This is it. I'm a little sad to see this go. Thank you so much for all the follows and awesome reviews. It makes taking on a multi-chap much less terrifying. Quick formatting note (that I probably should have explained before the last chapter) Line Breaks are scene changes, Dot Breaks are time or character changes within the same scene. Hopefully that makes sense.
Do not let my fickle flesh go to waste
As it keeps my heart and soul in its place
And I will love with urgency, but not with haste
"Moms!" Henry crashed into them both, but pulled away from Regina instantly when he heard the groan of pain she couldn't suppress. "Mom?" Henry's eyes darted up and down her body. She looked nothing like the woman they'd lost only a few hours ago. Bruises covered her face, some fresh, some days old. She was paler, her hair hung in dirty waves that stuck to her skin, there were deep burns on her arms and legs—burns that he had watched Emma heal. And was she thinner? "How did this happen? You were just with us and you were fine. How…?" His voice broke and Regina pulled him back into her arms, held him to her even tighter than before. Pain be damned; her son needed her.
"I'm here, Henry," she held the back of his head, worked her arm under his pack so she could sooth up and down his back. "You're okay?" she asked, felling him nod against her neck. "That's all that matters."
"What happened?" David asked Emma as he watched mother and son.
"I'm honestly not all that sure. I couldn't really see her in there. I didn't know she was that bad. It's like that things had her this whole time." Emma was still trying to get her breathing to normalize. Her limbs felt like jelly and she wasn't sure her heart beat would ever be normal again. She'd never used that much magic before, never pushed that hard. Even with Regina helping her at the end, the savior was at her limit.
"Let's get out of here before it has a chance to get anyone else, shall we?" Killian stood with his arms around Emma, holding her close (holding her up, but he wouldn't let on that he was aware of that detail.)
"How?" Emma asked, looking up at him. She's staring him in the eyes; cautious at first, but then she sees it. That spark in the way he winks at her and lets herself relax just that little bit more. 'What is it?' his eyes ask, but Emma only shakes her head. "I'll tell you when we're home."
"Let's go then," David says, placing a hand each on the backs of Emma and Regina. "It's just around that rock face."
"What is?" Regina asks as Henry peels himself away from her.
"There's a portal," Henry says excitedly. "It's opened a few minutes after Ma went in to get you," he's pointing off to where Killian is already leading Emma. She can see the glow of it now, the swirling light reflecting off the rocks.
"I'm going to assume that you are not going to be a stubborn fool in front of your son," David whispers against her ear. He's sliding his arm slowly across her back the other down to her knee and the next thing she knows, Regina is off the ground being cradled against his chest. "Okay?" David asks, both to check her injuries and her ego.
"It's not far?" she asks, even though she can tell it's not, she refuses to let David carry her more than few feet.
"Just around the corner," Henry answers for him, smiling to David as they sharing a knowing look at Regina's expense.
"I can still roast you, Charming," she lets her head rest against his shoulder, but he doesn't miss the smile that pulls briefly at the corner of her mouth.
"You can roast me when we get back to Storybrooke. I'll bring marshmallows," David laughs.
The prince, as always, is true to his word. Regina had just gotten comfortable in his arms and he was already bending to set her down in front of the portal. "Take Henry," Regina instructs David, pulling her sons hand into his grandfather's.
"Mom," Henry begins to protest. His voice is stern, unbelieving that she is sending him away from her again.
"We'll be right behind you, Henry," Emma insists, urging the pair toward the portal, not taking her hands from their backs until they disappear through, the whole time eyeing Regina out of the corner of her eye. She looks like she's been through hell these past few days, Emma thinks as she admires the resilience of the woman who is still somehow mostly on her feet.
"You two next," Regina tells them, trying not to look like she's leaning as heavily as she is against the rocks around them.
"Don't take this the wrong way, love, but don't think we set about rescuing you to leave you behind," Killian bends to lift her onto his shoulder, drag her kicking and screaming if need be, but Regina's hand on his chest stops his descent.
"Don't take this the wrong way, Guyliner, but you weren't supposed to be alive. Portal rules: 4 in 4 out." Regina looks him dead in the eye, and then looks at Emma. She pushes against his chest, it does nothing to move him, he barely feels the pressure, but he sees what she's trying to do nonetheless.
