The room they had been ushered into was extremely tiny for eight exhausted people who had just survived Neverland.
"Are sure this is the only room available?" David asked the employee for the third time, eyeing around the area with concern. There were only two beds, both of them small, a couple lamps resting on wooden tables, and a single window on the adjacent wall.
"We've been busy all this weekend. The trolls finished their migration to this part of the Enchanted Forest."
Snow shrugged. "I suppose we could all squeeze in..."
Her husband pulled out some bills from his back pocket and handed it to the man. The employee stared confused at the money, but gave a curt nod and walked away, leaving the group alone to stare at the shoebox of a room.
"Alright, how are we gonna decide who gets the beds?" Emma asked, already knowing the dispute wouldn't end well.
"Well I think I should get a bed," Henry stated, "after all I was taken hostage for a week and a half."
Regina sighed, looking towards the fairy. "I think Tinkerbell should take one. She was out there for a whole lot longer than we were."Everyone looked towards the former queen in surprise. Regina being selfless?
"Sounds good to me," Emma shrugged, "but Henry, you're small... Maybe you could choose one of us to share the bed with you?" Even Henry knew by that she wanted to be that person. He looked uncertainty over towards Regina, suddenly feeling like he was caught in the middle.
"Sure Emma, you can sleep next to me," he finally said, "but you can switch off with Regina tomorrow."
Emma rolled her eyes. "I can live with that."
They then settled into the small room, everyone settling on the floor as quickly as possible so they could sleep. Before she did though, Regina went over to her son and gave him a hug.
"I'm so glad you're back," she smiled, "you have no idea how much I missed you."
Henry returned her hug. "I missed you too." He looked up at her skeptically. "So what's with that little kid mom? I saw the way you were looking at him."
Regina let out a quiet laugh. "Jealous, are we?"
"No," he retorted defensively, "I just... Don't want you to replace him with me, that's all."
She held him tighter when she heard his comment- she didn't even think about him saying those words.
"I don't know if I could ever love anyone else the way I love you Henry. Roland is a sweet boy but he could never be like you." Regina paused, hoping she got her wording correct. "I've only known Roland for a little while but... he makes me happy."
She knew this would eventually turn into a conversation about his father, so she decided to cut it off there. "Have a good sleep; I'll be right over there if you need me."
"Night mom." He said with a yawn stretching over his mouth, laying down next to Emma on the bed.
Regina walked over to a free spot on the wooden floor and took off her jacket, balling it into a makeshift pillow before laying down. She, like everyone else, was downright tired.
But even after she closed her eyes, the image of the man with the lion tattoo remained.
The next morning, the group set out for the town villages. Everyone was more than happy to get out of the dingy hotel room. Snow and David seemed to enjoy the hustle and bustle the most; they walked around like excited tourists on their honeymoon, pointing and calling attention to every little thing. Henry was the same way, though he was asking questions about little things every few seconds. Regina thought it was fun seeing it all again, but she couldn't help but recall all the moments she had spent as the evil queen down at the villages. Tinkerbell, Hook, and Neal were somewhat the same way- they had all seen it before. Emma seemed interested in it all, but she didn't seem to show much appeal to everything around then. Neal and Hook were already trailing behind her like puppies in need of attention. Regina smirked when she saw how pathetic they looked, already wrestling for the woman's time of day.
Not too much time had passed before it was almost noon. Regina glanced down at her watch again, still unsure about the whole "date" thing Robin had invited her to. Even if things were awkward with him, she still would be able to see Roland again.
"You've been looking at your watch for five minutes, Regina," Emma stated sarcastically, "you better get over there so you can see sexy arrow man."
She looked up, a startled look on her face. Then she let her eyes fall down to her current outfit, sighing in the process.
"How should I look for thing?" She asked, her voice full of stress. "Casual... Fancy..."
Emma rolled her eyes dramatically. "Oh my God Regina, you're going to his house, not meeting the president."
"Well I can't wear this! I've been wearing it for a week!" She gestured to her entire outfit.
Just then, Tinkerbell walked over and waved her wand over Regina's figure."You're hopeless," she sighed, properly looking her over as a light blue top and dark washed jeans replaced her previous attire.
"I'm still mad at you, but I can't just sit around and listen to you debate about what to wear. Fashion is my thing." Tinkerbell said, before spinning around on her heels and walking off.
"So that's why you're so nice to her," Emma marveled, "you know she'll cave in one of these days and help with your relationship problems."
Regina gave her a look.
"I have to say... you look good."
Smiling, Regina said one last thing before she took off. "You, uh... You don't have to show Henry my part of the castle when you go. I don't really want him seeing that... I don't ever want to see that place again."
Emma knew she meant what she said. "I'll try. Now you have fun," she encouraged, "but not too much fun."
Regina gave her a playful whack on the arm.
She didn't want for a response before billowing up in purple smoke, leaving Emma wondering how the future would look for the most complicated person she knew.
She was right on time. Robin had gotten there a tad bit early, mostly because Roland was bursting with excitement to see her again. When he saw her, a huge smile spread across his face.
"Regina!" He yelled in his adorable four year old voice, jumping up into her arms as quickly as he could. He was soon followed by his father, who flashed her his trademark smile.
"Nice to see you again," Robin said warmly, "our house isn't too far from here. Hope you don't mind walking."
Regina shook her head. "I like walking."
It was a beautiful day in the Enchanted Forest. They walked across a wide, open field of plush green grass for about fifteen minutes, talking and occasionally laughing as they went- most of the conversation starters came from Roland. Regina couldn't help but think back to her old home here; she remembered how she always wanted to be outside.
Roland was starting to grow impatient when they finally arrived at their house. It was small, a little rustic burrow just about in the middle of nowhere.
"I know it's not much but... It's all we have." Robin said as they came to the front door.
"I like it," Regina concurred, "it seems really cozy."
The inside only proved her point. It was small, things were crowded together and toys scattered the floor. But she meant what she said about liking it- it made her happy to see such a secure place for Roland.
A man sat on one of the wooden chairs in the kitchen, a man Robin thankfully knew.
"Ah, Little Jon, I forgot about you coming over." Robin said quickly before turning to Regina. "I'll just be a moment, promise. Roland, why don't you show her around?"
The boy nodded with excitement. "You have to see my room! It's that one right there." He pointed towards one of the open doors. Regina carried him to it, carefully edging open the door and walking though. She set Roland down on his straw bed and looked around, finding this room very fit for a boy like him. Toys and sheets of paper scattered the ground; the shelves above his bed lined with little trinkets. Pushed to the corner was a wooden crib, looking like it had properly lived out its days.
"Look look look!" Roland held up an elephant stuffed animal with pride written all across his face, "this ones my favorite."
Regina smiled, absolutely loving all the attention he was giving her. Henry had a stuffed animal just like that one when he was younger. For the first time in a very long while, Regina was happy. But in the back of her mind, she was already subconsciously counting down the days it took for her to ruin everything like she always did.