Regina walked fast towards her chambers, her personal guard and Snow White trying to keep up with her accelerated pace. As usual, something that made Regina happy was going to be ripped out of her life with no second thoughts - and it made her sick. Robin had been sentenced to the worst kinds of deaths.
It was too much, it was too soon.
The Queen barely made it to her room before she emptied her stomach's contents in the ceramic washbasin she usually used to clean her face. Regina fell to the ground then, between the emotional distress, the anxiety and the vomiting her body had no energy to pick herself up and pretend to be the regal queen she was supposed to be.
She couldn't do it anymore. She couldn't do it again. Losing Daniel had been hard enough, she had lost herself after that. But she didn't know what losing Robin would do to her, and she didn't want to imagine it either.
Air. She needed air. She needed to take her corset off. She needed to breath. And cry.
The sounds of Regina vomiting had made Snow White flinch at first. But even as the acidic smell filled the room, the princess didn't leave her side and for that Regina was grateful, she really needed someone by her side. She didn't admit it out-loud, not to the girl who wanted Regina to be her mother so badly.
"Are you alright?" Snow asked, soothing her stepmother's back "Do you need me to call a maid? Or to bring you water?"
"No, don't call anyone," Regina shook her head, and tried to clear her throat "Pass me the jar of water, please," she added, the taste of vomit was still present in her mouth and throat and she wanted to get rid of it.
"Why did you vomit?" Snow asked, bringing the jar of water and a glass to Regina.
"I don't know," the Queen lied.
Truth was, the Princess didn't know why the sentence had upset Regina so much. And the Queen preferred if it would stay that way - she didn't hate or blame Snow White anymore and her mind was preoccupied with other feelings at the moment, but she didn't trust the girl either.
Show White opened her mouth, but whatever she was about to say was replaced with a "Your fairy godmother is here,"
Regina furrowed her eyebrows at the statement, she didn't have a godmother. But, when she raised her face from the floor she saw pixie-sized Tinkerbell standing on one of her bedposts. Of course Snow White would believe the fairy was Regina's godmother, every girl born into the High Society had a fairy godmother - every girl, except Regina. Somehow, the Queen was sure it had to do with the fact that Cora had magic and didn't exactly use it to do good.
"Snow, I think it is better if you go to your room," the Queen suggested, knowing that the conversation she was about to have with the Fairy should not be heard by the princess. "I'll go get you once I talked to Tinkerbell,"
If there was someone who could shine a light on her dark present and even darker future was the blonde fairy. And the fact that Tinkerbell had come to visit her gave her hope that maybe, the Fairy had a magical solution for this nightmare.
"Are you sure?" Snow asked, "You were sick few moments ago,"
"I'll take care of her, Princess," Tinkerbell said in her high-pitch voice.
Snow nodded, "Please say hi to my fairy godmother if you see her, her name is Blue,"
"I'll try to remember," the Fairy said in a faked sweet voice that didn't go unnoticed by Regina, however the little girl didn't seem to catch the change in mood in the fairy.
"Very well," Snow walked towards the door, "I'll see you later, Regina,"
And with that, she was gone.
"Of course, Blue is her godmother,"
"I take it you don't like this Blue Fairy," Regina pointed out as she stood up from the floor, her legs shaking from her body's weakened state.
"Not particularly. She's in the business of ruining everyone's happiness for the greater good. But I didn't come here to complain about my self-proclaimed boss," Tink replied and grew into the human-sized. She didn't mind being short, but Regina seemed to feel more comfortable when they had the same size, "Wash Robin's wounds with this potion, it will heal him immediately,"
Regina took the bottle containing a shining fuchsia potion that Tinkerbell had offered her, "I - thank you," Regina replied, staring at the bottle. No one had ever done anything for her without asking something in return. No one, except Daniel and Robin, and both had paid for that.
"It's nothing," Tinkerbell shrugged, "I would give you something for your stomach, but the only thing I can do to calm your anxiety is to brew you some tea. Would you like some?"
Regina shook her head "I'm fine, I think it was just the shock from the news," the Queen answered honestly.
"So, what's next?"
"What do you mean?"
"Well, you need to take him out of the castle, right?" Regina nodded at Tinkerbell's question, "So, what's the plan,"
"I don't have one," she muttered and sat on the edge of the king-sized bed.
"That's alright," the Fairy patted Regina's back in a supportive manner, "Let's do this: you go cure him and I'll think of something,"
"Why are you doing this?" Regina asked, "Why are you helping me?"
"Because this is your chance to get a happy ending, Regina," Tinkerbell answered, "And I'll see it through or die trying,"
Regina nodded, "So, Snow was right after all. You are my fairy godmother,"
"I'd rather be a friend," Tinkerbell commented, trying to hide the fact that she had been touched by Regina's words. A person couldn't choose a godmother, the relationship between a princess and a fairy was predestined even before the princess was born. But, Regina wanted her to be her godmother. Regina had chosen her, even if they were both aware that was not how it worked.
