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Something You'll Never Lose

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You’re not used to being the big spoon.  He’s almost always curled protectively around your back when time affords you both the luxury of a bed and uninterrupted hours of sleep.  But you like this.  His head tucked under your chin, arms draped heavily over your stomach as you watch his body rise and fall softly with the rhythm of your breath.  It’s been a day.  Hell, it’s been a year; a lifetime if you really want to be honest with yourself.  And you envy the heavy slumber he’s fallen so easily into.  It won’t come easy for you, never has.  Easier when you’re next to him though.  That’s not hard to admit.  

He squeezes you a bit tighter, probably just a muscle twitch, but it has you soothing fingers through his hair all the same.  He needs the rest as much as you do.  It’s not his fault you’re not getting it.  Not entirely, at least.

Your hands are as restless as your mind tonight, ghosting over his skin in an aimless pattern, but finding the scar between his shoulder blades again and again.

It should have killed him, would have if you would have had to fire one more spell against Zelena’s army, used one more ounce of energy to defend instead of being able to heal.  You didn’t know if it was enough until you woke 3 days later to him snoring softly in a chair next to your bed.  The imbecile had followed you into battle with a bow and arrow.  A bow and arrow against Zelena and her simian army.  But he’d held his own.  You heard the whistle of his arrows as they flew past your ear, flying alongside the path of your fire and your power.  

It was over as quickly as it began, the sky cleared and you turned to him, unable to hide the satisfied smirk on your face, ready to tell him just how much you hadn’t needed his help.  He had the same self-satisfied smile on his face that you did, his own retort on the tip of his tongue and you both started laughing at the absurdity of your egos.  

It’s a blur after that, even now--over a year later when you can think back and piece it together--it’s chaos.  There was a shriek, and Robin falling, and screaming that may have been yours, and blood, and violet light pouring out of you, and too many voices.  Then nothing but darkness.  All you know is that you almost lost him before you had a chance to begin.

...

“Your heart is racing,” his warm breath washes over your chest as he speaks.  They’re not mumbled by sleep; he’s been awake for sometime.  Lying with you, waiting you out.  

“Do you remember the night Zelena stormed the castle?” you scoot down, untangle your limbs and make room for him to share your pillow.

“I have a vague recollection of you saving the day,” he laughs softly, placing a kiss to the tip of your nose and resting his arm over your hip.  “What’s brought that up?”

You should tell him.  It would be easy.  Simple words that claw at your chest begging to be released.  It’s absurd that you can’t open that last door.  He knows how you feel; he wouldn’t be here if there was any doubt at all.

“Regina?” he asks again, hand moving up and down your back.  He props his head up on his arm to look down at you and you take the cowards way out.

“The moonlight was shining on your scar,” your fingers reach around and trace the pale white line between his shoulders.

“One scar among many is not keeping you awake.”

No, it’s not, you admit to yourself and to him as your eyes lower from his.  “You love me,” you tell him as you keep your eyes fixed to the stubble of his jaw.

“I do,” he easily agrees, but doesn’t push you further.  His patience is infuriating.  And benevolent.

“I’m terrified that love will be the reason I lose you.”  You blurt it out and the shuddered gasp that follows can’t bring it back in.  You lie next to him, stiff, terrified, waiting for the pits of hell to pull him away from you, but nothing happens except his arm pulling you closer until you’re flush against him.

“We’ve had a few scrapes, but you haven’t lost me yet.”  You scoff because only he could describe the torment he’s borne by your side as ‘a few scrapes.’  His flesh is marred with scars, his mind and body violated, but he’s here, lying next to you with fingers slipping into your hair and gently urging your face back to his.  “You love me too,” he tells you with a kiss to your brow.  “It’s alright if you can’t admit it yet.  If you need time, I’ll give you that without question.  I know your life has caused you to have your heart locked up tight, but I'm quite skilled at picking locks.”  You smile despite the tears welling in your eyes and lean into his hand as he thumbs them away. “I’m not going anywhere, Regina.”

He shifts back down, taking you with him until his head rests on the pillow and yours is against his chest.  The quiet isn’t so deafening anymore and you feel yourself begin to relax, bit by bit, to the steady beat of his heart underneath your ear.  “That night in the courtyard, just before you were attacked…” you wait for the mumbled mmmhmmm that tells you he’s just on the side of wake before you swallow down your fear and softly tell him “...is when I knew I’d fallen in love with you.”  The words hang there in the darkness between you.  You can’t see his face, won’t move from the restful position that will soon pull you to sleep, but you know he’s smiling and you let yourself smile too.

“I knew a bit before that,” his hands make one more soothing pass up and down your back before cocooning around you, growing heavy as sleep quickly overtakes him.  You think that you should have asked him when he knew, but you also know that it hardly matters.  He’s here.  He’s true.  His love is something you’ll never lose.