Of course he was late coming back to the hospital. It wasn't entirely Robin's fault; Granny talked on and on and on about Caroline. Also, with the knowledge Will gave to light about what caused the uproar, seeing Ruby was rather awkward. As much as Robin wanted to hate Will for what he did to his son, he was angry at Ruby for breaking up with him. Everyone thought they were happy together... But apparently, they were wrong.
"I didn't tell Regina because... Because I know she'll hate me if she knows."
"You're like a sister to her, she could never hate you." Robin responded with an eye roll, holding his daughter close.
"But she threw him in jail! She'll never let me into the wedding now..."
He made sure she was looking right at him before he continued, his voice graven, "this wasn't your fault, Ruby. Don't make yourself believe that it is. What I do know is that you made a huge mistake by dumping Will."
There were tears shining in her eyes. "I- It sort of just ... Happened. I didn't want to, with the wedding in all, but he's just so... So..."
"So, what? You don't think he's changed?"
Ruby took a deep breath, taking a few seconds to collect her thoughts and shake her head.
"I know he tries. And I know I made a mistake... But with the wedding, with Roland... Everything is just crazy right now. I thought... Maybe this happened for a reason- maybe we're not meant to be together."
He could definitely agree with her on that point; everything around them was crazy, a second away from reaching point break and shattering before them. It frightened him too, how close they all were to the edge. Six days. They were getting married in six days. And Roland was still gone.
"Well, you should figure it out soon. You deserve a happy ending just like everyone else, you know." He said curtly, just as Caroline began to squirm in his arms.
"But I really should be going. I'm already in hot water with Regina, best to face it all now."
Wiping her eyes quickly, the werewolf nodded. "Good luck; you'll need it."
The hallways were so vacant they almost seemed haunted, cursed with their family's presence in the hospital yet again. They all hated it there; everything was so glum and tasteless. Simple things were beginning to become a hassle, and the heavier things just seemed impossible.
"I'm glad you're still with me, my little princess," Robin muttered, blowing out a sigh before giving the baby's forehead a light kiss. The two of them were right behind the door to Roland's room, knowing that things could change once they entered through it. He had faced his fiancé's wrath in the past, but nothing under the current circumstances. So Robin gathered all the strength he had and entered through the door, finding Regina and Henry on the other side. They both glanced up at him when he entered; the fear and warning in the twelve year old's eyes was enough to tell him that Regina knew everything.
"Did Alex and her mom leave already?" Robin asked, shutting the door and giving Roland a sideways look in his bed.
"It's been three hours," Regina responded, seeming relieved to see Caroline again, "Emma told me you stopped by the station."
Swallowing hard, he nodded. "Did you get a lot of cleaning done with her over at the house?"
Henry stuffed his hands into his pockets. "Yeah, we got some stuff done. But I think I forgot my phone in the car, so I'll go get it," he said, his eyes turning to the floor as he darted for the door.
Once he was gone, there was nothing left between them. Regina avoided his eyes as began to pace around the room.
"You... You let him go?"
Robin sighed, though the heaviness inside failed to go away. This was it; he didn't care if there were tears, he was going to lay down the truth to her whether she liked it or not.
"He told me what happened," he began, "and wasn't entirely his fault. A lot of things went wrong that night."
"So, what, you're going to forgive him just because you feel sorry for him? What makes you believe he won't do anything like that to our kids again?"
"I'm not saying I forgive him, Regina, I'm just giving him a second chance. That's what we agreed with one another- everyone deserves a second chance."
Regina groaned, holding her hands up to her temples. "But he already got a second chance!"
"And how many second chances did you get?" He shot back, resulting in a daft look from his future wife.
"Don't you dare put this on me, I'm not the evil one here! I'm not the one that put Roland in a coma! He needs to pay for what he did!"
"So preventing him from being a part of our wedding is making him pay? You have to think about who you're really hurting here."
"Who's side are you on?" Regina demanded, her voice rising substantially, though her body begged to collapse in tears and anguish. "We're getting married in a couple days... But if he doesn't wake up by tomorrow we have to cancel..."
