We Can Love Again

Christmas Time is Here (Part 2)

As things wound down at the Hood-Mills residence, the family soon found themselves exhausted. The house was in complete disarray, but Regina couldn't care less. She was still entirely mesmerized by the beautiful work of art she got for a present. Sure, she got plenty of other things, like a heap of new maternity clothes and decorations for the house, but once she saw the nursery, all of those things melted away. It was exciting envisioning her daughter lying down in her crib, or rocking her until she fell asleep in her arms. The nursery made everything seem so real, so close to happening.

"Are you going to stay in here for forever?" Will asked, seeing her in the same place she had been when he last checked up on her. "Roland passed out on the table. He was determined to start his coloring, but the party really made him exhausted. He and Alex were running around trying to hand snacks to everyone before dinner."

Regina smiled. "Yeah, I saw him every once in a while." She then noticed the red hat he had on top of his head. "I see Ruby is already trying to accessorize you." She said, gesturing to the hat.

"What, you don't like it?"

"It makes you look like a gang member! Trust me, I don't follow her fashion sense all the time." Regina laughed.

Will gave her a sour look, taking it off and bunching it in his hands. "Doesn't matter, it's the thought that counts, right?"

Deciding to let that one go, she attempted to get herself back on her feet, with no success. So she held out her arms towards him, giving him a dangerously pervasive glance with her eyes. Will pulled her up to her feet.

"You know, I never got a chance to give you your present," he said with a sly smile, reaching into his back pocket.

"I really don't need any more presents, I got so many things today that I don't even know what to do with." Regina told him, being completely honest. Everyone, everyone, had given her something at the party.

He gave her a look. "Oh come on, you're my sister!"

He preceded to pull out his phone and hand it to her.

"You're giving me... Your phone? I already have one, doof."

"No," he chuckled, "when you gave Robin those picture frames, I realized that you and I really haven't taken a picture together."

His words were so simple, yet so shocking. "Really? Not one picture?"

"Nope. Sad, isn't it?"

Will then transformed his phone into a full functioning camera.

"Why do I have a feeling you waited until I was fat and ugly to take these pictures?"

He held the phone up to their height and started snapping picture after picture. Regina barely had time to blink between each interval.

"You're an idiot, you know that?" She shot him a smile as she began filing through the long list, noticing his questionable facial expressions.

"Well, what do you expect?" Will asked innocently, "now we have pictures. I can put them in a few frames and- bam! Memories!"

Regina laughed, pulling him into a tight hug. "Perfect Christmas present. Thank you so much Will."

"Anytime. The more pictures the better, right?"

She couldn't agree more with that statement.

"Anyways, I probably should be getting home. Granny doesn't like people coming through the front door after ten. I swear, she has ears like a hawk."

"Well, tell her thank you for all the baby books, and for the wolf charm-" she quickly pointed it out behind her; it was hanging in the center of the mobile over the crib.

"I really love it."

Sticking the hat back over his hair, he nodded. "Sure thing. Merry Christmas, Regina."

She opened the door for him, feeling a surge of happiness run through her. "Merry Christmas, Will."

His dauntless little man was fast asleep on the kitchen table, a tad bit of drool on the corner of his mouth. After saying goodbye to his brother, Robin had to admire his position on the table for a second before reaching down to scoop him up in his arms. Roland's new coloring books, along with his markers, crayons, and colored pencils Santa had graciously given him.

"Do you think next year's Christmas will be as awesome as this one was?" Henry asked as he followed his father up the stairs.

"Of course," Robin answered, "things can only get better. Your little sister will be with us next year."

Henry's face broke out into a smile. "I can't wait! As long as you and Mom are married, everything will be more than awesome."

They entered the bedroom, and Robin switched on the light. "Couldn't agree more. Nonetheless, I declare this Christmas the best I've never had. Nothing will change that."

Carefully, he lowered his son down into his bed, tucking him I'm without waking him. Henry got into his bed, feeling beyond exhausted.

"I'm glad you were here for this Christmas, Dad." He smiled, just as Robin came over to his bedside to tuck him in. Maybe the boy was twelve- but he couldn't imagine ever passing up an opportunity to get tucked in by his dad.

