We Can Love Again


In eighteen days, she and her soulmate were going to get married. They had just about everything planned for it too, thanks to Ruby's help. The Storybrooke Community Chapel had been reserved for the afternoon of June 14, 2014, and the pavilion behind the clock tower was all set and ready to be used for cake, food, and dancing. Invitations had been sent out to every single citizen of the misfit town, and piles of decorations were stashed away in their bedroom closet. Everything was ready in order for the wedding to happen; that was, everything except their five year old son.

"What do you think he's dreaming about?" Henry asked, watching his brother lie there on the white hospital bed, a heavy weight on his heart.

Robin set a hand on the boy's shoulder and released a sigh. "I have no idea. You'll have to ask him when he wakes up."

The thing was, Henry was nervous to see him wake up again, considering how their last conversation went. Half of him wished Roland would forget it happened- he felt so bad for treating him so wrongly. Sure he was annoying at times, as well as immature and whiny, but that was just how little brothers acted.

"So... What now?" The twelve year old asked, his voice drifting off into a void of nothingness, "do we just wait?"

His father cast a sideways glance towards his future wife, who was asleep in a chair next to the bed- she hadn't left Roland's side.

"Yeah, we just wait," Robin eventually responded, soon feeling a pang in his chest. He had done some things he regretted too.

"But, Henry... I'm sorry for snapping at you like that. I think you're a really good big brother to him- things just got out of hand. The way you handled the situation makes me so proud of you."

Henry sure wasn't expecting him to say that. At a loss of words, the boy simply sent him a small smile and wrapped his arms securely around his torso. Maybe he wasn't too old for hugs; not just yet.

"I'm glad you're my dad," he said, realizing then that he was now tall enough to see over his broad shoulders. Things had changed since he had first met the outlaw in his small cottage home. "And not just an awkward step dad that's marrying my mom, but my real dad. I love you and Neal exactly the same way."

Robin smiled, ruffling his hair. "I got way more than I bargained for when I invited your mother over to thank her for saving Roland. You're a good kid."

Henry was happy to know that he was going to be with him for the rest of his life.

With a hearty pat on the back, he turned his eyes back towards his unconscious brother.

"I remember when, before the curse, David was in a coma," he started, "and Mary Margret would come down to the hospital every day and read to him. Do you think we could do that?"

"I think that's a great idea. We both know how much he loves his comics."

Henry sighed, wishing Roland would just wake up so he could tell him how sorry he was. A substantial part of him believed that he was going to come back to them, though. But was it enough?

It was then that Regina opened her eyes; she surveyed the scene before her, cringing as she attempted to get the crick out of her neck. Though she had gotten about four hours of sleep, it certainly wasn't enough. She had somewhat expected Roland to wake while she was asleep, perhaps in a way that told her that what happened the previous night was just a nightmare.

Sadly, it wasn't. Her son was lying on the hospital bed, looking so out of place due to his small body. Roland may have been there in the room with them, but his soul was nowhere to be found.

"Is Caroline still at Granny's?" She asked, her voice still stiffened with sleep.Robin smiled when he saw her awake. "Yeah, she said it was no problem keeping her for as long as we need."

Standing up and stretching, the first thing Regina did was give Henry a hug."It isn't fair for her to have to buy formula and diapers out of her own pocket; I can quickly go back to the house and get her the things she needs."

Placing his hand on her back, Robin sent her a concerned look. "I don't know if going back to the house is a good idea, dear."

"I can do it," she said; although, not convincingly enough, "I need to get out of this dress too- I can hardly move."

She didn't want to get started on how awful she must've looked. Without any heels on, she had been inside the hospital with bare, aching feet, the curls in her hair completely flattened and frozen tears smudging the mascara on her eyelashes.

"I... I guess you can go then," he said, surrendering the keys over to her, "can you bring some clothes for the rest of us here when you do?"

Regina nodded. "Maybe you can talk David into bringing some food- the kitchen here is horrible. I would ask Ruby to bring something from the diner, but I'll leave her alone for a while."

Obviously she wasn't going to start up a conversation about Will in front of her son. Still, she knew by Robin's expression that he didn't want her to mess with that situation at that moment. But what he didn't know wasn't going to kill him.

The entire drive back felt odd to her. Regina didn't know what it was, but she felt different inside, as if she didn't know who she was anymore. A day ago, she was concerned about her dream wedding- now, it was the last thing on her mind.

She held her breath as she entered the house; she couldn't help it. The interior looked absolutely awful, something out of a horror movie. Wine, glass, and blood covered the kitchen floor; one of the windows was broken, the chairs thrown around like abandoned toys. It stunned her how her three month old daughter could do it all. Once she tore herself away from the scene, Regina went upstairs and worked on getting that damned purple dress off of her. Tossing it aside, she showered and threw on whatever she could find. She then lost herself in gathering together some of Caroline's things and a few of Henry and Robin's clothes into a large bag. Seeing Roland's clothes and action figures spread out across the room made the numbness inside of her spread even faster. The ache was soon too much to bear; she had to get out of there. Regina didn't ever want to come back inside his bedroom, not without knowing he was right there beside her.

So she left, deciding to perform some quick repairs to the horrors the kitchen brought. With a swift motion of her hand, the carnage had disappeared, just leaving a hollow room now in view. With a heavy heart, Regina left the rest of the mess alone, heading off towards Granny's.

