Tinkerbell had been waiting Regina in the Queen's chambers. Already grown to her human size, the fairy was leaning against the frame of the balcony's entrance with her arms crossed and her eyebrows furrowed.
"Really, Regina?" the fairy asked as soon as Regina closed the door behind her, "A fake pregnancy? You know how hard it is to pull that out? No, actually, scratch that. It is not hard, it isimpossible,"
Tinkerbell started pacing from one side of the room to the other one. And Regina could only sit on the edge of the bed and followed the fairy with her eyes. She knew it hadn't been her brightest idea, but she had panicked. And she didn't do well when she panicked.
"When I said 'I'll think of something' I didn't mean 'Go and lie to the whole kingdom and say you are pregnant'!" the fairy kept bickering "That's the stupidest idea I've ever heard! And that comes from a person who gave a sleeping potion to a person and didn't think about the effect of said potion on the person's significant other,"
Regina's face brightened up as a new idea popped into her mind. "That's it!"
Tink stopped abruptly her anxious pace and looked at her "What?" she asked confused.
"The sleeping potion," Regina said, "I'll need some to fake my death," she stood up, "I'll fake my death, just like Juliet did. During the commotion caused by my funeral you'll help Robin escape. And then, after I'm buried, Robin will wake me up with true love's kiss,"
It was a brilliant plan, the King would never search for her because everyone will think she's dead. She and Robin would move to other kingdom, were Leopold couldn't send search parties, and they would live happily.
"Did you miss the part where I told you that both, Romeo and Juliet, actually ended up dead?" the fairy asked in a sharp tone that Regina felt as an invisible slap.
"But we won't, because we will tell Robin about the plan,"
Tinkerbell sighed, "I don't like this idea," she said and walked towards Regina, "But, I promised I'd help you, and if you decided to go down this path, then I'll walk it with you," the fairy added, taking Regina's hands on hers. "We've got a lot to plan, it has to be perfect,"
The sun had already set and the sky was already dark as coal by the time the Queen and the Fairy tied all the loose ends in their master plan. Operation Slumber, Tinkerbell had called it and Regina couldn't help but to roll her eyes at the childish name the fairy had given to the plan that could either give her her happy ending or ruin her life forever.
"Alright, it's time for me to go and get the potion," Tinkerbell said shrinking to her pixie size, "Remember to tell Robin about the plan," the fairy added in the high-pitched voice that annoyed Regina so much.
"Yes, I'll head off to the dungeons as soon as I get hold of Snow White and ask her to take me there,"
"That won't do," Tink stated, "You'll have to forgive me, but I don't trust her enough and she could overhear the plan,"
"I don't know how to get to the dungeons on my own, Tink,"
"Luckily for us, I still got some tricks up my sleeve," she replied and magicked a wand, "This will guide you to your true love," the fairy explained as she wiggled her wand and small purple rock appeared on Regina's hand.
It was of smooth texture, not much larger than a bean and it seemed to glow faintly. At first Regina thought it was just the material reflecting the torch's light, but when Tinkerbell talked she realized it was something completely different:
"This is a firefly stone," the blonde pixie commented, "The closer you are to Robin, the stronger it will light,"
Regina closed her fist around the stone and brought it close to her chest "Thank you," she whispered, not sure why, since no one could really hear them. Maybe because she was afraid of losing the magical object that will guide her to the man who had saved her from the darkness.
"I'll come back tomorrow," the green fairy added, "Make sure you follow your part of the plan until then," and with that, Tinkerbell flew out of the window.
That night, after everyone had gone to bed, Regina sneaked out of her room through the service door and used the rock she had received from Tinkerbell to get to the dungeons. Granted, it had taken longer than when she went with Snow as guide since she took a couple of wrong turns; but she reached her destination eventually.
Luckily for her, Will and Arthur were again in night duty.
"Regina," Will nodded at her, "I thought you'd be celebrating," the merry man pointed out coldly.
"Let me pass," the Queen demanded in a similar tone.
"What good will that do?" Arthur was the one who spoke this time, "He's already aching enough!"
