Prompt; OQ: “What if I love you, and you die? What else do I have to live for?” - <3
I’m taking the sentiment from your quote, and incorporating parts of it. This is a follow up to Spilled Coffee.
Robin says I love you first.
Well, Robin says it, and Regina doesn’t say it back.
He doesn’t mind at first, that she isn’t ready. As long as she keeps smiling and squeezing his wrist at the words whispered in her ear as she pours them both mugs of steaming coffee, keeps nestling closer to him when she hears them as she wakes, keeps gasping out his name when he pants them as he comes. I love you.
But then weeks stretch into months, four of them, and even though he knows she’s as in this as he is, even though it’s in every touch and smile, in the way they have both grown to love each others’ children, he wouldn’t mind hearing it. He tries to keep himself from thinking about it for now, doesn’t mean to push her.
It’s during a fight, their worst yet, that it comes spilling from his lips. They were discussing it calmly at first, whether to keep his place or hers, but they both live in the homes they once shared with Daniel and Marian, and it ran away with them and turned nasty. Robin thinks Regina might have a valid point—Henry has memories of Daniel in this house, and Roland’s too young to know Marian in any way but through stories.
But her insistence and continuing silence stings, more than he’d like to admit, and words she doesn’t deserve tumble between them. “Are you going to spend the rest of your life living in the past, or will you someday find the guts to tell me how we both know you feel?”
Her face hardens, but he doesn’t miss the way her lip trembles as she opens her door, cries Get out! and slams the door in his face.
His hands ball into fists, and he stomps down two flights of stairs, one away from the ground floor of her apartment building, before he’s spinning and hurrying back up.
She opens on the third knock, eyes red, mascara smudged, tears running down her cheeks.
"I’m so sorry," he says, voice breaking, and then she’s in his arms, her face buried in his neck, sobs wracking her body.
In all their time together he’s never seen her cry like this. “I never meant to imply—” he lets her weight rest on him, turns them and shuts the door, “your memories of him are so important to both of you, and I would never want to—”
"I know. It isn’t that," she manages, fingers digging into his shoulders.
"Then what…" He guides her to sit on the leather couch just inside the entry, then drops down beside her, a hand threading through her hair.
"If I say it, that makes it real."
He taps her cheek gently with one thumb. “If you say what?”
"If I tell you I love you, I can’t go back, and what if I l-lose you and then I’m all a-alone again," she breaks into sobs again, and he’s dragging her to him, halfway onto his lap as her hands scrabble to hold onto his shirt.
He kisses her forehead, the top of her cheekbone, behind her ear. He knows better than to promise he’ll never leave—they both do—but they also both know something else, and that is what he reminds her. “You know as well as I do that love is worth the risk of pain.”
She nods weakly.
Eventually, her breathing evens out, and her head stays on his chest, rising and falling with his lungs. “Let’s get a new place,” she suggests softly, her voice rough. “New memories. There isn’t really enough room for all four of us at either of our apartments, anyway.”
She sighs, nods, and he feels her smile against his skin before she pulls back and holds his jaw in her hands. “I do love you.”
His stomach does cartwheels. Several of them. “I know.” He runs the pad of his pointer finger down the vein in her forehead. “I love you, too.”