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Moments Between Us

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Monday: “Best Day Ever”

2. Roland’s first lost tooth.   

8. The first time Roland calls Regina “mama”.   

31.  Quiet times near the fireplace

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“Papa! Mama!” Roland yells from his bedroom.

Regina and Robin rush toward him, Robin scooping him up in his arms. “What is it, my boy?” he asks with concern.

“Are you alright?” Regina asks in unison with her boyfriend’s question.

They’ve been together for a year now, having just decided over dinner tonight that she should move in with him and his son. They’d been ecstatic, Roland clapping his hands and exclaiming this was the, Best night ever! which caused both adults to laugh.

“I’m fine!” he giggles, his dimples popping out on his cheeks. God, she loves those dimples. It’s a trait he inherited from Robin, and both sets make her go weak (for entirely different reasons). “My tooth fell out!”

He holds his tiny palm up and open, moving it closer to Regina’s face. “See!”

She smiles, shoulders relaxing as she realizes he hadn’t had a nightmare or was in danger. “That’s wonderful!” she beams, leaning over to place a kiss to his pudgy cheek.

Robin grins down at his son, holding him tightly as he walks over to Roland’s bed, the sheets adorned with tiny foxes and camping tents wrinkled and pushed down to the foot of the bed.

“I was just layin’ there,” he explains, situating himself back onto the mattress. Regina moves to the opposite side of the bed from Robin, taking the sheet and pulling it up to Roland’s grip. “I was wigglin’ my tongue on my tooth and it just popped out!”

Robin chuckles, saying, “It’s a good thing you caught it in time and didn’t swallow it.”

Roland’s eyes bug out, looking from his father over to her. She smiles slightly, trying to contain her laughter at his shock. “I didn’t even think of that!” Roland declares in horror. “ Then how would the tooth fairy know where to find me!?”

“Oh,” Regina says, smoothing down his unruly curls and ushering him to lay back down. “The tooth fairy is very smart. She would have still found you.”

The little boy breathes a sigh of relief, his eyes closing involuntarily as he fights it, reaching up to rub at his eyes as he tells them about how his friend at school got five whole dollars for his tooth.

Regina catches Robin’s eyes, both giving each other an incredulous look, knowing Robin would never pay that much for a tooth.

She smiles, leaning down to whisper in Roland’s ear that they need to put the tooth under his pillow.

“Oh yeah!” he perks up, reaching his hand out toward Robin.

Robin opens his palm, dropping the tooth from his hand to his son’s. Roland twists, shoving the tooth under his plush pillow and murmuring something about hoping it doesn’t get lost.

“I’m sure it won’t,” Robin assures him, “The fairy will be here soon enough, my boy, I can just feel it.”

Regina smiles watching him talk to his son about imaginary fairies. They’re so adorable. And she once again thanks her lucky stars that she bumped into Robin in a crowded sandwich shop over a year ago. They’d struck up a friendship, and before long they’re friendship had blossomed into an attraction neither one could deny. He’d asked her out and the rest is history. She’s happier now than she’s ever been, and she knows the two boys in front of her are the reason for that joy that she never thought she’d have again after Daniel’s accident that left her a widow almost a decade ago.

Robin touches her hand lightly, pulling her from her thoughts. She smiles over at him, and he tilts his head down, indicating that Roland was already fast asleep.

They share a quiet chuckle, and Robin stands, reaching into his pocket and pulling out a dollar bill from his wallet. “This is all I have,” he shrugs, making an amused face.

Regina breathes out a laugh, assuring him it’ll be fine. She bends down, carefully removing the tooth from beneath Roland’s head as Robin slips the dollar in its place.

They carefully make their way from the bedroom, sighing in relief when the boy doesn’t wake up.

Once in the living room, Robin pulls Regina into his arms, placing a tender kiss to the top of her head. “I love you,” he declares.

“And I love you,” she promises, standing on her tiptoes to place a kiss to his cheek. They stand there, wrapped in each other’s arms, enjoying the silence in his, about to be their, apartment as the fireplace crackles beside them.

Pulling apart, Robin makes his way over to the kitchen, taking out two wine glasses. He nods his head in the direction of them, and Regina nods in agreement.

She settles onto the couch, soaking up the heat from the fire as she clicks play on the movie they’d paused when Roland had called out to them. Robin joins her soon enough, handing her a glass of red to enjoy.

After a few minutes of comfortable silence, Robin’s arm draped over her shoulders, she sits up, placing her glass on the coffee table.

She turns to face him, and he gives her a confused look. “Everything alright, love?”

Grinning, she nods, trying to fight back the tears that are suddenly finding their way to her eyes. “Did you hear him?” Robin looks toward the hallway, and she giggles. “No, earlier. When he called out to us…”

Robin thinks back, clearly recalling his son’s words when a large smile breaks out onto his face. He bites down on his lip, his pearly white teeth digging into the flesh. She looks down at his lip, suddenly wanting to kiss it desperately. “He called you Mama .”

She nods tearfully, leaning in to kiss his lips. He returns it while simultaneously placing his wine glass on the table to join hers. He sits back, still moving his lips against hers and pulls Regina closer to his body.

Regina deepens the kiss, drawing a moan from Robin’s throat, and she smiles into their embrace. She loves this man, loves his son, loves this life they’ve built together. “Is that okay with you?” she asks timidly when she pulls back, never wanting to replace his late wife, Marian, in any way.

Having lost a spouse was something that bonded them so quickly when they first met. They understood each other, and how difficult it was to get back out there. Daniel had been gone almost seven years back then, and Marian four, having died in childbirth. It was a hard situation, one that no one as young as they are should have to experience. You always imagine growing old with the person you marry. But now Regina realizes that some people are in your life for only a season, teaching you great things to take with you for the rest of your life.

Daniel had been there through their teenage years, helping her deal with an overbearing mother. They’d grown together, gone to college and gotten married. He’d taught her how to be herself once she was out from under Cora’s roof, and he taught her how to love. She was forever thankful for her first love, for without him, she wouldn’t have been able to love Robin the way she does.

Robin’s head tilts to the side, giving her a caring smile. “Of course it is, my love,” he vows, pressing a light peck to her lips. “Roland loves you. You are the only mother he’s ever known.” They smile sadly at one another, thinking back to the beautiful brunette woman she’s only ever seen pictures of. “Marian would have loved you. I think she’d be thrilled to know such an amazing woman is going to help raise our son.”

Those tears from earlier, which she thought she’d dried away, come back full force. A few trickle down her cheek, and she reaches up, wiping them away. Regina sniffles out a wet chuckle, nodding in his direction when he asks if she’s okay.

They sit there, tears now in Robin’s eyes as well, and smile at one another, soaking up all the love flowing between them.

A log in the fireplace pops, making Regina jump. They laugh, and she shakes her head, thankful for the break in such a serious moment. “Come here,” Robin whispers, pulling her to him.

She settles against his chest, snuggling into the warmth of his embrace as the heat from the fire soothes their souls. They finish the movie before heading off to bed, and as they discuss plans for moving her belongings in once her lease ends next month, she can’t help but think that Roland was right in her earlier assessment. This really is the best day ever.

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Thoughts?

Chapter Text

Tuesday: “Honest and True”

  1. OQ falling asleep on the couch together

 

Henry huffs out, pulling his backpack from the back seat of his mom’s yellow bug. Waving a goodbye, he jogs to the front door of his other mom’s white mansion. He loves this house. Everytime he walks in, he just feels like he’s home . He grew up here, and he’s so glad his mom adopted him.

“Mom!” he calls out when he walks in, locking the door behind him. He gets no reply, so he sets off in search of his mom and Robin. It’s not late, but late enough that Roland would already be asleep upstairs in the guest room, so he tries not to yell too loud, fearing he might wake up the young boy and irritate his mother.

Walking into the living room, he stops, smiling down at the sight in front of him. His mom and Robin are asleep on the couch, cuddled together underneath the blanket he’d bought her for Christmas two years ago. Robin’s arm is around her waist and his mom has a small smile on her face as she slumbers, something he’s never seen before. She’s so content in Robin’s presence, and Henry is filled with joy all over again that they found each other.

Walking over to the fireplace that is burning low, he scoops up the ashes with the metal shovel and douses out what little bit of flames are left. The room is cast in a darkness except for the moonlight shining through the large bay window behind the couch.

He makes his way over to the sofa, bending down to press a soft kiss upon his mom’s forehead. Straightening up, he smiles down at her and her boyfriend once more, happy she’s finally found someone to love who loves her back just as fiercely. She deserves it more than anyone after what she’s been through in her long lifetime. His mom has never let anyone in since Cora crushed Daniel’s heart in the Enchanted Forest when she was just a young girl. Except for him. His mom has always loved him, even when he acted like a brat and pushed her away. But that’s what moms do, he supposes, they love you through every stage of life.

His mom stirs, mumbling something, and Robin tightens his grip on her, murmuring out a tired, “We should go t’bed, Regina,” causing Henry to stifle a chuckle.

His mom nods, yawning out a sleepy, Mmkay, before snuggling into the thief’s chest even deeper.

Smirking, Henry shakes his head and makes his way out of the living room. As he walks up the stairs, skipping the fourth from the top that always makes the loudest squeak, Henry thinks about his mom and Robin.

He may only be seventeen, but he knows love like that doesn’t come around often. Soulmates is what his mom calls it, and thinking back on how tenderly Robin has loved her since coming into their lives, Henry knows it’s a special type a love. A type of love only fated in fairy tales, he thinks, but he hopes to one day find that kind of passion to share with someone. A love that is honest, deep... and true.

Chapter Text

Wednesday: “Best One Yet”

  1. Regina hates celebrating her birthday. Robin finds out and does something special for her; 91.Robin surprises Regina with a dog/cat as a birthday gift; 120. Robin gives Regina a ring.

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Today sucks. It always does. Regina hates February 1st. It’s her birthday, though she’d rather forget it and move on like a regular day. But people like Mary Margret won’t let that happen. She’d been interrupted at work with several texts from the annoying girl wishing her a happy birthday and asking if they were going to celebrate this week (which she promptly responded to with a definitive, No. )

Her birthday has always been a terrible day. Growing up, her mother, Cora, always threw a ball or some type of high class dinner party, always searching for the perfect suitor to take Regina off her hands. She would be forced into dresses far too tight for her teenage frame and would have to dance with every eligible man that came through the doors, no matter his age, when all she wanted was to run off with Daniel, ride through the forest and sit by the lake watching the stars in the sky.

It was horrible.

When Cora had accepted King Leopold’s proposal and she’d been thrust into the spotlight as the new Queen Regina, she was at least thankful the awful birthday parties would end. No more men clamoring to dance with her and win her heart.

How wrong she’d been. The men were no longer trying to claim her heart, for in their eyes, she belonged to the King (and she did, belong to him, she had no choice but to act as if she loved the man old enough to be her father).

Leopold used her birthday as the perfect excuse to throw a ball in her honor , though each year it seemed more and more attention was bestowed upon Snow White and her sweet, innocent, disgusting , face. Her birthday celebrations were just another way for the King to fawn over his young daughter and make her the center of attention while Regina sat by herself surrounded by presents from people she didn’t even know.

Once she was rid of the king and able to cast her curse, she never celebrated. Living in Storybrooke was nice, peaceful, and she never had to worry about anyone throwing her a large birthday bash.

When Henry was younger, she’d been forced to tell him when her birthday was when he asked. She could never deny her little prince anything, not even that, though she told him begrudgingly.

Henry had always tried to make her birthday special, despite knowing how much she hated it. He would laugh in amusement, under the impression that she didn’t like it because it meant she was getting older, and tell her they at least had to do something . He would make her little cards at school or buy her small gifts with what little allowance money he had. It was sweet, and always brought a smile to her face. Her son was like that - always thinking of others. He was her bright spot in a dark world.

This year, however, had started off quite differently. Robin was spoiling her this morning, lavishing more attention to her than she normally accepts on this special day. Their first year together, just before the day rolled around, she had confessed to him late one night as they lay naked in bed together just why she hated her birthday so much. He’d simply placed a kiss to her bare shoulder, trailing his fingertips up her torso, over her breast, and up to her neck, causing goosebumps to cover her skin, as he promised he’d make her learn to love her birthday. And, bless him, he has tried - giving her gifts, convincing her last year to take the day off to spend with the boys, he’s even mentioned taking her on a trip one year.

She’d rolled her eyes then, but she has to admit, the breakfast in bed he’d woken her with today was a nice surprise. He’d laid beside her, talking softly, as she enjoyed the pancakes and bacon he had prepared.

Regina had finished her food, gotten ready and rushed off to work after giving him a thankful kiss at the bottom of the stairs. She’d spent the whole day working, ignoring her texts from Mary Margaret, and smiling at the pictures Robin sent of Henry and Roland playing on the playground together after school.

When she’d walked into their house that night, Robin, Roland and Henry were all standing in the kitchen with a huge, homemade banner hanging above the sink, displaying the words, Happy Day!

She laughed at the wording, noticing Roland had added a teeny tiny ‘ birthday’ in between the two larger words. Walking further into the kitchen, she made her way over to all three of them, placing kisses to her boys’ cheeks and a deeper one to Robin’s lips.

“Something smells amazing,” she exclaims, scooping Roland up into her arms and placing him on her hip. The little boy giggles, his dimples sinking into his cheeks as he wraps his legs around her waist. Regina leans in, pretending to eat the indentions right off his face, causing him to squeal with laughter and bury his head into the crook of her neck.

“We made lasagna, Mom!” Henry calls, proudly motioning toward the pan that sits atop the oven.

She inhales deeply, telling them that it smells wonderful. Setting Roland down, she walks over to Robin, wrapping her arms around his middle.

“Hello, love,” her murmurs, pressing his nose softly against hers.

She returns the gesture, a symbol of love they’ve created over the years, just one more way to say I love you without having to speak the words.

They’d already set the table, so all she has to do is sit down and enjoy, according to all her boys. Robin pours her a glass of wine while the boys settle at the table with glasses of water. Robin serves everyone their portion of the cheesy pasta, while Regina dishes out salad and fresh fruit for them to have.

The four of them spend the next hour and a half laughing, talking, and simply enjoying being a family. It’s nice, she decides, birthday or no birthday, she loves being here with her family - wishes Robyn could’ve joined them, but Zelena had taken her to Oz for a few days to visit now that they’d discovered how to travel so easily between the realms, which is fine. They’ll have the baby for an entire week when she gets back, and Regina can’t wait. She loves having a baby in the house again. She is so thankful that all the villains that could attack their sleepy little town seem to have gone away since they defeated Hades so many months ago. Everyone finally feels safe again, and she thanks whatever god is out there that she was able to poof her and Robin from her office that horrible day.

She smiles as she takes the last bite of her food, listening to Roland chatter on about what he’d learned in school today. He was still so excited to be attending a real school, just like Henry had done his whole life. The little boy was picking up on the alphabet and reading quicker than anyone imagined, and thoroughly loved having stories read to him (usually by his big brother).

Robin takes her hand, giving it a light squeeze. She looks over, winking in his direction as they listen to Henry tell them about the colleges he’s considering when school ends in May. He’s already applied to a few outside of Maine, causing Regina’s heart to crack, but Robin had been there to remind her that he could always come to visit no matter what college he chose.

A homemade cake, covered in sprinkles at the bottom with long candles on top is brought out, surpringing Regina once more when Roland reveals they’d baked it after school, and with a little help from Granny, had been able to cover it perfectly in Regina’s favorite buttercream icing. She giggles at the young boy’s elation, smiling over at Robin and Henry before taking the first bite. It was magnificent, and Regina assured them all of that fact when Henry asked her if she liked it.

After dinner, Robin runs her a warm bath, letting her relax while he and the boys clean up the kitchen. She can’t complain with that, not having had to cook or clean is the best gift anyone could give her - no matter the occasion.

Once out of her bath, she changes into her comfiest pajamas and pads over to Roland and Henry’s bedrooms to wish them goodnight, planting kisses to both their faces. After tucking in her sons, she makes her way to their bedroom.

A small laugh bubbles out of her throat when she turns around from shutting the door. Robin is on the bed, waiting for her in a pair of deep red boxers. He’s laying on his side, head resting in the palm of one hand. Biting down on her lip, she waggles her eyebrows playfully, making her way over to the bed.

Regina runs her hand along his bicep, leaning down to kiss his lips.  

Before the kiss can grow, though, Robin pulls back, swinging his legs around his side of the bed and bending down. “I got you a present,” he grunts, seeming to fight with whatever gift he has stashed underneath.

Her eyebrows pinch in confusion, stating, “You didn’t have to get me anything, Robin.” Sighing, as he mumbles an, I know, I know , she tells him that breakfast in bed and a nice family dinner were more than enough of a birthday gift for her.

She sits back against the headboard, knowing it’s no use in arguing with him. He’s gotten her a gift and that’s that. “Close your eyes,” he tells her, and she complies, a smirk growing on her face.

Before he can tell her to open, she hears deep, panting breaths coming from something other than her boyfriend. Her eyes pop open when the top of her hand gets licked, and she looks down to see a tiny, gray pitbull puppy with white spots on his feet, nose and underbelly. “Robin!” she squeals in excitement, sitting up straighter as the puppy roams around the bed, giving a tiny yelp of a bark in excitement.

She scoops the puppy into her arms, kissing the top of his head as she looks over to Robin. “You didn’t!”

He laughs, that deep belly laughter that makes her go weak at the knees. They’ve been discussing getting a dog lately, ever since Roland came home from school a few months ago begging for one. Regina had to finally admit that she, too, wanted one in the house. David and Mary Margaret had adopted a dog from the shelter a year ago, and ever since then, she’d been toying with the idea. “He’s adorable,” she beams, holding the tiny dog up to her face.

His puppy breath wafts into her nostrils and she giggles, placing kisses all over his tiny face. She pulls back, looking more closely at the pup. “Robin, is this….” she trails off, eyes watering at she looks over at Robin once more.

He nods, confirming, “It’s the one just born at the shelter two months ago.” There’d been a pregnant pitbull at the animal shelter where Robin works, and she’d given birth to a litter of adorable puppies eight weeks prior. Regina and Roland had been making special trips some afternoons after school to see Robin and visit the puppies, and she’d fallen in love with this one in particular. He was the sweetest, and clamest, of the bunch, and she just felt drawn to him. Like he was always meant to be a part of their family.

“What are we going to name this little guy?” she asks in a high pitched voice, setting him down in her lap as she strokes his back.

“The shelter named him Bandit because they thought the white around his eyes looked like a mask,” Robin laughs, pointing to the pup’s face, “but I figured we’d let the boys choose a different one if they want to.”

Regina nods, saying she likes the name, mainly because it reminds her of her thief, but agrees that the boys can change it if they don’t like it.

The puppy turns onto his back then, seemingly asking for a belly rub.

Regina and Robin both laugh at him, and she reaches out, scratching his chubby little belly. She looks over to Robin, smiling brightly and telling him to rub the puppy too. As he does, Regina looks back down at their newest family member and notices something on the dog’s collar.

Her hand stops moving as she picks the puppy up once more. Robin sits back, a smirk on his face as Regina ducks down to get a better view of his collar. There, sitting atop the silver bone that has their address engraved on it, is a ring. A gold band with a large, sparkling diamond surrounded by a halo of smaller ones.

Tears instantly spring to her eyes as she unclips the ring from the collar. “Robin?” she asks in awe, holding the ring up and looking over to him with tears shining in her eyes.

He’s sitting there, criss cross on the bed watching her. He’s got the goofiest grin on his face that she’s ever seen, and she can’t help but match it with one of her own.

“We’ve conquered so much together over the last two years,” he begins, taking the ring from her. The puppy hops off her lap, sniffing around the mattress before settling at the foot of the bed where Robin had placed a chew toy. “We have been tested, pushed to the brink, and still came back together stronger than ever.”

She nods at his words, thinking over the trials they’ve been through with Marian coming back, him taking Roland to New York, and every discovery that came with that particular piece of heartbreak. After everything, Zelena and her pregnancy, the Underworld and defeating the God of Death himself, they still love each other deeper than they ever thought they could love another person.

“I love you, Regina,” he says so sincerely it makes her heart swell, and tears form in his eyes.

Her vision is clouded by her own tears as she tells him how much she loves him too. Regina leans over, pressing a kiss to his lips, and he returns the gesture, deepening their embrace briefly before pulling back.

“I can’t imagine mine and Roland’s life without you or Henry in it. You’ve made us so happy - you’ve made me happier than I ever thought I could be again after losing Marian so long ago.”

She nods again, knowing she feels exactly the same way. She never thought she’d have this kind of love ever again, but here he is, loving her so completely that she sometimes can’t believe he’s real.

“I once told you that you are my future,” he continues, smiling over at her. He takes her left hand in his, giving it a loving squeeze before bringing it to his lips to place a soft peck to her knuckles. “And you are. I meant it then, and I mean it now. Regina,” he take a deep breath, blinking his tears away, “will you marry me?”

Her tears stream down her face as she nods vigorously, unable to speak for the moment. She clears her throat, declaring a heartfelt, “Yes, yes, of course I’ll marry you.”

Robin beams, slipping the gorgeous ring onto her finger. It’s a perfect fit, just like he is for her, and she’s overwhelmed with the amount of love she has for this man.

The puppy yelps then, bounding over to where Regina is now straddling Robin’s lap, kissing him passionately. They break apart, laughing through their elated tears as Robin brings the puppy to sit in between them. Regina slides off his lap to make room for the dog, and they settle into the bed, cuddling together with the puppy between them. They spend the next hour discussing possible names for the dog to suggest to the kids, Regina examining her ring, and talking about having a small wedding surrounded only by their sons and their closest friends.

Robin regretfully climbs out of bed, placing Bandit in his crate that they will use for the first few months and bidding him a goodnight before placing the thin blanket over it to give him some privacy.

He joins her back in bed, and just before Regina finally drifts off to sleep, Robin whispers, “Happy birthday, my love,” and she smiles. A perfectly happy birthday indeed. Maybe February 1st isn’t so bad afterall.

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Thoughts? :)

Chapter Text

Thursday: “Dance the Night Away”

  1. Robin catches Regina full on dancing around the kitchen while making dinner.

 

He uses the key she’d just given him a few months ago to enter her apartment. Robin loves his girlfriend, he’s so lucky to have found her. They’d met two years ago outside the courthouse. She had just won her latest case and was exiting the building when she bumped into him, causing him to smash the freshly placed mustard of his hotdog onto his tie.

Robin had stopped at the little hotdog stand just outside the courthouse on his way back to work in the next building over. She’d apologized profusely, saying she was texting a client and wasn’t watching where she was going. Once she’d looked into his eye, though, her chocolate brown orbs piercing his soul, he couldn’t stay mad. He’d thankfully been thinking on his toes, and replied with a, “That’s alright. Here’s my number so I can bill you for the dry cleaning.”

