We Can Love Again

The Turquoise Earrings

"Do you really have to go?" Roland asked his mother, who was busy applying her makeup in her bathroom mirror. He had been bugging her for about fifteen minutes, and Regina kept on giving him the same answer.

"Belle invited us to her ball down at the town hall," she said, running her fingers through the curls in her hair, "we don't get to dress up like this everyday- the next time will be the wedding."

Regina was dressed in a purple dress that hugged her body snugly and went down to her knees, with black stilettos and dramatic red lipstick.

"Can I come with you Momma?" Her boy asked, a begging look in his brown eyes.

His words made her heart melt in her chest. Bending down, Regina picked up her son and rested his head against her shoulder.

"This isn't for kids, Roland, it's a grown up party."

His pout deepened as his mother carried him out of the bathroom, passing Robin who was running a comb through his hair.

"You just about ready to go?" She asked him, smiling slightly when she saw him in a dark blue dress shirt and black pants.

He returned the look of admiration when Robin saw her in that dress. "Yeah, I'll be down in a moment. Did Will get back to you?"

"He said he had to go over to Ruby's really fast before coming over. Your uncle Will is going to come over and look after you guys while we're gone." She told Roland, who had his arms hooked around her neck, "but until he comes, you, Henry and Caroline will be alone for a little while."

"Alone?" Henry asked, coming out of his room, "as in... Nobody here?"

Regina sighed. "Yes, well... I'm desperate. We have to leave soon if we're going to make it in time, but Will is going to get here as fast as he can. He's, uh, the only one that didn't get invited to the ball- not after he pulled that prank on Belle's secretary. You two have to promise to pay close attention to Caroline."

This was the first time she had ever left her daughter alone with her kids. It was a lot of work to take care of his sister, but Henry liked the idea of being in charge.

"Okay, I can do it Mom." He said proudly, "she'll probably sleep through it all anyways."

"Be sure to call us if you need anything," his father said, emerging from the bedroom with a black tie hung loosely around his neck.

Slowly setting Roland back down, Regina placed her hands on his collar and began working on tying his tie.

"You really need to learn how to do this yourself," she smirked, feeling his breath flush against her skin. "Even Henry can tie his own tie."

She easily finished the knot with a light tug, straightening it out and looking him over one last time. "But you look amazing."

He grinned, finding it difficult not to kiss her in that moment. "Well you look stunning in that dress. Almost as stunning as you'll look in your wed-"

"Are you guys going to go or what?" Henry asked, cutting them off abruptly as he glanced up at the clock on the wall. It was almost five.

Regina finally broke away from his eyes and shot him an exasperated look.

"Guess so. You promise you'll all be good?"

Roland and Henry both nodded at the same time. Though still rather nervous about leaving the baby, Robin and Regina took the SUV and headed for the town hall, where all the other Storybrooke citizens over eighteen would be. Though she knew there would probably be drinking involved, Regina had sworn herself to celibacy when it came to alcohol.

"So... What do you want to do until uncle Will gets here?" Henry asked, catching a mischievous glint in his brother's eyes. "Let's not do anything that could wake Caroline up."

Roland hummed in thought. "Can we take her downstairs to play with us?"

"She's asleep," the twelve year old argued, "we can't just wake her up."

Just as he said those words, a soft cry came from the nursery, causing his little brother to grin. "Now she's up."

He started down the hallway towards her room, leaving Henry with a confused look on his face. Of course, he assisted in getting his crying sister out of the crib, making sure Roland had a good enough hold on her before allowing him to carry her all the way downstairs.

"Are you going to tell me what you want with her?" Henry asked, watching him set Caroline down on a blanket. She was still upset; her tiny hands were clenched tightly as she emitted small cries.

"It's... A secret." Roland replied smugly, lying down on his stomach and beginning to wipe her tears.

Henry was astonished by his brother's actions- he never kept secrets from him. They had many secrets they kept from their parents, but never ones they kept to themselves.

"You can tell me, I won't tell Mom or Dad."

