Bittersweet Destiny

Chapter 9

When Robin woke up he was still lying against the tree with Regina wrapped and secure in his arms. The scent of the forest that the Queen had used to wash her hair made him feel like he was lying on a flower bed in the prairies of his homeland. Robin breathed in to absorb the smell and exhaled as slowing as he could, not wanting to wake Regina up.

He hated that this was temporary, that he wouldn't be able to hold Regina like this every morning for the rest of their lives. It made him want to walk into the White Castle and kill the King with his own hands, not really caring about his child. It came as a realisation, that irrational hate caused by the inability to control over his happy ending. Regina was his happy ending, he was in love with her. He thought that he'd never find love again, that no one will ever make him feel like Marian had made him feel once. But Regina proved him wrong, and once again his happiness would be ripped from his heart. And it hurt, like nothing he had felt before, not even Marian's betrayal.

"I have an idea," Regina soft tone came almost as a whisper, as if she was afraid that someone might hear them. The tip of her fingers caressed gently his naked chest, and it make him feel loved and wanted, as if someone cared for him.

"I thought you were asleep," the Merry Man stated, wondering what would Regina think of him taking in consideration that he had held her so long, without waking her up.

"You were trying too hard to keep your breathing steady," she replied, moving away from Robin.

But she didn't tell him the real reason to why she woke up when he was slowing his breathing: his heartbeat had decelerated too. And that the change in his heartbeat sounds was what had woken Regina up, at first it had almost cause her to panic, thinking he had died, but then she realised his heart had not stopped, merely slowed down.

"So, your idea," Robin pointed out, going back to the topic.

"Ah, yes," she nodded, "We could maybe go to a near village and send the King a messenger," Regina explained while she took Robin's shirt off and handled it to him.

For a moment Robin had thought that she was undressing, and was disappointed when he saw her fully clothed and handling him his shirt. Then, he scolded himself for his dirty thoughts. "And what should we tell him?"

"That you are mad that the Knights are roaming through the woods, and for that you'll ask for more money," Regina said, "And give him extra time to get it,"

"All this plan is for you to buy more time with me?" he asked with a smirk, "And here I was, thinking that you considered me a thief and a moron," Robin's smirk only grew wider when he remember their first day together and how she had addressed to him.

Regina didn't reply to that, her eyes were too busy staring at Robin's chest - which she hadn't been able to appreciate last night due the lack of light.

"Regina?"

"Would you please put your shirt on?"

Robin smirked at her request "I think I like the effect my body has on your tongue," he commented, and by the flush on her cheeks she clearly had misinterpreted what he had meant "I meant your speech,"

"You often forget I am your Queen, Thief," Regina pointed out, but her tone was teasing, "You should do as I say,"

Robin wondered if it always had to be a struggle for power with Regina, so he decided to push his luck and say "Now, be nice or I won't send that messenger to the King, yourhusband," he used the same tone she had used, because two could play this game.

Regina crossed her arms and raised an eyebrow, not buying Robin's attitude and deciding not to speak until he did as she said. He understood her silence, apparently it was always a struggle for power with Regina. With a shit-eating grin still on his face, he put his shirt on.

Once Robin's toned body was out of Regina's sight and Regina could think normally, she asked Robin to help her off the tree and the they walked towards the closest village. Their walk, as usual was not a silent one. Normally, Robin liked to be quiet and listen to nature's sound, but Regina was an exception to that rule.

She was an exception to all rules. Like never mess around a married woman, never develop feelings towards a hostage and never follow a woman's command, among others.

Unlike other women of her upbringing, Regina liked to share her opinions and thoughts about everything, and Robin couldn't help but to find her interesting and smart. She was perfect in every single way.

It was nearly midday when they saw a sign of civilization. It was not a proper town, but it was a shepherd house, someone would probably take the message to the King for a couple of coins.

Robin and Regina strolled the house slowly, not wanting the people who lived there to think they were a threat. No one appeared on the porch as the two of them approached to the humble cottage and they only found a young blond boy standing next to the sheep's barnyard.

"Good morning, boy," Robin greeted him, and it make the blond boy look at him, "What's your name?"

"I'm David," he said "And you are Robin Hood, aren't you?"

"That I am, boy," the Thief nodded,

"Is that her?" David pointed at Regina "The Queen you stole?"

