We Can Love Again

Under Fire

It was beginning to get late. Regina was at home with Roland and Caroline, but Robin was nowhere to be found. She supposed he had just went out somewhere after work, but she hadn't received any sort of notice from him, and that made her nervous.

The sun was sinking in the sky; she was planning on waiting to start dinner until he came home, but eventually she decided against it. Roland was getting restless, and that wasn't something Regina wanted to deal with. So she and her son shared a rather awkward dinner together, with her holding her baby in the crook of her arm as she attempted to eat.

"Where's Daddy?" Her boy asked, for what seemed like the tenth time.Regina sighed, feeling tempted to check her phone again. "I don't know. But you're going to have to go to bed soon, whether he's here or not."

This resulted in a whine from the boy as he shoveled his vegetables on his plate.

"No," he replied stoutly, "I want Papa and I want Henry."

"They'll both be home soon," Regina tried to reassure, gently rocking Caroline.

But Roland still refused to do anything. He was stubborn, just like his father. It took a solid hour for Regina to put her daughter down and to get her son ready for bed. She was beginning to feel irritated by the fact that Robin wasn't there to help her, though she was nervous that something bad might have happened to him.

"It's past your bedtime, you need to sleep!"

Roland squirmed under his sheets. "I don't want to!" He groaned, despite his mother's protests. Regina was just about to pin him to the bed when the door opened downstairs, causing her heart to leap with a sudden excitement- he was finally home.

"You stay here," she ordered firmly, "Daddy will come in and say goodnight."

Thankfully, the five year old obeyed, and she quickly began her decent down the stairs. She smiled when she saw him, absolutely relieved he was home safe; the anger of him not contacting her slowly began to fade.

"Where were you?" Regina asked, wrapping her arms around his forest green jacket.

Before he could answer, she scowled with confusion- she could smell something odd on him.

"I was with Killian and Charming," Robin responded, in a thick voice that didn't match up.

His eyes were dazed, his body seeming on the verge of tipping over.

"You were out drinking, weren't you?" She accused hotly, glaring at him in his wary state.

"It was just a few drinks... Nothing bad." He tried to justify, though even then he knew his fiancé wouldn't buy it.

"I've been worried sick about you Robin! Do you know how long I went without knowing where you were?"

He didn't have an answer, causing Regina to sigh irritably.

"Almost five hours! I've had to take care of Roland and Caroline all by myself; I was worried about you, wondering if you were okay... And this whole time you've been at the bar having the time of your life?"

She had seldom been this angry with him, mostly because he had seldom been so reckless.

He let out a light, hollow laugh. "I don't see what the problem is- I'm home now."

"Yes but you could have at least-" Regina stopped herself when she realized it was useless. "We have a child together, which means you can't act any way you want anymore. You have a responsibility here at home-"

"I've just been stressed out okay?" Robin shot at her, immediately piercing her with an unintended force.

"Just... Go to bed." She sighed, slowly turning around and heading up the stairs. It was difficult getting her son to go to sleep when she told him that his father wasn't going to be able to tuck him in. When she did, she changed into her pajamas and silently slipped into bed next to the man she was going to marry, who seemed to be passed out cold on his side of the bed. She curled up her exhausted body, still sore from running, with her back facing him, trying to sleep, though she knew she was going to have to be there for Caroline when she woke up.

Regina was disappointed in him, but she knew love took work; and it was worth it. Anything beat living life alone and heartbroken.

As she thought she would be, the former queen was just about ready to pull her hair out due to frustration. A good night's sleep hadn't come to her in three days, and she feared it would never be available to her ever again. She thought that after a month of being alive, Caroline would be better throughout the night- but that didn't seem to be the case. Her daughter went through diaper after diaper, bottle after bottle, until she could eventually slip into an hour or two of sleep.

Regina seemed almost inseparable from the nursery, considering the fact that she was always in there. She had just finished feeding Caroline, and had her set against her shoulder while gently rubbing her back. It was nearly seven in the morning on a Monday, and Regina could easily say that that precious night had been the worst one yet.

Especially since she very well knew that it was Robin's turn to watch over Caroline, not hers.

"Mommy!" Roland's voice called down the hallway, in his small, loud voice that obviously meant he was mad about something.

"I'm in here, no need to shout." Regina replied, her baby beginning to doze off in her arms.

Her son then promptly marched in to the nursery, an angry scowl on his face, wearing absolutely nothing except a pair of Spider-man underpants.

Regina's eyes widened when she saw him. "Uh, Roland- I thought we agreed you were going to dress yourself from now on."

Roland just about stamped his foot on the carpet beneath him. "I don't have any clothes!" He yelled, so abruptly he startled his mother.

