We Can Love Again

Light at the End of the Tunnel

This was the opposite of a welcome back party. They were all yelling harsh words at her, spiteful fires blazing in their eyes as she entered the village. Regina could barely walk on her own two feet, she felt so faint she thought she would give out at any moment. And the worst part of it all was the fact that her two kids were right behind her; they were seeing the side of her she never wanted them to see, the part of her she thought was buried forever.

The entire center square of the village was swarming with people, all clawing their way towards their former queen. Regina was literally pushing them away from her with what little strength she had, it was like they had entered a war zone.

Alan kept shoving her forward, they were slowly advancing towards a large storage building. Regina never thought she could experience pain like this- the villagers' obscene words screamed at her with surprising force that cut through her like glass.

"You're nothing but a stupid bitch!"

"I'll kill you with my own bare hands!"

"You don't deserve to be alive!"

Her eyes stung with tears. She would rather have been beaten some more by Alan than have to endure all this.

And then she saw a familiar face in the sea of angry villagers- the old woman she had just spoken to an hour before. Their eyes met for only a second, but Regina could see she was extremely apologetic for her.

They finally got to the opening of the warehouse after what seemed like forever. There were still people grabbing her hair and her clothes as the three men delivering them fought to force the door closed behind them. Regina held onto Roland and Henry tightly as their vision transformed into absolute blackness. The harsh banging on the door crashed through the uncomfortable silence. Alan blindly swiped the nearby windowsill for a box of matches, striking it against the wood of the door and creating a blazing ball of light that he put into a glass lamp.

"Follow me." He said in monotone, starting off down one of the hallways. Regina no longer had the will to say anything in return; she ached to know if Robin was alright or not. Roland kept his hands anchored around her waist, refusing to let go.

They walked in silence until the six of them reached a closed door, the sunlight from a broken window barely reaching them.

Alan turned towards his two men. "Get the two other rooms cleared up. Until then we'll have to put them with him."

They nodded and walked off. Before Regina could ask any questions, Alan opened the door and shoved the three of them through it, giving them all a satisfied look before slamming the door closed.

Regina fell flat on her stomach, tasting dirt in her mouth. In that moment she felt completely broken, she lost the will to move on, just for a second. Then she heard a voice she recognized.

"Regina? Is that you?"

She lifted her head up, disbelief in her eyes. "Robin?"

The room was so dimly lit she could barely see him. But she could recognize her man with arrows any day. Robin wrapped his arms around her as she let out a small cry into his shoulder.

"What happened? What did they do to you?" He asked, his heart sinking when he saw Henry and Roland were dragged into all the mayhem. Regina didn't know what to say. When she didn't answer, Robin tilted her chin up lightly and examined her face. His expression quickly darkened; her perfect olive skin was smudged with dark purple bruises and dried blood.

"I'll kill him." Robin growled, tightening his grip on her, as well as their two children.

"They didn't hurt us daddy," Roland said softly, "Henry promised they wouldn't hurt me."

He couldn't be more grateful for that.

"What about you Henry? Are you okay?" Robin asked kindly, noticing how quiet he was being.

The boy tried hiding his sniffles, but it was no use. "How am I going to get back to Emma now?" He cried.

Robin put his arm around his shoulders and let him cry, slowly rubbing circles on his back.

"I'm going to get you all out of here, I promise."

"How?" Regina asked in a feeble voice, laying her head on his chest and listening to the best of his heart.

"I still have the ring with me- we can leave this place and start a new life in Storybrooke." He said, "I was wrong to keep you here. We should've gone back when the Charmings did. Of course I didn't know then that all my friends would betray me and take my family hostage." He finished dryly, not even bothering to hold back the scorn in his voice.

Regina fought with herself inside; this was it, this was the time to tell him. But they were trapped inside a prison cell by five surprisingly strong men who could easily kill them all- she knew that Robin surely didn't need another thing added to his plate.The words stuck in her throat.