Robin looked at Regina, not knowing what to say. It was her who answered the boy's question "Yes, David, my name is Regina, and we need you to deliver a message to the King,"

"For you, Sir, anything," David smiled at Robin, "But I have to warn you, King Leopold's castle is a one day long ride away, I wont be there until tomorrow,"

Robin nodded, he knew the shepherd's house was not in Leopold's Kingdom; he had walked into King George's Kingdom on purpose. The thief was not sure Leopold's countrymen would betray their King, either out of respect or fear.

"You will tell the King that due to the search party he sent into the woods last night, now I triple the price for his Queen, the exchange will be in two weeks time," Robin told the boy.

"Is that all?" he asked the message was not hard to remember: triple the amount, in two weeks.

"Here's for your trouble," Hood gave two gold coins to the Shepherd, "And this one is to cover your trip," he added, giving one extra coin to the boy.

"Thank you, Sir," David nodded politely, "I'll part as soon as I say goodbye to my mother," he added, and then disappeared into his house.

Robin and Regina walked back towards the forest, and from its edge they watched as David rode off at a quick gallop.

"I hope we didn't send the boy into his death," Robin commented as the boy and his horse disappeared in the horizon

"Leopold is many things, but his not a child abuser," they both knew she was never fast to defend her husband, so Regina must believe what she was saying "I'm sure no harm will come to David," or at least that's what she hoped.

Regina slipped her hand into Robin's, searching for reassurance on his proximity. The first time they had held hands it had been almost by accident, but Regina had grown fond of the touch.

"Had you sent the kid's father, well, that would have been a different story," the Queen pointed out, going back to her usual I-hate-the-King mode.

"I'll believe it, if that's what you say, my Queen," Robin said in a teasing tone, but when he raised her hand and kissed her knuckles, as most peasants would greet their queen, he couldn't ignore the electric wave that ran from his lips towards his heart and made it shake like a thunder shook the ground.

His eyes locked with Regina's and for a moment the world fade, and nothing (not even the King) seemed to matter to them. He loved her, his heart belonged to her for all eternity; what an irony, someone had stolen the prince of Thieves' heart.

Regina was the first to acknowledge that they had been staring into each others' eyes and holding hands for a longer time than it was sociable acceptable, even if their relationship was not really a conventional one. And she finding herself unwilling to let go made her blush slightly - which made her more adorable in Robin's eyes.

"Let's go home," Regina said breaking the eye contact, she didn't know when she had started referring to the merry camp as home, but it felt right.

One day later... At the King's palace.

If the King had been disturbed by the news David had just told him, he did not show it. King Leopold sat on his throne with a glass of wine on one hand, his daughter, princess Snow White, sitting next to him.

"Was she with him?" the King asked him, and after David didn't reply he motioned a guard to step forward.

The guard nodded at his King and walked towards David, who was studying the hem of his shirt, and hit the kid with the grip of his sword on the neck, making David fall on his knees.

He grabbed David by the hair and pulled him upwards "The King asked you a question," he said in a dangerously low voice tone as Snow White yelled in shock for her father to stop the guard, she was clearly not used to watch violence.

"Was she with him?" the King repeated, ignoring his daughter's plea.

And this time, reluctantly David replied."Yes, your majesty. She was,"

"Did she look happy?"

Once again, David didn't answer when the King asked him a question. And as consequence for his acts, the Knight dropped David and kicked him in the stomach.

"Did. She. Look. Happy?" the King asked, making emphasis in each word.

Another kick to David's stomach, apparently no one treated the King with such disregard. "Yes, your majesty," David spat after a while, feeling like he was betraying his own family, "She did look happy,"

The King threw his wine glass against the floor, startling the crying princess.

"Guards!" he yelled, his face was crimson. Two men rushed towards him "I will not deal with traitors, find Robin Hood, I don't care if you have to burn that goddamned forest to the ground, and bring me my wife and his head," the King shouted his orders. "Or better yet, bring him alive and I'll cut his head and fed it to the people,"

"What about the boy?" one guard pointed at David.

"Kill him,"

"No father, please!" Snow White pleaded and leaped from her seat into her father's lap, "He's just an innocent boy who was carrying a message,"

Leopold looked at his daughter, and for a moment his face softened, it was always like that, Snow White always made him be a better person. But then, he remembered he was at war with Robin Hood, and people that helped the Thief deserved to be punished. "Put him in a dungeon cell until we find Robin Hood, it will teaching him about not making allies with an outlaw," one guard nodded at his order "Let everyone know that anyone who helps Robin Hood are enemies of the Crown, and they will be treated as such. Everyone who does not wish to collaborate will find the dungeons their new home,"

And with that he dismissed the guards, who went off trying to follow the King's vengeful orders.

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