Actions

Work Header

Selfless Love Will Change You Back

Work Text:

Henry scowls at the wall of the lounge, the television blaring but not loudly enough to dim the sound of his moms fighting. They’d been so good. They’d been getting on, working together, supporting each other – even though he didn’t remember that Mom was his mom for most of that time. And then Emma went into the past and brought Marian back.

 

Mom was devastated. Still is, really. She and Emma managed to remain civil long enough to set up a week on, week off arrangement. Storybrooke had reached a sort of lull in activity, in spite of the current cold patch, and it had been a chance for something resembling a normal life.

 

He should never have made Emma walk him to the door to drop him off.

 

There is a smashing sound. Was that a plate? He hopes Mom had thrown it because if Emma had broken one of her plates, she’d actually kill her and possibly set the house on fire in the process.

 

The thing is, Henry is pretty sure that they actually like each other, when they aren’t busy hating each other. Mom smiles at Emma more than anyone else in the town – or at least she used to – and it’s one of those sappy smiles she generally reserves for him. Things would just be easier if they’d get it together.

 

There is a moment’s silence from the kitchen. A ceasefire? Henry knows from this that Emma will be leaving soon. He and Emma had spent Saturday night watching movies; there was a Lindsay Lohan marathon on TV and Emma had introduced him to all these cheesy, hilarious movies and they’d eaten popcorn and Emma had cried actual tears of laughter watching ‘Mean Girls’ and had been calling everything “fetch” ever since.

 

Curled up in a ball on the couch, he remembers his favourite movie of the night. He’d love to be able to trap his parents into getting together. I mean, he doesn’t have a twin like Lindsay Lohan had in the movie but he’s sure he could make do. He’s at least as crafty as those girls and it’d solve so many of his moms’ problems. “I wish I could pull off a ‘Freaky Friday’ situation,” he says and realises he has said it aloud.

 

“What was that, kid?” Emma asks. She’s standing in the doorway of the lounge, blonde hair haloed by the lights in the hall.

 

“Nothing,” Henry says and Emma comes over, wraps an arm around his neck in this sort of awkward hug because she’s still not very good at everyday affection.

 

“I’m off,” she says, ruffling his hair. “Sorry about that. Your mom and me – it’s hard.” She looks sad, her mouth turned down at the corners, forming lines at the corners of her lips, and there’s a slump in her shoulders when she leaves the house.

 

From the convent, Blue hears Henry’s wish and, with a shrug, grants it. It would be good for the mayor and the sheriff to get some much needed perspective on each other.

 

*

 

Emma dreams that she is sleeping in silk, the fabric slipping and sliding over her skin. When an alarm blares, she buries her face in a pillow, the noise jarring. Has Henry reset her alarm from the obnoxious radio station she wakes up to? Her pillow smells peculiar as well, almost like Regina, which is ridiculous, right?

 

Blearily, she opens one eye. The room is dark, minimal light filtering through the curtains, unlike her own apartment where her curtains barely strain out the weakest of sunlight. She stretches her arms out, her body feeling strange and unfamiliar. Her mind starts to wake up and she becomes certain she’s somewhere new. But where? She fumbles for a light, finds a switch and flicks it.

 

The first thing she realises is that she is in Regina’s home; despite never having been in Regina’s bedroom, the furnishings are altogether too Regina to be denied. The second thing she realises is that these are not her hands. Emma doesn’t have manicured nails. Emma’s hands are pale and callused, not olive-toned and smooth.

 

She leaps out of bed, her location for a moment forgotten and finds a mirror, not difficult because, again it’s Regina’s décor. God, she’s vain, Emma thinks, and then, seeing her reflection in the mirror, shrieks.

 

Because it isn’t her face in the mirror, but Regina’s. She moves her arm and the Regina in the mirror mimics hers; smiles and Regina grimaces; runs a hand through her hair, tousled from sleep and shorter than she’s used to, and sees Regina’s hands sweep through her hair.

