Nobody heard him slip through the door a little after three. Roland and Alex were still upstairs, watching an episode of Justice League last time Regina checked. She was busy cleaning up the neglected dishes in the kitchen.
"Hi Henry, how was school?" She asked, giving him a sideways smile before dipping her hands into a mountain of soapy water.
The twelve year old headed for the couch immediately, replying with a simple shrug of the shoulders.
"Oh come on, you have to give me more than that," Regina said, rolling her eyes, "did you learn anything interesting at least?"
The tv was soon turned on response. "Not really mom, it's just school." Henry told her, looking wiped out as he rested his head against the couch.
Regina decided to let him have his free time. She turned her attention back to the methodical routine of washing and scrubbing dishes, the soap up to her arms. While others found the task grueling and time consuming, she enjoyed it- sometimes it was nice to get away from all the things that weighed her down. Regina slowly hummed to herself as the sounds from the television brushed past her.
Once she finished up in the kitchen, Regina announced she was going to check up on the boys again. Just as she was going up the stairs, a half asleep Will was coming down, still in his bathrobe.
"Oh, we're not finished about this morning," she muttered as he passed her. She could almost see his eyes widen with fear from behind.
Will yawned as he made his way into the living room, plopping down next to Henry on the couch.
"What're we watching?" He asked, noticing how high volume was.
Henry shrugged again for his response. Will turned to face him, a quizzical look on his face.
"Hey, what's up? I haven't heard much from you lately."
Scowling, Henry turned his attention down to his hands.
"You can tell me anything, you know I won't tell your mom if you don't want me to." He pressed gently, knowing just how to open him up.
To his surprise, that was all it took for the twelve year old to burst into tears. Will had seldom seen Henry cry; he was always such a quiet kid. But here he was next to him, tears sliding down his face and his body shaking with sobs.
"I'm here, you can tell me anything."
He sniffed, trying to contain his emotions. "S- some people at school started to call Roland a bastard…" Henry muttered, letting his head fall into his hands. "I don't even know what a bastard is!"
Will seemed perplexed as he watched him cry. "Well that's not important," he began, "I just need to teach you how to fight. Then when you see those guys again, you can give them a-"
"No!" Henry shouted, glaring towards him, "don't you get it? I don't want to be like you! I just want a normal life, where people don't think my mom is evil and my brother is stupid!"
"Normal lives are overrated, Henry!" Will shot back, "life wouldn't nearly be as interesting as it is now."
"Why do you even live here?!" He shouted, "you don't care about my dad! He's gone and you haven't tried at all to help him!"
"Hey, there's nothing I can do!" Will said defensively, his voice rising, "without me your mother would be alone!"
And probably dead.
With a frustrated cry, Henry shot up off the couch and took off in a fury. Will followed him, but he was too late from stopping the boy from reaching up on the top shelf of their bookshelf, snatching the mirror in his hands and throwing it onto the ground. It shattered into a million pieces onto the hardwood floor.
Will didn't seem angry when he burst into the room; he simply stood there in shock, completely unaware Henry was capable of something like that. The boy's face had reddened with fury as he kept his gaze on the broken pieces, pushing Will aside as he bolted through the doorway.
"Henry! What was that?!" Regina shouted from upstairs, gripping her hands onto the rail as she soon noticed the thousand shards of glass that were splayed over her floor. Roland and Alex joined her after a second, their little heads peering down at the scene.Her son didn't answer; instead, he opened the door and walked straight out.
She fled down the stairs, stopping when she got to the doorway. He just kept on walking, no matter how many times his mother shouted after him.
"I'm going to my dad!" He yelled back at her, breaking out into a run down the sidewalk. Just when Regina was about to go after him, she felt a hand on her shoulder.
"Just let him go," Will sighed, "it would be good for him to talk to Neal for a bit."
Regina's eyes never left Henry's as she watched him disappear off in the distance. "It's too far for him!" Her voice sounding frantic and desperate.
"You have to let him go."
Life began flooding back into her, making her remember she had two children under her care. She finally turned away from the outside world, giving into Will's persuasion.
"I'll call him really fast and clean all this up," he offered, just as Alex and Roland descended down the stairs and got a full survey of the broken glass that coated the hardwood like glittering diamonds.
