Faith, Trust, and a Happy Ending
The room they were in was so small, the walls seemed to be closing in on her. She felt as though she couldn't breathe; she literally couldn't in the dress she was in, Emma pulled it so tight. Maybe it was due to the lack of breathing, but she could feel heat pulsating off her body, probably making her sweat horribly in her four hundred dollar dress.
"Holy shit, I feel like I'm going to throw up," she muttered, as Snow finished tugging at her hair, forming the raven black strands into tight ringlets.
"Oh be quiet, your fine," Ruby responded, "you're freaking beautiful- stunning."Tinkerbell tugged at the straps of her red dress, making sure her hair and makeup was perfect. She had to hand it to Ruby- she knew how to plan a good wedding.
"It'll be okay Mom," Henry soothed, looking so professional in his black and white tuxedo, accented with a red bow tie. "It shouldn't be hard to stand up there and say you want to marry him."
Thing was, her son was completely right. She told Robin she loved him every day- this time was no different. Regina never got nervous about anything, either.
Looking down at his watch, David quietly reminded his daughter that they had five minutes before they needed to get out there. Killian opened the door slightly, revealing a church that was full to the brim with people- every pew was taken, filled to the very end with a fairytale character they had come to know over the years.
All of her family was there in that room- everyone she loved, except for Robin, who were waiting on the other side.
"Take a deep breath," Ruby ordered, "and smile a little. This is the happiest day of your life."
The moment they had all been waiting was upon them- they had rehearsed it a thousand times before. Roland stood alone but confident before the closed door. Behind them, Snow and Charming linked arms; she was holding Caroline in her other arm, in her pale red dress, black shoes, and matching flower headband. They were followed by Emma and Killian, Ruby and Will, and lastly Neal, who stood at the end, giving Tink a hesitant look as he held his arm out towards her. Her heart was heavy, but she took it, turning around to face Regina before it was too late.
"All you have to do is open the door and walk through," she whispered, winking vivaciously.
She was right. That was all she had to do.
Regina watched from inside the shadows as the massive church doors opened. Music began to play.
Her youngest son was the first to emerge down the aisle; he looked adorable in his tiny tucked in tux and bowtie.
The crowd silenced in awe as they saw the bridal party emerge, the girls clutching three pastel flowers in each of their free hands. They all had smiles on their faces; even the pirate, even the knave of hearts, even Neal and Tink. Robin was already standing up at the podium, an excited smile on his face as he patiently awaited for the door to reveal his beautiful bride.
Knowing exactly what to do, Roland turned to the right of his father and stood behind him, the other groomsmen doing the same. Sure he was a tad bit scared out there in front of all those people, wondering if the scar on his temple was very visible to them.
However, once he saw Alex in one of the pews, smiling at him and silently telling him he was doing good, he regained his confidence and smiled back.
Then the music got louder. He knew what that meant. The audience all stood and turned towards the door; they all wanted to see the queen.
"Henry, I'll be honest, I'm so scared I'm going to trip and fall in these heels," Regina said, trying to catch her breath.
Her son had his arm looped around hers, excitedly awaiting the opportunity to walk his mother down the aisle and give her off to her one true love.
"Just relax. Aren't you used to this stuff? Being in front of people?"
She cast him a sideways look. "Well yes, but none of those events were things I cared about. All those people out there genuinely want to see me!"
"Because you're beautiful and they know you've changed. You're the best mom I could ever ask for."
Hearing the announcement when he woke up that Will was going to be a part of their wedding and their lives again had made him the happiest twelve year old alive. He was scared she wasn't going to do it.
She thought her heart was going to explode inside of her. "I can only say the same to you. Now let's go out there and give them what they've all been waiting for."
The doors opened, light flooded in, and they walked through. Regina clutched her bouquet of flowers in her hand, walking down the aisle with confident strides, feeling more beautiful than she had ever felt before. Her mother always said to keep her head high and her back straight when she attended formal events- she could almost hear her ordering those instructions now.
But she was soon lost in the sight of what lay in front of her. That was the man she was about to marry up there- he was the most gorgeous man she had ever seen in her life. Joy filled his expression as he waited for her. She couldn't catch if he were crying or not, for her vision was quite blurry as well. And although his lion tattoo was hidden underneath his tuxedo, she knew it meant that they were made for each other, two pieces of a puzzle, fitting perfectly together to create a wonderful, perfect family.
