A/N: Sorry for this long-awated update. I panicked. Rightly panicked. I like froze in front of a blank page, unsure of how to write this encounter, because I did not want to disappoint. Then it kind of wrote itself, not the way I imagined it at first, but I'm quite content about it.
I promise more and more Outlaw Queen moments from now on!
Also, I won't be answering questions here - meaning at the start of chapters - anymore, because we are slowly nearing the end and any answer would be a spoiler in its right mind. So, fi you're asking questions about the plot or things, I'll answer you in PM. Sorry for all those reviewings in Guest mode. :/
A lot of people asked: "How many chapters left until the end?"
I honestly have no idea. I'm not one to plan the chapters ahead, even if I know how this is going to end. But I think we'll go close or up to 50 chapters. ;)
One last thing before you can enjoy - or not, I don't know - Robin and Regina's talk: I have written a crossover between OUAT and the British series Merlin a few months back, and I am currently writing the third instalment of it. If you are interested - although that story is more Merlin than OUAT until the third book - it is called The Imp's daughter and can be found on my profile. ;)
36. Ninety-sixth dawn
Regina did not sleep well that night. Her mind replayed the previous evening's scenes over and over again, her heart tingling with the now familiar sensation of a small measure of peace.
Roland had been the one to unexpectedly bring her that small measure of peace. Him and his kind words, curious questions about her pregnancy, and the news he had brought along with him.
Robin and Marian were no longer living together.
That night, as she turned and turned again under the covers, her eyes opened in the darkness of her bedroom, her thoughts started buzzing, torn between the will to rejoice and the guilt of having been the reason for that separation.
While she knew that Marian deserved better than a loveless marriage, she was feeling excruciatingly guilty to be the reason for her leaving. Her and the little girl growing inside of her.
How horrible was it to be free to love the man that was destined for her heart only because she was pregnant?
Would Marian have left Robin if she hadn't been pregnant? Or if she hadn't learnt the truth from Robin, who had himself heard it spilling from Kida's lips?
All these thoughts left her restless, and as dawn arose and she heard birds starting the chant outside, Regina got out of bed, dark circles under her eyes but feeling less inclined to sleep than ever.
Nothing accepted to get into her mouth that morning: not a bowl of cereal, not one of her beloved apples, not a glass of water, nothing.
So Regina got dressed gingerly, tried to conceal the traces of her sleepless night, and prepared herself for an early visit to her ever-growing godson.
Her thoughts went again to what Kida had said about True Love children, how they could help defeat Thea by their very magical nature. But Neal was not magical.
Whereas her daughter, even if still the size of an overgrown bean, had already displayed her abilities.
Sometimes she still felt the constant tingling in her palms, as if magic was trying to surge out of her, but she controlled it, arrowing it back inside, and if her own magic was still muted by her very special daughter, well, at least she was not helpless facing her own powers.
In moments like these, she wished for nothing more than to be able to run out of Storybrooke, away from this town in which her unborn child was a key to defeating an evil witch.
She had done the very same to Snow.
She grabbed her coat and was about to open the door into relative freedom, wishing no one was there to follow her every steps as usual, when there was an angry knock on the door.
No doorbell ringing.
An angry knock.
An angry set of knocks.
Her blood froze.
He had somehow told his father.
She was certain of it.
No. No no no. Not now. She was not prepared.
"Regina! Open that blasted door this instant!"
She jumped slightly at the audible anger in Robin's voice, in his underlying threat to tear the door apart with his bare hands if she didn't open it.
But she was not prepared.
She took several paces backwards towards the stairs, ready to flee, perhaps to pretend like she wasn't there. But in her hurry to cower away, she knocked down a small lamp that scattered to the ground.
She stopped breathing as she heard a loud sigh on the other side of the door.
"Please. Just open the door. I juts want to talk."
That sentenced more than anything froze her blood even more.
She wasn't certain she was prepared for that talk.
After a long moment of pondering, and after realising he would not leave until she had effectively opened the door, Regina took a deep steadying breath, and turned the knob slowly.
Robin whirled around under the porch, facing her, jaw set, teeth gritted, and she swallowed the lump forming in her throat.
Somehow finding her voice, she cleared her throat. "We'd better talk inside. I don't wish to wake the whole street."
He huffed as if she had no reason to be expecting him to be quiet, and he pushed inside, taking off his jacket as if he intended to stay far longer than the mere dozen of minutes Regina had hoped it'd take her to crush his apology. She didn't need an apology. It was far too late for that, and they both knew it.
