t really get much further because that is, in fact, the best her brain can do right now.
“I know,” Regina murmurs, and she smiles. “It’s—beyond comprehension.”
“I know.” And then, quietly, in a voice that Emma never wants to hear again, she asks, “What—what do you want to do?”
Honesty, Emma decides, is the only way any of this is going to work. “Kiss you,” she says, and watches Regina’s eyes widen. “Kiss you a lot, really. Tell Henry he’s gotta be the best big brother in world history. Go get you vitamins. And ice cream. Kiss you some more. Figure how the hell this is possible. Find an obstetrician who knows something about miracle babies. Kiss you a little bit more.” Hell with it, she thinks, and goes for broke. “Maybe convince you that since we kind of blew up the boat, rocking it is probably the least of our worries.”
And Regina laughs, and it’s real and true and warm and soft and gracious in ways that Emma can’t even begin to believe she deserves. “And then kiss me?”
“Nah, then I want to get super-stud tattooed across my abs,” Emma says, straight-faced, but can’t hide her grin when Regina rolls her eyes like she isn’t the least bit amused. “Then I want to kiss you.” Making Regina laugh—especially now, especially about this—is going to be something she’ll always be proud of. “Can I kiss you?” she asks, and holds out a hand.
Regina nods, and puts her hand in Emma’s, and she looks so shy and sweet and Emma just—God. How many miracles can she possibly get?
Then Regina kisses her, and Emma doesn’t mean to but she brings their joined hands to press just to the side of Regina’s navel and they just look at each other, calm and quiet. “I think we blew up the boat,” Regina finally breathes out, and her smile is wide and bright and stunningly beautiful.
Emma wonders if there’s just one miracle, really. One miracle that keeps on giving.
“Stay for a little,” Regina murmurs, right against her lips, and their fingers twine together between their bodies.