A/N: I'm sorry I didn't update these last two days. You know...life...laziness... All that shit. Anyway, here comes the next chapter, and it won't please you I think. Because of the content but also because it's shorter than expected. But I could not go on. The next chapter has to stand on its own. ;)
Thank you for the kind words as usual, and to the whole new bunch of people who put alerts on it. Really, you have the time and will to start something that's already more than thirty chapters long? Kudos to you!
33. Eighty-fourth dawn
"Are you certain you want to do this?"
Regina looked up from the mirror, the silhouette of Snow entering her sight as the other woman entered the room, concern written on her face. She sighed, and nodded slowly.
"Marian is right. I owe him that much."
Snow smiled, a soft smile that didn't reach her eyes, and she advanced even more in the room until she was standing right behind the Queen. "But are you happy with that? Does this decision make you happy?"
Regina turned around slowly, her eyes locking with the green ones of her most precious ally ever since Zelena – and really, who would have known. "I doubt anything could make me truly happy nowadays."
She waited for the scowl, for some words supposed to make her feel horrible for thinking that, but instead, Snow nodded gravely, her hands coming to rest on Regina's shoulders. "I know... Everything seemed without sense at all when I left Charming all those years ago. It was as if one half of me had been ripped out and nothing could ever make me smile again..."
Regina felt tears prickling in her eyes and she wiped them before walking away from the mirror and Snow, and grabbing a pair of high-heels.
When she had composed a better face, she turned around the face her companion again, and took a deep breath. "Will you accompany me to the station?"
Snow smiled and nodded in silence.
They didn't ride to the station, instead deciding to walk.
Thea had not been seen ever since her defeat at the hands of the Atlanteans, and many a blue and white figure could be regularly seen on the rooftops of the main street, spear or bow in hand. Sometimes, Regina could almost see a glimpse of silver hair, and she thought that Kida had made it clear she had to be protected.
Their only chance at defeating the new threat was growing inside of her.
Her hand went to her belly, and Snow wrapped her fingers around hers.
"Everything is going to be fine, Regina. I promise."
In other times, the princess's optimism would spite her, but in moments like these, she let a sliver of hope enter her heart, if only to be crushed moments later.
The front door of the station was wide open when they arrived, three people waiting before it, talking animatedly.
Granny, Leroy and the woman Regina knew as Merida whirled around when they noticed their presence, and Leroy automatically walked to Snow.
"Why didn't you tell us about that witch?"
Snow didn't waste any time in idle talk. "What's happened?"
"Sneezy and I went over the the docks to try and find a way around that blasted wall of water, and we were almost cursed out of existence by a white-eyed demon, that's what!"
Snow sighed and shared a glance with Regina, gesturing her forward inside. "Go. I'll wait for you here."
Regina nodded and entered the station as she heard Granny joining the conversation with her usual annoyed voice.
Her heart beat frantically against her ribs as she advanced in the well-known corridors. She took a deep breath before taking the final steps into the main room.
David and Robin were talking together as she arrived, Hook and Emma engrossed in an animated conversation with Jefferson of all people.
She cleared her throat softly, and all chatter stopped.
David's brow furrowed upon seeing her. "Regina? Is everything alright?"
She nodded. "I just wanted...to talk...to Robin."
There was a tense silence, then the prince nodded. "Okay. There is quite the crowd outside anyway. I guess I'd better go see to them. Emma, Killian, you know what you have to do."
The couple nodded and the Saviour clicked her gun to life before hurrying out with her pirate in tow. Said pirate didn't waste an opportunity to clap Robin on the shoulder as he passed, and Regina's brow furrowed. Since when had these two become friends?
David followed his daughter and...son-in-law? and soon, only Robin and Jefferson remained.
The Hatter smiled and walked to Regina, a hand closing around her biceps, a small smile appearing on her lips as well.
"Are you okay?"
She nodded. "I am. I promise."
"Good." He leaned down and kissed her cheek, something he had started to do everytime they were in the same room as Robin.
Except the archer was not going to stand there watching this time.
A hand closed around Jefferson's shoulder and made him turn around before a fist collided with his cheek.
Regina let out a squeal and immediately walked to she was in front of the Hatter, but he too, in his stubborn dislike of Robin, had bared his teeth and retaliated with fists and feet.
She stood there, unable to move so much as a a finger, as her friend and her...former lover were fighting like two teenagers fighting over a girl.
She raised her hands as tears flooded from her eyes, tears of both concern and anger, and she mustered the most powerful yell she could. "STOP IT!"
Jefferson took one last blow before both men turned to her.
Robin's lip was cut, a bruise forming on his cheek, hair ruffled and eyes still seeing red. Jefferson's left eye was starting to swell already, a small cut on his chin and knuckles bleeding.
She gritted her teeth. "You are acting like two idiots over here!" She let out a noise of annoyance she had not produced in years. "You," she pointed at Robin, "had no right to strike him. And you," she looked at Jefferson, "are intelligent enough not to retaliate!"
Jefferson had the never to smirk. "Sorry. He was asking for it."
Robin snorted, earning himself a glare from Regina, then he raised his hands in peace-making and walked to what should have been his desk, grabbing bow and quiver as if to leave.
Blue eyes locked onto brown ones, and for the first time, Regina saw Robin study her with anger and contempt. "I'll leave you two. Apparently, you have better things to discuss with him than with me." And he exited the room.
Regina remained frozen there for a moment, before she turned to Jefferson and started punching him with her tiny fists everywhere she could reach.
He quickly caught her wrists, starting the sobs that threatened to escape her. Hugging her, he whispered a quick 'I'm sorry' before just holding her.
But 'sorry' didn't even start to fix what she was feeling then, after the look Robin sent her.
Never before had she thought it possible to be blinded by rage, but that's what he was...
She hadn't even glamoured her belly!
Next chapter: Roland goes missing.