We Can Love Again

Against the Darkness

Just as he had promised, Will stayed with her the entire night. He didn't get much sleep, but he did it for Regina's sake. The night before almost didn't seem real to him as he thought about it; the scene with her and the knife stuck in his brain like a distant nightmare.

Then he remembered Roland was there. Will couldn't even begin to think about what was going through his mind, his small, innocent, narrow minded thoughts. He had already seen his mother beaten and tortured.

When Will was four years old, he certainly didn't have to endure things as heavy as that.

With care, he lifted Regina's head off his chest, just enough so he could wiggle out from the bed. She didn't wake; she only mumbled something inaudible into her pillow and faded back into sleep. Will started for the door, gently shutting it closed on his way out. He just hoped Roland hadn't told Henry about anything yet- now that would ruin everything.

To his relief, Henry was still completely knocked out in his bed. Roland was asleep as well, but for some reason his feet were facing the headboard. Will almost found it funny- his initial response was to laugh.

"Roland, wake up buddy," he called to the boy softly, eventually causing his eyes to open halfway. It was obvious he still needed more sleep. Will reached under his arms and pulled the boy up and over his shoulder. Roland was so tired he didn't even try to protest- he simply hung limply over his shoulder and let his uncle carry him out of his and Henry's bedroom. They went down the stairs and towards the couch where the two of them took a seat.

The subject of last night's encounter wasn't something Will wanted to bring back up, but he knew if he didn't, things would only get worse.

Something Henry had told him a while back resurfaced in his mind- he likes to be held. So that's what he did; Will held him securely in his lap and rubbed his back.

Roland had to be nudged again; he had fallen back asleep on the way down the stairs.

"What do you remember from last night?" Will asked, gently imposing the question.

Yawning, the child rested his head on the man's chest. "Mommy was very sad. She said we can't hold knives because they hurt and that's what she was doing."

Taking a deep breath, Will looked down at his small face. That was a start, at least.

"Well you're right, she was sad. Did you know that... Being sad can make you sick sometimes?"

Roland's eyes immediately grew wide. "Is mommy sick?!"

"No no," he reassured, desperately wishing their conversation could go by faster.

"Not the coughing, sore throat kind of sick anyways. Sometimes the things in your mind can make you do things you wouldn't normally do."

Somehow, the four year old already knew that her mind sickness had something to do with his father, the man that had practically vanished from his life.

"Oh," he said simply, peering down at his blue Captain America pajama bottoms.

"Your mother is going through something hard, so I need you to be happy for her- I promise it'll make her feel better."

Roland scowled. "That would be lying. I'm not happy. Henry's sad too... So are you."

"You'll just have to trust me... Do you want your mom to be happier?"

Everything was pounding in his four year old head; things he was sure was wrong was fuzzy now, undetectable and confusing.

"I will try and make her happy." He finally got out, feeling exhausted and miserable.

Will held him tighter in his lap. "Let's not mention any of this to Henry or anyone else... Okay?"

Roland sighed. "Okay. As long as you make her happy too."

"I try... We all try. Hopefully our best is good enough."

"Even without dad?"

The hopelessness in his voice alarmed him to an extent. Will had always admired his nephew for being so optimistic about things... Now he seemed to have lost that spark of personality.

"Think about how happy you'll be when he comes back," Will began, forcing a small smile on his face. "You should make up a list of things you miss about him- then when he comes back, you can do all those things with him."

Roland glanced up at him with surprised eyes. "Will you help me?"

Will ruffled the boy's hair with his hands. "Sorry pal, I have to go somewhere before your mother wakes up. Why don't you surprise her and get started on the list?"

Nodding, Roland jumped off his lap and headed for the office for a couple sheets of paper.

Perhaps Regina's little boy could end up being their savior against the darkness that lingered in their home.

"Will Scarlett... I never thought I'd see you ever again." Archie chuckled slightly, opening the door wider to allow him inside. He was telling the truth- it had been almost seven years since he stopped going to sessions with him. Will had gone to them unwillingly, they were court mandated by Sherif Graham when he got busted for drunk driving... For the third time that year. He hated it, but he had to admit, it helped to tell someone about his problems.

