A/N: Thank you so much for the already massive appreciation on this work! I'm sorry to say that there will be a lot of angst yet again for some time, because I don't think it'll be fixed in a week in the show's timeline. ;) And as I'm writing from Regina's POV mostly, Robin won't make a physical appearance until much later. :/ I do hope I'm not falling into clichéd things along the way, because I have the whole plot in my little head, and it won't be happy until it's written as it is. ;)
3. Second sunset
The afternoon passed rather quickly with a little babe scooped in Regina's arms. Too quickly for her taste.
But as baby Neal fell asleep again and she rose to her feet, shifting her weight so she'd lull him to sleep, Snow smiled and looked at the watch on her wrist.
"We have to leave or we'll be late. Regina?" The Queen looked up at her, her own little paradise still tucked in her arms. "We're having diner at Granny's with Emma, Killian, Ruby and Viktor. Care to join us?"
"Regina... You're part of the family, whether you like or not, so... We'd love for you to join us."
Regina tried a small smile, and perhaps for the first time in what felt like ages, it didn't feel fake. "Okay then." She looked down at her godson – and how it was nice to think of him thus. "Can I still hold him?"
David chuckled and looked over at his wife. "I have a feeling we'll need magic to pry him off her."
"We expected it, my darling." She chuckled back, then stood, reaching for her coat. "Ready?"
Regina nodded, and cooed at Neal. "Heard that, little one? Auntie Gina can hold you a little while longer..."
And as his lips curled into a pout, she chuckled.
Across from her, Henry was grinning. A baby. That's all his mother needed to be happy.
The diner was crowded when they arrived. Rumpel and his newly-wed Belle were sitting in a corner and Henry walked to them immediately, his grandfather rising to greet him.
Ruby was sitting on Whale's knees – when had those two started dating? –, Emma and her pirate looking at them awkwardly, their hands barely touching on the table.
The Saviour rose from her seat when she saw Regina walk to her, but the Queen pointedly ignored her, words unsaid and anger unsatiated filling her blood again. So instead, she stared at Neal and only at him.
Although she heard Snow sigh.
"Hey Mom. Where's Henry?"
"He's saying hello to Gold." David walked to his daughter and kissed her forehead. "How are you?"
"Good." Regina could almost hear the smirk on her lips, and it made her internally cringe. Then she finally sat down next to the indecent couple of the wolf and the doctor, and handed Neal back to his mother.
She hadn't realised that her arms ached until they were empty of him.
Snow caught her glance and smiled. "Don't worry. He'll still be there tomorrow."
Diner was quiet and surprisingly easy, and as time stretched, Regina realised how much her relationships with these people had changed over a year time.
Snow was regularly smiling up at her, talking to her newborn about his Auntie. 'Look, Auntie Regina has pasta sauce on her cheek.' 'Auntie Gina is pouting because your Daddy made a very bad joke.'
Unbeknownst to her, the word 'Gina' sent a pang of pain to the Queen's heart. Only one person ever called her that. Roland.
If Snow notice her frown, she didn't say. Because her husband chose that moment to hail his grandson.
"Hey Henry, you do realise you'll have to go back to school soon, don't you?"
Said Henry nearly choked on his lasagne, then chuckled. "Really, Gramps? There isn't even a high-school in Storybrooke!"
Ruby cleared her throat. "Actually, there is. Someone called Sebastian opened it while you were gone to Neverland. Grace is there, if you wondered."
Henry's blush didn't pass unnoticed, but no one made a comment.
Regina smirked down at her son. "Well young man, you know what this means. On Monday, back to school."
She chuckled. There he was, her pouting baby, trying his famous puppy eyes on her. She shook her head. "You heard me."
David then cleared his throat too. "Actually, Regina, I think we might need you too."
Her eyes locked to the prince's. "What for?"
"Well, technically, you're still the Mayor. And Zelena has done quite damage to the town. We have to fix it."
"Better to talk about this at your office, not now." He smiled. "Besides, I still don't know who's Sheriff. Me or Emma?"
The Saviour looked up from her plate, her eyes flying over Regina who was openly glaring at her, then at her father. "Oh. You, I guess. I don't really want to resume doing that."
"But you'll act as deputy then?"
"Okay." Then David's gaze fell to his hands, as if deep in thought. "We'd have to hire a second one though. This town in far too messy as it is if we aren't ready enough for any impending threat."
Regina nodded. "Agreed." Her eyes then fell to the people surrounding her in the by then emptying room.
Gold and Belle had left a little less than an hour prior. She could see Jefferson at the counter, sipping on a coffee, deep in thought, a horrible hat on his head, and a couple she did not remember seeing before hiding away in a shadowed booth, their hands entwined.
When he realised she had zoned off, Henry put his hand on his mother's. "Tired?"
She nodded, a small smile on her lips.
So he looked over at their companions and stood. "I'm tired. Mom, can we go?"
Regina didn't miss the look of hurt on Emma's face, but truth be told, she didn't give a damn. She stood too and looked down at Snow. "Thank you for the invite. May I visit tomorrow?"
Snow grinned. "Anytime you want."
Regina nodded and greeted the rest of the table with a wave of her hand, then reached for Henry's and they both exited the restaurant.
"Are you okay Mom?"
She thought about it for a moment, then nodded. "Surprisingly so, I am. Thank you darling."
"Do you think you'll sleep in your room tonight?"
That sent a new pang of hurt to her heart, and she sighed. "No. It's probably too soon for that."
"That's okay, I like sleeping with you. Although, you do snore a little."
To that Regina smiled.