She’d smirked at that, sighing out in relief at his attempt to be charming. They’d exchanged numbers and began dating a month later after several amazing dates to get to know one another.

As he walks through the apartment, dropping his things off in the entryway, he can hear music coming from the kitchen. “Regina?” he asks, never having heard her play music so loudly outside of the car before.

He walks down the short hallway, leaning his shoulder against the door jamb and smiling dumbly as he watches his very serious, lawyer girlfriend dance around to Michael Jackson’s, Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough . She’s in nothing but a pair of boyshorts and one of his t-shirts, and Robin thinks to himself that she’s never looked lovelier.

He loves this side of her, so carefree. He doesn’t get to see it often, she’s normally so bogged down with work, but every now and then she’ll let loose - usually when he forces her to leave the office early and takes her somewhere fun.

Regina picks up a spatula, turning it upside down and singing into the handle as she moves around, doing her best impression of the moonwalk. She jumps up, arms waving in the air, then plants her feet back down, doing a quick turn accompanied by a high pitched, “Ow!” as she impersonates the King of Pop.

When she spins, she catches sight of him, freezing mid-dance move as her eyes widen. She places the spatula down on the marble island, tugging his shirt down a touch and pausing the music on her phone. The bluetooth speaker the tune had been blaring out of goes quiet, and Robin laughs, tossing his keys on the island next to her impromptu microphone.

He scoops her up in his arms, wrapping them around her waist and swaying her around the kitchen as he hums his own song.

“I didn’t know you liked to dance,” he states, planting a kiss to her lips. He’s seen her dance on a few occasions, normally inside a fancy restaurant they’d gone to for date night, but never anything this… wild. He loves it. And he wants to see her dance like this more often.

Her face flushes, and she tucks it into his shoulder, mumbling, “Only when no one is around. I’m a terrible dancer.”

“Nonsense,” he grins, reaching over to click play on her phone again. As the music streams out, Robin pushes back from her body, taking her hands in his and twirling her around the kitchen.

Despite her best efforts, Regina laughs, that radiant laugh that she only lets bubble out every now and then, the one that comes out when she’s completely comfortable. He loves that he can bring that laugh out in her. Fuck, he loves this woman so much.

He spins her around again, lifting their hands in the air, then slowly releasing them as he brings their arms down. He steps away from Regina, hopping and doing his own version of a moonwalk, and she giggles, telling him he’s doing it wrong. “Am I now?” he asks incredulously.

Regina nods, snickering once more, and shows him how it’s really done. They dance around, twirling and laughing as they circle the kitchen island until the oven timer goes off.

He sits at the bar stool, catching his breath as she bends to take the food out of the oven. “Christ woman,” he groans, catching a perfect glimpse of her ass cheeks in those boyshort underwear she wears to taunt him. “You’ll be the death of me one of these days.”

She sets the pan of what looks like baked chicken and rice down on the stove top and turns, a sultry smirk planted on her face. “Will I?” she ask seductively as she slithers over to his side of the island. He turns on his stool as she comes to stand in between his legs.

He leans in, pressing his lips to hers deeply. It must surprise her because it draws a quick, Mmm! from the back of her throat, before she turns it into a sexy moan. She tangles her fingers in the hair at the base of his neck, pulling him closer. They spend the next few moments wrapped in each other before she pulls back, licking her lips. “Are you ready to eat?”

Robin grins, twitching his head to the side as he groans. “Yeah, but not chicken.” He stands, taking her in his arms and lifting her up bridal style as she giggles and presses soft kisses and sucks to his neck.

“Robin,” she laughs, “The food will get cold.”

Shaking his head, he presses another kiss to her lips and declares, “We can heat it up later,” before sucking on the pulse point just below her ear - the spot he knows drives her wild with lust for him.

Moaning, Regina nods, murmuring out an, Alright, sounds good , as he makes his way to her bedroom.

“I love you,” he whispers on their way to the bed, and she promises her love right back to him.

Later, after they’ve shown the other just how much they adore one another, they heat the chicken back up, enjoying it as Robin teases her once again, saying he should come over early more often if he’ll get to see her dance around half naked.

“Shut up,” she giggles, rolling her eyes.

And as they clean up the kitchen together, Regina turns on the music, this time to a slow song, and they dance the night away wrapped in each other’s arms.

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Thoughts? :)

Chapter Text

Friday: “All Grown Up”

  1. Robin and Regina’s daughter’s first prom

She’s beautiful. Regina and Sophie both.

Regina talks softly to their daughter as she brushes through Sophie’s long, raven hair. She looks so much like her mother, and always has. The only thing she inherited from him are her dimples, the rest is completely her mother. His little girl is all grown up now and preparing to go to her senior prom.

Robin smiles watching his girls together. They’ve always shared such a sweet bond. Sophie is a great mixture of the two of them - strong and independent like Regina, honorable with a love for the outdoors like him - but despite having so much of her parents inside her, she is truly her own person.

She’ll be leaving for college in a month, leaving him and Regina to deal with their empty nest syndrome, and Robin isn’t quite ready to say goodbye to his little girl just yet.

“Papa, you’re doing it wrong,” Sophie protests, squirming on the kitchen stool as Robin attempts to braid her hair back. It utterly confuses him that he can’t seem to wrangle a handful of hair into a twist. It shouldn’t be that hard; he’s seen his wife do it a thousand times, and it looks so easy.

He ties the rubberband around the end, smiling triumphantly at his handy work. It’s a bit messy, there’s a few pieces sticking out in random places, but it’s up. That’s what counts, right? His little girl doesn’t seem to agree as she feels it with her hand, glancing into the mirror that rests on the counter top. She twists her lips, giving him an encouraging smile, one that seems to say ‘at least you tried,’ and he laughs, shaking his head.

Shrugging, he tells her, “This will have to do, little love. It was all in your face.” He sighs, looking at his creation. “Its… it’s not so bad,” he claims, trying to sound confident. “At least it’ll stay out of your eyes for archery practice.”  

Sophie gawks at him, a tiny pout too reminiscent of her mother’s to be anything but comical, and shakes her head, causing a few loosely braided strands to fall from their confinement. He stares in shock, bringing a hand to rub down his face, scratching at his jaw. “Guess I’ll have to try again,” he says, blowing out a dramatic breath that causes Sophie to giggle.

Reaching up to take out the rubber band and undo what’s left of his braid, he can’t help but to laugh along with her. “One more try,” he chuckles, beginning to brush through her hair and part it into sections once more.

Regina stands at the stove, cooking eggs for her family, and looks over her shoulder, giving Robin a warm smile. She rolls her eyes when she sees the poor attempt at a braid he’s making again, setting the spatula down as she plates the eggs. “Let me do it,” she laughs.

Sophie giggles, looking up to Robin. “Mama can teach you how to do it, Papa!”

The three of them chuckle, turning to greet Roland and Henry as they zombie walk into the kitchen, not quite ready to start their early day.

“I’m going to learn,” Robin declares indignantly. “If it’s the last thing I do.”

Regina snickers, leaning up to press a soft peck to his lips. “You will, babe, you will.” She pats him on the shoulder, stepping in front of him and taking the brush from his hands as she fixes the messy braid he’d already concocted this morning.

Regina pins Sophie’s hair back, smiling softly at him through the mirror when they catch each other’s gazes.

He winks at Regina, remembering how many times his wife had shown him how to braid their daughter’s hair. He’d finally gotten it right, became quite the braid master if he does say so himself, and found himself doing his daughter’s hair most mornings while Regina got ready for work. Smiling at the memory, he takes a step into the room, telling his daughter how beautiful she looks. She giggles and says she doesn’t even have her dress on yet, but he vows he doesn’t need to see it to know she’ll be the most stunning girl in the room.

Robin makes his way downstairs, greeting the Charmings as they arrive with their son, Neal. He’s dressed in a black tux with a mint green tie to match Sophie’s dress. He looks nervous and Robin smiles, patting him on the back.

Regina descends the stairs, joining the rest in the foyer. She hugs Snow and David and plants a kiss to Neal’s cheek, telling him Sophie will be down in a second.

The boy’s jaw drops as the teenage girl appears. Her long, mint colored dress flows behind her. The top is strapless, but not overly sexy, Thank the gods . It’s covered in white lace that cascades down onto the mint, poofy skirt of the dress. He doesn’t know what all the terms his wife and daughter have spewed out since the day they picked the dress mean - sweetheart neck, tulle, lace overlay… but despite not knowing what it all means, he knows his daughter is the most gorgeous girl there is (besides his wife, of course). He truly doesn’t know how he got so lucky.

They take pictures of the young couple, and as Regina snaps her camera and Snow cries, saying how beautiful they are, Robin leans his shoulder against the door frame, watching his baby girl.

He can still remember the first time she said Papa and how his whole world had lit up and changed forever, and now here she is, dating a wonderful young man and planning a future at college.

“There you are,” he beams, bending down to join his little girl on the carpet in her playroom.

She’s playing with the new dolls she’d gotten for Christmas, and she holds one up. “Play with me, Papa!”

He chuckles, reaching down to pick up the Ken doll that rests next to her tiny foot. He gives said foot a light tickle, causing her contagious laughter to blossom out of her. They spend the next hour taking Barbie and Ken on adventures from the sea, to the Enchanted Forest, to the mall, and anywhere in between. He doesn’t know where she comes up with all of these ideas, but he loves these little moments of playful imagination.

He leans in, placing a kiss to the top of her head before standing, saying, “I’m going to help your mum make dinner.”

Sophie gives him a nod, picking up his discarded Ken and murmuring something about needing to change his outfit before going to Wonderland.

Robin shakes his head, chuckling under his breath as he watches his daughter get lost in her own world again.

“Love you, Papa,” she states, grinning up at him, her missing front tooth making her smile even more adorable.

He smiles warmly down at her from the doorway, touched by her words. This little girl has him completely wrapped around her little finger, and she knows it. He wouldn’t have it any other way, though. “I love you too, sweetheart.”

Making his way from the room, he smiles to himself, wishing Regina could find a way to keep their children small forever.

Shaking his head and avoiding the lump growing in his throat, he makes his way over to Sophie. Robin takes Neal’s place as Regina comes to stand on the other side of their daughter and Snow takes a few pictures for them. They all switch places, Regina taking pictures for the Charmings before they are kissing their kids goodbye and sending them off to the prom.

Later that night, after a quiet meal, some good wine, and a few tears shed from both of them over the photo albums Regina had pulled out where they could reminisce over all three of their children and how grown up they’ve become, they settle into the living room.

Robin turns on some soft music, walking over to Regina and gently closing the photo album she’s still teary eyed over. He reaches out, saying, “M’lady.”

She smiles up at him brightly, taking his hand and allowing him to walk her to the center of the room.

“She looked beautiful,” he whispers to her, swinging her body into his. Regina’s head comes to rest on his chest as she hums in agreement. “You did a great job with her hair.”

Tilting her head back, Regina smirks, claiming, “I used to style mine like that in the Enchanted Forest.”

Chuckling, Robin spins Regina around. She curls back into his embrace and they spend the next few minutes letting the music soothe their aching hearts. “I can’t believe she leaves next month,” Regina says sadly, looking up at him with fresh tears in her eyes. “All of our babies are grown up now.”

Giving her a empathetic look, Robin twitches his lip up on one side, then leans down, running his nose against the length of hers. She turns into the gesture, motioning her face upward like a kitten who is begging for another back rub. He dots a kiss to the tip of her nose before resting his forehead against her own.

Regina sighs, talking softly about Henry and Roland, letting him know they were both coming home next weekend to visit.

“That’ll be excellent,” he says, “Having all three of them here will be nice.”

His wife smiles up at him, nodding in agreement. The song ends as does their swaying, and Robin leads Regina to the couch.

They curl up together, Regina’s legs pulled up onto the cushions so she’s cuddled into his side. He smiles down at her, loving how they haven’t changed in all these years.

Things in Storybrooke may have settled, no more villains or monsters after them all, but Regina is still the same woman he fell in love with so many years ago. Their hair may have started to gray, but they still have that fire and passion between them (Snow often making jokes that they’d be the ones to end up pregnant once all their kids went off to college).

He loves his wife, and he hopes their deep affection for one another never fizzles out. As Regina reaches up, scratching at his chest and leaning up for another kiss, he thinks to himself that he doesn’t think it ever will.

{**********************}

Thoughts? :)

Chapter Text

Saturday: “A Bit of Trouble”

Prompt #185: Robin and Regina are neighbors who can’t stand each other

Prompt #199: Henry and Roland have a fight

 

She’s never liked her neighbor, that smug Robin Locksley. And he’s never liked her - which suits Regina Mills just fine.

God, he infuriates her. He always has the biggest and brightest, most garish Christmas decorations lighting up half the neighborhood alone with his house. He always has friends coming over for get togethers - Fourth of July (Why does he even have a party for that? He’s British!), Labor Day... any holiday they have off of work, really. They grill out in his backyard, swim in his pool, and make all kinds of noise. It’s annoying.

Her house, as large as it is, is always empty. It’s just her and her son, Henry. Her parents come over on Sundays for a nice, quiet family lunch. But that’s it. No parties, no friends. It’s peaceful… lonely… but she enjoys her life.

She does well to avoid Robin Locksley most of the time, but today was not one of those days. She’d gotten a call from Henry’s school saying he’d been in a fight.

“A what ?” she’d yelled into the phone, promising the principal she was on her way over.

When she arrives, however, Robin is sitting in the lobby as well. He’s in charcoal slacks and a blue button up, and fuck, why does he have to be so handsome? It’d be much easier to hate him if he wasn’t so good looking all the time. But every time he opens his big mouth, she’s reminded that looks aren’t everything.

“What are you doing here?” she asks with a curl to her lip.

Robin sighs, rolling his eyes as he explains that his son was in a fight and they needed him to come right away.

Odd, she thinks. Surely Henry didn’t fight his son. What would the chances be?

They’re both called back to the principal’s office at the same time, and Robin eyes her up and down disdainfully, mumbling he should’ve known it’d be her son to pick a fight with his.

“Who says Henry started the fight? Your son clearly sees the wild behavior you display so often, what with all your parties and ludacris music blaring in the backyard. He probably picked on my poor son.”

“Roland wouldn’t do that,” he declares protectively. She looks over at him, noticing for the first time just how blue his eyes are. She’s never really taken the time to look at him closely, but she’ll give him credit, he is handsome, and seems like a protective father. Even though his son obviously started the fight.

They settle into the chairs across from Principal Nolan’s desk, and he looks at them thoughtfully. Henry and Roland are sitting on a couch just to their left, and Mr. Nolan asks the boys if one of them would like to explain what happened.

She sees both of their heads sink lower toward their chests in shame, and she calls Henry’s name. “What happened?”

Her son stands, making his way over to her. He stands beside Regina’s chair, looking over her shoulder at their next door neighbor. “Roland kept looking at my paper during the math test, and - ”

“Nuh-uh!” Roland shouts in interruption, standing up from the couch and walking over to Robin indignantly. “I was not looking at his paper, Papa. I’m good at Math, why would I need to cheat?!”

“Because I’m smarter than you!” Henry shouts, and Regina tilts her head, taking Henry’s arm and tugging gently to get his attention.

She reprimands him, telling him, We don’t accuse people of things we don’t have proof of .

Henry has the sense to look ashamed, but still continues with his story. Roland goes to interrupt again, but Robin shushes him, saying that he needs to let Henry get his side of the story out first and then he can tell his side.

Regina rolls her eyes over at Robin, then turns back to her son. Henry tells the room how they were taking a math test, and, “Mrs. Nolan moved our seats around for the test. She didn’t want us next to our regular neighbors incase people were used to looking at their friends’ papers.”

He looks over to Roland, giving him a mean look, cutting his eyes over at him. Regina is surprised; her son never acts like this with anyone.

“So I was taking my test, and the next thing I know, Roland is leaned back, looking at my paper!”

“No, I wasn’t!” Roland scoffs, standing up from where he’s settled into Robin’s lap.

Robin pulls him back down, shushing him. Regina takes Henry’s hand, patting it gently, and pulling him into her lap as well before turning to face Robin and Roland.

“Roland,” she says, giving him a warm smile. “Why don’t you tell us what happened?”

Robin gives her a thankful look, and she finds herself smiling at him for some reason.

Roland takes in a deep breath, recounting the same information Henry had given about their teacher moving seats around before the test. “We were on problem number six. It was just adding two numbers - you know I know how to do that, Papa!” he exclaims, looking as upset as a seven year old can for being accused of something he swears he didn’t do. “I leaned back to stretch - I was tired!” he declares as if he’s on trial, and Regina can’t help but to hold back her chuckle at how innocent he looks with his curly brown hair flopping against his forehead as he looks between all the adults in the room.

“I was just leaning back and yawning, and then Henry started tattling on me.”

He goes on saying how Henry stood up, yelling that it wasn’t fair that he had to sit next to Roland. He didn’t like him and now he’s cheating off of his test. Roland admits that he stood up too, defending himself and claiming he wasn’t cheating.

“Then what happened, Henry?” Principal Nolan asks. Regina looks down at Henry who looks embarrassed, and it starts to click in her mind. Her son did start the fight.

“Henry?” she asks in disbelief, stroking his hair out of his face.

Tears well up in her little boy’s eyes as he says he hit Roland in the arm, “But then he hit me back!”

Regina and Robin glance at one another before looking back to their children, both scolding their sons for using physical violence to try and solve a problem.

The principal speaks up then, claiming, “My wife stepped in before it could go any further, of course, but this is the first time either boy has been involved in something like this.” Both she and Robin nod and Mr. Nolan explains, “We figured it was best to have both of you come in and discuss it before writing the boys up.”

“Are they going to be written up?” Regina inquires with concern. This is a private school, and there is a no violence policy. If Henry is written up, it could go on his record and follow him until he graduates. He could be expelled, he could…

“No, ma’am,” the principal assures. “Mrs. Nolan figured talking with you and Mr. Locksley might be good enough of a punishment for the boys.”

Regina sighs, nodding in agreement. “Yes, thank you.”

They speak with Mr. Nolan for a few more minutes, discussing possible meetings with the school counselor for the boys, and Regina and Robin both agree that it could help.

As they exit the school, Robin and Roland going one way, while she and Henry walk to her car in the opposite direction, she can’t help but glare at her neighbor one more time.

Once home, she fixes Henry dinner, talking to him all throughout about how violence is not the answer. “You should never put your hands on someone else, Henry,” she scolds as she picks up his dinner plate.

Walking over to the sink, she hears him agree with a sad, Yes, ma’am .

“Why did you hit him anyway? You could have just told the teacher.”

Henry huffs, coming to stand beside her in the kitchen. Henry tells her how he doesn’t like Roland, how he’s so annoying in class, always blurting out instead of raising his hand, and talking too loudly during group times. “I hate Roland.”

“Henry,” she reprimands in disbelief. “Don’t say that. That’s not nice.”

“Well you hate Roland’s dad,” he states it so matter-of-factly that it almost knocks Regina off her feet. Has she done this? Is this all her fault? She never thought she bad mouthed Robin that much in front of her son that it would rub off and turn into this. Sure, she’s made comments here or there about the constant flow of friends visiting or the music, but she always tries to keep her disdain for the neighbors to herself.

Regina sighs, wrapping her arms around Henry’s little shoulders and leading him upstairs to get ready for bed. “I don’t hate Robin,” she explains. “He’s just… different… from me.”

Henry changes into his pajamas and climbs in bed, asking question after question, wondering if being different is a bad thing. His question puts her in her place, and she is filled with guilt. “No, sweetheart,” she says solemnly. “You’re right. Being different from someone isn’t a bad thing.”

She apologizes, telling him, “I’m sorry I set a bad example for you. You should treat everyone fairly, no matter how different they are from you, okay?”

Henry nods in agreement, yawning and saying he’ll apologize to Roland on Monday. She smiles gently, lovingly looking down at her son as he drifts off to sleep. She leans in, placing a kiss to his cheek and pulling the covers over his chest. As he finally falls asleep, Regina sits there, watching him and thinking over her actions the last few months.

Robin annoys her, of course. But why? Because he has friends? She sighs when she realizes that she might actually be jealous of him and how fun his life seems. They have a pool in their backyard as well, but no one ever comes over to swim. She and Henry just paddle around in it during the summer. Henry has struggled to make friends since starting school last year, and she now wonders if that’s her doing. Her mother never allowed her to associate with others at school, isolating her from people Regina could have been friends with. She always vowed she’d be different when she was able to leave home, and she was, for a time. She’d made friends in college, met Neal, gotten married and had Henry. Once Neal left, though, she knows she clammed up, curling back inside herself where things were safe. You couldn’t get hurt if you never let anyone in.

Henry said he’d apologize on Monday, and isn’t that such a typical seven year old for you? They hold no grudges. She wouldn’t be surprised if he and Roland are best friends by the end of next week. God, she envies that. Wishes apologizing could be just as simple as an adult.

Making her way from his bedroom, she decides to be the bigger person. Robin Locksley will surely never apologize for how awfully they’ve treated each other (she’s still bitter about him reporting her to the neighborhood council for leaving a Christmas wreath up a week after the date to take down decorations had passed). There’d also been the time that he insinuated she had no friends. She was complaining to him about all the noise his band of merry men had created the day before at one of their get togethers, and he told her she wouldn’t be so bitter about it If she had any friends to invite over . That one had stung, but she pushes it from her mind as she makes her way out of her front door.

She will go next door and apologize even if it kills her.

{*************************}

Guilt had consumed him earlier, realizing he’d set a terrible example for his son. This feud with Regina Mills has gone on far too long.

Sure, he knows it all started when she rejected him. He’d tried to ask her out his first week in the neighborhood, and she had coldly shot him down, saying she didn’t have time for things like that , and ever since then, she’s been a pain in his ass.

She always complains, whether it’s to him or the neighborhood council, about his parties - not that he has wild, crazy parties like he did back in college. He’s an adult now, with a child. His ‘parties’ are just get togethers with his buddies from college, along with their wives and children. The kids all play in the pool while he grills hamburgers and hotdogs for his friends. They sit around and drink beer while the kids run and play and have a good time. He’d tried inviting Regina once, but her nose had turned so far up in the air that he never tried again. Cold bitch.

But now it’s gone too far. Roland, his sweet son, had resorted to hitting someone. Something he’s never taught him to do. He knows now that he’s set a bad example; Roland has overheard him one too many times bad-mouthing the neighbor to his best friend, John, apparently.

He’d just finished tucking Roland into bed when he decided to be the bigger person and apologize. When he opens his door, though, he spies Regina making her way over.

She is wrapped in a long cardigan, waring off the breeze of the night. Her hair is a little windblown, and he can’t help but think how cute she looks. Damn it. It would be so much easier to hate her if she wasn’t so gorgeous.

“Hey,” he calls out when she gets closer. They’re standing in between their driveways, on neutral territory it would seem.

“Hey,” she says, shrugging her shoulders like she doesn’t care. “What are you doing out here?”

