Thank you L and C for all the help and for putting up with me. Especially for the sandalwood tip ;)

It is late and he does not know what time it is as he walks down these streets that now feel so foreign to him. But as the birds start to sing, completely unaware of the thick atmosphere that hovers over the town, he knows it will not be long before dawn. And he should not be there. He should be at the camp, with his boy and his men, but his heart carried him elsewhere before his mind could protest.

It led him to her. To Regina.

For a moment, he stops before walking down the path that leads to her doorstep. For a moment, he just stands there listening to the damn birds and envying their sweet innocence. For a moment, he closes his eyes and hopes that when he opens them again he will wake up in her arms, in her vault, and realize that this was nothing but a sick dream.

But it is not.

And he hates himself for not noticing, for sticking to a code that slowly whitered the hope he had for so long carried in his heart. Despises himself for endangering his son's life and for taking away the last thread of faith that she had in her chance at a happy ending.

He goes to her because he feels nothing and he feels everything. A turmoil of emotions makes his heart beat furiously against his ribcage, but he is only mildly aware of the blood throbbing in his ears. He is numb. And maybe he could say it is denial, but he knows better. He cannot allow himself to feel, because if does, he will crumble right there. If he feels, he will remember Marian's pleas for a second chance and her warm breath tickling against his ear as her hands worked on the buttons of his shirt. If he allows himself to feel, he will remember flinching as Marian – no, not Marian, as Zelena kissed him, because his heart laid elsewhere. He cannot allow himself to feel because he must be strong for Regina. Before his walls finally crack – and he knows they will, he must be there to help her find her happiness. Whether or not it is by his side.

At this point, he is not sure it is.

But he is there and he needs to see her. Needs to feel her presence and the comforting smell of apples and sandalwood. The urge to feel the delicacy of her skin against his own enough to render him out of breath. If he closes his eyes and concentrates, he can feel the weight of her head resting against his shoulder as they laid together – pressed so close to one another that it was nearly impossible to tell where her body ended and his began. But he does not close his eyes and try to remember, because he has lost that right. Instead, he knocks on the door in front of him and prays that she will come.

And she does. Of course she does.

He leans closer to the white door as small footsteps get louder and hears her sigh as she stops and places something – a glass, maybe? – on one of the tables in the entrance hall. He cannot explain, but he can feel her and knows that she can feel him as well. He senses when she hesitates and stops before the door, and he imagines her standing on the other side with the same pained look her eyes harboured when he chose not to go with her. When he chose a child whose welfare he fears for, but whom he is now not sure he will ever love fully. He will, his heart screams. Won't he? The child should not carry the burden of its mother's actions, but why is it that every time he thinks of it, he sees nothing but death and pain? Images of Marian lying lifeless on the ground, Roland's cries asking after his mother, and a broken woman in Regina's eyes.

"Regina," he says, begs, and the grip around his heart tightens painfully. He leans forward once again, close enough to hear her ragged breathing through the door. The tattoo on his wrist burns, because he wants nothing more than to gather her in his arms and press his lips against her hair. He can almost feel her body pressed against his own, this woman who is so close and yet so far...

He is ready to turn around and leave when the door cracks open, and the image that meets his eyes is not one he expected. She stands numbly in front of him, eyes red and swollen, but not wet – not anymore. The air around them smells like alcohol, and for a moment, he averts his eyes from the dark haired woman and spots the half-empty glass of scotch forgotten on the table by the stairs. When his gaze finds hers again, she is silent and her shoulders are rigid, eyes burning with unshed tears. She looks intently at him, shaking her head as she steps aside and quietly invites him in, closing the door as he follows her inside. The room grows smaller as the heavy, uncomfortable silence engulfs them, and they just stare, and keep staring, at one another.

Robin takes one step closer to her and starts to muble something, but he curts himself off. He cannot say anything, because what is there to say? What is the point of apologizing in a situation like this? He wants to say that he is sorry though, wants to take her hands in his and tell her that he loves her. Because he does. But the words feel somewhat wrong in his tongue, like trousers that don't quite reach your feet. So he just stands there and stares silently at her. Because what is the point of telling her that he loves her after crushing her heart as he knows he has? What right does he have to love her, take her in his arms and claim her as his?

None, he knows.

She turns her back to him, retrieves the glass of scotch from the table and finishes it in one gulp. She then walks into the living room and looks back at him, waiting for him to follow. He does, of course. And he is two steps behind her when he spots Henry's book on the coffee table – a nearly empty bottle of scotch right beside it. Guilty and regret seep through every cell of his body as he takes in the picture before him. She is still in her purple dress, but her heels have been carelessly discarded in a corner of the room. Page 23 lies tousled on the floor, surrounded by shattered glass and the ambar liquid that now stains the carpet.

"Regina," he pleads again. He lets out a heavy sigh and this time, he does not care if maybe this is not the right thing to say, because it is the only thing he can say. "I'm sorry."

She turns and meets his gaze, but still does not say anything. She looks exhausted, he notices, hands trembling slightly as she sets the now empty glass back on the table.

"So sorry," he repeats, voice fading into a whimper, shoulders bowed in. He looks defeated, blue eyes disturbingly lifeless as if all light had been sucked out of his heart and replaced with something else. Not darkness like her own, never that, but grief and pain.

They stare at each other for a long moment, far too long, before she takes two small steps and closes the distance between them. Electricity is pulsing through her veins, her heart beating so rapidly it is hard to breathe, dark eyes filled with pain and desire, glistening with conflicting feelings. She runs a hand through her hair, bites her bottom lip and stares down at his. There is so much she needs to say, so much she wants to say, but she kisses him instead.

