A.N.

I do not own OUaT, because if i did, Marian would still be VERY MUCH DEAD, Regina and Robin Hood would be so official it would hurt, and Emma and Killian would've already had sex like seven times.

Oi.

I needed some Outlaw Queen hope after last night's finale, because I swear, Regina is just not allowed to have a happy ending. It's forbidden. It doesn't go down.

Everybody and their cousin gets a happy ending, sans Regina.

So, that happens.

REEEVVVIIIEEEWWW!


Regina stays in bed for three days afterwards.

All she can think of is sandy brown hair and blue eyes and the devastating pain that comes with losing her happy ending, and it takes to much energy to move so she just lays there.

She knew she shouldn't have let Swan live. All Charmings ever do is wreck her life.

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(Even the anger doesn't last; all that's there is emptiness. Emptiness and longing.)

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Robin stays with Marian for two days, never leaving her side, answering all her questions and all her exclamations, but he can't get the look on Regina's face off of his mind.

She's my wife, he thinks. I owe her this. I owe myself this. I owe Roland this.

(Since when is loving someone the same thing as owing them, though?)

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Snow brings Neal over on the fifth day and Regina holds him for a bit; his little face is innocent and sweet.

I tried that, Regina thinks idly. And every time I do good I get burned.

Snow smiles pityingly at her and the back of Regina's throat stings.

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She gives herself five days of weakness, but the morning of day six greets her zipping into a dress and slipping on her heels. She'll look powerful today and put on her fabric armor, even if she feels nothing like it.

Henry is waiting for her on the porch when she comes out; his brow is furrowed like it always is when he worries.

"Are you okay, Mom?" He asks, and Regina isn't sure but she says yes anyway.

Across the street from her house a little boy with curls like Roland's squeals, and her heart cracks.

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It happens, like it was bound to; She's in the diner with her son, and he walks in with his son and his newly resurrected wife, and she feels her stomach sink like someone's dropped stones in it.

Granny shoots her a sympathetic look, which is new, and she counts the grooves in the wood and tries to remain unnoticed.

And then Roland's sweet inquisitive eyes land on her, and he squeals, "GINA!"

Well.

Go unnoticed plan is officially shot to hell.

She meets Robin's eyes for a fraction of a second; they are blue and warm and they make her want him, and the sad bit is under different circumstances, this would be progress.

Now it's just sad.

"Hi, Roland," she says, because she may be changed, but she is still the Evil Queen, and the challenge in Marian's eyes cannot go unmet.

"Missed you!" He says with a toothy grin, and the three adults flinch in unison.

"I missed you as well, Roland," Regina whispers, and he smiles delightedly and Regina hurts inside.

Oh, well. Not like it's anything new.

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She doesn't talk to him. She knows what he'd say, and it's not like she could really blame him for it.

Marian is his wife. Regina was a second chance he no longer needs.

It's bad, though, because she doesn't talk to him but he still finishes her sentences, and he thinks what she thinks and they aren't together, but they are still entwined.

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Tinkerbell confronts him after the Diner Incident, and gives him such a scathing verbal smack-down he's pretty sure he's got scars.

"You know how hard it is for her to trust," she says indignantly. "She gave you her heart, Robin. She trusted you. And she just lost the second love of her life. How is she ever supposed to trust anyone again?"

He can't help but feel like he still has Regina's heart, and he's somehow managed to drop it.

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The Snow Queen comes to town, and she has a vendetta; against whom, nobody actually really knows.

Oi.

Regardless, she's sworn to turn the hearts of everyone in Storybrooke into ice, and she's doing a damn good job of it.

They're having a round table meeting at an ironically square table in the Charming loft, and Regina passes her attention between avoiding Robin, who's been looking at her, trying to come up with a solution, and resisting the urge to point out how obvious it is that the pirate and Swan are together.

(Of fucking course. A Charming gets a happy ending, and Regina gets nothing.

Why does it feel like this has happened before.)

"We need someone to get close to her," Charming says, slamming his palm on the table while Snow rocks their son nervously. "That's the only way we'll know what her deal is and how we can stop her."

"We can't," Swan objects. "Anyone who goes near her gets a heart full of ice."