"I'll... I'll do it." Regina sighed, giving him a silent order to grab the kids. He did, scooping Roland up in one arm and Alex in the other. The sound of crunching glass beneath his shoes as he walked. With a heavy heart, Regina picked out a broom from the closet and sank down to her knees. With every piece scooped up, she only saw broken images of her lost love.
Will realized very quickly he was placed in an extremely awkward position. Both kids stared up at him, asking for an explanation as to what happened.
"Where'd Henry go?"
"Why'd he leave like that?"
Their only answer was silence as the man fished for something to say. Maybe Henry was right; maybe it was better to be normal.
"Did... You know I used to date your mom's sister?"
Alex cocked her blonde head to the side. "Mommy doesn't ever talk about her family."
More silence returned. Will reached into his pocket and pulled out his phone.
"I need to make a quick call, so stay put and don't go into the other room."
They exchanged curious glances with one another, not really sure what to do.
It took her a few minutes to fully clean up the last remnants of the magic mirror. Sweeping all the tiny pieces made her back sore and stiff; now all she wanted to do was crawl back into her bed and cry. But seeing that wasn't an option, she disposed of the glass and turned her attention back to Roland and Alex.
"I think I'll have to call your mom and tell her to come pick you up," she said, as calmly as she could. It was hard to push away the fact that Henry had just ran out of the house in an emotional wreck.
"Oh," the girl sighed, "okay. But what happened with Henry?"
Regina cringed inside. She didn't want completely ruin Roland's chances of finding a friend, but his first playdate wasn't ending with much promise.
"He just went to go see his dad, that's all."
What a pathetic answer that was.
Ashley and Sean only lived a few minutes away, making it easy for them to swing by and pick Alex up. Regina didn't realize they both didn't know she was Roland's mother; on the phone Ashley seemed taken aback when she answered. But the both of them seemed happy to talk to her when they arrived. Regina hoped she wasn't interrupting anything, for they seemed to be dressed up nice. Nevertheless, Alex told Roland goodbye and left with her parents, leaving the two of them alone outside.
"Mommy, is Henry okay?" He asked immediately, the building confusion making him frustrated.
"He's fine, I promise. He just needed to go visit Neal for a little bit."
Of course, that couldn't explain what happened with the mirror. But he remembered what Will had told him about making his mother happy.
"Roland," Regina began, taking a shaky breath, "I think it would be best if you stayed over with Emma tonight."
His face fell. "But why? Did I do something wrong?"
"No no, I just need some time to myself, that's all."
His mind immediately went to the dark kitchen and the knife.
He realized it was hard pretending to be happy. "You said we couldn't go over to Snow's house for a while," he told her, taking her hand and following her back to the house.
"It'll just be for tonight. Just make sure to stay out of the way and be a good boy."
He didn't say another word as she carefully did the straps to his car seat. The drive to Emma's was in complete silence; Roland simply stared out the window and tried reading her thoughts.
He enjoyed Emma's house just fine; it was just seeing his mother so depressed that made him sad inside. His father was slowly slipping away from him; his image slowly fading out, replaced by new faces he had met in the quaint little town of Storybrooke.
"You have fun, okay?" Regina asked, managing a halfhearted smile towards him.
He would have agreed to it if her voice wasn't so hollow.
"Yes mommy," Roland said, swinging his legs.
She unbuckled him, ruffling his hair softly and earning a tight embrace in return.
"Will you miss me?" He asked, keeping his arms locked around her neck.
Regina let out a small laugh, a genuine one, too, one that made him suddenly remember how she used to laugh when his daddy told her she was pretty.
"Of course I will, Roland, I love you very, very, very much."
And he knew she meant it. He let out a warm smile, one that turned into a soft giggle as he pulled away.
Regina stared at him quizzically. "What's so funny about that?"
Roland shook his head, his dark brown hair flopping from side to side as he did so. Taking her hand, he gently placed it on top of her stomach.
"Can you feel it?" He asked, "thump, thump, thump."
Regina wasn't sure if she should feel overjoyed or just plain stupid- she had never taken the time to notice it before.
"Yes, just like yours." She said, placing her hand on his chest.
What a simple joy, life was.