She kisses him because she is angry, she is scared, and she is tired. She kisses him because she is a villain, and villains do not get happy endings. But she needs this, needs to feel him in her arms one last time before accepting her fate. And maybe it is selfish, but she is tired of putting on a courageous mask and needs the feeling of his fingers trailing delicate patterns against her soft skin before letting him go.

So she kisses him.

And it is passionate and hungry, full of desire. Her hands grasp at his coat and pull him to her. Her mouth opens to his, tongues dancing together in a desperate ritual, a quest for for relief and hope. But there is none. So his hand finds the back of her neck and the other is still desperately holding onto her own, his thumb softly pressing against her knuckles. He is afraid of letting go, of pulling away and allowing this moment to slip away as everything else has. But he needs to look at her, needs to make sure that she is real and that she is there. So he breaks the kiss, but never lets go of her, fingers still entwined together, one hand slowly moving from the back of her head to rest on her flushed cheek. The warmth of her skin comforting and real.

She is there.

Her eyes find his, darkness searching for light, and there is a spark there, a glint of something they believed to be lost, a combination of faith and lust.

She is there.

He is there.

"I hate her," he says and casts his eyes down, but he does. He hates her. Because he is holding everything she has cost him in his arms. His love, his happiness, his hope.

"Don't," Regina whispers and lifts his chin with two fingers before silencing him with another kiss. Because she cannot bear to talk about this right now. If she does, she will snap. Because she is angry, and broken, and she cannot face what she has lost just yet. Not now. Now, she will hold him, she will feel him, and she will cherish these last moments of hope and love, because she feels safe hidden away in the darkness, but soon the fire-gold glow of dawn will bring a reality that cannot be avoided. So she cherishes his arms around her and the gloom of the night that engulfs them.

He deepens the kiss. And he chuckles. It is humorless and pained, but he chuckles all the same. Because he holds everything he wants, but knows he cannot have. So he kisses her with a fierceness that catches her breath in her throat. Her head tilts back as his lips leave hers and find her neck, making their way to the curve of her shoulders, but she pulls away before he reaches her collarbones and he wonders if he has done something wrong. He has not. She takes his hand and leads him into the dining room, looking at him with raised eyebrows and a challenging smirk.

Oh, he has missed her.

And he takes the hint, putting his hands on each side of her hips and leading her until her back hits the wall. And then his lips are on hers again, his mouth hungrily claiming hers. His hand reaches around her back, working on the damn zipper of her dress while her hands find the front of his pants, working their way to his tights. But his lack of success on unzipping that sexy, maddening purple dress has him frustrated and her teasing is not helping.

"Patience, thief," she smirks and pulls his hands away from her dress, turning her back to him and walking slowly, seductively away from where they stood seconds before. Her fingers start playing with the back of the garment, unfastening the zipper in a slow, painful torture.

He cannot take it.

"I want it off," he closes the distance between them in one large step and whispers to her ear. He takes her earlobe and plays with it between his teeth, teasing her in a way that sends a chill down her spine. His hands find her shoulders and he slowly slips the dress from her body, taking his time to appreciate her familiar curves as he does so. Experienced fingers trail up and down her body, thumbs tracing small circles on her bare stomach until they find the underside of breasts and play with her bra.

And then it is her turn. Her hands rest on his chest as her lips slowly suck on the spot where his shoulder meets his neck. It is going to leave a mark, he is sure of it. But damn, it feels good. Soon her fingers find their way down his torso, feeling each muscle, until they reach his waistband, tugging his shirt upwards. But she is impatient as she feels the familiar wetness forming between her legs. No, she cannot wait.

With a wave of her hand, their clothes disappear in a cloud of purple smoke, leaving the two of them standing naked only inches away from one another.

God, she is gorgeous, he thinks before claiming her lips with his once again. His hands find her tights and his fingers start to make their way up, teasing, torturing her.

They cannot wait anymore. He needs her and she needs him. Desperately so. He picks her up and she wraps her legs around his torso. The table, she groans as his lips suck the spot above her collarbone, making the throbbing between her legs even more intense.

He lays her on the wooden surface and holds his body over hers. She is on her back and he stands between legs that encircle his waist, forcing him forward, in a way that has him placing his hands on each side of her to steady himself. He needs her. He lowers his body and crashes his lips to hers, taking her bottom one and biting it just enough. He moves closer to her and as the pressure between her legs increase, her hands find his back and she dugs her fingernails between his should blades, dragging against his skin. Hard. And he groans. She needs him.

Their bodies connect and it is raw. It is raw and sad and beautiful. It is ephemeral and devastating. But as they rock together in a steady motion, her hips moving against his, what comes after is the furthest thing from their minds. He can only think that he loves her, that she is the most beautiful woman that he has ever seen. She can only think that she loves him, that she does not want to let go of this – of them. But when they collapse to the floor, Robin on his back, and Regina on top of him, both painting and deliciously exhausted, reality comes crashing over them.

He is in that state between consciousness and sleep, her head against his shoulder as her breath finally calms. Her hand rests on his chest, trapped under his own while his thumb caresses her knuckles and she feels the rhythm of his heartbeat under her palm. A heart that knows great pain because of her. Because she is a villain, and villains do not get happy endings.

"Leave," she whispers, voice lost in a whimper. "I can't do this."

And he does as she says.

He leaves.

What do you think? x