 

Someone knocks at the bedroom door. “Mom.” It’s Henry. “Are you okay? I heard a scream.”

 

Shit. “I’m fine, k-dear,” she says, touching the smooth curve of her throat as Regina’s voice leaves her. She sounds strangled, voice higher than Regina’s normally is.

 

“Okay,” Henry says though he sounds doubtful. “I’ll be downstairs.”

 

“Fine, fine,” Emma says because she’s just realised. If she is in Regina’s body, where the hell is Regina?

 

At that moment, a phone starts to vibrate against the wood of the bedside table. Emma picks it up and sees ‘Sheriff’ emblazoned across it. “Regina?” she says.

 

“I don’t know what you think you’re playing at, Ms Swan, but this is not funny,” Regina says, in Emma’s voice, which is the most bizarre thing in the world and all Emma can think is surely she doesn’t sound like that.

 

“Hey!” Emma says. “I’m not the one with control over her magic. And I’m not the one who’s trigger-happy with curses.”

 

“I did not do this,” Regina says, enunciating clearly. “I’m coming over.”

 

“Can you drive stick?” Emma asks. “Because you’re taking the bug.”

 

Regina groans and hangs up. Emma sits on the bed; stretching out her unfamiliar legs, noting the red polish on the nails, the long toes, smooth legs (Emma’s never been able to get her legs this smooth with a razor). Regina sleeps in alarmingly sexy, silk pyjamas and Emma’s trying to avoid looking anywhere near that part of this body because bad things will happen in her brain. She doesn’t think she’s up to getting dressed because that’ll involve getting undressed and Emma’s not sure if she can handle Regina’s naked body before she has a bucket of coffee. Regina might actually kill her, swapped bodies or no, or she’ll do something terrible with Emma’s own body, like get a tattoo on her forehead or piercings in sensitive places. She might do that anyway; Regina’s pretty angry right now and that was before they swapped bodies like in some hideous sci-fi movie.

 

Instead, she splashes water on her face, wiping the sleep from her (or Regina’s) eyes, hoping against hope that she’ll wake from this horrible dream soon, and finds a dressing gown to cover Regina’s body.

 

Downstairs, Henry’s eating cereal and he attempts to hide the bowl from her. “Cocoa pops? Really?” Emma asks. She’s about to say, don’t let your mom see, and catches herself just in time. “Just this once.”

 

Henry looks at her, eyes narrowed with concern. “Are you not well?”

 

“I’m not feeling great, kid,” she says. “Think I’ll work from home today.”

 

“You called me ‘kid’,” he says and now his eyes are narrowed with another emotion entirely. Suspicion.

 

Emma laughs, the sound high and nervous. “Really? I must be delirious. That or Ms Swan is rubbing off on me. How unsavoury.”

 

It’s at that moment that Regina, in Emma’s body, chooses to storm into the house and into the kitchen. “Did you consider knocking, Ms Swan?” Emma asks, drawing herself up and staring down her nose at Regina. She’s pleased to note that Regina hasn’t changed, except to put on jeans and a jacket; Emma had fallen asleep in a tank top and underpants yesterday.

 

It’s almost amusing to see Regina’s rage spread across her own features, cheeks pinking and jaw twitching with how hard she’s clenching it. Instead of yelling, she turns to Henry. “What on earth are you eating for breakfast?”

 

“Chill, Emma,” Henry says. “Mom said it was okay.”

 

Regina glares at her. “Did she now?” and it’s amazing that she manages to make what Emma had always thought was her perfectly ordinary voice sound intimidating and dangerous. “I came by to apologise for my appalling behaviour in this house last night,” she says.

 

Emma narrows her eyes. “That’s quite alright, dear. I really must learn to forgive people for incidents they feel horribly guilty about.”

 

“You’re both being totally weird,” Henry observes, finishing his cocoa pops and padding over to the sink to rinse his bowl. “I’m going to school. Please don’t kill each other while I’m gone.”

