"Milady!" Robin gasped as he jumped to his feet. "I'm sorry. I let you down." The regret in his eyes only reaffirmed to Regina that she'd made the right decision coming to him this evening. Snow's heartfelt words and the dream of a second chance at love made her hopeful for the first time in too long.
"Your heart was lost to Zelena on my watch. But I promise you, I will get it back."
She kissed him.
It was the only response Regina could think to give. She was ready for her second chance. Ready to prove that she wasn't afraid anymore. That she could take risks, and that she was going to fight for her happy ending.
She kissed him like she'd never kissed another. In that kiss Regina poured every emotion and every word she didn't have the courage to voice yet. But her fear of rejection resurfaced as they broke apart. He was silent and she opened her mouth to apologize for her sudden advances, to try and explain why the hole where her heart should be was aching in his presence.
But then his gaze flashed to a curiously familiar acceptance, fondness, and, finally, hunger. His mouth was crushed to hers again in a flash, and they held on to each other as a warmth stronger than the flames at their feet surrounded them.
"I told you I'd find you," he finally spoke against her lips, refusing to add any greater distance between them. After another earth shattering kiss, Regina had to work hard to focus and realize what he had just said. "All that worrying you did for weeks, for just a few pesky days without our memories. I'm sure we broke some sort of record, my dear." He laughed and his warm breath caused the strands of hair framing her face to shift against her skin. Goosebumps danced at the base of her neck and the scent of him and the earth around them caused the hole in her chest to ache once more.
He smells like the forest.
"What did you say?" Regina pulled back as far as the arms around her waist would allow. His smile was blinding in the light of the small fire, the fire lighting his smile. She could only frown in response.
"I should have made a wager," Robin continued with a laugh, eyes closed with a puzzling jovial expression and a carefree stance. He dove his gloved hands under her jacket and pressed into the silk of her shirt, pulling her closer. "Of how quick we could break the spell. You'd be at my mercy right now, because I am sure I would have won. " He winked teasingly and bent his head to connect their lips once more. But opened his eyes as he met cold air instead of her soft mouth, stumbling as she suddenly pushed him away.
"What are you talking about? Days? Robin, we've lost a year of our memories."
The cold night was suddenly worse now that his arms were no longer holding her. "We had you mean. We've regained our memories." At the utter look of loss and confusion she gave in response, his tone became desperate. "Regina, you remember as well? You got them back too?"
"You can remember?" she gasped. "The whole year?"
"Yes, of course. You should... I-I don't understand." He ran a hand through his hair in frustration, looking down to the flames for an answer. "Why weren't your memories returned? I thought... but, true loves kiss is the most powerful of magic."
"Nothing has changed for me," she cried almost desperately, curling in on herself with arms clutching at her chest. "I only have memories of you from this week."
"A week? Regina, but what of the year together before Zelena's curse was cast." She stepped backwards, away from him and he lunged forward to prevent her retreat. His gloved hands dug into her arms, holding her in place as he pleaded his reality. "In the Enchanted Forest we met. You and Snow White were attacked by one of the witches winged monsters. Do you remember?"
She shook her head. Words lodged in her throat. "N-no. The beasts I've only seen here in Storybrooke, and none up close."
"Our groups combined after that attack. Then you saved my son's life from the same beast that tried to steal you away. Do you remember that?"
She shook her head. A tear falling to her blouse.
"We reclaimed your castle together. Just you and I. You drove her from the walls the night we two snuck in via your secret pathway behind a boulder in the forest. You know of the path I speak?"
"Do you believe me yet?"
"I... Robin, I want to-"
"My Merry Men and your group from Storybook lived in that castle together... much to your annoyance at times, " he smiled at that thought and memories of her frustration. "But it was home none the less. And it was home for my son. For Roland. Do you remember Roland?"
The ache was stronger now, her fingers clenching with the strength of it. "I wish I could, Robin," Regina confessed. The small glimpses she'd stole of the boy the last few days had struck a painful chord deep within her. She had thought it was just the loss of Henry that was causing the child to effect her so. But now...
He smiled at that and moved a hand to her cheek with fondness. "He took to you from the moment you two met. And it was mutual. You were his savior and he became your shadow. You smiled and laughed with him weeks before you even let me sit beside you at mealtime. Not that I let that discourage me," he teased, his smile back. "You used your magic to give him toys, new clothing, and a room fit for a four year old. His days were happy there."
