*A/N: This was originally meant to be the last chapter but what do you know it begged for more. I'm not entirely caught up on this season so not a lot of actual spoilers for the series.
Peaceful times in the town of Storybrooke tend to come about only after a long, intense and exhausting struggle. The length of these peaceful times was always painfully short when compared to the amount of time and effort put into getting to those times. The peace they found after finally vanquishing Zelena was definitely short lived. Regina was dreading the next crisis but she didn't expect it would be anything like this. In the span of a week, Zelena's magic time portal was somehow activated sending Killian and Emma back in time to the Enchanted Forest. They made it back without completely butchering the timeline but they didn't come back alone. No, they managed to bring back a literal ghost from Regina's past as well as Robin's. And that was in addition to the urn from Gold's forbidden vault unleashing a pissed off Ice Queen who was in turn hunting an even more annoying Snow Queen. It all escalated quickly before ending up in the typically epic showdown of good versus evil. However this time, it looked sadly familiar.
"This isn't who you are anymore, Regina!" Emma yelled. Her voice desperate to be heard over the Snow Queen's latest winter nightmare. Beside her Elsa was trying desperately to keep the howling winds from destroying the town but even her magic wasn't strong enough when faced against the combined magic of the Snow Queen and the not so Evil Queen who was currently experiencing a relapse moment.
"Regina, fight her!" Snow's voice added into the fray. Regina heard them all. She really did but she was powerless to do more than just stand there and let it all happen. She stood in the middle of the Snow Queen's storm with her arms wrapped tightly around Henry. The teen wasn't squirming or fighting to get away. Instead he was staring up at her in surprise and concern.
On her part, Regina was screaming on the inside. She had foolishly let her guard down and the Snow Queen took full advantage of it. She took advantage of the isolation and despair in Regina's heart and made her a pawn in her latest scheme to destroy the town and/or Rumple. She tried to recruit Killian but the pirate was apparently more emotional stable than her despite a similar estrangement from his own True Love. Killian Jones was more emotionally stable than her. That was probably the part that hurt the most about all of this.
"Regina, just let Henry go and we can talk about this."
Regina retreated further away, pulling Henry with her. A quiet snarl escaped her lips and the would-be heroes flew back landing in a crumpled heap in the middle of the sidewalk.
"They did this to you, Regina," the Snow Queen's smooth voice crooned. "They took away your happy ending. They took away your True Love. Both mother and daughter ruined your happy endings twice. And now they want to take away your son. They're not going to be happy until they take away everything. Finish this, Regina. Finish them and get your happy ending back."
"That's not true!" Snow yelled.
"Regina, I'm sorry. I swear I didn't know who she was when I brought her back. I never meant for this to happen." The winds picked up around the strange tableau they found themselves in. Elsa grunted as she continued to try and keep the storm from affecting the town. "Regina, please! Just listen to us!"
Emma's cries fell on deaf ears as Regina continued to feed the Snow Queen's storm. The winds and ice were too violent to try approaching either of the two people standing in the eye of the storm. Emma had tried a few times to just force her way through but was thrown back every time. Regina wished she'd stop. Only an idiot would try to get through. Magic didn't seem to be having any effect either. It was only a matter of time before they resorted to more desperate measures at making the storm stop. She had no doubt that Snow's aim would be true with her arrow. Henry's life wasn't in danger at all. And Regina welcomed it. Anything had to be better than this…emptiness. She almost forgot what it was like to have nothing. She really let herself believe that she could have a happy ending. But she forgot the major rule: villains don't get happy endings.
Regina snapped out of her thoughts at the sound of the surprisingly close voice echoed by Henry's incredulous question. She blinked, shocked to see on Killian Jones standing in front of them. She should amend that earlier statement. Only an idiot and a stubborn as hell pirate would try and force their way through the storm. She winced as a particularly large piece of ice hit him on the face leaving behind a streak of crimson just under his eye. But he made no effort to move away. If anything it was almost as if he were content to just stand there being abused by snow and ice. Aside from the slight flinches he made when he was pelted by particularly large piece of ice and the more frequent shivering, Killian looked like he was hanging out waiting for a bus. On that note, how did he manage to get through when Elsa, Emma, Snow and Charming had all failed? Did he really just push his way through? Wait, of course he did. She was hit with a burst of fond affection for the infamously stubborn pirate.