"Break the rules," Emma's having none of this silent planning going on around her. She pulls at Regina's arm, yanking the brunette to her feet, catching her around the waist before she stumbles forward. "This isn't the same portal we came through anyway. The same rules don't apply," she justifies. In truth she has no idea how portals work, only that they get her to where she needs to be (most of the time), but the logic seems sound in her head. "I am not leaving you here," she said defiantly, pulling harder, dragging Regina closer to the portal and ignoring the wince from the stubborn queen. "I didn't just go through all that to leave you behind."
"Enough, Emma!" The blonde releases her instantly; even Hook flinches at the forcefulness rarely used since Regina had put her Evil Queen days behind her. "I'm going through," she promised. "I'm just not sure I'm coming out the other end, so please, take your pirate and go home to our son and hopefully I will see you in a few seconds."
"Hopefully isn't good enough," Emma gave her argument on more chance.
"Come on, Swan. You're a Charming. Hope is always good enough," Regina countered. Her demeanor softening when she knew she had won.
"Regina," Emma turned her back to the portal, to Killian and stared down Regina. This was a horrible plan. An absolutely horrible plan that she couldn't believe she was about to go along with.
"Emma, please," Regina's suddenly serious, somber; she's thought this through from the moment they found Killian alive, the moment she stepped foot in this realm, to be honest. "It stopped me before, something happened in that portal that I still can't fully remember, but it happened when I went through alone. Maybe that's what started all of this. I know it's a long shot, but it may be my only shot to get away from this thing." Her tears were falling again, gods above she was so tired of crying; she was just so tired. "Go." She looked past Emma to the pirate, the years of understanding passing quickly from one villain to another. Regina pushed, Killian pulled and just like that Regina was left alone.
They were staring at the portal, Robin and Snow, willing those that left them behind to come through. A crowd had gathered around them, someone must have taken charge to keep everyone back lest they get sucked through, but it wasn't the princess or the outlaw. They were frozen, entranced by the spinning light before them. Robin was jumpy, bouncing on the balls of his feat, fighting every instinct to run head long through the doorway and bring them back himself. Snow was frightened; with each fraction of an inch Robin moved forward, she moved back; with every second that passed without her family returning to her she lost more and more of her constant hope.
And then they were there, Henry and David, casually strolling out of the vortex and onto Main Street. "David!" Snow was in the prince's arms before he could register where her voice had come from. His arms tightened around her instinctively, turning them so that he faced the portal; clinging to his wife, but waiting anxiously for his daughter's arrival. Snow instantly noticed the absence of the rest of the group. "Where are they?" she asked, looking from David, to Henry, to Robin who had moved even closer to the portal's surface.
"They were right behind us," David told her, but didn't avert his gaze until Emma and Killian stumbled out into the street. He was pulling her, David noticed, and Regina wasn't with them.
"Where's my mom?" Henry demanded of Killian, knowing that there had to be a reason. They wouldn't have just left her behind.
"She's right behind us," Emma said confidently as she leaned into her mother's embrace, not sure if she was reassuring her son or herself.
"What the bloody hell is taking so long?" Robin yelled, it was the first he had spoken, the first any of the returned had noticed him.
"It happened when we went through to the other side," Emma came up behind him and put her hand on his shoulder, pulling him back just a bit. "She was…delayed somehow." Robin turned to face her, trying to read her expression, but Emma had a poker face. "She said she had to go through alone to face it. I shouldn't have let her. I…"
"Wouldn't have been able to stop her," Robin finishes, never turning back to the doorway. "Regina's iron-willed when she's set her mind to something." He steps close enough to feel the vibrations of the portal on his skin.
"Careful, mate," Killian cautions, hooking Robin's arm and pulling him back again. It hasn't even registered with Robin until that Killian was standing before him, that their rescue mission had indeed been a success.
"Welcome back," Robin tells the man still holding him in place, giving him a look that tells his friend that he won't be stopped from waiting for all or eternity for Regina to come through. Hook nods his understanding as he urges Robin back another small step (he knows it's as far as the man is willing to go.)
"She fought like hell in there, mate. In fact, she may have fought hell itself. And she won. Give her a minute, she'll find her way home." Killian squeezes Robin's arm, stepping back to allow Henry to lean in to Robin's side, the thief reflexively pulling the boy in to a hug.
"She'll be here," Henry said, but his voice shook with uncertainty. "She has to be." He stayed next to Robin, standing guard, the older man's arm draped over his shoulders. It was three full minutes. No one spoke, no one moved. For the first time since the curse was broken, Storybrooke seemed to stand still.