The boy had his hands on the baby's small tummy, gently rocking her to calm her down.

"I can't, Henry, it's top secret." He said, beginning to inspect his sister from head to toe.

The fact that Henry was being shut out by a five year old made him irritated. "Fine, whatever. I'm getting some snacks."

It was fairly easy to lose himself in a turkey sandwich left in the fridge for the next ten minutes. The next thing he knew, the front door opened, and his uncle came into the house.

"Hi Will," he said, in the middle of putting away all his sandwich evidence, "why were you over at Ruby's for so long?"

When Henry glanced towards him, Will was holding tightly to a green glass bottle, starting for the living room where Caroline and Roland were.

"Are... You okay?" He asked cautiously, seeing a thin layer of sweat covering his face and an anguished look in his eyes.

The man sat down on the couch and rubbed the back of his neck. "Yeah... I'm just fine." He replied, in a voice that didn't quite match his actions.

"Are you sure you're not sick or something? Because, well... You don't look very well."

Roland seemed caught off guard by his uncle's actions as well. Neither of them had seen him like that before.

"I said I'm fine," he repeated, more distinctly that time. The boy noticed his hands were shaking slightly.

"Well Mom said you would feed her," Henry began, "but I can do it if you want."

Will stared down at the baby for a moment. "Sure, you do that," he said, drawing out his words, "Robin still has his wine storage somewhere around here, right?"

For a second or two, Henry debated answering him. Seeing him like that made him somewhat uneasy inside- he knew his mother wouldn't like the idea at all.

"Yeah, it's in the corner cabinet," he admitted, getting out a package of formula out of the fridge and getting a bottle for Caroline. Almost instantly, Will set his empty bottle down and set off towards the small stash of wine.

Sticking the bottle in the microwave, Henry watched his uncle uncork one of the bottles and pour the red liquid into a glass. Even though he had never actually fed his sister himself before, Henry had seen his parents do it enough to know how it worked. He got Roland to leave her alone so he could pick her up in his arms; the two of them took a seat down on the couch, and Henry tilted her head in the crook of his arm so she could start on drinking down the warm milk. He still had a bad feeling in the pit of his stomach- his parents were going to be mad, he was sure of it.

"Why don't you watch something on TV Roland," Henry proposed, just then paying attention to his surroundings.

The boy scowled at him. "No, I need to know what it is!"

"Know what what is?"

Roland responded with a glare as he spun around and went off towards Will, who was on his second or third glass already.

Pulling up a chair next to him at the table, the boy leaning in as if to discuss something top secret. "Will, do you know what blocks Caroline's magic?" He whispered in his ear.

Will laughed. "Roland, if I told you, your mom would hate me."

"So you know what it is?" He continued eagerly, leaning in even more, "tell me... Please?"

The man took another drink and shook his head. "I can't!"

That was enough to make Roland pout. "Please? Please please please?"

His pleases were packed with so much punch, it started to make his head pound. Will set his glass down and pinched the five year old's ear with his fingers.

"It's her ears," he muttered, before finishing off the bottle.

Roland's eyes widened. How had he not realized that?

The turquoise earrings. It all made sense. Running back into the living room, he was met with Henry patting her back gently, with her on his shoulder.

"I need to see her!" Roland demanded, causing his brother to give him a glare.

"You can't, she just ate," Henry said, knowing she would probably fall asleep soon.

Now near tears, the boy stamped his foot down and demanded again, again, and again until Henry was ready to smack him.

"Fine! Do whatever you want, I don't care!"

Setting Caroline down on her blanket, he stood up and stormed out of the room.

"And you're not helping at all!" He yelled towards Will, who was completely unaware of the situation. Before the man could say any sort of reply, Henry stormed off upstairs towards his bedroom.

Caroline's brown eyes stared up at her older brother curiously as he began messing with her earrings. Having no idea how to take them off, it took a while for Roland to do it. Once he did, though, he was met with disappointment- nothing happened. The result was so disheartening, he thought he would explode.

"Why aren't you doing anything?" He yelled down at her, "where's your powers? I thought you were supposed to have the most powerful magic in the world!"

