We Can Love Again

Road to Recovery

Though it was early in the morning, there wasn't a single soul in the hotel they were in that didn't hear the word "shit!" exclaimed from the upper half of the building.

Regina was staring in horror at her cellphone screen, reading through all the texts she had sent the precious night. In that moment, she wished she could be anything but alive.

Regina: I miss my baby!

Robin: She misses you too, Sweetheart. Having fun?

Regina: My head hurts... I miss my babyyyy

Robin: You'll see her tomorrow! Is... Everything okay over there?"

Regina: No! Emma dances like a crazy person.

Robin: You're not drinking... Are you?

Regina: Mayybeee... You'll never know. Can you come over here and bring Caroline?

Robin: You're in another state, dear. So... No.

Regina: you're no fun!

Robin: and I'd lose my memories. You better be careful getting back to your hotel.

Regina: no! I'm a rebel now!

She had to put her phone underneath her pillow to keep from reading more of the conversation. Her life was practically in shambles before her- she felt like crying.

"Oh God... It's too early..." Emma muttered, rolling on her side with her eyes still closed. Regina figured she was facing the same kind of symptoms she was. Her head felt like a pure pound of lead. Nausea took her over completely, making every movement send more dizziness throughout her body. They had to go back that day, back home. All she wanted to do was stay in bed and sleep.

"I know it sucks, but we gotta get up," she heard Emma say, pushing the bedsheets off of her and rolling out of bed. "We can grab some aspirin from a drug store."

Instead of Regina ordering the blonde to do things, it was the other way around. The woman merely moaned precariously as Emma nudged her body with her foot.

"There is no way I'm driving like this," she muttered into her pillow, bitterly remembering the time when she was hungover in the Enchanted Forest.

Emma groaned irritably. "You're the one that wants to get home so badly! Robin needs you back, Henry and Roland need you back... Most of all, your daughter needs you. If you don't get back to Storybrooke soon I think Mary Margret will try and take in Caroline as her own."

She knew she was needed back at home, but her body simply refused to comply with her mind. "I... I can't come home like this. What will Henry and Roland think?"

Letting out a heavy sigh, Regina attempted to sit up, her hand up to her head.

"Why did you even make me take that royal whatever shot?"

"Uh, that was all you. I said before we went in that you could just be there to help me out. I don't even remember half of the stuff that went on last night." Emma shot back mockingly, taking a pair of sunglasses off the table and sliding them onto her face. "Now take a cold shower so you don't smell like alcohol. Then we can pack up, grab some pain mess, and head out before the traffic gets bad."

The savior had dealt with hangovers many times before. It never got any easier, though, she tried to come out confident for Regina's sake. In under forty minutes, both women were dressed and ready for the outside world. She may have seemed calm and collected on the outside, but inside, Regina could feel her head throbbing and her heart racing.

"Why is there no magic here?" Emma demanded, for the third time, "we could be completely well again in a second if we had our magic. Now we have to depend on aspirin to help with our problems."

Handing her friend a water bottle and some aspirin, the both of them gave a silent toast and took a long drink of water. Regina's new SUV was still parked underneath the hotel, among thousands of other cars. After a couple trips back and forth from their room to the vehicles they were off towards Maine.

"I'll drive out of the city, but you have to do the rest. I'm sure we'll be better once we get there." Emma said, cautiously following the long and impending line of traffic flowing out of Manhattan. Unlike their ride towards the city, their current adventure consisted of silence and remorse. Regina reluctantly apologized to Robin for her texts the previous night, and deleted a few pictures from her camera roll. Even though sleep was all she wanted, it just wouldn't come to her. So she stared out the window for a while and watched the traffic flow by around them. Being in the city had been enjoyable and relaxing to her, but there was something about the nature back in Storybrooke that made her long for it again the forest, the beach, the ocean... All they had in New York City were buildings after buildings, a concrete jungle where the sun seldom shone through.

"Was this what you wanted, Emma?" Regina asked suddenly, almost checking to see if she were still awake at the drivers seat, "this whole 'relaxing and getting away' thing. Did it work out?"

The blonde yawned as she shifted in her seat. "Yeah, it was nice. Vacations always give me a chance to breathe."

Regina was rather hesitant to continue. Digging into Emma Swan's inner emotions and feelings was always a dangerous idea.

"But you're happy in Storybrooke, right? With Henry, your parents... Killian...?"

"Of course I'm happy," Emma responded quickly, as if it were obvious,

"Storybrooke is my home. I don't know what I would do without my family, or Killian for that matter. I really do want to move in with him, I do... But I have to be there for Henry too. He doesn't see Killian as a father, which is fine really, because he already had two of those. However, you know how his imagination still runs wild- it doesn't matter how old he gets, he still believes everyone gets a happy ending. Hell, maybe one day I will end up marrying that pirate. Just... Not now. He's seen such a success between you and Robin, Ruby and Will, even Tink and Neal from what I'm hearing. I'm just not like that. I know I'm a princess, but in also from this world. There are no happy endings here."

The former mayor didn't know what she expected to hear from Emma, but it certainly wasn't that. She was speaking from her heart, and she instantly felt sorry for her- sorry for trying to run her out of town, sorry for keeping her away from Henry all those years ago, sorry for everything, really.

"Well, that's where you and I are the same," Regina said, giving her a sideways look and a hopeful smile as they drive along. "I was a princess too. But I was exposed to so much evil, so much hate and anguish. I thought the whole 'happily ever after' thing was a complete sham after Daniel died. And I know I'm the least deserving person after everything I've done, but it just... Happens. Granted, it's a lot of work, but it's all worth it in the end. We can all be more than just fairytale characters out of a book- we can write our own destiny."