Now you have a new toy.
"It was hard some days though, because of Henry. You missed him and you pushed us away on the darker days. " Regina gasped at the mention of her son, and clutched at the leather of his jacket. Tears blinding her vision, but he wiped them away with a gentle hand. "You told me many stories of him." Robin's own eyes began to moisten. "Including how you lost him, and how very hard that was for you."
"Stop." She pushed away from him again.
"Regina, please just keep listening. It will work."
"Robin, please let me go!" She was desperate to get away from him and her struggling only ended with her turned around. With her back pressed to his front. He held her hands in his own and hugged her with both pairs.
"It won't work. Villains don't get happy endings!" Her head fell, chin to chest as her sobs shook them both.
He held her for a few heartbreaking moments and she only heard his quiet response because it was pressed into the shell of her ear. "But pixie dust doesn't lie." Her back straightened, and her breaths grew labored as he adjusted his hold on her to remove the glove on his right hand.
She wanted to help. To rip the fabric off his arm, but could only hold her breath as he rolled up his sleeve and raised the appendage to their eye level. The lion tattoo. "You know what this mark means to us."
"Yes," she whispered. He let her hand go and watched her raise it to the black crest of his family, painted into his skin. She traced it with careful tips of her fingers.
"You walked away from us once Regina. Don't give up on us again," he pleaded, kissing her cheek. "Please my love... my wife."
"Wife?" She spun in his arms, eyes wide with wonder.
A shout from the trail from his camp behind them stole Robin's attention. "Papa!" Roland tumbled into sight and Robin pulled Regina by the hand towards his son, meeting him halfway on his sprint to them. He only dropped Regina's hand to catch his son as he launched himself into his father's arms.
"Papa," Roland cried, tears pressing into Robin's neck.
When he realized his son was crying he pulled his head back to look into Roland's red rimmed eyes. "My boy, what's wrong?"
"You weren't in the tent. And I had a nightmare," he cried on. "I want to go home. I can't find my monkey and I want M-" he broke off suddenly, realizing just who was standing beside Robin. "Mama!"
If possible, Regina's eyes grew even bigger than before at the title Roland gave to her. She had little time to react before the boy was reaching for her from his father's arms, happy tears washing away the negative ones.
She caught him and froze as Roland buried his face into her shoulder. His small arms locked around her neck and she could feel the fabric of her jacket lifting in the small clutches of his hands. "Your back," he exclaimed and held on even tighter.
"Roland..." Robin took a step towards the pair. His hand on his son's back, ready to take him from his wife's arms if her expression grew any more stressed.
"Mama, a scary man came this morning!" Roland confessed. "He used magic like you, but was bad and stuck me in the dirt and made Papa's arrow come at me."
Instinct took over for Regina, the mother in her breaking through the confusion and pain of un-reclaimed memories. "Shhh," she soothed against his hair, the hand not holding him up moving to rub at his back. "He's gone. Your Papa saved you didn't he?"
A hiccup. "Yes."
"Papa will always protect you Roland. You are too important to him."
"You'll protect me too right, Mama?" Roland pulled back to look at Regina. "Like before?"
She quickly looked to Robin, before remembering his earlier words. "Yes, like before. No monkeys or mean men will ever get to you if I'm there." The hand at his back moved into his eye line and with twirl of her fingers and a small purple cloud of magic, a handkerchief was suddenly in her hand. She wiped away the wetness on his cheeks, his giggle at her power warming that aching hole inside her.
He smiled at her and the hands around her neck relaxed, one starting to play with her dark locks. "Love you Mama." The kiss he pressed to her lips sparked a jolt in the hole of her chest, and she gasped and pressed a hand to the skin above the location.
Robin pushed forward at her reaction and at the look on her face his hope was restored. "Do you..." he glanced to Roland, but found her eyes again quickly. "Are they back?"
Regina shook her head in the negative, but a smile slowly appeared as she rubbed at the spot above where her heart should be warm and beating. "No." He frowned as she laughed a sweet sound before kissing Roland on the forehead and then giving his lips a soft loving kiss of their own.
"But I know how to get them back. And I will have my happy ending."