He grins, his dimples popping on his cheeks. He sees her eyes go down to them, and huh, that’s interesting. “I was actually coming to talk… to apologize. What are you doing out here?”

She huffs, tucking a piece of hair behind her ear. “Actually…” she trails off, eyes sliding to the side as if saying the words physically pains her. “The same.”

They stand there, gazes locked. He wonders for a second how long they could do this - they’re both clearly just as stubborn as the other, and he doesn’t know who will crack first.

“Yeah?” he says, smirking down at her.

Regina rolls her eyes, a habit she seems to have formed around him. “Don’t be smug.”

Robin holds his hands up in surrender, saying he’s not smug. “It’s just nice to not be fighting for once.”

She bites down on the plump lip he’s thought about more often than he’d like to admit, and then tells him that she realized tonight that she’s been setting a horrible example for her son. “I don’t want him to think it’s okay to treat people like that.”

Robin nods in agreement, saying he had the same realization. “Truce?” he asks, shrugging a shoulder up and sticking his hand out to shake on it.

Regina takes a moment, clearly thinking it over, a small grin twists on her lips and he can see how hard she fights to keep it at bay. “Truce.” She reaches out, not quite connecting with his, so he takes a small step, accepting her hand and shaking it as if they’ve just completed a business deal.

They talk for a few minutes, eventually deciding to stop being so hard on each other. She won’t complain about his get togethers, because, They’re not actually that bad. Your friends never stay too late . And he vows to not pick on the little things, claiming, “Your wreath was actually quite cute with the snowman on it.”

She huffs, saying she’d been working late that whole week and it just slipped her mind. He feels bad for it; he really hadn’t cared about the wreath. In all honesty, he was jealous she got to keep hers up past the removal date. He loves Christmas, and if he could’ve left up his lights for an extra week, he would’ve been so happy. Robin apologizes, though, and explains why he did it. It’s just one of the many things he’s done to annoy her on purpose, but saying I’m sorry for that one thing is a nice place to start.

Once he explains himself, she smiles - an actual genuine one this time - and seems to relax. “Seems like we’ve just been misunderstanding each other.”

He nods, saying that seems pretty obvious now.

“How about you and Roland come over for lunch tomorrow?” she questions, a little sheepish. “Maybe we can sit the boys down together and let them talk things out.”

They agree on a time and say goodnight, Robin completely surprised, but pleased, at how pleasant that conversation had gone.

He walks inside, locking the door and turning out the lights. And as he climbs into bed, he can’t help but fall asleep with thoughts of how nice Regina Mills might actually be floating in his head.

{***************************}

The next day, Regina greets Robin and Roland at the door. They’re right on time, which she appreciates - not like they had far to go to get here, anyway.

She makes lunch, homemade pizza, which has all three boys drooling, and she has to admit that it went well. Robin is great with his son and seems to genuinely care about his well being. He’s also being nice to her, which is strange, but a pleasant change. She finds herself relaxing more and more throughout lunch. By the time it’s over, they’ve had the boys talk freely about what happened, and they both end up apologizing to one another.

Before long, the whole incident seems to be forgotten as Henry tells Roland he has video games in his room they can play.

“You have a TV in your room!?” Roland shouts animatedly as the boys run upstairs.

Regina chuckles under her breath, calling up to remind them not to play for too long. She’s met with twin, Yes, ma’am’s, before she makes her way back to the kitchen where she’d left Robin.

The sight before her makes her stop in her tracks. His back is facing her as he washes the pizza pan she’d cooked on earlier. She swallows watching the muscles in his back ripple at the action.

Pull yourself together, she scolds herself, licking her lips and pulling herself from her thoughts.

One peaceful afternoon with this man doesn’t change everything.

Clearing her throat, she walks further into the room. He looks over at her, grinning. “I hope it’s alright that I started cleaning this,” he says, motioning his head toward the pan.

She smiles gratefully, telling him it’s fine. “I appreciate it.”

“It’s the least I could do after you cooked such an amazing meal,” he claims sincerely, popping his hip out to bounce against hers.

She realizes then just how closely they are standing, and she takes a small step back. Robin has always been like that, always so much more comfortable around her than she is around him. He’s the type of person that just assumes everyone is their friend.

Regina has never experienced that - growing up with a mother who always forced her to debutante shindigs and nights at the country club - she never had the chance to rub elbows with people and get to know them. Everyone in her life has always been just a little… fake. Pretentious.

After he turns the water off and dries his hands, they make their way into the living room. He looks around at the pictures on her mantle, commenting on how cute Henry was as a baby.

She thanks him, saying she’s positive Roland was just as cute. “He’s beyond adorable now, so I can only imagine what he must’ve been like as a baby.”

Robin smiles proudly, pulling out a picture from his wallet. It’s a photograph of a beautiful brunette woman holding a tiny, chubby baby that is obviously Roland. “I was right,” she giggles, “even cuter then!”

She takes a moment to look at the picture, leaning in closer to see the details before asking, “Is that Roland’s mother?”

A sad look crosses his features, and she immediately regrets asking. She apologizes, saying he doesn’t have to talk about it if he doesn’t want to.

He waves her off, walking toward the couch when she gestures to it and telling her about his Marian and how much she loved Roland. “This is actually the last picture taken of the two of them,” he says somberly, but with a small smile on his face. They settle onto the sofa, Regina bringing her legs up under her as her arm lays across the back of the cushions. Her mind quickly imagines what it would be like to run her fingers across his shoulder, but she pushes those thoughts away for now.

Robin briefly recounts the accident that took her life when Roland was eight months old, and she gives him her sympathies, saying she knows how hard it is to lose someone you love. She lost her father when she was pregnant with Henry and didn’t think she’d ever recover.

He reaches over, taking her hand in his for a short second, asking, “What about Henry’s father?”

She twists her lips, trying not to speak so ill of Henry’s dad, but when you bail out two years after your kid is born, it’s hard not to. So Regina sighs, waving her hand in the air. “Henry’s father isn’t around. He couldn’t handle the pressure of being a father… or being with me, I’m not really sure anymore… so he left when Henry was two.”

Robin shakes his head, apologizing. “Some men are shit.”

She laughs at that unexpected reply but agrees. Regina smiles over at him and well, since he’s already touched her, she supposes they’re at that level, so her arm settles back against the back of the couch, her finger tips scratching at his shoulder playfully. He smiles over at her, those dimples of his making her knees weak, and she asks if he’d like to watch some television while the boys play upstairs.

“Sounds good,” he says, giving her a wink before stretching his feet out in front of him and crossing one ankle over the other. His head leans back against the cushions, right where her fingers are, and she grins, teasingly sliding them out slowly so they graze through the hair at the back of his neck.

Regina catches his eye as she leans toward the table to grab the remote, and she has to bite back the girly grin blossoming on her face.

As they watch some mindless show about people who won the lottery and want bigger houses, they talk and get to know one another.

She realizes Robin Locksley isn’t so bad afterall, and she tells him that in a moment of honesty.

He laughs, patting her on the knee and agreeing, saying, “I’ve been pleasantly surprised today as well.”

They stare at one another longer than they should, but his blue eyes are mesmerizing. It’s like she’s in a daze and can’t pull herself out. He’s been subtly flirting with her all afternoon, and she knows she’s been giving it right back.

Their banter is easy, and the conversation is great. They even make plans for the boys to hang out again.

“Maybe you and Henry can come over and swim next weeked,” Robin suggests, turning to look into her brown eyes.

“That sounds lovely,” she decides, giving him a nod. “For the boys.”

Smiling, Robin nods, breathing out a satisfied, Of course .

A little while later, the boys come bounding down the stairs and Regina slides a touch further away from him on the sofa, realizing just how closely they’d drawn together since they sat down. Henry and Roland chatter on about how they each won a round of the game, and after talking with their sons for a little while, the adults decide it’s time for them to part ways. The kids moan and complain, which makes Regina laugh. Clearly one afternoon together has been enough for their fight to be forgotten.

Robin tells them of their pool plans next weekend, and the boys cheer, hugging each other as Roland and Robin make their way back home.

Before they go, Robin leans in, pressing a friendly kiss to Regina’s cheek, making her face flush. She smiles softly as he speaks lowly, adding, “Bring your bathing suit, too,” with a flirtatious wink.

She grins, rolling her eyes much more playfully at him than she’s done in the past. This… whatever it is… between them now can only mean trouble. But Regina’s always secretly liked a little bit of trouble.

{*************************}

Thoughts? :)

Chapter Text

Sunday: “Thrown into Love”

Prompt #39. Regina is thrown from her horse, Robin is the one who helps her

Prompt #43. Bedsharing

Prompt #99. The Merry Men accept Regina into their group

Prompt #114. “I just want to see you smile.”

 

“Why did you let me stay?” Regina asks, reaching up to stroke Robin’s scruff covered jaw.

He smiles dopily down at her before staring off into the distance, as if lost in thought. She returns the smile, forever grateful that he not only rescued her ten months ago when she’d been thrown from her horse in a mad attempt to escape her mother’s tight reign, but grateful that he’d let her stay. They’d all let her stay - his merry men had welcomed her with open arms into their little family once they’d gathered around the dwindling fire for breakfast her second day there and she’d told them about Cora and how she was trying to marry her off to the king.

Her beau, Daniel, had just been killed by her mother in their stables. The image of his body falling to the ground as his heart was crushed to dust still haunts her dreams at night. As soon as her mother had stormed off, leaving Regina to sob over his dead body, she’d grabbed the nearest horse - Rocinante, her favorite gift her father had ever given her - and dashed from the stables, rushing into the cool air of the night as tears streamed down her face.

It was raining, droplets stinging her cheeks as she raced through the trees. She could almost hear Cora’s maniacal laughter, pleased with her plan to destroy Regina’s happiness and make her the queen. Regina knew King Leopold was there to find a wife, knew her mother was more than willing to give her away in order to provide the lifestyle she’d always dreamt of.

But that wasn’t what Regina wanted.

She wanted love, and happiness… and freedom. She wanted to be free, to not be torn down by her mother’s words, but built up by someone else’s. Daniel had given her that. He loved her, and she loved, still loves, him.

Watching him die had been the hardest thing Regina has ever gone through. Images of his warm, blue eyes turning cold and rolling to the back of his head flash before her eyes, and she smacks the reins against Rocinante even harder, pushing him through the approaching storm.

She didn’t know how far her mother’s magic could reach, wasn’t sure if she’d even be able to leave the outskirts of her family’s land, but she had to try. She had to get away.

After an hour of running Rocinante ragged, he’d finally had enough. He began slowing down, but Regina’s tears and frustration at what her life had become tore her attention from her trusty steed, and she pushed him further - yelling his name and clamping her boots against his belly to push him further. The brown mare made it a little bit further before turning against her, just like everyone in her life had ever done, and reared back, kicking his front legs in protest to the exertion she was demanding of him.

Regina gripped the reins, trying to hold on, but it was no use. She was flung from Rocinante’s back, screaming into the darkness of the night as her back hit the mud beneath her.

Rolling onto her side, she coughs, rain and tears spewing from her mouth as she reaches up to swipe at her face.

She groans, twisting her back and reaching around to rub at the soreness. Before she can move even further, a large hand reaches down. “M’lady, you’re injured.”

“I prefer Regina,” she says defiantly, glaring up at the man, “And I’m fine.” She’s not, not really anyway. Her back is sore, she knows her skin will bruise by morning, and she’s pretty sure she can feel blood trickling down her arm beneath her dark green cloak. But she’s angry, not at this stranger, but at the world. At anyone who will listen and let her be mad.

The man smirks at her, a hint of amusement in his eyes as he says, “Of course,” but still offers his hand out in assistance.

Sighing, she reaches up, grunting and screwing up her face in agony as she’s made to stand on her feet. The man senses her discomfort and reaches out, asking if he can carry her. “Just over to my horse,” he juts his head, signaling to the black mare behind him.

Regina nods, huffing in frustration at not being able to walk properly. “I’m Robin, by the way,” he says, reaching both arms out to sweep her into his embrace. “Robin Hood, at your service.”

He smiles, and she can’t help but to smile softly back, thankful that he was here to help her. He walks the few steps to his steed, placing her atop it before hopping on behind her, wrapping his arms around her as he guides the horse to his camp.

They’d ridden to the Merry Men’s camp, not far from where she’d been thrown, Rocinante tied to Robin’s horse and following behind diligently.

It was late when they arrived, most of the camp bunkered down in their tents to avoid the rain still coming down. It’d let up some, allowing a handful of his men to stand guard at the entrances without being drenched. There were a few men finishing a late dinner who gave Robin a strange look when he entered with a woman on his horse.

He’d dismounted from his steed, helping her down and letting Regina lean into his side so she didn’t have to put pressure on her injured foot.

Robin led her to a large tent, lowering her down onto a bed covered in furs.

“I’ll go get the healer,” he tells her, confirming that she can make herself comfortable.

She gives him an uneasy smile, unsure how to be comfortable in the place like this. She’d grown up in nothing short of a palace built for nobility. She didn’t even know if she’d be able to sleep on this kind of bed.

Robin re-enters a few minutes later with a woman behind him. The older woman, whom Robin just introduces as Granny, smiles warmly down at her, assuring Regina that she’s there to help.

Granny spends the next half hour helping Regina into more comfortable clothes. She has to wear an oversized tunic of Robin’s that was clean and big enough to cover her body almost to her knees. It was shorter than a lady should wear, but the circumstances were dire and her torn dress needed to be removed in order for Granny to place healing herbs to her scrapes.

The gray-haired woman speaks softly to Regina, telling her it was going to be alright and that she got lucky to not be more injured. She has a large scrape on her forearm and a handful of tiny cuts on her back. The mud thankfully cushioned her fall, helping with not hurting her body even more, though Granny did confirm what she already knew - she would be bruised come morning.

Once Granny leaves, leaving some clean strips of cloth for Regina to clean her arm with later, Robin enters again.

He has a sheepish look in his eyes, and she questions him on it.

“This, uh,” he clears his throat, gesturing to the tent they are in, “is my tent. So,” he trails off, twisting his lips. “I don’t mean to impose, but you see, the rain is coming down harder, and I have nowhere else to go.”

He explains that all his other men are either married so their tents are full with spouses and children or they don’t have a tent large enough to fit two grown men.

Her eyes widen, feeling guilty for taking his bed without even questioning who it belonged it. “Oh,” she states shyly, “I’m sorry.” She goes to push herself up, mumbling that she can find somewhere else to sleep.

Robin looks up, shaking his head vehemently. “No, no, no.” He holds out his hands, walking over to her to gently press on her shoulders, laying her back into the bed. “I just meant I will have to sleep over there.” He points to a smaller bed, one she hadn’t noticed until just now.

She gives him a wary look, and he chuckles, explaining, “It’s my son’s.” He informs her of his boy, Roland, and how he’d begged earlier to spend the night with his Uncle John. “Lucky for me, though, now his bed is free for me to sleep in.”

Smiling timidly, Regina tucks her hair behind her ear, telling him that’s fine. “I wouldn’t want you to sleep out in the rain.”

They share a soft chuckle before he climbs awkwardly onto the small cot. It can’t be comfortable, she knows that. The bed is entirely too small for a grown man to sleep on.

Robin does his best though, curling up into a ball as best he can. Regina watches him for a few seconds, confirming that he’s okay. When he promises her that he is, she closes her eyes and tries to sleep.

The sound of the rain and now thunder in the distance is soothing, but there’s an awkward tension in the air. She assumes its from not knowing one another, yet having to sleep under the same shelter.

“If you don’t mind… why were you running?” he asks suddenly, interrupting her thoughts.

Sighing, Regina opens her eyes, glancing over to the small bed. He’s got one arm tucked beneath his head like an extra pillow while his other strong arm rests on his stomach. His head is turned, watching her.

Deciding to be honest, she reveals that she was running away from her mother. “She… did something that hurt the man I love, and I just couldn’t be there anymore.”

Her eyes water. She hadn’t thought of Daniel in the last few hours with everything else going on, and now that she’s safe, and warm, and already beginning to heal, memories of him dying in front of her assault her vision. Tears spring to her eyes and she sniffles, reaching up to wipe the tears away.

Robin looks concerned, sitting up in the cot and asking her what’s wrong.

She waves him off, promising that she’s fine. Clearing her throat, she takes a deep breath, in and out, trying to calm her racing heart.

After a few moments of silence, he asks her again if everything is alright, and she nods, saying that it is. They lay there, both clearly contemplating the last few minutes. She doesn’t know why, but there’s something about Robin that makes her want to be honest.

Maybe it’s because he saved her, or how he checked on his men that were still awake when they entered, or the way he’d rushed to get Granny to help her without even really knowing who she was… whatever the reason, she finds herself opening up, saying, “My mother killed him right in front of me. I had to leave.”

She looks over at him, trying to suppress a small bubble of laughter at his shocked expression.

They spend the next several hours talking - Regina finding out why they lived in tents, how they became to be known as the Merry Men, what they did each day to provide for the poor - it was all very honorable even though they were thieves, and Regina found that she liked it. Admired it, really.

She likes the idea of people like her mother being robbed and having their precious belongings, which they hardly paid any attention to anyway, taken from them to help those in need.

She’d opened up about her family, her mother in particular, and how she’d always been groomed to be queen. “I never wanted that life, though,” she admits, and Robin stares at her as if he can see into her soul.

“Never wanted to be queen? Isn’t that what all little girls dream of?”

She scoffs bitterly, rolling her eyes. “Maybe some, but not me.”

Regina tells him how growing up in a strict household, having her mother use her magic on her for punishment, and everything else Cora could’ve done to make Regina’s life miserable, made her realize all she wanted in life was to be free. “If I were to ever become queen, or any other type of nobility, there’s no way I could have the freedom to do what I want.”

“And what do you want?”

She thinks for a moment - no one has ever asked her that before. What does she want in life? Regina shrugs, letting her teeth sink into her bottom lip. She releases the flesh, sighing out with a small smile growing as she declares, “Love.”

They grin at each other, Robin saying he can understand that. He tells her about his late wife, Marian, and their son, and Regina envies him. She’s jealous of the way he’s gotten to live his life. He’s been able to love and laugh and do what he wants when he wants. It’s a dream for her, really, and she wishes against all hope that she can one day live like that.

Robin makes mention later in the night, almost morning at this point, that they need some sleep. They bid each other a goodnight, Regina drifting off thinking how she’s never talked to someone so freely before, not even Daniel. It was nice, getting to know someone, and having someone get to know her - the real her.

She hears Robin sigh, grumbling under his breath as he twists and turns, trying to get comfortable on the tiny cot. After almost an hour of his struggling against his son’s bed, Regina finally huffs, slamming her uninjured arm against the feather filled mattress. “Would you just get up here?”

He flips onto his left side, brows furrowing as he questions her.

“Your huffs and groans are keeping us both awake. Just lay on top of the covers, and I’ll stay under.”

She must’ve spoken it with more authority in her voice than she felt, because Robin stands with an unsure look on his face with the little pillow tucked under his arm. He lays down though, sighing in relief when his body is able to stretch out like normal on his bed.

“Thank you,” he drawls in pleasure, yawning and rolling onto his side, facing away from her.

She smirks, murmuring a, “You’re welcome,” before closing her eyes and trying to fall asleep.

It’s hard though, images of Daniel taunt her when she closes her eyes, but the heat from Robin’s body and his soft snores toy with her when her eyes are open. Maybe telling him to share the bed wasn’t such a good idea.

She’d woken up the next morning completely embarrassed, later finding out that the healing herbs Granny had used could cause the person to have the same effects as too much alcohol - loose lipped and far too comfortable with her surroundings.

It’d been funny later, once she’d gotten over the shock of waking up next to a man she’d only met the night before, but their conversation that night had bonded them more than either of them knew.

That day, she’d met the Merry Men, including the tiniest of them all, Roland. They’d had breakfast before Regina was sent back to the tent per Granny’s instruction to help her heal faster. Roland had made himself comfortable in her presence right away, bringing in a wooden toy of his to play on his papa’s bed while Regina rested.

And the rest is history. She’d attempted to leave a few days later, claiming she was all better. But Robin and his men refused to let her go back to her mother, jokingly exclaiming that they’d kidnap her before letting her go back there.

She had chuckled back then, smiling to herself out of giddiness as finally feeling accepted by people. So, she stayed. Robin and John set up a new tent close to his for Regina to live in, and she spent her days learning from Granny and helping to heal the sick. Life was wonderful.

A few months after being there, Robin shyly asked her if it would be alright for him to court her, and she never thought she’d have that again - never thought she’d be lucky enough to have another man show interest in her - but she couldn’t deny him. There was an attraction there, built from an unlikely friendship, that she wanted to explore. Her guilt over Daniel overwhelmed her at points, but Robin had been right there to comfort her, knowing what she was going through from personal experience.

“You never answered my question,” Regina giggles, tapping Robin on the nose.

“Hm?”

She rolls her eyes, scooting closer to his body. “I said why did you let me stay?”

Robin smiles once again, biting down on his lower lip. He leans in, pressing a kiss to her lips before wrapping his arm around her and pulling her even closer. “I just want to see you smile all the time,” he replies, grinning. “I couldn’t let you go knowing I’d never seen that gorgeous smile ever again.”

She whacks him in the chest playfully, but secretly touched by his words. Regina kisses him again, beaming into the embrace. She has finally found her place in this world, and she couldn’t feel more content.

She knows it’s only been a little under a year, but it’s months she’ll never forget. Regina has experienced more freedom since coming here, always looking over her shoulder or wondering when her mother will finally find them, but despite the fears, she’s learned to love. And to truly live.

She’s found a family in Robin, Roland and the Merry Men, and she can’t count how many times she’s thanked the gods above for her running away and being thrown from her horse. Her blue eyed hero has permanently imprinted himself in her heart, and she prays each morning to never lose him.

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Thoughts? :)

Chapter Text

Just a quick, silly little thing that came to me… enjoy!

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Chick Magnet:

He's pushing the stroller down the aisle, shopping basket swinging on his arm. He's already picked up a few bananas (Roland's favorite), and has a box of Pop-Tarts tossed in as a surprise for Henry, their four year old—though he doubts Regina will let him go grocery shopping on his own ever again after that one.

He smirks. Ah, fuck it, he'll let the lad enjoy the sugary treat this once before they both get in trouble.

Chuckling to himself, he throws a package of chocolate covered pretzels in there too, more for him than their little boy, because, why not? He's pushing the limit and deviating from the list anyway, might as well get the unhealthy snack he likes, too.

He stops to consult the short list he was given this morning—very short, because obviously his wife doesn't trust him with the big items (and with good reason, after the disastrous shopping trip she'd let him accompany her on their first year of marriage right out of college). As he pulls Roland's stroller to the side so as to not be in anyone's way, eyes scanning the list once more, he feels a shopping cart bump into the back of his leg.