Henry gently let go of her arm when they arrived at the pulpit; he leaned forward and kissed her cheek lightly before joining the others over on the grooms side. Ashley was equipped with her camera, already setting out and taking pictures.
She was standing across from the man she loved. He was indeed crying- she could see the tears pooling in his soft brown eyes. Eyes that studied her, fixated on her beauty, and let her know that he loved her with everything he had.
Granny was the one marrying them. She was wearing an ivory colored dress, holding a book in her hands as she prepared to say what she had planned out. (she took a class online to get certified; Regina could only pray she knew what she was doing.)
"We welcome you today to witness a wedding of true love," she began, a humble smile on her face, "a wedding uniting two different families to become one- two very unlikely families."
Everyone in the audience chuckled, and the couple sent cocky smiles towards her.
"But as much as we didn't think it was possible for the evil queen of the land to find love... She did. And we all love her because of it." Granny added, sending Regina a comforting smile. She wanted this moment to last, seeing her so radiant and happy. It was saddening her mother couldn't be there to see how beautiful she was. Granny supposed she would have to do.
"Now, the couple wanted to exchange their own vows," she continued, "so I'll give the time over to them."
She placed a small microphone out in front of Regina; there was a moment of pause before she started to unfold a small piece of paper before her.
"Robin," she began, smiling brightly towards him, "you're by best friend. You love me even though you know about my past. You found me when I needed you the most, when I was lost, and when I thought there wasn't any hope for me." She could feel tears coming in her eyes. Crying in front of people used to be her worst nightmare; royalty simply didn't show emotions. Life got so much easier when she realized that none of that mattered.
"You lead me out of the darkness, and gave me a chance. And, because of it, I have the best family I could ever ask for. I promise to always be there for you, to stand by you, and to help raise our children."
She quickly glanced towards her son- that was Roland's queue. He picked up the satin pillow in his hands and dashed over towards them, his small feet thumping against the hardwood floor, which earned some giggles from the audience. Regina smiled towards her son as she picked up Robin's ring, sending him a quick "thank you," before facing him again.
"With this ring, I pledge my love to you. I'll be forever yours," she finished, gently taking his hand and pushing the ring onto his fourth finger, pairing it with his engagement ring he already wore.
Robin blew out a sigh as he watched her wipe away her tears. "Wow... I don't even know where to begin," he said, taking out his own piece of paper from his pocket.
"Regina, I can't think of any other man luckier than me right now. I'm marrying the most beautiful woman in the world. When I first started dating you, I knew very well it wouldn't be easy. But I thought about how you saved my son in Neverland, and how selfless of an act that was. I realized then that all the rumors about you being evil were far from true- I didn't think I could ever find anyone after Roland's mother passed away. But you, Regina, you proved me wrong. You taught me that everyone deserves a second chance, and that everyone, even evil queens, deserve to be loved. We both learned to love again."
Roland once again raised the pillow so his father could take the second ring from it.
"With this ring, I vow to protect you and our family, with all the strength I have. I promise to help you raise our children, and to teach them right from wrong. You don't have to be alone anymore. Not for the rest of your days." He finished, reaching for her hand and sliding her ring into its rightful place. Regina smiled brighter than she had ever smiled before as she met his eyes though watery tears, feeling absolutely at peace.
"Robin Hood, do you take Regina to be your lawfully wedded wife?" Granny asked, hoping nobody could catch sight of her own tears.
"Regina Mills, do to take Robin to be your lawfully wedded husband?"
Of course she did.
"I hereby pronounce you husband and wife- you may now kiss the bride," Granny smiled, taking a step back.
Robin closed in the space between them, grinning from ear to ear as he gently held her face in his hands, kissing her with such passion she could almost feel the electricity on her lips.
The entire congregation clapped.
There was a small pavilion behind the clock tower; it was almost hidden to the pedestrians on the sidewalks, a place where not a lot of people went. They had set up tables across the green courtyard, along with red and white decorations. Granny had agreed to cater for the wedding, providing hamburgers and her all famous lasagna for a meal. There was a little bit of time between the ceremony and the celebration part of the wedding.