His shouts became more louder with every word; soon, her eyes squeezed shut, and she released a strangled cry on the carpet floor.

Roland was furious, but seeing her cry instantly made him feel bad.

"I'm sorry Caroline, don't cry..." He began, nervously trying to stop her crying. In the middle of everything that was already going on, Roland stopped dead in silence when he heard the sound of pictures falling off the walls and crashing down. He quickly wiped his own tears off his cheeks and glanced around the room, not believing what he saw. Things were beginning to fly everywhere, like a tornado came swirling into their living room, raising hell from beneath the floorboards. Caroline still continued to wail relentlessly.

"What the hell is going on?!" Will shouted, finally turning around, eyes completely bloodshot. "Put the earrings back in, are you completely mad? You're going to kill us all!"

Roland turned his attention back to his sister, the earrings still clenched in his shaking hands.

"She won't stop!"

Before he attempted to put the earrings back through her tiny holes, the kitchen window gave out with a pop, causing him to look up with terrified eyes.

Then his blood turned to ice in his veins- the refrigerator was beginning to shake dangerously. Maybe it was instinct, determination, a test of his power... But Roland shot up and ran towards the gigantic white object that could smash him with ease, pressing his palms against the cold exterior. He used all the strength he had to prevent it from tipping over.

"Roland! What are you doing?" Will shouted, scrambling to his feet and pulling him out of the way; there was a million things to fix at once, and he had no idea were to start.

"What did you do?!" Henry nearly screamed, dashing back down the stairs to see his drunken uncle fighting against their refrigerator, with his five year old brother darting around the kitchen, catching things before they fell. He had never heard Caroline cry so loudly before in his life.

"We gotta call Mom and Dad!" He shouted, just about to run to his sister's aid when something caught his eye- Will's wine bottles.

They had fallen on their sides, the red wine just beginning to spill onto the counter. But they began to roll; faster, faster and faster... Until two bottles came flying through the air.

Henry's breath was cut short when he realized what was happening; time seemed to slow as he powerlessly watched his little brother's face flash white with a never before seen fear, one that made everything else seem small, even the scream that forced its way out of his throat...

The scream was silenced when one of the wine bottles made direct contact with the side of Roland's head. Crashing down on his back, the only the five year old could recognize in that moment was Caroline's deafening cries. And that he was wet- surrounded by something wet- it soaked through his hair and the back of his striped t shirt. Everything else was a blur, it didn't make sense to him. Henry was there; but Will was nowhere to be seen.

"Shit, shit... Oh my God I'm going to die..." Will muttered, his mind on repeat with these select words.

"Shut up and help me!" Henry ordered; he had his brother in a heap on his lap, his hands covering the blood that was beginning to flow freely from his right temple.

"What do we do?!"

"Quit asking me that! I don't know!" He yelled, feeling on the verge of collapsing.

Henry directed a finger towards the living room. "Stop the magic!"

And he tried, he really did, but it was impossible to find the holes in her tiny little ears. To prevent him from hurting her, he simply gave up and forced the tiny earrings into her hand and said the most fervent prayer he had ever said in his life. To whom, he wasn't so sure.

Then, it stopped. Just like that. Sure she was still crying, but the magic had been capped, controlled by something as simple as a pair of touquoise earrings.

"Whale? Dr Whale?" Henry spoke hesitantly into his phone, "my brother's head got cut and he's bleeding really bad... Can you call my Mom?"

"What do you mean cut? Did he fall?"

"No- not really- but you need to come here right now, he's not talking to me." He didn't want to tell his mother's doctor that he was scared out of his wits, that he was a breath away from bursting into tears. Roland had to be okay. His little brother had to be okay.

"Alright, put as much pressure as you can on the cut, and make sure he's breathing okay. Can you do that Henry?"

The boy was about to ask himself the same question.

