The whole thing was a mistake, as far as Regina was concerned. She stood back and watched as the idiots—Snow, Charming (what a laugh that name was), Neal and Hook—attempted to remind Emma and Henry of who they were.
After all she’d done and sacrificed to give the two of them a new life, these bumbling morons wanted to ruin it at the first sign of trouble.
As if she couldn’t handle things on her own, with her own brand of problem solving. But for Henry’s sake (and Emma’s, a small voice goaded her), she’d refrained from unleashing her nastiest spells. Henry wouldn’t have wanted her to use that much dark magic, and even though he had no idea who she was anymore, she wanted to make him proud.
So she’d held back and played nice with the Charmings. For all the good that had done. They still had problems, and now Emma and Henry were in the middle of them. Again.
Hook and Neal were arguing with each other over true love’s kiss and why neither had been able to return Emma’s memories. Regina rolled her eyes. Those Neanderthals would be exchanging blows in a moment—something she’d enjoy watching in other circumstances, but not now, with Henry there to witness the violence.
Snow stepped toward Emma, but Emma stopped her with one held-up hand.
“Listen, lady,” Emma said, “I don’t know who you are, but if one more person tries to kiss me, someone’s losing a tongue.”
For the first time in a while, Regina smiled. The memories she’d given Emma may have been somewhat easier than the true past, but they hadn’t softened her a bit. She was still a hero—it was obvious in the way she stood, body alert, Henry pushed slightly behind her for protection. You could see it in the way she gazed around the room, taking in all of them, their positions. Assessing the risks.
“Just try to remember us, Emma. Your father and I love you, and that love has to be enough,” Snow said, the earnest, syrupy tone of her voice making Regina want to strangle something. Preferably Snow.
After a moment of silence in which Emma stared at first Snow and then Charming, she said, “Right, so. You’re my mother, and you” —she pointed at Charming—“are my father.”
“Yes!” Charming replied. “It’s coming back to you?”
“Yeah, sure. I mean, it makes perfect sense now.” Emma nudged Henry farther behind her and began backing, ever so slightly, away. “Henry and I are gonna go and keep working on those memories. I’ll get back to you when they’ve returned.”
“Emma, wait. Please.” Snow stepped forward again, and again Emma put up a hand to stop her. “I know it sounds crazy—”
“But we’re telling you the truth.”
“That’s right,” Hook said. The threat of Emma leaving had managed to penetrate his and Neal’s thick skulls long enough for them to stop arguing. “Look around you. We can’t all be insane.”
Emma raised her eyebrows. “I’m pretty sure you can. We’re going now. Come on, Henry.” As she backed farther away, the others started talking at once, spitting out stories from the past, pleading with her to remember.
Above the din, Regina heard Charming say, “Even if you leave, Emma, we’ll find you. We’ll always—”
“Enough!” Regina thundered, rolling her eyes so hard she nearly went blind. If she had to hear that saying one more time, truces be damned. She’d curse the Charmings out of existence, this time for real.
Silence fell as everyone looked at Regina.
She sneered at them. “Step aside, imbeciles. Do I have to do everything myself?”
She stalked toward Emma, never breaking eye contact.
“Don’t come any closer,” Emma said, sounding unsure despite the brave face she'd put on.
Regina ignored the warning and walked right up to Emma, so close their bodies practically touched.
In her peripheral vision, she could see Snow move toward them. Charming pulled her back with a quiet, “Wait.”
“You don’t remember me,” Regina said. It wasn’t a question.
“No,” Emma whispered. Her eyes widened and her gaze dropped, just for a second, to Regina’s lips. She was breathing fast.
With the tip of her index finger, Regina lifted Emma’s chin and leaned closer. “You’ll remember,” she said and then pressed her mouth to Emma’s, soft and sweet.
Emma trembled against Regina and placed one hand lightly on Regina’s hip.
When Regina broke the kiss and pulled back, Emma swayed toward her. But when Emma’s lashes fluttered open and their gazes met again, Regina saw no new recognition on the other woman’s face.
“Nothing?” Regina asked.
“I wouldn’t call that noth—”
“Silence.” Regina tuned out everyone else. She tossed aside her concern about Henry seeing something improper and pulled Emma against her, groin to groin and breast to breast.
No sweet, innocent kiss would work. Regina wasn’t a sweet, innocent person, and that wasn’t how she loved.
She wound her free hand through Emma’s hair and pulled her forward until their mouths touched again. Emma’s lips parted and Regina claimed them, her tongue slipping inside, tasting, teasing, loving.
Someone moaned—Regina wasn’t sure if it was her or Emma—as their bodies moved against each other, Emma’s hands on Regina’s ass, her own hand cupping Emma’s breast and then moving farther down, over the flat planes of Emma’s stomach to the crux of her thighs.
Another moan—definitely Emma this time—as Regina pressed harder between Emma’s legs. Even through a layer of underwear and jeans, Regina could tell the other woman was wet, ready for her.
Charming coughed a few times, but Regina didn’t give a damn.
She hadn’t realized how much she wanted this until now, until she actually had it. And now that it was happening, she wouldn’t easily let the moment go. Let Emma go. If this didn’t work, she’d kiss Emma other ways, in other places, until her memory returned.
With a gasp, Emma pulled away. She put one shaking hand against her mouth and stared at Regina for what may have been an eternity or just a second.
Something, some emotion Regina hadn’t felt in ages, spread through her chest. Something warm. Something like…hope.
“You remember me,” Regina said. Again, not a question.
“Of course I remember you. What’s going on?”
“True love’s kiss,” Snow choked out behind them.
Emma let go of Regina’s waist and looked over her shoulder. Regina turned around.
Neal had his back to them, his head down as if he couldn’t bear to see. Hook, however, was smiling, the dolt.
Snow looked utterly horrified, to Regina’s amusement, and Charming had apparently, at some point, gotten Henry and was shielding his eyes.
Charming gave her a wary glare. “If you hurt her—”
“You’ll what? Harm me? Don’t be a fool.”
“Regina,” Emma said, her voice a warning.
“Fine,” Regina said. “I’ll be nice.” But only for you, she mentally added, unwilling to say such a thing in front of the Charmings.
The truth was, if she did hurt Emma, nothing Charming or Snow or the pathetic baboons tried would be as bad as what Regina would do to herself.
“Great,” Emma said. “But for now, can you just be yourself? We need to…um, discuss some things. In private.” She gave Regina a look that held so much desire and promise, Regina nearly tore Emma’s clothes off right there in front of everyone. “Regina,” Emma said, again in warning, as if she’d read her thoughts.
Regina smiled and took Emma’s hand. “I’ll be good. For now.” She leaned over so only Emma could hear. “But once we’re alone together, I’ll show you how much more fun it is when I misbehave.”