Sunsets and dawns

Eighty-third dawn: Marian

A/N: Still completely baffled at the feedback I get on this story. I mean, people talking about it on Twitter? WHAAAAAT? Seriously, guys, you make my days as a writer. I started off here completely blank, with an awful English level and as equally awful story (and it's still there, ugh, I NEEEEEEEED to delete it), and now I'm here, receiving a loooooot of love on a story and with people telling me how good a writer I am... Gosh...seriously... I send you love. All of you.

And keep asking questions, you know I answer them as silly as they can be... ;)

GuestFan asked: "How many chapters are you going to write? Like how long is the story going to be?"

I don't really know, I haven't really planned it. But I can say it'll be definitely more than 40 chapters long. Maybe close to 50 even. I still have a few ideas in mind for the end of this. But we are getting close. Closer to the end that to the beginning, anyway. ;)

OutlawQueenLuvr asked: "How far along is Regina in her pregnancy now?"

About eleven weeks along now. That's why her belly has started showing. Soon I'll be time-jumping again a few months ahead.

(And thanks again for all the love you've sent me. I can only send mine back full force.)

Addie asked: "Is Tink attracted to Milo? Or does she know him from another realm or something?"

Neither. Kinda. You'll see what has happened during that scene in the next chapter. Everything has a meaning, darling. ;)

31. Eighty-third dawn: Marian

Marian was starting to like this kind of future a lot.

As she was tidying hers and Robin's room and watched as Roland giggled in front of what Ruby had called a cartoon, a smile formed on her lips. Yes, this realm suited her son. And herself, if she was honest. She liked this place where a wife didn't need to be home at all time, caring about the house – house which they didn't have here in Storybrooke, and neither did they have a camp anymore – or the children. No, instead, she was a nurse.

She had made a few friends at the hospital. Viktor was one of them. He was a gentle person, if a little tortured. She had soon learnt about his brother Gerhard, and of his initial origins in yet another realm deprived of colour or magic.

There also was Imelda, her fellow nurse in Viktor's service. She wasn't a nurse in the Enchanted Forest, but a mere farm-girl. But as Marian soon learnt too, the Evil Queen's curse had given all new lives, and new...abilities.

It was in times like these that Marian was grateful for Regina's hatred of Snow White's. She remembered that hatred all too well, because for her, it wasn't that much prior...but she understood how someone could change for the love of their children.

Marian had met Henry once. Roland, upon seeing the older boy as he got off what was called a bus, had run to him. Henry had grinned and greeted her son like he would have done a younger brother, and it had once again made her wonder exactly what had happened during her...absence.

Henry was angry with Robin, that she had gathered quickly. Most of the town was, in fact, cold towards her husband. And she had no clue of why. Even if she was starting to understand.

Regina herself was changing towards her, she could see it. At first, she knew the reformed queen didn't like her, perhaps because she remembered her somewhat betrayal in the Snow White's affair. But ever since that fateful day and that shared breakfast, she had started to be...less cold, and friendlier, even if Marian doubted she could ever one day call the Queen her friend.

She knew something had happened between Robin and Regina, if their stolen glances, full of hurt and pain were any clue.

Sometimes it pained her.

Sometimes she understood.

And why would she feel the need to brood about it anyway? Robin was by her side, wasn't he?

But was he really?

Sometimes, she thought about asking Roland about it. About the things she had missed. In his innocence, she knew he'd tell her everything without a filter, what his father would not do for the sake of protecting her feelings, something he seemed to be keen on doing ever since she had reappeared.

Marian sighed and sat on the newly made bed, her hands framing her face. Robin was a good man, she knew that. It was part of why she had fell in love in the first place. But those long years apart, she knew he'd have changed him. She knew it, and almost asked for it, but he refused to tell her, to show, persisted in acting as if nothing had changed when everything had.

She had left her family to protect a stranger.

She had almost abandoned them for the sake of a rogue princess she knew nothing about.

She hated herself for that, because now she knew what they had had to live through without her. So, in these moments of retrospection, she almost felt guilty to have come back to them when she had hurt them so bad in the first place.

If Robin had immediately come to her and embraced her as if nothing had happened, that short moment of bliss soon evaporated as she caught in her husband's pained eyes. If he was somehow relieved to see her alive, he also was sadder than anything. Sad for her, she thought at first, to think she had come to an unknown world.

But now she knew a little more, she realised he hadn't been sad for her.

He had been sad for the life he had started to build here. With Roland. With his Merry Men. With the Queen.

The door to the room opened and she heard Roland greet his father enthusiastically.

Her brow furrowed. He wasn't supposed to be there so early. He had a meeting at the Town Hall, or so he had said, about that new menace named Thea.

So Marian stood and came to stand in the doorway, a smile tugging at her lips upon seeing Roland upside down in his father's arms.

"What are you doing here so early?"

She tried to leave her voice as neutral as she could, but her thoughts these few minutes had killed her happy mood in such a way her words almost sounded chastising.

