Author's Note: This is a one-shot for the Swan Queen Week 2021 Day 2 prompt: Bloom/Gloom. Viva la SwanQueen!
Emma pulled her trusted, but rusty, yellow Beetle into the driveway at 108 Mifflin Street next to Regina's sleek black Mercedes coupe. She gave a small chuckle as she turned the key and heard the engine cut out. The two vehicles perfectly personified them both, she thought, not sure why she hadn't considered it before. They had taken Emma's car to drop Henry at Boston College three weeks ago because Henry had pointed out the Beetle could fit all three of them and his stuff. He wanted his family to do this one last thing together.
And what Henry wanted Regina had always given him. When questioned about the lack of argument, Regina pointed out, "You have grown on me, dear." Her tone had even been indulgent long before the alcohol started flowing when they stopped for the night at the roadside motel.
Things had gone from good, to better, Emma thought. Despite the amount of liquor, she hadn't forgotten a single moment of that night. But Regina had claimed a hangover the entire drive home and slept while Emma drove. Well, she exhaled, it was definitely time to talk about what happened.
Looking up from the toes of her boots, Emma stopped walking when she reached the stoop to the front door and clasped her hands together over her waist. A flash of memory crossed her mind of rescuing Regina from Whale and the mob after the Dark Curse broke on this very step.
She shook her hands apart and instead shoved them into the back pockets of her jeans. Glancing back at the overcast morning sky, she cocked an eyebrow at the door then skyward. Just a small hopeful sign, please?
Grasping the door knocker, she rapped the brass three times against the satin-black door. At the same time the third knock faded from her ears, the heavy pall lifted and rays of sunshine pierced the gloomy morning, illuminating the gold numbers. Deciding that was the sign, Emma knocked again, more determinedly, and called out, "Regina!"
"I'm working in the backyard."
Emma turned to see Regina – in jeans with dirt-encrusted knees – standing at the far north corner of the house. She had a thick glove on one hand, the other gripped in her fist. "Oh. Hey. Um," Emma stepped off the stoop toward Regina. "What are you doing?"
"Gardening." Regina frowned and took a hesitant step toward Emma. "Is something wrong?" She glanced down and removed her phone from her pocket. "You didn't call."
"I-uh, yeah. Didn't." Emma walked the final few steps until she was only an arm's length away from the brunette. "You know how my folks can hover."
"I do indeed. What have the Idiots done this time?"
Emma smiled wider seeing and hearing Regina's light done. "Doesn't matter." She had missed this easiness with Regina. She'd worked hard to develop it in the months and years since she and Henry had returned from New York. And that night... She bit her lip. Maybe they had been drunk, maybe they had been crazy. But this, this made her think some of the feelings were deep and real. "C'mon," she said. "Show me your garden."
If Regina thought the shift in conversation abrupt, she said nothing. Emma's parents was still so far down the list of preferred topics, the woman would follow a train of thought in any direction in order to avoid it. As she fell into step beside Regina, Emma glanced sideways to study the woman's features in profile. Her short dark hair swished on her cheeks. She looks happy. Emma wondered if what she would have to say would change that.
Regina led Emma to a plot of freshly turned, dark dirt encircled by white stones. She looked around and didn't see the three-dollar perennial trays Mary Margaret would buy at the garden shop for her window boxes. "No flowers?" Emma said.
"I'm transplanting a tree, not flowers, today." Regina easily slid back to her knees on the ground. "An apple tree."
Emma followed Regina's point to a pair of apple trees. One she recognized rather sheepishly. Its stub from when Emma sawed off the branch in her first year had been painted with some sort of plant sealant. "Sorry. But isn't it a little old to be moved?"
"That tree was planted by my father when I was born."
Emma nodded. "Yeah, like I said –"
"We are both quite hale and hearty," Regina replied. Despite the fact that she had interrupted Emma, there was a rumbling tenor that suggested Regina was more amused than angry. "But actually I took a sapling from beneath Henry's tree."