"Oh, I'm so sorry!" he hears from behind. Turning, he catches sight of a tall red-headed woman. Her eyes are wide, moving her cart out of the way as she comes to stand next to Robin. "I was looking at the list in my phone, and–"

"It's no problem," he assures cooly, a dimpled smile sent her way.

Her tense shoulders relax, a seductive smile slowly edging its way onto her red-painted lips. She flips her curly hair over one shoulder, and he wonders briefly why some women get so done up just to grocery shop.

"Look at you!" she squeals, her blue eyes peeling away from his to land on the baby. "You are just the cutest thing!"

Roland gurgles and drools, his one tooth that has just started to sprout shining amongst his pink gums. His chubby little hand reaches up, his attempt to wave, Robin assumes, and the woman practically melts on the spot, oohing and ahhing in Roland's face.

Robin's head tilts, watching the interaction, before his eyes catch a glimpse of another woman looking their way. Huh, he's never noticed this many women in one area of the store before.

"He's so handsome," the woman currently at his side announces, her hand brushing against his forearm. "Just like his dad."

Robin grins, feeling a bit uncomfortable at the attention, but he has to admit, it's nice. Makes him feel like he's back on his college campus, soaking up all the attention from the girls as they complimented him after winning another soccer game. Like he's the only cock in the henhouse, which he appears to be as he observes all the women just milling about.

Letting out a shy chuckle, he rubs the back of his neck, tucking his chin to his chest before smiling up at the woman politely. He thanks her, and she grins back, one perfectly groomed brow lifting in what he can only imagine is her flirtatious look.

She waves her goodbye to him and Roland, sauntering down the aisle with a sway to her hips that he has to believe was just for him.

Robin looks over the top of the stroller just as Roland tilts his head back, both grinning at one another. He shakes his head with a light scoff of a laugh to himself, pushing his son to the end of the aisle so he can browse the snacks. "Mummy is going to kill me," he snickers to his young son. "Maybe I should just stick to the list for the rest of our trip."

Roland giggles, a little squeal of solidarity as he slaps his chubby hands onto his thighs, kicking his legs out and in. "Yeah?" Robin asks, laughing, "You think so, too?"

Just as he turns the corner onto the next aisle, Robin is stopped by another woman's attention (that makes, what, four or five in the short amount of time he's been in here today?) She's a gorgeous woman, about his age, big, brown eyes and an even bigger chest. She squares her shoulders, her… assets… more in his face than he thinks necessary at the grocery store and struts over to him and Roland. "How old is he?" the woman asks, voice rising an octave as she peers down at Roland in the stroller.

She glances up at him, giving him a sweet, but what he can tell is, dangerous smile.

Robin grins, his chest puffing out as he realizes his son is apparently a chick magnet… not that he needs a "chick", he has Regina at home, his beautiful wife of eight years. But knowing he's still got it, well, quite frankly, makes him feel good as these women flock to him, fawning over him and his son. "Eight months," he replies cooly, dimples popping onto his cheeks.

"Oh my gosh," the brunette squeals, looking from Robin to Roland. "And you have Daddy's dimples, don't you?" She wiggles Roland's little socked foot, nose scrunching as she coos at the baby.

Just then, a blonde woman joins them, bending down to smile at Roland, her own flirtatious smile greeting Robin on the way.

He smirks, looking at the boxes of pasta on the shelf and selecting the whole wheat ones, knowing Regina would want nothing else. Maybe it'll ease the blow of the sugar cookies he's also bringing home.

The two women are apparently friends, or sisters, he's not entirely sure, but they stand up together, both giving him their winningest smiles as they ask more about his darling boy—what's his name, is he always this happy, is he teething or crawling yet, does he get his good looks from his father…

"No, no," he laughs, hand waving off the compliment, "That's all from his gorgeous mum."

The women look at one another, eyes sliding back to him before they look down at Roland, giggling at his drool and megawatt smile one more time before bowing out gracefully.

"See you later, ladies," he calls with an amused snort.

"Robin," they bid farewell in unison, and his head tilts to the side, wondering how they know his name. He can't remember telling them, only his son's name...

"Robin," he hears again, this time more clearly. He looks to the end of the aisle, then behind him, curious as to where the voice is coming from.

He glances down to Roland, then looks up from the stroller, wondering if one of the women had come back when he hears his name again, but he finds no one there.

He looks up, is it the store's intercom? Quickly realizing it's not, he hears his name again, but the voice is obvious now. Regina.

Is she here? Had she somehow sensed he was failing at his one task of the day? He guiltily tucks his Pop-Tarts under the bananas, hoping to hide them for a wee bit longer.

Smiling, he looks around for her, but doesn't see anyone around anymore. Odd, seeing as the store was littered with women moments ago.

His eyes flit to the left, then the right, snapping open when he hears another, this time more stern, "Robin!"

He shakes his head groggily, sitting up on the couch. He must have dozed off for a moment; Roland is on his play mat on the living room floor, drooling all of his toys and sticking what he can into his mouth while Henry sits in just his little Batman boxers, eyes glued to the television as he watches Spiderman leap building to building.

Pulling himself from the fog he'd been in, he clears his throat and catches sight of Regina standing in the doorway that connects their kitchen to the living room. Her shoulder is pressed against the door jamb, a smirk on her face and a lifted brow in question.

"Good dream?"

He smirks, realizing she must think it was a sexy dream from the way she murmurs, "Thought I'd wake you up before it went any further," as she walks toward him.

Chuckling, Robin shakes his head, reaching out for her to join him on the sofa.

She plops down, his arm circling around her shoulders and pulling her close. He presses a kiss to the top of his head, laughing when Henry turns around, beaming at him as he exclaims, "He got the bad guy, Daddy!"

"I see that, buddy. Awesome!"

The toddler nods proudly, tossing a toy in Roland's direction before looking back to the screen.

Roland gurgles, reaching out to grab the ball his brother had just sent his way and placing it in his mouth, gnawing on it. "I need to go get his teething ring out of the freezer," Regina mumbles, extracting herself from his grip.

He pulls her back with a chuckle, saying the lad seems just as content with the ball as he would the teething ring.

His wife sighs, head tilting as she looks at him, clearly trying to think of a reason why she is right and needs to go get the ring right now.

She doesn't seem to come up with anything, so she sighs, settling back against the cushions of the couch. "So," she starts, looking at him in amusement, "that dream…"

Breathing a laugh through his nose, he shakes his head, telling her it wasn't what she thinks. At her lifted brow, he explains the whole thing, summing it up with a, "Let's just say, Roland and I are quite the chick magnets while grocery shopping."

"You were grocery shopping?"

He nods, and she laughs, louder than she must mean to because she clamps a hand over her mouth, looking to their boys. "Oi, what's so funny?" he asks, tickling her side.

Regina snickers, saying, "That really was a dream," as she shakes her head and sends an amused eye roll his way.

"And why's that?" His head turns to look at her fully, mock-hurt playing in his eyes, knowing exactly what she meant.

She scoffs. "Please," she softens her words with a sly grin, adding, "as if I'd ever let you go grocery shopping on your own."

They belly-laugh, both knowing the disaster it was the last time she trusted him with the task and he came home with more sugary treats than she'd ever allow in the household in an entire year.

Pulling her close, he places a chaste kiss to her lips as Henry bounds over from his spot on the floor, climbing into Robin's lap.

His arms wrap around his shirtless belly, and the boy leans back, resting against him.

"Speaking of the store," Regina says, tickling Henry's foot. "We need to get dressed and go anyway."

Twin groans fall from Robin and Henry's lips, but Regina simply rolls her eyes, standing to scoop Roland off the floor. Peppering his chubby cheek with kisses, she tells the rest of the boys to get up and get dressed. "It's Saturday," she declares with a hand on her hip. "And all of you boys already had a nap." She gives him a pointed look, and all he can do is smirk sheepishly and send her a shrug. "So now it's time to get up and get things done."

Henry hops off his lap, skittering up the stairs exclaiming all the way down the hallway that he's a big boy and can get himself dressed.

Robin smiles, kissing Roland on the cheek before assuring his wife, "I'll go help with that one," and starting off toward the steps.

"Thank you." She smiles. "Oh, and Robin?" she calls.

He turns on the second to last step to look at her, and she grins, saying, "We'll be sticking to the list today, and you and this little one," she bounces Roland on her hip, "won't be going off on your own."

Chortling, he nods, knowing she's right, not just because of the magnetism he and Roland possess, but because he's been craving Pop-Tarts ever since he woke up, and he knows without a shadow of a doubt that he'd try to sneak some in just to test the limits.

"Whatever you say, love," he snickers, heading up the stairs and to Henry's bedroom.

Once they're all dressed and ready, they head out, spending the rest of their afternoon picking out the groceries needed for the week, and to everyone's surprise, Regina even tosses in their favorite Pop-Tarts with a wink.

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Hope it made you smile lol… please review! :)

Chapter Text

Best Brunch in Town:

The smell of sizzling bacon must be what draws him from their bedroom finally. Robin emerges, hair a bit mussed from sleep, sweatpants lower on his hips than normal, which gives her a nice view of that V he has sculpted on his beautiful body.

He's fit, she's always known that. They'd met in college at the gym when they both tried a new Body Pump class, so he's always been in great shape.

But now, eight years later, with wedding rings on their fingers and a baby bump growing by the day between them, he looks even better.

Regina could blame the hormones, sure, but look at him. With or without the added hormones raging through her body, she'd find him sexy.

"Look who's finally woken up," she teases, waving her silver kitchen tongs in his direction.

Robin chuckles, his voice still a bit scratchy from sleep as he says, "Well someone gave me the best," and at the raise of her eyebrow he amends his words, "sleep I've ever had."

He runs a hand through his sandy blonde hair, his dimples shining brightly as he comes to stand behind her, wrapping his strong arms around her middle, his thumb softly rubbing against her belly.

Giggling, Regina leans her head to the side, giving him access to pepper kisses to her neck in greeting.

She swats at his arm when he reaches for a piece of pineapple, reprimanding him and saying to save it all for their breakfast.

"More like brunch, wouldn't you say?" he asks with a gleam in his eye, pointing to the clock on the microwave that reads 11:30.

She rolls her eyes but agrees, saying she wanted to get up early and make them breakfast, but, "Someone wouldn't let me get out of bed."

"Mm," he hums, kissing her cheek before moving to the fridge. "You were just so warm, I didn't want to let you go."

Smiling to herself, thinking how nice it was to get those extra cuddles in on this cold, winter morning, all she can do is shake her head, turning the bacon over to let it cook on the other side.

"Can you work on the eggs?" she asks, nodding her head in the direction of the bowl. The eggs are already whisked and ready to be poured, she just doesn't have enough hands.

Robin nods, sprinkling a bit of extra salt and pepper into them before heating up the other burner. "You go sit, babe," he murmurs, bumping her hip with his. "You've made the bacon, and the biscuits are almost done. Let me finish."

She sighs, rubbing at her lower back. "It would be nice to sit for a bit."

With that, she removes the bacon from the frying pan, setting it to the side to cool before waddling to the other side of the counter to sit at the bar stool.

Her back has been killing her lately, the weight of their child pulling on her back with each passing day. Rubbing her rounded belly, she smiles down at it, knowing she'd take back pain every day if it meant they get to have their little miracle.

Getting pregnant had been harder than they imagined. They'd gotten married a year after graduating, just months before they both started their new careers.

It was a hectic time, so babies were the least of their worries. They were young and starting out in the world; there would be time for a baby later.

But then she'd gotten pregnant two years into their marriage, which shocked them both. They'd been excited, Robin crying over their first ultrasound and taking her to Target straight away to register for baby items. They'd started setting up a nursery and preparing for this new arrival in their lives until one day she'd gone to the bathroom at work and their lives had changed forever.

Their baby was gone; a miscarriage.

It had broken them, and for a while, Regina wasn't sure their marriage could survive that big of a loss. But Robin, being Robin, had broken down in the midst of one of their many fights back then, saying he would fight until his last dying breath for them. He wasn't giving up, and so with tears in her eyes, she borrowed some of his strength and decided to fight for them as well.

Two years after that, they finally had to admit that getting pregnant a second time seemed to be much harder, and Regina had made an appointment with a fertility specialist.

After rounds and rounds of medications and injections and more work than Regina had ever put into anything, they'd finally been blessed with this little miracle six months ago, almost two years after starting her treatments.

Pulling herself from her thoughts, she looks up, spying her husband grinning at her. "What?" she giggles, pursing her lips and narrowing her eyes.

He shakes his head, says she was off in la-la land, and all she can do is laugh and agree with a shrug.

"Sorry," she chuckles, "Did you say something?"

He laughs, recounting his story he'd just told her about how John, his best friend and co-worker, and his husband, Will, wanted to throw them a baby shower.

"That would be lovely," she beams, telling him how Mary Margaret, her best friend from work, wanted to do the same.

"Sounds like we have plenty of showers to look forward to then."

Their eyes catch on that, and she knows he's thinking the same thing as she is—they never got this far in their first pregnancy, never got to experience all of this, and it's fun, exciting, and now she needs to register for more items.

"Sounds like we need to take another trip to Target," she declares excitedly.

Groaning as he dumps the eggs onto their plates, Robin rolls his eyes. "I think we can register online, you know, save us a trip."

Giving him her best deadpan look, she asks, "Where's the fun in that?"

Snorting, her husband shakes his head, mumbling something under his breath that she doesn't quite catch as he removes the biscuits from the oven. "Brunch is served!"

Hopping down from her stool, she walks over to Robin, attempting to grab her plate when he stops her with a gentle hand on her wrist.

She looks up at him, and god, those gorgeous blue eyes that she could get lost in are staring so deeply into her soul.

Biting her lip, she tries to push away the sudden swarm of hormones that are coursing through her body.

She grins, saucily inquiring, "Did you need something?"

Chuckling hotly, Robin leans down, murmuring, "Oh, definitely," before capturing her mouth with his.

Their lips press together, and she sucks his bottom lip into her mouth, moaning at the sensation.

Robin's lips leave hers with a wet pop, laving kisses down her neck, then back up again to her jaw and over to her ear. He nibbles just a bit, and damn him, he knows how much she loves that.

Two can play that game, though, she thinks, as she grips his hair, pulling his head back so that she can take control.

She grins wickedly as her mouth latches onto his neck, sucking on the pulse point she knows can bring him to his knees.

They spend a handful of heated moments, hands roaming and mouths competing for dominance before their brunch is long forgotten. The plates are pushed to the other set of counters, the dirty bowls left in the sink, as Robin's mouth works his magic on her skin.

Robin's hands find purchase on her waist, fingertips digging into her as he lifts her up, spinning them around so her rear lands on the kitchen counter.

She yelps in surprise, her hands gripping at his shoulders as he does so, and they both laugh before she bends down, best she can with her bump, and kisses him again.

Good thing her husband is tall enough that this is still possible despite her not being able to bend that well these days.

His hands slowly trail up and down her thighs, causing goosebumps to rise on her skin. God, she wants him, has never wanted him more. "Robin," she pants as his tongue travels down her throat.

He hands end their exploring at the hem of her shirt, peeling it slowly from her body, and thank God she was still in her pajamas—little black, cotton shorts, despite it being winter (she's a furnace at night) and a thin t-shirt of his she stole years ago when they were first dating.

Her breasts now fully on display, Robin takes one pert nipple in his mouth, tongue swirling around before he sucks in it, groaning into her skin. "Christ," he says as he pulls back, "I love you." He dives back in, lips returning to their previous task as his other hand cups her other breast, thumb circling her nipple to bring it to a taut peak.

Giggling, she pulls him back up to her, begging him to kiss her again.

His one hand falls to her thigh, moving ever so tauntingly on her skin, slowly working her up with the sensation of his hands on her body.

Robin pulls back from their kiss, suddenly on a mission as he tells her, "Lift up," and taps the side of her bum.

She leans back on her palms, and thank goodness they bought a house with big counter tops, and lifts her hips, giving him a little shimmy as he works her shorts and underwear down her legs.

He pulls them down, slowly, teasingly, his mouth pressing chaste kisses to her thighs and calves as he does.

Tossing the garments somewhere behind him, he works his way back up her legs, hands massaging her skin as he draws closer to where she wants him most.

She sighs out, knows her husband likes to torture her in moments like this, and just as she predicted, he skips over where she's grown wet, peppering kisses to her belly instead.

Her head falls back in irritation, and she practically whines, "Robin, please."

She looks down at him, can see that sinister little smirk of his as he acquiesces, his finger finally dipping in, crooking up in just the right way. "Christ, babe," he breathes, "you're wetter than I thought."

Her head pops back up, giving him a look as if to say Ya think? but all she can do is bite her lip to hide her smile, nodding and telling him how much she wants him.

He adds a second finger, both swirling around inside of her in the most delicious of ways. Her breath picks up, she can already feel how close she is, and, fuck, if this is how the last three months of pregnancy are going to be, she can't wait.

"Tell me what you want," he whispers, planting a kiss in the crook of her neck before nipping at her ear.

"Y-your tongue," she pleads, wiggling her hips to bring her closer to the edge of the counter top.

It's an odd angle for him, the counter is too tall if he sinks to his knees, but obviously not tall enough for him to stand, so he bends as best he can. She knows his back will hurt after this, but, well, she needs it, and needs it now. She'll make it up to him later, maybe with a nice massage.

Robin licks his lips, grinning as he removes his fingers and teases her at first, pressing kisses to her inner thighs, then blowing on those wet patches he'd just created. The sensation makes her squirm, mewling at the pleasure it's already bringing to her as goosebumps form on her skin.

Robin then moves, planting kisses all around except right to her clit, making it practically throb in anticipation.

Oh fuck, yes, yes, this is what she wanted.

His tongue flattens, licking up then back down. When he gets back to the top, he swirls his tongue around in a circular motion, doing something to her body that has her practically convulsing on the counter.

She grips the edge of it with one hand, her other grasping for his hair to pull him closer, to keep him right there for as long as possible. "R-Robin!"

His tongue works her up and up, drawing her closer to that euphoric edge. She pants and writhes beneath him, all but losing it when he adds his finger back into the mix.

His mouth sucks on her clit, and she begs him to suck harder, faster, "Yes, like that!"

His fingers are still working on her as well, the two he has inside her are curled just right, hitting her g-spot perfectly. "That good?" he asks, removing his mouth momentarily from her clit.

She looks down at him with a scowl, because why the fuck did he take his mouth off of her?

She asks as much, a bit harsher than she probably should have, but Robin just laughs, his eyebrows ticking up as he goes back in, his lips doing exactly what they were, working her up beyond oblivion. "Yes, don't stop," she begs, her hands now on his shoulders, nails digging into his skin through his shirt.

She moves her hips, wanting to be closer to his mouth, and Robin's free hand reaches out quickly, steading her on the counter so she doesn't slip off.

His sucks apply the right amount of pressure, and she's so close she can feel it. His groans of pleasure vibrate against her, sending more jolts of delicious sensation through her body. She loves that he loves doing this.

It's always been a favorite activity of his ever since they were young college kids first exploring each other's bodies, and she has to say, he's learned quite a lot over the last eight years. He's perfectly skilled with his tongue, and she's thankful for a husband who is so attentive to her every need.

She pants his name, telling him, "I'm so cl-close," and she bites her lips, trying not to shout.

He's such a good lover, knows exactly what to do. He's learned all her spots through the years, all those little places inside of her that make her turn to molten lava instantaneously, and god, she loves him for it.

He doesn't try to move around in this moment, doesn't try something else, something new or different, because they both know this is working for her, they know she's right there on the edge. They can try something new another day, one when she's not about to come all over his mouth.

His tongue flicks briefly against her clit before he draws it back into his mouth, and yep, that's it, that's all it takes and she's coming, crying out his name as she pulls him closer to her core.

Her body quakes, shivering beneath him, and he gives her one last flick of his tongue before he pulls back, lavishing her thighs with sloppy kisses.

He pulls back, then, slowly removing his glistening fingers and smirks at her. Standing up, he stretches his back a bit before leaning in to kiss her fully.

Trying to catch her breath, she pants, looking at him as if he's the most precious thing in her life. "That was…" she trails off, laughing as she sees her shorts had landed on the knob to the cabinet behind him.

He follows her eyes, looking over his shoulder. The laughter that spills from him can't be helped, and she hops down from the counter with his help, giggling as he retrieves them for her.

Her t-shirt is on the counter next to where she'd been, so she slips that on, too, then winds her arms around his middle, bringing him in for another kiss.

She can taste herself on his lips, and that just stirs something inside of her that she'll have him tend to later. For now, her stomach is rumbling, the need for food finally overpowering her sex drive.

"We need to eat," she says, rubbing her bump.

Robin raises one brow, the corner of his mouth lifting as he states, "I just had the best brunch in town."

Chortling, she smacks his chest with a playful roll of her eyes, reaching for the refrigerator door. She retrieves the orange juice and asks Robin to heat their food up.

It won't be as good as it would've been when it was fresh, but the throb between her legs had been the more pressing matter at that moment.

Once their food is reheated, Robin joins her at the table, sliding her plate in front of her before pecking a quick kiss to the top of her head.

"Why, thank you, sir," she teases as he takes a bow like a waiter at a fancy restaurant.

Looking up from his position, he responds with, "Anytime, Milady," which causes her to chuckle.

They spend the best half hour enjoying their brunch, laughing and talking about the upcoming baby shower her mother has planned for their families.

With her feet piled into Robin's lap, his hands lovingly massaging the soles of her swollen feet now that he's done eating, she reaches for the jelly. Adding it to her biscuit, she eats slowly, savoring this relaxing morning and thinking to herself that this might just be the best brunch she's ever had.

{**************************}

Hope you liked it!

Chapter Text

A New Adventure:

Robin sighs, dutifully being dragged through the store by his pregnant wife.

Things were going great this morning—he'd made them brunch, they'd had some fun on the kitchen counter, they'd lazed around—but there was no avoiding this.

Regina had it in her mind that they needed even more stuff for their baby and a run to Target was just what they needed.

He didn't mind, of course, not really. Watching the joy on her face was enough to make him go along with anything she wanted to do. Not to mention he liked to imagine their little boy playing with these items, learning and discovering the world around him through using them.

Regina loves the clothes, of course. She squeals adorably at every little onesie they come across and each pair of tiny baby shoes she sees.

"Oh, Robin, look!" she exclaims, letting go of his hand and practically bouncing over to a rack of onesies. "It's so cute!"

He grins, looking toward the white onesie with light blue whales all over. The tiny feet are designed to look like whales, and there's a whale on the butt as well. He has to admit, "It is rather adorable, love."

His wife beams happily, tossing the outfit into the shopping basket on his arm.

Snorting, he shakes his head, saying, "I thought we were only registering for things today? We still have three more baby showers to go to."

Twirling on her heel, Regina looks at him as if he's just said the dumbest thing possible. Her chin is tucked to her chest, lips set in a thin line and looking at him from under her lashes with a cocked brow. "Robin," she huffs, straightening back up, "we can't expect to get everything we registered for. I'm just picking some things other people won't get us."

