We Can Love Again

Lazy Day

Things eventually quieted down as it got later and later into the night. Robin left with a completely knocked out Roland around eleven, leaving everyone else to pack up and head to bed afterwards. Regina was getting used to sleeping on the floor- she hated it, but it was becoming a regular routine for her. Everyone, including the brunette, slept well in past the sunrise without hesitation.

Hook announced that he was heading out to meet some old friends of his sometime during the morning, but everyone was still half asleep and didn't bother to care.

Emma was slightly concerned with the fact that Neal hadn't returned that night- she really hoped he didn't get into any trouble.

Regina immediately knew that she didn't feel like doing a thing that day. It was times like these where she really missed cable tv. Everyone seemed to agree with her too, because nobody was quick to lift a finger of objection.

"I guess I'll go shower," Charming mumbled into his pillow, grudgingly getting up and starting for the bathroom.

"You mean pour a bucket of water on yourself?" Snow replied with weak sarcasm.

"Yeah, nothing better."

He missed his heated showers, his comfy bed, breakfast at Granny's... What were they thinking when they said it would be a good idea to come back?

Regina sat up and ran her fingers through her hair, glancing around the tranquil room until she came to her son, who looked still half asleep as he rubbed his eyes.

"Can we just stay in bed all day today?" He asked groggily, looking down at Emma, who had her face buried in her pillow. She muttered something back, but it sounded like a bunch of mumbles to him.

Snow shifted so she was laying on her stomach, her pillow still under her chin.

"Regina, you've been in the most wonderful mood this past few weeks." She stated bluntly, causing the queen to turn around to face with a slight surprise.

"Well I can't be mad all the time." Her stepmother replied, not knowing how else to defend herself.

"You spent more than twenty eight years being mad," Snow said back, "I haven't seen you like this since I was a teenager."

"What's your point?"

The woman smiled warmly. "The point is, I'm really glad you're happy again. If Robin really does that to you, you can't let him go."

Regina gave her a look. "I think I can manage my own life, but I'm glad you're supporting me on this."

"Who knows, maybe we could start acting like a family some day."

"Whoa there, don't get too crazy." Emma shot towards her mom, thinking about how outrageous the idea was.

"Yeah, let's take things a tad slower." Regina said, "like, I haven't thought about killing you in about two weeks. That's a personal goal for me."

Snow knew she was avoiding the subject, but there was nothing she could do about that.

"So, tell us what stuff you and Robin did yesterday..."

Regina rolled her eyes. She wanted nothing more than to go to another sleepover with the Charmings.

"None of your business," she said, giving her a cold look.

"Oh come on Regina," Snow groaned, "you can't expect us to sit here while you have a wonderful romantic love life."

"Being with David isn't satisfying enough?" She smirked, enjoying the look the woman was giving her.

"Romantic life?" Henry repeated, not believing his ears.

"Uh, I don't know about romantic." Regina said quickly, "I'm not very fantastic at it."

Henry averted his eyes back down to the white sheets underneath him. He didn't know what to think about that word- romantic.

"Are you sure everything's okay?" Regina asked, with concern in her tone, "you haven't said a word to me since last night."

The boy tossed ideas back and forth in his head, deciding how to play the conversation out.

"It's nothing... I'm just not used to seeing you like this."

His reply was somewhat convincing, but Regina knew better. Having raised him for twelve years, she knew her son pretty well.

"Henry, are you jealous of Roland?"

She knew she hit the nail right on spot by the look on her face. The setting of their conversation wasn't ideal (nothing serious was ever ideal with Snow in the room) but Regina wanted to get it out of the way as soon as possible. Contention wasn't something she neither wanted nor needed at the moment.

"Maybe a little... You just seem to treat him like he's your son too."

Regina shook her head slightly, leaning forward so she was on her knees in front of him. Grabbing his hands, she gave him an encouraging look.

"I've raised you since you were a baby, I know everything about you Henry- your secrets, your fears, your dreams... everything. I have been there for you the whole time; Henry, I'm your mother." She gave his hands a comforting squeeze, trying to keep the tears out of her eyes. "No matter what happens, you will always be my son- and you will always be special to me."

Henry felt a rush of relief run through him; he couldn't help but crave his mother's words- her love, her care, the way she always made him feel better.

Emma and Snow sat in silence, both seemingly in shock from what they had just heard. They were both still adjusting to the new Regina.

"I just... I don't really want to share you with other people." He muttered, sounding sheepish about it.