Emma released an unapprised smile. "You're staring to sound like David. Maybe we're more of a family than we thought."

She had no problem admitting it; Roland meant just as much to her as Henry did. Seeing Killian interact with the both of them was an amusing yet precious memory she had.

"Just maybe," Regina clarified, sending her a small smile.

Emma rolled her eyes. "Well Madame Mayor, are you ready to drive? I've done my share- we should be home in just under four hours."

Four hours until she could see her family again. It seemed like an eternity. She wished she could simply click her heels together, close her eyes, and think, there's no place like home.

"Boys, hurry faster!" Robin demanded, in the middle of swiping a vacuum cleaner a gross the living room carpet, "mom will be here in just under an hour. If she knew what we did wile she was gone, she'll kill us."

Henry and Roland were scrambling to pick up the trash scattered around in the kitchen. They were sworn to secrecy over the previous night's events, but they both knew it was a bad idea to let Killian and Charming inside of their house when they knocked.

"I miss my Swan," the pirate muttered, picking at his breakfast somberly.

"Well you could help out," Robin shot over to him, "Emma won't be happy if she sees you haven't even changed your clothes since Thursday. It's not like she and Regina go off and do irresponsible things while we're away."

Snow had chosen to not participate in the activities that went on, so she took Caroline upstairs to her nursery and began blaring her Baby Eisenstein CD's too keep out the noise. Robin, David, and Killian were all fairly certain she despised them.

"What the heck is Captain Charming Hood?" Will asked, in the middle of flipping through Instagram and stumbling upon a post with the three of them holding fake guns.

"That's our new name," David answered proudly, over at the kitchen sink washing the millions of dirty dishes they had.

"And why wasn't I a part of this?"

"Because you were too busy stuffing chocolate in your face with Roland."

The memory suddenly returned to him, making Will smile. "It sure was fun, right Roland?"

The boy's face was a chalky white color. "My tummy hurts..."

When Robin finished the vacuuming, he went over the medicine cabinet and fetched a bottle of Motrin. "David will take you upstairs and he you cleaned up, okay?" He said, quickly placing his son on top of the counter and pouring out a spoonful of the medicine.

"Why me?" Charming asked grudgingly, "I have to go find Snow. For all we know she could have taken Caroline with her to New York to find Emma and Regina."Robin sighed. "Fine. Killian, you're on Roland duty. Will, take Henry with you to get rid of that trash in the back. All the evidence must be destroyed."

There was a collective sigh in the room, but everyone obeyed. "She'll find out, you know." Hook told him, picking up Roland and praying he wouldn't puke on him.

"No she won't!" Robin persisted, though he was terrified inside. "We're up to a hundred and thirteen likes on that picture- we're famous!"

David threw him a cocky smile. "I'll retweet it if my wife doesn't kill me first. See you when the girls get back!"

The remaining few in the kitchen merely gave him a mutter in goodbye, too caught up in their own activities to care. One thing kept repeating in Robin's mind- Regina was going to murder him if she ever found out.

"Mommy!" Roland exclaimed, climbing off his perch at the window and charging towards the door when he saw the SUV pull up in the driveway. Regina still felt a tad dizzy, but for the most part her hangover was gone. All she wanted was to see her family again.

"Oh Roland, I've missed you!" She smiled, returning his welcoming hug.

"What did you get me?" He immediately asked, the excitement rising in his voice.

Regina refused to let him out of her grasp- she missed him so much. "Hold on, we'll get to that soon," she said, just as Robin, Will, Snow and Henry came outside to meet her.

"You made it back in one piece!" Robin exclaimed sarcastically, throwing his arms around her and pulling her into a tight, secure hug. It felt amazing to be in his arms once again.

Regret gently tugged at her heart as she smiled and brushed his joke off. "Did you think we wouldn't?" She replied, refusing to glance at Emma. "How did you manage taking care of the baby all by yourself?"

"I don't think I would've been able to if it weren't for Snow," Robin replied, turning around to send her a thankful smile.

Regina's heart practically leapt in her chest when she saw her child in Snow's arms.

"I can't believe I lasted so long without being with you," she said, gently taking Caroline in her arms.

"Did you see any superheroes there?" She heard Roland ask, already beginning to search for the shopping bags in the trunk.

"Besides the ones that were on billboards... No. See that blue bag in the back? That's the one with you and Henry's presents in it."

Emma smiled when Henry immediately charged for the trunk.

"Did you get this from the actual superhero store?!" Henry exclaimed, pulling out three shiny new comic books."

"Yup, I convinced Regina to go in the first day we were there. Now you don't have to keep on rereading old ones."

Henry beamed. "Thanks mom! Both of you. You're awesome."

Roland discovered an iron man blanket at the bottom of the bag. He nearly squealed with delight as he easily untied it, wrapping it around his shoulders and beginning to run about the front lawn, causing everyone to smile.

"Did you get the dress?" Robin asked, "I mean, that's the reason you went."

She threw him an ambitious smile and nodded. "We found the most perfect one ever. But you'll have to wait until the wedding to see it. Everybody knows it's bad luck to see the bride's dress before the wedding."

He sighed heavily, reluctantly nodding in agreement. "Fine. I know you'll look stunning as ever in it."

Regina gave him a look. "You'll see. I hope you heeded to my advice and ignored all those texts I sent you."

Robin chuckled, leaning forward to kiss her cheek. "I guess so," he said, lowering his voice to a whisper, "you're an adorable drunk, by the way."

She was so glad nobody else heard him. Emma was caught up with Killian and her parents, and Henry had gone inside minutes ago to begin reading through his new comic books.

"Let's take all these bags inside," she said, turning towards her car and taking three bags in her hands.

Finally, things were back to the way they should be- she was back home.

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