"What can I help you with?"

Will followed him into his apartment, sitting down on that same dark colored couch.

"It's not me, it's Regina. I think... I think she's going insane without Robin with her." He decided bluntness was his way to go with the conversation. He desperately needed answers, even if that meant asking the irritating cricket that practically knew all his life's issues from the past.

Archie frowned. "How come she's not with you then? It's kind of hard to do therapy on someone when they're not in the room."

"If she knew about me coming to talk to you, she'd probably kill me," Will told him, "just... Hear what I have to say and tell me how I can fix this. Because I can't take this any longer."

Setting his clipboard in place, Archie gave him his full attention. "Alright then, I'll try to help as best I can."

Will leaned back in the couch and fiddled with his fingers. "She tried to kill herself last night. It was late, and I think she had another nightmare or something. I had just gotten home... I saw her standing there in the dark, holding that knife like all she wanted to do was plunge it into her heart. And I stopped her, but Roland was there- he got freaked out and ran off." Sighing, he paused to gather his thoughts again. The whole scene still didn't seem real to him.

"Seems like her body is having a difficult time coping with Robin not being there to support her," Archie started, "I've had a few cases of nightmares with other patients... It's a very common thing."

"What about subconsciously trying to kill yourself? Is that common?" Will was so tense it was as if the situation was slowly eating him alive. "My dumbass bother has been missing for four months- Regina has to take care of her kids and pretend that everything is okay- she's very good at it, too. But she's gotten worse as the baby's gotten bigger. And she can't raise that baby on her own. I think her baby is slowly killing her."

Will spoke grimly, not knowing what to say or do next. The silence that had overtook their conversation left things almost unbearable between them.

"I've known Regina for quite some time... She's always been the most independent, driven woman I have ever met. She's had a hard go at life, but she still manages to make things work. I'll be honest, I never thought I would see the day when she found love again. And now that she has, she's completely different- unpredictable even. Being in love can make you do crazy stuff... Nothing is worse than a broken heart, though. Ask anyone around here- they've all experienced it."

"Well Regina had Daniel once, and she lost him." He didn't know much about that story; he had only heard his name through the mutters that traveled through the walls of their house in the middle of the night.

"Yes, but Regina was a practically child then. She's matured a lot since the event, but it has been hard for her to move on from that. Plus, Daniel was gone forever- Robin is still out there, which gives her the hope of him returning. But because it's been so long, there is the fear that he won't return."

"What are you getting at?" Impatience didn't even begin to explain what Will was feeling inside.

Archie blew out a sigh. "I'm saying that there's nothing I can do to cure a broken heart. I mean, I suppose I could prescribe some sleeping pills for her, but it would be tough to find ones that wouldn't affect her pregnancy." He paused for a moment, a skeptical look on his face. "Can I ask you a question, Will?"

The other man shrugged. So he had come all this way for nothing. "Sure, why not."

"What will you do if your brother does end up returning?"

He scowled at the oddity of the question. "I don't know, be happy I guess... For my nephews, for Regina."

Archie gave him a look. "So you're not worried at all about how the relationship between you two will go? Do you even have a desire to make things right with him?"

"Maybe I do... I don't know. I've been separated from him for so long, I don't know how we could be okay again."

"You've really come to like Roland and Henry, haven't you." Archie knew he was prying, but he could tell it was true.

"Yeah... I guess so. They need somebody to be there for them. Somebody who doesn't make them wear knee pads when riding their bikes," he smirked at his last sentence, remembering Regina's nagging voice as she tended to their every need.

"And what about Regina?"

"Oh God, where do I even begin," Will muttered, "well right now she's a compete basket case. She's really good at covering up her tracks when around the kids, but when she's on her own all she wants to do is cry and make me suffer through it. The knife incident really freaked her out, though. Probably shouldn't have left her alone. But I guess Regina isn't all that bad. Everyone used to be scared of her, but... She really isn't that bad."

By that, Archie got out, she's the only person that accepts me for who I am.

Will Scarlett, with his rough edges and short temper, finally found a place where he belonged.

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