Regina let out a small smile when she saw his face redden. "I guess you'll just have to get used to that. Do you know how long it's been since I've been with a guy I've really cared about?"

Henry knew that ruled out Graham. "This is the first guy since Daniel?"

Regina nodded slowly, trying not to think about him. It had been almost forever ago he had died, yet she still had nightmares about it from time to time. She thought about his last words to her- love again. That was what he had wanted for her.

"And do you know how tough it's been having to share you with Emma?" Almost on queue, the blonde lifted her head up from the bed and gave Regina look with narrowed eyes. "No offense."

Henry knew that was true. Trying would be tough, but he could manage somehow- if his mom, the evil queen could, anyone was capable of adjusting to change.

"So you'll try harder to accept Robin and Roland?"

"Yeah, I'll try..." He said back, sending her an encouraging smile.

"Henry, do you want to come with me to get some breakfast?" Snow asked, seeing the problem somewhat resolved. The boy nodded, presuming both his moms were okay with it. He was still feeling lazy, but getting out of the small living space seemed like a good idea.

Snow got off the bed and took his hand, heading for the door. "When David finally gets out of the shower, tell him I went out for a bit."

"And what are we supposed to do?"

"I'm gonna sleep." Emma answered quickly, her voice still muffled.

Snow didn't give a reply; instead, she closed the door without another word.

As soon as she left, Emma's head lifted up to face Regina.

"I can't believe I'm saying this, but... I need some relationship advice," she said hesitantly, "Hook wants to take me out to the village or something later on today."

Regina smirked. "You're coming to me for advice?"

"I have no choice! I'm kinda freaking out here!"

"Okay fine," Regina surrendered, knowing she needed help, "so what about Hook liking you makes you nervous?"

The blonde sighed. "Okay, so yeah- he's really attractive. But... He's a pirate, how am I supposed to trust him?"

"Not that I'm picking sides, but you two do seem to have some sort of understanding with one another."

"Yeah, but..."

"Neal?" She finished her sentence for her, knowing already where the conversation was leading to.

Emma's face wore all sorts of expressions at once. "I just... I don't know Regina. Neal will always have a place in my heart, but I don't know if I could ever truly love him again. And then there's Henry..."

Finally, something both of them cared about. Regina knew all the new relationships were hard on him; the poor kid already had two mothers, a father he'd only known for a couple months, and grandparents- all the same age. He was the only child in his grade to ever move up, making him different from everyone else.

"I want him to be close to Neal, because... Because he deserves it. But I don't want him to be stressed out about Hook- he doesn't need that. Oh God, if Neal ever found out..."

"Hey hey, we're not saying you're dating him now, he just asked you to go to the village with him." Regina said calmly. The blonde looked so stressed it was almost contagious.

"I know... I just don't know how I feel about him. I don't know how I feel about Neal. Henry is the most important guy in my life right now, I shouldn't have to worry about any of this bullshit!"

Regina knew that her own relationship issues only added to the problem. "Listen to me Emma," she instructed her, "you don't need to panic about it. Just take things slow, and be honest with Hook. If you turn out liking him more after your date, then fine. You don't have to tell Henry until things get more serious. And if he asks, make sure to a completely honest with him. And as far as Neal is concerned... Well, screw him. If he's pissed about you going to the village with Hook, let him. He has no right to tell you who you can and cannot date, that's your choice. But Emma, you don't know how you feel until you get out there and try."

Emma listened carefully to what she said, slightly surprised she had so much knowledge to her about the subject. Robin must've had a special hold on her, it was like she was a completely different person.

"Thanks Regina," she said, the stress fading away into a relieved smile.

The other woman returned the smile without hesitation. "And, if the pirate tries anything with you..." She opened her hand, releasing a flaming ball of fire, "don't be afraid to terrify him with your magic. You remember how to do this one, right?"

She had given the blonde a few lessons here and there, but nobody else knew she was slowly learning magic. Emma concentrated hard on focusing her mind. She closed her eyes and opened her hand, soon smelling the distinct small of smoke. She let out a rejoiced laugh as she extinguished it quickly.

"Very good. I'll teach you something else later, if you want."

"You know, magic actually isn't as hard as I thought it would be." Emma told her, "it's gets easier the more I practice."

Regina smiled, feeling rather pleased with herself. "Now you're ready for that date. And, don't worry, I won't tell anyone about it if that's what want."

"Can't believe I'm saying this, but I don't know what I would do without you

Regina." Emma said, "even if you are my grandma."

Regina scowled at that word again. "As long as Henry's happy. That's all that matters here."

Emma could agree more.

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