It was a beautiful summer afternoon outside. There was a slight breeze to the air, making the heat just about perfect. Everyone was happy, and everyone was ready to party the rest of the night away.
There was a table set up in the back of the room, acting somewhat like a throne to the newly married couple, their bridal party at their sides. They were about eat; it was all being set out while everyone talked with one another.
Snow was still holding Caroline, though she had a nervous look on her face as she glanced over the paper again and again.
"Snow, you're going to be fine," Regina chuckled, placing her hand over hers, "everyone will still love you if it's not absolutely perfect."
The queen had asked her stepdaughter to be her maid of honor. Of course she accepted, but giving a speech in front of everyone was fairly nerve wracking. She couldn't even begin to think about how nervous Will was about his speech.
Emma gently took the baby from her mother, applying more red lipstick to her lips.
"You're absolutely gorgeous in that dress, your makeup is amazing, and to top it off, you're Snow White. Go out there and deliver that speech."
Snow had to smile at that one. Her daughter always knew exactly what to say.Robin clinked a glass as he stood up, causing silence to quickly swipe about the courtyard. Everyone was gathered in the pavilion, awaiting on what the groom had to say.
"I know everyone is hungry, but before we begin, there are some family members that would like to say a little something. Regina's stepdaughter, Snow, and my little brother Will."
He gave them both an approving nod, and Will stood up cautiously, taking out his paper and glancing about the crowd before them.
"I have the best family in the whole damn world, let's start with that," Will began, cracking a smile, "and I never thought I could have such a big family. Robin and I were separated for a while, and honestly never thought I could find him again. But I did- and I got much more than what I bargained for. I got to deal with an insane pregnant woman who gave me a place to stay if I took care of her kids. And she ended up being one of my best friends, a true sister." He said, lifting a glass towards the new couple, "so, here's a toast for you two lovebirds. May you be this sickeningly in love fifty years from now."
Everyone clapped, and he sat down, the attention replaced by Snow. She was everyone's favorite, the one woman they had looked towards in their time of need while in the Enchanted Forest.
"We're here to celebrate two very amazing people today," Snow began, slowly setting her paper down as she spoke towards her peers. "It's true that Regina and I don't have the best history in the world, but she's always been there for me, even if she didn't think she was," she smiled, sending a look down towards the bride. "When I was twelve, my father told me I was getting a new mother. I didn't even know then about what I did, but Regina still took care of me. We've always had this sort of relationship where we're always there for each other. And I wouldn't trade it for the world. Seeing her so happy makes everything worthwhile- we're finally a family. I love every second of it. You're an amazing person, Regina, and your daughter will grow up to be just as stunning as you are, I can promise you that." Brushing a tear away from her cheek, she smiled down at her stepmother. "Now, let's eat. We're all starving."
The food, though simple burgers and lasagna, was fantastic. It was exciting to see the entire town come together and eat, laugh, have fun. Everyone looked beautiful- there wasn't a more perfect time for a wedding than right in that moment. Sometime after lunch had ended, music began to play, and people had begun to dance about the courtyard. Happiness was in the air.
"You are beautiful, love," Killian whispered, holding the savior close as they danced. The song was slow paced; perfect for slow dancing to.
Emma smiled. "You're not so bad yourself. For a one handed pirate, you're a pretty good dancer."
He leaned forward and kissed her, his good hand trailing along her blonde hair that was up in a bun.
"And, I'm glad I moved in." She added, doing something surprising- she lay her head on his chest as they swayed. "This can be a new start... For the both of us."
Meanwhile, Tinkerbell was all alone. She kept glancing at her empty plate in front of her, thinking it would distract her from the fact that everyone else was completely happy. Will and Ruby were dancing together, so was Charming and Snow. Regina and Robin were getting ready for their first dance, too. She watched them go out into the middle of the courtyard, hand in hand, slowly beginning to dance. They looked so happy; they all did...
Neal was staring at her- he couldn't help it. He wanted to be angry at her, for being so selfish, for leading him on like that. But she looked nothing but sad at her table, practically the only one not dancing.