Emma felt the shift seconds before it happened. Something pulled at her magic, prickled at her spine. Before she could even put into words what was happening before the constant swirling of the portal came to sudden halt; the red light that filled it blazed white before turning to a particular shade of blue the Savior never wanted to see again. "NO!" Emma cried, lunging for the portal, raising her hands to fight the demon she was expecting to come through.
Instead, there was the unmistakable flash of fingertips that breaking the surface, then a hand reaching out, but was quickly pulled back in. Without thinking Robin plunged his arm in after her. He wasn't letting her slip away again.
Emma and Killian had gone and the portal was still spinning. Regina had half expected it to disappear the moment the four lives passed through; one check in the she-might-just-make-it-out-of-here-alive column. It was only a few feet away, but it may as well been miles for all her broken body was willing to cooperate. She took two steps before falling to her knees.
"Stand up straight, Regina. I raised a queen to reign, not a peasant to die in the dirt."
Regina didn't turn, didn't need to, she'd know that voice anywhere. It would seem, however, that her body did as well. She pushed herself back to her feet before she could even have thought about forcing the movement. Blind obedience still ingrained in her bones. "Yes, mother," she heard herself say.
"You're actually considering trying to walk through that thing aren't you?" Cora came up next to her, the train of her gown swirling the dust around them. "You know you won't survive it, Regina. Why are you putting yourself through this?"
"I want to go home." Regina took two more unsteady steps toward the portal's surface before Cora blocked her path. Her jeweled collar reflected the light from the portal into Regina's eyes so that she was forced to close them against the glare.
"Those people have made you weak. Their so called love won't save you. In the end, you'll be right back here." Her mother's voice was cold; it was cold until the day moment she died.
"Perhaps, but I'd rather die weak with my family than alone in this hell." Another step, barely an inch, but she was going in the right direction.
"Your family? That displaced group you've latched yourself to? A child Rumpelstiltskin shackled you with? A thief? A pirate? Snow White?! Really, Regina, I'd thought you better than that."
"You thought a lot of things about me, Mother. Most of them wrong." She's playing with fire, but no longer fears the burn. "Do you remember what you told me before you died," she asks, but doesn't give her time to answer. "You told me that I would have been enough. Just me. And then you died in my arms on the floor of Rumpelstiltskin's shop. I remember everything about that day. How you smiled at me, how you looked so different with your hair down, how you wearing a suit you stole from my closet. I buried you in it." Regina takes another step forward until she's nose to nose with her mother, standing shamelessly on her silk skirts.
"We could be like that again, Regina," Cora puts her hands on her daughter's shoulders, rubs up and down her arms. "We could start over, be how we were supposed to have been. I'll never hurt you again, of that you can be certain."
"There is one thing that I am certain of, Mother." All the dead look as they did when they died. She doesn't say it out loud, knows the demon will hear it all the same. "You're not real." With that, Regina walks straight ahead, the apparition on her mother dissolving as she passes through; the portal crackling with pent up energy as she finally enters.
It envelops her: like being under water. She feels as if she were both floating and sinking at the same time. Her movement sluggish, but smooth; she can feel the magic passing between her fingers as she gropes blindly for an exit to the other side, to home.
Don't think we're done, Regina. Don't ever think that you've beat me. Don't ever think that I'll let you leave. You belong to me. Your nightmares are mine, your screams are mine, every time you shiver, every time you look over your shoulder. You are mine.
"No," she says, and although she knows she isn't voicing it, she hears her voice calm and steady all the same. She feels herself grow stronger as the force around her grows weak, feels it slipping back and back as she continues to push herself forward. She's close, fingers breaking through, feeling the tingle of night air, of safety for the briefest of moments before it comes for her one last time. It wraps around her body and pulls her back into the vortex, but Regina can feel the shift. Instead of strength in the being there is desperation, instead of power there is fear. It has nothing left, but she has everything. Regina trudges forward again toward the freedom she had tasted. She can feel the hold it has on her slipping with every hard fought inch. "I belong to myself! My fears are my own and they do not control me!" she screams into the abyss as the last clutches of the demon begin to slip away. "You do not control me." There's an arm reaching out for her, an arm marked with the crest of a lion and she reaches for it, grasps firmly and pulls herself free. She stumbles out into the street, into arms that hold her tightly against a body that would protect her against all else.
