When the door finally reopened, nighttime had completely passed over- fresh morning sunlight poured through the musty air, instantly causing Regina to wake. She had eventually fallen asleep on the cold dirt floor, curled up in a tight ball with her legs tucked in. Her entire body felt mauled and battered, it hurt to breathe. But Regina Mills was raised to be a queen; she could hear her mother's words in her head- stand up straight, shoulders back, keep your eyes locked on your enemy and never let them forget what you're capable of.
"I see you're well rested," Alan said, throwing a half loaf of bread in her direction. "You need your strength for today."
Regina continued to stare at him. "No thank you. I'd rather get this thing over with."
Alan laughed for a second as she stood on her feet. He wasn't going to lie, she didn't look well at all. The bruises were still evident; in fact, they stood out more against the paleness of her face.
"They're all waiting for you, sweetheart."
Regina gave him a sobersided look. "And what will they do to me?"
"Whatever they want," Alan said, his voice sounding frivolously ominous.
She took a sharp intake of air as she began sorting out her thoughts. "Alright then. Can I talk to my kids first?"
Alan caught both her wrists in his hands and started to bind them with a piece of thick rope.
"Nope, we have to get you outside." He replied, giving her a light push in the direction of the open door.
Regina turned around to face him, fighting to keep her emotions under control.
"Can you tell them that I love them?"
"Boy," Alan mused, pushing her through the door, "you're really taking this well."
They both started off down the hallway; Regina kept her eyes cast down on the ground as she came closer and closer to her demise.
"I deserve all of this," she told him, "every one of those villagers hate me because I was a horrible leader. I can take whatever they throw at me- just promise me you'll let Robin, Henry and Roland go afterwards."
She felt like she was being treated like an incompetent child. But then something hit her- Henry.
"Wait... what will the villagers say when they find out you kidnapped the grandson of Snow and Charming?"
Alan stiffened slightly as they continued to walk.
"Nobody will ever know they were here. Now," he stopped her as they neared the exit of the large building that served as their prison. "If you use magic in any way, I have men everywhere that can go find those two boys. You understand me?"
Regina nodded slowly. "Let's just... Get this over with."
"Good girl," he smiled, leaning forward slightly to open the door that kept them apart from the mob of villagers. Regina braced herself as golden sunlight flooded in the room, making it almost impossible to see. She noticed one thing right off the bat- the atmosphere was stone silent, quite the opposite from the way it was when she arrived.She watched them all curiously as her vision began to clear; they were all standing in a huge mass, a thousand pairs of eyes all directed towards one single person- their beloved queen. The boiling anger was all but subtle in their countenances, but Regina didn't care. She was a queen, an a queen was what her villagers were going to see.
Her head was held high; the slashes and purplish bruises were all visible. Her pace was calm and collected; inside, she was so nervous everything seemed like a blur. She could almost hear herself breathing it was so silent.
The two of them stopped when they reached a makeshift wooden stage. Regina instantly hated it; she felt like she was on display for everyone. They all stood out in front of them do as far as she could see, a sea of faces that all looked unwelcoming.
Regina didn't know what Alan wanted her to do. Before she had time to think, though, she felt a stifling blow to her lower back that sent her down to her knees with a painful wince written on her face.
"Ladies an gentlemen, I give you your evil queen!"
He was woken up by a sudden banging on the walls, causing him to scramble to his feet within seconds. Robin glanced around his four wall cage in a startled confusion.
"Robin, it's me!" A low voice carried through the doorway, a voice that he recognized instantly. Robin ran to the door and let out a small laugh.
"You have no idea how much I've missed you John!"
"Me too," John replied, "but we don't have much time. You might want to take a few steps back."
Robin immediately backed up until his back was almost touching the opposite wall. A few moments later, a forceful blow completely knocked the door off its hinges, revealing a large man in a cloak through the dust filled air.
"Robin!" Little John exclaimed, entering the musty room to throw his arms around the man. He just about lifted Robin off his feet as he continued to crush his body with his massive arms.
"Release, John, release!" He muttered, soon finding it near impossible to breathe.
John quickly set him back down and gave him a pat on the back. "Sorry, bad habit."
Robin smiled. "So they've been keeping you prisoner here too, huh."
"They're all bloody insane! I swear, Rumple must have them all under some sort of mind curse!"