"And you can read their minds now, can you?"

A beat passes, her head tilting before she shrugs, a sweet Yep! falling from her lips that makes him laugh as she turns back, skipping over to the next aisle.

Shaking his head with an amused smile, he catches up, glancing at the aisle full of baby bath items. He browses through the tiny towels that all seem to be adorned with some type of animal ears, and he chuckles at the one that has a hood on it in the shape of a fox.

"What is it?" Regina asks, walking up behind him and wrapping her arms around his middle. He grins as he feels her belly pressing into his low back while she tries to peer over his shoulder.

She presses a kiss to said shoulder before stepping back. Turning, he holds out the fox towel, saying, "Okay, this is pretty cute."

Her eyes light up, and she gives him a happy little bounce, her long curly hair moving with her. "Well, put it in the basket!" she declares excitedly, "That'll match his whole forest theme in the nursery."

Smiling, he nods, tossing it in and taking her hand again.

They'd finally decorated the nursery last month, both deciding a forest theme was best (and, "so adorable!") for their little guy. They'd gotten crib sheets with little tents and foxes, another set with arrows, and an assortment of muslin blankets with little trees, arrows, and forest animals scattered about them.

She'd registered them for more and said after their last three baby showers, they'd reassess what they'd been given so she knew exactly what they'd need to come buy to complete the look of the room.

His coworkers and best friends, John and Will, had surprised them one day by showing up with their paint stained overalls and paintbrushes. They'd ushered them out of their house, saying they couldn't come back for another four hours.

Robin had taken her to lunch and then a few laps around Target (her favorite place as of late), and then to grab some froyo before heading home.

When they'd walked in, Will had taken them by the hands, excitedly instructing them to close their eyes. He led them to where his husband was still working, telling them to open their eyes.

Upon opening, Regina burst into tears, a hand clasped over her mouth as she looked at their friends' handywork. Robin was stunned as well, never knowing just how talented his friends truly were.

There on the wall where they'd put their new rocking chair and changing table hung three giant canvases in light gray frames to match the decor of the room. Will had painted two of the canvases with large trees on them, while the one in the middle had trees but also a collection of cartoon forest animals gathered together in the center with the words Adventure Awaits painted above the trees.

It was a beautiful gift, and along with the paintings (and the frames John had made sure were securely mounted to the wall), they'd also put together the gray crib that Robin had planned to do that night.

It was a wonderful surprise, and they'd spent the rest of the evening feeding and thanking their friends for the beautiful gesture.

Pulling himself from his memories, Robin squeezes her hand, bringing it to his lips to kiss her knuckles. "Uncle John and Uncle Will are going to love this," he says, leaning down to talk to Regina's belly.

She giggles, swatting at his shoulder as they finish perusing the baby aisles.

By time they finally make it out of the baby section, Robin's basket is loaded down with bath toys, the Fox towel, a handful of onesies, a bottle brush (that he knows they'll get at least two more of at a baby shower), some baby lotion, and two pairs of shoes.

"Regina, love," he says, holding up the basket, "don't you think we can call it a day?"

She tuts, her tongue smacking against the back of her teeth. Rubbing her rounded stomach, she slinks over to him, peering in to see what all they've grabbed. "Mm," she hums, eyes squinting playfully, "I think we can fit a few more things. Baby items are small!"

She grins up at him, and they both start to laugh, Robin shaking his head at her. He leans in, pressing a kiss to her lips before looking down at her belly.

"Mummy is never going to admit I'm right, bud."

"Of course not," she laughs, walking ahead of him.

She's got on a pair of denim overalls on top of a black shirt, and he finds her looks absolutely adorable. But the view from the back is even better. She's been complaining lately, the further into her pregnancy they get, that she feels wide and huge, but he thinks she's just as beautiful as she was before getting pregnant.

They have to be thankful, and Robin is, each and every day that this pregnancy has gotten this far. Gotten far enough that they could plan and decorate and get excited. Once she'd hit her fifth month, she'd really accepted that this one was going to make it, so for the last month and a half, they've been going nonstop in planning and preparing.

It was exciting, and—just like the painting Will made for them said—an adventure. It was going to be the adventure of a lifetime and there's no one else he'd rather go on it with.

Catching up to Regina, he takes her hand, announcing that if they're in Target then it's mandatory that they browse the electronics.

She rolls her eyes but sighs, agreeing. "And in that case, we have to go get me some more maternity clothes."

"Don't you have enough, darling?" he asks. "You just said yesterday you had too many clothes and you didn't know what to do with all of them."

Again, she gives him her best deadpan look, inquiring sarcastically, "Don't you have enough electronics?" She quirks an eyebrow, adding, "Our house is practically run by robots as is."

He thinks of all the tech devices they have around the house and snorts. "Pretty sure Alexa was your idea, love."

She scrunches her nose at him, knowing he's right, so she laughs and gives in, valiantly looking at all the new technology on the market that they both know they won't get right now. But, it's Target, and if he's learned anything from his wife, it's that you might as well look while you're here.

After another hour—or was it two?—one can never be sure inside Target, they finally make their way to the car. Regina is carrying as many bags as she can, mostly loaded down with the items for their baby boy, while he carries the rest.

Somehow they ended up with three new outfits for her, two new shirts for him, some bath towels, toilet paper, paper towels, some random cleaning supplies that he knows for a fact they're not out of but Regina swore they needed more, and of all things, a set of new toothbrushes and some random items from the dollar spot.

He doesn't know how, or why, they bought all of this, but he'd take a day like this anyway. A wonderful morning spent worshipping his wife's beautiful body before enjoying their brunch and an afternoon with the love of his life. He doesn't care if they spend their days picking random items up at Target or cuddling on the couch, he just wants to soak up every minute they have before their new adventure begins.

Looking over at her once he pulls out of the parking lot, he can't help but admire the way the sun shines in her raven hair. God, she's gorgeous.

Taking her hand in his, he says, "I love you."

Regina smiles, looking over at him. She lifts their hands, kissing the back of his before saying, "And I, you."

He leans over while they're stopped at a red light, pressing one, two, three little pecks to her lips, making her giggle into the embrace. Her hand cups his jaw and she stares into his eyes. She bites her lip, one brow lifting as she says, "looks like someone didn't get enough at brunch."

Snickering, he tells her he'll never have enough to which she informs him, "Good thing there's more where that came from."

It's all he can do to make it home without running any red lights. Once they're there, though, he quickly unloads their Target bags, ushering her to their bedroom where they spend the rest of the late afternoon reveling in each other's bodies.

Once they finally emerge for dinner, Robin ordering take out so they don't have to cook, Regina bursts into a fit of laughter.

"What is it?"

She shakes her head, pointing to the bags that are strewn about the kitchen counter and floor. "We were in a hurry, I guess."

He snorts and rubs the back of his neck, agreeing.

Picking up the bags that contain the baby items, he takes them into the nursery, Regina soon joining him.

She sits on the glider rocker, rubbing her belly as she watches him remove the tags from all of their purchases.

And, he thinks, this is the kind of domestic bliss he loves, he revels in. It's so simple, they're both not doing anything special, but as he watches his wife humming softly to their baby boy, he knows he wouldn't want to be anywhere else.

Chapter Text

Cheeky Tour Guide:

He's an idiot. An adorable, silly idiot, and she loves him so much more than she ever thought was possible.

He's giving a presentation to her class in front of one of the exhibits at the museum, and she can't help smiling like a love-sick fool watching her idiot boyfriend be so good with the kids.

It's March now, six months since she finally agreed to go out with Robin, and it's been the best half a year that she's ever had. She can't believe this man in front of her is her boyfriend, and the little boy whose hand is grasped in hers is his son.

Regina looks down at Roland, squeezing his little hand before she steps ahead to the next group of children, checking that they're alright as well.

Her class is on a field trip today, and since Roland and Robin had both been begging for weeks now at home (not really her home yet, but, well, she stays there enough to consider it a second home) to go on a field trip to Robin's museum.

It had taken some paperwork, proving the logistics and that the academic level of it was rigorous enough for first graders, but in the end, Neal had agreed.

Robin had wanted to be a chaperone, told her he wanted to walk by her side all day, stealing her hand when he could to kiss her knuckles.

She'd rolled her eyes at that, shaking her head and affirming that if they were going on a field trip to his workplace, then he was going to be the tour guide.

"And this, kids," his voice booms animatedly, pulling her from her thoughts, "is wood from the largest breed of tree—the Sequoia." There's an audible gasp from her students and a murmur of woahhh before Robin smiles and asks, "Does anyone know what wood can be used for?"

A slew of hands pop up into the air, little I know, I know's ring around quietly. Robin laughs, his blue eyes catching her brown ones before he calls on a little girl in the back.

"Paper!"

"Very good," he praises, winking at the class. "The wood from trees has many uses, like paper." He goes on, explaining that wood can also be used to make cork boards, sponges, and even aspirin, but, "It's important that we only cut down some trees to make these things. Do you know why?"

Roland's hand shoots up before anyone else's, so Robin calls on him with a chuckle. "Because they give us ox-ee-gen!" he explains to his classmates, making a dramatic sniffing sound, his little head whipping around as he pretends to sniff the air. "That's a fancy word for air!"

The class erupts into giggles, and Regina has to quiet them back down. She gives Roland her best teacher look, silently reprimanding him for riling the whole class up.

He bites his bottom lip, clearly trying to stave off a grin based on how his little dimples are peeking out. He pushes his glasses up, his eyes going wide as he slinks back over to Regina, taking her hand and apologizing.

She gives his little hand an affectionate squeeze back, telling him it's okay, but that they need to calm down. "There are other people here besides our class, Ro. We don't want to disturb them."

He nods solemnly, moving back to the front of the group. She watches as Robin gives him the look while still talking to the rest of the class.

Bless him; she knows he was just excited, especially since this was his dad's work they were at, but he still has to follow the rules like everyone else. Roland is quiet for the next few exhibits, obediently raising his hand like everyone else.

Regina is holding the hand of a little blonde girl, Rosie, now, but when she tells Regina she knows the answer to Robin's next question, she drops Miss Mills' hand, skipping to the front to be seen.

Smiling, Regina stands back, observing her class as they discover and learn about all the ways nature helps our planet. They're a great class, and they all seem enthralled in Roland's dad—not that she can blame them; she is, too.

He's so handsome. His blue eyes piercing right through her as the sun shines through the large sky light above their heads, his dimples popping onto his cheeks when he smiles at something a kid says or he just happens to catch her gaze.

He's been winking at her throughout the day, and honestly, it's making her ache between her thighs, something she decidedly does not need while on a field trip with twenty first graders.

He's being a cheeky tour guide, as Robin would say, sending those flirty glances her way when no one else is looking—she can see that coy little smirk he's trying so hard to hide each time he makes her blush—and she makes a mental note to punish him for it tonight when they're finally alone.

At least there's not a gaggle of parent chaperones to notice their flirtatious glances, though, and her kids are too preoccupied with the exhibits to pay too much attention. There are only two other parents here, the only ones that volunteered to watch a group, so she's technically only in charge of ten students while the two chaperones each have five to watch over. But she's a teacher, she can't help keeping an eye on all of them.

She sighs, watching as her children all skip to their next destination, laughing and talking with one another about all the things they've seen today and what they plan to do this weekend.

"Hello, love," he murmurs behind her, close enough that she can feel his breath on the back of her neck. Bastard.

She grins, her eyes flicking up to her class. They're all on the indoor playground right now—which is essentially some plastic tree logs, a giant checkers board painted on the floor and some tunnels to crawl through in the shape of a forest—waiting for the lunches to be hauled off the school bus.

With that, she glances over her shoulder, smiling and purring sweetly, "Hello, Mr. Locksley. Thanks again so much for letting us come here today."

His grin deepens, making her bite the inside of her cheek. She watches as he glances over to the other chaperones, both on different sides of the playground, keeping a watchful eye on their students. "Well, Miss Mills, it really was no problem at all."

That ache between her legs turns into a wetness that she curses him for. Thoughts of taking him into his office for a quickie flash through her mind, and she flushes, scolding herself internally for even having such a thought with all of her students around.

"Coming here was a bad idea," she mumbles, keeping a polite smile on her face so any onlooker would see an innocent exchange between teacher and tour guide.

Robin steps out from behind her, his hand grazing her lower back before he stands next to her, practically shoulder to shoulder. "Why's that, darling?"

Rolling her eyes, she grins and tilts her head to look at him. "You just think you're so cute, don't you?"

"Mm, I do, in fact."

She snorts, shaking her head.

Before their bantering can continue, Roland runs up, leaping into Robin's arms. "Papa!"

"There's my boy!" he says, pressing a kiss to his cheek. "Are you having fun?"

Roland nods, his curls bouncing against his forehead. He chatters on, telling both of them his favorite parts of the day so far and how he was excited to see the new exhibit on forest animals.

"The bear's teeth are like this, R'gina!" He holds up his little hands like paws by his face, eyes widening behind his glasses, and mouth falling agape as he bares his teeth. He sways his arms, roaring like the animal before bursting into a fit of giggles. "I can't wait to show everyone else; it's so cool!"

Regina and Robin grin, chuckling softly under their breath at him. Regina ruffles his hair, knowing he's going to be bouncing off the walls to show his friends. Robin had brought him here the week the exhibit was finally finished, and he's talked all through dinner and his bedtime story about the bears, trees, foxes, and everything else Robin's team had managed to display.

Before long, Will and John have the coolers of lunches unloaded and Regina gathers all the kids into the little cafe area. She gets each one settled while the chaperones, Robin and his employees pass out lunches and milks.

When she can finally sit down to catch her breath, after opening a handful of milks and just about all the sealed sandwiches, Robin joins her at the table she's chosen.

He pats her leg from under the table, and she smiles, telling him how tired she is. "I always forget how exhausting field trips can be."

His hand rests on her knee, squeezing it sympathetically. "Tell you what," he says softly, taking a bite of his sandwich. She'd made their lunches this morning—chicken salad on a croissant for her and a turkey sandwich for Robin—sending him off with both of theirs since she knew they'd be eating together today. Once he swallows, he finishes his proposal with. "When you come over tonight, I'll run you a nice, hot bath." She groans at just the mention, taking a sip of her water as she nods her approval. "Then once you're nice and relaxed, you'll climb on the bed, and I'll give you a luxurious massage."

"That sounds lovely," she says, her eyes closing as she imagines it.

"I'll use that lotion you like, the one with coconut in it, and I'll work my way down to your—"

"Miss Mills?"

She practically jumps out of her fantasy massage, grasping at Robin's leg under the table as he stifles a laugh. "What is it, baby?"

Robbie, her little red headed boy with a face full of freckles, motions to his pants, showing her that he spilled milk all over them. "Oh no," she croons, taking some napkins from the pile on her table. She blots at his knees and thighs, handing him the others to blot the front of him. "We didn't bring any extra clothes, bud, so you're just going to have to let this dry."

He pouts a bit, but nods in acceptance, obviously knowing there's no sense in arguing with Miss Mills.

"Roland," Robin calls, motioning his son over.

Roland joins them from the adjacent table, and Robin whispers to him to take Robbie into the men's bathroom. "There's a hand dryer in there," Robin tells the table, "It'll dry a lot faster that way."

Roland nods excitedly, grabbing Robbie's hand and pulling him toward the bathroom.

Regina grimaces, knowing what could happen in there—pants or belts could be removed, slapping each other with them, they could play in the sinks and both of them get soaked—a whole manner of things that little boys get up to when there's no supervision. "Uh, you mightwant to go with them," she instructs knowingly, pointing toward the two boys running toward the bathroom. She gives Robin a look, one that tells him there's no discussing this, and he chuckles, standing and pressing a kiss to the top of her head before following behind his son.

She glances nervously around the cafe space, making sure none of her students saw him kiss her head, but luckily it doesn't seem as if anyone did.

Except, of course, Iviona.

Oh, Iviona. Regina giggles, signaling the little girl over when she catches her amused gaze from across two tables.

She's an adorable little thing—dark skin, deep and expressive brown eyes, and two pom poms of hair on top of her head. She's one of Regina's more "grown up" students, with a sweet little personality but a sassiness that could rival some adults.

Ivy bops over to Regina, and she pulls her into her lap, hugging her around the middle. "Did you have a good lunch?"

Ivy nods sweetly, telling her that she did. She goes on to list all the things she ate—a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a bag of chips, apple slices, and her strawberry milk. Regina smiles, popping a grape into her mouth.

"Miss Mills, is Mr. Locksley your boyyyfriend?"

Choking a bit on her laughter (and her grape), Regina looks at Ivy, asking, "What makes you say that?"

The little girl giggles, covering her mouth and looking around before eyeing her teacher back up. "Because you smile like this at him," she scrunches her nose, giving Regina a megawatt smile before bursting into laughter. "And he looks at you like this." She tilts her cheek to rest on her shoulder, smiling softly but batting her eyelashes up at the ceiling. "Plus," she giggles again, her shoulder shrugging up to her ears, "He kissed your head!"

Her laughter is unhinged by now, causing Regina to laugh right along with her. She tickles Ivy's stomach, both of them causing a scene. "Alright, alright," she chuckles, taking a deep breath. "Yes, he is. But it's our little secret, okay?"

Ivy grows serious at that, nodding and sticking out her pinky to connect with Regina's. "Pinky promise."

Smiling, Regina hooks her pinky with Iviona's, though she knows by time they get back to school, the whole class will know she's dating Roland's dad—not that that's a bad thing, her dating life just normally doesn't come up with students aside from the typical Are you married?she gets every year from curious new students.

"Looks like you two are having fun," Robin says, joining them back at the table. Roland slides into the chair next to Robin while Robbie runs off, pants now dry and a smile on his face.

"Iviona here," Regina starts, pinching lightly at her chubby cheek, "was just telling me that she knows you're my boyfriend."

The little girl giggles softly at the word, but nods enthusiastically. "I saw ya kiss her!"

Robin snorts, shrugging. "Guess I couldn't help myself."

"It's 'cause Miss Mills is so pretty," Roland pipes up, resting his elbows on the table.

Robin nods in agreement, looking to Iviona. "Is that alright with you?"

Ivy laughs, looking from Roland to Robin, then over to Regina. She looks back at Robin from across the table, saying, "Yeah, you're nice. And you know a lot about nature!"

The four of them laugh before Regina sends Ivy and Roland back to the playground, telling them to round up the class so they can get a group picture.

Robin reaches over then, taking Regina's hand in his. "Guess the cat's out of the bag."

Huffing playfully, she says it is, but that they still can't be kissing or anything when they get ready to leave.

His hand clutches at his heart dramatically, telling her, "Never, Milady."

With a roll of her eyes, she stands, slapping his shoulder playfully.

It's back to business, and she takes her phone, handing it to Robin so he can take a picture of her with the class in front of the indoor playground they've been enthralled with this afternoon.

She rounds the kids up, positioning them so they all fit and Robin snaps a few pictures—smiles and goofy faces—giving her plenty to choose from.

After seeing two more exhibits, they load back onto the bus, Robin taking Regina's hand in his once all the kids and chaperones are seated inside the vehicle.

He squeezes it in his, making her smile shyly up at him. Her eyes flick up to the bus windows just above their heads, then back to him. "Robin," she scolds in a whisper.

"What?" he asks innocently. "I'm not going to kiss you," he says, his voice lowering as he adds, "though I desperately want to."

She smirks, shaking her head before leaning up on her tiptoes and pressing the briefest of kisses to his cheek. "I'll see you tonight."

"Mm," he says, looking dreamily into her eyes. "I'll have my massage oil ready." He wags his eyebrows, causing her eyes to widen as she slaps his bicep.

"Goodbye, Mr. Locksley."

His laugh follows her up the steps of the school bus before he finally says, "Goodbye, Miss Mills."

The whole ride back to school, half the kids are knocked out, sleeping away on each other's shoulders while a handful talk quietly or look out the window. Iviona, Regina's seat buddy, rests her head on her teacher's shoulder, sighing out softly as the movement of the bus lulls her to sleep as well.

And finally, after a few more hours at work, Regina trudges into Robin's house with Roland at her side. He's bouncing off the walls, telling Robin all about the field trip as if he hadn't been there as well, but he listens dutifully anyway, smiling over at Regina when Roland tells him that they got to watch a movie when they got back to school.

She shrugs, smiling right back. There was only forty five minutes left of the school day, anyway, so they'd worked on their computers and turned on Coco to round out the day.

That night, once Roland is tucked into bed, Regina gets that bath she was promised. She sinks into the warm water, letting all her muscles relax as the stress of the day melts away. And, just like she knew he would, when she gets out, Robin is there, waiting with the bottle of lotion in his hands.

She drops her towel, slinking over to him and wrapping her arms around his neck. His hands roam and explore her naked body, groaning when she starts to undress him as well.

She'd had plans to torture him for torturing her all day, but when his hands glide across her skin, kneading in all the right places, that plan is soon forgotten.

They spend the next twenty minutes with Robin's hands expertly working out the knots in her muscles before the sensation becomes too much, his touch too tantalizing to not be doing more than just a simple massage.

She rolls over, pulling him on top of her body, and they spend the rest of the night wrapped in each other's arms.

Chapter Text

Her Baby:

Regina sits, propped in a cushioned chair inside the dressing rooms at the department store. She watches as Roland comes out of his assigned room, stepping in front of her, Robin and the mirror to show off the new outfit she'd picked out for him.

He's sulking, like any good almost-middle-schooler would do being dragged to the mall with your parents to try on clothes for the upcoming school year. But he's her baby, and she wants to make sure he looks nice for middle school.

Middle. School.

She can't believe this precious little dimple faced boy that came into her classroom five years ago is now old enough to be starting junior high.

The thought makes her heart ache, and without thought, she reaches over and takes Robin's hand in hers.

He gives her a little squeeze, but she can't help the laugh she snorts out when she looks over, expecting him to look as misty-eyed as she, but sees him sulking just like his son. Clearly the boys are not enjoying this shopping trip like she is.

"Well, I think you look wonderful," she tells Roland, smiling over to her son.

He rolls his eyes, as expected, but she can spot the little grin tugging on his lips when he looks at her.

Even after all these years—moving in with the boys, their engagement, her marriage to Robin, becoming Roland's stepmom—he still looks at her like that six year old little boy that was so enamored with his teacher.

Robin used to joke that Roland was more in love with Regina than even he was, and all she could do was laugh and beam, because she knew it was true. She loved him just as much, and still does, more than anything.

"Gina," he huffs, turning to look at himself in the mirror. "Everyone will make fun of this shirt." He points wildly to the words I don't get distrac—, and she giggles; she'd thought the shirt was funny.

Regina shrugs, telling him as much. "People will laugh."

"Maybe the teachers," he grumbles, looking to Robin for help.

"Henry will like it," she tries, smiling encouragingly at her husband, giving him a look to help her out, then over to Roland.

"He's a baby, Gina!"