"I can say the same for you, my big man." He said, "and thank you so much for helping Roland out with the whole Santa thing."

Henry's eyes shone brightly as he stole a glance towards his sleeping brother. "It was fun. He'll have to do the same for the baby when she gets older."

Robin ruffled his hair slightly. "He will, won't he? It's a good thing he has such an amazing big brother to be an example to him. I love you, Henry, more than you'll ever know."

His son beamed as he got up and shut the lights off.

"Hey- are you going to give Mom that thing tonight?" He asked, just as Robin was about to leave through the door.

He replied with a nod, a twinkle in his eye as he silently slipped through the door, leaving the two boys alone in the dark and silent room.

Down the hall, Regina fought sleep as much as she possibly could. She was completely drained; the day went by so quickly, she felt like she needed to retrace her steps to catch all the good moments.

"Good day?" Robin asked dubiously, walking into the bedroom to see her sitting on their bed, dressed in silk pajama bottoms and a long sleeved shirt. Her dark hair had been tamed by a simple braid that cascaded down past her shoulders.

"More than a good day," she remarked, "it was absolutely perfect. Thanks to you."

Robin changed into his pajamas, getting into bed as quickly as possible to avoid the chilled air around them.

"It wasn't just me, I told you that Ruby and Neal did the walls. Apparently, she's taking some art class online, so when I asked her if she could help she was all for it."

"I just can't believe they got all that done in three weeks," Regina said, breathing out a happy sigh.

He loved seeing her so happy. Nothing else in life seemed to matter. "Well, it wasn't easy, that's for sure. And keeping you from knowing, that was the hardest part."

Regina couldn't argue with that one. She let out a small smile as he wrapped his arm around her shoulders, pulling her closer to his body so her head rested near his strong beating heart.

"I know you've had a big day. But... Are you up for one more present?"

Surprised, she glanced up at him. "Robin, you already showed me the nursery... I don't need anything else."

Despite her protests, he pulled out something bulky and square shaped out from behind his back. "I think you'll like this one."

When he opened the lid, Regina couldn't hold back a gasp. It was a ring, a silver ring with a gleaming baby blue diamond in its center.

"Robin! How... What..." She stuttered, her words jumbled together.

He smiled proudly down at her. "I know I proposed before the whole portal incident, and I'm grateful I did, but I thought you deserved a proper marriage proposal. And... A proper ring. After all, a queen can't go around without the best of the best. You're not just any queen, you're my queen."

Tears sprung into her eyes; she couldn't take them off the diamond, not for a second. She couldn't believe it.

"You... You got this for me?"

"Of course, you deserve everything in the entire world. Besides, you can't go around town wearing this one a second longer, I'm surprised this even fits you." He chuckled softly, gently beginning to slide it off her finger. Regina remembered when she had first put it on, the black colored talisman that had been used to transport her and the kids to Storybrooke, in Emma's yellow bug. That seemed like an eternity ago to her.

"Pity, I was actually starting to like that ring," Regina joked, looking down at her now bare left hand. "How... How did you find the money to pay for it? Rings like these are expensive!"

Robin successfully worked the new one onto her finger, feeling quite accomplished when he did. "I've had this planned out since I got the job at the shelter."

She was instantly in love with the ring. It was absolutely perfect in every which way, and represented so much more than what was initially seen. Leopold had given her many things like this- expensive, irreplaceable, and gorgeous things. But those didn't mean anything, they were just things. This diamond ring was given to her by the man she loved more than life itself; her soulmate, the man she wanted so badly to spend the rest of her life with. It was a treasure beyond the worth of anything else in existence- all for her, and purely out of love.

"It's beautiful, just like you." He explained, helping her wipe the tears that had begun to roll down her cheeks. "I love you so much, every little thing about you. I love our boys, I love that you're carrying my child, I love everything you do. Being married to you will be a dream come true."

Reaching for her hand, Robin gently pressed his lips against her fourth finger. Regina couldn't help but lean forward and wrap her arms around him tightly.

"Thank you so much... For everything."

For once in her life, everything made sense. As long as she was with him, everything was going to be just fine.

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