You’ve technically already had one … but
Unbeta’d and subject to edits, as usual!
She ignores her gut, ignores every fibre of her being that’s screaming this is wrong, watches as Robin clicks off the television (a move that’s met with a loud groan of protest from his son) and pulls Roland up onto his lap. Regina inhales, drops onto the couch next to her boys and takes Roland’s hands in her own.
He looks up at her, eyes dark and wide, full of the curious endearment only a child is capable of, and she can’t help but give him a smile; Roland returns it in kind, but only for a moment, and then it falters.
“Regina, why are you sad?” He asks, and oh. Maybe her smile wasn’t quite as convincing as she thought.
She swallows hard, throws a glance to Robin who looks just as much at a loss for words as she feels. “I’m not sad, baby. I’m excited,” she lies, forces her smile wider and her eyes brighter. It catches, like a flame to dry grass, Roland’s mouth turns upwards again with a smile that reaches his eyes and shows off his little milk teeth.
“Why are you excited?” He asks, beginning to get giddy, and good, yes. Regina needs him to feel excited, needs him to focus on the good of this whole situation rather than the bad.
“Do you remember how I told you Henry lives across the ocean?” She asks, and Roland nods happily. “Well, I miss him very much, and I was thinking I would go back home to see him again.”
She watches as the light leaves Roland’s eyes, as his shoulders deflate and he leans in to Robin’s chest, and she knows. Without so much as asking him what’s wrong, she knows he thinks she’s leaving him. Her eyes flick back up to Robin, and she feels her heart pull at his expression. He’s trying, she can tell, trying to mask how much his hurts and give her an encouraging look, but he’s failing - maybe not to anyone else, maybe to an outsider, a stranger, he would be pulling off the at-ease happiness he’s attempting to convey, but Regina is no stranger. She can see each word she speaks is cutting her boyfriend like a jagged blade to soft skin.
But she can’t think about that right now. They have to put Roland first, have to think about what’s best for their boy, and this is it. She thinks… knows… Deep down she knows it’s right, that they can’t subject the poor tot to anymore traumatic paparazzi experiences like the ones he’s had to endure over the past two days. So she takes Roland’s face in her hands, strokes her thumbs over his little cheeks - they’ve still got that edge of puppy fat to them, something she misses about Henry (her nephew is growing bigger by the second, and she aches whenever she remembers him being this small) - and brings her brow down to touch his.
“Hey now, where’s that smile gone, Mister?” She teases, and he shrugs somewhat dramatically. Regina leans back, covers his hands with hers once more and squeezes. “I was thinking… how would you like to come with me and meet Henry?”
It’s there, the reaction she and Robin need, the awe in his eyes, the amazed grin that has his mouth dropping open as he takes in what she’s saying. She feels a pang of guilt, he has no idea what this really means, is far too excited about finally meeting the nephew she’s harped on about for months to so much as contemplate what else going back home with her could mean. It breaks her heart, the ease with which she tricks him, and as a painful ache grows in the base of her throat, Regina forces her smile wider.
“I was thinking me and you could get on a plane and fly across the ocean to see Henry! How does that sound? Would you like to do that?”
He nods furiously, looks up at Robin to see if this is really happening, if he’s really allowed to go on an actual plane and fly in the sky, then looks back at Regina. He bounces up and down on his father’s lap, takes his hands from hers and claps them together happily. “Yeah!” He breathes out, “And we can see the chickens at your farm, and-and the horses! You can teach me and Daddy how to ride the horses!”
Robin steps in then, takes in a deep, shuddered breath to tell his son, “Well, I’m afraid I can’t come with you, little man. This trip will just have to be you and Regina.”
“Why?” Roland asks, a puzzled scowl springing onto his face.
“Because someone has to stay here and look after Jack,” Regina says, saves Robin the explanation that guts him whenever mentioned.
“Right,” Robin lies. “And hopefully I’ll be able to come and be with you and Regina real soon.”