As she followed him in the living-room, Robin whirled around again, blue eyes wide and searching her own before they slid over her form, taking in every change he had, in his idiocy, not noticed before. The soft swelling of her breasts, and the small baby bump showing under her thin dress.
Fingers tentatively tried to touch the proof of their child before Regina took a few paces back, protecting herself and their daughter from the onslaught of feelings that would come with such a gesture.
Robin's eyes met hers again, jaw again set, teeth again gritted. "Why didn't you tell me?"
Surprisingly enough, his request wasn't shouted. But Regina thought he spoke calmly only for their child's sake, not hers. She could see his anger boiling in his veins as if it was hers.
And hers indeed started rising at that question. She crossed her arms angrily on her chest. "Why? Did you have any right to know at all?"
He huffed, taking a pace forward she countered with one backwards. "I'm the father, Regina, for God's sake! Of course I had a right to know!"
Her eyes left his, angrily glaring at a portion of the wall which could have combusted right then and there under the force of it. "Sorry if I wasn't really in the mood to tell the father of my child that I was pregnant after he chose his wife over me."
Robin chuckled darkly once, throwing his hands in the air. "I told you countless times before! I could not-I did-I did it for Roland!"
"And what good did it do him, uh? Now Marian's left you, and Roland's hurt anyway!" She threw him one stare that the Evil Queen would have been proud of, lip upturned in disdain. "Your wife was far more clever than you, knowing that a loveless marriage would only hurt you, her, and your son."
Robin sighed, hand hiding his face for a second. "I'm not... I did not know what to do."
"She did. And now, now, only now should I say, you come back to me, what? Do you think I'd take you back after that?" She huffed. "What a fool you are..."
There was tense silence during which the archer stared at her, first with anger in his eyes, then, as more seconds passed, with a softer expression. "I really did mess things up, didn't I?"
Regina huffed. "What, by leaving me without a word, then apologizing, then kissing me, then...then keeping following me everywhere and beating the hell out of my best friend?" It was the first time she called Jefferson her best friend, and yet, in that moment, nothing felt truer than that simple truth.
Robin's expression turned puzzled. "The Hatter? I was-I thought-"
"You thought I had replaced you as you had replaced me."
He grunted, taking another step forward she this time didn't counter. "I never replaced you, Regina! Never! Every moment, every touch, every kiss with Marian was a lie!"
"I don't want to know." She turned slightly to the side, closing her eyes to try and prevent her mind to picture every touch and every kiss between him and his wife.
She started a little when fingers closed around her upper arm.
Brown eyes opened and met blue again.
"Regina... I really am sorry. But you should have told me."
He had almost whispered these words, and she answered in kind. "And what would you have done? Would you have left her? And make me the second-choice again? No... Everything but that."
"Regina..." he tried a small smile that faded after a second. The mood was not right. "We are going to have a baby. Nothing is more important."
"No, nothing!" she stepped away again, throwing her hands in the air. "Nothing! Not an evil witch trying to kill everyone in this town, not the fact that my magic's gone, or the fact that my unborn child is probably destined to be born only to defeat said evil witch! Nothing indeed!"
"What?" His eyes had widened. "Your-our child is destined to defeat Thea?"
"Had you stayed longer at our last meeting, you'd have known." She smirked in a cruel way. "Had you been able to realise Jefferson was no more than one of the few people to protect me in this town, had you been able to see past your stupid jealousy. One you had no right to experience anyway..."
She tried to step away, even further away, but he gripped her arm hard enough to bruise, perhaps, and his eyes were on fire again.
"I thought you were pregnant with another man's child!"
"Well good! Because during that moment, you felt perhaps one quarter of the pain I felt when I saw you embrace Marian in the diner without sparing me a glance!"
There was another silence.
Then, Robin took a tentative step towards her, fingers trying to find her cheek.
She moved away swiftly, eyes prickling with tears. "No. Don't. This is not the time." She whirled around and grabbed her coat again. "I need air. Don't follow me." And she stepped out of the room, then of the house. Her house.
She needed air.
Oh God...she was having a panic attack.
A/N2: I won't lie to you. At first, I intended for their talk to end up in a steamy make-out. But we'll all agree that it would have felt wrong. So their first "free" kiss will happen later. Though I promise it won't take long. :D
Next chapter: One single chapter in Snow's head. ;)