 

“I’ll do my best,” Emma says. Henry gives her a hug. She stiffens a moment, before wrapping her arms around him. “Enjoy your day, dear.” Over his shoulder, Regina rolls her eyes.

 

“See you,” Henry says holding out a fist. Regina looks at her for a moment in total panic and Emma mimes a fist. Hesitantly, Regina balls her hand and Henry bumps it with his own fist. “That was weak, Emma.”

 

“Sorry,” Regina says. “I’m feeling rather out of sorts. See you later, kid.” She throws Emma a triumphant look as if to say, see, I can be you just as well as you can be me, and it’s Emma’s turn to roll her eyes.

 

Henry’s barely out the door when Emma lets out a sigh. “I’m making coffee,” she says.

 

“By all means,” Regina says. “Make yourself at home in my kitchen, just like you have in my body and my clothes.”

 

“Because I so wanted this,” Emma says, pouring ground coffee into the filter.

 

“I’m going to my study,” Regina says and storms off, swaying her hips in a way Emma has never done.

 

Of course, Emma thinks, and yells, “I’ll just bring you a coffee, shall I?” after her. When there’s enough in the pot, she pours two mugs, dribbling milk into hers, and follows Regina.

 

Regina has settled in behind her desk, old book in front of her. She’s flicking through it, brow furrowed. Emma notes the thin lines forming around her eyes that she’s been trying to ignore when she looks in the mirror. Regina has clipped her hair back into a neat roll, a few blonde tendrils spilling loose and Emma realises she never even brushed Regina’s hair. It’s bizarre, the sheriff looking so put together, where the mayor is so dishevelled. “Coffee?”

 

“Thanks,” Regina says absently. She takes a sip and grimaces. “Strong.”

 

“Sorry,” Emma says. “Did you want milk?”

 

“No,” Regina says. “This is adequate.” Next moment she’s throwing the book at the wall, where it falls, and several browned pages come loose.

 

“What’s up?” Emma asks.

 

“Nothing in my book about body transfers,” Regina says. “We’re going to have to work out who did this to get to the bottom of it.”

 

“Gold obviously,” Emma says because of course it’s Gold. It’s always either Gold or Regina and Regina’s not lying, Emma can tell.

 

“What could possibly be his motive?”

 

“Does Gold need a motive?” Emma asks.

 

“Generally, yes,” Regina says. “This doesn’t feel like him.”

 

“Oh good,” Emma says. “I’m glad we’re basing this on something scientific and rational like feelings.” She takes a long drink of coffee, her brain finally starting to wake up. “So it’s someone else?”

 

“Which worries me,” Regina says, fingers of one hand tapping against the side of the ceramic mug. “I think it’s a curse, which means there’s a way of un-cursing us. We just have to work out what the ‘off switch’ is.”

 

“Well, I know that running into each other full tilt won’t work,” Emma says, joking. Regina looks at with such absolute undisguised disgust; it’s actually unnerving coming from herself. Emma shrugs. “Freaky Friday. Watched it with the kid the other night. So do we tell people?”

 

Regina shakes her head. “We don’t know who has cursed us. Anyone could have malicious intent.”

 

“God, you’re paranoid in the morning,” Emma mutters. “What about Henry?”

 

“Let’s keep it quiet for now and hope we don’t have to,” Regina says and Emma nods. She doesn’t like it but Henry’s been dropping what he thinks are subtle hints about how much better Regina would be as a partner than Killian and she doesn’t think he needs further ammunition.

 

Emma’s phone rings. Henry changed her ringtone to ‘The Working Song’ from ‘Snow White’ last week and Emma can’t figure out how to fix it and Regina jumps at the sound. “Answer it,” Emma hisses when Regina stares at it as though it’s a snake or some other sort of dangerous creature.

 

“Hello?” she barks into the phone. “No, I’m sick. I won’t be in.” And she hangs up. A text message almost immediately follows.