No one had ever put so much trust in Tinkerbell before.
"Friends, then," Regina agreed. "I'll ask Snow to take me to Robin, she has been visiting David for a while now,"
It was not an ideal option. But these were desperate times and she was willing to take desperate measures.
"I know," Tinkerbell rolled her eyes, "Blue won't shut up about it,"
Despite the dark times they were living, Regina couldn't help but to chuckle at Tinkerbell's comment. The Queen and the Fairy then said their goodbyes and went on separate ways: Tinkerbell out the window and back to the forest, and Regina out the door and towards Snow White's room.
The commotion that Robin's trial had created on the castle had already extinguished; and silence reigned once more in the hallways through which Regina walked, only accompanied by her personal guard. The corridors were poorly illuminated too, which meant that the King had already retired to his chambers and as expected, everyone else but the guards doing the night swift, had to go to their rooms as well.
When the Queen reached the Princess's room, she told her guard that she would most probably spend some time with the Princess and that he was to wait outside with the other guards until she was ready to go back to her own quarters. After the man nodded at her, Regina entered into Snow White's room without being properly announced - not that she needed to be announced to enter to her step-daughter's room.
Regina waited patiently until the guards closed the room's door before she opened her mouth to talk to the Princess, "Snow, I need you to take me to the dungeons,"
"What for?" the girl asked, not judging but curious about it.
"I want to cure Robin Hood," Regina replied, being honest with Snow for the first time that night.
"Why would you want to cure the Outlaw?"
"Because," the Queen breathed deeply, stopping what she was about to confess to her stepdaughter and decided to go with a less detailed truth, "Because he's a good man, Snow. He might have kidnapped me, but he treated me with respect while I was his prisoner, which is more than what he's receiving from the King,"
Snow White studied Regina, her furrowed eyebrows told the Queen that her stepdaughter was confused about showing mercy to someone her father hated so much and who had obviously taken Regina way from her family. Because to Snow, she and her father were Regina's only family.
"And, you can pay a visit to your friend David," Regina added after she started losing hope on meeting up with Robin that night.
That seemed to be enough to convince Snow White, because the Princess immediately stood up, a big smile plastered on her face, and offered Regina a hand.
The way they took to the dungeons surprised Regina. Snow didn't use the door as it was expected from any royal; instead, she resorted to the secret passage used by the maids that lead to the kitchens. The Princess took each turn with confidence, as if it was not the first time she used the help's tunnels to get somewhere, and Regina was impressed that the girl was so resourceful. Had the Queen thought about it before, her imprisonment would have been easier to handle.
"How do you know where to go, dear?" Regina asked when her curiosity got the best of her.
"When Mother grounded me, she used sent me to my room. Eventually, it became tedious, so I found a way to sneak out," Snow White shrugged.
"No one never found out?"
"Oh, I'm sure my mother knew, but she pretended she didn't..." the Princess smiled sadly, "I miss her sometimes,"
Regina stayed in silence, it was the first time Snow White had shared something with her. It was the first time she had seen Snow White mourning over her mother. And she didn't know how to deal with the emotional girl.
"We are here," Snow announced, ending the emotional but scarce boding time they had just shared, and pushed a small door open, "Now, we need to cross left and we'll be in front of the dungeon's gate. There are always two guards by the doors," she stated.
"Leave those two guards to me," the Queen replied and followed Snow whilst she exited the passages through the door.
As stepmother and stepdaughter took their last turn, Regina thought about a speech, convincing enough for the guards to let the Queen and the Princess into the King's biggest enemy's prison without an escort. The likelihood of that happening was nearly impossible, she wasn't even sure they'd let her into the prison, but she needed to at least try - she owed that to the two men behind the bars.
"Guards," she greeted them with a regal voice tone.
The two men raised their heads to see who had called them, and when they saw Regina they smirked. And a smile appeared too on Regina's face when she realised that they guards were not Leopold's men: they were Merry Men. This was going to be easier than expected. However, they all had to keep playing their parts or Snow White would learn their plan. And Snow White and secret plans didn't mix - at all.
"The King allowed us to visit the prisoners," Regina said.
"We were not notified about any visit, your Majesty," Will replied, impersonating the emotionless voice tone that the King's men had to perfection.
To their surprise, Regina didn't have to defend herself, for it was Snow the one who opened her mouth next "Are you implying that your Queen is lying?" she asked, using the over-dramatised tone that annoyed Regina to no end.
"No, your highness, I did not intend to imply such thing," Will rushed, pretending he was afraid of the Princess's statement, "Forgive my behaviour," he added and nodded to Arthur, who opened the door. "I'll take you to the Outlaw's cell, your Majesty,"
Robin Hood and the Shepherd boy were imprisoned in opposing cells, with a narrow passage between their jail-rooms. The place was poorly illuminated by two torches, that not only made it impossible for Regina to see Robin, but also created an eerie environment that made the hairs of her nape to stand on their end. Just to think that David had been living in the dungeons for almost a month made her heart heavy with guilt.
