We Can Love Again

Back to the Past

Everyone was completely sick of the room. It was a dismal place; the air was always humid and there were always at least five people in it at once, if not all of them. The nights were near sleepless and there always seemed to be some sort of contention going on. It was nice to get back to the people she was familiar with, but it was always such a change from Robin's house; with Roland's little voice echoing through the walls and Robin's stories of traveling the streets, going on adventures, just to help people less fortunate then he was... Well, it was certainly a different environment. She still didn't know what it was about his house that made her feel so unlike herself.

She and Henry were sitting side by side on the side of their bed, listening to Emma and Neal argue with each other over what exactly happened the night Roland arrived in Neverland. It was getting quite heated, but Regina and everyone else seemed to be secretly enjoying themselves- Hook, especially. Regina was just waiting for Snow and Charming to arrive so they could see to mess for themselves.

"I was coming for you! For Henry!" Neal was almost yelled at her, clenching his fists together angrily.

"But you didn't come, you let a little boy suffer instead!" Emma retaliated, stepping closer to him. She knew she shouldn't get this mad in front of her son, but she really couldn't help it.

"I thought the plan would work!"

"You can't just put a kid's life in danger Neal; he could've died in Neverland!"

Neal had feelings for the woman, but sometimes she could be the most stubborn person in the universe. "But he didn't, Emma." He tried calming his voice down a tad bit, "everything's fine now."

"Ugh, you just don't get it!"

Before Neal could reply, the door opened, revealing a confused Prince Charming and Snow White.

"Guys, why are we yelling?" Snow asked, stepping between her daughter and her ex boyfriend.

"Neal just now told me that he's the reason Roland got sent to Neverland!"

"That doesn't mean we need to yell about it," David said softly, putting a hand on Emma's shoulder.

"Aw, you had to stop them?" Regina said, "Hook and I were enjoying it."

"You're not helping." Snow said, giving her a cold look that only seemed to fuel her enthusiasm.

"I have an idea," David interjected, "why don't we all go on a nice walk outside- it's a beautiful evening, we shouldn't be stuck here fighting."

Regina tried very hard not to roll her eyes. David was always so painfully cheerful.

Everyone exchanged monotone shrugs and slowly got up, heading towards the door, though instead, Tinkerbell came to sit by Regina.

"You know what you should do instead tonight?"

"Anything but take a walk," she answered detestfully, "that's about the lamest thing I've ever heard."

Tinkerbell let out a small laugh. "You should have an evening alone with Robin."

Hearing his name, Regina perked up. "Not that I'm not enjoying this but... Why are you being so nice to me? Last time I checked you hated me," she asked slowly, truly curious. The fairy looked different from when she saw her in Neverland, more healthy, perhaps.

"Well I'm not saying I forgive you for what you did," Tinkerbell replied, "but I started this whole thing with you a long time ago. It's only fitting I carry it out until the end." She leaned in a bit, hushing her voice, "I've also been feeling a little bit stronger since we arrived here."

Regina was so relieved the fairy was happy again. She felt bad for what she did to her before; maybe things were starting to work out for her after all.

"So let's go over there, you and I, and I'll take Roland back with me and babysit him for a little while."

"But what will we do?" Regina asked, seeing the playful light dance about her green eyes.

"That's up to you," she said, taking her hand. "I'll take us there. You just hold on."

They vanished from the room within seconds, leaving no trace of them there.

When they appeared, they were once again standing in front of the house that was growing ever so familiar.

"You should know, Roland probably goes to bed soon." Regina told the fairy, who simply laughed in response.

"Don't worry Regina, I've handled many kids before, this one won't be any different."

They reached the door and Tinkerbell knocked; the sky above them was a brilliant array of colors as the sun sank beneath it.

Robin answered the door, knowing it was probably Regina. Nobody else really visited him or Roland besides his merry men.

"Did you come to insult my dinner making skills?" He asked playfully, allowing them both in, "because I can assure you Roland loved the turkey I made us."

"No," Regina said with a laugh, "Tinkerbell here had the idea that we should do something tonight. She can stay here and watch Roland."

"You'd sacrifice a Friday night to watch a four year old sleep?" Robin asked, "well, that's very kind of you."

He then turned to Regina. "I have the perfect place in mind. If you're up for some fun that is,"

"So that's a yes, just like that?" She couldn't believe it was really that easy.

"Of course it's a yes," Robin smiled, "just let me say goodbye to Roland, then we can head out."

Regina nodded, and watched him walk into the little boy's bedroom.

"See, he really likes you." Tinkerbell whispered towards her, "I know it, I can see it in his eyes."

She tried to keep from blushing as she soaked in her words. "Thank you, Tinkerbell. Really means a lot."

She smiled back in reply as Robin returned, grabbing a jacket from a hanger and giving his attention to the fairy.

"I already put him to bed, so unless he wants a glass or water or something he should be okay." He instructed her, the care for his boy really showing through his voice.

"Got it. Now you two have fun, but don't stay out too late."

Robin opened the door and gestured for Regina to pass through. "We'll try not to," he told Tinkerbell before closing the door behind him.

Once they were alone outside, Regina looked up towards Robin. "So where are we going to go?"

He only smiled in return. "Not telling. You'll figure it out once we get there." He gave her a wink and started off towards the field again, giving Regina no choice but to follow him.

It had taken them nearly fifteen minutes to make it all the way to the villages. The air had gotten colder as the sun disappeared; Regina conjured up a jacket as they continued on their journey with a secret destination. As they walked alone the cobblestone streets, they encountered many things- a pair of street performers, steaming hot chocolate for sale, shops lining either side, dotted with candles... It was quite lively. Regina had never seen the villages like this; to her, they were always bitter and sad.

