Alright here goes... hi, everyone! So, I've been writing fanfic and original stories for years, but I've never actually published anything up until now. I'm very nervous about laying it all out here for the world to see, but there has been some interest in this story from a few people and I figured this was better than just sending the file to each of them individually.

Now, I don't know about you, but the OUAT season 3 finale had me in tears for days, and then little by little I ended up head-over-heels obsessed with Outlaw Queen (thanks for that, Tumblr). I've LOVED Regina since the very first episode and it hurts me to watch her suffer, so I started this story mostly to have something to find solace in while hiatus took over our lives, I hope I can live up to your standards and that those of you reading this will like it enough to continue =)

Disclaimer: all characters belong to ABC, the story and the feels are all mine.


Chapter 1

Three days. It had been three days since he had last seen her, hurrying out the door at Granny's on the night prince Neal's birth was celebrated. He knew why she'd left, and he knew that on some level, he ought not to be so hung up on her retreating form, but he couldn't help it, he missed her.

He stared into the fireplace as he remembered sitting on the floor next to her, his fingers playing with her hair as she related the story of her first love, as she told him how after his death, she had closed herself off to everyone until she met him.

Robin couldn't deny that he felt something for Regina, the pull was there since the moment he first saw her, and it drew him to her still. But seeing his wife alive, being able to hold her after years of telling himself it was impossible, it stirred old feelings in his soul, and memories of the happy life he had built with Marian before he lost her flooded his mind, making him stop dead in his tracks that night as he watched Regina go. He felt guilty for not going after her, he felt guilty for wanting to go after her. It was a bizarre situation.

He was brought out of his thoughts by Roland, who crawled into his arms and quietly held his father, no doubt trying to chase away whatever nightmare had awoken him.

"Here, I'll take him," he heard Marian say as she rose from her seat in the kitchen table, but as soon as she put her arms around her son, he scurried away from her touch and cuddled further into Robin.

"It's alright, I don't mind," he replied quietly, holding on to his son as he gave his wife an apologetic look. Despite their excited meeting at the diner, Roland was being skittish around Marian. He was still a baby when they lost her, so there was nothing he could draw on to rehash some long lost relationship with her. Robin could see that Marian was hurting for it, but he didn't know what to do. Roland didn't know her, he had never really known a mother, so how could he instantly embrace her presence?

"He just needs time to get used to you, my darling," he'd told her the first time Roland had denied her a hug, and she had cried herself to sleep that night, missing her baby.

"Papa, have I been bad?" Roland asked in his sleepy haze.

"Of course not! Why would you think that?"

The little boy shrugged in response and shifted himself to lie more comfortably in his father's arms, falling asleep again in seconds. Robin made a mental note to question him about this again when he was more alert.

He tucked him in bed a few minutes later, making his way to the living room afterwards and finding Marian sitting on one end of the couch, staring off into space while silent tears stained her cheeks. He sat down next to her and ran his hand up and down her back in an attempt to soothe her.

"He doesn't know me. My own son doesn't know me," she broke the silence, letting more tears fall as she hugged her husband.

"Shh, it's alright, he just needs time to adapt, he was but a newborn when we last saw you."

"I just… I never thought I'd see him again and not being able to hold him hurts so much!" she wept into his shoulder.

"He'll be fine, just let him get used to having you around."

This is what happened almost every time Marian tried to get close to their son. She would try to be affectionate with him, and he would run away or reject her. It wasn't that he was treating her badly, by any means, but Robin supposed it was just a little overwhelming for Roland to have a mother show up after living without one for so long, and judging by his own feelings, it seemed his son wasn't the only one who was confused by Marian's return to their lives.

They were back. She could hear them urgently walking up the steps to the front door of the mansion. Sure enough, her doorbell rang seconds later, but she refused to answer it, closing her window with a wave of her hand to muffle the shouts coming from outside.

"Regina!" she heard Emma from the front lawn, "Regina please, you can't just lock yourself up forever… we'll fix this! We'll find a way, just open the door!"

Easy for her to say, she had it all. She had her parents, a new baby brother… Hell, she even had Hook! Trailing after her like some lovesick puppy. She had no idea what it felt like to lose everything in mere seconds.

"Mom! Please, open the door!" she heard a voice yell urgently from outside.

"Henry?" Regina whispered brokenly, suddenly wanting nothing more than a hug from her son. She flew downstairs, opening the door. There he was, relief clear in his eyes before he frowned at her, worry marring his features as he took in her disheveled appearance.

"Mom," he finally gasped as he ran into her arms, hugging her fiercely.

"I'm so sorry," he continued, his words muffled against the fabric of her silk pajama top. She felt herself tear up and hugged Henry back, holding on to him like her life depended on it, determined not to break down while the others were watching.