"So we need someone without a heart?" Snow says slowly, and suddenly the puzzle pieces come together in Regina's mind.

"I'm going," she says, and everyone turns to look at her.

"Well, don't act so surprised," she says primly, rubbing her palms on her skirt. "Someone has to go. It needs to be me."

"But Regina," Snow objects. "You...have a heart."

Regina finally meets his eyes, blue and full of emotion she can't sift through, and it's him she speaks to when she says, "I know how to guard my heart."

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"Regina, seriously," Swan says. "I know you're pissed I brought Marian back. But she's his wife. I'm sorry, but she is. If you're upset, I get that. But turning your heart to ice isn't going to help. Don't do this because of Ro-"

"I'm doing this to help Henry," Regina says sharply. "I'm doing this to keep him safe. That's it. That's all."

Swan bites her lip and nods.

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"You're nervous," Robin tells her in her kitchen directly before she leaves to meet Elsa.

"Where's your wife?" She says bitingly, her back to him.

"You were rubbing your hands on your clothes. You do that when you're nervous," he replies, and she hates him for knowing her so well, and hates herself for letting him. "It's alright, Regina. You don't have to pretend with me."

She wants to throw an apple at his head and scream that all she's been doing for the past three days is pretend, but she is in control. She is calm and poised and-

Oh, what the hell.

The apple hits his chest with a dull thunk, and satisfaction rings in her ears at his incredulous expression.

"Did you just throw an apple at me?" He says, surprise and something like delight coloring his voice.

"How long did it take you to notice?" She taunts, and because apparently she's lost her mind and is giving into impulse now, she grabs another one and throws it at him again.

He catches it, lets it fall, and begins advancing towards her. "It is not nice to throw things, m'lady. Even Roland knows better than that."

She rolls her eyes at his scolding and backs up, hiding behind the island in her kitchen.

She has a vision of what he's about to do; she can tell by the way his muscles are coiled and he's leaning towards her that he's going to lunge for her, and he's going to try and tickle her. And she's going to let him, because as strong as she pretends to be this man makes her weak.

No more.

The apple she throws at him this time hits his chest with actual force behind it, and she can tell he feels it.

"Regina," is all he says, and there's that bothersome stinging in her throat again.

She refuses to look at him. "Don't."

"Don't what?"

She sighs. "Don't...be here. Go home, Robin."

"That's what you think?" He says indignantly. "You think I'm going to leave when you tell me to, when you so obviously need help? Think again, your majesty."

"I think," Regina spits, taking two steps closer until they are almost nose to nose. "That I don't know why you're here. I've made a decision, and I plan to see it through."

"I'm here," he says angrily. "Because I care about you, and I'd like it if you didn't make a bloody stupid decision that lead to your heart getting turned to bloody ice, pr better yet, if you kept your heart in your chest where it was designed to be instead of whipping it out every time some powerful witch comes calling."

"What gives you the right to care about me?" Regina hisses, and all of her anger and frustration comes boiling up into the surface. "Your wife is alive again. Your family is whole and reunited, you should be with them, happy that the one complication in your life is about to be solved. You can't be here. You can't still care about me because I can handle being left, but I am not one side of a twisted low triangle, and I am not going to beg for scraps of affection whenever you are not with the woman you chose to marry. I can handle being left, but I can't handle any loose ends. If it's over, it needs to be over. I don't need you to care about me and prevent me from ever-"

"Don't do this because of me, Regina," and she wants to thrown another apple at him and that stupidly painful look in his eyes.

"Why is it that everyone thinks you are my motivation?" Regina shakes her head and pushes past him. "I'm doing this so my son will stay safe. Henry is all I'm allowing myself to care about right now."

"There's a difference between what you allow yourself to care about and what you actually care about," he says as she opens the door, a clear gesture that his time is up. "You can't shut me out, Regina. I'm going to be there for you."

"You can't," she says. "I'm done needing heroes."

The door slams shut when he leaves the kitchen; she can see him standing on the porch through the screen door, but she doesn't go outside.

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So the fucking idiot thief follows her when she goes after Ice Bitch, and of course he brings along half of the Merry Men and his blushing bride.