Robin pushed further until his shoulder disappeared in to the vortex, Killian's (and now David's) grip on him tighten to the point of pain, but he knows they won't pull back. They would be doing the same as he if roles had been reversed. He can't describe the sensation, it's almost as if his arm has detached from his body yet he can still feel it groping blindly, searching. Its then he feels it, familiar fingers wrapping securely around his forearm, his own fingers closing around hers. He pulls and backs up and pulls until she's colliding into him, solid and real. The portal snaps shut behind her. His grip shifting quickly from her arm to wrap around her as her knees buckle slightly. "I've got you," Robin says into her hair and adds "Henry's safe, everyone's safe" before she has a chance to ask.
She lets herself sag against him, presses her ear to the familiar beat beneath his chest. (It's faster than normal, but he did just pull her out of a portal, she justifies, as she raises tired arms to wrap around his back. She doesn't need to hold onto him, trusts him completely to keep her on her feet; she wants to hold onto him, to feel him warm and real under her palms, pressed against every inch of her. He shifts again, moving his arm further up her back, fingers pressing into her ribcage and holding her tighter. His other hand moves to her face, tips her back just enough so he can look down at her. The instant pain in his eyes lets Regina know exactly how poorly she's fared over the last few…days, weeks? She suddenly realizes she has no idea how long she'd been held captive or how long they'd been gone and once again panic starts to creep in. He must see the change in her, feel her heart beating faster, the breath she's been fighting to keep steady begin to shudder in and out because he pecks at her cracked lips, her temple, her forehead before weaving his fingers into her hair and pulling her back to his chest. "You're home," Robin assures as he nuzzles into her, tries to convey that that is the only thing that matters. "It's over. You're home."
Snow started breathing again the second the portal snapped shut. They were home, all of them had made it back. Now she could feel. Unfortunately for David, the first thing she felt was the anger she'd been suppressing with worry from the moment that he'd left. The prince returned to her side, laced his fingers with her own, and Snow snapped. "Don't you ever do that to me again!" she scolded in a harsh whisper, ripping her hand from his. "Do you have any idea how hard it is to watch you walk away? To wake up at 3 am to an empty bed and a screaming child and know that you may never come home again? Do you know what it's like to live with the fact that you chose this for me? That you chose for me to be the one to stay? That you…you…"
David could only stare at her. The words 'you're cute when you're mad' on the tip of his tongue, but he knew better than to let them fall. He couldn't hold back the grin, though, and Snow stopped her tirade the moment the smile split is face. "Are you done?" he asked once she had paused for breath.
"For the moment," Snow answered, leaving herself open to resume this later, although she knew she never would.
"Good." David cupped his hand behind her neck and pulled her to him, sealing their lips and silencing anymore protests from his wife.
"That fight didn't last long," Hook and Emma both turned away from the Charming's suddenly-very-passionate kiss.
"Never does. They love each other," Emma leaned closer into him, her eyes focusing on their joined hands.
"Love is a powerful thing." He's staring at her, hasn't really stopped since the moment he laid eyes on her.
"It is," Emma agrees, looking back to where her parents are still shamelessly kissing in the middle Main Street, to where Robin is holding Regina so tightly she can see his muscles work through his shirt.
"One might say it can bring back the dead," Killian leans against her, bringing her wandering eyes back into focus.
"You weren't dead," Emma corrects, laying her hand over a heartbeat that is still his own.
"Aye, but you thought I was. And you brought me back. Still counts." He pats the hand over his heart, covers it, and holds it there.
"I suppose it does," Emma concedes, winding an arm around his neck and running her fingers through the hair at his nape. It's longer than it was the last time she's done this and she thinks she may like him like this, a bit rougher around the edges.
"Did I thank you, Emma? For coming for me?" Killian asks, wrapping both arms around her back and rocking her back and forth. He honestly doesn't remember. It had been a bedlam of running and fighting from the second she'd thrown her arms around him.
"Did I thank you for dying for me?" she means to jest, to lift the weighted emotion his question brought, but her eyes betray her and he knows she feels his sacrifice as keenly as he does hers.
"Let's call it a draw, shall we?" he offers. It has her smiling again, leaning into him again, and while the moment allows, he simply holds.
Robin's barely aware of the reunions going on around him. He can hear the cheers and well wishes, but they're all just back ground noise to Regina's quiet cries against his chest—a sound he's positive only he hears and he intends to keep it that way, holding her closer, coaxing gently as he inches her away from the gathering crowd.
