Outlaw Queen AU. King Leopold dies soon after his marriage to Regina. The kingdom becomes unsettled as rumors about the Queen surface and soon there is only one way to ensure the monarchy won’t be overthrown. There must be a new King.
Between meetings and fittings and going over the kingdom’s tenuous finances, Robin spent any unfettered moment he had thinking about Regina. They hadn’t spoken about their honeymoon since he brought it up the other night and he had been hoping to the Gods that she hadn’t changed her mind.
When Robin woke the following morning, he found a brand new fur cloak hanging in his armoire and his finest riding clothes laid out next to it. He didn’t need his valet to tell him something big was happening today. The cloak settled heavily over him as if a tidal wave was being draped over his shoulders. As his valet fussed, Robin gazed past the man into the mirror. He couldn’t help but notice that for the first time since arriving, he looked like a king.
When he finally arrived in the Grand Hall, it seemed as though he should have been awake earlier. Regina and Snow were already mounted on their horses, looking more regal than he’d ever seen them. They were both wearing elegant gowns, Regina in violet and Snow in pink, their skirts meticulously draped over their saddles. Knights began to converge around them, some on foot and others on horses, looking so imposing that even Robin felt unwelcome.
“Good morning, sire.” Robin turned to see Lord Grey approaching, carrying a ledger in one hand and a pocket watch in the other. “I’m sorry about all this. I had initially planned for the ride through to be after your coronation but the Council changed their mind.”
“Yes, we thought it might be a good demonstration of stability to have you ride through some of the closer towns in the kingdom. The people want to meet their new ruler. It shouldn’t take more than a few hours. You’ll be back before dinner.”
Robin looked over the sea of metal caps before him. “The knights will guide us?”
The councilman nodded. “Of course, sire. Usually there wouldn’t be so many of them, but…conditions have changed. But no matter, don’t bother yourself with that. Just enjoy the people. Show them that their royal family is united.”
Well how the fuck am I supposed to do that?, Robin thought, but all he did was nod and promise his best efforts.
“If you leave now,” Lord Grey said, opening his pocket watch and glancing at it with a furrowed brow, “You might just be able to stay on schedule.”
“If there’s anyone to blame if we don’t, it’s me. I’m sorry if I was late.”
“You are a very different man than our King Leopold, aren’t you?”
Robin frowned. “Why do you say that?”
Lord Grey gave him a tight smile. “He never apologized.”
Robin didn’t have time to respond before his horse was brought before him and he was hurried off to join Regina and Snow at the front gates.
“Good morning, Robin!” Snow called, shifting excitedly on her saddle. One of her maids promptly scurried over to readjust her petticoat.
“Good morning, Snow,” Robin replied. “You both look lovely.”
Snow grinned and thanked him. “Are you excited to see the kingdom?”
Robin had to admit that he actually was excited for this. Finally, a chance to spend a few hours away from the palace, out under the open sky; and if he had to smile and wave while he did it, then so be it. Although he knew he had spent parts of his childhood in Leopold’s kingdom before his father’s mansion was built, he hardly remembered any of it. At the very least, he would be able to look into the faces of the people who he would all too soon be presiding over.
“I am, rather. How are you this morning, Regina?” One look at her and Robin realizes he didn’t even have to ask the question. She was looking with wide, fixed eyes at the front gates as if they were the jaws of a monster getting ready to swallow her whole.
He lowered his voice and called her name low enough so hopefully not the entire caravan can hear him. “Regina? Are you alright?”
“Yes, I’m fine,” she said without turning her head. Then, softer, “Everything will be fine.”
Before he had a chance to say anything else, the gates were opened. Across the drawbridge Robin could see a throng of people had already gathered to meet them. Or rather, meet the three dozen or so knights surrounding them while they strain their necks to see the royals behind them. As they reached the crowd, Robin could hear people shouting Snow’s name and waving to her. The young princess greeted it all with a dignified smile. As they got closer to town, the crowd continued to grow.
