We Can Love Again


Even after countless weeks of waking up to Regina's terrified screams, her nightmares didn't show any sign of lighting up. Will burst into her room and shook her awake again; she had stale tears on her face as she hoarsely called Robin's name into the darkness. It was becoming quite the routine for the both of them.

Regina tried slowing her breathing down and wiped away her tears, her entire body feeling numb and shaken. When she glanced at her alarm clock, she saw it was already eleven in the morning, close to the time Roland would be out of preschool.

"Damn, how'd I sleep in again?" She asked in a harsh, defeated voice.

Will gave her a sympathetic look. "I think you just need more sleep, Regina. Don't worry, I'll go get Roland from school for you."

And she was grateful for that. Regina let her head fall back onto her pillow.


Her brother rolled his eyes. "Just be sure to eat something while I'm gone."

This time, she didn't even try to argue with him.

Will pulled on a jacket and headed outside towards his beaten up Toyota Camry, the rusted, outdated, and barely running vehicle, and started the engine. The school wasn't too far away, just a few minutes away from their home. Personally, Will avoided pickup times at the school as much as possible- the place was flooded with children running about every which way. But he thought he would give Regina a break.

He pulled up along the side of the school and started off towards the front door. After some amount of time spent wandering aimlessly around for the preschool section of the school, he found Roland's classroom. Soon, he was surrounded by about twenty little kids, all babbling on about something they had done that day. Will searched the room for his nephew, who he eventually spotted on the far side of the room, playing with some blocks with a blonde haired girl. The boy seemed happy to see him there.

"Hi Will!" He beamed, "can Alex come home with us so we can play?"

His question left him speechless. "Uh, did you talk to mom about it?"

Roland nodded. Just then, a man came from behind to pick up the girl.

"Daddy, can I go play with Roland?" She asked, in such a sweet voice it would be hard to refuse.

The man turned his attention towards Will. "Are you his dad?" He asked, obviously clueless to how things have been going for them during the last couple months.

"No, uncle, actually." He muttered back, trying to tame his sarcasm.

The man offered a hand out towards him. "Sean Herman, nice to meet you."

Will was never good on his people skills. He was sure he responded with something pathetic, he couldn't even remember what.

"So, is it okay for Alexandra to stay over for a while?"

Roland was tugging on the hem of his shirt, begging him to say yes. No matter how much of a tough guy he was, Will always fell weak when it came to his little nephew.

"Uh, sure. I think Regina would be fine with that."

"Awesome! I've been meaning to take Ashley out for a while now- Alex is a good girl, I promise. Right?" He playfully nudged his daughter, making her giggle. Setting her back down to the ground, he gave the three of them one last goodbye before exiting.

Will glanced at the little girl, simply staring as if he had no idea what had just happened.

"Yay! I can show you my room!" Roland smiled, bouncing off the walls with excitement.

"Uh... Yeah. Let's go home."

He couldn't think straight, not after he knew he messed up. Regina was going to murder him.

When they get to his car, things only got worse. Will realized that he only had one car seat in the back, and there were two of them.

"Well shi- crap." He caught himself, "you'll just have to get in there and make sure Emma doesn't see us."

Will drove home as carefully as possible, which was hard because of his past with reckless driving. Alex and Roland would not stop talking- it was about the most pointless things, too. He was more than happy to get out of the car and usher them both inside; a beating from his sister would be better than listening to them talk about Justice League, the show they both loved.

Regina was sitting on the couch when they walked in, a bowl of cereal in her lap. She was watching her dumb tv show, The Vampire Diaries, and her hair was still wet.

Once she heard the voices of two screaming children running about her house, she turned around to see what was going on.

Will was wearing his 'I did something bad' smile.

"Hi mommy, this is my friend Alex!" Roland grinned, showing the blonde girl off. Alex gave her a small smile.

"Well, aren't you adorable," Regina mused, "I didn't know you were coming over though. Such a... Surprise." She was sure to send Will the best evil queen stare she could manage on such short notice.

"Oh, are you having a baby?" She asked excitedly, as soon as she noticed her swollen stomach.

Setting her cereal down next to her, Regina smiled back at her. "Yup, Roland going to be a big brother."

The four year old smiled proudly, suddenly remembering something. "Mommy, I made you something today!"

He ran off to fetch his backpack before his mother could ask what it was he wanted to show her.

"Does that mean you found a Prince Charming?" Alex asked, almost dubiously once Roland had left.

Regina couldn't help but smile when she heard it; she was so sweet. "I guess it has."

The girl beamed back, climbing onto the couch so she was sitting right next to her. She certainly didn't have any concept of personal space.

"My daddy says I'm a princess," she told her, almost boastfully.

That was the funny thing about living in a cursed town; there were many actual princes and princesses.

"Well I'm a princess too, bet you didn't know that." Regina replied smoothly, earning a surprised expression from Alex. Before she could say anything back, Roland came scampering back into the room with a piece of paper in his hands.

"Mommy, I made this for you!" He exclaimed, sounding exasperated as he climbed up in between them. With her being so distracted, she was forced to abandon her show. Will had managed to escape, but she knew she would get him back later.

Roland handed her a white piece of paper, one that had been crumpled and folded one too many times. It took a second to smooth out, but when Regina did she couldn't say she was expecting what she saw.

The whole page was written in a bright blue crayon, in her son's huge, lopsided handwriting. It was titled, Things Daddy and I Will Do.

She normally cried about a lot of things; especially lately, since her hormones had been thrown off balance. It was rare for her to think of Robin and not feel like it was hard to breathe. Yet, seeing her boy put so much love and effort into something so simply only made her smile.

"Oh Roland, this is... This is perfect!"

He seemed pleased with himself as he leaned over to throw his arms around her.

I want daddy to show me how to shoot a bow like Henry.

His h's were off; that was the one letter he still struggled with.

Daddy needs to see Mommy's big white house.

It would be fun if daddy could push me on the swing like Mommy does.

Roland had only written three points, but they all touched her heart. Regina realized that she hadn't been showing enough love towards her little boy the past few weeks. She missed cuddling with him.

"I thought of it all by myself." He smiled slyly and she knew he was lying, but she didn't care.

"Why don't you take Alex upstairs and show her your room? Your brother will be home soon."

He jumped off the couch, lending a hand out to the girl in the most adorable, gentleman- like notion Regina had ever seen.

"I like you Miss Mills," Alex said with a sweet smile.

She hated being called that- absolutely hated it. But she smiled back anyway, since this was the first official friend Roland had since they had arrived in Storybrooke.The two four year olds took off for the stairs, Regina watching them shortly as they went.

There was now something in their house that hadn't been seen in what seemed like forever- something that had become such a rarity in her life. A smile. A laugh.


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