"You know, if it'll help, you don't even have to get up or get dressed. I can poof you straight to the cabin on the boat." Regina rests her hands on her hips, then crouches down next to the bed. "Or we can cancel."
Dragging herself up from the too-welcoming pillows, Maleficent shakes her head before wincing. She needs to remember not to do that until afternoon. Just don't move her head, for another month or so. It'll be fine. Regina's sweet face softens in sympathy. "I'll get dressed."
Regina stands again, kissing her forehead. "It might help. Fresh air. The deck swaying beneath you." She frowns, all concern this morning. "Are you sure you don't want to cancel?"
"Henry's boat trip. Never." She pulls her knees up, hugging them to her chest. "I'm fine."
"Fine isn't allowed to include nauseated when it's me."
Chuckling, Mal shakes out her hair. Showering isn't going to happen this morning and it doesn't matter, the sea air will make a mess of her hair and no one really pays that much attention to how she dresses. "The rules are different for you and the reasons you get nauseated are never good."
"I don't want to take you on Hook's ship just to have you throw up over the side."
Removing her pyjamas and eyeing the closet, Mal turns to smirk at her, naked. "It's less messy than the car."
Regina crosses her arms over her chest. "We pulled over."
Turning back to the closet, Mal picks out her bra and a camisole, trying to decide what sweater is best for a day on a ship. While she has her back to Regina, she embraces her, soft and warm. She lays her head on Mal's shoulder, resting her hands on Mal's belly. "I'm sorry it's like this."
Mal purrs, wrapping her hands around Regina's arms. This isn't getting dressed, but it's wonderful. "I'm not."
"You could have fooled me yesterday." Regina kisses her shoulder blade, then rubs her hand in a slow circle over the baby. Their little spark. "We won't drive until your stomach settles."
Turning into Regina, Mal holds her close, then kisses her forehead. "That seems like overkill."
"You've only thrown up when we were driving."
"Could be coincidence."
Regina kisses her once more. "Perhaps."
Rolling her eyes, Mal waves her away. "If I'm going on the sea, I need to get dressed."
"So I should stop distracting you?" That playful look would be very distracting if they had time.
"If you want me ready on time, yes, yes you should."
A well-thrown pair of socks hits her in the shoulder while she pulls on her trousers. Regina's grin makes her eyes gleam. "I don't know how you can be nauseated and distracted at the same time."
"I'm not human." Rather than risk dizziness putting on her socks, Mal waves them on with magic and chooses the deep blue sweater.
"Of course not."
Maleficent, Regina and Henry appear in a puff of purple on the dock, rather than walking up like she expected. They're not late either, which fits more with the magic. Henry waves and runs up to the deck, grinning because he loves his sailing lessons. Emma hugs him, welcoming him on board while Killian fixes the ropes.
She really should have learned more about which rope is what, but she doesn't need to know their names to move them with magic. The Jolly Roger's parts know their duties, know how to sail better than Emma does. Waving at Maleficent and Regina as they board, she catches the way Regina's hand never leaves the small of Maleficent's back.
Regina's smile shines bright, and she enthusiastically discusses the ship, and lunch, and all that Henry's learning. Maleficent stands quiet. She's usually quiet, but this has more of a sense of isolation to it. Regina hovers, never far from her side and she's pale, not even wearing lipstick.
Okay, so, morning sickness is a thing for dragons too. Do they have ginger tea? Can Emma make it appear? Killian might have something, the galley's usually obsessively stocked and Belle lived her while she was pregnant. Belle is the practical type. She passes Killian by the wheel, whispers to him and then heads down. There's ginger root in the cupboard next to the potatoes, because it keeps well, and adds flavor. She can hear him defending his choice not to add a minifridge (though he does let them bring a cooler).
Peeling the root lazily with a knife, she chops it into large flat slices. She used to buy ginger ale in the commissary, when she had the cash, which was rare. She was so young then, so alone.
Maleficent's not young, definitely not alone, and Emma shakes her head a little because she's cutting this up not just for her. Some part of her is mending the damage of her own youth. They're family now, no one's alone.