"Killian, what the hell are you doing?"
"Could ask you the same thing, your highness," Killian countered. His teeth were chattering violently. "Regina, this isn't you. This isn't what you want and we both know it."
Regina met his gaze. "I don't know what I want anymore. I don't have anything anymore. Everything I've ever cared about is gone. All I have left is Henry."
"That's not true," Killian argued. "That's not true at all."
"What? You going to tell me that I have them?" she tossed her head in the direction of the anxiously hovering Charming family.
"No, well, actually yes, but that's not what I meant. I meant that you have me. I just forced my way through a bloody snow storm for you. There's ice forming in places it has no business being. I can't feel my fingers anymore. I may be in real danger of losing my hand again. And I don't think Gold can magic it back a second time. Yet I'm still standing here in front of you. Now please tell me again how you have no one."
Regina's eyes widened and she loosened her grip on Henry. She expected that he was going to go running back to Emma, his real mother, but instead he stayed. He wrapped his arms around her waist, burying his head on her shoulder.
"Killian's right, mom. You're not alone. You have me and you have Killian. We'll always be there for you. Because you're our family."
"Killian… I…." Regina trailed off. "It's just that Robin…."
"He's in a tough spot to be sure but he hasn't left you yet, Regna," Killian replied softly. "He's confused right now and trying to figure out the best thing for his family. But he doesn't hate you and he's not going anywhere. Trust him. Trust me, love."
Regina shook her head as the Snow Queen continued to whisper counter arguments against Killian's words. But her voice was fading. The cold was receding and Elsa cheered in the background as she reasserted more control over the storm. But none of that matter. All that mattered to Regina in that moment was the boy in her arms and the infuriatingly amazing and stupidly loyal man in front of her. Killian grinned as if he knew what she was thinking.
"You let the Snow Witch get in your head. Bad form, love. You know better than to think that you're alone. You're smarter than that. You're smarter than her, Gina."
"Thought I told you not to call me that."
"Thought we decided that destroying the town was bad," Killian retorted dryly, somehow managing to infuse the humor and bantering that was a hallmark of their friendship into the moment while shivering and slowly turning into a pirate flavored Popsicle.
Regina felt the corners of her mouth twitch. She could feel a sudden rush of warmth coursing through her chest. She was dimly aware that the whirling winds around them were slowing down. But all she could focus on was Killian's battered yet smiling face and the love and concern radiating from her son, holding on tight in her arms.
"That's right, Regina. This is who you are. You're not the Evil Queen anymore. You don't do dark magic. You beat your sister using light magic. That means whether you think it or not, you're good. Snow Bitch cannot take that away from you."
"Ignore him, Regina!" the Snow Queen ordered. But Regina wasn't listening. Not anymore. The furious ice witch glared in Killian's direction throwing her hands up. "I will not be beaten by an annoying pirate!"
Killian visibly braced for an attack that never came. Regina glared at the Snow Queen even as the blast of magic that she fired off at Killian bounced off the glowing white shield that was surrounding the pirate.
"You don't touch him," Regina hissed. She felt the last bit of ice melt from around her heart and the storm stopped abruptly. The sun was suddenly shining and the warm July weather returned, thawing out the chill. The Snow Queen howled in rage.
"This isn't over," the Snow Queen hissed before disappearing.
"You did it, mom!" Henry cheered, hugging her even tighter. Regina smiled, resting her head against his soft hair.
"I did but only thanks to Killian." She paused expectantly, waiting for the pirate to make some sort of gloating comment. But he was silent. She glanced over to see that he was dangerously pale and swaying slightly where he stood. "Killian?"
"Is she gone?" he asked, blearily.