"Regina, I-" came Emma's voice, making her lift her gaze and pull away from Henry. She stuck her hand out and a ball of fire instantly erupted in her palm, anger in her eyes as she aimed it at Emma. In the background, she could hear Henry begging her to stop as he pulled on her shirt, but she didn't register his pleas as Emma started walking backwards slowly, her hands in front of her as she attempted to calm Regina down. The fireball flew, and landed a couple of feet away from Emma, leaving a burnt, black spot on the floor.

Snow and David ran straight to their daughter, holding her and making sure she was alright before glaring at the queen.

"This is not the way to solve this, Regina!" Snow said, her voice shaking.

"What the hell is the matter with you?!" Emma screamed, walking back towards the house, but before Regina could reply, Henry stepped between them.

"Mom, please, just leave," he told her, one arm stretched in front of him to keep Emma from coming closer as he addressed her, his other arm outstretched toward Regina.

"Move aside, kid. This is between us," Emma told him, but Henry wouldn't budge.

"If she had wanted to kill you, she would have done it and you know it. She's not a villain anymore, mom, she's just hurt. Please go," he said, and Emma felt David's hand on her shoulder, urging her to step back and allow Henry to stay.

"Come on, Emma, he'll be alright," he told her. Emma leveled an angry look at Regina and then walked away, her parents trailing after her.

Henry held Regina's hand as they walked inside, not saying a word until they'd reached her room. She pulled up her right knee and sat half cross-legged on her bed, her hands shifting between playing with the hem of her shirt and picking at an imaginary speck of dirt in her silk pajama pants, all in an effort to ease her anxiety. Henry sat there, looking at her and wondering how he could help, he had never seen her so broken.

"Mom?" he asked softly. She lifted her head to look at him, and that's when he noticed how red her eyes were, her lip quivering slightly as she tried to school her expression.

"It's alright mom, you don't have to pretend with me, it's okay," he said and instantly, the tears began to fall down her face, and Henry scooted closer so he could put his arms around her as she cried silently into his jacket, quiet sobs ripping through her when it became too painful to keep them in.

"I'm so sorry about what happened. You saved us all, you deserve better than this," he said as he held her, and then he felt her shaking her head before she parted from him.

"I have tried so hard to be better for you, to make myself into someone you'd be proud of, and I got carried away, deluded myself into thinking I was more than what I am. I'm a villain, Henry, my past will always haunt me and ruin whatever chance I have at happiness," she said, finally acknowledging what had been eating her up inside since before any of this happened, the fear that no matter how hard she tried, it would never be enough. She knew the Charmings would tell her to have hope, she knew they'd say she would find her happy ending, and that's why she kept them away, she couldn't bear to have someone tell her she could have those things when clearly she wasn't meant to. She would always be the Evil Queen.

"No! You've put your life on the line for me more than once, and you also did it for the baby, and then for all of us when you went up against Zelena. You broke a curse, you made light magic, mom, and you love me, villains don't love, villains aren't loved."

"Daniel loved me and he died for it. As for Robin, you saw what happened, he's with his wife. I'm not loved, Henry, not anymore. I can't be."

"I love you. You're my mom, you've cared for me my whole life, and you have never stopped loving me. Even when I was mean to you, even when you didn't have your heart or when I looked into your face and didn't know who you were, you never stopped. You're a hero, mom, my hero, and you can be happy, you deserve to be happy." He finished his speech with a fierce emphasis on the last sentence, jumping into her arms again. She hugged him, because he was right, she did love him, he was her son, the one person that she had held on to all these years, the one pure thing in her life, the one undeniable proof that she wasn't just the Evil Queen, she was also a mother, Henry's mother, and that was enough, it had to be.

But as Regina tossed around in bed later that night, she couldn't help but feel miserable again. She missed him, she missed his smile and the way he looked at her, the way he played with her hair, a tell-tale sign he was about to kiss her. She missed the way he had made her feel, and the blissful feeling of sharing herself with someone so completely and without inhibitions, like she had when they were together in that very same bed just three days prior…

Robin pulled away from their kiss and looked into her eyes. They were facing each other as they lay on their sides under the covers, his fingers threading themselves in her hair and his thumb caressing her cheekbone before he pecked her lips again briefly and dropped his hand to hold hers.

"Are you alright?" he asked, placing a tiny kiss on her bare shoulder. She smiled as she moved the hand he was holding and laced her fingers through his, her eyes focused on the way they fit together. He smiled back when she finally looked at him and nodded.

"I hope you know this wasn't my intention… with the picnic and the wine and all… I don't regret it!" he hurried to explain when she frowned at him, "not at all, but I wasn't planning on this to happen tonight, I simply wanted… you just got your heart back and did such amazing things even without it. You saved everyone and I was so proud and you're so beautiful, I-" she cut his babbling off as she kissed him again, her hand untangling from his and running up his chest and into his neck.

