We Can Love Again

A Fresh Start

"Is everything okay between you two?" Robin asked once she finally came out of his room. Regina smiled towards him.

"Yeah," she said simply, "everything's fine. He just fell asleep actually."

Robin seemed surprised. "Really? He usually puts up a fight every day about it."

"I guess that means he likes me better," Regina smirked back at him.

"I've only raised him for four years!" Robin shot her an offended look, causing her to let out a laugh. "That's like me saying Henry loves me better than he loves you- which is total crap by the way, because he doesn't seem to like me very much."

"What're you talking about, Henry likes you!" Regina couldn't believe what she was hearing. "He just needs to get to know you better, that's all."

"Roland talks about him a lot, you know. That child of yours sure has a lot of stories to tell." Robin said, eyes gleaming with something Regina couldn't quite catch.

"As do you I'm guessing. Let's sit down," he gestured her over to the couch as he had done plenty of times before. Regina was starting to get used to the routine.

"I want to get to know you better," he gave her another one of his charming smiles.

Regina raised her eyebrows slightly. "Me? How about we talk about you, my life's not that interesting."

"You sent three fourths of an entire realm into a curse for twenty eight years, I beg to differ." He threw his words back at her.

She was never comfortable about talking about herself. It always felt better to hear about other people's problems.

"Well... What do you want to know?"

Robin felt a feeling of superiority being asked this question- he wanted to know so many things.

"How was it being married to the king?"

Regina saw that one coming. She spent almost four years with him, but quite honestly, she didn't know where to begin.

"Let's start with this," she told him, "do you want the story that everyone wants to hear or the less pretty one? Because you might not like what you hear."

There was a huge difference between the factious smile she put on for the crowd and what actually happened. She had grown so entirely sick of pretending that things were alright, living in a world she didn't belong in to the slightest bit.

"I want you to tell me whatever you want to tell me," he shrugged, certainly not wanting to pressure her into anything she didn't want to do.

Regina just stared at him. He wanted her to be honest? Nobody ever wanted to hear the truth from her. Instead of reciting the same speech about how 'wonderful it was the king gave her the opportunity', she actually had to come up with something.

"The king was a very genuine man," she started out; it was the truth, his heart was in the right place. "But... He never wanted to get to know me. I mean, I don't blame him, he still loved his first wife. To him, all I was his trophy he dragged everywhere with him- to meetings, dinners, balls... It was absolute hell," she could already feel her emotions take over. "The night of our wedding, he called me up to his chambers and... And..." The tears began falling in an uncontrollable notion, leaving Robin with a sad pang in his heart.

"I was eighteen, I didn't know what any of that stuff was... My mother didn't tell me anything. He was this weight I couldn't get off me, sometimes... Sometimes his maid would come and get me in the dead of night and... I was always so scared..."

Robin couldn't believe what he was hearing. This was king Leopold, the seemingly kind old man who had a beautiful daughter and had the perfect life- he realized how wrong he was.

"I always felt like every time he did that to me, he was withering a part of me away, all the ignorance my mother raised me with... Until, one day, I stopped caring." She paused to wipe the tears off her face, just now realizing what she was really telling him.

"I'm so sorry," she said quickly, looking sheepishly towards him. "You probably didn't want to know all that. It's just... I haven't told anyone that before- nobody's ever asked."

Robin put a comforting hand on her shoulder. "Hey, it's okay. I'm the one that asked the question."

"It felt good finally telling someone about it," Regina admitted, "why don't you tell me about your wife? Let's divvy out some of the pain here."

Robin couldn't help but smile at her change in subject. "Okay then. Ask away,"

Regina tucked her knees up against her chest comfortably. "Anything really- what was she like, how did you two meet?"

Robin sighed. He didn't talk much about his wife, it resurfaced all the feelings he kept locked inside. It was hard not thinking about it, though; Roland reflected her in so many ways.

"We actually grew up in the same village of children," he let out a small smile, remembering all the memories. "My father was never around and my mother died when I was seven, so she was the only friend I had for a long while."

Regina couldn't help but smile. Everything he was saying reminded her of Daniel.

"What was her name?"

"Katrina."

"Pretty name," Regina replied.

"I asked her to marry me when we both turned twenty; all I had was my horse Westson and a small bag of keepsakes, but we ran off and started a life on the streets together."

That was everything she could've dreamed for with Daniel.

"Sounds like you were happy," she said, musing in the bright flame that was dancing in his eyes.

"Very happy," Robin smiled, "it was on the streets I met the original merry men- they're still my closest friends today. We were all starving, cold, helpless... But we didn't deserve to be. So that's why we started taking from the rich to give to the poor, the people who don't deserve to be in the state they're in. All these people who drown themselves in riches- kings, queens-"

He stopped abruptly when he realized what he was saying. Regina rolled her eyes and gestured for him to continue.

"I'm not a thief though."

"I never said you were," she said mildly, giving him a look. "So what happened to her?"

"Well, she... She got sick." Robin said sullenly, "she got sick a couple months after we found out we were expecting Roland."

Regina reached forward and took his hand. "I'm sorry. You know, I lost someone I loved too. But you know what he told me right before I lost him?" She didn't wait for a response.

"He said, love again. You and I... We can love again."

Robin didn't know what to say to that. Here she was, Regina Mills, the evil queen that everybody resented, sitting adjacent to him with her legs tucked up to her body telling him that she understood exactly what he was going through. He shouldn't let her near his son in fear of her snapping his neck, yet he adored seeing them together. She was the exact opposite of what everyone else thought of her- and he realized he couldn't get enough.

Before he realized what he was doing, Robin leaned forward until he could feel her breath on his face. Regina froze, waiting for him to make his move. She felt a wave of something pass through her and she felt his lips on hers, closing her eyes; it felt so unreal she couldn't help but want more of it.

He brought his hands up to her face and pulled her closer to him, deepening the kiss. She was flawless- perfect in his eyes.

Pulling away slightly, Robin gazed into her eyes, sending her a smile that made her melt inside, his hands still holding the sides of her face.

This is it, he thought, we can love again.

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