“Long live the king!”
“All hail King Robin!”
“Our new king–!”
“–May he live long and well!”
All of the voices began to blend together as they weaved through the streets. Robin attempted a look of stoic contentedness and sat as tall as he could, but he kept his eyes on Regina. He hadn’t heard anyone say her name. In fact, he could see the crowd shying away from her. Men took steps back and bowed their heads, mothers turned their children’s faces away when their queen passed. Row after row of houses, hundreds of people screamed their loyalty to their crown and country, but never to their queen.
Robin’s heart broke for her. Even if it was silent, there was no way she wasn’t feeling the distaste being projected at her from every angle. Why did the Council think this was a good idea? No matter their reasoning, Robin doubted she was given a choice. It made him wonder. Was she given a choice to become queen? Or was she, like him, thrown to the mercy of other people’s intentions? Robin watched for an hour as his soon-to-be subjects ignored his soon-to-be wife. When he saw a woman in the masses silently praying as Regina rode by, he decided he couldn’t watch it anymore. Short of screaming at everyone to stop, however, Robin had no clue what to do. He wracked his brain, but nothing came. The noise of the crowd seemed to crescendo, closing in on him. Robin couldn’t leave her isolated a moment longer. He looked to his left to see eyes downcast as Regina passed, then to his right, where his gaze fixed on an elderly couple holding hands, smiling and waving at Snow with the hands not clutched together.
Robin smiled. He steered his horse a few feet closer to Regina’s until they were riding as close as they could without jostling each other.
“Regina,” he said, “May I have your hand?”
Her eyes met his and lost the steely, numb quality they had been wearing ever since they left the palace. “What?”
“Will you give me your hand?”
He was right here, right next to her, and he had a sudden desperate urge to let her know that he stood by her. Too many people were determined to ignore her, but Robin had barely stopped thinking about her since the moment they had met. Regina was looking at him like he was asking her to jump off a cliff. Robin gazed at her, pleading with his eyes. She was just as drained as he had assumed because she finally loosened the unrelenting grip she had on her reins and took his hand. He wished neither of them had riding gloves on so that he could feel the soft press of her skin against his, but when he lifted his eyes to meet hers he found her smiling. It was a tight, nervous smile, but a smile nonetheless. Her gaze was no longer empty, her beautiful dark chocolate orbs were brimming with something like gratitude. Robin couldn’t pull his eyes from hers, but if he had, he would have seen the townspeople staring in awe. Jaws began to drop, shouts of devotion turning into frantic, curious whispers. The hush that went over the crowd was immediate, but the inside of Robin’s mind was loud. Regina’s was the only gaze he felt, the only one that mattered. He couldn’t help but smile back.
“She’s cast a spell on our new king!”
The declaration rung out over the crowd as clear as if the Gods had announced it themselves. The accusation came from a woman at the front of the crowd, unremarkable except for the raging hatred in her eyes.
The woman pointed at the royal family, stepping forward from the droves. “She has him bewitched!”
And in an instant, heaven descended into hell.
Shouting began to ricochet through the street.
“Our queen is a witch!”
“She must burn!”
“No one is safe!”
“Save the princess–”
The crowd began encroaching on the caravan. Knights drew their swords, those on horses tightening their formation around the royals.
“Regina!” Robin heard Snow shout over the noise. It was as if someone had sent a curse through the minds of the people, the change had been so sudden. Hysteria empowered them. The screaming grew louder and Robin watched as the violence began. The knights had no qualms about bloodshed. Screams of anger mixed with screams of pain as their swords came down on those who lead the charge. Red stains spread across tunics and dresses, but the knights were outnumbered. Robin took out his sword just as a man reached towards Regina, taking a fist full of her gown.
“Rocinante!” Regina yelled, but there was nowhere for her steed to go. The man began pulling her down but Robin took the flat side of his sword and brought it down as hard as he could against the man’s forearm. The man howled in pain and let go, but there were more hands to replace his.