"I'm going to get you all out of here." He repeated, stronger this time.

The moment seemed to be frozen in time, a little glowing light in the midst of the darkness- as Snow would say, a glimmer of hope.

And then it was gone. The door was kicked open again; before any of then could react, strong arms grabbed hold around Regina's waist and forced her on her feet, taking no interest in being gentle. Regina shouted in protest as more men dove for Henry and Roland. The scene had dived into absolute hell.

"I swear to God, I'll kill you Alan James! I'll kill you!" Robin yelled, fighting back as much he could against his own men.

Alan was practically dragging Regina out of the room as she struggled with all her remaining strength just to see his face one last time. The sound of Roland screaming obscured everything else. The door slammed shut, and Robin was gone.

There were shaken tears forming on her face as the men holding her sons started off in the opposite direction. Regina screamed and shouted in protest, but they didn't care. She had reduced herself to a defeated mess, begging to be with them again. But they only grew smaller in her vision as she was pulled farther down the hallway. Her children were both screaming her name, desperately kicking and squirming in the arms of men who they had once called friends. It was a rare moment in time; Regina was absolutely powerless.

Their small voices abruptly silenced by the slamming of another door, the echoing feeling like a fearsome breeze that tore through her body and left a numb feeling in return.

Before she realized what was going on, she was slammed down against the bitter, grimy dirt as the door locked shut behind her.

She was absolutely alone.

His fingers bled, wide gashes along all ten of them as he banged relentlessly against the door. It was no use though, and he knew it too.

Robin couldn't feel any of his pain over the pounding in his head, the mocking reminder that everyone he loved had their heads under the guillotine.

"You really love her, don't you?" Came a starling voice from the darkened corner of the cell, causing Robin to whirl around in alarm. He couldn't believe who he saw.

"You?" He almost spat, standing up stiffly and clenching his fists, "this is all because of you?!"

The imp rolled his eyes. "I'm right here, there's no need to shout," he said, clicking his tongue.

Robin lunged for the man; he was done with the games. But Rumplestiltskin was quicker than he was, his fist sailed through empty air. He hadn't felt this desperate and powerless since Roland was snatched away by the shadow.

"Why- why would you do this?"

Rumple made a chair appear out of thin air and took a seat, crossing his legs as he did so. "Do you remember the deal you and I made?"

Robin gave him a scornful look. Of course.

"What does that-?"

"Please, no more of this yelling and hitting business. We can have have a normal conversation- what's with it with you and your Merry Men?"

Robin sighed irritably. He was right, they were both going to get nowhere like this.

"I replayed that deal a long time ago," he said, as calmly as he could.

He was returned with one of Rumple's famous laughs. "But I never said it was!"

Robin thought twice this time before lunging at him again- it was hard, though. "Just- tell me what the hell this is all about."

Rumple had a pleased look on his face. "Well you see dearie, you came to me years ago, frantic and desperate for my help. I told you then I couldn't save both of their lives, but did I save your baby boy? Yes, I did!"

"And I agreed to be at your service for anything you needed. I did that when you asked me to defend your castle against the ogres." Robin interrupted impatiently.

"You did," Rumple confirmed, "but now I need you to do something else for me."

One more thing added to the mix would set him off completely. Robin took a deep breath.

"You turned my own men against me for money. You had them come to my house, uninvited, and hurt the woman I love. You took my family hostage just to tell me you need me to do something for you again?" He seethed, the air growing thick between them.

Rumple shot him a dubious look. "This task requires all of your effort, I can't have you distracted."

"I'll do whatever you want, just let them all go!" Robin persisted, growing desperate.

"I know this all looks bleak right now, but trust me, you'll be thanking me later." Rumple said, "did you really think she would be protected forever?"

The question hung uncomfortably in the air.

"Now you think on that one. I've got a busy schedule to attend to."

Before Robin could stop him, the dark one vanished in a massive purple cloud, leaving him alone in the dimly lit cell.

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