A/N: This Outlaw Queen, Regina/Snow, Regina/Emma, Regina/Henry, Regina/Rumple story has been poking around over on my tumblr (sgtmac7) for the last three weeks. It's known there as REGINA DOES PREGNANCY. This is the cleaned-up, edited and expanded version of that story.
As those who have been reading it know, there are 16 parts to it. They will be up as they're edited.
The timeline of where this story begins is a short bit after 4x02. After Henry comes back home. Suffice it to say, things are as a whole...deeply complicated.
His mother has always had something of a shifting appetite.
When she's in control of all of her emotions and feeling powerful and perhaps even unbeatable, her appetite strengthens and her sweet tooth becomes something of an amusing abomination; Henry has more than a few memories of watching her shifting through a big of usually chocolate candies, all while telling him that she's just removing the most unhealthy ones of all.
When she's busy or preoccupied, she has a habit of snacking on anything that she can quickly pop into her mouth that won't stop her train of though. Her favorite there tend to almonds or occasionally, if the busy is in a good way, M&Ms out of a glass bowl. Just because she does appreciate a little presentation.
When she's upset or feeling very low, her usually healthy appetite lessens and she tends to drink alcohol more than eat food; those are generally scary times for him. Not because his mother is a mean drunk or anything of the sort, but rather because she has a bad habit of retreating even further into herself when it happens and it's terribly hard to pull her out of her dark depressions.
Now, though, now he has no real idea what to make of her appetite.
Because this morning she'd eaten half a stack of pancakes and looked like she'd been considering going back for more - or even stealing off his plate for half a second - but now she's munching on little more than saltines.
Weird, he thinks as he reaches for the bowl of ice cream in front of him on the table. They're at Granny's because she's trying to make sure that he doesn't end up locked away inside of the mansion taking care of her. At least, that's how she had explained it to him only in more mom-like terms. There'd been a lot of talk about how she appreciates him being there for her, but he's still the kid and it's her job to look after him and not the other way around. Henry had smiled and dutifully nodded and she'd sighed acknowledging that he hadn't really been absorbing a single word that she'd said to him the whole time.
Because yes, she's the mom and he's the son. But he's her son. And so by her side is where he'll be especially while she going through this heartbreak.
Still, he hadn't protested when she'd suggested lunch at Granny's which is why they're here now. He's made his way through a cheeseburger and fries but it doesn't escape his attention that his mom is still almost absently stirring around a bowl of chicken noodle soup, all the while munching on crackers.
She looks pale, Henry thinks as he studies his mother. Not quite right. He wonders if maybe she's coming down with the flu or something like that.
Which honestly is the last thing she needs after all that she's been through.
"Henry," Regina says softly. "Are you not feeling well, sweetheart?"
He blinks. "What?"
"You're just staring at your ice cream."
"Oh! I was…thinking about you. Are...are *you* okay?"
"I'm fine," she replies and though it's not a malicious lie by any stretch of the imagination, it's a clear lie all the same. Still, it's almost an expected one.
Because she'll never stop being his mother and trying to protect him.
He's about to reply to her - perhaps to suggest that they just go home - when the door opens and then, of course, Robin and his family are stepping inside the diner, Robin trailing a few inches behind Marian and Roland.
He sees his mother tense, her shoulders tightening and her jaw flexing.
"We can leave," Henry says and reaches out for his jacket.
"Finish your ice cream," she tells him. "We don't run from anyone."
"We are Mills," she grins. There's a slight falter at the end because he's been identifying himself as Charming over the last few years and she's clearly not sure how he'll react to this…rebranding of who he is. He thinks that maybe she's worried that he'll reject her once again and feels pain that he ever did.
Logically - and his logic gains clarity with each day that he ages - he knows that what had occurred before between he and his mother is complicated, and that she would be the first one to tell him that he should feel no guilt over what had happened but when he sees the hope in her dark eyes, the way that she desperately desires for him to want to be Mills, it physically hurts him.