The city hall was packed with people. It once pained her to be a part of such a social interaction; she never would have thrown any kind of party like the one they were attending when she was mayor. But Belle thought it would be fun, and that's exactly what it was. Snow, David, Emma, Killian, Rumple, and Ruby were all there. It caught to her attention that Tinkerbell had agreed to attend the event with Neal- that made Regina happy to see. They ate. They talked. They had a few drinks. It was fun.

That was, until Regina's phone went off; a call directly from the hospital.

"Regina... What's wrong?" Her fiancé asked, not failing to notice how her demeanor had changed just seconds into the call. She set the phone down and stared off towards an unfixed point in the distance, fear gripping her senses as her mind began to count; one, two, three...

"We need to go home- now." She muttered, finally turning her eyes towards his, "it's Roland. Something happened..."

They were in the car what seemed like a moment later. Whale didn't give her any specific details as to what happened, but Regina heard enough. And she was about to go absolutely mad if she didn't see her little boy soon. The ride back home as dead silent; she didn't remember any of it. Her mind was set on her son. Half of her expected to come home to his smiling face and bubbling personality, ready to jump into her arms and tell her about everything that happened since she had left.

Instead, she came home to a roaring ambulance parked on the curb and twenty nurses flooding her yard. Both she and Robin were out in a flash; Regina's heels had quickly been abandoned as she ran towards the open front door. She was prevented from going further, though, by a pair of strong arms that she instinctively fought against, until she realized that those arms belonged to Robin.

He wanted to protect her from seeing something she shouldn't, but even he couldn't prevent the sight of their son on a stretcher, the entire right side of his head covered in blood. Regina wanted to go to him, to wrap her arms around him and kiss him until he was better- but Robin wouldn't let her. So, instead, a series of screams tore through her throat.

"Will he be okay?" Was the first thing Robin managed to say when he caught sight of Whale.

"We're about to find out. You just meet us there as soon as you can." He replied, before turning towards the ambulance and helping them load the child into the back.

Regina let out a series of disconnected sobs, covering her mouth with her hands as she continued to break down.

"Mom! Dad!" Henry shouted, running out of the house and throwing his arms around them, "Did they take Roland away?"

His father nodded briskly and loosened his hold around Regina.

"What happened? It looks like something blew up in there!"

"He- he took her earrings out and- everything went crazy..." He muttered, tears flowing down his cheeks.

"Took them out?" Robin repeated, "why would you let him do that? You're his brother, you're supposed to keep him out of trouble!"

Stunned, Henry opened his mouth, though completely wordless.

"I'm- I'm sorry Dad..."

"Where the hell is Will? Henry, go inside and get your sister- walk down to Granny and Ruby's place and stay there until we call. Understand?"

The boy nodded, giving his parents one last hug before dashing back into the house. This time, Robin and Regina followed into the horrendous scene before them.There was a pinkish liquid that covered the kitchen tiles that mixed with the blood to create a horrible picture before them.

"Why is the wine out?" Regina demanded, her senses coming back to her. Not just her senses, but her maternal instinct. She was going to get to the bottom of everything.

Before her question was answered, she was met with Will, who was standing absolutely paralyzed as he stared down at the spot where his nephew had laid just moments before.

"Will? Why didn't you do anything to stop Roland?" She asked hesitantly, noticing something off about him. Then, everything clicked.

"I.. I didn't know," he stuttered, avoiding her eyes because he knew he couldn't take any more pain.

"You... You were drinking, in my house," she began, her voice shaking. The words of complete and utter betrayal hanging venomously in the air around them.

"You're drunk, you're a damn drunk!" She screamed, slapping his face with a burst of fury, "I trusted you!"

Once again, Robin had to hold her back as she fought against him.

"You were drinking in front of my kids?" he asked, his voice steady and firm.

Will forced himself to look his brother in the eyes. Even now, he found it impossible to lie to him.

"Yes. I'm... I'm so sorry."

For the first time since their arrival, there was a complete silence in the room.

"I'm not letting you drive home," he began, "I'll text Killian and have him take you to your apartment."

He then took Regina's hand in his and turned back towards the front door that was still gaping open.

They were in for a very long night.

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