"Yes, the smaller one." Emma studied it now. "I planted it when I adopted Henry. It's a family tradition, planting a tree on the occasion of a birth." Regina moved alongside Emma. "It's actually been producing the apples I use for my cider since the year before you arrived."
"Yes. I believe you've said it was the best cider you ever tasted."
"A birth?" Emma frowned and took a step back. Regina had already planned this. Her stomach fluttered. This wasn't about… "You're adopting another child?" She fidgeted and took another step back. Maybe this isn't a good idea. Wrapping her fingers around each other, she swallowed as her stomach fluttered. "I, uh, didn't know you were–" She cut herself off and shook her head. "With Henry just off to college thought, I-I guess it makes sense."
Regina stood suddenly in front of Emma, grasping her fingers, and brown eyes tried to catch her gaze. "Hey."
"Hey." Emma exhaled hard. "Congratulations."
"Thank you, but there isn't an adoption in the works."
"There isn't?" Emma suddenly felt a wave of melancholy. She met Regina's gaze squarely. "You should, you know. You're a great mom."
"Well, I don't yet know if her mother will have me."
"You...you're seeing someone?" Emma felt tears gathering in her eyes, her vision starting to swim.
"Well, it's was just one night. I was working myself up to asking for a second date," Regina replied.
"Oh." Regina pulled Emma into a hug and her lips pressed to Emma's temple. "Regina?"
Emma hated herself for leaning into the hug, but she needed to feel secure. "I don't want you to see her again," she whispered.
"I...well, I'm pregnant."
Emma eased back from the embrace as her face scrunched in a frown. "You know? How?"
"Snow really cannot keep a secret." Regina exhaled. "She found a pregnancy test in the trash."
"I haven't slept with Hook. Not for ages," Emma hurried to explain.
"I know that. Your mother didn't. She asked for my advice on how to force Hook to marry you." Emma swallowed. "I refrained from telling her."
Emma sagged. Regina's arms continued to hold her. "Thank you."
"But you really should marry the father."
Regina tucked her fingers over Emma's lips. "Will you marry me, Emma Swan?"
"Uh. What do you remember?"
"Honestly, I was hungover. But there's one thing I'd never mistake..." Regina kissed her. "Our magic." The tingle of their combined magic slid through Emma's body, just as it had that night in Boston. When Regina let her go, Emma saw the sapling in its bucket, tiny flowers opening on its stems. Regina pressed her lips to Emma's temple. "I'd better plant it quickly so it can take healthy root."
"I'll help." Emma shrugged off her red jacket and rolled up her shirt sleeves. Regina looked alarmed. "Hey, family tradition, right?"
She smiled when she lifted the bucket and Regina ogled the muscles flexing in her forearms. Moving the bucket to the freshly turned ground, she knelt. When she reached into the bucket and carefully lifted out the sapling, Regina had finally gotten over her shock and the root ball was cupped in both their palms. Together, they moved the tree to the hollowed depression and shoved dirt with their hands to fill in the hole and cover it.
Rolling back on her heels, Emma dusted her hands on her jeans. "There. Now it will grow."
"Yes, it will." Regina's fingers entwined with hers on her thigh.
A sunbeam pierced the clouds and illuminated the garden as Regina leaned over and again kissed Emma's temple.
Regina invited Emma to stay for brunch after the tree was planted. She offered the blonde's favorite dish she ordered at Granny's on the occasions she had seen the woman eat a breakfast - waffles with blueberry syrup. Passing Emma the cup of fruit juice, she waited for the waffle iron's light to go out.
"I'm not really comfortable with my mother continuing to push Hook at me," Emma said.
Emma's pause was so long Regina looked up to see the woman rubbing the back of her neck. She queried, "Are you sore?"
"No, I...I'm not looking forward to the conversation."
"Why not? I will be with you."
"You don't want me with you?" Regina suddenly remembered Emma had not directly answered her proposal earlier.
"I don't want to you to marry me out of obligation, Regina. My family already did that to you once."
"I believe you missed the first part of my statement, Emma. I wanted a second date and a third. And more. But I simply hadn't worked out how to ask you."