Because she is his mother and though it took him time to realize and see how much she truly loved and loves him and he her, now he understands it well.
So he smiles and he nods and he says, "Yeah." He pulls the bowl of ice cream closer to him and is about to dig into it when he sees Roland rushing over.
"R'gina!" the boy cries as he launches herself into Regina's arm.
Henry tries to remind himself that being jealous about a kid is pathetic.
Still, his mom is holding the little boy and Henry doesn't overly love it.
Because he's just gotten her back.
"Hi, Roland," Regina says gently, kindly. Then, looking up, her eyes lock with Robin's as he approaches, a slight uncomfortable smile on his lips.
"Sorry about that," Robin murmurs. "He got away from me."
"He's always had a habit of doing that," Regina notes, thinking back to several times during their year together in the Enchanted Forest - several occasions where they'd spent the afternoon hunting down a mischievous little boy.
"Indeed." He looks over at Henry and nods.
Henry just stares back at him.
Until Regina says his name, like it's okay to not be angry at Robin.
But Henry is angry at Robin because his mom has been drinking whiskey and cider more than eating food and that means that she's depressed and hurt and this man standing here who had left his mother is the reason for that.
"Are you well?" Robin asks suddenly, drawing Henry's attention back to his mother who is once again looking more than a little sick. He sees Regina hand a reluctant Roland back over to Robin, her arms trembling just a bit.
"I'm fine," she says quickly. Too quickly. "Just a bug."
"So we should get home," Henry announces firmly as he stands up.
Because there's nowhere else for this conversation to go; Robin had chosen someone else besides his mother and while that's absolutely the wrong decision to have made, it's the one he made and so there's no point in this.
"Of course," Robin says as he steps back. But then his hand is jerking out and right before Regina stumbles and falls, he's catching her and keeping her up on her own feet. She looks up at him for a moment and then breaks away.
Like even his touch hurts.
"I've got her," Henry tells him and it's kinder than he would like it to be considering Marian's sitting across the room and Robin is about to return to her, but he sees something in the older man's eyes - this deep pain.
It quiet's Henry's anger.
And reminds him that the only thing that matters right now is his mom.
"I'm fine," she reassures him. "But I do think we should be getting home."
Robin steps out of the way again but then, because he can't stop himself from speaking before his traitorous heart can catch up to his mind, "If you need -"
"I think we both know that it's far too late for that now," Regina answers quietly and then she's stepping out of the diner with Henry and breathing in great gulps of cold air, her hand settle across her belly as it flip-flops around.
"I hate the flu," she answers with an uneasy laugh that isn't at all convincing or reassuring to him. "I really hope that I didn't give it to you."
He shrugs. "You make great soup."
It earns him a smile that meets her eyes.
He answers it in kind.
She's still sick a week later and that's when it's worrisome because though he hasn't lived a long time, he understands the way the flu works. It comes on hard and fast and leaves you weak and drained, but then it goes away.
This one isn't going away as it should.
And her appetite isn't returning.
Instead, it seems like every time she eats even a little bit, she ends up hunched over the toilet, making terrible sounds and shuddering fiercely.
He tells her he that he thinks she should see a doctor.
But of course, she insist she's fine.
He knows she's not.
Henry tries to get Emma to harass Regina into talking about what's going on with her - at the point that she's been sick like this for a couple of weeks, he's begun completely rejecting her assurances that she's just fine. He figures that maybe his blonde mother can perhaps bully his dark haired one into at least going to see a doctor to get something so that she can hold down food.
But Regina is suddenly refusing to speak to Emma again.
Henry had thought that it'd gotten better, but apparently not.
When Emma comes by to talk, Regina slams the door in her face.
And then disappears into the bathroom.
She's better by the late afternoon on most days, though some days the weird flu symptoms hit her in the evening as well. It's one of these okay afternoons when they're out at the park together and there's Robin Hood again.