"Yeah, she's gone. It's over for now."
Killian nodded. "Oh, great."
He staggered to the left as his eyes rolled up into the back of his head and his body collapsed like a cutting a puppet's strings. Regina's widened even as she threw up her hands to halt his descent. David was by his side in a flash helping to ease him down to the ground. Regina knelt beside them after making sure that Henry was safe in Snow's embrace. She heard Emma on the phone with the hospital arranging for an ambulance. Regina had only a moment to wonder why she and David were the ones kneeling by Killian's side before Killian let out a soft moan. Regina instantly put her hand on his cheek, smiling faintly as he turned into the touch.
"He's so cold," Regina whispered. "Killian, you with us?" It took a few tense moments but he finally started to come around. He blinked open his eyes which were dull and seemed to lack focus. He also seemed confused as to why he was on the ground. Then he looked up at David. His brow furrowed as he tried to push away from the prince.
"Why are you here?" he asked, voice slurring. "You don't like me anymore."
David's eyes widened. His eyes darted up to meet an equally confused Regina's. David reached towards his friend only to have the older man shift away again. David huffed. "Killian, that's not true. Why would you even think that?"
"Emma doesn't love me anymore. She told me so. She left me. You left too. Wouldn't talk to me," Killian mumbled, his eyes drooping for a second before David and Regina both shook him awake. "Tried to be good. It didn't work. Not enough. Alone… Only Gina left. Have to stop her. Stupid Snow Bitch."
Regina didn't have in her heart to correct him on using that stupid nickname. Especially not since he was only lying on the slowly defrosting street suffering from multiple bruises and most likely a nasty concussion because of her. He wanted to save her. He wanted to stop her from destroying the town because he knew that it would destroy her in the process. But apparently he also saved her because he didn't want to be alone. She was definitely not going to think on why that bothered her more than the role she almost played in Storybrooke's destruction. Again.
"You did it," Regina smiled softly down at him. "You stopped me. You helped bring me back. Thank you, Killian."
Dazed blue eyes squinted up at her before he nodding, instantly regretting the small movement. She carded her fingers through his hair, trying to soothe away the pain. Well the physical pain at least. And on that note….
"What is he talking about, David?" Regina asked with a calm she really didn't feel. David had the good grace to look ashamed at least. That meant that whatever separation that happened had less to do with David or Snow and everything to do with… "Ms. Swan, you care to answer that question?"
Emma's eyes filled as she kneeled down beside her true love. Regina felt her own heart break a little as Killian turned away from her, instead resting his head on Regina's knee, effectively hiding his face from sight. Emma let out a shaky breath. There were tears pooling in her eyes at his rejection. Emma placed a hand on his back but Killian remained unmoved.
"It's not that I don't love you, Killian. It's just that…. I'm the one that brought back Marian. You told me not to and I did it anyway. I ruined Regina's chance at a happy ending."
"Are you kidding me? You're trying to say that you broke up with your True Love, emphasis on the capitals, because you brought back my boyfriend's wife that I killed?" Regina asked incredulously. "Miss Swan, that makes no sense at all. One of those has nothing to do with the other. I would never want you to break Killian's heart. I don't want you to break your own heart. Yes, I was angry with you. Yes, my happy ending is probably ruined but that doesn't mean that I wanted you to push Killian away. You of all people know how much it hurts when you finally let someone in and then they push you away."
Thankfully any response Emma would have made was interrupted by the timely arrival of the EMTs. David backed away immediately giving them space to work but Regina stopped when she felt Killian's hand curl around hers. He was silently asking her to stay. And she wasn't about to let him go through this alone. He brought her back from the brink of darkness. There really wasn't anything she wouldn't do for him in return. Especially something like this.
"It's okay. I'm not going anywhere."
"Regina! The clicker for the moving picture box isn't working anymore!"