Regina saw in Emma's wide eyes that she had surprised her. "You've become more than just a friend, Emma. I've...yes, I was furious with you about Marian, and letting yourself become so damn subservient to Hook, but... it's because I cared. I care," she repeated. The light blinked off in that moment and she had to stop speaking for a moment to plate the waffle. Handing it to Emma, she insisted on holding the other woman's green gaze and revealing her sincerity. "I know that one...night may have been unexpected, but it was...I do not see it as a mistake."
As she saw the evidence of Emma absorbing her words, shoulders slowly straightening, the anxious furrow of her brow smoothing, Regina smiled. The action encouraged Emma's smile as she had hoped. "Regina?"
"So, will you let me share this with you?"
"I-" Emma took the waffle plate and nodded. "I just...don't know."
She'd come to learn Emma so well. In that moment she knew the simple words were encompassing so much. "Would it soothe you to understand exactly how this happened?" She filled Emma's silence with the preparation of her own waffle, finally plating it. She was unnerved by Emma's silence, but knew the other woman needed processing time.
They walked together with their plates to the breakfast nook table which had filled with the morning sunshine through the bay windows.
"I know our magic is freaky strong together, but this has got to be a one in a million shot. Biology just doesn't..."
Regina reached out and lightly cupped her hand over Emma's fisted one on the table. "Women have understood how to naturally improve the chances of quickening the womb - or preventing pregnancy, for thousands of years. It's not actually that much of a magical stretch. You had an herbal tea at dinner with Henry that night. There was probably something helpful in that."
"You figured all this out between my mother's phone call and my arrival?"
"I have lived with magic nearly all my life," Regina said simply. "Knowing how I felt about you, knowing how our magic mixes, knowing that there have always been ways...It wasn't a leap for me."
"And you're not feeling obligated?" Regina exhaled in exasperation. Emma blurted, "Look, I don't want you to feel trapped, I know how much that fucking sucks, okay?"
Regina pulled her hand away from Emma's and sat up straighter. "I'm not sure how I can convince you I do not feel trapped now, nor will I feel so in the future. Raising a child with you? Emma, I've already done that. Sharing love with you? It would be the happiest life I could imagine."
"I have...loved you for so long." Regina heard the frustration in Emma's voice. "When I hurt you bringing Marian, that killed me. I could see Robin made you happy and you deserve that, Regina."
"When you took on the darkness for me, Emma, that frustrated me. And when you accused me of failing you in Camelot and I couldn't remember how, that devastated me. Finding out you were protecting Hook. I wasn't sure I could ever... But then I thought you were happy. And... you deserve that too, Emma. I couldn't begrudge you that."
"Perhaps since it won't be obvious for a while, we could say to most people we are dating," Emma suggested.
"We should tell Henry, I think," Regina added. "Otherwise he'll come back from his first year at college and be surprised with a new sibling."
"I hadn't thought about that. Nine months."
"I did say I want to marry you," Regina pointed out. "Would you rather do that before or after our child arrives?"
"Before I start showing would mean we spring this whole thing on everyone in a matter of weeks."
"I am amenable to waiting," Regina said. "Not for any other reason than it will relax your mind."
"But it will freak out my mother if we haven't said something by Christmas and I'm showing."
"All right." Regina smiled. "We will tell your parents."
"But I am not letting Mom plan the wedding," Emma insisted. "She'll make everything big and floofy and filled with pink." The blonde's shoulders shuddered. "And probably too many birds."
"On that we can agree. Your mother's sense of style is deplorable."
Emma took hold of Regina's hand. "I have no idea what I would've done if you turned me away."
"You will never be alone again, dear." Regina lifted Emma's hand and kissed the knuckles. The endearment combined with the chivalrous touch brought pink to Emma's cheeks and Regina found herself wanting to do much more than kiss a hand or cheek. "I would like to take this...conversation...upstairs," she said.
Their magic swirled around their hands and Regina felt her arousal suddenly spike. Green eyes glowed. "Let's go," Emma said. Regina laughed.