A/n: Longest chapter yet, with the return of Robin, even if not in the happiest of circumstances. Also, I might hint at something in this chapter. I'll let you guess. ;)
4. Second dawn
The following morning, Regina woke up with a dull pain in her stomach. She didn't eat anything for breakfast, as much as Henry tried to convince her to try.
But it was Sunday, and on Sundays, they had a routine, one she was willing to restart, her teenage son at her side.
So after she freshened up a bit, dark circles under her eyes concealed, Regina called for him. "Henry? Pancakes?"
His ruffled hair appeared at his door, a big toothy grin on his face. "Comin'!"
She chuckled and headed to the kitchen, gathering the bowl, pan, and ingredients.
Henry ran into the room and stopped before the counter, not having even bothered to tuck his shirt correctly out of his trousers.
So, as he put on an apron and started breaking the eggs, Regina walked around him and untucked his 'duck tail' from his jeans, kissing the top of his head as she went.
He groaned. "Mom... I'm not ten anymore!"
She shook her head. "So?"
"So... Are you going to do that when I'm twenty?"
She grinned. "Yes. Because no matter how old you are, you're still my son."
He rolled his eyes and started stirring the eggs in the bowl.
The scent reached Regina's nostrils, and she winced. Ugh.
"Are these rotten?"
Henry sniffed the bowl and shrugged. "No, why?"
"Strange, smells like it..."
He smirked. "Maybe you're getting so old you can't smell properly anymore."
She let out a surprised cry and started tickling him unmercifully. "You will pay for that!"
"No I won't!"
And as Henry carefully added flour to the preparation, the phone rang, and Regina left her son alone in the kitchen, knowing that he could handle this perfectly well. He always had.
Her blood froze in her veins. No. Not that voice, not him. No.
Her first instinct was to hung up, but he stopped her doing exactly that. "Don't put the phone down. Please."
She tried to find her voice, but couldn't, a faint moan of pain leaving her instead of a full phrase.
"Regina, I need to talk to you."
She groaned again, and Henry's head appeared in the doorway, his brow furrowed. She tried a smile to send him away, but she knew she looked far too pained for it to work.
Her son walked to her and took the phone from her hands, putting it to his own ear. "Robin?"
She heard the faint echo of a voice.
Henry's eyes flashed with anger, and in that precise moment, Regina was very aware that he was hers and Emma's. The Saviour's eyes always looked deadly when she was angry. "No. You don't get to talk to my mom when you've hurt her like that. Don't call again, or I'll send my Gramps after you!" And he hung up.
And as he turned to his mother, he sighed deeply before tucking his hand in hers, pulling her back to the kitchen. "Come, Mom. I'm sure I can find a bowl of ice-cream somewhere..."
And it struck her once again – and it did more and more often these last days – that Henry had grown up. Extremely so.
Robin Hood didn't call after that. That day, at least.
Regina was watching a rom com with Henry when she zoned out and relived the feelings that had coursed through her when she had heard his voice.
She had felt broken, but also ecstatic. At least he hadn't completely forgotten her. But he hadn't chosen her. And that hurt like a bitch.
So, even if the sound of his voice sent shivers up her spine that she would have loved to ignore, even if in that precise moment the actor's face faded into his with his smile and dimples and blue blue eyes, even if all that happened...she would not forgive.
She was done forgiving.
Later that day, Henry left her at the Charmings, saying he wanted to go to Grace to talk about that new school.
And if the former Queen wasn't really easy with her son going anywhere near Jefferson, she knew somehow the Hatter would take good care of him. He could not refuse anything to his daughter, and Grace basically loved Henry. To what extent she still didn't know.
Snow opened the door, looking more tired than ever, and smiled widely when she met her visitor's gaze.
"Regina! I did not expect you this early!"
"Yes, well... I needed some air..."
The princess nodded gravely, then gestured her inside. "Come in! David has gone to the station with Emma and Killian. They're still trying to find someone to fill in as deputy."
"Why doesn't Hook do it?" She said it without malice, knowing how far the pirate had gone by love for Emma, and actually thinking it a good idea.
Snow shook her head. "David asked, but he doesn't want to. 'Not right now, mate' he said." She chuckled. "That was the worst impersonation I've ever done..."
Regina smiled a little while taking her coat off and moving towards the couch. "Where's the little marvel?"
Snow smiled knowingly and moved to the kitchen to prepare a cup of tea. "Sleeping in his room. We'll go to him later, I've only tucked him in and he's been a real pain last night..."
To that, Regina smirked. "Ah yes, the first time you managed to escape the first nights..."
And Snow didn't take offence, rather chuckling herself. "Thanks to you."
"If you can see it that way..."
Spending a whole afternoon with her stepdaughter was easier than ever, but then, since that day at her house when Cora had attacked them, they had grown closer and closer still.
She knew that Snow was the only one who still considered her some kind of mother figure. David clearly didn't think of her as Snow's surrogate mother, and neither did any other in town.
And she was okay with it. Somehow, it gave her relationship with Snow a secret side.
And if she couldn't think of why and how she had begun to be happy to have Snow as a friend, she surely didn't mind at all...
Baby Neal was awake a little before four, and as his faint cries erupted in the loft, Snow wiped a hand through her face.
Regina smiled, putting her teacup onto the table, and stood. "Don't move. I'm going." And as the princess sent her a quizzical gaze, she added "That's also the role of a godmother."
The baby's room was as Henry's had been a long time prior. Baby blue, with a beautiful cot in one corner and hundreds of plushes in the other. An armchair provided a place for Snow to sit when she breast-fed him, and that's where Regina headed once the newborn was in her arms.
"So...a little trouble, are you, darling?"
The baby's eyes opened, their blue already lighter than the day prior. But she shouldn't have been able to notice, if she hadn't stared at those eyes for the longest time when he was first put in her arms.
"Yes, I can see you are..."
She cooed him to soothe him, and when she realised his diaper was full, she moved to the bathroom to change it.
It was natural it was almost painful.
And if she had often considered adopting again after Henry, she didn't feel ready for that then. Not after her heart broke and was still on the mend.
When Neal was back in his cot, thumb tucked safely in his mouth, the doorbell rang, and Regina heard Snow's voice call for her newest visitor.
She herself said her goodbyes to the wonder that was her godson and prepared herself for going back down.
One voice stopped her.
Well, several truly, but mostly one.
David was home, his daughter with him...and Robin.
As she froze, Regina fell backwards, the wall preventing her from falling down.
So she stood there, leaning back on the wall, a hand on her heart, tears welling in her eyes as she thought 'No, not now, not ready', and as their voices echoed up to her.
"So... David asked you then, Robin?"
Snow's voice was cautious, and Regina knew that she didn't want him to know she was there.
"Yes, he did, and I'm grateful for it. I needed some time away from everything."
"And why could that be?"
In other circumstances, Regina would have smirked at the venom in Snow's voice. She had learnt from the best, after all... But right now, no. She was far too stressed to do anything but listen.
She heard a sigh, and recognized Robin's. "I see... Listen, I did not wish for this to happen, I didn't-"
"I'm not the one you should say that to. But anyway... I'm sorry, but I have to go up, feed the baby."
"By all means. I have to go back myself... My son is probably waiting for me." My son. Not my wife.
No, that was not the time.
She barely heard him leave before Snow's figure appeared in the stairs, and as soon as she was facing her, arms wrapped around Regina's waist, and she was drawn in for a hug.
One that, for once, she eagerly returned...