We Can Love Again

An Act of Courage

Somehow, Robin knew exactly where to find his son. He was back behind the hospital, sitting with his back against the brick as he finished off his sandwich, his head bent against the high risen sun.

"Okay Henry, we're getting to the bottom of all of this. Are you in?" He asked, causing the boy to glance up at him, a grin quickly spreading onto his face.

"You mean we're going to see Will?" He seemed a tad but cautious upon asking.

His father nodded. "But you have to have to do exactly as I say. Your mother was right when she said that what happened is a very serious issue. Roland could have died because of his actions... Thank God he didn't."

There was a moment of silence between them before Henry spoke again.

"I can do that, I promise. We're not telling Mom about this... Right?"

She would murder them both if she found out.

Robin sighed. "No, we're not. I can tell her that I took you with me to pick up Caroline."

Undeniably, he was going to confront her about the fate of his brother. But he knew she would get upset; and with all the wedding stuff going on, it probably wasn't the best idea.

"And, we have groomsmen practice tonight, with or without Ruby barking directions at us."

The twelve year old raised an eyebrow. "Will is a part of that though- he's supposed to be your best man. Is he going to be kicked out of the wedding?"

That was a great question. Robin hadn't even thought about that issue yet. "For now... I would say yes."

He figured that was what he would say. "So are we headed for his apartment?"

"No... Um, he's still at the station."

Henry's eyes widened like saucers. "She locked him up?!"

"Well technically your other mother did. But that doesn't mean we can't talk to him. What do you say, should we get going?"

Turning his eyes to the ground, he thought hard for a moment. "But... What if... What if Will does something like that again? What if Mom is right, what if we can't trust him anymore?"

Putting a hand on Henry's shoulder, Robin gave him a set look. "We all make mistakes, don't we? It'll take time, but he's family- family always forgives each other. Just look at your mother; she loved you before she met Roland and I, but she was the evil queen. I had Roland and my Merry Men, but I've done things I'm not proud of. The two most unlikely people came together and became a family, proving that it's possible to love again. I didn't give up on her, and because of it, I discovered the most beautiful and amazing woman I could ever dream of marrying. So you tell me- are we going to give your uncle another chance?"

A few seconds ticked by, and Henry was completely lost in thought. He remembered then, almost like an epiphany, that the entire reason for the last year of their lives was to allow second chances, on all accounts.

"Okay. Let's call this... Operation Dragon."

Robin smiled. "Sounds fitting. Let's go see Will."


He was quite aware that the path they were taking was dangerous and unpredictable. There was the chance that Will would be just as angry with them as he was with Regina. Robin had no idea what they would find at the station, but one thing was certain- his side of the story was going to be told. Though he hadn't been in his younger brother's life for a very long time, he still saw him as that eleven year old that always got into things he shouldn't. Their father always got onto him when he messed up, telling him that he needed to become a man. But his little brother William was a free spirit; he was tough, and didn't like to be told what to do. Hearing about his adventures in Wonderland made him believe that he had given himself a good life, one better than anything he could have given him under the circumstances that were in.

"Mom's here, do you think she'll let him go?" Henry asked, noticing Emma's yellow bug parked at the sheriff station.

Robin pulled himself from out of his thoughts. "I don't know. We'll have to find out."

The two of them hesitantly began their trip towards the door, wondering what could possibly lie on the other side. Henry was relieved to see Emma and his uncle already in a conversation when they walked in; though he was still behind bars, he didn't seem angry like he was when he was over at the house. The two of them were silenced instantly when they saw who had arrived.

"Well it's about time!" Will exclaimed dryly, slightly nervous that Robin could be just as volatile as Regina had been to him just a few days prior. Thankfully, he wasn't.

"What did Regina say to you?" Robin asked, keeping Henry close to him.

Will sighed. "That I wasn't allowed to see Caroline or the boys ever again. Which, apparently, hasn't started yet." He finished, gesturing towards the twelve year old, his expression softening, "I... I really am sorry, Henry."

With him being so drunk that evening, Will only remembered bits and pieces of what happened. He easily recalled his nephew's face glowering at him though, full of disappointment and detest. Feeling like he failed the boy made him hurt inside.

Henry remained silent as he watched him in the cell, not seeming to belong there at all. Although his words were truly heartfelt, the twelve year old couldn't say the same apology back him, not yet anyways. His brother still wasn't with him. So he merely nodded instead, and indicated for his father to move on with the conversation. Operation Dragon was on full force.