He couldn't agree more. "Have you seen Roland and Henry anywhere?"
John's face fell. "They got them too?"
"Unfortunately, yes." Robin sighed, "we have to find them as soon as possible. They could be in any of these rooms!"
"Oh, and- Robin..." John said, catching his attention, "Regina's outside. Alan's got her put on display for all the villagers."
Robin's heart felt heavy in his chest. "We... We have to do something." He told him, "if I lost her, I don't know what I-"
"We're going to fix all of this," John said, "but we have to hurry. You can take this floor and I'll head upstairs."
Robin let out a small smile. "Thank you, John. You really are the best friend I've ever had."
With that, the two men dispersed in a frantic search for two children lost in a never ending maze.
She felt completely useless, like a piece of trash being thrown in all different directions. No matter how hard she tried to be good, she couldn't escape the fact that she had messed up entirely. And now Regina was paying for what she had done; it didn't make her feel good inside at all. Every one of the villagers were staring at her like they wanted to kill her with their bare hands.
Regina fought to stand back up on her feet due to the pain in her back; the anxiety was making her world spin around like a merry go round. They all saw her as an inhuman monster- none of them knew what her mother had did to her, what Snow did to her, the fact that she was pregnant...
"Kill her!" Some shouted, "kill her right now!"
Others were more enthusiastic about the situation. "Let us kill her!"
Regina didn't know what to do; she was powerless and she was terrified. But if she were to die, Regina knew she needed to fix the past, to clear her conscience.
"C-can I say something?" She asked Alan, sounding as weak as she felt inside.
He thought for a moment, but eventually agreed. "Make it quick, sweetheart. I don't think they really care all that much on what you have to say."
Then he turned his attention to the crowd before them. "Listen up! The queen wants to say something!" He shouted, quickly silencing the chatter. Once again, they were all staring at her with accusing eyes.
"First off, my name is Regina, not 'The Queen'. I'm a real person, not just a public figure." She said distastefully, taking a deep breath.
"I know all of you hate me because of how I treated all of you. Hell, I'd hate myself too. But... I was in no place to rule over a kingdom. I realize that now, and I regret it more than any of you will ever know." Regina's eyes ran glossy with tears as she continued. "I was still a girl then. I was in love with a man I knew I could never be with. That made me forget what I knew was true and who I was. And now... Now I found a man who loves me even though I messed up. I have a family- two boys-"
Before she could finish her sentence, she felt the cold blade of a knife set against her throat. "Times up, Queen."
The crowd erupted once again as Regina struggled against Alan's firm hold on her.
No... It can't end like this...
She squeezed her eyes shut and thought of her kids, thought about what it would be like to have a baby to call her very own...
"Regina!" A small but strong female voice shouted through the commotion, causing her eyes to flash open. Down below, in the front line of the crowd, a petite, blonde haired woman dressed in green desperately fought for her attention.
Regina couldn't believe her eyes. The blade was pressing harder against her throat despite how hard she resisted, but she noticed the fairy take out some sort of vile from around her neck and shake out its contents...
Then, a blur of green magic surrounded her, causing Regina to shield her face with her bound hands. She glanced around in complete shock as the scene around her shifted completely; gone were those angry villagers and the knife that threatened to take her life. She was inside the dark and ginormous building.
"Are you okay?" Tinkerbell asked hurriedly, grabbing her wrists and instantly working on undoing the tight knot.
Tinkerbell put her hands firmly on her shoulders. "look, there's no time- you have to find your family and get out of here- go home."
"Home?" Regina repeated, "now? How am I supposed to know where they are?"
With another wave of her hand, a green pathway appeared in front of them. "There- just like old times."
Regina took no hesitation in throwing her arms around the woman. "I don't know what I would do without you!"
Tinkerbell returned the hug and smiled. "That means a lot coming from you- now go!"
Regina gave her one final look before taking off down the nearly dark hallway, following the green trail of magic. She suddenly began to feel very fearful; what if the Merry Men found them? What if they found her? Nevertheless, the idea of being with her family kept her going.
"Henry?" Roland asked tentatively in their separate room, "what do they want with mommy and daddy?"
He was exhausted, the four year old had fallen asleep the night before with tears on his face.
"They don't understand that she's not evil anymore," Henry told him, "they want to make her suffer like she did to them once. And that means doing something bad to us."