"Heal her." Its Granny Lucas voice that rises above the crowd and has Robin looking up to see the matriarch standing before Gold, arms crossed and unflinching.
"She's more than capable of healing herself," Gold answers, turning from the people around him and heading back to his shop. A firm hand on his arm turns him back; the Widow Lucas has never backed down.
"She's barely capable of standing right now. Do you want your grandson to see his mother like that?" she point to where Regina is sheltered in Robin's arms. The thief conceals her well, but what could be seen of her ripped and burned clothes, the random splattering of blood in various degrees of drying left little doubt to what condition the rest of her was in.
"Henry is—" Gold began.
"Waiting for you to do the right thing," Belle finished for him. "As am I," she added looking pointedly at her husband.
Gold suddenly found all eyes on him. Henry's and Belle's in particular seemed to bore into what was left of the Dark One's soul. "I would be more than happy to assist our beloved Mayor," his voice was so thick with sarcasm Granny was surprised he didn't choke on it as he strode nonchalantly over to where Robin stood with Regina.
The thief's grip tightened the closer Gold got to them. He had only picked up a few words of the conversations going on around him, completely focused on the woman in his arms. When Gold reached for Regina without explanation, Robin struck light lightening, grabbing the older man's wrist and holding him back.
"Get away from her," Robin all but growled. He would most likely have ripped Rumple apart, but Granny was at his side, her arm on his that held Rumple just far enough away.
"Let him help her," Granny said calmly, squeezing at Robin's wrist with one hand, the other finding its way to Regina's back to rub up and down her spine. "He won't do her any harm with this many people watching, with Henry watching," she spoke to Gold as well as Robin making it clear that Dark One or not, if Gold tried anything, he wouldn't get far.
"I can do it," Emma said as she came up behind them. It was a far better proposition to Robin than the Dark One laying a finger on Regina, but one look at Emma told him that she was beyond exhausted herself. The arm Killian had snugly around her waist was there for much more than an offering of affection.
Regina was barely conscious against him; if it weren't for his hold around her back and Granny holding her to his chest he's certain she would have fallen well before now. "What's it going to be, Outlaw?" Gold asked wiggling his fingers in Robin's grip. "I haven't got all day."
"If you hurt one hair on her…" Robin threatened as Gold pulled his hand free, straightened out his shirt cuff and placed his hand just above Regina's cheek.
"I've never hurt her," he told Robin as the magic began to glow beneath his palm. And it was true, he hadn't. He'd been cruel, that was true. He had watched as other's hurt her, perhaps. Had 'avoided' getting involved in events he probably could have spared her from, but Rumpelstiltskin himself had never physically hurt her. Nor would he now. His magic washed over her, sealing cuts, soothing burns, setting back to right bone and muscle that had strained for too long. When he pulled back his hand, Regina crumpled, but Granny was there, David and Snow too, gathering her hastily into arms, lowering her safely to the pavement. Robin lunged at Gold, but the thief was frozen mid stride by a flick of the Dark One's wrist. "She needs rest, dearie. Magic can't heal simple exhaustion; her body has been through more than it should be capable of withstanding in a short amount of time. You can thank me later," Rumple said as he vanished in a cloud of dark red smoke, releasing Robin to stumble forward.
"She's alright, Robin," Granny called from where she sat in the street, Regina sleeping her breast.
Henry was at her side holding her hand and tucking stray hairs behind her ear. "She's breathing better," he said to mostly to himself, finding that he was as well. She looked like his mother again, like the woman that nothing could hurt.
"We should probably get out of the street," David said to Robin, placing the hand not holding Snow's on his shoulder.
"My car's just across the way. I'd be more than happy to give you a lift home," Robin turned to see the knowing smile of Will Scarlett. Little John stood next to him with Roland secured in his arm. He nodded appreciatively, turning back to Regina to see that Emma was now also on her knees with a hand on Henry's back, one still looped around Killian's hook. The crowd that Robin had tried to shield her from formed a tight circle around them. Not a crowd, he realized. Family. Hers. Theirs. A family that was protecting the woman they once needed protection against.
"Where to, Swan?" Killian asked after they'd seen the Charmings, the Mills, and the Locksleys all safely off to their homes. There were still at the clock tower, sitting closely together on a bench outside the library, reveling in how their little town had already resumed it routine as if a portal to hell hadn't been swirling in the street barely an hour ago.