 

“Jesus, Regina,” Emma says, snatching her phone. “Are you trying to get me fired?” She types a quick message in response to David’s ‘???’.

 

Really sick. Possibly contagious. Taking the week off.

 

Regina raises an eyebrow. “I think you’ll find that I have the power to hire or fire the sheriff, not your deputy.”

 

“Still,” Emma says. “If we’re hiding this… affliction, we’re going to have to act like each other.”

 

“I suppose so,” Regina says, as though the words are costing her a great deal.

 

And then Emma has a horrible realisation as she drains her coffee. “Regina.”

 

“Yes?” she asks, eyes scanning the pages of another book.

 

“I have to pee.”

 

Regina’s eyes widen in a way that would be comical if it weren’t such a hideous situation for Emma as well.

 

*

 

On her return from what might have been the most uncomfortable experience in Emma’s life (and she’s been in prison) she finds Regina with a second mug of coffee, reading the paper as though nothing is wrong. She’s squinting. “Your eyesight is terrible, Ms Swan,” she says when she notices Emma.

 

“Contacts,” Emma says. “You’ll have to put them in. Also, ease up on the coffee. That was not a relaxing experience.”

 

Regina’s face creases in outrage for a moment. “We need to discuss how this works,” she says.

 

“I agree,” Emma says. “At some point I’m going to need a shower.”

 

Regina scoffs. “Magic, dear. No, more important things. I refuse to spend another night in that monstrosity you call a bed. I’m staying here.”

 

“What?” Emma asks. “So no one’s going to think it’s weird that you’re suddenly living at my apartment?” It could have been worse, she considers. She could still be living with her parents.

 

“You will stay here too, of course,” Regina says. “I’ll take a guest bedroom. We can pretend a pipe in your bathroom exploded,” she says. It’s a slightly too specific excuse.

 

“Oh God,” Emma says. “You’ve destroyed my apartment, haven’t you? I’ll never get my bond back.”

 

“I was in shock,” Regina says, dismissing Emma’s concerns with a flick of her hand. “The damage isn’t that bad.”

 

“Not that bad. Shit, Regina, you charged me with interest when I broke a coffee cup the other week.” It had been before Marian, before Robin, before the whole hideous fiasco. They’d been heading towards friendship then.

 

“They were expensive!” Regina snaps. “And part of a set.”

 

“Burst pipe!” Emma screeches. “God.”

 

For a moment, Regina looks nervous and Emma wonders if Regina’s enraged pit-bull face is as terrifying for her as it is for Emma. “Calm down, Ms Swan.”

 

“I’m calm,” Emma mutters. “Super calm.”

 

“Now, you mentioned showering,” Regina says. “I can fix that with magic.” She raises her hands, palms outstretched and Emma feels a tingling over her body and then a sharp constriction around her waist and chest. She looks down, seeing rather more boob than she’s typically used to, and it’s ‘Regina’ boob and so Emma, of course, simultaneously blushes and stares in fascination at what can only be described as romance novel breasts, heaving above the restraints of a corset. There are tight leather pants as well, incredibly high heeled boots that nearly make Emma topple over, a red velvet coat and a broad-brimmed hat with feathers drooping from it, which fall into Emma’s face and make her sneeze.

 

Regina is frozen in horror for a moment. Then her hands wave again and Emma finds herself in Regina’s more usual attire of slacks and a shirt, hair clean and styled. “Aw,” she says. “I liked the last outfit.”

 

Pink stains Regina’s cheeks. “I got saddled with your magic in the swap,” she says. “It’s less predictable than my own.”

 

“I think I saw you in that get up in the Enchanted Forest,” Emma says, delighted to see the blush intensify. “Impressive cleavage, your majesty.”

 

“I’ll have you know I was very fashion-forward,” Regina says, attempting to sneer, which is not an expression that works particularly well with Emma’s face. Emma should know. She’s spent hours in front of the mirror since moving to Storybrooke attempting to perfect a good sneer but mostly she looks constipated.

