Raise your Daughter

I stood in the rain under an umbrella wearing my sister’s favorite red dress. When we were younger we had promised each other one thing. If she died first I would wear her red dress. If I died first she would wear my favorite green dress. Today my sister is lying in a coffin wearing my green dress. I didn’t expect her to die so soon. My red hair hangs down my shoulders in dreads, my black boots are muddy but I don’t care. My sister was dead; a part of me lay buried with her today.

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10. A New Life Together

Only six months later…I stood with the dark blue potion in my hand and I stood in front of my sister’s perfectly preserved body. Her husband Robin’s body lies next to hers. My daughter’s body is preserved in time next to her father and stepmother. My family looks so peaceful sleeping and as I hold the bottle of potion I realize that I didn’t need them anymore. I didn’t want them, it would be selfish to drag them from eternity to live again and raise them from the dead.

            It would be selfish to break the bonds that had been created over the months. I held the potion in my hand and looked at the engagement ring grazing my finger. I wanted to wake them up for my wedding, but I was so close and yet so far away. The dolls were in Arianna’s room in her cradle and she loved them. She was eight months old and she called me Mama. She even had started to call Gold Papa.

            I was six months pregnant with a daughter and my heart didn’t have a hole. If I were to wake them up, I would lose my family. I would lose my daughter. I kneel next to Regina’s preserved body and whisper softly.

“I will raise your daughter. Arianna Cora Hood will be raised and I will miss you.”

            I walked back outside and found Gold waiting with Arianna in his arms. I wore my white wedding gown and the town had gathered for the wedding. Gold held Arianna at the end of the aisle and he smiled as he watched me walk. Before, I walked down the aisle I found myself gathering a bouquet of sunflowers to carry. Everyone waited for me to walk. They were all looking for those four special guests who I had said were coming. They weren’t coming.

            I walked and looked at all the people who watched. I knew that my red hair looked like flames beneath the sunlight. I was glowing with joy because my bosom was swollen and I felt so wonderful. I listed the couple attending in my head and named every child who attended. Alexandra, Phillip Jr., Neal, Gideon, Chip, Liam, Mila and Jack, Ella, Thomas, Aurora, Phillip Sr., Snow, David, Belle, Emma and Killian. They all were attending my wedding. I walked towards Gold and towards Arianna. Soon I would have two stepchildren and my niece would be my daughter because as soon as I married Gold. We would adopt her and raise her as our own.

            I stopped at the end of the aisle and passed my flowers on to Emma. I tucked the potion into my sash and smiled up at Gold. Arianna was given to Ella and carried to her seat. I watched my little girl get carried away and this time I wasn’t sad because I would get her back. Long ago they took my baby from the hospital and airlifted her to New York. There I raised her until she died and I brought her home. I didn’t get my baby back but I would get Arianna.

            “Do you Zelena take Rumple to be your lawfully wedded husband?”

“I do take you to be my husband. I will travel to the ends of earth and travel through time for you.”
“Do you Rumple take Zelena to be your lawfully wedded wife?”
“I do. I love Belle but she loves me only to change me. Zelena you accepted me for who I am and was willing to sacrifice everything for me. That’s something your mother and sister never did.”

“When we were in Hawaii, I realized what a gentleman you were. Then I realized on Hawaii magic only works if you’re in love with the person who is with you.”

“Your mother never really wanted me over power, your sister just wanted her revenge, Belle wanted a change of heart, Milah wanted me to be a hero and never return to her but you Zelena sacrificed everything to marry me.”

            We exchanged rings and kissed while our guests cheered with joy. I took Arianna from Ella and held her in my arms. It was hard carrying a baby when you were six months with child. Gold looked so young as he walked up the aisle without the assistance of a cane. After we had gotten back from Hawaii, I had rummaged through Regina’s stuff and found a potion to fix broken bones and heal cowardly injuries. Gold couldn’t express his appreciation enough. All he did was thank me and pick me flowers and all around love me.

            At the reception, we sat at the couple’s table and discussed custody rights of my new stepchildren. We even discussed custody rights of my grandchildren. I had come into this marriage with one child dead and the other my sister’s niece but now I had Baelfire who was dead; Gideon who loved me so; Charles who looked up to me; Arianna with her silver heart; and Henry with his books. Henry would visit me every other weekend when he wasn’t at school or taking care of three younger siblings. Gideon and Chip would join us three times a week when his mother couldn’t step away from her books to pick them up at school or daycare. They would also come to us when Belle couldn’t keep them out of books. Those two tore books up left and right.

“So you and Zelena will get the boys on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays. I will have them Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.”
“We will also pick them up from school when and only when you call to ask.”

“I will make them dinner when you have to work late and watch them until you get home and until Gold’s shop closes.”

“Zelena, you’ll be a great mother and a great stepmother.”

            After the reception ended and I bid everyone goodnight, I found Arianna asleep in her carrier and Gold watching her peacefully. I slipped into the booth and watched as Granny dismantled tables and put away un-eaten cake. She brought me some green tea and Gold a cup of coffee. She even brought a bottle of milk for when Ari did wake up. I felt the baby kick and she kicked hard. I doubled over in pain as the kicking intensified and our daughter only quieted down when Gold placed his hand over my bosom.

“She’s a kicker isn’t she dearie?”

“Rumple you’ve changed so much.”

“Why didn’t you do it dearie?”
“What are you talking about dear?”

“Why didn’t you use the potion?”
“Because, I’m happy and I have Arianna, I have you, I have stepchildren and I have my daughter.”

“Aren’t you even going to think about raising Robin?”
“Maybe in a few years when Arianna is older and our daughter is older?”
“Zelena, she’s your baby girl. Your eldest, are you feeling alright?”
            I watched Arianna sleep in her carrier and I sipped my tea. I placed a hand over my kicking daughter and she finally stopped moving around in her liquid cocoon. My dear husband and I sat in silence while we sipped our drinks and watched our baby sleep. We had wanted to wait for the reality of marriage to set in but I believe it never would. Finally I stood up, took Arianna out of her carrier and left Granny’s. Rumple followed me out with an empty baby carrier and a smile on his face. We were married and we were raising a family. Life was wonderful. 

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