She wrapped an arm around his back and let her head fall to his shoulder. "I want to sleep for a month." The last drops of adrenaline had left her and Emma was spent.
"Your place or mine?" he kissed into the top of her head.
"Ours?" she asked hesitantly, not seeing the smile sparkling his eyes. He didn't answer immediately, just stared down at the woman he loved who was finally going to give him a chance to do just that. His silence didn't last long, but it was long enough for Emma's insecurity to flair and she started backpedaling, stumbling over words she didn't want to say. "I mean…if you still want…we did sort of talk about it…in Camelot…and I sort of have this house that is really too big for me…but if you…"
"Emma," he sat straight forcing her to do the same, turning her head to face him.
"Or we could…"
His thumb covered her lips, silencing her doubts, stays there until her lips pucker slightly to kiss there; his own lips quickly replaced his fingers as he kissed her for the first time since she'd found him. It was urgent, a little clumsy, but smooth and easy had never been their style. He's a little breathless when he finally pulls himself away from her kiss. Emma's hand still rests against his face, fingers stroking the stubble along his cheek. When she looks into his eyes she sees him, sees his love for her, and she knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that it was all worth it. "I love you," she tells him through a watery smile, leaning in for one more soft kiss before standing and reaching for his hand. "Let's go home.
Robin wakes to her arm jerking against him, her head thrashing back and forth against the pillow. He rolls to his side so he's pressed against her, runs his knuckles softly over her cheek, kisses just above her eye. Her eye's snap open at the contact, he's close, too close. She feels hot breath against her skin, fingers trailing down her neck.
"Don't touch me!" she pushes against his chest, his face, and scrambles back, falling to the floor before Robin has a chance to speak. He's at her side in seconds, hitting the switch that turns on the overhead light, pulls the blankets that hadn't followed her to the floor, and sits across from her.
"Regina, it's alright." He reaches for her, but doesn't dare touch.
She scoots back further until she's pressed against the dresser. Her eyes are wild, terrified. He's seen that look in them before, far too often in fact. They always looked past him; she was always seeing some horror from her past that hadn't quiet stayed in the nightmare it belonged to. He would give her a moment, allow her to fully wake, to see him, and then pull her close. This was different. She saw Robin, looked straight at him, into him, and she was afraid. What the hell had happened to her in that realm, Robin wondered for the thousandth time today. What could possibly have made her fear his touch?
"Regina," he tries again, louder, but gently, remaining perfectly still for he has no idea what she will do or where she will go if he spooks her.
"You're you?" she finally asks after long stretched out minutes of nothing but the ticking of the bedside clock and their shared frantic breathing.
"I'm me, love." Robin's body relaxes infinitesimally when hers does.
"We're home?" Her eyes dart from his to the room around her and back again.
"We're home," he confirms. "Gold healed you and we brought you here. You've been asleep for hours. The kids are all tucked in down the hall." He sees her relax just a bit more and allows himself the same. She's working it all out, nodding to herself, fingers fisting in the blankets she's tangled in; she's coming back to him. "May I touch you?" he tries, reaching out fingers inch by inch, prepared to retreat if the answer is no. They reach her knee and he waits, watches her face for acquiescence.
He doesn't have to wait long. She ignores his hand, ops instead for crawling across the small space between them and letting herself be folded into his arms. "I'm sorry," she says into his neck. She won't cry. She's done crying, but she will let herself be held. There's no weakness in needing.
"No need for apologies. You've had a bit of a rough week, yeah?" He feels her chuckle against him and relaxes fully, leaning against the side of the bed and settling her between his thighs. "Talk to me, mi'lady."
She shakes her head firmly against his neck. "Not yet." She's not ready for that, not ready to relive it all so soon. It's still too close, still a wound not yet healed.
"Very well, then," he shifts them a bit so that her back rests against is front and pulls the pile of blankets over them. "I'll just hold on to you for a bit if that's okay."
"More than okay," she sighs against his chest, holding his arms around her. "I missed you."
"And I you, Mi'lady." He kisses her hair, shimmies down just a bit so her head rests in the crook of his neck instead of against his chest.
"Robin?" she whispers, mostly warm breath against his skin. He hmmmm's in response, much needed sleep already re-claiming him. "Thank you for not letting go."
"Never." The arms around her waist pull her in impossibly tighter until they're fused together, his face buried in her hair.
When Regina sleeps she does not dream.
Thank you for reading.