Regina let out a quiet groan at the annoying and hoarse whine coming from the guest bedroom down the hall from the office where she was trying to get work done. She shouldn't even be able to hear him! He had pneumonia! He was supposed to be quiet and docile while recovering. And he was… for the first few days she had him home. He slept for most of the day and woke only to take his medicine and eat something. But as his strength returned, so did most of the things that made him a pain in Regina's ass. He was truly the definition of a man-child.
She huffed as she stalked into the room ready to tell him to knock it off. As soon as she entered the guest bedroom that now belonged to him, she felt the words die on her lips. He was burrowed deep in a cocoon of blankets. The only visible part of him was his face. His deep blue eyes stood out even more vividly against the pale canvas of his face. The bruises he gained while standing up to her were fading after his week-long stay in the hospital. But the ones that remained served as reminders that she owed Killian. Even if he did get on her damn nerves sometimes.
"What's wrong?" she finally asked, noticing the pout sliding into place.
"The clicker won't respond and I can't get out of bed to change the bloody channel," he replied, reflecting his feelings about his body's weakness.
Victor assured her that Killian would be back to full strength soon. But that was only after Killian proceeded to scare the hell out of her and almost died. During the week it took for him to be released, Regina learned more about this world's medical terms than she ever really wanted to know. If she never heard about cardiac arrests or shock or malnutrition again, she would be fine. But she stuck it out and was there every day.
When it came time to discuss Killian's release Victor stressed that he be needed to be somewhere with a bed where he could get some much needed rest and also be supervised in case of complications. That clearly wasn't with Emma or the rest of the Charming family as none of them had noticed the idiot wearing himself into the ground and ignoring his own basic needs (or more likely he was unsure on how to navigate in this world alone) in efforts of getting them to let him in again. No, it would be a long time before Regina trusted her little mushroom with them again. She neglected a lot of things when she was busy being the Snow Queen's lackey. But she was back on track. And now so was Killian. Almost.
"What are we watching anyway?" she asked, kicking off her shoes and climbing onto the bed with him after she changed the remote's batteries using magic. He gave her a curious look. "What's wrong now?"
"Why are you in here? I thought you had work to do."
"I do," she huffed. "But clearly you're feeling lonely and this way I don't have to keep worrying about you inevitably doing something stupid out of boredom in here alone. Now pass me the remote. You are not watching any more soap operas. We're story book characters. I think our lives are dramatic enough."
Killian snickered before handing her the remote. She sank back against the pillows with an easy smile as she surfed through the channels in search of something entertaining enough to hold both their attention. He shifted towards her, resting his head on her shoulder. She smiled and let him stay there. Victor said he would likely find it easier to breathe sitting up anyway. And who was she kidding? She craved the contact just as much as he did. Ever since Emma and Killian brought back Marian, she felt alone. But now she had Killian and….
"Mom? I'm home!"
Henry. She had Henry as well. He was determined to help get Killian back on his feet as quickly as possible. But not because he wanted him out of the house. On the contrary, Henry was making great efforts at buying things that the pirate would like so they could make the room his permanent room. Regina did not oppose that. It would be nice to have both her boys around.
"Mom? You home?"
"In Killian's room," Regina called out. She smiled as she heard the teen's footsteps echoing down the hall. Henry burst into the room with all of the energy a thirteen year possessed and instantly claimed the spot on Killian's free side.
"Hey Killian, how you feeling?"
Killian let out a small cough before wiggling around so that he could actually see Henry. The blanket shifted slightly so that his whole head was uncovered. His black hair hung droopily in his face making him look even younger than his three hundred plus years. The smile on his face, the one he only seemed to give to Henry and sometimes her or Robin, didn't help either. Sometimes she truly forgot he was well over three hundred years old.
"I'm feeling better, lad. You were right. That program you were telling me about did do wonders to make my situation appear less horrible."
Regina arched an eyebrow looking between the two males. "And exactly what program was that?"
"Maury," Henry replied innocently. Regina's jaw dropped and she was torn between laughing and reprimanding Henry for knowing about that show in the first place and then introducing it to Killian. "See, Killian. I told you that no matter how bad you feel, at least you will always know who your baby's father is."