Regina swears profusely and tosses a fireball at the Snow Queen.

Of course, she can't watch her own back as well as thirteen others, and she ends up half frozen, along with Marian.

That bastard thief is all nice and warm, damn him to hell.

"My sister loved one like you," Elsa hisses to Robin. "A pirate. And he left her, and she went to the Dark One and begged him to freeze the harbor so the man could not escape her and leave her. So he cursed me with this ice magic. I couldn't control it. I was supposed to only turn the harbor; instead, I turned our entire kingdom to ice. Still he man escaped, and my sister's heart turned cold and icy." Elsa wraps a hand that looks like it must be freezing around Robin's neck.

"So here's what I'm going to do, little thief," she says coldly. "I'm going to give you a choice. We'll assume the two lovely ladies you brought with you mean something to you; pick one. I'm turning the other to ice."

"What the hel-" one of the men splutters, and Elsa silences him with ice with a flick of her wrist.

"My sister's heart is like ice in her chest," Elsa says angrily. "So I'm going to turn one of theirs into ice, too. Pick one."

Robin's eyes are wide and frantic, but Regina notices that Marian is only slightly flustered. Of course, she wouldn't be; she has no reason to doubt her husband. This shouldn't even be that hard of a choice for him, is probably what she's thinking.

Ice creeps up Regina's neck, and she closes her eyes.

Cold isn't that bad, she muses. It could be worse.

(There are bits of her that think, no, actually, it couldn't.)

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Here's what they tell her happened:

Swan and her pirate came charging in, that idiot Charming close behind, and they saved everyone before Robin had to make his choice.

Which, Regina supposes, is better all around. It means, at least, that her life has been saved.

She doesn't pretend like she doesn't know who would've turned ice that day.

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Here's what Robin almost does:

Marian is in one corner, Regina in the other, and Marian is only slightly fazed, but Regina's eyes are screwed shut, and Robin knows that she's already decided what he's going to do. She's already gone through every possible outcome and picked the most likely one.

But here's the problem: he doesn't know which one is more likely.

His mouth opens to form a sound, and he's lucky that Emma and Killian burst in at that exact moment, because, he'll realize later (guiltily) the name forming on his lips does not start with an 'm'.

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Marian confronts her at Granny's a couple weeks after the Ice Bitch Incident, when she's still having trouble getting warm.

"Stay away from my husband," she says, and Regina groans inside.

"I'm sorry, I don't believe I've made any overtures towards your husband in the past three months," is her short reply.

"Release him from the spell you've placed on him," the woman demands stubbornly, and Regina actually sighs out loud.

"He's not under any spell of mine," Regina snaps. "I've barely seen him."

"I've seen the way he looks at you, and I don't know what enchantment you've placed on him, but take it off. Stay away from him," Marian says louder, and now they're attracting gazes, and Regina can see Robin himself look over at them cautiously.

"I haven't gone near him," Regina hisses back. "And I don't have the time or patience to have a dramatic confrontation with you right now, so if you'll excuse me-"

"I won't," Marian says shortly, and now everyone in the diner can hear them. "He's not your happy ending. He's mine. You don't deserve that, and you don't deserve him. You deserve all the loneliness you receive, because you are pure evil, and nothing more."

The diner is shocked into silence and Regina feels like, as Swan would say, cutting a bitch.

Or cursing, as the case may be.

"Oh, dear," she says, sweetly, bitingly, condescendingly, mustering up ever last bit of malice she has left. "You say that like it's news to anyone."

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When she leaves, Robin's eyes follow her, and for the first time she lets herself look back.

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"I'm sorry about Marian," he tells her, and the words don't ring hollow in her skull anymore.

"I care about you," he says, and suddenly the impacts of pain don't come with the words.

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The sun greets her the same way every morning, but she doesn't put on her fabric armor anymore.

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The sun greets him, too, but Marian's arms don't feel like home anymore for him.

She's upset that Roland won't let her sing to him; she keeps saying that he's her baby.

Not a baby anymore, he thinks. He's a boy. And he doesn't know you, and you can't force him to.

Instead of saying it, he looks at the tea rings in his cup and thinks of apples.