"Hey Dad, this is Paige," Henry said, interrupting his thoughts.
There was a girl standing next to his son, wearing a purple dress and seeming about his age.
"Is it okay if we dance?"
Neal blinked a few times and gave his son a smile. "Uh, sure, I don't see why not. Can I talk to you really fast first?"
Henry gave his friend a small smile. "I'll just be a second."
"I'll go get some punch," Paige said, heading off and leaving father and son alone. Henry sat next to him.
Taking a deep breath, he put his arm around his sounders. "Look, Henry, I'm leaving town."
The twelve year old's eyes widened in disbelief. "What? Why?"
He realized that he didn't have the heart to tell him why.
"I just can't stay here. I love you so much, and don't think for a second I'm leaving you, or your mom." Neal reassured, not wanting the conversation to end sourly. "I want to take you with me one of these days. When you're older. We can go on adventures together... See the world."
Henry's face still looked stricken, but a sense of wonder overtook him.
"I would love that," he finally said, "whatever makes you happy Dad. Just promise you'll come back to get me."
Neal pulled his son into a tight hug. "Of course. You mean so much to me. But I think your friend is waiting for a dance."
Henry quickly pulled away from Neal's hug when he noticed Paige was watching him.
"When will you leave?"
"Right after the wedding- probably tomorrow morning."
Henry sighed- that moment could be goodbye for who knew how long. He smiled, taking all the strength he had to leave his father. His parents were still dancing together in the middle of the courtyard.
When he finally caught up to Paige, he asked for her permission before taking her out to the middle of the dance floor.
Neal watched them. If his twelve year old was getting a dance in with a girl, so was he. So he got up and went to Tinkerbell's abandoned table, taking her by surprise as he asked for a dance. She seemed slightly hesitant to say yes, but she took his hand and followed him away from the tables. Setting his arms around her waist, they began to dance, slowly, but passionately.
He cursed himself for the feelings he still had towards her. He still cared for her, he still wanted her to be happy.
"Neal, can we talk about what happened last time?" Tink said, feeling her emotions slipping past her like sand as she held onto him. She couldn't wait for an answer- she looked him in the eyes and took a breath.
"A set future is just reassuring to me, it makes me feel good inside knowing I'm safe. And I love being a fairy, I love having magic, and flying... Being with you is uncertain. That's why I freaked out and said what I said. I thought I didn't want it but... After seeing Robin and Regina so happy, I thought to myself, why the hell not."
Neal gave her a look. "So... What are you saying?"
She grinned. "I'm going to run off with you. Can I? We can see the world, do whatever we wanted.. Together. I love you Neal, I really do."
He was so surprised, he almost stopped dancing. "You... You love me?"
"I love you," she repeated, "and that's far more important than me being a fairy or not. It doesn't really matter to me that much- I spent the last two decades doing that. It's my time to decide what to do with my life."
Nothing could follow up that statement- so Neal simply kissed her instead.
Robin held his wife tightly as they continued to dance. They had so many things planned for the rest of the evening, but, for now, this was perfect- this was the perfection he had been waiting for. He could call Regina Mills his wife; the stubborn, free spirited, totally lovable evil queen he had fallen head over heels for. She smiled when she saw Snow with her baby girl, her smiling little Caroline, the four month old who now had parents who were married, from then until forever. Then there was Roland, who had teamed up with Alex as they ran along the courtyard, trying to chase down Jupiter as she bounded through the grass. She could hear their laughs from where she and Robin stood.
Then she caught sight of Henry, who was dancing with Paige. It was amusing, the modest distance between them. Her boy was shy, she knew that, but he had been so brave to ask her to dance. Knowing her oldest was truly growing up was difficult, but it warmed her heart as well. Those were her three kids, and she couldn't ask for anything better. Her husband was another story- his loving hands stayed on her body like glue, never wanting to let her go. She was impressed he had learned to dance so well. They didn't care if eyes were on them; Robin would steal a kiss every now and then.
"Regina, Robin!" Ashley called, getting their attention as she aimed a camera in their direction. "Smile!"
They did, and the camera flashed, capturing the moment for forever.
It was the first page of a new story- one where, in the end, Regina Mills would get her happy ending after all.