The sound of tiny feet scampering across the floor was the only thing heard early Saturday morning. Wiping the sleep from his eyes, Roland climbed up on the windowsill of his and Henry's room, abandoning his blanket as he slowly pushed the drapes aside to look out of the window. He thought he heard someone outside the house. Roland's eyes widened when he caught sight of a man getting out of a rusty, broken down car.
Climbing back down, the boy quickly scampered towards the door and down the hallway, past Henry's neatly made bed- the boy wished his brother didn't have to stay with Emma so often. He made his way to his mother's room, surprised to see it empty.
"Mommy?" Roland called, beginning to wander around her room. He was surprised to see her emerge from the bathroom, looking pale, exhausted, and quite honestly, half asleep. Little did he know Regina had spent most of the night hunched over a toilet.
"It's early, Roland." She said, sitting down on the edge of her bed.
"I know, but mommy there's someone outside!" He told her, in a voice that could pass for fear as well as excitement.
Regina gave him a look. "The mailman comes every morning, we've been over this."
Roland shook his head. "No, a person!"
Just as he said this, the doorbell rang, causing Regina to jump a bit. She glanced down at her checkered pajama bottoms and bit back a swear word as she darted into her closet, leaving a confused Roland behind. Regina tugged on a pair of jeans and ran her fingers through her hair.
"Stay here, I'll go see who it is." She sighed, rushing out of the bedroom and downstairs. When she opened the door, she let out another swear word- this time, an audible one.
"Hey there, sis." Came Will's voice, obviously forcing some cheerfulness this time.
Regina was done with playing games. She set her eyes firmly on his, never wavering.
"What the hell are you doing here? It's eight in the morning!"
Will gave her a cocky smile. "I thought about what you said yesterday," he began, "and, you're right. I'd love to meet that little nephew of mine- R...onald?"
"Roland." Regina corrected, "his name is Roland and he's asleep right now. That's what people usually do at eight in the morning on a Saturday. Honestly, I'm surprised you're even up."
He gave her a hollow laugh. "There's that evil queen everyone's talking about."
"I don't think you're here for Roland," she said, her voice beginning to reflect her inner irritation, "I think you're here for something else. So let's get this over with- what the hell are you doing here?"
Will raised his eyebrows. "Well I thought since, you know, we're family now, we could have more brother- sister bonding time."
Regina laughed, resting her arm on the doorframe. "Let's get one thing straight- you and I aren't related. I wouldn't accept you as my brother even if you were the last available man on earth. For all I know you could be lying about this whole thing anyways."
"Hey there, let's play nice!" Will said, trying to act offended, "I was thinking the best way for us to bond as a family would be for me to move in, keep you company."Regina waited him to tell her he was joking, but all she got was silence.
"Did you just say you want to... Move in to my house?" She asked, sending him a stunned glare. "My house?"
Will shrugged. "Yeah, I think it's a pretty good idea."
"You don't have a place to live, do you?" She asked blandly, already knowing the answer.
"No I do not," Will said with a sigh, "so when can we start some family bonding?"
He took a step into the front room of her house; Regina's hand immediately shoved into his chest to halt him. "Come any farther and I'll incinerate you until you're a pile of ashes."
That sent him a step back.
"Come on Regina, I'm being serious- they kicked me out this morning, everything I have is in my car."
"And is that my problem?" She shot back, "I've got a family I have to support, I don't have time for irritating people like you!"
Then, Will dug in the bag swung over his shoulder and pulled out a rectangular object. "See this? This is a magic mirror- it can show you anyone you wish whenever you want."
"I know, I've had one before." Regina scowled, giving it a quick look over, "it's broken, idiot. It won't work."
Sighing, he ran his fingers over the crack that ran across the left side. "It'll still work, promise!" Will told her, "it's worked for me before. If you let me stay here, I'll give it to you- you can finally talk to Robin. Isn't that what you want?"
Regina couldn't bring herself to look at him as her inner war raged inside. It could be her only chance to know if he were okay.
"I appreciate the offer, but I can't just let you stay! I hardly know you!"
"We'll get to know each other then!" He persisted, looking desperate.
Will then shifted his weight between his two feet, casting his eyes downward. "I never thought it would have to come to this but..." He began, looking up at her and forming his first real smile. As soon as he did this, Regina swore and cast her eyes away- his smile matched Robin's perfectly.
"Can I please stay?"
His smile left her absolutely speechless, she didn't know what to do.
"This isn't fair, you can't do this to me!" She said, the stress adding up by the second. "I have to finish papers for Belle just about every day, I have a four year old that always wants to be around me, and I have to share my other son with another family every few days- on top of that, I'm pregnant. I don't have time to deal with this right now!"
Will kept his smile going; he was practically begging at her doorstop. "Please? I really do want to get to know my nephew."
Regina expression was hard to read- she either wanted to slap him or burst into tears in his arms.
"Okay! Fine! You can stay!" She yelled at him, immediately causing his smile to grow.
"Thank you sis!" He exclaimed, wrapping his arms around her and lifting her off her feet.
"Yeah, now put me down!" She snapped, wiggling out of his grasp.
"Nobody is ever able to tick me off that much. You just pray your little mirror works."
"Promise it does," Will said, following her into the house.
"I have an empty room upstairs you can use I guess, right next to the bathroom- now please tell me you have a job."