Robin heard Snow screaming as Regina started to slip from her horse. Regina’s gown had dark patches now from the knights slicing through the flesh of those who dared to touch her. These people were going to kill her, in all their ignorance and misguided fury, they would kill their own queen with their bare hands. Robin had to get Regina and Snow to safety and he had to do it now.
He was so overwhelmed, his mind a cacophony of thoughts trying to become ideas. There was a knight on a horse in front of him and Robin shouted at him to turn around.
“Take the princess and ride back to the palace as fast as you can!”
The knight nodded and moved as quickly as he could towards Snow, plucking her from her mount.
Robin shouted down to the other knights on their feet. “Make a path for him!”
Using their shields, the knights began carving a trail through the crowd. Once his horse had a path, the knight sped through it, uncaring whether his horse trampled over those who were too slow or too determined to move. Robin didn’t have time to spare. Regina was desperately clinging to her horse’s neck, her gown torn and bloody. A woman from the crowd lunged past the knights and grabbed onto Regina’s arm. Regina shook the woman off, but then a man’s meaty fist shot out and yanked on Regina’s hair. She cried out and loosened her grip, just for a moment, but it was enough that Robin knew in another second, she would be lost to the mercy of the crowd.
Robin didn’t think, he simply acted. He swung his sword at the man, once, then twice, and in a flash of red the man was on the ground, blood pouring from his face and chest. His actions stunned the crowd just long enough for him to take Regina by the waist and pull her to him.
He lowered his mouth to her ear. “Hold onto me.” Once he was sure she was stable in his lap, he urged his horse until he faced the same gap in the crowd Snow had gone through. People were grabbing at him now, too, but thankfully his horse wasn’t too keen on the crowd either. His mount sped towards the opening, with the knights following behind them. Robin rode as fast as he could. He didn’t even stop when the screams of the masses were behind them, or when they sped too fast even for the knights to keep up. Robin rode with Regina clutching to him, his own nerves too frayed to feel the silent sobs wracking his fiancé’s body. He rode until the gates of the palace were closed behind them.
The courtyard was empty when they arrived.
“Regina,” he said, a hand moving to cup her jaw. “Are you alright? Are you hurt?”
Her eyes were red from crying, tears still leaking streaming down her face. “I’m fine. I’m okay. They only really got a hold of my dress.”
Robin dismounted. Without hesitation he took her gently by the waist and began to lift her down. He felt her tense under his touch and he stilled.
“I can get off of a horse myself,” she said softly.
"I’ve no lack of confidence in your abilities milady, but you’ve had a quite a shock. I only mean to help.” Still, he lifted his hands off of her. He watched her dismount then take the reigns with shaking hands. She stood there for a moment, looking at anything but him. Robin sensed the leftover panic in her, the stifled fear and disbelief.
Her eyes finally met his and she crumbled. The tears flowed freely, now, and she fell into his arms.
“I didn’t kill Leopold, Robin,” she cried against his chest. “I didn’t touch him. I never wanted to touch him. I didn’t–I didn’t–”. The words died in her throat as the sobs wracked her body.
“Gods, I’m so sorry, Regina. I’m so sorry.”
Robin wrapped his arms around her, cursing himself for believing for even one second that Regina could have done the atrocious thing she was being accused of. They stayed this way, wrapped up in each other, until they were torn apart by a flurry of servants coming to clean the blood and tears away.
One of my favorite things about Regina Mills is that if you strip away the darkness, the snarly defenses, she’s kinda nerdy? Like she’s definitely the one laughing at her own jokes (just watch that dinner with Owen and his dad…she’s like the most uncool person ever), and she gets excited about her chemistry set, and translates elvish spells in her spare time (like was she doing some light reading during the Shattered Sight curse?) She’s for sure the one trying to be a “cool mom” when Henry has friends over.
If she didn’t become a murderous evil sorceress, she would have been the biggest, sweetest dork and kinda still is despite herself.