And the family's growing. The first round of the adoption paperwork came through, and her juvenile record won't bar her from adopting a child who needs a home. Killian just needs to exist on paper, have a job, because independently wealthy ex-pirate doesn't look good on a form.
Unless it was for a movie or something. She smirks at that, picturing him teaching Johnny Depp how to be a real pirate while the water heats on the stove.
"You could use magic."
Emma turns, placing the voice. Not Regina.
She leans against the doorway, hands on her hips. "If you desired, you may call me Mal. It's less of a mouthful."
"Did anyone call you Mal before?"
She tilts her head, and Henry's right, it is just like the iguanas at the zoo in New York. The same unblinking stare. Maybe being a dragon affects her eyes in this form. Maybe she doesn't have to blink. "Cruella and Ursula did. When we were friendly."
"You hung out?"
Now Mal blinks, smiling a little as she sits down on the bench next to the table to watch Emma. "You may need to define that for me."
"Spent time together, doing magic, drinking, pillaging--"
"The old world version of Netflix and chill?'
Emma snorts and grins. Mal and Ursula and Cruella... Not like that. "Ummm-- not unless your relationship had a side you haven't talked about."
"Regina said it meant staying home and watching movies. If we had had movies, that would have been nice."
The ship creaks and turns and shit, Mal's paler now. Do they have a bucket? Do dragons throw up like people do?
"Netflix is nice." Keep talking, give her something to focus on because her knuckles are white where she grips the table. "Gives you all the movies and keeps playing them for a couple hours before it wants you to remind it that you care. Netflix and chill though, is uh, something else." Fuck, she's blushing. Her face burns.
"What is it?" Mal looks a little better, a bit less like she's about to throw up. So keep her talking.
"Netflix and chill is when you turn a movie on and make out instead." Emma lowers her town and turns away, blushing scarlet as she pours hot water over the ginger root. Passing the mug to Mal, she tries to shake off her embarrassment. She's an adult, she can talk about this like an adult. This is Regina's wife, Henry's step-mom, a many hundreds of years old dangerous dragon who has no idea about sucking face on the sofa while pretending to watch Jurassic Park . "Sometimes you get past the kissing and--"
Mal wraps her slender fingers around the mug and sniffs it before she smiles. "Ginger?"
"You looked like you needed it."
That earns a laugh, soft and gentle.
Which makes it's Emma's turn to tilt her head in confusion.
Mal toys with the handle of her mug. "Regina lies to me."
It takes her a second to get it. Regina lies about what? Then it clicks. "Of course she does. You don't look at your wife and say, 'honey, you look like hell', even when you do."
"Good thing to remember."
"Unless you do that?" Henry said they got together when Regina was so sick.
"Tell her when she looks like hell."
Mal's little smile disappears behind her mug. "She's always beautiful."
The Jolly Roger creaks again, swinging left- to port, dammit- and Emma shifts her weight, trying to find her sea legs. "Are you sure you're all right?"
Maybe ginger really is some kind of magic, because the look Mal gives her serene. "I'm fine."
Mal raises her eyebrows. "Pardon?"
"We're pulling through the rough part of the bay and Killian's letting Henry steer. It makes me nauseated, but you look better." Emma shakes her head. "And it's not just tea."
She lifts her mug towards Emma. "Maybe it's very good tea."
"Thanks, but that's not it."
Mal's smile grows slowly and she glances at the sea through the window. "This is easier. More like flying. When the wind is right, you can dip down near the sea and catch it, singing over the water." For a moment, her face scrunches. Being pregnant still sucks, even if you're an ancient dragon who can think about flying over the ocean. "It's better than the car."
Emma glances down, and nods, grinning sympathetically. "I heard."
That takes no explanation and they share the 'Regina's concerns about her car are in no way covering up how much she worries about you but we'll pretend' look.
Emma starts to say something, but Killian's voice carries from the deck.
"You two all right down there?"