Robin's blue eyes met her hazel ones, apologetic. "Something happened and I had to leave."

Marian's eyes widened a bit as she caught on his looks more thoroughly. His eyes were red, as if he had been crying or trying to prevent himself from doing just that. His voice was hoarse, as if he had yelled. And his hair was dishevelled as if he had pulled at it.

So she advanced in the room and took Roland from his father, kneeling in front of him calmly. "Roland, darling, your Papa and I need some grown-up talk. You want to go down and ask Granny for an ice-cream while we talk up here?"

Roland, instead of grinning at the sound of 'ice-cream' – his new favourite meal – frowned. "Are you and Papa going to shout like you do when you are angry?"

Marian felt a pang to her heart at the thought of what her son had to live through when Robin or her got into tantrums – more often than she would have liked to admit. She shook her head. "No, we are not, don't worry. I just want to know why your Papa is upset. Can you do that for us, darling?"

Roland seemed to think hard, then nodded, grabbing the monkey plushie he carried around with him at the bed and breakfast and leaving the room without a second glance.

There was a long silence after Roland left, one Marian was not sure she wanted to break.

Robin eventually sighed and took his jacket off, throwing it onto the armchair before sitting on the sofa before the now black screen of the television. Inside it, Marian could see his reflection, tired eyes and pained look.

And for the first time since she had met him and fell for him, Marian put the wife aside and stepped into the friend shoes.

She came to sit beside her husband and put a careful hand on his thigh. "What's happened? Why have you been crying?"

Robin huffed. "I haven't cried."

Marian made a face. "Robin please. Do not take me for a stupid woman." She sighed. "What's happened at that meeting?"

There was a silence, and Robin sighed, putting his hands to his face in a poor attempt to hide the red that got to his skin as new tears threatened to spill from his eyes.

So far, Marian did not know if those tears were of sadness or anger. But neither was good.

"Regina is pregnant."

Marian let out a surprised noise before thinking very fast. There went the Queen's regular visits to Dr Whale. She wasn't wounded anymore. She was with child. But if she was with child, Robin's upset figure didn't mean that it was his.

Somewhere deep in her, a part of her heart was relieved. But a greater part of her ached for her husband, because she then was certain that he had had – and perhaps still had, period – feelings for the same Regina.

"Whose is it?"

Robin tried a glance at her, eyes widening a little as she realised he was surprised she had so quickly put two with two. "I cannot be certain, but I think it's the Hatter."

Marian's brow furrowed. She had seen the Hatter, Jefferson he was named, on more occasions than one. But she could not shake the fact that one of those times, he was engrossed in a very passionate speech with the Frozen Queen Elsa, whose hands were in his while his eyes seemingly bore into the other woman's.

So he was in a relationship with Regina?

No, it didn't seem right.

But how could she tell her husband? For apparently, the child could not be his...

"Robin, I-"

"No, Marian, don't. I have no right to feel upset. No right. Just like I would have had no right to be upset if you left me for another man."

Marian glanced down. "Because you'd only want for me to be happy." She felt him nod. "But, Robin... It does not mean that happy."

Once again he looked at her baffled, but did not answer.

Marian was witnessing this conversation as if she was a third party rather than the first party's wife. Now that she thought about it more, it seemed to her more and more unlikely that Regina's companion and father of her child would be the Hatter that so publicly courted Elsa.

But she did not want to give Robin's false hopes if she was mistaken.

She would need a conversation with Regina first.

It was so strange, she thought a little later as Robin rejoined Roland downstairs, that she felt so...indifferent to Regina's pregnancy, even considering she had strong assumptions about Robin being the father.

On the one hand, a small part of her – thinning every second – felt a pang of jealousy at the intimacy and feelings that her husband and another woman had shared during her absence.

On the other hand, she was happy Robin had felt love somewhere else, especially after she learnt from a very drunk fairy one night at the hospital that she wasn't his True Love.

She smiled a little as she remembered that evening. The fairy called Tinkerbell, whom she had seen often in the Queen's company, had been transported to the hospital from the local pub, the 'Rabbit Hole', in a heavily inebriated. Marian and Imelda had been the ones to take care of her as she sobered up, and as she was trying to put a needle to the woman's wrist, Marian had been assaulted with insults about how she had ruined another's fate, about how she and Robin were not True Loves because his lied elsewhere. And when she had woken up later in the night, Tinkerbell had forgotten everything about her speech, and Marian had not given it much thought afterwards, thinking it a simple babble by a drunk.

Now that she thought more on it, it made sense. That she was not Robin's True Love. She loved him, for sure, but their connection lacked that feeling of utter belonging, so to speak, so that when she thought about leaving him – as she did more and more often – she did not feel split in half.

No, she thought as she stood again from the sofa to prepare for work. She was not his True Love. But she had a good hunch about who might be.

Next chapter: Tink and Regina spend the evening at Elsa's side and spend to girl time together.

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