"Your sister is trying to sleep, calm down," Regina shot at him, "I know I'm a bit behind laundry. Can't you just wear something you wore a few days ago?"

"No!" He responded, tears building up in his eyes, "no no no!"

"Roland Hood if you wake up your sister I swear you'll regret it."

Instead of heeding to his mother's words, Roland burst into tears, falling to the ground so the carpet muffled his screams and his cries. His skinny arms and legs beating against the floor. It only took a few seconds for Caroline to start crying as well.

"Oh my God- I told you I'll get your laundry done as soon as I can! Get off the floor!" She demanded, though she knew once Roland got into a tantrum, it was hard to stop him. Caroline was wailing in her arms, keeping her well occupied.

"Please, your father is trying to sleep..." She said in a last attempt, feeling hot tears appear in her own eyes. The noise level couldn't have gotten louder, and it was making the moment they were in a living nightmare.

"What the hell is going on in here?" Regina heard a voice ask, causing her to look up in surprise.

Robin seemed more confused then ever. He had showered, shaved, and got ready for work; though, his eyes were still slightly red.

"Why is Roland naked?" Was his first question, immediately followed by, "why is he screaming on the floor?"

"Because he doesn't have any clothes," Regina muttered, trying to soothe her daughter in her arms.

Robin slowly bent down and picked Roland up. "What's up, little man? Not enough sleep?" He asked tenderly, wiping away the tears that were smeared on his face.He then glanced back at his fiancé, giving her a sympathetic look with his piercing eyes.

"Why don't you get some rest? Meanwhile, I'm going to find clothes for you to wear," he said, holding his son's head securely against his chest.

Roland was soon reduced to sniffles, and Caroline was still crying to no end.

"Robin?" She asked quietly, before he turned towards the door, "I'm sorry."

He sent her a small smile before slipping out the door with their son in his arms.

With that, Regina was finally able to breathe again. She got Caroline to calm down eventually, watching her lie in her crib with a pink and blue soother in her mouth until she finally closed her eyes. After that, she finally felt a weight lifted off her shoulders. She thought about falling back into bed and going to sleep, but something told her she was needed elsewhere. So, she fetched a bathrobe from her closet and traveled downstairs, where she got the most comforting sight in the world. Two of her boys were on the couch, Roland in Robin's lap, watching their favorite cartoon together- Scooby Doo.

Regina silently made her way over towards them, sitting herself next to her fiancé on the couch.

"I suppose preschool is out of the picture today, huh," she remarked, gently pushing her son's hair away from his face.

"And... Are you not going to work?"

Robin shrugged; Regina made note on how fantastic he smelled.

"I'd much rather stay here and watch cartoons," he replied lightheartedly, "I don't think anyone will miss me too much."

Regina released a tentative smile. "Did you... Have fun last night?"

"Killian got absolutely crazy on the dance floor," he chuckled, "and David drank so much vodka he began muttering things in French. All in all it was a fun night."

His last statement made Regina laugh. She could only imagine.

"I shouldn't have gotten as mad as I did," she admitted, not even giving the slightest attention to the tv screen.

Robin gave her a steadfast look with his eyes, slowly shaking his head. "No, you were right. I have responsibilities here, and I abused them. I want to be the best dad I can possibly be, so from now on you have my full attention."

Regina was practically stunned by his words, overcome with the powerful reminder of how much she depended on him in her life.

"You already are the best dad, no questions asked," she remarked with confidence, glancing down at Roland with a tender smile.

"I'm sorry Mommy," he said, in such a sincere way it would be impossible to not accept it. Her five year old was now dressed one of Robin's button down shirts- it was so big on him that the bottom of it ended right at his tiny feet.

"It's... It's okay sweetheart. I still love you, no matter what. You just need to be considerate for your sister, that's all."

She felt Robin put his arm around her shoulder, pulling her in closer.

"We all need to be." He said gently, gently kissing her temple.

Then, the front door opened; seconds later, Henry appeared in the living room, sending his family a welcoming smile.

"Hey guys! Are you watching Scooby Doo?" He asked, kicking off his shoes and filling in the empty space on the couch next to his mother.

"What else is there to watch in the mornings?" Robin replied simply, watching his twelve hear old get smothered by hugs from Regina.

"Why aren't you at school? I can't have all my kids play hooky at once."

Henry gave her a smug smile. "We stayed up late playing video games, so Dad told me I could wait to go at noon. We slept through the first hour and a half."

On any normal circumstance, Regina wouldn't be thrilled to hear this- but she was giving second chances out to everyone else, so she shrugged it off, laid back, and made the most out of the time she had with her precious boys.

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