As they rounded a corner, Regina suddenly realized she had been there before. The moment she had spent there was brief, yet something she could never forget. It was the time she destroyed her first chance with him.

Her suspicions were affirmed when they were standing in front of large windows letting out a golden light, the inside of the warehouse filled with merry laughs and hearty conversations.

It was just like she remembered it to be.

In her mental absence, Robin had opened the door, letting in a friendly, warm air. He walked through and held it open for her, giving her look.

"Aren't you coming?"

His words snapped her back to reality. Once again, Regina was standing in the middle, caught between the cold darkness that touched her back and the happy golden world that filled her vision with its light. And once again, her soulmate was so close yet so far away. But he didn't have the green fairy dust around him this time; no, this time he came here for her.

She took a deep breath, and walked through the door.

They sat side by side on wooden stools at the counter of the pub, surrounded on both sides by other people that seemed drunk off their asses. It was crowded; usually, Regina didn't enjoy crowds, but this time she didn't mind. Once the bartender came around to them, Robin ordered them both beers. About a minute later, he came back with two mugs filled over the brim with foam.

He immediately brought the mug up to his lips and gulped it down, setting it down with a bang against the table and wiping the foam off his mouth. Regina simply stared down at the liquid curiously, not really knowing what it was.

"You've never had a beer before?" Robin asked inquisitively, seeing her blank expression.

She shook her head no. "I've had wine before... Does this stuff taste good?"

Robin laughed. "It tastes more than good- here, try it and see for yourself."

She picked up the mug and took a small sip, letting the taste settle in her mouth and swallowing it hard. The face she made was amusing, it was like she just drank a swig of lemon juice. But as the aftertaste settled in, Regina found herself wanting more.

"Well... How is it?"

"I like it," she smiled, taking a longer sip this time. She could already feeling herself slip away from reality.

Before too long had passed, Regina was completely drunk. The pub was Robin's favorite place to be when he needed some relaxation; it took a lot to actually make him forget what he was doing. But he loved seeing her like this- she laughed at just about everything he said.

The bartender came back around and placed another mug in front of her, which she grabbed instantly and gulped down.

"You know one time, the merry men and I stormed Malifecent's castle," he told her, "it was quite fun. She has a huge castle."

"Malifecent and I hated each other..." Regina drew out the word hate, pausing to giggle more. Her stomach started to ache because of her intense laughter.

Robin watched her bounce slightly as she laughed, trying hard not to stare at her shirt's ever lowering neckline as he did so. It was extremely hard, she was absolutely beautiful. He loved hearing her laugh; it was completely carefree, even if she were drunk.

"And... And my castle was way bigger than hers... She was jealous of me." Her voice was muffled by her mug.

When she set it down again, it was empty. "You drank it that fast?" Robin asked with surprise, still only on his third one himself. He was impressed- even his merry men couldn't hold down that much liquor that fast.

He figured he had just learned a lesson here; never underestimate a queen who was trying a beer for the first time.

"You want another?" The bartender asked, already preparing the next one for her.

"You know what, I think we should stop here." Robin interjected, before it was too late.

Regina gave him a pouty look with her eyes. "I want another one!" She protested.

"I know, but you need to stop." He said as nicely as he could, finishing off his and setting it to the side. "See, I'll stop too."

Regina could still feel her body tingle with the alcohol. She couldn't remember the last time she got this drunk. She looked around the pub and let out another laugh as another unfiltered thought came to her head.

"I was supposed to meet you here a long, long time ago..." She slurred, "but I didn't! Because I was too scared about what you would think of me! I... I was so stupid."

This comment was brought Robin's attention. He wasn't sure if she was just saying things or not.

"Regina, we haven't met before. What are you talking about?"

She looked at him with her glowing brown eyes. "Tink... Tinker... Bell and I met and she did this thing with her magic that led me right to you. But I didn't go to you because I was scared."

She's certainly got interesting when she's drunk, Robin thought to himself. That was the most bogus thing he had ever heard.

"Okay Regina, let's get you home..." He stood up and placed some money on the counter, helping her stand up on her feet. She was extremely unsteady, practically falling on him as she stood. He dragged her out of the pub and back into the freezing outside world.

Once they got outside, Robin felt all her weight press up against his body as she completely passed out. He caught her firmly in his arms and managed to pick her up bridal style, holding her closely to him to feel her warmth as he started off on the dark journey back home.

Every part of him felt strained by the time he reached his front door. He used his foot to bang on it a couple times; the chill in the air was quite cold, even with his jacket on. One thing was constant, though- the steady beat of her heart through the fifteen minutes of trudging back home. Robin looked down at her sleeping face, still amazed she had consumed that much alcohol. He noted one thing for the future- never get Regina drunk.

Tinkerbell finally opened the door, looking with concern at the passed out Regina in his arms. "It's almost midnight, what did you two do?"

Robin gave her a sympathetic look. "I'm really sorry... We went to the pub and I bought her a few drinks..."

"Well it's really late, we should get back before everyone else starts freaking out- set her on the couch, I'm not carrying her."

Robin obeyed, wanting nothing more than to get in his bed and sleep. "How was Roland?"

"Slept the whole time," she replied with a smile, "he's a good boy."

Robin was glad to hear that. "You tell Emma and the rest of them that this is all my fault," he said, watching her walk over to where Regina lay. "And tell Regina that I can't wait for her to come back."

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