Sympathy soon filled his vision as he watched her. It was wrong for Caroline to have to witness her parents fight like that.
"We've put so much work into this wedding to just give up. If we don't get married Saturday, then we'll get married the next week, then the week after that... It doesn't matter. As long as I can call you my wife one day."
That caused the tears to spill. She couldn't control them, nor did she want to come off as weak to him. But her baby boy was still gone, and her house was a complete wreck.
"You probably hate me," she sniffed, the words tasting foul in her mouth.
"Regina, I could never hate you," Robin countered, "I've known you for eighteen months, and those have been the best months of my life. We live together, we had a baby together, and we have a family together. I could never hate you."
She smiled through her tears, his lion tattoo catching her eye, a remembrance that he was her soulmate, the man she was destined to marry- she was right where she was supposed to be.
"I love you too," she whispered, leaning forward and kissing him delicately. "I'm sorry. I know he's your brother."
Robin thought about his little Caroline growing up without her uncle in her life, and how sad of a life that would be. He respected the fact that she didn't want their kids around him, but still, it seemed depressing beyond measure.
"I can take Henry and Caroline back to the house for dinner if you want to stay the night with him."
It was beginning to seem pointless, staying by Roland's bedside every single night, praying and asking him to wake up. But she would, undoubtedly, because she loved him more than life itself.
"Yeah, I'll stay here," she said, in such a small voice it didn't seem to belong to her. "I just... I wish this would all be over with."
Robin sent her a somber smile. He didn't want to leave, but his dad duty called. It wasn't good spending so much time at the hospital; it felt as though they had stopped living, trapped in a place where depression and sorrow soaked through their bones. For such a happy occasion a wedding was, it wasn't so happy.
"I know sweetheart, I know." He said, giving her forehead a kiss before turning towards the door.
Regina hated to be alone in the hospital at night. It was lonely; so dead silent she could hear her son breathe in and out. He had begun to have a ghostly feeling about him as she stood there and studied him, and it frightened her. Roland didn't seem himself, he just looked like a pale boy with stitches on the side of his head. The first memory she had of him was still fresh in her mind, which, ironically, resembled his current persona almost perfectly. She remembered how frightened he was in such a scary place, and how trusting he was when she told him he would keep him safe.
He was lying in a hospital bed, in a room marked 213, standing at the edge or life and death, about as far away from safe as possible. It made her think about Mother Superior's standpoint about God, and what His plan was for innocent little children. Regina didn't like putting her faith in someone she couldn't see, but now, it was the only choice she had. She begged, pleaded like a peasant on her knees for Him to spare her son's life. He was going to be someone great one day. But if he didn't get that chance, if her little Roland passed away... She knew it would be too much for her. Sure, she could act like a machine now, going through life repeating motions and keeping her head up, but she was human, just like everyone else; there were limits, even to her.
"I guess this is like episode nineteen of Justice League, the one where they all get sent to a parallel universe and have to defeat the bad guys," Regina spoke, sitting in a chair at his bedside, "you didn't think I was paying attention, but I was."
There was a slight smile on her face. "But they found their way back home, just like you will."
She could feel herself coming undone as she placed another kiss to his cheek, like she had done every night before in the past. Everything was wrong without Roland in her life; she didn't realize how important the five year old truly was in all the things she did.
"I really love being your mother, Roland, and... And I don't want to have to stop now. You're my entire life, I don't know how I could survive without you..." Her voice was coming hoarse due to her crying, but she couldn't help it. Nothing mattered anymore, nothing except getting her son back again. She let her head fall onto his small chest as she wept, feeling so incredibly lost and alone in that moment.
"Please come back to me, please... I love you so much and I need you here with me." Her words became frantic as the thought of loosing him barred through her mind even more, pulling her down closer and closer to her breaking point...
But then she felt a hand wrap around her own, one much tinier, so delicate she almost didn't recognize the touch. Glancing up hesitantly, she was greeted by a paid of soft brown eyes that could only belong to one person in the world.
"Momma?" His small voice asked, "am I dead?"
Stunned, Regina could only stare at him through her tears, before breaking into a smile.
"No baby, you're alive. You're very much alive."