"I wanted to," she said, grinning at him as he laced his fingers with hers again, bringing their hands to his chest, right over his heart. For long moments, they lay there, heads propped up on their pillows, facing each other and smiling like idiots. His hand then slowly ran the length of her arm and down to her waist, drawing her a little closer to him as he buried his nose in her hair, kissing her forehead and holding her to him.

"Everyone is at Granny's celebrating the new prince. Would you like to go? Your friend Little John and Roland are probably at the park by now, we could pick him up there and grab some ice cream on the way," she said against his skin, placing a kiss on the joint of his neck and shoulder.

"He'd like that," he replied with a smile before bringing his lips back to hers.

It had been such a simple moment, but it had meant everything, and it broke Regina to think that he was experiencing that with someone else, but she couldn't bring herself to hate him for it. Robin had his wife back now, and Marian deserved to enjoy life with her family again, none of this was her fault.

Henry had stayed over the next night as well, and they had watched movies and eaten tons of chocolate. The time shared with her son helped Regina feel less alone, but it didn't shake the dread or the sadness at having had everything she ever wanted, only to see it snatched away. By the time Emma called Henry to let him know she was on her way to pick him up that afternoon, Regina's anger over Emma's part in the ordeal had not improved.

"You know it wasn't her fault," Henry told her as they cooked dinner together. Regina pretended not to hear him, but she should've known he'd be resilient, he was her son after all.

"Mom, I know you're listening."

"I don't have anything to say on the subject."

"You know she didn't mean for any of this to happen," he tried again, accusingly waving the stick of celery he was holding. Regina sighed.

"Fine, you're right, and I'm sorry I threw a fireball at her," Henry saw the tiny smirk on her lips as she said this and couldn't help but grin back as he shook his head at her, "I guess it's just… easier to have someone to blame," she said just as the doorbell rang.

"Promise you won't be mean to her," Henry said, his face stern. Regina exhaled and nodded at her son.

Emma was defensive the moment the door opened, glaring at Regina as she called out Henry's name.

"In the kitchen, mom! Come in!" he called back. Emma hesitated at the doorway.

"Oh please, like I would seriously throw fire at you inside my own, very expensive home," Regina said exasperatedly as she turned around and walked back inside.

Emma closed the door behind her and followed Regina into the kitchen, where Henry was adding fresh mushrooms to the salad he was preparing.

"Hi mom, wanna have dinner with us? There's plenty," he said, smiling at her.

"It's time to go, kid," she said.

"But the food's not done yet!"

"We're making dinner together, the least you can do is let him eat it," Regina interrupted, giving Emma a look, as if daring her to contradict her.

"Fine, but hurry," Emma finally gave in.

"You say the sweetest things," Regina sarcastically replied.

"You threw a fireball at me, Regina. Do you really think I'm just going to forget that?"

"I didn't throw it directly at you, stop whining."

"Whining?! You could've killed me!" Emma's voice was louder now.

"I was never going to kill you," Regina replied with a wave of her hand.

"Mom," Henry tried, but went unnoticed, as Emma continued her tirade.

"Do you have any idea how hard it was to defend you when everyone kept blaming the missing year on you?! How much it took for me to stop them from going after you before we knew Zelena was around?!" Emma went on. Henry kept trying to intervene, but neither woman gave him the chance.

"I didn't ask you to do that."

"That's not the point!"

"Then what is the point of this tantrum, Ms. Swan?"

"I saw you change, I witnessed all the good things you did, and after all that you still go around terrorizing others when life doesn't go your way? She was an innocent woman, Regina! I couldn't just leave her to die by your hand! What do you think Robin would've done if he ever found out it was you who murdered his wife?!" Regina flew at Emma, grabbing her shoulders and pinning her against the kitchen door as she looked straight at her, her eyes blazing.

"Do you have any idea how it feels to lose everything?!" she hissed, "all I've known my entire life is loss after loss after loss. In the last year alone, I lost my son, my life here in Storybrooke, my castle, my memories, my sister, wicked as she was. Regardless of having gained some of those things back and helping everyone else do the same, I've had to live surrounded by people who don't believe in me, who still doubt my intentions, and finally, when someone comes along who accepts me as I am, who makes me feel something other than despair and bitterness, you snatch it all away because you couldn't stay the hell away from a stupid time portal!" There were tears about to fall from her eyes again, and when she took a deep breath, Henry's pleas began to register in her mind.

"Mom! You promised!" He kept saying as he tried to pull her away from Emma. Finally, she let her go and walked away, leaving the kitchen and heading towards the stairs.

"What about dinner?" Henry called out tentatively.

"I'm not hungry," was all she said before walking upstairs and locking the door to her room again, refusing to come out.

There, how was that for a first chapter? I know it's a bit of a non-event but I hope you're still willing to stick with me for a little while longer.

Let me know what you think!