She grins, thinking of their other little boy. They'd adopted him nine months ago, the perfect pre-Christmas gift for the whole family. He was fifteen months old when they were finally able to pick him up from his foster family, and would be turning two this month.

He's been an amazing addition to the family, and sometimes Regina can't believe this is their life.

They'd gotten married when Roland was in second grade, tried to get pregnant for two years but quickly realized they couldn't. Even before their infertility issues, they'd discussed adoption so when the doctor told them it was next to impossible to conceive, they knew adopting was the way to go.

They had to wait almost a year to get the call about Henry, but as soon as Regina and Robin saw his picture, they knew that was their little boy.

It'd taken some time to get all the necessary paperwork completed, but once it was, they were able to pick him up this past November to finally bring him home.

She hears Robin chuckle beside her, bringing her from her thoughts of the chubby-faced little boy. He stands up to inspect his son and agrees that Roland looks nice in the black t-shirt and jeans, but, "If you don't like it, we don't have to get it."

With that, Roland rushes to the dressing room, locking the door behind him.

"At least keep the jeans on, Ro!" she calls, "Those looked nice."

Sighing, her shoulders slump, and Robin slides into the oversized chair with her. She has to lift up a bit, sitting halfway in his lap, but they make it work.

Robin squeezes around her middle, kissing the back of her ear. "It's one shirt, darling," he whispers. "He'll like the other ones you picked out."

She sighs again, leaning into his chest. "He's just growing up so fast. Last year, he would've laughed at that shirt."

Robin snorts, his breath blowing onto the back of her neck as he nods. He reminds her that he's going to middle school, and that comes with more responsibility to be cool.

Rolling her eyes, she glances over her shoulder at him. She leans in as best she can from this angle and kisses the tip of his nose, settling against his chest.

Her phone vibrates in her purse that's at her feet, so she reaches down, retrieving it. It's a text from Mary Margaret—a picture of Henry and Neal playing together on the floor at her house. Neal had been born three years ago and was enthralled with Henry from the first time they brought him over. They're only about a year apart, so Neal was thrilled to have a play buddy so close in age to him.

Adorable! Thanks again for watching him today, she sends back, turning her phone to show Robin the picture.

It was nice, having someone who was willing to watch Henry in moments like this. She knew Roland sometimes felt neglected, as any only-child-suddenly-turned-into-a-sibling would, thinking they spent all their time with Henry.

She was glad to spend a day just the three of them, because, really, it'd been a while, and she truly loved spending time with Roland.

Thoughts of all their early morning drives to school flash through her mind, and her smile falls. "I won't get to drive him to school anymore," she murmurs sadly, shaking her head to keep the tears at bay.

Ever since she moved in with Robin and Roland just before he started second grade, she'd driven him to school every day. It only made sense, not needing a bus when she worked at his school. Now, though, he'd ride the school bus each morning again and she'd drive to work by herself.

She so enjoyed those morning drives, not that the school was far from their house, but having fifteen minutes every day just the two of them was always so special to her.

Robin kisses her cheek, pulling her closer as he says, "I know, love, I know."

He doesn't tell her it will be okay, which she appreciates. She's allowed to be a little sad that their baby is growing up so quickly.

Before she can dwell on it too long, Roland comes out again, this time with a smile on his face. "Now this, I like!" he announces, beaming at himself in the mirror.

He looks at himself, turning from side to side, and she can just imagine him when he starts to gel his hair back like the cool guys in middle school, trying his best to charm the little girls at school with his good looks—his dimples and glasses only adding to his handsome-factor, she's sure.

Robin chuckles, wiggling out from under Regina to walk around his son, observing his new digs from every angle. "Lookin' sharp, my boy!"

Roland rolls his eyes, but this time there's a goofy grin accompanied with it. He turns to Regina then, his curly hair flopping about on his head. "Well?"

She beams, glad to get an input on this one as well. She surveys the dark denim, glad he kept those on from the last outfit, then checks out the grey polo he's put on. It's tucked into the jeans with a camel belt looped through the bottoms. "I think it looks very handsome." She smiles, loving how much like a little man he looks even though it stabs at her heart at the same time.

He grins, nodding as he agrees. "They have this shirt in black and green, too."

Robin and Regina both nod, Regina saying they'll pick them up on their way to the counter.

"Go try on the lighter jeans," she instructs, shooing him back into the dressing room.

He groans, mumbling that he thought he was done, and she snickers, knowing she'll owe both her boys some ice cream for all their hard work today.

Robin chuckles as Roland sulks back into the dressing room, ruffling his hair as he goes.

He comes to sit on the arm of Regina's chair, sighing as he does. "How many more outfits does he have left to try on?"

"Too many!" Roland shouts from inside his room, causing both adults to laugh softly.

Regina rolls her eyes, wondering in the back of her mind if she's where Roland gets that particular mannerism from, and pats Robin on the leg. "Just a few more. We can't send him to school with only three shirts and one pair of jeans."

She knows he has other clothes at home, and a closet full at Marian's as well, but, well… this is middle school. She wants him to look nice. And besides, he's a growing boy, all of the clothes he currently has won't fit him in a few months anyway.

"Mom is still gonna drag me here this weekend, too, I bet," he grumbles from the dressing room.

Robin smirks, looking down to Regina with a sympathetic shrug. They know he's right; Marian was upset that she couldn't make it today because of work, but she'd told them not to buy everything because she wanted to get him some things as well.

"At least this way, you and your mum won't have as much to do," Robin reasons.

Roland slinks out of the dressing room at that, sporting the lighter jeans and a more casual t-shirt. He looks as if they're torturing him, but nods at his father's words.

After another twenty minutes of trying on clothes, Regina finally deems it time to leave.

Robin and Roland both sigh with relief, high fiving each other as Regina shakes her head.

"Can we get ice cream now?" Robin asks, making Regina chortle.

"You sound like your son," she tells him, slapping his butt playfully as they exit the dressing room behind Roland.

With four new pairs of jeans and a handful of shirts in tow, they make their way to the register and then the ice cream shop, Regina dutifully fulfilling her promise to the boys.

They make their way from the mall, each munching happily on their treats as they walk to the car, while their shopping bags swing from Robin's arms.

Roland comes up beside her, his free arm wrapping around her waist.

Looking down, she smiles at her little boy, her free arm mirroring his as it wraps around his shoulders.

"Thanks for the new clothes, Gina," he says sheepishly, giving her an innocent little shrug of one shoulder.

Grinning, she slows their walking enough to be able to kiss the top of his head. "Anything for you, Ro."

He smiles at her, and she tries her best not to get teary-eyed at how big he seems in this moment. He hasn't grown an inch since yesterday, but for some reason, right this very second, he looks so much older, so much more mature, and she's not ready to handle these emotions.

"I love you, you know that?"

Roland smirks, his head falling to one side as he rolls his eyes, saying, "Yeah, I know," in a drawn out way that makes her laugh. She smirks, trying to contain her laughter; she's almost surprised he doesn't look around to make sure no one is within earshot to hear his stepmom be so mushy gushy. "I love you too," he mumbles quietly, making her heart swell.

They catch up to Robin then, Roland skipping a few steps ahead, and she takes two of the bags so her husband isn't carrying them all. He pulls her close, and she tucks her empty ice cream cup under his before he tosses them in the nearest trash can on their way to the car.

"Should we have gotten any for Mary and David?" Roland asks, turning to look at them.

Regina smiles at his thoughtfulness, shaking her head. "No, they're doing a cleanse right now, anyway, and Mary wouldn't want the temptation."

Roland shrugs, shoving his last bite into his mouth, dumping the container in the trash can as well.

Once the bags have been loaded in the back of the car and everyone is buckled up, Regina sends Mary a text, letting her know they're on their way.

Mary responds back with a thumbs up emoji and another picture—this one of Henry pulling all of Neal's toys off of the shelf, and Regina can't help but to laugh.

Henry is a happy little guy, always smiling, but definitely always curious and exploring new surroundings.

She shows Roland and Robin the picture, both her boys getting a good laugh out of it, and even more so when Mary sends a video of three-year-old Neal scolding two-year-old Henry for making a mess.

"We better go get him before Neal has a melt down," Robin quips, smirking as he pulls out of the parking spot.

As they drive away, she lets her head lean back against the headrest, listening to Robin and Roland discussing how he wants to spend the rest of his quickly-dwindling summer break.

{***********************}

"I'm exhausted from today," Robin says, climbing into bed.

She snorts, shaking her head as she adjusts the baby monitor. "All you did was sit there. Ro did all of the work."

With a chuckle, he burrows into the bed beside her, reluctantly agreeing. "Well it was tiring just sitting there."

She grins, rolling her eyes as she reaches over to turn off the lamp by the bed.

Situating herself back under the covers, she wiggles herself over to Robin, his arm wrapping around her.

"He's growing up so fast," Robin whispers, kissing the top of her head.

She nods against his chest, listening to his heart beat beneath her ear.

They lay there in silence for a few moments, Regina tracing soft patterns against his skin.

Before long, she hears a sniffle and tilts her head up, trying to see him in the dark of the room.

She can see his silhouette, just barely visible from the moonlight shining through the window, but she reaches up nonetheless, cupping his jaw.

Scooting up so she's closer to his face, she kisses his cheek, his jaw, then his lips, peppering loving kisses there. "It'll be okay," she murmurs, nuzzling his neck.

Robin takes a deep breath, chuckling wetly. "And here I was the one comforting you earlier."

She giggles, her arm draping over his stomach. "Well, it's emotional for all of us."

He nods, then kisses her head again before lapsing into silence once more.

Images of first grade Roland filter through her mind—she thinks about how his face lit up when he realized she wore black glasses like him, how excited he'd been to make Native American headbands for Thanksgiving, his face on Christmas morning when he realized his Regina was there, too. That first year was filled with so many wonderful memories, as has every year since.

The way he'd giggled through Robin's proposal, making her smile but Robin pout, wanting that moment to be perfect. Little did he know at the time, though, that having Roland there made it perfect in every way.

Roland walking down the aisle at their wedding carrying the little pillow with their rings on it, his little dimpled smile beaming up at her as she cried and promised in her vows to be a good stepmom to him, to always keep him safe and love him. And she'd meant it.

Roland may not be her blood, but he is her son, and she's thankful everyday that she was gifted such a wonderful little boy.

"Remember when he was in third grade and got in trouble for kissing girls on the playground?"

She guffaws, burying her face in Robin's chest at the memory. "Oh god," she laughs, choking for air, "I will never forget his face when his teacher came to my room after school that day to tell me."

He'd been on the computer, waiting for Regina to finish her work, and she thought his eyes were going to practically pop out of his face when he saw Mrs. Brogdon walk in, knowing exactly what she was going to tell her.

Robin laughs, his chest shaking with the movement. "I thought he'd never come out of his room that night."

They chuckle at the memory, spending the next few moments reminiscing on all the funny memories their little boy has provided over the years.

After a while, Robin sighs, rubbing slowly, soothingly, up and down Regina's back. It's lulling her to sleep, but she knows her husband isn't ready for bed; he's still too much in his head over Roland growing up.

"Middle school," he breathes, his hand patting her hip gently before resuming it's slow pattern on her spine.

Sighing, she whispers a yeah before leaning up, kissing Robin on the lips. His arms pull her closer, pressing their lips together more firmly, and she smiles into the embrace.

Pulling back, she pecks his lips once more, then settles back against his chest. "We'll be okay," she declares, patting his stomach. "We better enjoy middle school because before we know it, he'll be off to high school."

"Oh, god," Robin groans, a hand coming up to scrub at his face. "Don't remind me."

Giggling, she kisses the skin over his heart before snuggling back into his side.

A teenager and a toddler all under the same roof. Life was certainly about to get a whole lot more interesting, especially with Henry now walking and grabbing at anything he could reach. His terrible threes (because everyone knows three is worse than two) would be hitting around the time Roland would become a tweenager, and she can't even imagine what this house will be like when that happens.

She giggles, thinking about Roland's attitude earlier in the day, and Robin squeezes her shoulder, mumbling a sleepy, "Wh'is it"?

"Nothing," she sighs with a chuckle, "just thinking about him becoming a teenager... And Henry being a moody toddler."

"Shit," Robin laughs, "It's going to be like having two teenagers in the house."

Laughing, she agrees, but promises, "It'll be the adventure of a lifetime."

"That it will, Milady," he jokes, kissing her nose when she looks up at him. "But there's no one I'd rather survive it with than you."

Her nose scrunches at the sensation, and she smiles, leaning her head back against his chest.

As they drift off to sleep, visions of their baby going to middle school plague her mind. It's scary, but exciting, and she knows no matter what junior high may bring, her little boy will always be her baby.

Chapter Text

Gonna Be a Good Year:

"Are you excited, sweetie?" Regina Mills asks her son as they walk up the front steps of his new elementary school, a giant Meet the Teacher! banner blowing softly in the cool evening breeze.

Kindergarten.

She can't believe her baby boy is already starting school.

It seems like just yesterday Roland was being born; she feels like he just learned to walk and talk, yet here they are, walking down the linoleum tiled hallway toward her son's classroom.

His curly brown hair flops against his forehead as he squeezes her hand, letting out a triumphant, "Sure am!"

She smiles, trying to keep the tears trapped inside. She can cry tonight once he's gone to bed. Her baby boy is so excited, she doesn't want to ruin his good mood, nor his exuberance toward school.

Roland has always been so attuned with her emotions, something she thinks stems from being a single mother. They've always had just each other to rely on.

His father, a man she once thought could give her the world, ran the second he heard the word pregnant fall from her lips.

Graham had crushed her heart with the slamming of the front door, leaving her alone, single, and pregnant at twenty-two.

She'd been a senior in college back then, and navigating life after graduation with a newborn by herself had been something she wouldn't wish on anyone else.

Regina, like always, had found a way to make it work. She found a job as a florist, working for a woman just a few years younger than her. Her name was Mary Margaret Nolan, and she was, without a doubt, the most optimistic and bubbly person Regina had ever met.

It annoyed her at first, but when Mary volunteered to keep Roland in her office until Regina could find a daycare she deemed good enough, she knew she'd never leave the company.

Sighing, Regina shakes her head, visions of her past creeping up on her for some unknown reason.

Smiling down at Roland, she giggles as his little dimple (just the one, she always loved that) pops onto his cheek as he looks around at all the classrooms. He's chattering on and on about school and how it'll be just like Sid the Science Kid.

"We'll have recess," he tells her, a little serious scowl set upon his brow as if he's telling his mother brand new information that she's never heard. "I'll make friends and we can play just like Sid and Gerald and May and… oh, look, Mama!"

She chuckles at his inability to finish a thought from sheer excitement, but follows the direction he's pointed in.

There's a wall of student work outside one classroom, this particular one designed to look like the solar system. It appears that some students last year drew the planets, and they also wrote about it.

"It's some nice writing about the solar system," she tells him, trying to pull him in the direction of his own classroom.

The teacher the artwork belongs to smiles down at him from her doorway, telling him when he gets to first grade, he'll learn all about the planets and get to write about them.

"I already know about Saturn!" he tells her, holding up a finger as if remembering something, "and Venus!"

The older woman grins, saying she's very proud of him and then asks if he's starting kindergarten this year.

Roland gives her a wide eyed smile and a bob of his head, before answering her sweetly, "Yes, ma'am."

He grows shy at that, hiding behind Regina's leg, his little hand wrapping around her thigh.

Laughing, Regina excuses them, turning him in the correct direction.

It's chaos in here tonight, kids running around and happily greeting their friends while the parents mingle in the hallways, talking and catching up.

She has a small bubble of hope rising inside of her that maybe she'll end up making some friends, too, from this experience.

Mary is great, she's become Regina's best friend over the last four years, but having some other parent friends would be nice, too. She'd made some at his pre-school, but it was different. It was more...they all just rushed in before or after work to pick up their children, no one really staying around to talk and get to know each other. She's hoping elementary school will be different with PTA and different committees she can join with other parents.

Regina leads Roland down the next hallway, this one covered in green paint. "Remember you're on the green hall, Ro, which hall?"

"Green," he sighs, as if asking him to remember is far too easy for him.

She grins, trying to suppress her fear that he'll get lost at some point. Images of her baby crying in the middle of the hallway because he got lost in this big, giant school rush to the forefront of her mind, and she has to blink rapidly to push those tears back down.

As they turn the corner, room 223 looming in the distance, Regina's steps falter.

A handsome, very handsome man steps out into the hallway, shaking hands with what appears to be a set of parents.

He's got dirty blonde hair, and she can see a set of dimples that make her honestly want to melt right there on the spot.

She really feels like melting, or disappearing all together, when the handsome man turns, catching her staring.

He grins, those dimples deepening, before he looks down to Roland. "And who might this be?" he greets cheerfully, a British accent meeting her ears.

How a Brit ended up living and working in North Carolina, she'll never know, but she'll never question it again because she's glad he did. She knows she could listen to him talk for hours, despite only hearing five words uttered from his lips thus far. She's always been a sucker for British accents.

It takes all the self control she has not to moan right then and there. She bites her lip, the urge to squeeze her thighs together growing stronger by the second as she watches this man interact with her son.

Roland introduces himself, looking up to her with his big brown eyes for reassurance.

Nodding, Regina smiles at her son, then over to this man. "And you must be his older sister?"

"That's my mom!" Roland giggles, wrapping his hand around her leg again.

Regina rolls her eyes, laughing breathily at the sly complement. "Mom, but I prefer Regina."

She sticks her hand out, his large, calloused one enveloping hers as they shake hands.

Regina vaguely wonders for a second what a kindergarten teacher does with his spare time that he has calluses—guitar, maybe? Or farming? Though that wouldn't make much sense in the middle of Charlotte.

"Mr. Locksley," he confirms, smiling warmly at her, then back to Roland, gesturing for them to follow him into the classroom. "Well, come on in!"

Roland trudges in beside her, still latched to her leg.

She doesn't know where this shyness came from all of a sudden, and tells Mr. Locksley just as much.

"It's not a problem; I've been teaching for seven years and I see it all the time," he whispers before bending down to be at eye level with Roland.

He runs a hand through her son's floppy hair, and shit, she really should've gotten it cut before tonight. He has an appointment before school starts in a few days, but, well… oh well. He's cute either way.

Mr. Locksley talks to Roland so calmly, yet with an excitement underlying his tone. He points to various things in the room, telling him how they'll use the computers on the far wall to do reading and math activities, then gestures to the front of the room where the large, blue carpet sits.

"That's where we'll do all of our learning." His eyes go from the carpet back to Roland. "Do you like to learn?"

Roland nods, a shy smile blooming on his face as he looks around the room in wonder.

There's a large wall with a window on either side, the panels in between filled with posters of simple kindergarten curriculum like the alphabet and colors with their matching crayon.

The corner behind her is filled with cubbies, and she has to fight back tears thinking about how grown up her little boy is becoming. He'll have his own little cubby for his book bag that's still a size or two too big for his little body, and he'll be bringing home homework and crafts to show her each week.

Robin smiles at Roland, a tight lipped one as if he knows her son is just on the verge of exploding with joy.

"Hey!" Roland shouts all of a sudden, clamping a hand over his mouth when he realizes how loud it was. Uncovering his mouth slowly, he places a little finger onto Mr. Locksley's cheek. "You have a dimple just like me!"

His teacher laughs, this low, gorgeous thing that Regina thinks she'd might actually kill to hear again. "So I do!" he exclaims, reaching up to touch his own cheek as if he's just now discovering this feature. His voice goes a bit softer, a bit scratchy as he stage-whispers in that way only people who entertain children regularly can do, "Though your's is much cooler because there's only one."

Roland giggles, finally letting go of Regina's leg. He skips over to the rug in the front of the room, stepping on each letter of the alphabet as he walks around the oval carpet.

Regina's chocolate eyes roam from her son up to his teacher, catching his crystal blue ones. They share a smile and she thanks him for making Roland feel comfortable.

He waves her off, saying it's just part of the job, but somehow she doesn't feel as if every teacher would be this calm and good with kids, despite their occupation.

"You'll each get a letter to sit on," Mr. Locksley explains, joining Roland on the carpet. "That's where you'll sit during carpet time."

He goes on, explaining the large calendar that sits on the white board, pulling out some number cards to let Roland flip through.

"Can I sit on the R?" Roland asks, taking his new number cards to that spot and looking up at his teacher. "R for Roland! And Regina, like you, Mama!"

The man huffs out a laugh, saying he'll see what he can do.

Once Roland is occupied with the numbers, and also a tub of wooden shapes, Mr. Locksley leads Regina over to the table at the front of the room.

She has to sign in, then he walks her to each table, getting her to fill out information on Roland—transportation for the first day of school, how he'll get home regularly if it's different from the first day, her contact information, any allergies Roland has, and things of the like.

As she fills it all out, she keeps an ear out for Roland, but he's in his own little world, building something with the shapes and playing by himself.

"He's a sweet boy," she tells the teacher, glancing up from the form she's working on. "You shouldn't have any problems out of him, but—"

Mr. Locksley waves his hand, making a ack sound in the back of his throat. "I'm sure he'll be just fine."

She smiles, admitting that she's a bit nervous. "He's been to day care, of course, and he went to preschool so he's used to being around other kids and having a teacher, but," she sighs, tucking a piece of her raven hair behind her ear, "I don't know. This feels so much… more."

Laughing softly, she shrugs, saying she doesn't know what she means.

He smiles at her then, those dimples drawing her attention… but not for long, because his eyes seem to be beckoning her to them. They're so inviting, and has gone a little soft as he looks at her, and she's transfixed for a moment.

He assures her that it's fine, "It is a big change, even for the ones that went to preschool, like Roland."

Grabbing a packet of paper, he explains to her that the top page is just a welcome letter from him to all the parents. He flips the page, revealing a supply list. "I know the system put one out in the stores already, but these are things we need that they didn't include."

She nods, making a mental note to go back to the store tomorrow to get everything that's on here. She wants to make a good impression on this teacher, though she doesn't know why. Well, okay, that's a lie. She knows why. He's beautiful, and she may not have dated anyone seriously since Roland was just a baby, but she somehow knows she'd throw her "I'm not dating ever again" rule right out the window if he asked.

He goes on, his accent lulling her into this false sense of reality. One where she imagines he's talking softly to her and only her from across a dinner table, maybe a candle lit dinner at a nice restaurant before he takes her home and…

"Mama!" Roland exclaims, thankfully pulling her from her inappropriate thought. Shit, what was Mr. Locksley even saying to her? "Mama, look!"

Inhaling deeply, she smiles at him then turns to look at Roland. He's built a rocketship with the shapes, and she and Mr. Locksley both praise him for a job well done.

Turning back, he goes on, telling her how things will work in the classroom, and all the important information she needs to know. Luckily, she controls her hormones long enough to listen and jot down anything she wants to remember.

"It's all there in this packet," he states, tapping the paper in her hand. "It also includes the school's number and my cell phone number."