"I'll make sure no one disturbs you," Will said, snapping Regina out of her thoughts.
Regina entered to Robin's cell expecting the worst scenario she could imagine. And the reality was worse than her expectations. If Regina's heart had been heavy by thinking about David, it started weighing a ton after she saw Robin laying on the ground, curled in a way that made the man look like a small ball, as if he was almost an insignificant being, waiting for someone to put him out of misery.
"Robin," Regina let out and swallowed a sob as her body dropped next to her lover's, "Oh, Robin."
"'Gina...?" Robin opened his eyes slowly. For a short moment, the Thief thought he was delusional and that Regina was nothing but the Angel of Death who had come to take him away.
She shushed him; afraid that someone might hear the way he addressed to her - not someone: Snow - she was afraid Snow would find out the nature of their relation. She glared at the Princess over her shoulder and to her relief noticed that Snow was amicably speaking with David, both had a bright smile on their faces and the rest world was unappealing to them. Despite the situation, Regina let herself enjoy for a little time the sight of the girl she had saved and told about true love finding her soul mate.
"I told you not to come and rescue me," Regina whispered, turning her attention back to Robin "I told you this would happen, and now I have to see you getting tortured and then killed," she added, tears falling down her cheeks.
"No, don't say that," Robin said, cleaning her tears away with one of his hands, "We have a plan, we'll get us all out,"
"I don't know if you failed to notice, but you are currently in prison and unable to walk," Regina snapped, and her tone was almost as the one she used when they were both in the Forest and she was complaining about something.
"I had to rescue you, Regina," he pushed his back from the ground and laid against the wall so he could see Regina eye-to-eye. "I had to rescue you or die trying," Robin replied.
Regina was torn between kissing him or smacking him. But deep inside, she was not surprised. Did she really think that Robin wouldn't fight for her? She knew him, she knew he would come to save her.
"I don't know if I envy you bravely or condemn your idiocy," the Queen murmured shaking her head, but they both smiled.
They gazes locked for a while, only to be broken by Robin's eyes wondering lower: to Regina's lips. She was tempted to give in - to kiss him senseless, because he had come to rescue her. He had chosen her above everything and everyone. It felt so nice to be someone's first option for a change. And she wanted to show him how much it meant for her. But it was not the place nor the time, so the cleared her throat to get Robin's attention.
"Tinkerbell, a friend fairy of mine, brought me this," she said producing the fuchsia-liquid container from one of her cape's pockets. "She said it would cure you," Regina added and opened the bottle, "May I?"
Robin shrugged, "It's not like you can do more harm," came out as a weak joke and it earned him a death glare shoot at him by Regina.
"Are you done with your antics?" she asked and Robin nodded "Wonderful. Now, turn on your side and stay still," the Queen added, as if she would be a doctor talking to a kid who just scratched their knees and the wounds needed inspection. Robin followed her orders without questioning them, not even once.
Regina warmed her hands before she touched Robin's skin, but he flinched at the coolness of Regina's skin against his skin nevertheless. Not only because of the temperature, but also because of the tenderness of his injured calves. Skilfully, Regina applied the potion over the places where Robin's skin had been slashed, making him wince once or two times more.
The Queen had seen magic couple of times, but she had never enjoyed the way her mother used it; curing Robin, however, had felt amazing. Watching his slitted skin enchantingly mended, leaving not even a scar behind, was simply indescribable. Regina trailed her hands over Robin's calves, not believing that they had really healed.
"It worked," Regina let out a breath she didn't know she was holding.
"I never doubt it wouldn't," Robin replied and pressed his lips against Regina's, thanking her with a short-lasting kiss.
Regina looked over her shoulder, worried once again, but Snow was still deep into her conversation with David; so she allowed herself to enjoy Robin's lips, not touching them with her lips because it was still too risky, but pressing her fingers against them. The Outlaw kissed Regina's fingers twice, and then let them rest over his mouth for as long as Regina needed.
"I should go," the Queen broke their almost intimate moment by standing up and walking out the cell, "Snow, we are leaving. Say goodbye to David,"
"Your Majesty," Robin called her from his cell's door, "Thank you, for healing my wounds," he said, locking his cell's door.
"Have a good night rest, Robin Hood, you have a long day ahead of you," she replied, in her best queenly tone, "Goodnight, David," the Queen added to the other prisoner, and then she left the room, once again followed by her step daughter.
They took the same passaged they had used to get there, but their walk back to the Princess's room was a silent one.
After her talking with David, Snow had realised that David would never forgive her if her father killed Robin Hood, and it broke her heart. Almost in the same way Regina's heart was breaking, losing all the hope of freeing Robin from the King's sentence. The Queen knew that all her hopes for a good future laid on Tinkerbell's shoulders now and she was still not sure if that eased her or not.
Either way, both Queen and Princess were sure about something: tomorrow would change everything.