Something kept pulling at her thoughts as she drove- what was Ruby's take on what happened? Did she know something? Odd thing was, Ruby was at the ball, all dressed up and perky as usual. Regina didn't really talk to her much, but she seemed her usual self. She just hoped things weren't going to be awkward between them now.

Rising a tentative hand up to the door to her apartment, she knocked lightly. It only took a moment for the woman to answer.

"Regina! What in God's name are you doing here?" Granny said, immediately seeing the pained look on her face. Pulling her into the apartment, she shut the door behind her. Regina was welcomed with the heartwarming sound of her daughter batting away at one of her toys.

"Hi baby, I've missed you," she said, producing the first smile she had in a long time

Granny had to smile at the sight. "She's been perfectly good the whole day," she mused, "we've been okay here, you don't need to worry."

She had found out that Roland had fallen into a coma, and it nearly broke her heart. Granny couldn't imagine what she was going through.

"That's good," Regina said, her smile fading, "thank you so much for looking after her. I brought some diapers and stuff she could need."

She took the strap off her shoulder and handed the bag over to the older woman.

"You really didn't need to do that, Regina, I whipped up an old formula for her and she loved it."

Regina could see that happening- she was always set in her old ways. "Well, I have some bottles and formula if you need them, but I really should be going..."

Before she could turn, Granny set her hands firmly on her shoulders and gave her a potent look.

"Do you need to cry?"

Closing her eyes, Regina shook her head slightly. "I've cried enough last night. I honestly don't think I can anymore."

"You're not bulletproof, sweetheart. I know you've been through a lot, but you have friends and family that love you very much."

She took absolutely no hesitation in wrapping her arms around Granny's shoulders, finding it hard not to loose herself in her emotions.

"Thank you," the queen whispered, her voice faltering.

"It's nothing, I'm always willing to help," Granny responded, rubbing her back softly, "if Henry needs a place to stay, he's always welcome here."

Honestly, the last thing Regina wanted to do was go to the station and have a talk with Will. But she knew she had to.

"I don't even know what we're going to do for the rest of the week," she admitted dryly, pulling away and glancing back towards Caroline.

"Just make sure you get some sleep and eat something every once in a while."

Sure, it sounded easy when she said it.

"I'll try," she finally got out, forcing a small smile.

Grudgingly accepting the bag of Caroline's things, Granny let her go with a sympathetic wave and a nod of the head.

Stress began to consume her as she drove towards what she knew wouldn't be a pleasant encounter. It mixed with the hatred that had already set itself in her core, making her a mess inside. Despite how angry she was about Will and what he had done, the memories they had made together were still there. She likened this feeling to how things were with Cora- no matter how much she battered her, Regina couldn't stop loving her. Unlike her relationship with her mother, though, she wasn't about to make that mistake again.

Parking her car, she gathered all the confidence and dignity she had and started off towards the door to the sheriff station. Emma was at her desk when she arrived; the single cell was sealed shut, occupied by the man she once cared about, loved even.

"Do you... Want to spend some time alone with him?" The blonde asked, keeping her voice low.

Regina nodded. "I need to lay down some rules about this whole situation. Thanks for doing this for me."

"Anytime," Emma reassured, "it's been a while since I've had any good arrests in this town."

She could see that there was more the savior wanted to say, but with their inmate listening in on their conversation, there was no way that was happening.

"Just be careful," Emma finished, grabbing her mug of coffee and starting off for the door.

Stifling down her fear, Regina turned her eyes towards the cell and did what she could do so well- put on a show.

"Oh, look who's here," Will began sharply, his voice cutting right through her, "my dear sister. The same sister that detained me."

She glowered towards him, her anger controlling her actions completely. "You deserve all of this for what you did- because of your stupidity, Roland is in the hospital. In the Enchanted Forest, I would have you executed in front of the public."

Standing up, the man gripped the iron bars so hard, his knuckles turned white.

"Executed? So that's the game you're playing now? You're not even listening to what I have to what I have to say!"

"I don't need to!" Regina shot back, "you never change! Since the day I met you, you've been nothing but irresponsible and careless."

"I never change? What about you?!"

Regina felt like screaming; her blood was pumping dangerously fast in her veins.

"I have changed! Don't you dare tell me I haven't!"

Will let out a bitter laugh. "Yet here we are now- you threw me in a jail cell."

"Because it's your fault my son isn't here with me right now!" She felt more tears coming on, but she wasn't about to give him the satisfaction of seeing her cry.

Truth be told, Will was very concerned about how his nephew was doing- nobody had told him anything. Killian had driven him back to his apartment, dropped him off, and, after about four hours of being passed out on his couch, Emma had showed up at his doorstep and issued a rather awkward arrest.

Taking a deep breath, Regina turned her eyes up towards his, setting her jaw firmly.

"I don't want you near my children anymore," she spoke, in a soft but direct tone of voice, "this was the last straw. You're not good for them; you can't even support yourself. I don't want you over at the house."

Will couldn't help but leave his mouth open slightly as her words hit him.

"No, Regina, you can't do this. Those boys are all I have..."

"Well you should've thought about that before you showed up to my house drunk."

That was it. That was all she had to say to him. It was done; Regina never wanted to see him again. Turning towards the door, she set her eyes forward and never looked back.

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