To his dismay, though, Robin turned to the boy and gave him a look, one that Henry knew meant he needed to talk to Will alone. Of course he didn't want to leave, but he promised.

"I hope you get out of here soon, Will." He said, before turning towards Emma.

"Mom says I need to start cleaning up the house. Do you think we could start together?"

The blonde smiled. "Totally! Nice thing about being sheriff is that I can give myself breaks whenever I want."

She grabbed her purse and made her way over to Henry and his father.

Putting a hand on her shoulder, Robin leaned in and lowered his voice. "If I wanted to... Let him go, could I?"

Emma sighed. "Yeah, you can. Technically this wasn't even a real arrest; I just didn't want Regina on my back about it. Keys are in the second drawer."

Relieved by her words, Robin smiled. "Thanks. You two have fun. Henry, you should probably be back at the hospital around four."

When Emma and Henry left, it was only him and his brother.

"So, you're going to let me go then? This cell is getting really tight." Will said, trying to contain his happiness.

"You're going to answer some questions first," Robin replied, beginning to pace around the empty room. "And don't think I'm instantly forgiving you, because I'm not. I love all my kids more than anything- but Roland has been with me before I even met Regina or Henry. I know it wasn't entirely your fault, but that doesn't change the fact that my little man almost died. He's still not awake either. We... don't know how long it'll take. There's really no telling."

A heavy silence fell upon them, one that lasted far too long.

"I- I know. You deserve an explanation for what happened."

"Yeah, I do. So get on with it."

Will hesitated as he sorted out his thoughts. They weren't the best memories he had; far from it, actually. But the man had seen what cowardliness did to people, seen it destroy lives and families. He wasn't the most honorable man in the world, yet he didn't want to die knowing he had hurt the people he loved.

"You want the truth?" He asked rhetorically, sounding and looking absolutely helpless, "the truth is that I'm pathetic. I'm a complete jackass. No matter what happens, no matter how hard I try, I always mess things up. I was so happy with her- I... I thought she was happy with me too. But apparently, I hold her back." He muttered distastefully, a glower glowing on his face. "She dumped me."

Shoving his hands into his pockets, Robin stared at the ground with concentrated eyes.

"I'm sorry she did that," he eventually spoke, "I really am. You don't deserve that. But you don't think you're worthless, either."

"Why shouldn't I? After all, you did leave me in that foster home. Thought I'd be too much of a burden for you. I lived a pathetic life because of that- went to Wonderland in search of a new life, but that didn't get me anywhere. I've gotten my heart broken again and again. No matter how hard I try, I'm never good enough. I'll never be like you... I'll never have a wife, kids, money, a big house... You may be able to, but I can never love again."

The air around them was becoming thick with emotions. The outlaw didn't even classify himself as an emotional person- but Will was bringing up things he hadn't had to think about in years, and it was causing his head to spin.

"Don't you dare start feeling sorry for yourself," he demanded, "I'm sorry your relationship didn't work out for you, but you can't just give up. Show her you're a better man than you were nine months ago- if she can't see that, then that's her own problem. Instead, you threw everything away. The boys loved you, Regina loved you, and I loved you. Don't think for a second that I didn't stop caring about you after I left. I wanted to take you with me, I really did- but you were too young. You still believed that Dad was coming back and... I had to give you your best chance."

Will stood there, absolutely stunned. The denial had left his body completely- he had messed up, and there was nothing he could do about it. The only hope he had in returning to the family was if Regina let him.

"I suppose I can return my tux then." Where the next words out of Will's mouth, sounding frigid and alone in the cell.

Robin then moved swiftly across the room, towards the second drawer, where he pulled out the master set of keys Emma left and turned towards the iron hates keeping his brother prisoner.

There were no words spoken; he opened the door and stepped back a few paces as Will Scarlett emerged, instantly wrapping his arms around the man in a tight embrace. Robin stood there and listened to him release a muffled cry. He felt as though he were eleven again.

"Will, listen to me," he began, a light turning on in his mind, "Ruby is planning this entire wedding. One of her specific rules was for the bridesmaids and the groomsmen to enter the wedding in couples- if you're not there by her side, she'll be the odd woman out. Now I know Ruby, and she would rather die than have this wedding turn out imperfect. So I suggest you go down there and tell her how you really feel."

His words were so simple, yet so true.

"And I suggest you do it quickly- you've got less than a week to fix this mess. Now I need to go pick up my daughter and take her back to the hospital- Regina doesn't know him here. She has rights to think any way she wants to about you, but you're my brother. And nothing in the world will ever change that."

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