Regina gave into the urge to laugh as she heard Killian let out a rough chuckle. It didn't sound quite as phlegmy has he had in the past few days. Maybe he really was starting to feel better. She laid back on the bed watching as Killian caught Henry up on the latest baby daddy drama on Maury. She smiled softly watching her two boys interact. She was so blinded by the loss of her relationship with Robin that she failed to see that she wasn't alone. She had these two. And while she missed what she was building with Robin, she didn't want to trade a moment with them either. Killian and Henry were her family. And if they were all she could get out of life then that was fine. Because this kind of felt like a happy ending.
"It was her twelfth time on the show. I'm not an expert on female reproduction by any stretch of the imagination but I do find it difficult to understand how there were more than twelve men who could possibly be the father."
"Yeah, it's probably best not to ask too many questions. It really distracts away from the whole insanity entertainment factor of it all."
Regina shook her head in faint amusement. Then the doorbell rang. She raised an eyebrow wondering who was coming by at this time. It was her week with Henry, so it wouldn't be Emma or any of the other Charming's looking for him. She wasn't exactly overflowing with friends, so she doubted it was a social call. She glanced quickly at Killian and Henry who were still immersed in their conversation. She slipped off the bed and walked towards the front door but not before casting a quick protection spell on the room. At least they would be safe. She flung the door open prepared for another visit from the Snow Queen and instead found Robin. The outlaw was holding a bouquet of flowers in one hand and a bunch of brightly colored balloons in one hand. His eyes lit up as he took in Regina's face.
"Good afternoon, Ms. Mills."
"Robin," she shifted in place. "What… why are… hi."
"Hi," he whispered. An awkward silence fell over the pair before he finally shoved the flowers in her direction. "These are for you."
"I, uh, why?" she asked while taking the flowers.
"Well, because I spoke to David and he told me that flowers were the common way of apologizing to the woman you loved in this realm."
"And why are you apologizing?"
"Because I acted like a fool," Robin answered, running his free hand through his hair. "I was so confused about Marian's return. I didn't know what it meant for me or my family. But I see now that it means that now Roland has his mother back. That is all it means."
"What are you saying?" Regina asked, her breath hitching slightly.
"I'm saying that if you will still have me, I would very much like to continue our relationship. I love you, Regina. I loved Marian a long time ago and I accepted her death and moved on. I moved on to you. Her being back has no impact on our relationship."
"I'm the reason she was dead," Regina pointed out, not really knowing why.
Robin gave her a small sad smile. "Regina, I knew who you were before we started this relationship. I knew that you were the Evil Queen. I knew that you had quite the impressive body count beside your name as well. And I dealt with that as well. You're not that person anymore. Nor am I the man that once fell in love with Marian. I will always love her for what we had but it's over now."
"And how are Roland and Marian taking this?"
"Marian is… dealing. She's understandably not excited about it but she has accepted it at any rate," Robin gave her a somewhat sheepish shrug. "Roland is actually quite accepting thanks to a talk from your son."
"Yes. He talked to Roland about his own family situation. He said that even if his father was still alive, he knew that Emma would be with Killian. But that didn't mean that his parents loved him any less. He may also have sweetened the deal by pointing out that if we were together, he and Roland would be brothers. Apparently this makes Roland very happy. And so does the idea of you being around again. He misses you."
"I miss him too," Regina confessed. She clutched the flowers to her chest and stared up at the man she had written off as lost to her. Here he was standing in front of her, telling her that he still wanted her. That he wanted to be a family with her. "I missed you too."
Robin gave her a brilliant smile that brought a matching tilt to her own lips. They stared at each other for several long moments. Each clearly wanting to make a move but still uncertain as to whether it would be accepted, or even appropriate. That is until….
"Oh, man up, mate. Kiss the girl already!"
Regina rolled her eyes. "He is so embarrassing sometimes."
Robin laughed. "I take it, he's feeling better."
"Yeah," she grinned. That's when the balloons caught her attention. "Are those for the invalid back there?"