"I need to speak to him!" Regina said, and this time she was not giving orders, this time she was begging to see Robin.
Will and Arthur looked at each other, having a silent conversation, as they decided whether to let Regina pass or not. At the end, they allowed Regina to enter, not without warning that they'd be listening carefully, and if they heard any sign of discomfort coming from Robin, they'd take Regina out of the prison - it didn't matter if they had to drag the Queen to do so.
Robin noticed her presence as soon as she stepped into the cell and the door was closed behind her.
"Forgive me, your majesty, if I don't stand up," his voice was raspy and convened so much pain "Your Husband's rage got the best of my limbs," he added.
She looked around, the other cell was already empty. "I see David was already sent home,"
"Yes, we should be grateful to your husband's forgiveness," Regina flinched at his words. Never in her life, did she imagine she'd hear so much hate in his voice.
Regina clenched her fists but stayed in silence. She hadn't come here to fight with Robin, but he was making it so difficult. The Queen looked away, staring at the Prisoner was becoming too heartbreaking for her.
"I guess I should congratulate you?" Robin broke the silence.
She turned around to look at him. Life in prison was doing him no good, some of his hair had already started to turn white due to the stress and he had already lost weight, and muscle mass, during his short stay in the Castle's dungeons. He had even lost his scent, he no longer smelled like the forest.
"There's nothing to congratulate,"
"You are not pregnant?"
"No," the Queen replied.
"And he believed you?"
"It is not like he hasn't tried," she snapped.
Robin must have understood the meaning behind the sentence, because his jaw and fists clenched. An almost silent 'Sorry' echoed through the prison walls, and then silence wrapped them.
"I guess my mother was right all that time, I am damaged goods," Regina said after a while. She laid her back against the wall and slid down, ending up seated next to Robin - the bars between them.
He placed his hand on one of hers, and for a moment Regina believed they were back at the forest.
"You are not damaged, Regina," he said quietly, "You are the most resilient person I've ever met," the Outlaw added, "But I still don't understand why you lied,"
"I had to stop the execution, Robin,"
"I told you I had a plan,"
"And, what did you expect me to do?" Regina shifted her body into a kneeling position, their hands no longer touching, "Sit and hope your plan works?"
"Yes!" Robin replied, the desperation could be felt on that monosyllable. "Now you have to fake a pregnancy, and the Gods know that's impossible!"
"You were dying, Robin! You were turning blue!" she yelled as she stood up "I don't know what your plan was, but it was definitely not working!" the Queen added, "And if you believe for a second that -,"
Regina was interrupted by the door opening.
"The King is on his way," Will let out, before any of them could complain about his intrusion. "He sent a messenger so we could wake you up and prepare you for his visit," he added, then he looked at Regina "You need to get out of here, now!"
There was nothing Regina could say nor do to convince Will to let her stay. She tried to tell Will she needed more time with Robin, that they needed to discuss something important, but he grabbed her by the arm and dragged her out. The merry man kept saying how someone had to be the smart one in these compilations of failed plans, or they would end up dead.
Without letting Regina tell him the plan, Will pushed Regina into the secret hallway, and closed the door just in time to block the passage from the King's sight.
"Guard!" Regina heard from behind the door as Leopold addressed to Will, "Did you get my message?"
"We did your majesty," Will replied, "The prisoner was awakened from his slumber as you requested, Sir,"
"Good," the King commented, and the next sentence hurt Regina - like taking a stab straight to the heart: "After I'm done with what I have in mind for him, I don't think he'll be able to sleep for the next days," a chuckle followed the statement.
And then Regina ran, she ran as fast as she could. Because she knew she couldn't rescue Robin from what the King had planned without putting her plan in jeopardy. But, she couldn't stay and hear how the love of her life was being tortured by the vile man.
Regina collapsed in her room. She couldn't breathe, she couldn't move. She could only cry. And cry. As she had cried when she was little and her mother locked her in the dark den because she had misbehaved, as she had cried when Daniel was killed because he had loved her.
This was all happening because of her.
And the worst part was that she couldn't tell Robin about the sleeping potion and their plan. How was she supposed to save his life, when she couldn't even deliver a message?