We Can Love Again

Dust to Dust

The weight of life was becoming a very heavy burden. He hadn't eaten in days, his entire body ached so much it was was a struggle to keep his mind focused; the journey had been so long, he no longer felt like Robin Hood, the man who once led the infamous Merry Men. He just felt like a pawn. A dirty, worthless pawn in a twisted game he didn't belong in.

Or maybe he did. After all, he was the one who decided to engage in a passionate love affair with an evil queen.

The ground beneath him crunched and crumbed as he walked across the tree lined pathway, having no idea where he was going. Still no idea.

It was irritating how the Cedar Woods seemed to mock him. Would he ever succeed? What seemed like such a simple task had turned out to be an endless pit of despair, walking around in circles, getting absolutely nowhere. Robin lost track on how many weeks he had been separated from Regina for.

"These woods are full of... Many things. Some people end up finding things they're looking for, others find just the opposite. The item you seek is located here, yes, all you have to do is look."

The problem was, there wasn't anywhere to look. He had tore the woods apart, facing many sleepless nights just to find nothing. Nothing. It was just... Nature. To hell with there being treasures left and right, there was none. An item that was said to replenish Rumplestiltskin's magic hid somewhere, an item that had plagued his mind for months. Rumple wouldn't let him go back to his family until he found it. What if he were stuck there forever? Was he denied his chance of ever marrying Regina Mills, or of ever seeing his children again?

The only thing Robin had was his tattered list of things that only made him miss his lover even more. It didn't seem real when he wrote those words, just a blurry memory that left his mind reeling with emotions.

"What is it you want me to do?" He asked suddenly, his voice cutting through the silence, "I just want to go home!"

Seconds later, the wind picked up again, flying bitterly in a torrent every which way. Robin glanced around in surprise, trying to figure out what was happening exactly. Things had quickly become chaotic; dust began hitting against his face, causing his vision to warp into a hurricane like mixture.

Then his crumpled piece of paper, his precious list and the only thing he had, ripped out of his tight grip and began twisting wildly around in the sky. It soared so high, it reached the tops of the bending trees above him. Robin immediately sought after it, noting that it was the only thing he had to guide him through the jumble of woods he had entered.

The wind resisted against him, wishing to throw him back the opposite direction and destroy his chances of ever being happy again. But Robin had been through too much to let that stop him. His eyes followed the golden hue that still came off the paper as it tore across the darkening sky. He ran after it without stopping, figuring it had to come back down at some point.

But that really wasn't the outcome. Instead, it had gotten tangled among the branches of one of the trees, struggling wildly, as if trying to free itself. It was high up, and showed no sign of coming down.

Robin swore out loud, his eyes scaling from the bottom of the jagged tree up to the frayed branches at the top. There was a way up there, it just wouldn't be an enjoyable one.

But he started for the base of it anyways; there was no way he could let Regina down. As a child, Robin had climbed many trees- he had been pretty good at it, too. The wind forced him against the hard bark, which ripped apart his clothing and scratched his skin as he rose higher and higher.

He felt inclined to continue up the tree faster when he noticed the piece of paper begin to glow brighter and more intense.

She's an evil queen, nothing more than an evil queen...

"What the hell is this place?!" Robin shouted, knowing then he wasn't alike. Who would make such a hopeless section of the world, and why did it exist?

You've wasted you're entire life way, stupid fool! She can give you nothing!

Robin clung to the tree for fear he would fall to the leaf covered ground beneath him. He was so close to the paper, he could almost reach out and grab it.

She gave him everything.

His eyes reflected the blazing light that emitted from his beacon of hope, the one thing that kept him alive for the months he had been alone. Why was it getting so bright? Robin had a strange feeling that the object he was searching for was about to turn up soon.

You sentenced your son to a lifetime of misery!

The words boomed across the sky like thunder. This was the last thing Robin heard before he snatched hold of the paper.

Immediately, the tormented whirlwind around him dropped dead, silenced like the blow of a candle. A searing shot of pain suddenly made his attention turn to the list- it was now in flames.

The leaping bursts of fire grazed his skin, instinctively making him drop the piece of paper. It rushed to the ground, a trail of light smoke following it as the flames quickly consumed its entire being, leaving only a pile gray ashes in its place.

Robin could only stare down at the dust that softly coated the forest floor. In his shock, his hold on the tree was lost, and next thing he knew he was tumbling through the air with the sky filling in his view.

He hit the ground hard; it was in that moment Robin realized he had nothing else he could possibly do to get back to his family.

Amidst his pain however, Robin felt something small and hard underneath him. Somehow, he found the will to roll over and sit up, searching through the pile of leaves until he discovered something unusual. It felt like a rock in his hands, but when he pulled it out Robin realized it was something much more.

Though small, the sphere was filled with a swirling purple color. He could only stare at it in utter amazement as his entire world melted before him.

Astoundingly, all his pain had disappeared as he gazed about his new surroundings. He was now standing alone in a green field. Or, so he thought.

"Well done, dearie." Rumplestiltskin's voice sounded behind him, making Robin clutch the magical object tighter in his fist.

"Now, if you'll just hand it to me, we can get things started." He sounded like he was in a hurry.

"How... How do I know I can trust you?"

Rumple responded with a mere roll of his eyes. "I didn't make you go through all that for nothing. Besides, I want to go home as much as you do."

Home. The word made his heart swell within his chest. So he brought is arm back and gently tossed it towards him.

Rumple caught it gracefully, and instantly crushed it inside his palm. Robin watched silently as a deep purple smoke laced between his fingers and spilled onto the ground, evaporating into the air.

The Dark One had finally gotten is magic back.

He seemed rejuvenated with his newfound power, like he finally had energy again. He brought his hands to the open space in front of them, forming a spinning green portal within a matter of seconds. It seemed too easy.

Rumplestiltskin turned behind him to face his partner.

"Well, are you coming with me or not?"

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