"I heard that!"
"You were meant to!" Regina shouted down the hall before turning back to Robin. "You were saying?"
He laughed. "Yes, the balloons are for him but they're not from me. They're actually from Dave."
"Charming? And the reason he couldn't deliver them himself is…."
"He was scared that you would curse him on sight for neglecting Killian after he and Emma broke up. He's actually hiding out in the bushes in case you'll actually let him in."
Regina peered around Robin to find that the prince was in fact hiding behind the tree in her yard. She arched an eyebrow before declaring them all to be morons. She ordered the deeply embarrassed as well apologetic royal to march into the bedroom and just make up with Killian already. She knew this separation was just as hard on David as it was on Killian. She knew the pirate was ready to forgive and it appeared that the prince was finally ready to be forgiven. About damn time.
An hour later, the proverbial hatchet was buried and it was like nothing ever happened between any of them. The group moved to the den where Killian and his army of blankets were sequestered on the large couch with David and Henry on either side of the pirate cocoon. She was snuggled up on Robin's lap and for the first time in weeks, everything felt perfect. Sure the Snow Queen was still out there lurking but it was easy to ignore all that when she had Robin, David and Killian in one room laughing along with her son.
She watched as Killian laughed at some joke at David's expense and she could see the light returning to the man. There was a happiness there that hadn't been present in a while. But it still felt a little off. And she knew exactly why. What she didn't know was what she was supposed to do about it. Well, actually that wasn't quite true.
"I'm going to go on a dinner run. Anyone want anything from Granny's?" she paused. "No, Killian. You cannot have a beer."
"Well then no."
"You need help, love?" Robin asked once she had written down everyone's food order (Killian's included, stupid brat).
"No thanks. Stay here. Catch up with the boys." She pressed a quick kiss to his lips and gathered her purse from by the foyer. She was halfway to the front door when she hear David calling her name. She turned around to face him. "Change your order?"
"Go easy on her, ok?"
"I'm just going to order dinner at Granny's. I promise I'll refrain from attacking her. Though I can't make promises if she's out of meatloaf. You know how Henry and Killian both get about their meatloaf."
"We both know that Granny's is not your only stop."
She has mentioned that Charming is a too observant bastard before, right? She narrowed her eyes at his knowing smirk.
"Don't go getting all Papa Bear on me, Charming. I have no intention of harming the precious Savior. I just… need to clear up some confusion."
David nodded shortly. Then that same smirk was back. " You know I wouldn't talk about going Papa Bear if I were you. Have you looked in a mirror when you're around Killian?"
Regina huffed in response, lips curling into a smile against her will. "Well someone has to look out for him. Because clearly living in Storybrooke has killed his self-preservation skills."
"It is a little hard to see how he managed to survive 300 years in Neverland with the sheer amount of trouble he attracts by breathing."
Regina laughed softly. "Look after my pirate while I go talk to his true love?"
"Hopefully you can succeed where Elsa and I have failed and get her to talk to our pirate." Regina smiled slightly. Even the ice princess was trying to get them back together. She just met them like a week ago. Even she must have seen how ridiculous this separation was. But wait…
"What about Snow? I would've thought she would be all about reuniting true loves and all that junk. Sure she pushed Emma on Neal when she thought Henry's father was Emma's true love. But that was all for nothing because it was beyond obvious that Emma and Killian were in fact soul mates, true love, whatever the hell.
David's frown was all the answer Regina needed in that moment. Snow still didn't think that Killian was good enough for Emma. She still didn't believe that Emma and Killian were meant to be together. Regina groaned. Because of course she didn't. Why would anything be going right in her life right now? She really hoped that this was going to be as easy as swooping in, hitting Emma with the reminder that she loved Killian and he was her home and then the idiots would be back together. Now she was going to have to get through to Snow White, who actually may be more stubbornly set in her ways than Killian Jones. Regina sighed, shouldering her bag and squaring her shoulders. David winced in sympathy.
"Dinner might be a little late."
To be continued...