With his son and his wife and they look like the perfect family as long as you ignore the fact that Robin and Marian are barely talking to each other.
When Henry turns to look at his mom, to try to gauge what she's thinking and figure out what she wants to do, he sees her staring right at Robin and oddly, one of her hands is rested across her belly. Henry tells himself that this is entirely normal for her - she's always encircled herself when under stress.
But there's something different about this - about her mood.
Something he can't quite figure out.
He figures it out two days later when he's checking on his mom to ensure that's she sleeping soundly (she'd absolutely flip out if she knew about this; while she's okay with them teaming up to find who wrote the book and she's fine with him being at her side, she's been violently and quite loudly against any degree of care taking from him and so he finds that he has to sneak it).
He figures it out when he's taking a glass into her bathroom to re-fill it at the filtered tap. There's a box in the trash and though he doesn't know the brand, he can read and it says plain as day: PREGNANCY TEST.
His eyebrows lift and it's like everything that he's ever seen on TV or read in a book slots into place. He holds up the box and looks back at over at his mom.
His likely pregnant mom.
The box is on the counter when she comes down to make his breakfast in the morning and for a moment, she just freezes, her mouth falling open.
"I wanted you to have to water when you woke up," Henry tells her.
Her eyes close and she inhales and then exhales.
Not because she's angry - she's well past that ugly emotion - but because she doesn't know how to have this conversation with her son. How does she tell him that she's going to have another child and she has no idea what to feel about that? How does she tell him that right now, she's hugely terrified.
"The internet says the morning sickness will get better," he tells her brightly.
"Does it?" she laughs, the sound humorless.
He nods. "It also says that you need to eat more. You need to gain weight."
"The first problem is causing issues with the second one," she mutters.
"Then we need to find something your stomach can handle."
"You're pregnant," he says and the words are like a punch to the gut.
"Yes," she admits and her eyes are suddenly full of tears. There's so much more that she wants to say here, so much more that she wants to express, but he's still her son and he doesn't need to know of all her fears and doubts.
He doesn't need to know that she'd thought it impossible for her to ever become pregnant and now, not only is she, but she's pregnant with the man she's in love with's child. The man who had chosen to return to his once-wife.
"Then that's our mission," Henry tells her. "Operation Runt."
She laughs at that. "And what about Operation Mongoose?"
"This is more important. This is our family."
She lets out a soft gasp, recovers quickly, steels herself and then with a voice that still houses a slight tremor, asks him, "And what are our goals?"
"Make sure my little brother or sister is born happy and healthy."
"I am okay," she tells him. "This isn't your job. I don't need -"
"It's not about what you need, Mom. It's what I want. I get to be part of something with you. I get to help you get ready for my sibling to come."
"It's going to get difficult," she tells him. "Robin can't know about this."
"Because he made his choice."
"For honor. Right. But now you're pregnant -"
"That's not what I want. I want…I want him here because he chooses to be and not because he's obligated to be. So this stays between just us."
"And when he sees you…" he makes a motion to show a rounded belly.
"I'll figure it out then."
"You'll lie to him."
"I didn't want you here because I forced you and I don't want him here, either," Regina says softly. "Please. Help me with this. Please."
"He wants to be with you," Henry insists.
"But he can't be. And…if I'm going to be a good person here and that's what I want to be - for you and for me and for…him or her - then I need to not think of just what I want and I need to not be selfish. I need to...Robin, he has a family all of his own."
Henry nods. "He's going to figure it out eventually. He will."
"But until he does?"
"This is our family," Henry says. "And us Mills…we protect our family."
She smiles at that and then pulls her son as close to her as possible.
Robin will figure it out eventually. She'll lie and try to tell him that this child belongs to someone else, but she knows that will only give her extra time.
Time she doesn't want, but she thinks this is what good people do.
They try not to be selfish and they try to see the bigger picture.
He'll figure it out eventually, but until then, it'll be all about Operation Runt.