She looks up at that, maybe a bit more abruptly and stunned than she meant to, because he chews his lip, a hand reaching up to rub at the back of his neck. Is he embarrassed? "It's, uh, it's just something I do… for all parents, you see, so we can text and keep in contact throughout the day if need be while parents are working."

Clearing her throat, she blinks, realizing her eyes had gone wide and she'd been staring for far too long. "Right," she chuckles, licking her lips. She can't help but notice, though, that when she does, his eyes flicker down to her lips, and thank god she put on her red lipstick on the way over here. "Well," she says with a smile, "thank you for all of this." She holds up the packet, and he nods.

He blinks quickly, and, wait, was he staring? He takes a few steps back, stuffing his hands into his pockets as they're pulled from the little bubble they were apparently existing in.

Another student runs in, loud and boisterous, as his parents reprimand him, and Regina looks to Robin, almost reading his mind. This kid will be a handful.

She smirks, catching his eye as she calls over to Roland to clean up the shapes and numbers.

He starts to whine, but she gives him the look that all mothers have down pat. "Mr. Locksley has other students to meet, baby. We need to go get dinner."

"Can we get pizza?!"

Giggling, she steps over to the rug, kneeling down to sit beside her son. She runs a hand through his hair, pressing a kiss to the top of his head. "As a treat for being so good, yes," she whispers, helping him clean up the little mess he's created.

Looking over her shoulder, she watches Mr. Locksley introduce himself to the other family, going over the same speech he'd done with her. His eyes leave the other parents, just briefly, just long enough to catch her gaze, and they share a brief smile before he focuses back on the little terror that's asking a million questions about school in a much too loud voice.

"Why is that kid talking so loud?" Roland absent mindedly asks as he scoops up a handful of shapes to place in the bin; thank god he did it quietly enough that only she could hear.

She gives him a reprimanding look, reminding him not to talk like that about other people. "He's just excited for school," she explains softly, dumping the last of the shapes into the bucket Mr. Locksley has out for the kids to play with tonight while their parents get all the boring grown up information.

Standing, she brushes off her jeans, then reaches out. Roland takes her hand, grinning up at her as he tells her, "I'm ready for school now, Mama!"

Beaming, she bends down to kiss his cheek, murmuring how much she loves him before they make their way to the door.

Mr. Locksley is finished with the other family, they're exploring the room now while their son dumps the entire bucket of shapes onto the carpet and stomps on them, so he makes his way to the front door.

His hand hovers over her back as he sees them out of the classroom door.

"Say goodbye to Mr. Locksley, Ro."

"Bye, Mr. Locksy!"

Both adults laugh at his mispronunciation, Mr. Locksley ruffling Roland's hair. "I'll see you on Thursday for the first day of school!"

"Yeah!" Roland exclaims, jumping up to reach his teacher's hand, high fiving him before stepping to the side to admire the student work on the wall just outside his new classroom.

She smiles at the interaction, her eyes turning toward the teacher's. "It was lovely to meet you, Mr. Locksley."

He places a large hand over his heart, scoffing, "Please, call me Robin."

She gives him a look, her eyes narrowing as she grins. Feeling emboldened by the smirk playing at the corner of his mouth, she inquires, "Do you let all your parents call you that?"

His head ducks, chin hitting his chest before he looks up at her through his lashes. He leans in conspiratorially, mumbling, "Well, only the pretty ones."

Her eyes widen momentarily, a heat licking up her cheeks as she tries her damndest to bite back her smile.

She can tell he's blushing, clearly he's never this forward, and he starts to apologize, gesturing down to her empty ring finger, stumbling over his words.

The fear in his eyes is evident. This is his job, he's at work, and sure, by anyone's standards, that was probably a bit inappropriate, especially given where they are. But, hell, look at him. He's adorable, and sexy as sin, and it's not as if she hasn't been thinking far more inappropriate things about him for the last twenty minutes.

Shaking her head, she places her left hand to his bicep, making sure the fact she's not wearing a wedding ring is more than obvious. She can feel his muscle twitch beneath her palm, and god, what she wouldn't give to see those muscles not covered by a long sleeve button up shirt. "It's not a problem, Robin."

His name rolls off her tongue, sounding far more sensual than even she meant for it to, but he doesn't seem to mind by the way his embarrassment fades into a flirty little look.

Her teeth sink into her bottom lip, and she takes a deep breath in, before saying, "We'll see you Thursday morning." She tries to wink, why the fuck she did that, she'll never know, but it draws those dimples of his back out so she can't be too mad at herself.

"See you then." He grins, his blue eyes finally leaving hers to look at Roland. "And I'll see you Thursday, too, Roland!"

Roland looks at them from where he's been twirling, obviously just waiting for mom to stop flirting with the new teacher, but he stops mid-twirl, turning to look at them. "Yeah! See ya!"

With one more longing look, Regina finally takes her first step away from the door when Roland takes her hand, saying he's hungry and wants that pizza she promised.

Smiling toward Robin, she turns and walks down the hallway, all that fear she'd had today about her baby boy starting school seemingly gone.

As she looks over her shoulder, sharing one more grin with her son's new teacher, she muses that maybe Roland's first year of school won't be so bad after all.

Chapter Text

Smell Like You:

"I just want to smell like you," Regina giggles, wrapping herself in Robin's shirt.

It's warm, fresh from her dryer where she was teaching her favorite Merry Man how to do laundry in this new land. It may be clean, but somehow his forest smell still clings to it, something she doesn't think will ever wash out of his clothes at this point.

He snorts, those dimples popping onto his cheeks to show his amusement. "And here I thought I was the thief in this relationship."

Rolling her eyes, she tosses him another shirt, saying he can also learn to fold laundry.

They laugh, and Robin helps pile all their clean clothes into the hamper. He dutifully carries it upstairs, Henry catching his eye and mumbling something about being glad he doesn't have to do it.

"Oh, you still have to do your laundry, young man," Regina reprimands, causing Roland to giggle from where he sits next to Henry, peering over his shoulder as he completes the current round of their video game.

With a sigh only befitting a teenager, Henry goes back to his game, sulking about having to do chores on a Sunday.

Robin chuckles, finishing his trip up the stairs and into their bedroom while Regina trails behind him.

She has to admit, his forest green t-shirt looks good against her olive skin, and it feels nice too.

Bringing the neck line up to her nose, she inhales again and she plants herself on the bed.

Forest, with a bit of... something… that she can't quite describe. It's just… him. His smell. And she loves it.

Robin stands at the foot of the bed, laundry basket dumped out on the mattress as he rummages through, asking her questions about which items need to be paired together and if he's doing this right.

"Yes," she giggles, her legs curling beneath her as she watches him practice this new skill. "You're doing a wonderful job."

He smirks at her, tossing a sock in her direction, and before she can playfully scold him, he's by her side, her face in his hands, lips pressed together.

"How does it feel being a thief?" he asks as he pulls away, taking the lone sock with him.

Breathless, Regina blinks rapidly, trying to keep up with what he's talking about. At his nod toward his shirt that she's wearing, she grins, snuggling into the bed as she takes another sniff, telling him it feels just fine.

{**************************}

Three months later, it's winter and the snow is coming down harder than she's ever seen before.

Henry and Roland are still fast asleep, and as she peers out the large window in her bedroom, a chill runs through her skin.

Tip-toeing over to the walk-in closet, trying not to disturb Robin who is still snoring away, she picks up one of his hoodies, hoping its warmth will satisfy her.

Slipping it on, she pads back over to her chair, turning to face the window. Her socked feet are curled up in the chair with her, her coffee she'd snuck downstairs to make earlier still warm.

She loves this, loves how peaceful mornings like this are where no one is in a rush to wake up. It's a lazy weekend, and it gives her a chance to soak up this new life she's come to love.

She never knew life could be this wonderful until Robin and Roland came in and made her and Henry's family complete.

"You're up early," she hears mumbled behind her.

Turning her chair, she sees Robin trudging slowly over to her.

He bends down, pressing a quick kiss to her that she grins into, greeting him with a, "Good morning, thief."

He grunts sleepily at that, flicking at the tie strings of his hoodie that she's wearing, saying, "Looks like I'm not the only thief in the family."

Smirking, she stands when he stretches a hand out to her, letting him pull her into his chest. "I just want to smell like you," she defends with a gleam in her eye.

He chuckles out a, "mmhmm," before pulling her even closer.

They stay there, wrapped in each other's warmth like that for a few minutes, Robin slowly swaying their bodies.

She loves this feeling. The chill from outside pressing against the window while the heat of the house surrounds them. It's cozy, and she doesn't want to move from this spot, ever.

"Let me make us all some breakfast," he declares, kissing her once more before stepping back.

"Mm," she hums, "that sounds lovely."

With a dimpled smile and a wink from her better half, he's off to brush his teeth.

While he does that, Regina curls back up into her chair to finish her coffee, trying to motivate herself to move and get the day started.

"Come on, thief," he calls from the doorway, "you can help, too."

Laughing softly, she shakes her head, standing and taking his hand as they start their morning together.

She sits at the counter, wrapped in his hoodie, decisively not helping like she intended to, but watching him, so domestic and at ease in a modern day kitchen, makes her smile. She loves watching this, watching him.

As she buries her nose into the top of his hoodie, she thinks about all the winters yet to come where she can steal his warm clothes and watch him like this.

{*************************}

Months later, the air outside has started to warm back up, but Regina feels nothing but cold inside.

She sits on their bed, pictures she'd taken with Robin over the last year scattered about as she picks the one she wants to keep by her bedside.

It's been two weeks since her thief was stolen from her, obliterated into nothing all for the sake of protecting her.

Something she far from deserves.

Despite buying new clothes, he always insisted on having a forest green shirt, so she'd slipped on this one that he loved so much hours ago.

Picking up a picture of the four of them outside Granny's, Robin's arm wrapped tightly around her, she cries, sniffling as the tears cloud her vision.

She wraps the long cotton sleeves tightly around her, hoping if she folds into herself enough she can somehow disappear. He was too good, too pure for her, and this turn of events just isn't fair.

"I just want to smell like you," she whispers hoarsely into the dark, tears silently falling down her cheeks.

She picks up another picture, this one just of the two of them. It's one Henry had snapped when she was unaware; Robin has her under the mistletoe at Christmas, his lips pressed to hers, both smiling through the kiss.

If she'd known that would be their last Christmas together...

The sob wracks her body without warning and she falls over sideways onto the bed, her face burrowing into his pillow so his smell can surround her even more.

She inhales, his forest scent mixed with a little sandalwood from his body wash fill her nose, and she brings the pillow even closer, crying into it, and hoping Henry can't hear her from downstairs.

She's never washing this pillow case again. Definitely never washing this shirt. His shirt that she'd taken so many times before, bringing out that dimpled smile of his that she loves so much. The one she longs to see so desperately each morning and night now.

She'd stolen the shirt she's wrapped in one last time a few days ago when Snow and Emma had been here helping her pack up his belongings, snatching it from the box moments before Snow taped it shut.

Snow went to put it in the box, but before she could, Regina had screamed out, almost in pain, as the tears flooded her eyes.

After that, she'd kicked them out, saying she'd pack his clothes up herself.

Now, though, she wishes at least Snow had stayed and made her do it because most of his clothes still hang there in the closet, taunting her each morning as a cruel reminder that once again, life has kicked her in the teeth.

Sniffling, she wipes at her eyes. She knows it's almost dinner time by now, needs to get Henry fed, but moving seems impossible while she's enveloped by Robin's aroma.

He's everywhere in this room, in this house, but right now, for tonight, she just wants to stay in his shirt, in his scent, and never leave.

{****************************}

Let's be real, it's OQ, so I had to include some angst lol… oops. Sorry! Hope you enjoyed anyway! haha

Chapter Text

Christmas Traditions:

Slamming her laptop shut, Regina Mills curses under her breath, gathering her belongings and shoving them into her briefcase.

It's only five fifty-five, but her building closes at six the week leading to Christmas, and she has to get home to her son, Henry. Her friend, Mary Margaret, is watching him, but Regina knows her friend needs to get home to her family before the weather gets too bad.

They live in South Carolina, and this winter has been exceptionally cold. The roads were starting to ice over this morning, and traffic was bad coming in to work, so she assumes it'll be even word getting home. It's December twenty-third, her last working day until the new year, and she still feels like she has more than enough work to stay here until midnight. Like always.

She loves being a lawyer, really, but these long nights and endless cases sometimes make the job tough.

"Fuck," she mumbles to herself when her phone goes off. Turning out the light on her desk, she slides her jacket over her sweater before looking at the screen.

A weather alert.

The roads are closed due to the heavy snowfall, and are completely dead stopped with traffic. She whips her head up to her large office window, spying the snowflakes that have apparently been falling for the last few hours.

Of course this would happen the night she's trying to rush out of here.

She knows the roads will be icy even if the snowplows can get to them quickly, and people in the south don't know how to drive when there are weather conditions like this. It's just not what they're used to.

Growing up in South Carolina, the child of a wealthy socialite mother and a business owner father, she never had to worry about the road conditions. Her mother would insist on their housekeepers running out to get groceries or run errands so they didn't have to chance it.

Once she was old enough to drive, it was never a concern because the weather hadn't ever gotten this bad. She hasn't seen snow since she was in middle school, and now, as a thirty-one year old, she is nervous how to handle it.

She glances at her phone again: All roads headed North on I-75 are backed up for the next ten exits.

Fuck, fuck, fuck.

Grabbing her purse, she slings it over her shoulder, then takes her briefcase and scurries out the door, leaving her office behind.

Running to the elevator, she pushes the button over and over again, cursing the security system in her office under her breath. Each employee is responsible for setting the alarm if they are the last one out instead of it automatically doing it at a certain time, which would be much simpler. This requires making sure you are actually the last one out before setting it, or run the risk of locking someone else inside ready to trigger the alarm.

She doesn't have time to check, has to get home before more people get on the road. She thinks if she can be on the interstate before 6:15, she should be fine. Most people should be home by now, anyway, and she's only one exit down from her house. It should be fine...

When she steps inside, she presses the ground floor button over and over, taking out her phone to text Mary Margaret.

Walking to my car now. I'm sorry! I'll be home soon.

As the doors close, she swears she heard someone's voice, but she knows she's always the last one here.

Shrugging, she impatiently waits for the elevator to make its descent. When it reaches the ground level, Regina wraps her thick black scarf around her neck, then tightens her grip on her purse.

With a deep inhale, she readies herself for the harsh winter coldness that she'll be met with when she steps outside.

Stepping quickly over to the alarm, she presses #2323, and then pushes open the office's main glass door, the icy wind hitting Regina in her face. It instantly makes her cheeks redden and her hair blow back, and she shivers, cursing this harsh winter they've been given this year.

She squints against the wind, trudging toward her car. As she reaches her car, she tosses her belongings into the backseat, but before she climbs in, she sees another car in the parking lot.

"Are you fucking kidding me?"

A forest green jeep, which she knows belongs to the newest member of their team, is still there.

Fuck. Why hasn't he left yet? She hasn't met the new lawyer yet, only seen him in passing in the hallways, but she didn't peg him to be the over-acheiving-stay-at-the-office-late type. Like her.

Checking her phone, she sees that it's five fifty-nine. Shit. She has to get on the road, but now he's locked inside and if he trigger the alarm, their boss will be called… and no one wants that.

Albert Gold, their boss, would not be happy to get called while he's on vacation about the alarm.

Running back to the building, she sees the tall, handsome new guy rushing toward the door. She grabs her key, unlocking it and pulling the door open before he gets to it.

She hurries to the alarm on the wall, typing in the code to disarm it.

"I'm so sorry!" he calls, finally meeting her at the door, his briefcase awkwardly falling from his shoulders. "I completely lost track of time."

His British accent surprises her, but she recovers quickly. "Just don't let it happen again," she snaps, rolling her eyes as she taps impatiently against the alarm box. "Are you ready now?"

He nods, sheepishly confessing, "Gold went on vacation the day I started and forgot to give me the code." She sighs, knowing that just so typical of their boss. "I kept meaning to ask someone for it, but honestly, I've been rushing out of here each night before other people anyway that I didn't need it."

She bites her tongue, another snappy comeback on the tip of it as she thinks of the traffic she'll be stuck in now. Instead, she types in the alarm code once more to set it again, and they both hurry out the door. She fumbles with her keys, her fingers stiff from the cold, as he buttons his jacket.

"It's gotten even colder out here," he comments, bouncing on his heels and blowing into his cupped hands. "Nothing like growing up in Maine like I did, though." He shakes his head, laughing to himself as he says something about driving through knee high snow before that she doesn't really listen to as she glances down at her watch, seeing that Mary Margaret had text her back.

"That tends to happen when a snowstorm is coming through," she replies dryly.

She knows she's the resident office bitch, so she wouldn't be surprised if her short temper turned this guy away, but instead, he surprises her. She watches as his lip twitches up on one side, a smirk growing.

He shakes his head, sighing. "Well, at least you live up to your nickname," he grins, reaching out his hand. "I'm Robin, Robin Locksley."

She looks down at his hand, tentatively reaching her own out toward him. "Regina Mills. And what nickname exactly do you speak of?" she asks, her dark eyebrow twitching up. "The one where they all call me the Evil Queen?"

He shrugs, as if dismissing the rumor, and smiles softly. "So you've heard it." Robin shakes his head, looking up toward the snow that is falling around them, sticking to the ground more than Regina has seen in decades. "But from what I can tell, evil seems a bit harsh."

Hm.

She's intrigued.

Inhaling, she looks around, noting the white Christmas lights still on in the windows before looking back up into his blue eyes. "And why's that?"

He tightens his jacket around himself, and admits, "I've seen your work. How you helped that group home get funding when their stakeholders didn't want to pay anymore." He shrugs again as an easy smile forms. "Bold and audacious how you went after them, I'd say, but not evil. Who knew an evil queen had a soft spot for children?"

"Well," she grins, liking that someone seems to have taken notice of her hard work, "the evil moniker serves me well in our field. Having the Evil Queen reputation gets me through doors I'd still be fighting to break down otherwise."

He hums from the back of his throat, nodding his agreement.

She likes this guy, like his attitude and how, even though he's only been here a week, seems to have noticed her.

Biting her lip, she looks out toward their cars. "We should get going," she tells him, "the snow is picking up and I got an alert saying the roads were coming to a standstill. At least in the direction of my house."

Just then, her phone dings again with another weather alert, as well as another incoming text from Mary Margaret.

I-75 North closed for the next four hours. Avoid if possible.

"Fuck," she groans, reaching a hand up to her forehead.

Robin's head tilts, and she shows him the alert.

He grimaces, asking if she lives in that direction.

"Yes," she sighs, leaning against the wall of their building. "And my son is home with his babysitter. He's going to be so worried."

Robin's face seems to soften at that, and he asks, "You have a son?"

She nods, and Robin takes out his phone, turning it around to show her a picture of a curly haired little boy with big, brown eyes. "I do, too. This is Roland."

Regina smiles at the picture, despite her frustration. He's adorable, really. So she returns the favor, showing him the background of her phone. It's a selfie of her and Henry that she took at the park a few months ago. He's on the swing, and she came up behind him, wrapping her arms around his middle and resting her chin on his shoulder, both smiling brightly at the camera. "This is Henry."

Robin smiles, commenting on what a handsome boy he is, which she beams and agrees with.

"Look," Robin says, looking uncomfortable. "I know we just met, and… and this is very awkward…" He trails off, and she looks at him questioningly, one brow cocked. "Well, the roads aren't closed yet going west, which is where I live. There's no sense in you staying here alone. Come over for some hot chocolate and a warm meal at least," he says, "then hopefully the roads will be clear and you can head home."

Biting her lip, she thinks of her options. She could try to rush home now, but would most definitely get stuck in traffic even just going up one exit and inevitably sit on a shut down road for hours and hours, praying the gas in her car lasted. She could go back up to her office, but she is getting hungry, and she has no more snacks left in her desk drawer.

Well… shit.

"Robin," she starts, shaking her head. "I don't know."

"Come on," he goads good-naturedly, nodding his head toward the roads. "It seems like your best option."

And he's right.

With a sigh, she agrees, and he smiles widely, saying he'll call home and let them know they are on their way.

{*********************}

She follows his jeep to his house, the whole time wondering if this is the start of a murder mystery.

Clicking the button on her steering wheel, she has her car call Mary Margaret. She explains the situation to her friend, saying she's going to go to Robin's for dinner and hot chocolate, just long enough to let the road workers clear the streets enough to drive on them again.

"He lives out west, so I'm only about thirty minutes away."

"Oh, have fun!" Mary croons, and Regina rolls her eyes at her friend's sappy, excited tone.

She can hear the cogs in Mary's mind churning now, drawing this up to be a romantic movie. Her friend wants her so desperately to find love again, and Regina just scoffs at the younger woman's tone.

"It's not like that, Mary. It was either go there or wait all night in my office."

"Mmhmm," her friend says, all too cheerily. "I'll be here with Henry. He's upstairs playing his video games now so I'll let him know you'll be home later."

"Thank you, Mary."

With that, she ends the call, thinking of her ten year old and how he'll be excited to get extra video game time tonight.

After about thirty minutes, she's pulling into Robin's driveway behind him and following him into his garage.

When they get inside, she has to control her laughter from spilling out. It looks as if Christmas has exploded in this man's house.

There's a large tree in the corner of his living room covered in multicolored lights and all the mismatched ornaments one could possibly dream of. There's Rudolph covered pillows on the couches, wreaths in every window, Christmas music playing softly from the speakers, and tinsel strung along the fireplace and kitchen island.

Plush gingerbread men sit on the kitchen counter, there are over-sized Santa hats on each wooden chair around the table, and in every crevice she can see, there's some type of random Christmas decoration from porcelain mice in scarves holding toys, to a candy cane garland strung across his fireplace where the two stockings hang—one big one with a matching smaller one beside it.

She grins when she catches Robin's gaze, and he gives her the cutest smile she's ever seen. "Christmas is mine and Roland's favorite holiday," he states, and she chuckles, saying she can tell.

Before she can say anything else, she hears a Daddy! echoing down the hall, and when she turns, there's a little bundle of energy jumping from the last step into his father's arms.

"There's my boy!" Robin laughs, peppering kisses to his son's dark hair. "Roland, I'd like you to meet a friend of mine. This is Miss Regina." He points his head in her direction, and Regina smiles over at them.

"Hi!" Roland calls, hopping down from his father's arms and walking over toward her with a tiny hand stretched out toward her. "I'm Roland!"

"Well, hello, there," she greets, reaching out to shake his little hand. "How old are you, Roland?"

"I'm four!" he exclaims happily, holding out four chubby fingers and wiggling them for good measure.

Robin laughs, telling her that Roland's birthday was two months ago and he's always very excited to let anyone who will listen know that he's now a big boy.

"I sure am!"