 

“Oh, I have no doubt,” Emma says. “This is a great bra,” she adds, twisting her back and feeling none of the usual pinching or underwire stabbings.

 

“It’s what you get when you’re not purchasing off the sale racks at Target,” Regina says and Emma scowls.

 

*

 

Henry is alarmingly unsurprised when he returns home and finds his mothers are still there and Emma files that information away for later. “Ms Swan will be staying with us for a while,” Emma says, after the requisite hug and snack. “There’s a problem with her apartment.”

 

“What happened?” Henry asks.

 

A blush stains Regina’s cheeks. “A pipe burst. I’d rather not stay with your grandparents given the new baby.” It’s a good excuse and Henry nods as though this all makes total sense, like Emma would definitely stay at Mifflin Street, like she and Regina are friends.

 

“Please don’t fight though,” he says and Emma feels horribly guilty once more because it’s her fault they’re fighting all the time.  

 

“We’ll do our best,” Regina says stiffly.

 

And it’s nice, it really is, because Henry helps Emma cook dinner, Regina whispering instructions whenever his back is turned, sitting at the kitchen bench, itching to help, fingers drumming against the marble surface. “You’re such a control freak,” Emma whispers when Henry goes to grab something from the pantry and Regina glares at her. Her glare on Emma’s face lacks menace so Emma just laughs, enjoying the throaty chuckle.

 

Between Henry, Emma and Regina’s instructions, they manage to get an acceptable lasagne together and in the oven. Emma can make a salad, not that it stops Regina from sticking her nose in, but it’s fine. It’s what Emma imagines having a family would be like.

 

Not a family with Killian though, who she keeps telling to be patient, to wait, because whenever she’s broken up with people in the past, she’s had the good sense to move cities. But there’s no getting away from Storybrooke and so no getting away from Killian. He’s always there and perhaps that’s why it will never work because Emma needs space and he’s terrible at giving it to her.

 

When dinner is over, Henry insists they watch a movie and he picks ‘You Got Mail’. Emma’s suspicions heighten. Henry knows something and she’s going to find out what it is. He sits between them and fidgets and Emma’s hand brushes Regina’s shoulder when she puts her arm around Henry and she feels a spark of something, like electricity.

 

*

 

It’s Tuesday and Emma has spent the day playing Henry’s video games because Regina was getting irritated at her getting in the way while Regina tries to figure out a reversal and banished her from the study. “You know Robin’s not your only chance of happiness, right?” Emma asks. They’re drinking cider in Regina’s study because neither of them are ready to go to bed.

 

“Oh?” Regina says. “Do give me your expert opinion, Ms Swan.” Sarcasm laces every syllable.

 

“You have Henry and Snow apparently,” and she’s not even going to ask about that relationship because they hate each other, like, ninety percent of the time and then defend each other with their lives and it does her head in. “And me,” she says.

 

Regina snorts. “Why would I want you?” she asks. She’s definitely lying and Emma tries not to feel a little too pleased by that.

 

Emma’s sitting by the window and so she sees the movement first, Killian coming up the path to Regina’s house. She ducks, before realising that he’s not coming to see her, not in this body. “Shit,” she hisses.

 

Regina peers out the window. “I’m not kissing him,” she says flatly.

 

“Ugh, no,” Emma mutters. “God, he cannot take a hint.”

 

“Trouble in paradise?”

 

“A couple of kisses do not make him my boyfriend,” Emma says. “He feels so much for me and I just can’t…”

 

Regina’s lips curve into a wicked smile. “Oh please,” she says. “Allow me.”

 

Shit, Emma thinks, as Regina gets up, drink still in hand and opens the front door to Killian’s persistent knocking. Everything about him is persistent; he’s one of those yappy dogs, cute for five minutes but ultimately irritating. She strains to hear. “Why are you staying at Regina’s?” Killian asks. “You’d have been very welcome to shack up with me.” She can just imagine the lascivious grin.

