We Can Love Again

The Good and The Bad

The two of them awoke to the sound of rain pattering against the bedroom window. Everything was peaceful and quiet, the sun was just beginning to rise outside, creating a light pink and orange allusion that painted across the bottom of the sky. Robin had Regina in his arms, resting his head on the crook of her neck, falling in and out of sleep.

They had been together for almost a month and a half, and he could say without a doubt that it was the best month and a half of his life. He had learned to appreciate the smaller things about his girlfriend; all of her habits, her personality, her thoughts and her fears. He loved the feel of her heartbeat, the way she always sat up straight and carried her head high when she walked. He began to know the full extent of how her mother hurt her, and how hard she had to push for a better life. He loved it all; he never passed up an opportunity to tell her that she wasn't alone anymore.

Regina lightly moved her finger along his forearm, tracing the black ink of his tattoo. It was so mysterious, the one thing that brought them together.

"What does it mean?" She asked, her voice quiet and drunken with sleep.

"It's an ancient symbol," Robin told her, "I got it when I first joined the merry men. It means being a leader and a protector."

Regina smiled. She could've guessed that. "Well it's right, because I feel safe when I'm with you. Roland's lucky to have you as his father."

"Thank you, means a lot," Robin said, closing his eyes again as he began to doze off.

Things couldn't have been more perfect.

The villages were almost barren because of the pouring May rain. Everyone was stowed away in their houses, completely unaware that their former queen was living any gay them. That was, except for six men, who were completely aware as they faced one another in the middle of the cobblestone street.

"Was this meeting so important it couldn't wait for the rain to stop?" One of them asked, shielding his face with his hands.

"Yeah, and where's Robin?" Another asked, looking around the small group of men.

"I wanted to talk to you guys... Without him." A blonde haired man told them, a serious expression on his face.

"And who gave you the right to arrange this meeting?" Little John asked him, "Robin is our leader. Whatever you say to us, you can say to him."

"Wait, Alan, is this about... Regina?" A smaller man named Christopher questioned, a worried look in his eyes. The question hung in the air, leaving the sound of rain smacking against the pavement the only sound heard.

"Yes, it's about... The Queen." Alan answered calmly, "Robin reacted so harshly when we proposed the idea of going through her castle- but there's probably thousands of gold and silver, all worth so much!"

"But he said no, Alan, we have to trust Robin, he's our leader!" John pressed, growing agitated with the man.

"Tell me you don't want to go through the Evil Queen's castle," he said back, in a tone of voice that begged them all to challenge him again.

"It doesn't matter, we're not doing that."

Alan sighed. "The villagers deserve to know she's here," he said firmly, "after all, she ruined their lives. Lots of people here remember her and what she did."

"If- if they knew she was just a few minutes away from them, they'd all go crazy," Christopher added.

"They'd also kill her." John's eyes never left Alan's as he spoke. "She's changed, we've all seen it. Robin really likes her; you want to throw her to these villagers like a piece of meat?"

"These villagers are our people, John."

For the first time in their entire conversation, everyone was at a loss of which side to pick. None of them had ever experienced this before- feuding between two sides.

They all turned their heads towards John, he was elected second in command. He was a very profane man; nobody would ever want to mess with him because of his big stature.

"We're not doing that," he said solemnly, "and that's final. We're done here."

With a firm nod, he walked off down the rain streaked sidewalk, followed by the four remaining men.

He made his way down the slippery pavement towards a particularly dark building located at the end of the roadway. Irritation creased his brow as he lowered his head against the pounding rain.

When he entered the building, Alan was sure he was alone- the blackened room had an eerie feel to it.

"I see you're back," came a piercing voice from behind him, causing the man to spin around, his senses acute and alert.

"I have, but with discouraging news." Alan replied, slowly making out the figure standing in front of him. With a deep red cloak and menacing eyes almost like a snakes, it wasn't that hard to figure out who the man was.

"None of the other merry men will agree to the plan," he said, rather slowly.

"Yet, here you are." Rumplestiltskin's voice lowered substantially, almost musing in the fact.

Alan felt a light pang of regret as he thought about Robin. Maybe they were right when they said Regina was good for him. But he was always in power, he always called the shots on what they did. Sometimes, other things were more important than friendship.

"I need the money," Alan said, "and a guarantee that my life will get better."

Rumple had seen this so many times in the past before- townspeople unhappy with their circumstances were always the ones who made the most powerful deals.

"I can do that," he told the man, as if it were something incredibly simple, "this plan can still work if you do exactly what I say. Once you expose her to the villagers, none of them have any chance at winning." His eyes hardened as he spoke.

"I just need you to take Regina Mills down, whatever the price may be."

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