Laughing softly, Regina crouches down to be eye level with the little boy. "You're right, you are," she announces, tapping his pajama clad belly. It's a cotton set of pajamas with the classic Santa and Rudolph plastered all over it. "My son, Henry, is ten, and I remember when he turned four, he was so happy to start big boy school."

"I go to school!" Roland says, his overzealous energy reverberating from his body and filling the whole living room.

He begins to tell her all about his class, his friends, and how he loves to color and learn his letters, and she listens intently, nodding in all the right spots of his story.

"Alright, my boy," Robin chuckles, scooping him back up as Regina stands again, "let's say goodbye to Belle and let Regina put her stuff down."

Smiling, she starts to unzip her jacket, hanging it on the back of a kitchen chair. She'd left her briefcase in the car, but she pulls her purse from across her body, laying it on the kitchen island as Robin walks Roland over to the auburn haired girl Regina is just now noticing.

"Bye, Belle," Roland says, reaching out to hug the mystery woman.

She says goodbye to the boy, then Robin, smiling over at Regina and waving.

Regina does the same, politely waving as the girl leaves. She has a fleeting thought that maybe the gorgeous girl was Robin's girlfriend—she didn't look too much younger than them—but she brushes it off as Robin and Roland invite her to come into the living room.

"I hope it's okay, I just put my stuff on the counter."

"Of course," Robin smiles easily, waving it off as if it's no big deal. Huh, so different from how she would be, expecting guests to hang their belongings up in a certain spot just like her mother always taught her.

With a smirk, she walks into the living room, joining Robin and Roland on the couch.

Roland is working on a puzzle, which she can tell is going to end up being the Grinch, while Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas plays on the television.

"Sorry about running your girlfriend off," she admits sheepishly, settling on the cushion beside Robin. "She could have stayed."

"M-my girlfriend?"

"Daddy doesn't have a girlfriend," Roland giggles, covering his mouth to stifle the laugh.

Biting her lip again, she apologizes. "O-oh, I'm sorry," she chuckles awkwardly, "I just assumed…"

Robin waves his hand, laughing, and explaining that Belle is their neighbor. She's in college and watches Roland for him after school each day.

"No girlfriend here," he grins, giving her a knowing look, and she can feel the heat creeping up her neck.

They sit for a while, Regina and Robin helping Roland with the puzzle, and she can't help but think how strange this all is. This man is so nice, so welcoming. His home feels like she's been there before, been there forever, and this is just a normal day hanging out with friends.

Roland eventually climbs into Regina's lap, asking to see pictures of Henry.

Smiling, she takes out her phone, flipping through her camera roll and showing both Robin and Roland pictures. "This is from Thanksgiving," she says, pointing to the picture. "Henry got to cut the turkey at my dad's house and was beyond happy about it."

"I like turkey!" Roland interjects, leaning in closer to the picture to get a better look. "That turkey is huge."

Regina and Robin both laugh, and she agrees that her father had gotten far too big of a bird this year, but it was still very delicious.

They spend the next ten minutes looking at pictures of Henry, while Robin whips up a simple meal of mac n' cheese and chicken nuggets in the kitchen. "I hope this is alright with you," Robin calls, gesturing toward the pot on the stove. "We aren't exactly fancy in this household."

Softly giggling, Regina scrunches her nose in Roland's direction, assuring Robin that nuggets and mac n' cheese were perfectly fine with her. "Henry loves macaroni and cheese," she says, "I've had to learn to love it, but of course I always make sure he has a fruit and a vegetable with it, too."

"I love fruit!" Roland says, pushing Regina's hair back behind her shoulder. He rambles on about how grapes are his favorite, but he also likes strawberries and apples.

"What about vegetables?" she asks with a grin.

Roland's nose scrunches up much like hers did moments ago, and he shakes his head, telling her that he only likes green beans and carrots, but nothing else.

"That's a good start," she says, tapping the end of his nose. She tells him how Henry didn't like many vegetables when he was Roland's age, but he kept trying new ones and now he loves all sorts of vegetables.

Roland seems to think on that for a second, calling out to Robin in the kitchen and asking if they can have green beans tonight, too.

Smiling, Regina looks to Robin who nods his agreement. "I'll put some on right now, Ro."

While Robin finishes cooking, Regina regales Roland with tale after tale of her son while Roland shares his own experiences with her like finding a toy in the sandbox at school and how Paw Patrol was his favorite show.

They carry the conversation to the dinner table, all laughing when Roland tells them about making Christmas ornaments at school and how his friend Jordan knocked over an entire bottle of glitter on Mrs. Moore's table. "She wasn't very happy," he says, shaking his head.

Roland continues to chatter all throughout dinner, barely letting the adults get a word in, but Regina loves it. Henry was always more on the shy side at Roland's age, had to grow into his personality a bit, but Roland is all personality. He treats them to story after story, asking Regina if she likes the chicken, what her favorite Christmas movie is, if she's excited for Santa to come this year, and anything else he can think of.

"Take a breath, son," Robin snickers, pushing his plate toward him. "Finish that up, because it's later than normal for dinner. You still need a bath and to get to bed before it's too late."

Another ten minutes and he's finished his entire plate, carrying it to the sink and plopping it in as gingerly as he can from his position standing on his tiptoes, nose barely reaching over the top of the counter.

"He's a chatty one, isn't he?" she asks with a grin, looking over the Robin.

He rolls his eyes playfully, saying, "You have no idea. He could talk to a brick wall and stay entertained."

She laughs, shoulders shaking slightly as they both stand from the table, Robin taking her plate for her.

Smiling, she thanks him, then makes her way into the living room with Roland. She joins him on the couch where his Mickey movie is just winding down.

Robin rinses off the dishes, dropping them into the dishwasher before coming into the living room. He comes to stand in front of Roland, saying, "Alright, Ro," and tapping the little boy's curls. "Time for bed."

Roland whines, saying he wants to stay up with Miss Regina, but Robin puts his foot down as he glances at the clock. It's already almost eight, and Regina knows from experience that if little boys his age don't go to bed soon, they'll be terrors in the morning.

"Can Regina read me a story tonight?" Roland asks, his puppy dog eyes growing even wider as he looks between Robin and Regina.

Robin looks to her, silently asking her if she wants to, and, well, who is she to deny this adorable little boy? With a smile, she takes Roland's hand, letting him lead her upstairs where he snuggles into his bed, telling her exactly how he wants her to wrap him up in his covers.

Snickering, she follows his directions meticulously, Robin watching from the doorway. She reads him How The Grinch Got so Grinchy, Roland's eyes growing heavy before the story even ends.

Robin steps over, fixing the covers and placing a kiss on his boy's head before they turn out the little fox shaped lamp on his bedside table and make their way downstairs.

{*************************}

Downstairs, the living room has heated up now that the fire has had time to grow, and Regina thinks about how comfortable his home is. She contemplates for a second if she should add more Christmas decorations to her house, worried that she's deprived Henry of holidays like this.

Her house is decorated, of course, just not to this level.

She has a large tree in her main living room covered in white lights and red and green ornaments. There's a smaller tree in the kitchen that she lets Henry decorate each year with his fun ornaments and colorful lights. She has a beautiful, oversized wreath on her front door, and a few decorations on the inside, but she suddenly has the urge to go to the nearest craft store and pick up even more to fill their large home with.

"Would you like some hot chocolate?" Robin asks, pulling her from her thoughts.

Smiling, she says yes, and he tells her to make herself at home.

She sits on the couch again like earlier, curling her leg up underneath her.

Her phone rings, and she looks down to see that Mary Margaret is calling her, so she swipes the call to answer, worried something might be wrong.

"Mom?"

She smiles when she hears Henry's voice, and she settles deeper into the couch, pulling a Christmas pillow from out behind her so she can sink further into it. "Hi, sweetheart. Is everything okay?"

"Yeah," he says, sighing, adding, "I want to play another game, but Mary Margaret said I'd played enough and needed to ask you."

Chuckling, she asks him how many he's played and he tells her he's only played three. But she's no idiot, she knows three games have probably taken hours upon hours today.

"Why don't you go watch a movie with Mary before you head to bed?" she urges, "It's getting late."

"Mom," he complains, and she can hear the eye roll through the phone, "it's only eight-thirty!"

"Henry Daniel…"

"Fiiine," he relents, obviously knowing he'll never win this argument. "When will you be home?"

Sighing, she tells him that she doesn't know. "When we hang up, I'll check the weather app again to see and send Mary a text. Hopefully they'll have it clear soon, and I'll be home before too long."

"Okay. Can we have pancakes in the morning?"

With a smirk, she agrees, and says she'll cook pancakes just for him in the morning since it's Saturday.

"Can we make them Christmas tree shaped?"

She laughs, "I'm not so sure how we'd do that. I can maybe manage a candy cane shape or something."

With a little snort of laughter, Henry concedes, telling her goodnight and that he loves her.

"I love you, too, sweetheart. Goodnight."

As she hangs up, Robin walks in from the kitchen with two steaming mugs of hot chocolate. "Is Henry okay?"

"Yeah," she assures with a soft smile. "He was trying to weasel his way into more video game time since I'm not there and Christmas tree shaped pancakes in the morning."

"That's impressive," he chuckles, and she shakes her head.

"Oh, no," she laughs, "I can't make Christmas tree shaped ones, but I told him we'd try for maybe a candy cane shape."

Laughing, Robin settles next to her on the couch, taking a sip of his hot chocolate.

She takes her mug, doing much the same.

"I've got some Bailey's we could add, but I didn't know if you wanted to since you need to drive home."

She smiles uneasily, saying, "Probably better if I don't, just in case the roads clear up soon." She won't tell him tonight she's sworn off alcohol ever since her husband was taken from her. That's far too deep for the first night they've actually met, though it feels as if she's known him forever.

"Well," he rubs his hands along his black work pants, "I'm assuming you became such an expert children's book reader from Henry?"

She chuckles and nods, saying, "Henry loves to read. Before he could read, he'd make me read every story in the house over and over again. We'd spend weekends at the library picking out new books, and once he started school and could check out from the school library?" she chuckles, "Oh, it was all over."

Robin laughs, saying Roland isn't quite that much into books, "He still prefers to be outside in nature, climbing trees and giving me heart attacks every chance he gets."

They laugh, bonding over how rambunctious little boys can be. Regina tells him of the time Henry snuck outside while she was studying for an exam, climbed up on the hood of her car and jumped off before she could get out to catch him. "He broke his arm, and I spent an hour at the hospital worrying child protective services were going to be called on me."

"Oh god," Robin laughs, shaking his head. "Roland climbed up to the tree house in my mum's backyard in England last summer. And instead of using the ladder to climb down, he thought it made so much more sense to swing down each branch." He shakes his head, taking a sip of his hot chocolate. "He missed a branch and fell right from the tree. My mum's German Shepherd broke his fall, otherwise I'm pretty sure he would've had a broken arm or leg instead of the cuts and bruises he ended up with."

"That poor dog," she laughs, "Bet Roland never did it again, though."

"Oh, he did. The very next day."

She chortles at that, shaking her head and telling him that Henry has never left the house without her permission ever since the broken arm incident.

"And," he clears his throat, shifting on the couch, "where was Henry's dad for all of those moments?"

Inhaling sharply, she brings her mug up to her lips, letting the heat soothe her. Shit, she was hoping this wouldn't come up.

"Henry's father, Daniel," she begins, preparing herself. No matter how much time has gone by, it was still hard to admit. "He died in a car wreck when Henry was seven months old. Drunk driver."

"Oh, Regina," Robin sighs, taking her hand in his and giving it a squeeze. "I'm so, so sorry."

She shrugs, trying to play it off. It's fine, really, it was ten years ago. She's moved on, learned to live life again, but having to talk about it is always hard.

"What about Roland's mom?"

"Ah," he says, smiling sympathetically at her. "That's a much less complicated story." He sighs, saying, "We were together for years, all through law school, but I guess having Roland just made life too hard for Marian. She started cheating on me, a lot, and decided motherhood and being in a committed relationship just wasn't for her."

She can tell he tries to keep the bitterness out of his voice. She can't imagine how angry she'd be if Daniel had willingly left her and Henry. "I'm sorry, Robin. That's awful."

He shrugs nonchalantly, saying he'd been bitter for a while, but he came to accept that he and Roland were better off without her than waiting around for her to become the mother Roland deserved. "Luckily, I found out when Roland was just under a year, so he doesn't remember her. Sounds harsh, but I'm kind of glad he doesn't." He sighs, rubbing the back of his neck. "He asks about her sometimes the older he gets, but I just tell him that Mummy lives in a different state. I'm sure he'll have more questions later in life, so I've got to start preparing myself now."

She smiles, reaching out to pat his knee. "Just wait until they do family projects in school. Henry obviously grew up knowing that Daniel was with the angels, but starting school and realizing that you're family dynamic looks different than most of the other kids… well, it sucks. Sorry."

Robin grins, and she relaxes, glad that she didn't offend him. He says he's trying to prepare for that, knowing Roland will more than likely be one of the one kids in class with just a dad.

"Why don't we watch a movie, hm?" he asks, obviously wanting to change the subject. "This is getting a bit heavy."

She giggles and agrees, saying, "That sounds lovely."

He flips from Roland's paused Paw Patrol to the Disney Plus screen, selecting Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.

"Fantastic choice," she grins, taking the fuzzy, candy cane printed blanket from the back of the couch and getting cozy.

Robin sits back, grinning over his shoulder at her. "Are you cold?"

"A little," she shrugs, blushing. She's never made herself this comfortable in someone's home. She should have asked if she could use the blanket, but Robin seems like the type to just expect everyone to come in and act like this is their house as well. "Is it okay that I used this blanket?"

"Of course!" he assures, "My house is your house."

They smile at one another, Robin settling back against the cushions as well as Kevin McCalister once again gets the short end of the stick from his family.

After a few moments, Robin stands, poking the fire and making the flames dance. "Maybe this'll help," he says, sitting back down and taking a corner of the oversized blanket she's using. "I need some warmth, too."

He grins, and those dimples of his she'd noticed earlier pop back onto his cheeks. She tries to contain the flirty smile fighting its way to his face as his knees bump against hers under the blanket.

She likes him. And this is trouble. She hasn't liked anyone in years. Not since she dated that loser Graham who ran off to Atlanta with some blonde bitch named Emma. They'd apparently met at police academy and he just couldn't help the instant attraction.

Rolling her eyes, Regina shakes off thoughts of Graham and focuses back on the beautiful man beside her. She watches him from the corner of her eye, noting the way his muscles move beneath his dress shirt.

"You can go change into something else if you want," she offers. "I'm stuck in my work clothes, doesn't mean you have to be."

He smiles, his blue eyes shining as he waves her off, saying he's quite comfortable how he is. "I wouldn't want to miss Kevin ending up in New York!"

Playfully swatting at his chest, she snuggles under the blanket, thankful she'd at least chosen one of her more comfortable pant suits to wear to work today.

As the movie progresses, stretching through the part everyone always tunes out, Robin begins asking her more questions, getting to know her.

She answers, and in return, spends the majority of the movie getting to know this man. He's from England, but moved to Main in high school for his dad's job. He came down south for law school with a buddy of his, both attending Duke, which makes her laugh, knowing it's the rival of her own.

"Ah, so you're a Blue Devil," she gasps with mock-horror.

"Don't tell me you're a UNC Tar Heel."

She laughs, nodding. "I'm sorry to say that I am."

Robin groans dramatically, clutching a hand to his heart—Duke and the University of North Carolina have been rivals for decades upon decades, to the point where her fellow law students wouldn't even allow each other to date someone who attended Duke back then. "I wish I'd known that before inviting you into my home."

They laugh and she smacks his chest, his larger hand capturing her own before she can place it back in her lap. Their fingers naturally fall into place, linking together as they get to know one another.

"Well, it's not my fault UNC ranks higher than Duke," she sasses, "You chose the wrong college."

He grins, asking her what made her choose UNC, anyway.

"Oh," she snorts. "I knew I wanted to stay close to Charlotte, UNC is only about twenty minutes from here, you know," she explains, a wicked grin forming on her lips, "but my mother wanted me to stay in state for college, so I choice the closest law school possible while still being out of state."

She was a brat, she admits, but if anyone knew what hell it was being raised by Cora Mills, they'd understand.

Robin laughs at her explanation. "Evil Queen, indeed," he says, and all she can do is smirk.

"What about you?" she wonders with a raised brow, "You were in Maine, then North Carolina, how'd you settle here in South Carolina?"

Robin snickers at the question, saying he's moved all over. "Once I got close to graduating, Marian had gotten a job here in Charlotte," he explains, shrugging. "It's only about two hours from Duke, so she moved here in April of that year, I graduated in May and made my way down."

She nods, listening to his story. His voice is so soothing, and she thinks she could listen to him talk all night. Might even let him simply read the phone book, and she'd listen intently.

Their knees keep knocking into each other's under the blanket as they get to know each other, and eventually she situates herself so their knees are pressed together. She's turned, looking at him, no longer worried with the movie as Kevin sets up his uncle's house to torment the bad guys.

"I'm really glad I almost set off the alarm today," Robin says softly, leaning into her.

She realizes she's done the same at some point, practically curled into his side. "Are you? Why?"

"Because the Evil Queen came to my rescue."

She snickers, "Well just don't let it happen again."

Holding up his hands in surrender, he grins. "Oh, I wouldn't dream of it."

With a playful eye roll, she scoots closer, her face inching closer to his. There's a palpable tension between them, and her breath grows thick at the realization.

The energy is so charged, she thinks if someone were to light a match, they'd ignite just like the kerosene soaked rope Marv and Harry are about to be stuck on.

She's not like this, not one to flirt with men and want to kiss them the day she meets them. But this guy, this Robin Locksley, he makes her feel like no man has ever done before. This is crazy.

"Robin, I…"

"Regina," he murmurs at the same time, and she bites her lip, nodding for him to speak. "I know this is insane because we just met, but I would very much like to kiss you."

That blush that's been sitting on her cheeks all night deepens, and suddenly she's far too hot under this blanket with the fire burning. "I would like that," she whispers coyly, slipping the blanket off of her legs to cool down a bit.

Robin places his large hand to her cheek, and her eyes flutter closed, already pleased by the feel of this. She peeks out beneath her long, dark lashes, watching as he leans in closer, closer, closer still.

Beep beep beep

"Shit!" she exclaims, practically jumping out of her skin as her phone goes off with a weather alert update.

Robin's hand falls from her cheek as he reaches over to pick up her phone from the coffee table and hand it to her.

Looking at the screen, her eyes sink closed, their little bubble of warm Christmas magic seeming to pop. "The roads have been cleared."

Robin nods, standing from the couch and pausing the movie as Kevin calls the police and runs to the park. "Well then," he announces, reaching out his hand. "You should get home to Henry."

Fuck. She doesn't want to go… wants to stay here and kiss this handsome man, practically a stranger, for the next several hours, giggling and getting to know him some more. In an odd way, this has ended up being like a first date… and it's the best date she's been on since Daniel.

Sighing, she takes his offered hand, though, letting him pull her up from the couch. Practically, Regina knows she needs to get back home to her child before the roads get bad again. So, with a hesitance she's not used to, she rubs her hands over her pants, smoothing them out as Robin grabs her coat from the kitchen chair she'd hung it on earlier.

"M'lady," he says with a dramatic bow, handing her the coat and her purse.

Chuckling, she takes it, slipping it all back on.

Robin takes her hand, which instantly makes her feel giddy inside like a high school girl on her first date, and leads her to the front door.

"I had a great time tonight, Robin," she says, zipping her jacket. "In a weird way, I'm glad you almost set off the alarm and got us both fired."

He laughs, his dimples shining as a slight blush colors his cheeks. He bites down on his bottom lip, trying to quell his smile, she thinks, and God, he really is cute.

His eyes light up, and she looks at him questioningly. Following his mirth-filled gaze, she looks up, seeing a sprig of mistletoe hanging above his front door.

"Now how did that get there?" he asks in mock-astonishment.

His grin is so playful and boyish that she can't help the little breathy chuckle that escapes her lips. Biting on her plump, crimson stained lip, she grins up at Robin. Rolling her eyes, she shrugs. "Christmas tradition, right?" and pulls him in by the fabric of his shirt.

Her lips connect with his, molding together as if they were made to do so. Her kiss must surprise him, because he lets out a little groan in the back of his throat. She fights the urge to smile in satisfaction, afraid it'll break this moment.

Her lips slide against his as she tilts her head from one side to the other, settling more into the embrace.

Robin's arms have found their way to her hips, squeezing gently as he brings her closer to his body.

His chest is warm and solid beneath her, and she reaches up, letting her palm splay against it, feeling his heartbeat. It's beating just as rapidly as she knows her own is, and good, she's not the only one affected by this liplock.

Pulling back in order to breathe, she inhales slowly, then exhales, trying to catch her breath. "Well," she breathes shakily, "I'll see you at work tomorrow."

"We don't work tomorrow."

She chuckles awkwardly at herself, tucking a piece of hair behind her ear. "Oh, th-that's right."

Robin grins again, damn him and those dimples, and he pulls her closer, kissing the top of her head. "Who knew the Evil Queen also had such a soft spot for bumbling idiots like me?"

"Only the cute ones who aren't smart enough to ask literally anyone in the office for the alarm code."

Chortling, his head leans back as he laughs at the insult, and she begins to laugh, too, shaking her head at how ridiculous he is.

"We may not work tomorrow, but," he starts, pausing to rub his lips together nervously, "perhaps we can get the boys together and go ice skating or something."

She beams, nose scrunching as she smiles at the suggestion. "Perhaps."

"And then," he drawls, his voice melting like butter against her skin, "maybe tomorrow night, I can interest you in a walk in the moonlight?"

"In the middle of a snowstorm?"

He laughs, shrugging, "Perhaps not then, maybe another movie night with the boys. We could make cookies and hot chocolate."

She leans up on her tiptoes, pressing a kiss to his cheek. "That sounds wonderful. I'll call you in the morning."

"You should probably get my number, then."

"Oh, right," she blushes, giggling self consciously, like an idiot, as she takes out her phone.

They exchange numbers and she tells him, "Call me once Roland wakes up, actually. Henry is an early riser like me, so I'm sure we'll be up before you guys."

With a nod, he leans in, pressing three more chaste kisses to her lips under the mistletoe, making her snicker delightfully.

"Goodnight, Robin."

"Goodnight, Regina."

And with that, he opens the door, the chilly winter air once again surrounding her. She makes her way to her car—only looking over her shoulder once, okay, maybe twice, to catch another fleeting glimpse of Robin Locksley—before cranking the heat up and making her way home.

As she does, she thinks about how excited she is for tomorrow and how maybe, just maybe, this could be the start of some new Christmas traditions.

{*************************}

Thanks so much for reading! I'm glad we were able to continue the tradition of OQ Advent this year. I love you all and I love that we've kept this ship going all these years lol I hope you all have a great holiday season! Merry Christmas (if you celebrate!) and Happy Holidays!

-Britt