Roland held onto his brother tighter. "What did she do?"
That was something he would never truly understand.
"It doesn't matter," said Henry, "I know everything will work out. It always does. When you truly love someone, there's nothing anyone can do to keep you apart from that person. Nobody can take away our family- mom... Dad... You, we're together forever."
Roland looked up at Henry in surprise. He had never heard him call his dad dad before.
"Are you sure?"
Henry nodded. "Of course. That's the way things go. I couldn't ask for a better little brother." He smiled, ruffling the boy's hair.
Roland let out a small laugh; for a moment, he forgot about all the sadness that was weighing him down.
Then, they both heard voices from outside the door. Henry listened to them for a second- it sounded like a fight. And that could only mean one person.
"Dad!" Henry shouted, "we're here!"
He moved Roland off of him and crawled towards the door, were he began pounding his fists against the wood. He and Roland let out a smile when they heard Robin say their names. After a few more seconds of struggle, Robin was on the other side of the door, relief flooding through him.
"Stand back," he told them, holding a rock in his hand. He hit it hard against the lock, causing it to break off after a couple strikes. The door was pushed open, and his two children scrambled into his arms.
"Henry, did you just call me dad?" Robin asked in surprise.
The twelve year old nodded. "I want you to be my dad forever and ever."
Robin smiled. "I think I can make that work. I love you."
Henry smiled back. "I love you too, dad."
He turned his head up in surprise as soon as he heard Regina's voice. There she was at the end of the hallway, looking utterly exhausted as she took off towards them. Robin stood up and bolted towards her; they met in the middle where he instantly wrapped his arms around her narrow waist, lifting her off the ground as he spun her around a couple times before landing an eager kiss on her lips. Regina let out a cry as he held her with such security; she never wanted to forget what that moment felt like, what it felt like to be truly loved.
"Let's go, let's get the hell out of here." Robin said, setting her back down. He offered her his hand and she took it gratefully; they started off towards their two children.They reached them and encased them in their arms. Everything was perfect again, their family was safe...
"Robin!" Little John's voice carried through the hallway, sounding urgent. "They're right behind me-"
Right as the man came into view, he was sent to the ground with an arrow to his back.
"No!" Robin shouted, hearing hurried footsteps approaching. He wanted to run towards him, but he had to protect his family. Scooping Roland up in his arms, Robin pushed them all into the nearest door and slammed it shut, quickly searching his pockets for the ring. When he found it, he handed it to Regina and told her to activate it.
He could hear Alan's voice shouting from somewhere outside; he and his remaining men were opening up every single door scavenging for them. The handle of the door was held firmly in his hands, but he knew it wouldn't keep them out.
A bright green light filled the room as the portal appeared in front of them. Regina gave Robin a slightly triumphant look as she held Roland's hand. Quickly, Robin grabbed a wooden chair sitting in the corner and propped it against the door, soon standing before the woman he loved more than anything in the entire world.
"Regina, when we get to your realm, I never want to let you go. I want you to put this ring on your finger and keep it there forever. Will- will you marry me?"
Regina's mouth opened in shock, her emotions raging in all sorts of directions. One thing was clear, though- he was the only man she ever wanted to be with.
He placed a soft kiss on her lips. "I love you."
"I love you t-"
They were interrupted by a harsh banging on the door. The chair already threatened to fall; Robin reached for the handle and held it tightly.
"Go Regina! Get the kids through!"
She gave him a confused look. "We're all going together!" She told him, picking up Roland and reaching her hand out towards him.
A new life.
A fresh start.
It was all right there through the swirling green portal.
Robin reached one of his hands out towards hers; but as soon as he did so, the door swung open behind them. Regina almost fainted then and there when she saw Rumplestiltskin's glowing orange eyes staring mercilessly at her, Alan standing to his side with a dark look on his face.
The imp flicked his wrist and send Robin flying back towards the opposite wall, causing Regina to scream out his name. Before any of them could do anything, Roland, Henry and Regina were all pushed backwards into the portal.
Robin's face was the last thing she saw before everything turned green.
When she could feel again, Regina realized she was trembling. Roland and Henry were both clinging to her as if their lives depended on it. She didn't dare open her eyes- the metal ring was burning in the palm of her hand. The summer breeze lightly brushed through her hair, a mixture of ocean salt and pine, something only Maine could offer.