Mal slips from her spot on the bench and pats Emma's shoulder. "We're quite well, thank you."
Zelena's rubbing off on her. Emma touches her back while they head for the door and her hand drops, so Maleficent stops.
"What is it?"
She'll tell Regina and Henry in a moment, later, when they're all eating lunch and watching the sea. Right now she has to tell someone and they're friends now. She doesn't even have to call her Maleficent in her head anymore.
"The first part of adoption paperwork came through."
"Emma--" That smile's so bright it almost matches Emma's own.
"There's a long way to go, like Killian doesn't have a job on paper and he doesn't even exist and I have no idea how we're going to prove to the State of Maine that's he's a real person."
Mal waves her hand. "I'm sure there's a way."
"Without cursing anyone?"
"Well...maybe a little curse." Her eyes gleam in the shadows and Emma laughs. They stand facing each other in the cramped little corridor to the galley but it doesn't feel awkward.
They're family. Weird, magical family.
She stuffs her hands in her pockets. "It'll take forever."
Mal glanced down and smiles with the patient that drives Regina crazy."Good things often do."
She can't get her hopes up. All the social workers keep saying how long it'll be. "Well, little dragon will be here before we're..."
Warm brushes her cheek. Mal kissed her and it takes a moment for that to sink in. "Then little dragon will be thrilled for you, in whatever capacity she understands your joy."
Emma hugs her, tight, forgetting a about the tea and the rocking ship and--
"I know how much it means to have a family." Mal's voice quivers, and shit if she cries, Emma's a goner.
And she's fuck crying, tears stinging her face as Mal's land on her neck.
"You've got a huge one now. We all do."
They hold each other, warm and tight. So her family includes a dragon now, two, two and half. Their future kid better love fairy tales, because they're going to land right in the middle of one.
They're still standing there, crying into each other's hair, when Killian chuckles. "Whenever you two are ready, Henry's found the picturesque part of the north shoreline, and Regina took out the coffee and pastries."
Mal releases her, still crying, she wrinkles her nose. "Let me guess, there's decaf."
"Aye, love." Killian hands her back her tea. "My apologies for the swill."
Emma elbows him, because that's really not helping.
He steps back easily. "I've already rescued that tea once, I doubt you want to risk spilling it." He raises his eyebrows and winks at Mal. "Everything all right."
"I told her about the adoption."
"We've passed the first hurdle," he starts, and then Emma's holding the tea and maybe it's hormones. Maybe Mal's just a hugger. They share a look over her shoulder and his face is so soft. No one divides adoption into neat parts like trimesters, but it feels like they're past something. So maybe that is worth celebrating.
They part, and she slips into his arms as they head up to the deck. They blink at the sun and Henry waves at them from the wheel. "I got us all the way here."
Regina pats his shoulder and then goes to Mal, fussing and sniffing her tea.
Emma nuzzles Killian's neck and he holds her close.
"How's the little dragon?"
"I think the fresh air helps."
He wraps his arm around her back. "Does it make you glad we're not doing it that way?"
"Sometimes." She fidgets with his sleeve, then finally looks up to meet his eyes. "I don't know. Maybe we'll try it. I think it might be fun to do it with someone." Instead of alone in a cell. Emma's not alone now, never. She went from having no one to having almost too many people look after her. It might be nice. It might be nice not to, just keep adding kids from foster homes until their whole house is full.
She kisses him before they walk to Henry, listening to him explain where he's going and how he navigated there. Killian's beaming so it must be right and Emma has no real idea.
The grey rocks and thick green pines slip away on the port side, and Henry and the Jolly Roger carry them north, away from whatever crisis the town has today. Just for a little while.
Regina catches her eye behind Henry's head and they share a look that says everything from thank you to look how wonderful he is.
And he is.
Emma hides her eyes in Killian's shoulder, just for a moment.
Family is pretty fucking cool, when she lets herself think about it. The little dragon and the little pirate will grow up with the little prince and Zelena's baby bird. They'll be happy. They'll have magic in their lives, and hope.