We Can Love Again

Spark of Something New

Roland was in love with all of the new things he had gotten. His mother had to pry him away from the television so he could do something productive for the day. She was still trying to get used to him being five, it seemed like such a old age for her little boy. It was still early in the morning, which made it especially odd when the doorbell rang.

Regina, Robin, Roland, and Henry were all watching cartoons on the couch. None of them ha a desire to answer the door, so it took a few long, drawn out seconds before any of them got up.

"Neal... What are you going here?" Robin asked, still dressed in checkered pajama bottoms and a grey t shirt.

The man that stood already wore a guilty expression on his face. He held a small box in his hands, one that was tied with a red ribbon on top.

"I just wanted to apologize for what happened yesterday. Thought I'd swing by before work and drop this off for Roland."

Robin examined the gift for a moment, crossing his arms over his chest. "Well, it was Roland's party, not mine. I'll go get him."

A few moments later, the boy came to the door, looking sleepy and slightly confused as he glanced up at Neal.

"Hey there, how've you been?"

Roland tilted his head to the side, curiously glancing at the box in his hands. "You and Killian were fighting at my party," he stated firmly, knowing why he had came. He was young, but he wasn't stupid- bribery seldom worked. "It was my party! Why do you always have to be mean to each other?"

Neal sighed, not knowing how to tell him. "Look, I really am sorry. I don't like to fight... It just happened, you know? I thought this present would make up for it."

He then presented the box to him, which Roland carefully looked over before opening. Inside was a single piece of paper; etched upon the paper was a sketch of his favorite superhero, Superman, with a child standing next to him, one he automatically presumed was him. They were colored in with bright colored pencils.

Roland knew he was supposed to be cross with him, but he could help but smile.

"I-I know it's not much... But I know how much you like Superman-"

"I think it's awesome!" Roland told him, "I'll hang it up in my room if Mommy will let me."

Neal seemed more than relieved. "So... Are we good then? You and I?"Roland tore his eyes away from the picture after a few seconds to look back up at him.

"Do you promise to try and get along with Hook?"

Naturally, the man sighed. Even though Roland was only five, he was sure smart.

"I guess I could... Try." He managed, thinking in his head how preposterous the idea was. Killian was nothing more than a villain, a filthy pirate- he still had no idea why Emma was so caught up on him, despite how many times she denied it. Neal hated to say it, but he was jealous of that filthy pirate.

"Good," Roland said, feeling satisfied with himself.

Just then, Henry came behind him, hooking his arm around his little brother's neck.

"Hey Dad! Did you draw that yourself?" He asked, peering down at the photo.

"Yeah, tried to at least. Drawing is hard than it looks." Neal replied, sending his son a smile. "You want to grab some breakfast?"

Henry nodded. "Sure! Let me ask- you know- other Dad."

He dashed back towards the living room, though he was sure Robin would say yes.

Neal watched him until he banished around the corner. Perhaps his life wasn't so bleak after all.

Will Scarlett didn't know how to feel about living by himself again. Sure, he had done it for years in and out of Wonderland, but this time was different. Life had gotten so much better with Regina and her two boys being a part of it; with them, Will felt like he belonged somewhere- like he had a family again.

Now that Robin had returned, he had only received seldom texts from Regina, and short, spur of the moment visits from Henry and Roland. He knew she was busy, but Will couldn't help but want his old room back. Of course the thought was selfish, but they were all he had. Will had realized to the full extent how much his old friend Alice had him had grown apart, she was always so caught up with her love life to have time for anything. Loneliness began to fill his day with long hours at work, boredom his only company. It was hard to look at things positively; yes, he had found his brother again, and yes, Robin had forgiven him. But he missed the fun and thrill that came with spending time with Henry and Roland. He even missed Regina, even after the multiple times she got angry with him for not doing things right.

Despite all the things she did to irritate him on a daily basis, Will couldn't be more grateful for her setting him up on a date with Ruby Lucas. It was the only thing that kept him going, the hope and anxiety that came with thinking about her. Everyone had a crush on her, even if it was mostly because of the clothes she wore. That wasn't the only reason Will wanted to date her though, he thought she had a great personality. It helped a lot that she was friends with Regina; he hoped that gave him an advantage.

