A/N: Missing Year OQ. I own nothing. Beware: fluff ahead.
She let's him into her bed, she shares her body, offers him whatever shreds of intimacy she can, but she never lets him stay long. She doesn't let him stay because she's in pain, she misses her son, and no matter how hopeful Snow is, she's not so sure she can find happiness.
(Maybe she doesn't deserve it).
So she doesn't let him stay.
Not at first, anyway.
She has been telling herself for the longest time that this is just for pleasure, a distraction, that his body is all she wants. But months after they've started, Regina is sure he's stolen more kisses from her than he has stolen anything in all his life, and each moment she spends with him, or with his son, she is so thankful that she didn't leave her heart buried in the woods.
So one night when they are pressed together, Robin lies with her, stroking her skin until the last waves of pleasure recede, Regina's heart drops into her stomach. She knows he's going to leave soon. He's going to leave, because that's what he thinks she wants.
Tonight, though, she wants him to stay. Tonight she isn't afraid to admit it, to him or to herself.
Robin places a lingering kiss to her lips and then moves to go collect his clothes, but she grabs his wrist. When she glances down, she sees his tattoo, and she runs her fingers over it. He's her thief, her lover, her soulmate with the lion tattoo. She might love him, and he has no idea.
(Oh, he knows. He sees it in her eyes even though she doesn't say the words, and he might love her right back.)
"Stay," she says.
For a moment, she's terrified. She needn't be, because Robin just grins at her, shifting back under the covers and pulling her closer. Then the fear is gone and he kisses her until she's smiling, too.
And after that, he always stays.