Sunsets and dawns

Fourth dawn

A/N: Warning. If I were you, I'd prepare the tissues.

7. Fourth dawn

The following morning, Henry was still angry. Even if this time, it was for another reason.

As Regina walked him to the bus stop, her son could not stop sending glares her way, sighing or down right muttering under his breath.

So when she stopped him and turned him around so he faced her, she raised a finger in a poor attempt to look threatening. It never had worked on him anyway.

"Henry, listen to me very carefully. I've decided to talk to him myself. Me. Because this is about me. Okay? I know what I'm doing."

"No, you don't." He stepped back so she didn't have a hold on him anymore. "Because when this breaks your heart once more, I'll be the one gathering the pieces. Again." And with those words, he whirled around and hurried towards the bus, not even looking back at his mother once.

Regina stood there, frozen to place.

She knew that her somehow break-up with Robin had taken a toll on Henry as well, so good he had been acting with her to make her smile again and ease her pain, but she had not considered the fact that it pained him even as much to do so...

So, as she started walking again, this time in a whole new direction, Regina swore to herself that, if she didn't escape this conversation in one piece – one of the few remaining anyway – she'd hide it to her son.

By all the means necessary.

She stood in front of the sheriff station for long moments, pondering.

No, she had decided to do this, she needed to be strong and to go on. She had been the Evil Queen. A mere outlaw breaking her heart should be nothing.

Should. Be. Nothing.

She wiped away the tears threatening to leave her eyes, took a deep breath, and pushed open the door, entering the corridor leading to the sheriff's office.

Ahead from her, she could hear David's voice, surely giving orders to his two deputies. "...noticed something strange near Zelena's barn. We'd better go check." She heard the characteristic click of a gun being put into a holster, and decided it probably was the perfect time to make herself known.

That morning, she had decided not to wear high-heels. And she was thankful for it.

As she appeared in the corner of the room, all heads turned to her. David's eyes widened, Emma's lowered to the ground as if she was afraid the Queen would burn her on sight, and Robin's...

Oh God, Robin's...

"Regina? What-?"

Emma's elbow shot in her father's ribs, and he looked over at her before his blue eyes widened in recognition, and he nodded.

"Of course! Uh, Regina, sorry, but we have to go. Something at your sister's farm isn't right."

She nodded. "Of course. If you need me, just call."

"Will do."

Prince and daughter quickly exited the room, and once the front door closed behind them, Regina's eyes finally met Robin Hood's.

He was looking at her as if he was afraid she'd disappear if he blinked. He looked as if he hadn't had a good night sleep in a while, and somehow, that pleased Regina. At least she wasn't the only one to suffer.

"Regina..."

She raised a hand to stop his advance on her, and shook her head. "No. I...I haven't come here to listen to your excuses. I'm here because I needed to end this once and for all."

He opened his mouth to talk, but once again, she beat him to it, afraid that if he ever talked, her walls would crumble at her feet as they had done ever since their meeting.

"So... Robin Hood... I'm here to ask you to stop calling, to not pursue my son, and to stop worrying about me. I'm fine. You can go back to your wife lighter than ever. I'm fine, and I don't need you."

She thought she was done with her speech, and in a crazy instant, she wondered why all this had seemed like a good idea at all when his eyes were locked onto hers and her body ached to touch him, to kiss him, to love him again.

As if she had ever stopped.

"Regina, don't."

This time, she didn't have time to blink before he was in front of her, invading her personal space as always, fingers going to her cheek and wiping the tears she had not felt falling.

"Regina, I'm so sorry... I should have talked to you right after, I...I was an idiot."

She let out a sob and tried to move away, but his arm suddenly wrapped around her, preventing her from moving an inch.

"No, listen to me. I too need to do this. I thought she was dead. I thought I'd never see her again. And then she appears, and I'm lost. Lost because of course I love her, I've never stopped...but...I love you too."

This time she kicked so hard that she could move away and take a safe distance between the two of them, this time glaring at him. "You don't get to say that! You don't get to say something like that when you've chosen her over me!"

"This isn't about choosing someone over another, Regina... She is Roland's mother. My wife before God."

She waved her hands in the air, suddenly so very weary, tired, and heartbroken once more. Henry had been right. "I don't want to hear any more of this."

"Regina, wait." She had turned around to leave, but his catching her wrist left her in place once more. "I mean it." He turned her around to she faced him once more. "I mean it, when I say I love you. And I doubt I ever will stop."

Her eyes met his, and surprisingly, he too had tears in his eyes.

This was the moment of truth.

He loved her. And she could see it in his eyes, in his touch, in the look of pure pain on his face.

And God, did she love him too.

So, without thinking, Regina wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled him down to her, kissing him softly, yet hard.

Their lips met and parted, their tongues dancing together, tears mingling on their lips, the salt of it a painful reminder that this was the last kiss.

The last kiss.

Regina parted from him and walked away, her eyes meeting his for one last time.

"Goodbye, Robin. I loved you."

And even if she used the past tense, it was very much a lie.

She loved him still, and as he had said himself, she doubted she'd ever stop.

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