 

“And why would I do that?” Regina asks. “Killian, I am not interested in taking this … thing between us any further.” It would help, Emma reflects, if she sounded slightly less gleeful about the whole thing.

 

“Oh come on, love,” Killian says. “You know we’re meant for each other.”

 

Regina laughs, an actual, full on cackle, and Emma winces. “Get off Regina’s porch, Hook.”

 

“A little more brutal than I might have done it,” Emma says when Regina returns.

 

“Got the job done, didn’t it?” Regina says though she frowns because suddenly Emma’s phone is lighting up with text message after text message. “Oh my God,” she mutters. “He’s sending you poetry. What is your pull with the pirate?”

 

“I wish I knew,” Emma says. “Then I could stop it.” She drains her drink and goes to leave, only to discover the door is locked. She hears scuttling footsteps and what sounds like the giggle of a twelve year old boy “Henry, I swear to God…”

 

Regina unlocks it with a flick of her hand and rolls her eyes at Emma.

 

*

 

When Henry agrees so readily to do the dishes with a cheery, “you two go and set up a movie together,” Emma decides enough is enough. She sneaks back into the kitchen and leans against the bench top.

 

“Henry, dear, did you do something you shouldn’t have?”

 

The kid has the worst poker face Emma has ever seen. “No,” he says, though his eyes dart sideways and his bites his lip.

 

“Liar,” Emma says. “Confess or you’re grounded. You might be anyway but, trust me, if I have to search out the truth, I’ll be really grouchy.”

 

Henry sighs. “Knew it wouldn’t last. I kind of… made a wish,” he says. “I want you and Emma to stop being stupid about each other and get together. You’d make each other really happy and I know you like her even though you pretend you don’t. Emma and I watched a whole bunch of movies and in one of them these twins trap their parents into falling in love with each other. I figured it was working when Emma had to come and stay, like magic had burst those pipes.”

 

Emma stares at him for a moment. “Henry,” she says, voice dangerously low. “Can you tell me the title of the movie you wished for us to be a part of?”

 

“Freaky Friday,” he says.

 

“Oh, Henry,” Emma says. “The movie you were thinking of was ‘The Parent Trap’.”

 

Henry drops a plate, detergent suds splashing his front. “Emma?”

 

“Yeah, kid,” Emma says. “How could you mix up the movies?”

 

“They just kind of all blurred into one after the first couple,” he says defensively.

 

She takes a moment to be outraged that he could confuse the oeuvre of Lindsay Lohan. Then she sighs. “Finish the dishes and then go to your room. Do your homework or something. I need to talk to Regina.” He nods.

 

“I’ve solved it,” she says, going into the lounge. She finds Regina sitting stiffly on the couch, the screen showing the menu for ‘Brave’.

 

“Solved what?”

 

“This is Henry’s fault,” Emma says and explains the whole situation.

 

Regina’s cheeks are flushed when Emma finishes and she stares for a moment in silence. “No, Ms Swan, yet again, this is your fault,” she says, before storming away to her office. Emma stands, stunned into silence, before following.

 

“Why are you so damn angry?” Emma asks, standing in the doorway.

 

“You showed him those movies. You obviously put some stupid ideas his head.” Regina’s pacing in front of the bookshelf, hands clenching and unclenching, which is a sure sign that she’s just barely resisting the magic that must be welling up inside of her.

 

“It’s not just that,” Emma says. “Tell me the truth.”

 

“You were going to take him away,” Regina says and the emotional devastation Emma has seen in Regina’s face so often seems strange and unfamiliar on her own visage. “You were going to take him back to New York and you didn’t even talk to me. You say he’s my chance of happiness and you wanted to take him away from me too. You destroy everything that might give me peace.”

 

Emma grimaces and the next thing she knows magic pushes her backwards and the door to the study slams shut in her face.