Will thought about these things over and over as he paced the floor of his apartment, dressed in a red flannel shirt and blue jeans. Considering the fact that it was only their first official date, he figured he would play it off as casual as he could. They had agreed on meeting at his place (that was about seven doors down from her apartment) around noon. Ruby told him she was going to bring her new dog with her.

Will never got nervous on dates. He had so many relationships in the past it was hart to keep track- but none of them ever meant anything to him. It made him feel regretful when he remembered all the girls he had used merely for self pleasure; he couldn't let himself fall for someone after what happened with Anastasia. But that was years ago. Being with Regina and the boys made him remember what it felt like to belong somewhere, to have someone that cared about him. And he realized that he wanted to feel that again.

If Regina Mills could find love again, Will figured he could too.

There was a knock on his door, causing the man to immediately snap out of his thoughts. Glancing at the clock, he smiled to see she was right on time.

"Hey Ruby, glad you came." Will began, allowing her into his small apartment. He cringed at his own words- she didn't need to know how desperate he was.

She smiled warmly at him. "Of course I came!"

In her arms, she held a small schnauzer with grey colored fur. "This is Charlie," Ruby told him, "I love him already. He's the cutest little dog ever."

Will smiled as he reached out to pet the animal. "He looks like a good dog. Did you know Robin is taking over the animal shelter?"

Ruby had to retain herself from reacting too much about it. She knew she had an issue with blurting things out when she shouldn't. "Oh really? I guess I'll see him more often then. Charlie goes through so many toys it's ridiculous."

Will lead her over to the small couch he had for a living room, sitting down next to her. Before he had a chance to change the subject, Ruby continued.

"Robin and Regina are just so cute together! I've already started to think about how their wedding will go. Weddings are kind of my thing- dresses, tuxedos, decorations, flowers- Will, you'd be Robin's best man!"

Her last comment made Will pause and think for a movement. "Me? Best man?" The thought had never occurred to him.

"Well, you're his brother! It just makes sense." Then, Ruby stopped herself, knowing she got carried away again. "I'm sorry- you invited me here, it's not right for me to keep going on and on about Robin and Regina. How have you been?"

Will took amusement in her flightiness. She was all over the place and it was quite adorable.

"Um, pretty good I guess. I've just been working a lot. How about you?"

Ruby sighed. "Shifts at the diner are the same as always. It's hard keeping up with that and taking care of Charlie. I think he gets lonely cooped up in the apartment, so I let him wander around the diner sometimes. Granny doesn't like that idea too much, though."

Will tried to image that little schnauzer causing chaos in the restaurant. "I'll have to come by more often then- I'd love to see your grandma trying to catch that dog running around the tables with a hot dog in his mouth."

Hearing his words, Ruby let out a small laugh. "That's hilarious! Granny gets mad at Charlie all the time. You'd think she does well with dogs, but she doesn't."

"Sounds like you have a lot going on at once then."

"Oh, I do," Ruby sighed, resting the back of her head on the couch, "I've also been taking these online college classes on art- because that's really what I want to be one day, an artist. I'm not good at much else... I tried being one of Emma's detectives at the sheriff station, but her dad kind of took my spot after she and Snow went through that portal. I wasn't cut out for criminal justice though."

Charlie had wiggled out of her arms, and was now running about the apartment in hot pursuit for his tail.

"Hey, I think you'd be an awesome artist." He told her, finding it hard to keep from watching the dog. "If it makes you feel any better, I still have no idea what I'm going to do with my life- I mean, we're from different realms, what do we need college degrees for? I really don't want to work at a pretzel shop for the rest of my life though, that's for sure."

Will was right; none of them even belonged there in Storybrooke. But they all had things they were destined for- Ruby was a werewolf, and she had to accept that. She hated it at first, but she had learned to use it as an advantage.

"So... Who were you back in the Enchanted Forest?" She asked, quite curious to know.

Will was taken aback by the question. Not because it was an out of the blue question, but because he really didn't know himself. So he chuckled a bit.

"Nobody interesting, that's for sure." He told her with a shrug, causing her to give him a look.

"I don't believe that! Everyone has a story."

But one worthy enough to tell? That was debatable.

"Well I started out in the Enchanted Forest, but I traveled to Wonderland right after I turned nineteen."

To his surprise, a glimmer of excitement filled her eyes. "Really? Wonderland? Oh, that sounds like such a cool place. What's it like?"

Nobody ever wanted to know his story. Suddenly, Will felt something he hadn't felt in a long time. And he loved it.

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