"Yeah, I work part time as a dental assistant, 3 to 7 on weekdays."
Regina sighed. "Well I have strict rules in this house. No messes, no bad language, and no inviting people over. Bedtime is at ten. Break any rules and I'll have you out of here before you have any chance to try persuading me with that smile. Oh- and since you'll be here, you have to babysit my kids whenever I say so. For free of course. I have a lot of things I have to do on a day to day basis."
All the rules were flying past his senses as she spoke. Will simply nodded and glanced around. "Well you're a queen, of course you're busy. Nice house you got."
Regina had a feeling he wasn't paying much attention to what she was telling him. "Can you cook at all?"
For his reply, Will laughed. "Uh, nope. Tried once, and it failed miserably."
She rolled her eyes. "Fantastic. Well you better get your things in here before I change my mind."
As soon as he left, Roland came bounding down the stairs. "Who was that?"
The four year old was still in his pajamas; she knew he was probably hiding out upstairs until he knew Will was gone.
"Um, why don't you meet him yourself?"
Roland gave her a sheepish look.
"I promise he's nothing but a little kid at heart; I'm sure you'll get along just fine. Now I have to go upstairs and make myself presentable- wait for him to finish carrying things upstairs."
The boy looked confused, having no idea what she was talking about. He peered outside the door as a man came walking up the front lawn carrying three boxes and a lamp.
"Hi." He said softly, once he walked through the door.
Will paused, halting in his spot. "Who said that?"
Raising his head above the boxes, he caught sight of the little boy in front of him.
"Are you Roland?"
Will smiled. At first glance, the boy already looked so much like Robin.
"Well Roland, let me take these things upstairs. Then we can talk. Where'd Reg- your mother run off to?"
"She's making herself presentable." The boy stated simply, "I'll make my toast for you when you come back."
With that, Roland took off towards the kitchen, and Will continued his way up the stairs. He couldn't help but take a sideways glance towards Regina's room as he past, then Henry's, until he came upon the last bedroom. It was completely empty, except for a lonely twin sized bed and a wooden dresser. Will set his things down carefully and gave his new bedroom a quick look over before exiting. As promised, Roland was waiting for him as he came into the kitchen, a piece of toast in his hand.
"Thanks..." Will muttered as he accepted the toast. The boy climbed onto one of the kitchen chairs, watching the man inquisitively as he took a bite out of the bread."Why are you staring at me like that?" He asked, his mouth full.
Roland chuckled. "You have to eat at the table."
Rolling his eyes, Will reluctantly pulled up a chair and sat down next to him.
"Why did you bring things into our house?"
"Because I'm moving in," Will said, bluntly and with a slight smile. He took pleasure in the little "O" shape the four year old made with his mouth.
"Did mommy say it was okay?!" Roland couldn't believe his ears. He hadn't seen that man before in his life.
"Yes she did." He replied triumphantly.
"Why are you staying at our house?!"
"Because your dad is my older brother. Family always stays together, don't you know?"
Roland remained silent for a moment, as if quickly running things through his mind. "My daddy doesn't have a brother."
Will gestured to himself. "He does too!"
Thankfully, Roland was still a toddler- he wasn't offended that Will never once came to visit.
"Daddy never told me! Do you know I have a brother too?!" He spoke excitedly, practically breaking the man's eardrums.
"Congratulations," he muttered, finishing his toast.
"Hey mom, I'm home!" Came Henry's voice as he entered through the front door.
When she didn't answer, he continued to the kitchen to grab a snack.
"Uh, who are you?" Henry asked, as soon as he caught sight of the guy eating toast in his house.
"There's another kid?" Will groaned, "Regina didn't say anything about two kids!"
"This is my brother!" Roland shouted, running over to give him a hug. "I missed you Henry!"
The twelve year old smiled and returned his hug. "Who's your... friend?"
"This is Will!"
"I can speak for myself buddy." Will interrupted, "I'm staying here with you guys now. Turns out I'm your uncle!"
Henry narrowed his eyes. "Neither of my parents have brothers, you're lying."
Sighing, Will got up and faced him. "Nope, Robin is by brother."
Henry gave him a dedicative look, studying his features and trying to compare them to his father's.
"I talked to your mom, and she's letting me stay here until we can get your dad back."
Frowning, Henry folded his arms. He had a hard time believing that his mother, the most strict mother in the whole world, would agree to that. Will seemed like the complete opposite of his mom, someone who pushes people's buttons- and he knew how she didn't like her buttons pushed.
"Do you play video games?" Will asked, "because I have a Playstation I could hook up to your computer. Pretty fun games, too."
Henry's eyes lit up for a moment. "Mom let's me play some."
"See, we have things we can do together. Best friends in no time!"
He still seemed skeptical, but Henry found this man interesting. He wasn't used to rebellion.
Roland propped his elbows on the table and studied the man.
"Are you gonna hurt our mom?" He asked, innocence shining in his eyes.
Will gave him a surprised look- the question was right out of the blue.
"Some of Dad's friends came to our house and almost killed her." Henry clarified warily, looking unsure himself.
Soon Will had two boys waiting for an answer. "No, I'd never hurt her. She might be annoying, but I would never do such a thing. Any man who hurts girls is just a coward."
Both boys thought about that for a moment. "It's going to be really weird having you here all the time," Henry said, forming a slight smile, "but I think it'll be fun."
Will smiled back at him. He couldn't agree more.