 

*

 

She’s drunk when she returns to Regina’s house and knocks clumsily. Regina answers and Emma giggles because her face is glaring and it’s an expression that looks odd and funny on her features.

 

“Ms Swan,” Regina hisses. “If I find you’ve made a fool of me in front of the idiots in this town…”

 

Emma giggles again and stumbles over a pair of shoes, caught in Regina’s arms. “No,” she says. “Jus’ Ruby. She knows what happened now. Sorry.”

 

“I suppose it was only a matter of time before you developed your mother’s inability to keep a secret,” Regina says.

 

“’M sorry,” Emma says. Regina’s a bit fuzzy at the edges and she can’t help finding it extremely amusing that she’s talking to herself. “I was bein’ selfish, before the time travel.”

 

“Yes,” Regina says, still holding Emma’s arm. She leads her into the kitchen and sits her at the table, places a glass of water in front of her. She drinks the whole thing in one go but it doesn’t help the fuzzy head or, apparently, the verbal diarrhoea.

 

“You’re really nice,” Emma says. “An’ pretty. I miss seeing your face. Have to look in mirror now.”

 

“I think it’s time for bed, dear,” Regina says.

 

“Madame Mayor, I am drunk,” Emma says, outraged. “Are you planning to take advantage of me?”

 

Regina rolls her eyes, hoisting Emma up and helping her up the stairs. “No, Ms Swan.”

 

“Pity,” Emma says and then collapses at the top of the staircase. She wakes up curled around her own body and, when coupled with the hangover, this makes her leap up and vomit. Leaning her head against the cool porcelain of the toilet seat she realises Regina changed her into pyjamas while she was out of it. They’re flannel and snuggly. 

 

*

 

Henry’s shooting hoops in the back yard because he has this idea that he’s going to have a growth spurt and become a pro-basketball player and Emma doesn’t have the heart to tell him that he comes from a long line of short-arses. He keeps looking back at his moms and Emma kind of wants to join him because she used to be a decent shot, but she wants to talk to Regina more.

 

“I’m sorry, y’know,” Emma says, turning to Regina. “I really am, not just drunkenly sorry. You gave me the best gift imaginable with those memories and waking from that dream was hideous. I wanted to go back.”

 

Regina nods. “That’s not everything though, is it?” she says. “Only you said some stuff last night…”

 

Emma grimaces, clutching the coffee mug to herself. “You were with Robin and you were happy and…” She pauses. Henry shoots and scores, running around, whooping and cheering like he’s scored the winning shot in the NBA finals because he is, ultimately, Regina’s son. That is to say, a total drama queen. “I was jealous,” she says because she might as well get it all out in the open. “Of Robin.”

 

“Truth is,” Regina says, “I might have been jealous of the pirate.” She smiles almost shyly and Emma thinks she might understand a fair amount now.

 

There’s a flash of light between them and Emma feels this floating sensation and then she’s looking at Regina and there’s something so wonderful about that, looking at Regina, because she’s Regina and she’s beautiful and fierce and Emma has so missed looking at her these past days.

 

“So,” Regina says and she’s smiling. It’s the smile that Emma has only had directed at her on rare occasions but which she always wants to see on Regina’s face.

 

And so Emma leans across and kisses her, hand cupping her cheek and trying to put everything unspoken into the press of lips because she’s not good with words, more of an action girl, and Regina needs to understand how much she cares. And it seems Regina does if the response of her lips and tongue and that breathy sigh when they part is any indication.

 

“Ew,” Henry says, holding his basketball and staring at him. “That’s super gross.” But he’s grinning.

 

Emma leaps up, dragging Regina by the hand, over to the basketball hoop and, stealing the ball from Henry, hands it to Regina. “Give it a go,” she says, arms circling Regina’s waist and positioning her hands to shoot.

 

Regina throws and misses dramatically and Emma can’t help the chuckle that falls from her lips.

 

This, she thinks, might just be happiness.