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So now here they are, final showdown with Elsa take one, and right when they've got her cornered, the bitch makes a desperate move:

She strikes Robin in the heart with ice.

Well, fuck.

At first Regina thinks the scream belongs to Marian, but then she realizes it's coming from her, and she might as well drop all attempts at pretense.

She shoots a fire ball at Elsa and then makes a bee line to the stupid, stupid, stupid thief who's freezing in the floor.

"R-r-r-regina," he chatters when she's near enough, and god, his voice is already losing it's warmth.

"Nononono," is what she thinks she says. "Nonononono, you are not dying right now. I am the evil queen, I forbid you to die on me right now you stupid, stupid thief-"

"N-n-not evil," he gasps out with the closet thing to a smile he can give, and behind her Regina can hear Marian wailing but right now Robin is all she can focus on.

"You were the first man to ever truly think that of me," she whispers to him. "Thank you, thank you, thank you, I'm so sorry-"

"I'm sorry," is the last thing he whispers back and then his skin is blue and his hair is white and he is ice.

No, Regina thinks, and it overwhelms her mind until it's the only thought there.

No.

No, no, no.

"Marian," she whirls around desperately. "Kiss him."

"Wha-?" Marian is frazzled and unhelpful and Regina is not equipped to deal with this right now.

"I don't have time to play twenty questions with you right now, you imbecile, just kiss him!" She screeches, and the confused woman obliges.

Nothing. He's still cold and blue and so so so gone-

And big fat rolling tears come down Regina's cheeks, and she cries his name and thinks, fuck this shit, and kisses him all over his face, his cheeks and his forehead and finally his lips.

The moment hers touch his, color floods back into his face, and Marian faints.

Well. Would you look at that.

True love's kiss, everyone.

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("You're alive," she sobs onto his shoulder later. "You stupid, stupid thief, you almost died, you were dead, I thought you were dead-"

"I'm not dead, Regina," he keeps saying over and over, but he just died, and she spent the last four month avoiding him in order to preserve his marriage, so yes, she has earned the right to be hysterical in this moment.)

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They're sitting in a booth in Granny's, and "So," Charming says, with all the tact of an elephant in a bull riding costume, "True love's kiss. How'd that happen?"

"The same way it usually does?" Regina says snidely, and Swan snorts.

"Stop it, you two," Snow says, placing a fond hand on Charming's shoulder, and Regina looks at it and marvels at how much ease Snow and Charming truly have with one another.

"I just mean," Charming says, "That that's going to complicate some things, right?"

Regina looks past the booth at the outside porch of Granny's, where Robin and Marian are talking animatedly.

"Yeah," she says. "It will."

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("I still haven't forgiven you, Swan," she hisses before she leaves, and the blonde gives her a steady look.)

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It's hard, so, so hard, because on the one hand he has memories of years of loving Marian, being with Marian, dreaming only of her, but Marian died.

Marian died, and he mourned her, and he got over her.

And now he's more Hood than Locksley, and he's not the same man she loved, and he's not the same man who loved her, and he doesn't want to force love anymore. That's not how it should feel, he knows.

Because with Regina it was angry sometimes and messy others, but it was real.

"Go after her," Tinkerbell says when he tries talking to her. "You idiot man, go after her! Don't force something that isn't meant to happen anymore; all that'll get you is misery and lonliness and anger. Go get your true love, because not everyone gets the chance to."

after he leaves, Tink slumps against the counter and grumbles, "Stupid. I swear, if I didn't ship them so much, they would never make any relationship progress."

Robin is at her door two mornings later; he's got Roland with him, but not Marian.

"Hello, Regina," he says with a grin, and she opens the door wide enough for the both of them.

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("She's upset," is what he says of Marian. "She doesn't understand."

"It's a complicated situation," she allows, and he laughs.

"Not really," he says. "Boy likes girl. Girl likes boy."

"Boy's dead wife comes back from another dimension?"

"Yes, well," Robin turns to look her in the eye. "At the end of the day, I suppose the whole point of true love is that it was always supposed to simplify down to you and me. Boy likes girl. Girl likes boy. That's what matters.")

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The next morning, the sun greets them together.

(it was always scripted that way.)